Summertime in New York state—the Empire state. “I love New York” as the slogan goes—“there is no place like it”. It’s true, although I guess as a native New Yorker I’m just a bit biased. I’ve been back in my home state since last Friday. It is always nice to come back and be together with family and friends. And I am struck more and more by how beautiful upstate New York is—so green and lush, so many trees and rolling hills and mountains. It is not crowded like the metropolitan area. Of course it does not have the majority of jobs available either and that may be one of the reasons parts of upstate NY are so sparsely populated. But life goes on up there at a different pace—slower, freer in some ways, I don’t know. It feels good to look out over the vast tracts of unpopulated land. The past few days have been quite humid, with some thunderstorms, but they passed quickly and today, Tuesday, is a beautiful warm day. Gisele and I drove through and around Tarrytown yesterday and it is so interesting to see how the town has changed—Phelps Memorial hospital has expanded considerably with so many new buildings, there are numerous new co-op complexes along the Hudson River (sky-high prices), but they are lovely—historical architecture and colors, manicured gardens and just a general overall feeling of elegance. Of course this has happened in Norway too during the past twenty years. When I first moved to Oslo certain areas were shabby and old. Now Oslo is prosperous and you see that reflected in the large building projects, the lovely new buildings, stadiums, ski jumps and so much more. The same has happened to the towns along the Hudson River—many of them have spruced up their waterfronts and they look so much nicer than they did when I was growing up. But nevertheless, there is that ‘lived-in’ feeling in so many of the buildings I see—apartment buildings, shops, restaurants, hotels—you know they’ve been there a while. But when I lived here I paid attention in a different way, or you might say I did not really pay attention to what was happening around me. The gradual changes are not what you recognize when you live in a place. You have to go away and come back in order to see the changes. I see them now.