Suddenly, after days and weeks of a cold, rainy spring, last week it was 97 degrees, record-breaking heat for May in this part of the world. The change happened so quickly that I was folding socks and long-sleeved shirts in sweltering heat; on Wednesday morning it was cold and cloudy, by Thursday morning we had every window in the house open and I was digging through suitcases for last summer’s clothes.
We seem strange to me this summer. I’m not used to us being so pale. I mentioned this to a friend, who assumed I meant that all Oregonians seemed winter white and pasty in their hastily-donned shorts and sleeveless shirts, but I didn’t. I am just used to my family having a certain base tan, from our year-round trips to the beach. Our hair is darker, our skin is whiter, after months of Oregon rain. How our Mauritanian friends would admire us!
I love watching my fellow Oregonians in extreme weather. This is a temperate place, and people freak out when something is new. I grew up on the Canadian prairies, and I remember my amazement that a half-inch of snow on the Portland roads could send everyone into a literal tailspin. In the same way, my six years in the Sahara desert have changed my attitude towards a “heat-wave” that lasts all of 3 days, not to mention one where the nights are still cool and the trees provide welcome relief. (However, I was still very grateful when a friend loaned us some fans!)
Saturday, all three kids were at a sleepover. We slept in till 9, then I made us coffee and we lay in bed and read books until 10:30, at which point Donn got up and made us bacon and eggs and more coffee. I mention this to make those of you with young children jealous, and yet also to give hope: that these days can come again.
Thanks to all of you who wrote with sympathy about my schooling plight. I have good news. If we keep up the pace (and no, I’m not whipping them; not literally. Nor am I withholding candy, at least no more so than usual. I am Nice) we are on track to finish by June. Well except for Spanish (twins) and Arabic (Elliot), but the nice kind people at CNED, forgetting that they were supposed to be uptight and French and bound up in red tape, gave us an extension. So we are breathing big sighs of relief here on Planet Nomad, and eating lots of falafel at the local Lebanese restaurant while the owner helps Elliot. The twins actually have till mid-June to finish, so we’ll do their last few lessons of Spanish at their grandparents, and then we’ll be done. Do they give out medals for getting 3 kids through an entire year of CNED, starting 6 weeks late?

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