...because you thought Sweden was Switzerland!

Sunday, March 02, 2014

What pensioners do in the city graveyard at night

a.k.a. Photo session turned into mom and dad's first snowball fight!

 Mom and dad arrived yesterday afternoon in time for my thesis defense, which will be later this month. In both their earlier visits (which had been in spring and autumn), they had hoped to see snow but missed it. They even stayed until early November on their latest visit, hoping that autumn would turn into winter. Of course each season have its charm — they saw budding flowers and tasted pine tree sprouts; and they experienced mushroom picking and loved looking at flocks of Canada geese — but winter is special especially if you come from a country without natural ice.

Unfortunately for them, it took a whole month after they left the last time before snow started to fall that year. They seem to always just miss the white-wintry years. On the way home from the airport yesterday, they asked if winter was always this way: brown and gray, mud and clouds, and just a shimmer of fog. Nah, this year hasn't really seen a good winter. A Swedish winter without snow is no "real winter" at all!

Today, on their second evening, they rang my doorbell at dinner time telling me that snow had began to fall. "It's so white!", dad said. Mom said it was a sign of being suitably dressed that she didn't feel cold. See, they're on the right track already!

After dinner, some of the new snow already melted into slush so we went into where the snow was still thickest, which was the nearby cemetery (Yep!). Good thing that none of them turned suddenly superstitious.

Above: pensioners' version of "baby's footsteps in plaster of Paris casts".

I remember the first time dad and mom saw natural ice during their first visit in Sweden (spring). The previous day's puddles froze into thin films of ice that cracked, resembling something like clear broken plastic. It was great to see their exalted faces, somewhat with a mixture of disbelief, that there was actually ice on the ground. Another memory from that spring is when it hailed on mom, Margareta and me during a walk that year. Sounds of our laughter and excitement were interrupted by exclamations of pain when the hail hit our heads, as we ran for cover.

Somehow I thought mom and dad would be wanting to run and roll on the snow this time, but I was surprised how reserved they were in the beginning. They didn't even seem to want to get out first, and they didn't think it was a good idea to go out in the slush. Admittedly, soft melting snow makes freezer frost seem more "icy" for real. Mom was worried she would get her shoes wet by walking on the snowy grass, but dad didn't seem to want to go back to their apartment just yet...

... so I said, why not play with the snow? Make a snowball?, while I demonstrated. Wet snow is great for that.

That did the trick!


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