Meanwhile, in America

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Well it’s been well over 20 degrees and gorgeous here in Norway, and Sunday continued in a similar fashion to Saturday with friends, treats and parks. Meanwhile, Michael has enjoyed a short road-trip at the tail end of a conference, and wanted me to share some photos. Looking forward to seeing him tomorrow!

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Beautiful May

Today was filled with sunshine and parks and little boys running, laughing, laughing, shouting, climbing, poking sticks in fountains and stones through holes, giggling, munching, singing, counting. In the morning Felix and I went to the park in the centre of town, and he hooked up with a noisy three year old chasing the pigeons. They had a ball following each other around. In the end the other boy followed Felix to the fountain and they poked it with sticks. ‘En, to, tre!’ they counted, then flung their little stick-boats in the water. The mother of the other boy came over and we had a lovely chat in Norwegian. It cheered me up enormously after my stressful spoken Norwegian exam yesterday. I had felt so stupid and incompetent, but it turns out I have enough Norwegian to chat with a patient mother in a park, after all.

In the afternoon I met up with two fellow foreigners who have boys just a little younger than Felix, and we went to a playground by a huge lake and had ice-cream together and just the nicest time imaginable. Now I have to tidy the kitchen again (Michael, my trusted kitchen cleaner, is away), and learn some more Norwegian verbs before bed (written test coming up on Tuesday), but sunshine pretty much makes up for everything.

Fishies!

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We’ve escaped to Berlin for an excellent change of scenery, some amazing playgrounds, and vast amounts of delicious food. More on that later. Today the weather slipped a little from the days of blazing sunshine, so we decided to take Felix to the AquaDom. Felix was predictably in heaven. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him quite so excited. ‘Mummy, daddy, LOOK, fishies!!! Swimming round and round! Big eyes! Big mouth! Big tail!’ He also wanted to make sure that the fish weren’t going to eat the starfish, but we assured him they were all friends. It was so much fun that we decided to make use of our all-day passes and went back in the afternoon.

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One of the highlights was a little aquarium tunnel near the end just for children to run through. The face says it all.

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Marking essays

I’m currently reviewing the final drafts of the essays which I painstakingly corrected a month or so back. I meant to write something about that at the time – how marking essays is a curiously intimate thing, although ultimately (especially when there are fifty of them) mind-numbing. To read and correct the words and thoughts a student has put together in the solitude of books and a computer screen is quite a privilege (admittedly undermined by the interminable ‘I’ll help with your student literature essay’ websites). But it really is quite lovely to see that a few essays have made some significant improvements after heeding my comments. One student emailed me for more detailed feedback and emailed me straight back again to thank me. And that was nice.

As an undergraduate I could barely read the comments on my essays, I was so nervous. This process is also making me think of my phd – the tireless detailed notes my supervisors left on draft after draft, and how, slowly, after about a year and a half, I finally got what they meant.

May!

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The first of May is a holiday here so we took full advantage and wandered off to the forest in the morning. Felix is happy to sit in the stroller for the fifteen minutes it takes to reach the edge of the forest because he knows he’ll be able to run around once he gets there.

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Felix had fun hiding behind trees

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and banging them with sticks.

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After a picnic lunch Felix raced off to chase the deer in the field.

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There were two of them today, though I didn’t manage to take a photo of them. When we came here last weekend, there were six! I couldn’t stop Felix trying to reach them. ‘Want a pat?’, he said, ‘just want a cuddle!’. Later he informed Michael that deer are ‘a bit shy’.

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