I've been wondering lately if it's possible to have Seasonal Affective Disorder in the summer, and not just the winter. . .
I expected the Winters in Norway to be cold, dark and long, so when they turned out to be cold, dark and long I wasn't at all surprised. However, I expected the summers to be warm, sunny and, well. . . summery. And they aren't. They are cool--60 degrees, rainy, and spring like. Tonight, 10pm, I am wearing jeans, wool socks, long-sleeve cotton T-shirt, and the same green Patagonia fleece hoodie sweatshirt that I've worn for the past 23 months.
I like living in a place with four seasons. I don't think I could ever give up snow in the winter. (Well. . . maybe I could, but since I don't want to live without my husband, I think I need to have snow in the winter). But, I also really like heat. Sun-generated heat. And I'm not asking that much--70, 75. Just enough to feel like I can throw on a pair of shorts of summery skirt first thing in the morning, and not pull on that same damn pair of Levis for day #21. . .
We intentionally delayed a trip back to the States until the Fall, and not for this summer. For one, my parents are in Norway this summer, traveling about in their RV, so it's dumb to go back to the US when half the parental units are not there. But secondly, Erik argued, "summer in Norway is beautiful. . . we don't want to leave during the best part of the year!"(I might add that thirdly, we have a house that needs to get finished).
You know what Norwegians do during summer? They leave. Denmark. Spain. Italy. Greece. Turkey.
We're half-way through week one of felles ferie (common vacation), the three weeks in Norway (and most of Europe) when every Norwegian goes on vacation. And it's not a matter of "if" they are going. No, no. . . Norwegians do not ask you, "ARE you going on vacation?" It's "WHERE are you going on vacation?" Because it is expected that you WILL take a vacation, and preferably several weeks long. Even as I began two summer-temp jobs, I was asked, "Which week of vacation do you want?"
An article in the local newspaper reported a study done by the University in Oslo. The study found that the body needs a full three weeks of continuous vacation to bring the stress hormone levels back to normal. Older workers might even take longer.
And what are we doing during felles ferie, you ask? Seeing that the barnehage is also closed for felles ferie, someone needs to be around to watch over the little one. I'm taking this first rainy, cold, miserable week off (cue the tiny violins, please. . . ), and on Thursday evening we have been invited to join some friends in their hytta (cabin) for the weekend. The next two weeks we will have visits from Erik's mother and a friend of hers, who will be bouncing in and out, watching Greta on some days and visiting sights near and far on others, while Erik and I juggle the childcare between jobs, day/evening shifts, a sun setting at 10:30pm, and the never-ending house projects.
"Next summer", we say "next summer we'll take 3 weeks off. . . "
And be damn sure to go somewhere warm.