Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Spring Weekend

Jennifer It's a lovely Saturday morning. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the buds on the trees are finally big enough to be seen from our apartment. It seems like we've made several posts now that say "Spring is here," but this is the first week that has really, truly felt like it to me. Oddly, it feels a little more like spring in Tucson than spring in Ann Arbor just at the moment, because it's quite dry out, and the sun is very high in the sky for morning. The air coming in the open window is still cool, although the sunshine on my back is warm. And for breakfast we had a special treat: steel-cut oats! We got these in a care package sent from home—they just don't appear to be available here. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, as they say. Now if only we could find brown sugar and buttermilk...

Last night, my department had a "Pub Night," much like BioBeer BioBeverage of UM, in which the grad students buy beer in bulk, then sell it at a slight loss, with the department picking up the rest of the tab. Another department was also having a pub night, so we combined forces and had large gathering on the EBC lawn. Drinking alcohol in public is technically illegal here, but apparently UU is a bit more laid back about these things than UM was (we couldn't even call it "BioBeer" by the time I left), and nobody questioned the wisdom or legality of taking the party outside.

It wasn't too long before long the frisbees came out, as I would expect in the US, and then a soccer ball too (not unknown in US ivory tower circles, but not common either). People fooled about with these and various other lawn/beach toys, taking care not to trample VP.'s two-year-old, who had never seen frisbees before, and was fascinated. Less care was taken with the group of us sitting and talking, however, and the frisbee came winging into our midst several times.

Everyone is hoping that this weather holds for next week, which will be short, with only two working days. Wednesday April 30 is Valborgmässoafton (close enough to the end of the term that it's the big student holiday here), Thursday is May 1 (International Workers Day, a national holiday), and then Friday is what's known as a klämdag, a general term used to describe a Monday or Friday that falls between official days off. More on these festivities later...

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