Each evening during Advent, there is a show on tv that's about 20 minutes long. There are different series for different ages of kids. The one our kids watch is a rerun originally created in 1984, and they have a few songs of the variety that get stuck in your head for days on end. One in particular the boys like, is about rice porridge. Rice porridge is common here in winter -last week we had it for lunch! It is made with milk or cream, and you eat it with butter, sugar, and cinnamon. As good as it is, though, a neverending song about it gets old! But the boys love it.
Nisse (gnomes) are a big fixture of the season here, it seems . The kids all like to check the little plate next to Charlie's door each morning, to see if he has left them a note or a little present. And at school, yesterday Anders was one of the two kids who got one of their own belongings brought to them from a nisse! Apparently, the nisse that the school received when they visited a farm a couple of weeks ago are traveling secretly each night to one little boy and one little girl's houses and are gathering toys and then returning them to the kids at school. Anders got his blanket back that he'd gotten on the airplane when we came here. He was so excited when the package was opened and it was his beloved pillow/backpack/blanket! All the way home from school he was asking how the nisse could have snuck into the house to get his blanket and bring it to school. We settled on the idea that Charlie must have helped. Charlie is turning into quite a good helper! Each day, we open a little present from Grandma Marge that she sent the kids for Advent, and Charlie has been instrumental in taking the wrappings from those little presents back to Santa so they can be recycled to wrap the Christmas presents in the stockings that Santa leaves. Genius!
Elfie is also a fixture in our holiday, and Svea gets excited to search for him each day along with the boys. She is quite cute about it, and always goes back to where he was previously to see if he is there. And then several times throughout the day, she will check in on him and laugh when she discovers him.
This morning it was so dark when we went to school! We are anticipating the solstice when the days slowly start getting longer again, but it still seems far off at this point. The sky seems to be the same colour from about 4pm until 9am (dark), and then the same colour from 9am until 4pm (slightly less dark, but still grey). It is not really as cold as I was expecting, though. When it's raining and the wind blows, then it chills you though and you can't really figure out how to warm up. But on a regular day it's just chilly. Earlier this week, in fact, it was bright and sunny during the day, and though the air was slightly damp, it felt like springtime. The air smelled like it does when the snow is beginning to melt and the trees are springing back to life. Of course, it will be several months before spring actually comes, but considering it is 1/3 through December already, I'm sort of surprised at the weather -it is not as bad as I anticipated. Except the wind. I did not expect this much wind!
The boys are doing so well with their Danish! The other day, they were playing together and talking in Danish to each other, even though no one else was around. Anders seems to know more words, and Torben seems to use more full sentences. It's quite fascinating to watch, actually. Their friend Rolf came over after school on Monday, and it was fun to watch them play together and talk a lot more together than they had the first time he came a couple months ago. That time, their play was filled with "Kom nu!" (come!) and he would dutifully follow them, whereas now they have full sentences together of what they are doing. Svea has started saying "mojn" (moyne) to everyone we pass. It is very colloquial, and a very local dialect, so the older people all laugh with surprise before responding in kind. It is very cute.