Saturday, 25 January 2014

Quiet life of a Skype Mum

Reading a bedtime story via Skype to your child when the child is in Britain and you are working in the continental Europe is the easiest way to guarantee that you life frugally, save money and keep away from any temptation. Of course, one could hit town or any bad habits afterwards when one has also discussed the day with your partner. However, if you are working, you start to be quite tired by 9 pm. In addition, you may not life in the busy party central, but the residential ‘garden city’. By 9 pm the bus service has grinded to almost to a halt, so reaching any hotspots will take time and waiting in the freezing evening.

I probably should have started a hobby, but the travelling schedule would bring gaps to any evening classes. Sitting in for example would mean that I would mix with people who are not archaeologists, I do not work with and who actually live locally. Now I live in a student flat in a house where the nearest thing to a local is me, another Finn and one Norwegian guy who may or may not still live in the house. Well, there are some Russians, but if you consider people who by definition speak at least some Scandinavian, I am almost native. This is a bit alienating, but making the most of the window of being able to write and study means that I am easily at the University until about six a clock, when I have to leave, if I want to eat before skyping.

Luckily the archaeology seminar sometimes leads to a dinner in a pub, but since I miss the Christmas party, these occasions seem to be rarer now during the ‘nose-whitening January’. The discussions at the swimming pool where I go about once a week relate normally to some queuing issue, when I transform into a small-minded middle-aged woman when people pass me in the Jacuzzi or shower queue. May be I should have taken up Italian discussion group or something. Well, now I am heading to actual Rome and my Italian will be hilariously mixed with Swedish words. You should have heard me on the phone! ‘Februari’ came from my mouth instead of ‘febbraio’. No wonder the funzionario was puzzled... Or perhaps written Swedish may have been more fitting. Considering my first stab in formulating a paragraph in Swedish for 15 years in academic language. Total laugh-out-loud non-sense!

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Winter holiday?

Even if the new year has barely started we have the plans ready as far ahead as April - which is in current circumstances about as far ahead as we can think! After that the things seem to be changing and be covered by the mist of uncertainty, but at some point during the summer I and Number One Son will be in Finland, hopefully with Archaeologist Husband. But all is open and so much depends on other people's projects, so we can just sit and wait. But we are ready undil Easter.

The end of my stay at home was marked by a colour change: I left behind a green land and landed in the darkness into the whiteness. Almost every day some new fluffy snow is coming down from the sky and in the underground one can spot ladies and gentlemen in their cross country gear. Suddenly I am facing distant memories from the late 1970s and early 1980s when I tended to go to [cross country] ski and skate. Then the mild winters, student life along the coast and move to the country where I did not see snow properly again in the winter until the late 2000s. And in those cases we talk about snow staying over one weekend. However, the last two winters were different in England and suddenly I had to use my Finnish winter boots again.

Now the coffee table discussions at work when my colleagues are discussing their children going to ski and skate here and there around Stockholm make me think, if Number One Son should have his slice of the pie. However, we have made the decision that I will go home for half-term, since one week's winter would mean a lot of winter clothes bought for one week only and sudden need for skies and a sled. With no certainty, if there will be another Swedish winter ever again, we really do not want to buy things we do not need or be able to store. Which is a pity, since every child would need their time walking on the ice on a lake or on sea. of course, we will never know, if it will be snowing at Easter in April!

Sunday, 5 January 2014

End of the holidays

Number One Son's first proper Christmas holiday from the school is almost over. The time passed us by fast. Not least because I have been battling with a winter cold throughout, been able to do activities for a short time and then basically been resting on the sofa. As if my body and the bugs knew I am officially on my annual leave, so that one is destined to become ill. In addition, Archaeologist Husband has to finish a series of reports for mid-January, so he has been heading to his office on many afternoons, while I have done some things in the mornings on the weekdays.

Luckily, we have managed some play dates - both in our house and elsewhere. In addition, I and Number One Son visited Sales after Boxing Day and headed for the city centre on a couple of other occasions just to see the Christmas decorations or running some errands. The holiday time has been relatively quiet - just as we planned it to be. It is just a pity that my cold has left the long walk to the Bradgate Park undone and swimming has been out of the question. I just shiver out of a thought of a draughty changing room!