In my music library on Spotify I find a new folder – “Your summer rewind” (I guess, Spotify creates it by himself – from the songs I listened to last summer. Hello, machine intelligence!). I like to start it when I am working (cleaning) at home. You never know what comes next in that mix. A chill kizomba song, hot Latin hits from last summer, Russian rock from year 2000, some Balcan beat (who listens to it? I share the account with my man – must be his workings. But Balcan beat, really? :))
A fun fact about me: when I was 20, I had a dream of working on the radio. I even got through some competition (sending a cassette with my voice to one popular fm station) and spent an hour on air as “a DJ” (I was just talking, the songs were played by the operator). I didn’t get the job in the end. But it was a fun experience.
I have never worked on the radio since (though my friends call me “a radio” cuz I talk that much), so I use my blog to channel some of that energy :)) A lover of top charts as I am (I loved listening to them on Saturday morning back then), I will make now my own hit parade of this summer. Not of songs, however – but of all my favorite things this season (any radio lovers here, btw? Raise your hand!)
1. Moving. My most favorite thing this summer: the city bike. I am rediscovering the joy of biking again. The last time I had bicycle was 10 years ago, when I was an au-pair. Then I used to ride my bike all over the countryside because I lived at the outskirts of Oslo. Sometimes I would bike into the city centre but the way back was uphill and I had to get off and push, so it was not a popular ride.
Ten years later I find myself nervous about biking. I mean, I would gladly bike in the countryside again (just like I also did when living in Germany and Austria, I crossed the map on my bike then). But riding in the city, through the traffic, with some bike lanes here, and no lanes there – I just don’t have the nerve. Too much stress for such pleasure.
This summer I chose to face that fear :)) July is the month for the public holidays in Norway, when the people (and cars) leave the city. The perfect time to take a chance on those streets. Besides, the weather has been really summerly, no rain in weeks, just sunshine and some cool breeze. That’s why, maybe, the city bikes are so popular now – at some stations it is impossible to find a free bike, especially in our hipster hood.
This is how I want to remember this summer. When I pedal through the streets, so quiet, so Scandinavian, going back from work at night. Under the many open windows that let out some music or laughing voices. The wind is playing with my skirt, the air is warm, the summer is on. There is salsa dancing on Torggata street because it is too hot in the bar and dancers take their partners to the street. There is always a little crowd around, watching, smiling, taking videos for their snapchats. I have to get down from the bike and push it through the crowd. I love Oslo like this. It is my favorite city in the summer :))
2. City Love. This year the garden boxes have exploded in this city. I mean, I started seeing some boxes with herbs and vegetables two years ago. This year it has become fashion among hipsters, it seems. And all around Oslo I have found more and more these simple wooden boxes with some greens. In a park on Grønland, a central multicultural neighborhood, there is even a colony of boxes. I identified tomatoes, squash, pepper and some beans in them. Pretending to be a knowing gardener :)) I like this trend!
3. Home Love. In this country having a balcony is considered a lift in the life quality. I wonder why, since the weather here is better for skiing than for sitting on the balcony. But I guess, the scarcity of such moments make them more precious (and the flats with balconies too). It is popular to build the new balconies on the old buildings that had none. Even if it’s in the shadow side. People seem so happy about it: they decorate them with the pretty light bulbs, get the barbecue on, care for flowers and different greenery.
This summer has been so hot, and it’s a shame to admit – but I do it: I didn’t sit on the balcony during many days. Now I understand why in Spain I never see people on their balconies. It is simply too hot most of the day. And when it’s not – you forget about it. Makes the whole balcony bonanza a bit overrated, no? But – when it is really nice (and should be remembered) is after the sunset. This amazing summer has given us warm nights – and what a pleasure it is to sit outside with a book or a snack. Last night there was a magic of full moon, a quiet backyard atmosphere, some guys chatting peacefully on the terrace, people dashing around in their homes, open windows…
4. Simple living. One more thing to rediscover: the public library. I have listened to one psychologist’s talk about the benefits of reading in our digital age. He says that reading on paper engages our mind in a different way than a digital reading. I love my kindle and I don’t love collecting things (books included). But wait a sec, why buy paper books – when there is a public library?
The library in Oslo is big enough and has books in many languages, in English and Russian too. I had to dig deep to find my library card – but everything after that is so easy :)) You can find the titles online, book them there (from all the libraries of the city) and pick up in the library closest to you. I am so used to search my kindle store for any interesting title – but come on, the Amazon owner is already the richest person of the planet! He can make it without me 🙂 While I can go back to the joy of browsing the real library’s aisles, touching the covers, checking the titles. I used to be a huge fan of libraries – what has happened to that love? New digital habits, this is what happened. But the choice is still there.
Any book lovers here? What do you use and prefer – public library, buying your own paper books or electronic reading?
5. The Read. Thank you, The Monsoonfamily’s Mum for this book recommendation! While we had a connection moment on our Slavic family backgrounds, she mentioned this book as “hilarious”. I got intrigued by the title and went to check – where? Amazon, of course. Amazon didn’t have the kindle version, bad luck. I even thought of buying the paper version, in some local store – but with my library rediscovery “what a sec, why buy?” Maybe, they have it. And yes, they did. Bad luck turned good 🙂
I am just 80 pages into the book, so I am not doing any reviews now. The novel is some family comedy-drama, in a touching and funny voice. What is special for me is that it happens to the Ukrainian family living in the UK. I get the cultural and historical references, it touches my heart so sweetly. There is even mentioning of my home town, Luhansk, where their grandmother worked in the locomotive factory (the most popular industry of my city indeed). I wonder how I would read it if I were not immigrant. But I am – and thus it makes my perception bittersweet and biased :)) I am sure, though, it makes a good and funny read for non-Ukrainians too 😉
Now, what is your top chart of this summer? What are your favorites? If you want to make a post about it – go ahead (and make a pingback to mine if you wish)! It would be lovely to read more summer reports! Share your summer love! 🙂