The end of winter.
Renditions of Aladdin’s “Whole New World” resonates inside my head as the end of winter finally looks in sight.
Norway transforms once spring start to hit. Here’s a couple of things that are extremely noticeable.
The days don’t seem so gloomy
Waking up in darkness, walking to work in darkness and then going home in darkness is not fun. You would think that anyone from England would be used to the lack of sunlight, but it hits you differently here. I just can’t explain it.
Yet things are changing. Norway has the downside of having longer, darker winters than most in mainland Europe, but they also have longer, lighter summers. Waking up for work seems a lot more joyful when you’ve got the sunshine beaming down on you.
To quote Ferris Bueller – “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it”.
This quote is especially relevant when you first come to Norway. The country is well known for its beauty, and whilst Hamar isn’t exactly within the sweeping fjords of western Norway, it has a certain charm to it.
Yet it was something that I hadn’t fully appreciated until now. Whilst the country is beautiful in winter, it’s quite hard to appreciate in cold, dark weather. The previous weekend was the first time I went outside for the sole purpose of just wandering around.
So imagine my delight, the overall environment is beautiful. The beaches of Mjøsa, the interesting architect of Hamar and the beautiful Cathedral, these are all things I never fully appreciated until now. The changing of the seasons literally allows people to see things in a different light.
Warmer weather and longer sunlight purely means you can do more stuff. Everyday, on my way home from work, I see people outside working on their cars, sitting outside in the sun or doing some DIY.
These things are not all that possible in winter. I quite enjoy doing some busywork, but clearing the garden or tidying up outside is not pleasurable with snow, ice and cold winds breathing down you constantly.
However it’s wonderful having that opportunity to do these things again. For someone that doesn’t enjoy sitting around for too long, winter can be a real struggle unless you have enough to keep you busy inside.
Food for thought
As I write this, I’m starting to reflect on whether my attitudes of winter are incorrect. Do Norwegians really let winter stop them? Winter depression can be a real thing in this part of earth, but people have made the best of the situation before, and will continue to do so.
I am enjoying the end of winter, but instead of looking at winter as something of a hindrance, perhaps I should look at it as an opportunity.
Maybe I should learn to ski.