In many ways, adjusting to Oslo is a pretty natural transition for a Seattleite. It certainly helps that I have at least a foundation in Norwegian, and I’ve been swimming in the practice—even if, time to time, it leaves my head spinning (it’s a pleasant sort of dizzy exhaustion, at any rate). But beyond the language and the cultural practices and assumptions, which aren’t radically different from the ones I bring with me, there’re the geographical harmonies. Which is to say, proximity to fresh and salt water determine quite a lot of the public life. So two things occur to me: one, as cities go, Oslo is a particularly special one (and winter ain’t even come yit!); two, I feel continually lucky to be a Seattleite. Stillllllll, though, I spent the last week in absolute revelry (spoiled by a streak of perfect weather after weeks and weeks of an unseasonably poor summer, I’m told), exploring the city by foot, including its fabulous sjøbad (sea-baths or sea-pools; see below), its sleek & shiny T-bane (the subway—an area where Seattle falls flat on its evergreen nose), and, as fortune and friendship would have it, out on the Skagerrak.
Indeed, some days ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse (not quite true), and nothing particular (again, a lie; there’s an immeasurable plenty) to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world.
Ok, forgive me—a little indulgent & sloppy, but I’d never been sailing (properly, anyway) before this past weekend, and in the throes of a little excitement, one has, y’know, one’s favorite patterns.
My friend Ane, whom I met years ago on the bus in Seattle after overhearing her speaking Norwegian (she was studying architecture at UW at the time), invited me on a weekend seiltur (sailing trip) to & from a Swedish island called Ursholmen in a thirty-four foot Hanse called Coquimbo. I’m bit now—it takes but one bite!—and I suspect I’ll be out again before long. After all, there’s nothing surprising in this; if they but knew it, all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me. (Ok, I’ll stop. Apologies to Melville, but moreso to you, dear reader.)
Despite the look of things—and they do look luxurious—I’ve been carving out my presentations, and am itching to, well, rove! I have a slew of school visits in the works, ranging from Narvik to Nøtterøy (cf. my map and calendar nearby), and I’m looking out, as a sailor might (or might not) say, to meeting students & teachers, & there’s plenty of good work in the offing. Goodness, what am I doing here?!
Meanwhile, I’ll spare you a whole glut of images from these past couple weeks of “adjustment” & hold to a tender five . . .