My Summer Rewind

In my music library on Spotify I find a new folder – “Your summer rewind” (I guess, Spotify creates it by himself – from the songs I listened to last summer. Hello, machine intelligence!). I like to start it when I am working (cleaning) at home. You never know what comes next in that mix. A chill kizomba song, hot Latin hits from last summer, Russian rock from year 2000, some Balcan beat (who listens to it? I share the account with my man – must be his workings. But Balcan beat, really? :))

A fun fact about me: when I was 20, I had a dream of working on the radio. I even got through some competition (sending a cassette with my voice to one popular fm station) and spent an hour on air as “a DJ” (I was just talking, the songs were played by the operator). I didn’t get the job in the end. But it was a fun experience.

I have never worked on the radio since (though my friends call me “a radio” cuz I talk that much), so I use my blog to channel some of that energy :)) A lover of top charts as I am (I loved listening to them on Saturday morning back then), I will make now my own hit parade of this summer. Not of songs, however – but of all my favorite things this season (any radio lovers here, btw? Raise your hand!)

“summertime and the living is easy”

1. Moving. My most favorite thing this summer: the city bike. I am rediscovering the joy of biking again. The last time I had bicycle was 10 years ago, when I was an au-pair. Then I used to ride my bike all over the countryside because I lived at the outskirts of Oslo. Sometimes I would bike into the city centre but the way back was uphill and I had to get off and push, so it was not a popular ride.

Ten years later I find myself nervous about biking. I mean, I would gladly bike in the countryside again (just like I also did when living in Germany and Austria, I crossed the map on my bike then). But riding in the city, through the traffic, with some bike lanes here, and no lanes there – I just don’t have the nerve. Too much stress for such pleasure.

This summer I chose to face that fear :)) July is the month for the public holidays in Norway, when the people (and cars) leave the city. The perfect time to take a chance on those streets. Besides, the weather has been really summerly, no rain in weeks, just sunshine and some cool breeze. That’s why, maybe, the city bikes are so popular now – at some stations it is impossible to find a free bike, especially in our hipster hood.

This is how I want to remember this summer. When I pedal through the streets, so quiet, so Scandinavian, going back from work at night. Under the many open windows that let out some music or laughing voices. The wind is playing with my skirt, the air is warm, the summer is on. There is salsa dancing on Torggata street because it is too hot in the bar and dancers take their partners to the street. There is always a little crowd around, watching, smiling, taking videos for their snapchats. I have to get down from the bike and push it through the crowd. I love Oslo like this. It is my favorite city in the summer :))

Oslo city bikes are blue

2. City Love. This year the garden boxes have exploded in this city. I mean, I started seeing some boxes with herbs and vegetables two years ago. This year it has become fashion among hipsters, it seems. And all around Oslo I have found more and more these simple wooden boxes with some greens. In a park on Grønland, a central multicultural neighborhood, there is even a colony of boxes. I identified tomatoes, squash, pepper and some beans in them. Pretending to be a knowing gardener :)) I like this trend!

3. Home Love. In this country having a balcony is considered a lift in the life quality. I wonder why, since the weather here is better for skiing than for sitting on the balcony. But I guess, the scarcity of such moments make them more precious (and the flats with balconies too). It is popular to build the new balconies on the old buildings that had none. Even if it’s in the shadow side. People seem so happy about it: they decorate them with the pretty light bulbs, get the barbecue on, care for flowers and different greenery.

This summer has been so hot, and it’s a shame to admit – but I do it: I didn’t sit on the balcony during many days. Now I understand why in Spain I never see people on their balconies. It is simply too hot most of the day. And when it’s not – you forget about it. Makes the whole balcony bonanza a bit overrated, no? But – when it is really nice (and should be remembered) is after the sunset. This amazing summer has given us warm nights – and what a pleasure it is to sit outside with a book or a snack. Last night there was a magic of full moon, a quiet backyard atmosphere, some guys chatting peacefully on the terrace, people dashing around in their homes, open windows…

4. Simple living. One more thing to rediscover: the public library. I have listened to one psychologist’s talk about the benefits of reading in our digital age. He says that reading on paper engages our mind in a different way than a digital reading. I love my kindle and I don’t love collecting things (books included). But wait a sec, why buy paper books – when there is a public library?

The library in Oslo is big enough and has books in many languages, in English and Russian too. I had to dig deep to find my library card – but everything after that is so easy :)) You can find the titles online, book them there (from all the libraries of the city) and pick up in the library closest to you. I am so used to search my kindle store for any interesting title – but come on, the Amazon owner is already the richest person of the planet! He can make it without me 🙂 While I can go back to the joy of browsing the real library’s aisles, touching the covers, checking the titles. I used to be a huge fan of libraries – what has happened to that love? New digital habits, this is what happened. But the choice is still there.

Any book lovers here? What do you use and prefer – public library, buying your own paper books or electronic reading?

5. The Read. Thank you, The Monsoonfamily’s Mum for this book recommendation! While we had a connection moment on our Slavic family backgrounds, she mentioned this book as “hilarious”. I got intrigued by the title and went to check – where? Amazon, of course. Amazon didn’t have the kindle version, bad luck. I even thought of buying the paper version, in some local store – but with my library rediscovery “what a sec, why buy?” Maybe, they have it. And yes, they did. Bad luck turned good 🙂

I am just 80 pages into the book, so I am not doing any reviews now. The novel is some family comedy-drama, in a touching and funny voice. What is special for me is that it happens to the Ukrainian family living in the UK. I get the cultural and historical references, it touches my heart so sweetly. There is even mentioning of my home town, Luhansk, where their grandmother worked in the locomotive factory (the most popular industry of my city indeed). I wonder how I would read it if I were not immigrant. But I am – and thus it makes my perception bittersweet and biased :)) I am sure,  though, it makes a good and funny read for non-Ukrainians too 😉

a real book and a real flag :))

Now, what is your top chart of this summer? What are your favorites? If you want to make a post about it – go ahead (and make a pingback to mine if you wish)! It would be lovely to read more summer reports! Share your summer love! 🙂

22 thoughts on “My Summer Rewind

  1. Oh, look, Marina again! It’s a theme! 😉 Sounds like an interesting book, I’d love to read it. I always loved libraries and was a member, but in Italy I have yet to enlist. Not many English books there and I don’t really read Italian yet. Besides, I have too many unread books already. Internet always wins.

    I loved hearing about your summer. Sounds like a winner already.

    A quick recap of my summer so far: 1. Teeth fixing (blaah, not gonna discuss this). 2. A month with my parents, sister and friends in Slovenia, with bestia but without amore. He is coming tomorrow. 3-5: Still to happen. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hehe, yes, it is Marina again)) looks like it is such a popular name in Ukraine, but I wouldn’t say so. But we always use the same names, some more, some less 😆 do Slovenians do the same?

      I know! I also have a long list on my kindle already. And jump from book to book like a flea at times)) there is something soothing in the paper book though. I feel not so ADHD with it 😆

      Oh yes, this summer is definitely a record-breaker. Nobody remembers a similar one. Though the thought of global climate change feels bad.

      Oh, you still have so much going on! A month with the family and friends – this is what I call a real luxury. Enjoy every moment!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you! Marina is not such a very rare name in Slovenia either. You might know the song below but not in Croatian. 😉 Also, one of my mother’s best friends was called Marina, always cheerful and kind, and we visited her grave recently.

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      • Ah, thank you for the song! I loved it in Croatian :))) I have heard of the song first time in Germany, and would always say to people when introducing myself “there is a song”, and they would sing it to me))) But the song itself I heard some years later. It also existed in Norwegian, and my older colleagues used to sing it to me 🙂
        I liked the name of the LP “Jugoton”. Reminded me of reggaeton, hehe. That were the times, ahh.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds like you’re loving Oslo! Who would’ve thought this last winter, eh? You even named it your favorite summer city!! Wow 🙂 Well, good for you!
    We don’t have that plant box trend here, I hang out on my balcony almost all of my free time, and our city bikes are yellow (but I have my own bike – and I wear a helmet like more and more people here do! traffic is pretty unfriendly in Helsinki) 🙂 I used to read library books all the time, but I have no time for reading nowadays! And if I try, my eyes start getting sleepy immediately 🙂 Probably coz the boys wake me up at 5-6 am ever morning, wanting breakfast!
    Anyway, my summer faves this year:
    1) The boys swinging in one of the many nice playgrounds here
    2) The boys learning to eat fresh Finnish raspberries and loving them (they cost 4-6 euros for a tiny box!)
    3) I went swimming 3 times at the Olympic pool outdoors, yay!!! What a treat!!
    4) Hanging out on my balcony when the boys are napping or sleeping! It’s in the shade (unfortunately, but maybe good considering the boys might hang out here next summer) and there is no view, but our previous flat didn’t have a balcony and this one is large! We bough comfy sofas for it, too. I’m typing this on the balcony right now!
    5) Seeing the sun and the sky

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    • Yes, I am amazed no less than you :)) Oslo has become my summer romance, who could say that?)) With such summer, I should admit I don’t long for Italian and Spanish cities. Hand on the heart, Scandinavian summer is the best, when it happens :))
      I love your list! Do you pick raspberries in the woods? Oslo has plenty of them in the woods, and when I lived at the outskirts I was walking in the forest with a little Kristina (I was au-pair then) and picked berries for her and me.

      Congratulations on swimming! Doesn’t it feel amazing? I did my first swim 2 days ago, in the sea, with the city view. So great, I wish I did it before. Now the weather is back to more Norwegian summer, and gosh, I would never think that I would wish for that! But I did. I started missing rain :)))

      And balcony is always a bonus, even in shadow. I can see you hanging out there, with your boys, blogging. This is the urban version of the garden and who would not love it?!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oooh, I don’t wish for rain! And for me there’s something important missing before I’d call Helsinki a great summer town: swimming! The sea is polluted with toxic algae (symptoms can range from skin irritation to liver damage if you swallow the water accidentally while swimming!). My perfect summer city is somewhere you can swim!
        The boys nap indoors in their beds, they are too tall already for the pram! They have long legs! 😊 We have a stroller but napping in a sitting position probably isn’t that comfy. So we entirely missed out on the very Finnish babies-sleep-on-the-balcony thing!
        I don’t pick raspberries myself. Maybe some neighborhoods have a but of them, but mostly you need to go to the countryside. Which is what most Finns do anyway!
        This urban summer has been fun too, I’m lounging outdoors on a sunchair-type bench by the sea watching boats go by…
        😊 yay for summer! 🤗

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      • We almost head a record breaking temps last week, +33. After a week of such temps many were ready for the rain :)) and I can’t remember when it rained last time, so not typical. Now it is more like Norwegian summer, and I am glad. So funny, we complain about typical summer, but for variation it is so good :))
        Yeah, swimming is 100% summer. And for me, swimming in the sea. I miss this in Oslo too, though it has been swimming weather this year. But I don’t see Oslo as this typical beach town yet :))
        With such weather we all have forgot all our bad weather memories. I even wonder why we wanted to move somewhere else from here :)))

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  3. Hi Marina. Loved reading about your summer so far. I can imagine what a relief it must be for people living up there to have great outdoorsy weather again after a long, dark winter. The plant box trend sounds cool, I like it too. I bought plants for the first time ever this summer, and I’ve been tending to them quite well. They’re just flowers, but I’d like to move on to some veggies in the future.
    I had the same feeling as you about riding bikes in city traffic last summer. But now I’ve become used to it, although I drive most of the time. City bikes are very popular here too, and it’s hard to find a free one on these warm summer days. What I miss the most about Lodz is not having sea nearby. I’d love to live close to sea on a coastal city like Oslo (well more like Lisbon to be honest hehe..). I’ve recently written a blog post on how my summer has been, so feel free to check it out if you want 🙂

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    • Thank you for sharing, Pooja! Everything starts with the small steps, and hope that our small pot gardens can grow and become a bigger garden one day 🙂 I also start with some simple plants and flowers, but in my dreams I see berries and potato bushes :))

      Oh, I didn’t know that Polish cities do the city bike. So cool! Oh, I can feel you – living by the water is so giving. Though Oslo always has treated us with the cold sea, but even it brings a special mood to the soul. I grew up in the city in the steppes, no river, no water, I guess I grew thirsty for any water there. But yeah, Lisbon appeals a bit more than Helsinki, for example :)))

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  4. I love all your photos… and obviously, I love that you are reading this book! Thank you for trusting me 😉 I hope you’ll like it to the end. By the same author, I read “The Lubetkin Legacy ” last month. Once again, it worked for me. I bought both books at my favourite charity shops. They were 1 ou 2€. I like the paper version and feel it is not such a waste to buy them second hands.
    Anyway, my summer faves this year:
    – the perfect weather of course! I had so many lazy afternoons at the beach and swam regularly. Breakfast have been eaten out most of the time. My windows stayed open for a month and a half. Life as it always should be!
    – the fact my professional schedule became a bit more steady which allowed me to spend one week away with hubby and daughter. It was good to take the time to enjoy family quality time.
    – the fact I’m getting more and more hollyhocks in my garden. That’s a detail, but it will help me get through the first days of September!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Veronique! I love it too :)) I finished it in a week or so. I guess, the Ukrainian factor is the reason 🙂 Oh, I would definitely check out this her other book – I trust your choice.
      Yeah, 1-2 € is nothing for a book. We pay more for coffee here. Hm, I wonder if we have books in our charity shops.
      So great that your schedule has gained some stability and you could travel with your family!
      The weather has been truly perfect, so perfect that it was suspicious – especially for our regions :)) Now it feels like really early autumn already. And why, don’t you like the first days of September? :))

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      • Because it means autumn. Autumn means winter is on its way. Rain is on its way. Longer darker gloomier days ahead. No more summery happy clothes. No more breakfast outside. No more afternoons at the beach. No more open windows.
        September is the beginning of the end!

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      • I can totally understand you – with my mind. But my heart is like “how can you say this about autumn?” :))) I don’t know, maybe cuz I am a September baby. Or because autumn meant end to the blazing steppe heat… But I loved that transition. I still love it. I know, I will regret it in some weeks – but I love it still, hehe.
        Btw, Oslo is already in the early autumn 😉 So just enjoy your summer days!

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      • I’m enjoying any opportunity for the last summer days : had an early evening barbecue this week, had a sunny nap on the beach yesterday… Today it is drizzling again… And tomorrow I’ll be back on my ship!
        When is your birthday?

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