Thursday, January 14, 2016

Dining with Friends

We eat almost all of our meals communally in the dining hall, which is fun. This week the boys decided it would be nice to sit in a different spot -rather than our end of the "staff" table, they wanted to sit with the new students. There are a lot more staff and more than twice as many students as there were last fall, so the dining room is much fuller this time around. It's kind of fun when there are that many people.

Tuesday morning this week there was another morgen kaffe at the Friskole, so Svea and I stopped by that for a few minutes when we got the boys to school. Jeff was doing a talk at the folk school, so he wasn't able to come with us, and I didn't understand that the boys were invited to eat bread with us so they played with their friends instead. It's sort of an open, come-when-you-can time, for two hours one morning so parents can stop in before they head to work. Kind of nice. Most of the parents speak some English, so I can talk to them. I try to follow the conversations in Danish, but only catch a few of the words when they are speaking quickly, so I have a hard time following. A picture of Svea and me made it onto the Facebook page for the Friskole, though, which was fun.

The new group of students for the spring arrived over the weekend, so there have been lots of activities for them getting to know each other. Last night we had thirteen of them over for dinner. We had thought there might be twenty, and were wondering where we might put them all! The idea of this dinner is for the students to make at least part of it, and work together and get to know one another as well. There were a lot of people in the kitchen! We made pesto pasta and baked chicken, with cheesy garlic bread and salad. The chef here at the folk school makes an amazing pesto sauce so we had asked for that again this time around. He said pine nuts have gotten very expensive here, so he makes it with either pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds, and mixes in parsley with the basil, and uses very high quality parmesan cheese and oil. It is so delicious! I think we will need to get the precise recipe before we go home. The students assigned to cut vegetables for salad were very meticulous about it, and we ended up with a fabulous chopped salad with every piece the same size. There was quite a bit leftover, but not enough to send back to the kitchen for the 100+ people that eat meals together, so I kept it here and put some of it in my eggs this morning. We had also sauteed some peppers and onions to put in the pasta, so I added some of those leftovers to my eggs as well. Mostly I had hot salad, with a bit of eggs. But it sure was good! Svea, who will usually eat anything, has started an "I don't yike it" phase, and she wouldn't try them. Probably a few weeks ago she would have. 

It's obvious to see, now, that the days are getting longer again. It's still dark for a long time, but last night at 5:15, the sky was still turquoise where the sun was setting rather than nighttime dark so that is a definite improvement. And it was just about light when we left to take the kids to school in the morning. It's still pretty difficult to get up when it's super dark out, and we've been a bit slower to get moving in the morning because it feels like it's still night -plus we have been staying up too late. But, being this far north means that the minutes added to the beginning and ending of daylight each day accrue quickly, more than the one minute on either side like at home. So that makes it go by faster.

It's been hovering in the + and - 3 degrees Celsius range for several days, so we've had a bit of snow, and then rain, and this morning there is ice. Torben slipped while trying to run to school, so we've had to remind the boys that right now is not such a good time for running outside -especially in the not-quite-light of the morning. The sun has risen now, as I write, and though there are lots of clouds, they're bright and it feels like a sunny day. The weather is interesting, here. You can see and smell snow, and the air is cold to breathe and smells crisp, but also smells of wet dirt and new grass. So you're constantly wondering whether it's fall, winter, or spring. I think many of the plants are confused as well, because there are buds on some of them, and grass seems to be growing in many places, but other things look forlorn like it's the middle of winter.

The boys are getting very excited to have their friends come for their birthday in a couple of weeks. They've been talking about it a lot at school, too, apparently because one of the teachers asked me about it the other morning, and mentioned they were very excited. We are still trying to figure out what to serve them for that. Often they will bring a small lunch, but we inadvertently told them they didn't have to bring any, so we will have to think of something! I remember the boys being very excited when they had sword toothpicks with various bite sized foods on them, so maybe that would be a good idea. It needs to be reasonably healthy, and I think there are fifteen little kids coming! We invited the blue and green groups (roughly, the 5 and 4 year olds, respectively) so their friend Rolf could come, and it turns out he will be on vacation that day. Ah well. They will have fun!

There is often a campfire in the afternoon once a week at the Friskole when the weather permits it (there is very little weather that would render it not possible, apparently), and yesterday the boys had another one. They ate some sort of soup. I couldn't get the whole, real story of the soup because they didn't agree on what it was. They were trying to tell my dad, and we decided that with them, you never get the whole story, but you might get three halves! It was orange soup (evidence all over Torben's face) and there were peas in it for sure. Torben is sure there were green beans in it, too, but Anders says no. Anders had two bowls, and Torben claims he and Emilia had eight! They could eat as much as they wanted until it was gone, but I still find it hard to believe he ate eight servings of soup. He had his lunch box open and was eating when I got there to pick them up, too. All three of the kids seem to be gearing up to grow again, they eat all the time!

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