Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Social me

One of the characteristics of my personality is that I am a very social person. I can literally be with people all the time. I didn't think this was a particular special thing until a friend of mine pointed it out many years ago. Don't get me wrong, I'm perfectly happy in my own company too, but I'm not someone who needs a lot of 'me-time'. It reflects easily in that I could spend all my time with Zoe, if I was allowed to, 24/7. It is one of the reasons I feel so much at home in New York, it is the easiest place to get friends and after two years there, I have the highest concentration of friends and acquaintances there, compared to anywhere else. But Copenhagen is getting better and I'm making an effort to not only initiate things, but literally invite myself for dinner at friends and family. This week I have managed to invite myself (and Zoe) for dinner twice and only reciprocated with one other invitation to 'my' house (i.e. my parents' place). And then of course there is the yearly gløgg party at my place in Stockholm, where I always have to think hard about who to invite because our apartment is still only 34 sq meters and more than 8 people would result in some guests having to stand on the balcony. So this year I have invited 7 plus Zoe and I. We'll have to make gløgg, marcipan confect, honey hearts and pepparkakar. The preparation is of course half the fun.

Last night, Zoe told me not just twice, but three times that she can't wait to have Christmas in Copenhagen, to see her family and to go get our tree and decorate it. Me neither. After this semester, I definitely deserve a solid break and holiday, so does Zoe.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Christmas spirit

It was a lazy Sunday morning when I woke up craving traditional Danish weekend breakfast: the delicious pastries and breads that are just not replicable anywhere else in the world. Luckily, being in Denmark that morning (because these days that's certainly not a given), I walked down to my local modern bakery, now sporting a cafe part where I parked myself for the next few hours indulging in cinnamon snails, hot tea and raspberry short breads. I was reading number 12 of 89 individual student assignments, due for grading by the Christmas holiday, when the children started trickling in, settling at the large communal table in the middle. It turned out that there was a decoration workshop going on, where each child got to decorate their own honey heart (a Danish Christmas cake/cookie) with colorful sugar glaze and sprinkles. Their chatter and excitement cut my concentration short, not because I can't focus with other people around, but simply because it reminded me that this was number two of three weekends without Zoe and just how much I wished Zoe would have been there with me. For some reason, still not really understood my myself, because we were even for the year, Zoe's dad had demanded two extra days this December and they had to be on the weekend. The argument was that I got to spend Christmas with her (we do every other year). If I wasn't going to give him the days, he would just come and pick Zoe up. Zoe cried her eyes out when she found out last Tuesday and stamped her feet. I tried to explain that her daddy just wanted to make sure he saw her as much as me. "But I want to be mostly with you, Mom", she cried as she has done so many other times. I held her tight and tried not to get tearful myself.

After the children at the cafe had started their decorating endeavors, I packed up and left. One day, I'll have Zoe here, decorating honey cakes and sipping hot chocolate. But right now, she doesn't even like those cakes and I still have 77 student assignments to grade.