It is said that Norwegians are born with skis on their feet. I’m not so sure about that but then again I’m not a thoroughbred Norwegian. There is English blood in my vains or should I say South African. My mother (the South African) always assured me that I am more Norwegian than I am South African. That’s because I don’t have the same yearning for the sun that she has. I like winter!
My nordic genes became evident when I was a child and would spend hours outside in the cold snow not feeling the frostbite set in. Come to think about it – I’m lucky I still have ten toes. I have a vague memory of getting lost on the North Pole and being saved by a polar bear but our 90 year old neighbour assures me that it was just the far end of the potato field. Apparently I made snow men until I collapsed and fell asleep in the snow. The kind old lady suited up and came over to fetch me and carry me home. It is still one of her favourite stories to tell when she has visitors.
There’s something special about growing up in a small village. Everybody knows everybody and no matter how famous you become or how achieved and successful you think that you are – you will always be ‘Kristoffer, the whaler’s daughter – the little squint one’. Not that I am famous or successful – my point being merely that you can run but you can’t hide. Which leads me to my 30th junior high school reunion. It’s coming up in March – isn’t that going to be a hoot. I literally have not seen these people for 30 years! Except for on facebook of course – don’t you just love facebook.
I have given up on the job hunting. The idea of going back to study has become more appealing. In the meantime I spend most of my time cross country skiing in the local forest. My fear of heights has improved dramatically – I no longer close my eyes on the downhills. You have no idea how long I have worked on this!
Yesterday I was skiing with my BFF. She is born and bred in Stavanger but her parents are both from Sri Lanka. Like me she talks too much. We were standing there discussing ski wax when I spotted a local skier. I knew he was local because he was wearing a ski suit with the local ski clubb logo.
“I say, could you tell us what wax you are using old chap?” (No not really, Norwegians don’t speak like that – we sort of grunt like vikings and yell ‘Øi, what wax?!).
We exchanged pleasantries in a Norwegian kind of way and then an Australian came along. Of course, this lead to a discussion about cricket and rugby (which I know nothing about but it taught me a lesson from going skiing with somebody who represents Sri Lanka!). Anyway – long discussion later – it turns out that the local ski clubb dude had owned a game ranch in South Africa. He had sold it a few months ago.
“Why would you do that?!!” I asked astounded. He looked at me and replied “Zuma!”. It turns out that there’s no way he is leaving his millions in South African with a president like Zuma. But he will be going back in March for a holiday – he absolutely loves the place. Used to lecture at Stellenbosch University I believe.
Isn’t it amazing what interesting people you can meet in the middle of the forest on a skiing trip!