Yesterday was so lovely–sunshine and temperatures that pass for warm here. I’m not sure what the temperature was given that some passerby relieved us of our window thermometer a couple of weeks ago. We certainly did not want to waste the day being cooped up inside so Chuck actually took a little time off and we took a walk over through the neighborhood across the street to the Dane River just a short distance away. It has been our intention to take some photos to record the rather different architecture and especially the interesting fencing of the homes near us and this look is typical of all the newer neighborhoods we’ve seen. The houses are close to one another and each is fenced in. Many people have big dogs in their yards–German Shepherds seem to be a favorite breed. Most of the houses have three stories–some even four. Many of the homes seem asymmetrical, often with a longer roof on one side that slants down over 2 floors, and, personally, I find few of them attractive at all–some but not many. In fact, I think this suburb looks like a project of a lot of undergraduate architecture students trying to be original. Unlike many new suburbs in the US, no two houses are alike and it seems everyone wants to be different from his neighbors. This is reflected also in the fact that no two homes have the same fencing. I think maybe the urge to be different might be because of the blocks and blocks of identical Soviet housing they had to endure for so many years–just a guess. I understand the crime rate is rather low here so wonder about all the fencing and the guard dogs. I actually started taking some pictures a few weeks ago so, when you see snow, don’t think that it is still that wintry here. All the snow finally melted last week and the pond ice is beginning to melt. — Another comment on the neighborhood: Cars often park on the sidewalk so one has to walk out in the street to get around them.
When we arrived back home from our walk, Chuck went off to school and then came back to tell me to come quickly with my camera–Jonas and Lina, the swans, had returned! A true promise of spring. The pond is still frozen but the swans were eager to accept bread treats from passers-by.
Final photo today is really funny to me. Last Saturday we invited for lunch the four students who have helped us in various ways since we’ve been here. In the USA, I usually feel pretty short but this is ridiculous, isn’t it? Arida, the one student who could not come is as tall as the shorter boy.