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we took to the woods

This is so far north. Lichens and birches, firs and cold, cold shade. In a few minutes it will be 10:00pm and the sky is still light. I will probably open my eyes at 4:00am again tomorrow morning to find sunlight coming through the windows and birds awake.

We took the overnight ferry from Gdynia. It was comfortable, tacky, the median age a pleasant sixty I guess, and after a full day spent in agonizing suspense over car documents at the port (we endured a six-hour international and fruitless debate between Oslo, New York, and Gdansk over whether our bill of lading was real), it was mighty relaxing to watch the blue sea streaming past our porthole. Goodbye, Poland.

Since I woke up this morning, I have bathed the girls, dressed them and taken them for breakfast on the ship; located our car on board after a lengthy search; passed a breathalyzer test; filled the tank and washed the car; purchased and activated a Swedish SIM card; changed money; found and use machines to pay for parking in multiple cities; located a Hindi teacher in the Kalmar region for E.; confirmed in person at the pool E.’s swim practice with the local team tomorrow evening; inquired by phone and email about things like babysitting, firewood, and laundry; picked up the keys to our house, located it in the forest, inspected the premises, and unloaded the car; disposed of four drowned mice; comparison shopped for gym memberships in person; searched for mosquito netting, buckets and latrine lime at the hardware store; grocery shopped at the supermarket; purchased another Polish SIM card and switched plans (a better signal in remote places); checked into a nearby guesthouse for the night; fed the girls lunch and supper. I drove about 200 kilometers, all told. There is no question of building a fire tonight — hence our friends’ guesthouse — fire building awaits me tomorrow.

The house is a creepy place — dark, low, and smelling of ancient, mouldering wood. There is so much to do, and no one to show me; there is no garden and so many cobwebs. A., you are so far. It is so cold. I have one feeble, fickle bar on my phone there, at best. But tomorrow is another day; I trust will have more to say then about the enchantment I felt watching the girls flit through the woods and lose themselves, even going silent, among the trees..

And the lilacs have not bloomed yet — next week, people here say.