Scandinavian summer is the best. When it happens. And it happens. This year we have experienced a natural miracle: three weeks of summer in a row! In May. Like never before. It never happens in May. It very seldom happens during the summer too. When the temps go up to 30 degrees – and stay there. When evenings are so warm that you don’t need a jacket. Some say, it’s the global warming, some say, it is the direct wind from Sahara, blowing between the low and the high pressure (can it reach all the way up to the North?). It’s unbelievable, but it’s true. While the South of Europe is cold and rainy – Norway, for once, is enjoying the real summer!
Scandinavian summer is the best because it is never too hot. Only a bit too warm at night because the houses are built for winter, not for summer, no one has AC and the fans get sold out with the speed of light these days. Even though it is burning in the sun, the shadow is always cool and the wind is refreshing. This is the best version of summer I ever know! If it would last for three months, like it does in other places, who would travel to the South? To the full airports, taxis, hotels, packed up beaches. Who? Usually we have to go because we need sunshine. As it is said here: “I love Norwegian summer. It is the best day of the year”. That’s the real reason why we travel. One day is just not enough 🙂 But if it would last – the rest of the world would come to us in summer! 🙂
Summertime and the living is easy. This is the tune I’m humming most of the time. It is pure #simpleliving. Spend a day at home, sitting on a balcony, reading a book, sharing a meal. Or go to the park, sit on the bench, eat an ice cream and watch people. You can even do a quick barbeque which is popular here: a disposable barbeque can be bought in any food store, and it is allowed to use it in the parks. Or you can go to the beach and take a dip.
Cooking is also easy in summer. Just chop anything green – voila, a salad. Or throw some vegetables in the oven – voila, ratatouille. Arranging social eating is simple: buy a disposable barbeque and sausages (or anything you like on the grill), invite your friends and share a meal in the park. There is more life than in any restaurant right now.
During the whole year we have to be freaking creative here (and some call it hygge). What to do on a cold and rainy weekend? Where to go when the wind is blowing water or snow into your face most of the days? Where to catch up with a friend, when sitting in a café is a thing you have done hundreds of times? How to push yourself to work out in the cold and darkness when all you want is to be glued to your couch? But in summer – voila, no problem. No ideas needed. Just go out into the sun. Alone, or with your friend. Or even stay at home, in the shade, in the sweet security that the summer is here, and you don’t have to run desperately to the park on this day (there is a vibe of desperation and stress on the sunny days, because they are so few. And you have to be doing something awesome otherwise you’ve just lost your only chance). And there is energy: to move, to work out, to do things. The sun is life-giving.
Whatever they may say that there’s no bad weather (and they do say it here, we are weather denial masters:)), but I ask you: how can the good exist without the bad? (a philosophical question) How can we know when it’s a good day, when we don’t experience bad days? And we know when it’s a good day here. Oh, we know it perfectly well – we are the experts of catching every ray of sun in this climate.
And I feel like coming back to myself too. On the first day when I went out without a jacket and stockings, so often used in summer here, I suddenly felt very much at home. I almost forgot it here, freezing throughout the year – but I come from the hot steppes. Long and flat, stretching to the horizon, mile after mile. With unending fields of sunflowers. With the dry and pricking smells of grass and wild flowers. Where the grass gets burned out in August. The heat in my city was tough, though. Reaching up to +40 and staying there for weeks. With no salvation in the shade, no coolness of night bringing a consolation. You could cook an egg on the metal railings. That’s why I never liked summer at home.
But these days I almost get nostalgic about the heat. It just feels so right. You go and sweat. Feeling the soft asphalt, melting under your feet, with the holes from the high heels. You look for shade and eat an ice cream by the fountain. You get on a little bus where every window is open and the air is refreshing while we move. But when the bus stops, it feels like slowly cooking in the can – and I see a sweat running down a guy’s temple.
When the sun starts shining in Oslo, every Norwegian runs out into the sun. While I hide in the shade. Yes, ironic enough, I wait for summer all year long, but when it’s blazing sunny you find me on the shady side of the street. An old Ukrainian habit. I have become Norwegian by passport and mentality – but I forget that my body (and heart) is still made of that soil, burnt from the heat, smelling of the steppe grasses, of the dark an warm nights full of crickets. It is still hard for me to fall asleep in these light Northern nights, and I wake up too early when the sun is creeping in at 4 am. I like the light nights. But I also miss the dark summer nights, full of stars, the smells, the whispers of the trees outside my window… The home will never stop being home. Even though I forget how it used to be there. My body will never stop being made of the steppe soil. My soul will never stop being a gypsy, looking for an adventure, passion and dance.
What about you? Is summer kissing its welcome kisses on your cheeks? Does it make you happy already – or maybe, not?
P. S. Can you believe these temperatures? Do you say it’s Photoshop? :))