Monday, March 26, 2012

The Appreciation Factor

Why is it that often ones 'appreciation factor' of certain things kicks in too late?

In yesterday's Travel Section of the Sunday paper, I read one of those pointless interviews that they have with someone who is considered a celeb about "their kind of holiday". 

Of course everyone has what they feel is their perfect holiday, and as an adult, you have the luxury of choosing this holiday for yourself.

I took a deep breath when I got to this question:
Q: "What was your worst holiday ever? What happened?
A: "Barging through France. Trapped in a small vessel for one week with my parents."

Straight away atleast 2 things struck me:
  1. I have been looking at barging holidays in France myself, although only for My Man and I.  I had two thoughts on browsing through their brochure. The first was "its pretty expensive for a week," and the second "what a lekker holiday to do as a family."  You can stop when you want to, you have bikes on board to go for long rides, you can fish, you can swim, there are canals with watersports, and castles to explore. It seems like a much better idea than dragging your kid around through French museums, art galleries and cathedrals, doesn't it?  I have no doubt that if this holiday was the worst one he had, that he bitched and performed about how bored he was, and if he didn't he probably sat in a corner and moped around for the duration, which means that if it was his worst, it was twice as much of a nightmare for his parents who had probably saved for ages to get there (especially on our exchange rate) and who had high hopes of a lovely family holiday with plenty for the kids to do, who now had to endure a thick lip from a kid with no appreciation of how much thought goes into stuff like this.
  2. The next thought I had was how much I wish I could go back and relive my childhood holidays that my parents took us on. We went camping in the mountains and to game reserves, and I am sure, no, let me rephrase that, I know that I was a perfect cow most times. Sulking because I wasn't with my friends, or it was too long in the car, or it was too cold, probably anything I could find to complain about, I probably did.  I remember those holidays now as amazing times and talk about them as great memories. In fact, when My Girl was born, one of the first things we did was buy a caravan and go to the game reserve. I wanted to share the holidays with her that I had enjoyed myself in hindsight. I wish I could go back and behave properly and make it a better holiday for everyone.
My heart just went out to this guys parents who had obviously gone out of their way to find something that would be fun for their kids, and all it is to him is his worst holiday ever.

Payback time will come when he has kids of his own one day.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Home from the Holiday!

  Well, we went, we saw, we loved and now we are home.
We did everything we wanted to do, and I am pleased to report that we did see the Northern Lights so my relationship with the Author is still very much in tact. I think he took me seriously about us having issues if He didn't come out and play. (Shhhh....don't tell Him, but I would still love Him anyway! :-) )

I learnt some stuff these 2 weeks - more than what is noted here but hey... this is a start:

  • You can survive the cold if you know how to dress!  Thank you to "My Norwegian Connection" for telling me about the coldcream for your face!
  • I could never believe that K-Way fleece could really be THAT warm. I am now a believer.
  • Snow is powdery. Yes, books say it. Movies show it. I have felt it. It's awesome.
  • Snow can crunch underfoot. Yes, books describe it and in movies you hear it. I crunched snow underfoot.
  • Norway is OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD expensive. I can't tell you. They had South African Wine on the menu and for a 1/4 glass of wine we could have bought about 2 full bottles at home. NO kidding. About R80+ for less than half a glass of white wine. I didn't drink much! Everything is expensive.
  • I don't like central heating. Although we naturally would have frozen without it.
  • I missed colour a bit. No, let me rephrase that. I missed colour alot. The snow and landscape is gorgeous, but coming from a country called the Rainbow Nation - which is appropriate for more reasons than only the people - I missed the colour that I take so for granted each day.

 We saw this statue outside the Palace in Oslo and I loved the inscription beneath it. It read: "The People's Love, My Reward."   Not often one hears that these days.

So now the #1 thing on my Bucket List can be ticked (Northern Lights) and My Man and My Girl got to Ski and Snowboard resepctively, so their #1 boxes were ticked too.

I wish I could describe the lights. I can't really. We were in danger of not seeing them at all. The weather had been overcast with snow and fog the whole way. I didn't mind it at all other than it made the lights impossible to see.  Finally, the night before (I think) we were due to disembark, the announcement came through that the lights were beginning to play. We almost ran up to the deck, we were leaving a harbour and there was some light. The lights looked more white/grey, almost like the milky way looks in pictures. We could just make out the lines. My Girl took some pics which showed the lights to be neon green like you see in the movies. My thoughts were "Oh, so they are not really green to the eye, but more in the photo", I stayed out until they disappeared and then went down to the lounge again.

About an hour later, the announcement came through that the lights were out again. I decided I was going to take every opportunity to see them and went out again. This time it was really dark. As we watched the sky just lit up, a collective gasp from all on deck was clearly audible, I am not sure anyone breathed, it was spectacular - beyond green, dancing and twirling over the mountains and across the sky. I don't think I moved. I know I froze but it was worth it. They only lasted maybe 8-10 minutes, if that before they disappeared for the night but it was the most beautiful dance to witness and I felt so privileged and emotional to have seen them.

The next favourite event was the dog sledding! Incredible - at dusk through thick snow across the landscape. Unforgettable. Everything. Completely Unforgettable.

I have been home a week today. Still trying to get used to it.