Living with intent, social engagement, learning, growing, giving
We have lived in Trondheim, Norway for 16 months and already the steady shortening of the days leading up to Christmas seems normal. Growing up in Australia, where Christmas is in mid summer, we were surrounded by images of northern hemisphere Christmas with darkness and snow and it wasn’t possible to really understand what it was all about until we moved here. Now that I haven’t seen the sun in weeks I understand that the lights and festivities associated with Christmas were to cheer up people living at high latitudes in the northern hemisphere. And it works!
We are enjoying a whirlwind of festivities like:
– an open day in a local farm with farmyard animals to pat, horse rides and Santa with packs of sweets for all children. Our daughter loved jumping into the pile of hay and the Norwegian children found their waffles uninteresting once they had a packet of sweet biscuits and lollies from Santa.
– our children had their Christmas concert, held by their violin teacher. It’s such a joy to see our children playing with determination and increasing skill
– the Bach Jule oratoriet by Trondheim Symphony Orchestra in Nidarosdomen (cathedral) with the cathedral choir, a smaller singing group and 4 professional opera singers. The acoustics were great in the huge cathedral and the atmosphere was wonderful. Sitting next to me was a Norwegian man wearing rain pants and hiking boots with a reflective band and a waterproof jacket while visibly enjoying the music.
– Rasmus og verdens beste band concert in Olavshallen on the main stage with our daughter and her community-sponsored choir supporting the act. It was almost sold out and the Norwegian kids around us laughed and clapped at the silly lyrics and jokes. Our daughter did really well to perform in front of such a large audience and entirely in Norwegian.
– my work Christmas party (julebord) which started with a tour of the E.C. Dahls brewery then a nice 3 course dinner before hours of dancing
– Christmas street party in Bakklandet with Jule nissen (like elves) handing out mandarins, chocolates, pepekake (gingerbread biscuits) and gløgg (mulled wine)
– the lighting of one candle each Sunday for advent. We have a small ceremony to count down the weeks until Christmas
– dinners and drinks with friends, cosy indoors regardless of the weather.
– sledding on the snowy hill near our home on the beautiful white snow and standing catching snow flakes on our tongues
– and of course hiking.