Hangin’ with the locals

Urban Wråkberg (The Barents Institute and University of Tromsø), Ron Doel (Florida State), and P.J. Capelotti (Penn State) hangin' with some of the Akureyri locals, 23 June 2011

Walking to the conference site yesterday, I glanced across the Glerá River (the River of Glass) and noticed about a dozen seemingly unattended prams in a field of dandelions. It almost looked like an art installation, since even in Scandinavia, where very young children have perhaps more freedom to explore and grow than anywhere else, leaving so many infants unattended would be shocking. As I got a bit closer, the scene became clearer. Lying deep in the tall field of flowers on a brilliant summer morning, were nine or ten young mothers, chatting, then doing stretching exercises in unison. Suddenly, and with military precision, they rose as one, lined up three prams aside on the wide walkway, and strolled off smartly towards the old river dam. Social, healthy, outdoors; as good a picture of Scandinavian motherhood as one could find. Of course, it was also the day I chose to leave my camera behind, thereby violating one of the basic Rules of Travel to Strange Places: Do not choose to leave your camera behind, ever. Having learned my lesson, I was able to pass my camera to Amanda Graham of Yukon College later that day, who was kind enough to take the picture above of some of our session participants hanging with a slightly older Scandinavian couple.

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