I am going to ski. Maybe it doesn’t sound strange to you. But it is. I can not ski at all nor do I have any desire to do so, but I won a trip. And now I am getting prepared for a week of ‘extreme sports and some strange Norwegian language.
Norwegian love affairs
“You have to wear layers, so first the thermo then the fleece and then you top it off with the soft shells.” Ski socks, ski trousers, ski underwear. Of course I possess none of this, so I go to friends begging them to help complete my outfit. I realize I am probably the only person on earth that does not ski. I borrow a fleece from one person, a soft shell from another. And as of today I am the proud owner of purple ski trousers, a bright red ski jacket and an orange soft shell.
Norwegians are snowblind
I sincerely hope Norwegians are snowblind when I lie there, dazzling, in the Norwegian snow. Wistfully I think back to one time in the United States. I was fifteen, going down Mount Christal in Washington State on ski’s. Only to impress that nice guy from 11th grade.
I possessed no skiing gear whatsoever. In jeans and completely inexperienced, I threw myself of that mountain. That the boy did not so much as notice me was probably because I came down holding all the bushes that I had passed during my wild ride, so when I got to the bottom, I ended up with an entire wood in my arms.
To be quite honest, I had kind of hoped to pass the week sitting in sledges pulled by dogs and horse carriages. But when I consulted a map of Hallingdal, it became clear that this wasn’t the area where working animals are being used.
The only animals I might bump into are reindeer. “Always stop for a reindeer, because a reindeer never travels alone”, I read in the chapter a warning to our travellers. I also learn that reindeer’s are not doing too well due to the climate change and that they do better when castrated. But that turns out to be rather expensive so the Sami, the native people in the north of Scandinavia, do this with their teeth. I think I am sort of glad I didn’t win a trip to Lapland.
The second part of my preparations involves learning Norwegian. Of course I don’t want to end up not having a word to say for my self out there in these fjords, so I do a course of Norwegian for dummies. However, I stumble upon some disturbing matters.
They seem to be people of few words. I mean when you want to say: “Excuse me I didn’t quite catch what you were saying, can you repeat that?” Apparently all you have to say is: hae! And full means you are absolutely drunk. But when I peek in the chapter sex and romance I fear the worst.
Change of falling in love
Let me explain, I check that chapter because this week it came out that the chance of falling in love during a skiing trip is much higher than at home. According to a study of Dr. Niall MacFarlane of the university of Glasgow, a young woman is found twice as attractive under circumstances we know as ‘extreme sports’.
Whether I still count as a young woman might be doubtful but since cross country skiing is an extreme sport I’d better be prepared for an unforeseen liaison.
Sex and romance
In the crash course you find some amazing sentences under Sex and Romance, for example: “I adore your blushes” But then, I perceive something strange among the genitals. Aquarium! Aquarium? And a little further in the very educative chapter titled: Stay the night or rather not? I find steam train.
Completely confused I continue browsing: Problems in the big city. Not that I am going to any big city but the problems are very reassuring. No robberies or violence but simple incidents like: “I am lost, could you please walk with me.” Apparently that is what they do in Norway. They walk with lost strangers.
Skiing, leave alone an extreme sport like cross country skiing, can’t be found in my book, but I have been thinking. If I happen to get lost, I just take a hold of a nice Norwegian and ask him whether he fancies walking with me. To the aquarium maybe or the steam train.
Text: Anneke de Bundel – Images: Nicole Franken