Monday, October 5, 2015

Eighth Weekend

On some weekday mornings, I don't get a chance to write because one of our other devices is using the outlet adapter. We brought along two...but one is only a converter and it turns out that almost all of our devices don't need to convert externally because they do it on their own, so we just need the adapter part to charge things. Depending on whether Jeff needs to show a movie, or use his computer for classes, or something else needs to charge at the time when Svea takes her nap (i.e. my writing time), I may or may not write for the day. However, then it gets to be a long time in between to summarize!

Last Thursday afternoon, Rolf -the boys always correct me that it's pronounced "Olf"- came over after school to play with the boys for a couple of hours. The three of them had a lot of fun! It was a bit of a challenge for me, since he only speaks Danish and I don't understand much of it, so sometimes I felt badly that no one could understand what he was talking about or asking for, but Anders and Torben basically would say "kom nu!" (come now!) and the three of them would be off on another adventure. They played outside with paper airplanes, trying to throw them into the open window, jumped on the trampoline, played with Lego, and coloured. All in all a good afternoon with a new friend.

Friday evening there was an auction at the højskole...the students are trying to raise some extra money for a project they are helping with in Ghana -something like an orphanage. Students and teachers offered various items or services for auction and others bid on them...Jeff is going to provide a taco bar to one of the floors of students some night after they have a party. They often order pizzas after midnight, so they were quite excited about the idea of a taco bar being brought to them! It raised 1400Kr with the various floors bidding on it! At an exchange rate of approximately 6-to-1, the students are paying more than $200 for midnight tacos. And they are really excited about it! A couple of the students offered babysitting, which Jeff "won" the bid for, so he and I are going to go out for dinner or something one of these days. He also purchased a spray-tan...I think he felt bad that no one had bid on it so he did. Not quite sure who is going to get a spray tan. He also won a hair cut from one of the students. This student apparently has some skill in this area -a couple of weeks ago during theme week when they showed others what they know, he did a workshop on hair cutting. Not sure which of us is going to get a haircut, but it was a nice thing to win at auction. The last thing Jeff purchased was mainly for the sort of sad-funny story that goes along with it. It is a string and bead necklace from Syria. One of the students said that it was from his girlfriend who is back in Syria, but he didn't really see that working out, so he figured he'd sell the necklace for this cause. It's quite pretty! I don't plan to wear it, though, until after this group of students heads home in December. It seems a bit strange.

The students were gone this weekend, so we had some of our meals at home. We don't cook very often, and we almost always eat communally with many other people, so sometimes it's nice to be at home with our family. Saturday afternoon, Jeff went to the Friskole for a clean-up / work day. There was some sort of child care available if I wanted to go too, but I didn't imagine the kids would be cooperative staying indoors if we were outside so we stayed home. The older children from the school  -0 grade and up- were actually required to be there to help as a regular school day. Jeff built part of a tee-pee on the playground. Then, around 5pm, families were invited to a høstfest -a harvest fest- where there were various games for teams of families. The first activity was a potato sack race where two team members had to jump together across the field, around a cone, and back again. We did alright on that one, coming in fourth I think. Only the last team to finish was eliminated. The second game was carrying a potato on a spoon across the field, through a hula hoop, around the cone twice, and under a balance beam and back again. I carried Svea while I did this one -she wasn't too impressed. It bothered her that there was a potato on the spoon. We did well on this one too, and the bottom two teams were eliminated but we got to carry on. The third game was funny...each team had a "cow" (who held a rubber glove with the thumb tied off), a "milker" (who was supposed to get milk out of the rubber glove), and then parents who pushed their kids in wheelbarrows across the field to fill a small plastic cup with milk from the cow and then bring it back to fill up a bucket at the start line.

We had some challenges with this one, and our cup and our bucket had leaks in them. We were out after this game. The team next to us had twice as much milk as we did! Ah well. We got to play on the playground for a little while while the other teams finished. There was a slalom ski race that I saw, and then one final game.

Then we all headed inside for supper. There were all sorts of fall foods, squash, kale salad, bread, potatoes, carrots, ham, sausages. It took quite a long time to get to eat, but it was delicious once we sat down to supper! The head of the party said that this was the first time they'd done one of these, and they were expecting to have about 50 people sign up...but there were 130! They don't really have a kitchen at the school, so, it took a long time to prepare dinner. She said to expect some fundraising in the near future to construct a kitchen. We stayed until about 7:45 and then Svea really needed to get to bed so we went home. The original message said that the festivities could carry on until 1am. I'm not sure who would stay that late, but the party was definitely still going when we went home.

Sunday morning we made scrambled eggs for breakfast after sleeping in until after 8. The kids were so tired from all the playing on Saturday! Then they played outside some more -the boys were out climbing the apple tree in their pjs and rain boots trying to pick some more to make cider. It was fun to watch them through the window as they worked together to figure out the best way to get the apples. Torben fell from the tree, and from where I was watching it looked like it could have been a bad fall...I called out to him to see if he was alright, and before I could even walk away from the window to go out there, he was up and running inside. I decided that was a good sign...he wasn't hurt too badly. And his run was just what you'd expect from a 5yr old running in fleece footies and rain boots...He got a scratch on his arm but was out again playing in a few minutes. Whew. From the looks of the fall, I was sort of expecting a cast. At least apple trees are close to the ground!

We were hoping to go apple picking this weekend, but it's very foggy so we decided to stay home. The boys played with Lego a lot, and when Svea woke up from her nap we all decided to go for a walk. There is a big rock next to the sidewalk that we walk past each time we're going to the grocery store that says Bakke Garden, with a paved path next to it. Anders always asks to go down that path and we don't usually have time on our way to get groceries. So today we made a special trip just to do that. The path is closed to vehicles except for bikes, and seems sort of like an alley to get to the back yards of the houses in that neighborhood. It was very quiet and peaceful walking through it. I'm amazed at how many flowers are in bloom in October here! The gardens look like it's the high point of summer still. I noticed yesterday even the rose vine in our backyard has a new bud on it, almost ready to bloom. I guess the flowers never give up hope in a beautiful day. Back home we see fall colours as the leaves turn to oranges, reds, yellows, and browns. Here, it seems. the fall colours aren't so much different from the summer colours. There are still new flowers in vibrant purples, electric yellows, lipstick reds and all sorts of shades of orange. It's gorgeous.

The path ended at a street, and we decided to just take the sidewalk along the road and see where we ended up. We hadn't ever walked up there before, but the boys thought they had seen all of it before. The yards and houses all look quite familiar here. There are some variations, but not many. As we walked down the road, we happened upon a small playground operated by the county. Jeff said there really aren't many of those around, and he was surprised to see it. We decided to stop and play a while.
 The slide was the perfect size for Svea -but also not too small for the boys. Anders was the first to go down the slide, and he discovered that it hadn't been used in a while when he hit the bottom and got soaked. Oops! Always best to check the slide for a pool of water before sliding down...
 The boys really liked this teeter-totter toy. There were actually places for four people to sit, and Torben even managed to play on it by himself for a while. The springs were made such that any configuration of riders would make it work. Genius!
 Anders had fun on this climbing rope too. It was just tall enough that he could climb up, but not so tall that he would get hurt if he fell. He tried the monkey bars, but they were a bit too difficult.
 The slide was fun for all of them.

 The stairs in the back were more like a plank with crossbars, but after one try with help even Svea figured out how to climb it herself. She was very pleased with herself, and very excited that she could manage the whole routine of the slide completely on her own.
 This large hill was also in the middle of the field. And off to the right was a soccer field with nets. Behind where Jeff and Torben are standing, there were several picnic tables, a picnic shelter, and a large fire pit with a grilling grate on top. Quite a nice little find for a Sunday afternoon walk!
We kept our adventures close to home this weekend, but still had a lot of fun exploring and being together as a family. Sunday night the students were back, so we went to dinner at the højskole. It was pizza night! The pizzas were quite a bit different from what we are used to back home, but it was very good. Svea and I ate ham and pineapple. Anders wanted pepperoni, which also had sundried tomatoes, peppers and mushrooms. He took most of the "extras" off. Torben wanted sausage, and that had several extras on it as well. There was also some with pulled beef and lettuce, tuna and pineapple, olive and sundried tomato, and some others that I couldn't quite identify. They were thin crusts and just a light amount of cheese, but very good. The kids all enjoyed it. The students did too. This may be the first night there were no leftovers.

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