Tag archives for Sunshine

Bring on the Spring!

Signs of the season: spring flowers, muddy sidewalks, balmy breezes and best of all—sun, glorious sun!

Two weeks ago, I was surprised to wake up one weekend morning because of sun shining into our bedroom, a first in this new apartment. Now the sun is up ahead of me even on weekdays, making it unnecessary for me to turn on the kitchen light as I groggily make my way towards the coffee pot in the morning.

And would you believe it, I’m finally down to wearing just one coat and one pair of socks instead of two of each.

Blooming flowers, sunny train stations, babbling brooks: Spring! Spring! Spring! Photos: Kate Reuterswärd

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5 things that are already making my 2012 in Sweden fantastic

I love the idea of New Year’s resolutions. Keeping them is another thing altogether.

I don’t think I’ve ever kept a New Year’s resolution that has been life-changing… or kept one at all, if we’re being honest. I’m much better with Lenten promises. It’s really hard to forget what you promised to do in just 40 days.

This year is going to be different, though. I swear. I have only two resolutions, and I’ve got a plan for at least one of them. The plan for resolution #2 is still in the works, but I fully intend to create a plan and work on it. Immediately, if not sooner.

My first resolution for 2012 is to cultivate more contentment in my life. I have a tendency to obsess about where I want to be six months, a year, and five years from now, and sometimes I realize that I forget to enjoy the here and now. I’m not giving up on all my goal-setting and crazy ambition, but I’m going to try to temper all that forward-thinking with more satisfaction with what I have now.

To that end, I’m going to start practicing deliberate gratitude on a regular basis. Numerous internet experts say that gratitude has amazing benefits on your health and well-being, and if an internet expert says it, it has to be true. Right?

At the very least, the New York Times said, “Cultivating an “attitude of gratitude” has been linked to better health, sounder sleep, less anxiety and depression, higher long-term satisfaction with life and kinder behavior toward others, including romantic partners.”

I can’t really argue with that. So to start the year off right, here are 5 things that are already making my 2012 fantastic. Read more » >>

Breaking news: lame joke bears eerie resemblance to real life.

In an odd twist of events, an incredibly lame joke about the weather turned out to be strikingly similar to real life experiences. I DO NOT UNDERSTAND.

I grew up in Michigan, which means lame jokes about the weather are nothing new to me. For example, “You know you’re from Michigan when you know only two seasons: winter and construction.” Or, “You know you’re from Michigan when you prefer driving in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow.” Then there’s one that I’ve heard in Sweden, too. “Don’t like the weather? Wait five minutes.”

Har. Har. Har.

The prevalence of terrible jokes about the weather makes sense; I will grant you that. In places like Michigan and Sweden, the weather is a big deal. The snow, the rain, the dark, the cold—all of these will actually affect your mood and significantly impact your daily commuting experience. And the jokes are lame, but they’re also a way of signifying this sort of shared camaraderie in fighting against the misery of winter.

But never in my life did I expect one of these jokes to be even slightly similar to reality… until last Friday.

I made the mistake of celebrating the start of spring about a week ago because I found the first spring flowers just barely poking little yellow bulbs through the mat of dead grass by a bike stand. Spring is here! Spring is here! I cried, with a delight that can only be compared to the happiness of a thousand little munchkins at the death of the Wicked Witch of the West. Sadly, I had spoken too soon, and a mere three days later I returned home to Lund after a long day of working in Malmö to find snow on the ground. SNOW. Then, on Friday, it seemed like the weather was once again becoming more spring-like.

The first spring flowers! These yellow crocuses (croci?) are just poking their heads out from below a bike stand.

I woke up in the morning to sun, which already is a big success in March. Then I packed up my things and went back to Malmö, where I proceeded to sit at the same table in front of the same windows for five hours while teaching English. During the five hours I spent in front of those windows, the sun gave way to hail, which receded and then came back again twice as strong, setting off car alarms and ricocheting off of innocent pedestrians as they scrambled for cover. Then hail session number two eased into a blizzard-like snow, which, within an hour, became torrential rain. Then about half an hour before my scheduled 3 pm departure time, the sun came out, and I was able to unzipper my coat on my bike ride home.

Now please, someone, explain to me how this range of weather phenomena is possible. I DO NOT UNDERSTAND. I keep trying to talk about this day with people here like it was something extraordinarily strange, WHICH IT WAS, and everyone just shrugs their shoulders at me and look at me like, “Yes, and…?” NOT THE RESPONSE I AM LOOKING FOR. The response I am looking for, by the way, is more along the lines of, “Oh my God, the apocalypse. THE SKY IS FALLING!”

Anyway, now that I’ve shared this slice of life of you… here are some photos that I find encouraging. Spring is on its way!

Little shoots poking through the dirt.

Flowers are beginning to bring color and life to Lund! You can see the remains of last fall's ivy, which was stunning a mere five months ago.

Some more early bloomers,