Yesterday started out rainy but during the day the rain turned into sleet, with large heavy flakes falling thick and fast. The first flakes were absorbed by the puddles, but soon the whiteness gained the upper hand and began to cover the dark shiny streets. In the evening the weather turned colder and what started out as wet slush turned into ice and frozen snow. Continue reading “A Snowy Day and a Happy Dog”
The unfortunate incident with the car had left us without a means to return to Oslo, from where our flight was leaving on Saturday at 17h25. Luckily there is a train station at Geilo and so we decided to take the train back. Only one train would have us in Oslo in time for our flight, and it was leaving at 10h56. Continue reading “The Geilo Getaway: Part 5 – Making it home”
On our final full day in Geilo it was snowing. I woke up feeling tired and ill, but not ill enough to forego a last day of skiing, and so, after the usual morning delays we drove to the slopes. As we arrived the world was blurred by the falling snow and there was no sight of the glorious sun of the day before. Continue reading “The Geilo Getaway: Part 4 – An unfortunate incident”
On Friday morning I woke up before dawn and took some pictures in the blue light of the morning. I was the first one up and I enjoyed the piece and quiet of the cabin until Carlos and then Erik woke up. As usual Olga and Giuseppe were the last ones to get out of bed.
After the late arrival the previous night Thursday had got well underway when we finally clambered out of our beds the next morning. Having arrived in the dark every new person stumbling out of their bedroom looked out of the window and gasped with delight at the sight of deep drifts of snow and mountains in the distance. Continue reading “The Geilo Getaway: Part 2 – The joys of skiing, pizza and a cabin”
At the end of November my colleague Erik had the brilliant idea to invite some colleagues to his mountain cabin in Geilo (Norway) for a few days in January. I did not hesitate to say yes, and 2 months later, on 22 January, 5 of us were ready to go. As luck would have it, I had caught a cold two days before leaving, but I did not let the prospect of being ill in temperatures of -15°C daunt me. My travelling companions were Erik, our Norwegian host, Carlos, a Venezuelan with a bizarre affection for cold weather and snow, Giuseppe an Italian who could not possibly be mistaken for anything else, and Olga, a beautiful Russian born in Latvia but grown up in Germany. Continue reading “The Geilo Getaway: Part 1 – A long way to the cabin”
Almost two weeks have passed since I last posted anything, and the latest post did not require much work on my side. It has not been my intention to neglect my blog, but work has got in the way. The downside of taking holidays is the fact that they merely postpone the work that needs to be done to a later date, leaving one drowning in emails upon one’s return. Between the long hours at work and the time spent entertaining my attention-hungry dog, not much time has been left for writing. Continue reading “On work and holidays”
In Helsinki two thirds of Christmases are white. In Belgium there have been 11 white Christmases since 1900, most recently in 1986, 2009 and 2010. And judging by the weather forecasts this year will be a typical grey and dreary holiday in Belgium. Continue reading “Lumi is Finnish for Snow”
I miss winter.
I miss the silence of my steps on a snow covered pavement. I miss the hard lumps of snow on my mittens, and the way they turn into pearls of water on the radiator. I miss the biting chill on my cheeks and the hurried steps through the cold. I miss the warmth of reaching home.
Here I latch on to the smallest indications of winter; a spreading darkness, the falling leaves, my breath white in the still morning air. A cold clear day, when the wind blows from the north-east and brings the scent of snow from inland, with images of evergreens coated in white and the sound of fresh snow under my feet.
I despise the wet excuse for a winter here. The endless drizzle that penetrates all my defenses. The moist shivery cold that makes my teeth clatter. The all-encompassing grayness of the world. My pathetic squeals of delight when some sleet descends mercifully from the sky, to give the world some magic for an hour or two before melting into grayness.
I wish I was in Helsinki, with electric candelabras in every window and the anticipation of Christmas tangible in the air. We would sit down for some tea and maybe a Christmas pastry or a pipakarkku. My hair floating with static electricity as I pull off my woolen cap and my fingers aching as they close around the heat of the tea mug. My sister’s cheeks red from the cold and her face shining with pleasure as she bites into a ginger snap.
And I miss my mother. I miss the simple things, like coming home in the evening after Christmas shopping, making tea in the coffee percolator while mother smokes on the balcony. I miss the smell of her cooking and her humming as she does the dishes. More than anything I wish that I was back home and that she was there.
I tend to get exited about winter. But there is always some falseness to the expectation. I cover up the fact that nothing is as it should be. There is no real winter, no snow, no proper Christmas. My mother is not here and without her there is an emptiness that cannot be filled, even if I have all the other things I wish for.