We spent the holiday Friday exploring hidden-away playgrounds and not-so-hidden-away public markets with my lovely cousin Maia. It’s nice to be reminded that I have family here and how close they actually are.
Photos: Streets in Skive, the port to the church cemetary my grandmother used to drive through in her green Volvo Amazon at 100km/hr (it felt like) with what I promise was no more than 2 cm to spare on each side (she’d done it a thousand times she’d say), Thor – my Tour team mate and co-captain.
Thor and I spent a couple of days in Jylland the other weekend to attend the funeral of a very sweet uncle and to spend some time with one of my favourite aunts (his wife). Thor really took to her – which meant a lot to me especially given my father’s absence. I loved the story she told of how they’d met and of their many good years together. She can tell a story with twenty tangents and references to untold towns (most of which I am unfamiliar with) and still wrap up with the point she meant to tell. It is quite a talent I must say and I am always happy to hear them.
With a little time to ourselves on Saturday, Thor and I walked a Tour de Skive for a couple of hours (a very thorough tour) and brought some flowers to my Farmor and Farfar’s plots at the local cemetery. I love the way so many Danish cemeteries seem more like botanical gardens than anything else – it makes them comforting places to be. The multiple shades and textures of green, the new shoots, the tender flowers and each well cared for space reminds you that among all that death there is still so much life.
As is inevitable with one of these walks around Skive – I wonder how different our lives would have been had my parents not immigrated to Canada with us when they did. It’s not likely they’d still be in Skive but I can sometimes wonder what kind of paths my sisters and I would have followed had they stayed. Would we still be the people we are (given how much experiences shape us), would we have the same interests, would we have pursued the same education, would we work in the same fields, would we have the same kind of families of our own? Who knows. I’m sure we’d have been just as happy had we grown up here, but I am certainly forever grateful for the childhood we did have, for living in the places that we did and for the parents who gave that to us. Given the option, I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s the same conclusion I come to every time we’re here.0 Comments
Photos: Canada geese parading the promenade, low tide at East Beach, the blossoms on Columbia Ave., my favourite piece of graffiti, and Oxford Street hill: where as teenagers we used to dare each other to speed down in neutral as far as we could before hitting the brakes. If you were brave enough you could really catch some air on that last hump and your friends on the backseat would hit their heads on the car ceiling (I didn’t say it was smart).
Every time I walk the promenade along Marine Drive, stand in line at Safeway or order a latté at a café anywhere in White Rock (Vancouver too for that matter) – I’m reminded of just how special a place this is.
Perfect strangers say hello and good morning, almost everyone makes eye contact and smiles, and even though we stand the same distance apart from each other that we do anywhere else – somehow people just feel closer. If you talk to the person standing next to you in line, no one will think you crazy, drunk or American. The grocery clerk means it when she smiles and the chit chat is as close to sincere as chit chat can get. The point is: people talk to each other here. Neighbours too (imagine!). I know I probably idealize things (as you do when you’re far away from home) but all else aside – it is such an easy place to be and an even easier place to come home to each year.0 Comments
Harbourside at Nyhavn 17 on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Friends + CPH vibe + official seaside entertainment (this week: inebriated teddy-bear-hat-wearing flute player) = wanting for nothing at this very moment.0 Comments
I am unexpectedly home alone this long weekend. And I am a bit out of practice with what to do with all this… time. It’s an opportunity to catch up on so many things. It’s an opportunity to just be me (who?) yes me. I’m not sure I even remember how to do nothing. So I probably won’t do nothing, because who am I kidding, I can’t do nothing.
I’ll check a few things off, meet some friends, go outside, find some nature, go for a run, read something just for fun and not for work or parenting, clean out my closet, research a bit, catch up on some writing, talk to friends back home for so long that my ear turns red from the heat of the phone, drink some too-expensive coffee some place fancy and probably even go to the movies – because it has been way too long since I’ve been to the cinema. The list is long. I couldn’t even fit “relax” at the bottom before I ran out of page. Although with the list done, I can officially relax because I haven’t forgotten anything – so maybe I don’t need to add it to the list anyways (although I would have liked to be able to cross another thing off). I have list issues, I know. I’d deal with it but then I’d have to add that to the list.0 Comments
Thor and I have just been Home (yes that’s Home with a capital H) for 14 days of sunshine most days and most important: the kind of time with family that leaves you knowing exactly where you belong, how much you are loved, and just how lucky you are to have the family that you have. It aches to be away from them. It always has, now more than ever.
I got to celebrate another birthday at home again this year, though it was a completely different day than last. Last year was filled with the fear of losing Dad, this year… this year I would give almost anything to trade that feeling with the loss we live with now, if it meant we got have him with us. There aren’t any words to convey how much we miss him. But I am grateful. With Dad in mind and family gathered, it was the best day I could have wished for. My family did that. My dear friends too.
Thor handled the trip like a seasoned traveller (this is his 3rd trip to Canada before his 2nd birthday). In fact, travelling alone with him was the least stressful trip I’ve experienced in years. Calm and cool – that’s how most of it went: sugar high come down at YVR excluded.
We spent time at the beach, dug our bare feet into the sand, hung out at the playground, walked the White Rock promenade almost daily, admired the pier from a distance (it was being repaired in time for the summer masses), browsed the little shops (Saje I can not resist you), stopped for coffee, bought groceries at hippie-now-standard health food shops, smiled about old days, waded through memories and discussed the unforeseeable future. Even though it was 2 weeks instead of 3 this time – nothing felt rushed and I saw my friends and family more somehow (although I could still absolutely have used that extra week). We ate breakfast together, arranged days out, met friends in the afternoons and regrouped in the evenings. Somehow there was still time for free days and hanging out at home with nothing special planned – I think sometimes those are some of the best days of all.
They say the world is not as big as it used to be, and while that is true (when I lived in Korea in 96 we couldn’t always get through on the phone… now there’s FaceTime all hours of the day) – it still isn’t the same is it – as being home in the fold and back where you come from.0 Comments
Bless him for being exactly who he is.2 Comments
In Denmark it is. I could have sworn that sidewalk café tables were packed at any given time with blonds in sunglasses around about this time last year. This year, we have minus temperatures, ice in the ocean, snow on the beach and bright white flakes swirling around under the street lamp at night – taunting us with the possibility of waking up to another centimeter or two – just when we’d thought we’d seen the last of it. On the plus side, it is a pretty contrast to the usual winter grey.
Saturday morning was spent blissfully confined to a hair-dresser’s chair reading magazines – those three hours every few months are pure gold. In the afternoon (after I’d washed the way excessive styling goop out of my hair ) Thor and I met up with family in cozy Christianshavn for coffee, a walk and a few sentimental stories. They are good for the soul, afternoons like that.
On Sunday we (and 5000 other people hoping to entertain their kids over the Easter holidays) thought going to the new aquarium in Kastrup would be a good idea – so we made our way out there only to turn around again when we saw the hour and a half line up. We’ll wait and go another day. Instead, we treated ourselves to a little lunch at an old favourite next door (Kystens Perle) and a fresh walk along Amager Strandpark in the glorious sunshine.
The boys stayed home in the evening and I took a couple of hours out to attend a meditation and talk by Salman Ahmad (of Brahma Kumaris) in Frederiksberg. His perspectives on personal development are definitely challenging, but you know something’s hit a chord when your inner sceptic protests with what you know is not a valid argument: it’s too difficult. I know I’ll be mulling over some of his ideas and techniques in the days ahead. I went home from there feeling an all over calm and could only answer with a smile when Jan asked me how my ‘Scientology’ meeting had gone.0 Comments
Friday saw Thor’s last day at dagpleje (private daycare) with one of the sweetest women we could have been fortunate enough to trust our boy to. She’s given Thor an amazing start and been a big factor in so much positive development the past 6 months. It has been such a blessing to know each morning when I have dropped him off and watched him confidently make his way from my arms to her living room – that she would provide a day for him that was at the same time cozy, safe, challenging and fun. She started missing her little ‘dansemus’ (dancing mouse) weeks before this day. We’ll miss her too (and for that reason will be visiting her when we get back from Canada) the week Thor has orientation at the new place.
That new place is the vuggestue (public daycare) downstairs, where their daily activities are planned with an athletic focus – which is ideal for an active guy like Thor, especially at this age. Their opening hours are a little better for us as well, which was one of the factors that led us to accept the spot when we finally got it (we started as number 72 on the waiting list almost a year ago). Thor won’t get the close attention he had with private daycare where they were only four, but given how social he is, we know this next step will meet his need for new challenges. We’ve heard very good feedback from other parents, so things bode well. Fingers crossed he settles in quickly and takes these next steps as well as he did the last.0 Comments