The weather was absolutely wonderful today. Everyone noticed and came outside. I first got the sense that it was going to be a special kind of day when I looked out the window this morning and saw the neighbor across the street sitting on his fron stoop reading the paper. Folks have been cloistered since we arrived, coming into the open only briefly as they scurry, faces tucked into their scarves, to the next shelter.
Today was different. The sun was up around 7 (almost 2 hours earlier than when we first arrived) and it isn’t down until about 5:40 (same gain). There was significant warm to dispel the fog that usually hovers about for the lionshare of the day. I walked mei-mei to school and then headed to the bus stop. The sun was brilliant and shining right in my face. When I arrived at the bus stop, I saw that I would need to wait 10 minutes so I decided to start walking. There are really nice walking and bike paths here. Instead of following the road, the paths follow the shores of the lakes that dot the cityscape. There are periodic underpasses that allow you to avoid the cars altogther. Since I had not yet walked to campus, I walked most of the way, just until I got to a spot that was a bit uncertain. Then I went to the closest bus stop. I had intended to walk home from campus at the end of the day in hopes that the path would be more obvious from the other direction. As it turned out, that will have to wait for another day.
I worked at my desk for several hours, all the while enjoying the sunlight streaming in the window. Lots going on with work – papers, reviews, lectures, my upcoming class, the research, the manuscript. I’m giving a lecture int he social work program next week and I think it is shaping up nicely (I’ll post something about it another day). Then I got the call that the rest of my family was out with the rest of Växjö, strolling in the sunny city centrum. I hopped the bus. The spring market, which takes place on Fridays and Saturdays in the central square (stortorget) kicked off. There was an interesting assortment of handmade candies, sausages and dollar/hardware store merchandise. We bought some rubber gloves for cleaning the bathroom, a loaf of bread and some sausages (obviously not my choice). We continued walking about but I had a specific goal in mind – the bike shop. We outfitted ourselves with 4 bicycles – all Swedish-made city cruisers (I’m talking pedal brakes here, folks) that included rear wheel locks, baskets and pedal-powered headlights. We picked up 4 helmets and training wheels for the kids.
While we were waiting for the bikes to be ready, we found a huge and very nice cafe, Condeco which has shops in Växjö and Gothenburg. The space was excellent, the wi-fi was free, the food was free-trade and organic. I finally found my friday office!
After some snacks, Jie-jie and Jason rode their bikes home. I locked mine up so Mei-mei and I could take the bus home. She isn’t yet ready for that ride.
At home we had a simple dinner. Jie-jie practiced her violin. Continuing the instruction she started back in the States, she is taking suzuki at the culture school here in town. The quality of the instruction is excellent and her enthusiasm and skill have both increased dramatically. At bed-time we read a chapter of “The Secret Garden.” I was worried that it might be a little old for them but they are absolutely loving it!
Then it was back to town to get my bike, skype with a friend and my obligatory Swedish practice on Rosetta stone.
I know it sounds like nothing much, but it was a really wonderful day.