I’ve been told that things switch pretty much from winter to summer, almost over night, almost bypassing spring. After snow earlier in the week, Thursday morning was blue skies and glorious sunshine again. The handful of dandelions which I had seen emerging last Sunday and had then been buried in snow, re-appeared, together with the first buds on the trees. My walk to work was wonderful (see the panoramic picture). My day was filled with meetings to prepare for multiple services, my language class, and then Torsdag Klubben and the opportunity to work with some singers in preparation for this year’s confirmation services. No actual coffee and cake today, although I will give it a 0.75 as I had a meal with friends from church, followed by coffee and ice cream. It was fascinating to be in a tri-lingual home (Norwegian / German / English).
Sadness & Joy
Friday began with a large funeral. Because most of the population are members of the Norwegian Church, the majority of funerals are therefore conducted in the church. At the moment it is averaging 2 – 3 per week. This service was slightly unusual in that it was led by the minister from the Methodist church, although the pattern of worship is almost identical. A feature of the Norwegian funerals I’ve not encountered before is the reading of the notes and cards attached to each set of flowers, and the flowers being ‘presented’ in front of the coffin. The mood of funerals here varies between quiet thanksgiving and deep sorrow. Today many tears were shed.
Later in the day came the International Bible Study. I love this time as we read, sing and pray together, sharing insights on the scripture. Afterwards we have coffee and biscuits (cookies), so again I will have to say it was 0.75C&C. Over coffee we swapped stories of our ‘home’ countries with their ‘peculiar’ customs, as well as checking our Norwegian language progress. At the moment I and a man from Eritrea (who is in the same language class as me) are the beginners. The most heated discussion (and the most laughter) came from a discussion about please and thank you, and in particular when to say ‘Takk for alt’ which is literally thank you for everything. I have heard it used widely as a catch-all phrase, especially on leaving a group, but it is also in funerals as a ‘goodbye’ to the deceased. Perhaps you can imagine the dilemma!
I rounded out Friday evening with some final preparations for the weekend of confirmations. On the way home I was treated to a spectacular view of the setting sun reflecting off the mountain snow. At the same time, the full supermoon was rising and around midnight there was an incredible light: it was dark enough for the moon to reflect off the water, but the sky was a blue I’ve never encountered before, and the mountains were almost cream. It’s very hard to describe, but incredibly beautiful and the camera doesn’t really do it justice. The only problem is being awake to see it means I’m not getting enough sleep!
Hint: To enlarge picture in the gallery, click ‘permalink’ and then you can zoom / pan.