I am on my way to Copenhagen to lead the seder for the Progressive community there, travelling by train, and this really does beat flying in every possible way. I have a big seat with loads of space, and I just got on the train at 8:30 this morning and will simply sit here in comfort until I get to Copenhagen mid-afternoon, no stress or messing around. And best of all, there is free teeeeeeeea and free internet. Life is good.
So I have a few hours to post about my insanely busy life in the past couple of weeks. The weekend before last I went to Oslo again, to do another weekend with the Progressive community there. The community are really coming along nicely, meeting twice a month instead of occasionally, having several people, not just D&S, actively involved, and doing a wider range of both explicitly religious stuff and social activities. They were all ever so pleased to have me, and I had a great time. I arranged it slightly at the last minute because they wanted to be sure to see me before I leave Scandinavia (still not sure when or if that will happen, but next couple of months is most likely).
It was a relatively relaxed weekend; I led a short service in one couple's home on Friday night, followed by a potluck meal where people socialized cheerfully without me having to do much beyond enjoying interesting conversations, and a full Saturday morning service in a room in the college where another member teaches. Other than that, I spent time with D&S, and then with A&A; the latter showed me a BBC documentary about people brought up by Survivors and the second-generation effects of trauma, and took me to a gorgeous little bar with books and soft furniture to meet a couple who live in their block. We had a very convivial evening with lots of good conversation and tasty desserts; the bar marked "Earth Hour" in the middle by turning off the lights, and bringing us a bunch of black pillar candles instead, highly atmospheric!. Also, I discovered that the exciting thing to drink in Norway is apple juice. It snowed heavily on Thursday while I was travelling up, so it was a bit slushy and miserable on Friday, but by the weekend the sun came back and everything was beautiful and romantic. Talking of romantic, the entire community is full of intense couple energy at the moment, lots of people being cute and adorable with their partners.
I forgot the time change on Sunday (d'oh!) but luckily had allowed plenty of paranoid time for my flight, so I was ok in the end. Then I was plunged straight in to the beginning of the course I'm teaching this term. The class is small, as it was last year, but contains a few real keen beans, and I'm very much enjoying the teaching. Also managed to catch my former boss S (who is now working in the other campus at the same institute) and she said very encouraging things, including presenting me to her new group as the famous person who started the project!
cartesiandaemon arrived on Wednesday evening, and was able to stay for a whole week, what luxury! I'd warned him that I was going to be busy with work, pesach cleaning and seder prep, but in practice I skimped on duty and spent lots of time snuggling my Beau. It worked well, a sort of intermediate stage between the holiday feel of a weekend together, and simply getting on with our lives while living in the same house instead of different countries. I will refrain from writing too much soppy stuff at this point. J's arrival coincided with spring's; Stockholm seems to be trying to cram a whole spring into a week, after snow and ice throughout January, February and March, and it's glorious.
Social stuff: the egalitarian service on Friday, which went very well, we had some new people and some regulars and are at the point of feeling really comfortable with the format. Sunday I invited people to help me eat up my chametz; I wanted to have a kind of at-home rather than a formal party with a start time, so I said "around teatime" and forgot this isn't a meaningful concept to Swedes. The first guests arrived at 2:30 while I was still in the throes of cleaning (tried to combine Pesach cleaning with preparing for guests). But never mind, they were very nice about it. Had a couple of work colleagues, one of whom came with her two darling little boys, then EBH, SS and SA (unfortunately the two didn't really overlap due to my vagueness on timing). SS and SA stayed for supper and I made way too much spaghetti in my enthusiasm to use up the last of the chametz. Anyway we had a great time with lots of good conversation.
Because I am completely insane, I'm leading one seder in Copenhagen tonight, then taking an early train back to Stockholm first thing tomorrow, and leading the second seder there tomorrow night. Thank goodness I have the Easter weekend to recover. It's very weird not being with my family for Pesach, I must say. Anyway it should be a memorable experience.