Words & Photography by Elisabeth Sofie Hovde
Vaycay or staycay, no matter if you travel far away or if you visit the same place for the 28th time, don’t forget to breathe. I search for that moment, where I can look at my family and just breathe. Like an out of body experience, I just want to enjoy us. After a shared meal, some are playing, some are closing their eyes to take a sigh, you know, that sigh that comes after a good meal with loved ones. It’s the moment where the dishes are forgotten, the stress disappears and the world just comes to a complete still. Even if it only lasts for a minute or two, you get it, and it sets the tone for the rest of the day.
My mother in law once said the “Vacation is not about doing nothing, it’s about doing something else than all the other days”. This inspires me to go to the beach, take a road trip or go down to the sea to have a barbeque, although I would most of all just lay around, read a magazine or scroll down Pinterest and Instagram. It’s about creating memories and a point of reference for my kids, so that when it’s their turn to organize vacations with their kids, they want to find that place and surroundings that give them the possibility to find their sigh.
Summer foods for me, are all about salads, ice cream and cooking food on an open fire. We eat more often and smaller meals than the other seasons. Not because of the heat, because I live in the middle part of Norway, and some nights we actually need to get the fireplace going, if the doors and windows have been opened all day, it can get a little chilly and it’s satisfying to snuggle up with the fireplace crackling. It mostly gets to hot after a while and then the doors are opened again, letting that crisp nordic summer night air back in. It’s a good opportunity to gather everyone throughout the day as well, sharing small meals and just talk.
We fish a lot during the summer months, and we get thrilled when the mackerel bites the hook. It’s strong so there is never any doubt there is a fish on the line. Sometimes, at our secret fishing place, when a shoal of fish swims by, my husband runs between the kids and me, helping us to get the fish of the hook and kill it. He barely gets to enjoy fishing himself, but we are so glad he helps us with that part of the fishing experience.
We own a house by the sea on an island about two-three hours outside of the city we live in. Sometimes cows are grazing the fields around the house, sometimes deer. But there is always peace and quiet. We sit on the same steps that my great grandparents sat on, as seen in the first photo of the house, from about 1934. When you sit there, looking out at the sea, troubles and stress disappear, and we can solve all the problems in the world by sitting there talking. During winter I can’t wait until spring and summer arrives and I can sit on the steps knitting while our youngest play football or does cartwheels on the lawn in front of us. The smell of the country air in clothes dried by the wind and sea breeze, sunkissed cheeks and saltwater blond haired kids, that’s summer to me.
© all pictures Elisabeth Sofie Hovde
More about our contributor Elisabeth Sofie here.