Friday, October 3, 2008

There and Back Again

JoeAs you've no doubt noticed, Cheap Seats has gone dark for the past few weeks. For those who don't already know, the explanation for our silence is that we made an unexpected trip to Michigan following the death of Jennifer's grandmother. I returned to Sweden last week, and have spent the intervening time catching up on schoolwork; Jennifer got back yesterday morning.

This is, of course, a blog about our life in Sweden, so for the most part we'll probably let our sojourn in St. Joseph, with all its ups and downs, go without comment. Being back in the US even for a few days did provide some interesting contrast to life in Sweden, however, and we'll probably talk about that some. But just to get the ball rolling again, here's my return to Sweden:

Landing at Arlanda my flight dropped into a fog so thick that the first sign of the approaching ground was when disembodied treetops suddenly appeared outside the window. It persisted all through the train ride home (which, incidentally, involved a 10 minute wait and a 17 minute ride—about 5% of the time it took us to get from O'Hare to St. Joe), giving way suddenly to clear skies and sunshine just a couple of kilometers south of Uppsala.

I suppose I should have felt something on seeing the spires of Uppsala Cathedral rising above the city from a distance, some sense of home or something, but honestly all I felt was exhausted. And then a little confused, when I saw that in my absence someone had covered Stora Torget in a layer of sand ( I still don't know what that's all about). No time to worry about that though, as I made for home, dumped my luggage, got my bike out of storage, and set off for class. I was only 15 minutes late—would have made it, too, if the flight hadn't been 30 minutes late.

Höst arrived in the week I was gone. The leaves have changed color, it's cold and wet, the forest path I bike to school every day is covered in pine needles, and the sun is setting at 6 every night.

I managed to stay awake until midnight that first night, and congratulated myself on having beaten my jet lag; waking up at noon the next day quickly put the lie to that, unfortunately, and I spent the rest of the week coding every evening until 2 or 3 in the morning, and never managed to get to sleep before 4 AM. There is a certain freedom to suddenly deciding at 2 AM that you're hungry and just making yourself a ham sandwich, but after four days straight of ham sandwiches I'd had plenty of freedom, thank you very much. Now my missed assignments are done with one way or the other, and Jennifer's back, so I can take the Bill Withers off the stereo, stop eating ham sandwiches, and go to bed by midnight for the first time since my return.

Naturally, Jennifer is now wide awake.

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