This is my first fall in Oslo. I have no idea what to expect. When I arrived here in mid-April I was treated to a beautiful spring, lots of daylight, lots of yellow flowers, signs in every window reading God Påske! (Happy Easter!). I was prepared for chilly wind and rain, but I was pleasantly surprised. Soon I was wearing shorts (ripped cutoffs like the rest of the local girls) and tying my hair back. I even found time to lay out on blankets in the sun, not that you could tell as my skin remained pale as the moon.
Spring gave way to an exuberant summer. The heat shocked me! For several days at a time temperatures would hover in the high twenties (Celcius... so, in the mid to high eighties Fahrenheit). Our rooftop apartment was sweltering. No air conditioning. No screens for the windows. Seriously, Scandinavians don't do the whole window/door screen thing! As I sat at my desk with my laptop, my sweaty fingers slipping off the keys, I took comfort in knowing that, if the writing thing didn't work out for me, I could always fall back on my entrepreneurial instincts and make a killing in the screen biz.
Apparently Oslo experienced record rainfall this summer. We saw a few storms come through. It even hailed a couple times. I listened to it drum down on the metal roof of our flat and watched the bits of white ice roll down into the gutters. But to be frank, I'd kept my expectations very low when it came to weather in Norway.
Most people hear Norway and they think Eskimos, penguins, skiing. I was no different. I'd been to Oslo once on vacation the previous June, and yes, there'd been record heat that week, but once we decided to move here, to live on a latitude shared by Anchorage, Alaska and St. Petersburg, Russia, I was certain that bright, sunny week had been a fluke. I requested snow boots from Santa for Christmas. I bought an enormous, fur-hooded parka (gently used) from my best friend after her stint in Calgary, Canada. I invested in several pairs of cute long underwear.
In short, I may have overreacted.
Sure, a part of me has been worrying that the happy plateau of hot, clear summer weather would tumble over a cliff straight down into the deep, dark, impermeable winter. No warning. No fall other than a freefall. But that parka is hanging in my closet, furry and fluffy, absolutely capable of keeping me warm. I haven't needed it yet. It's not that cold. There's not an Eskimo in sight. No snow. And though we did see one Auk (which is sorta close to a penguin), I'm fairly certain we're going to experience an actual autumn here in the north.
The trees in the city parks are shimmering gold. The vines which have covered the buildings in our neighborhood with thick, green foliage all summer have begun the metamorphosis, as well, turning quickly to scarlet. Geese are migrating over the fjord. The sun is lower in the sky; the hours of daylight are retracting. I'm finally able to wear sweaters!
So, I don't know how long I can expect this perfection to last. I want to savor every minute. I want to walk by the French school down the road listening to the children laughing in the schoolyard, yellow leaves drifting down around me onto the cobbled street. I want to sip cocoa on our balcony and watch the stars in the cold, black night sky. I want pumpkin bread, apple pie, Halloween candy. I'm dropping my expectations entirely and celebrating this, høst, autumn, my favorite season. Even if it's just for today.