Light in the Scandinavian summer

A breezy summer staple in Scandinavia – sill and grädde with a sprig of chive.
Text and Photo © JE Nilsson and CM Cordeiro 2012

In the course of research, when speaking with people from different backgrounds on working across cultures, a common theme that arises is mismatched holiday times between Scandinavia and Asia.

Scandinavia doesn’t quite understand the Chinese New Year and spring celebrations in Asia for example, where in China, huge migrations of population can take place between cities and rural regions, and likewise Asia doesn’t quite understand summer holidays in Scandinavia, where a similar trend in migration occurs, except in Scandinavia, the movement would be towards the coastal regions, the waterways and fjords where plenty have their sailing boats. The logistics of mismatched holidays where Asia seems to run full steam during the summer months in Scandinavia could be potentially disastrous if you’re running a production line or seeing to that a delivery order is to be on time. In the automobile industry, July is the designated month for factory plant maintenance when the plant is shut down.

But as noted, it is only when you are there on location that you understand the local situation and thus view things in a different perspective, and where what once were problems and challenges now seem ‘natural’.

Whole grain bread, toasted with olive oil to get that perfect croûton base to sill and grädde.

When in Scandinavia, it becomes easy to follow the reasoning behind these long summer vacations, where most things go with the lightest of practical touches if need be. The very pragmatic reason behind being that true warm weather (July being the warmest month in the northern hemisphere) only comes in these short summer months, and if you wanted to get any enjoyment out of being outdoors for example, then these months would be it!

As deliveries of all kinds are put on hold, a priority shift takes place and the luxury of summer is to put time into spending on your own or with family, allocated to activities everything outside of what you’d classify as ‘work’.

A simple personal luxury – fresh light meals, no cooking needed – which leaves plenty of time to indulge in good reads, books unrelated to my research (a task difficult to accomplish) set aside since last summer or two, to indulge in the pleasures of the mind.

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