It has been a long break since the last published report on this blog. Just to many things happening. We enjoyed the most beautiful moment of our life in mid November, just 23 miles south of here in the hospital of Gällivare. Our little munchkin joined us on a dark afternoon, bringing immense joy and love into our life. She is a real arctic baby, enjoying the winter and cold as much as we do!
We love being outside and after some initial fear about the cold we soon figured out how to wrap her in blankets and a lambskin to ensure her being warm down to -20°C. This is as cold as we dared to go out with her. Finally it is March and temperatures rised to around 0°C, even though supported by hefty winds it might feel colder.
Looking back, this winter season’s November and December just passed without much disturbance since we were busy puzzling together our new family life. We spend Christmas in Germany, getting some more light. Back here we endured till the middle of February, only traveling within northern Sweden. We did go to Umeå, which still showed some signs of “Cultural European Capital” but also presented itself with a noisy shopping street only. I was not prepared to be hit by so much street noise, all the cars and people around, just created some kind of “stress”? The pace of life is definitely different depending on where you are. I learn more and more that a slow pace is what I want.
We finally escaped to the spanish sun. Great thing to do, they have spring weather there. I experienced again that it takes more than a day to adapt to even the nicest temperatures. For being such a little baby our munchkin traveled quite a bit. We went all the way to Luleå, simply to get the signature under her first passport application and the passport itself. This is when we realized that traveling by car is the worst. When everybody has to be strapped in their seats, feeding or changing diapers is just not possible without a break. It took us ten hours for those 450 km, one of the many moments in a parents life when you learn about being patience.
Living up it is hard to avoid traveling. As it requires some check-ups during pregnancy so does the baby time. Lucky for us we only have to go 90 km to Kiruna every other or third week. In case of the baby being sick we do have to travel all the way to Gällivare. All of Norrland are served by two major hospitals, one inland (Gällivare) and one on the coast (Sunderby, between Luleå and Boden). We did go once, precautionary and prefer to have a healty baby. Without many people around the risk of a cold or flu is minor, that is one of the advantages up here.
We got snow in November and since this year it only got more, so much so it simply piles up in all corners of the town. We had snowstorms, coming late this year, but so much bringing more and more snow. Moose seem rare, I guess it is no life dragging your belly through the snow. The heavy loads created quite some avalanches, revealing themselves after the dust of storms calmed down. When we got a week of ongoing storm in February, it got less fun since it kept us trapped indoor. The other hard times were those days of -30°C in January … almost forgotten at this point.
The lake froze over earlier but I did not make it down there until two days ago. It was fun again skiing over such a wide and open field. But also so different, since the ice was covered by some 20 cm of snow!
We do enjoy the snow and sun a lot, but with a heavier load to pull. Each time we are outside, we have to pull the pram behind us, which is kind of this “runner pulling a truck tyre”- training.
It makes a difference knowing how the season will move forward. I’m prepared for a long snow-season, even though the sense of spring just comes with a breeze. The weird thing is the light, which returned so fast, it wakes us up at 6 am already. It is easy to appreciate life in this little “town”. There is simply time for stopping by at a friends place, talking to a colleague at the supermarket or strolling around outside without following the time of day. The swedish parental-leave makes life easier too. It is great being at home, going out whenever the weather is right, catching some 20min. of training when the baby is asleep and enjoying the little ones smiles.