Well. I’m trying desperately to update all of my Norway experiences. I wanted to do it all before the end of December (get my post count up again), but it just didn’t happen. I’m a little overwhelmed with large projects at the moment, which is all terribly exciting, but is rather stressful and doesn’t leave me much time for my other usual small occupations, like the updating of this blog (or, watching re-runs of Friends, for example).

So, I’m going to try to write some more down before I forget them. Dad has given me a highly intellectual and difficult to read book on the differences between literate and oral cultures, which I am attempting to bash my way through with very little luck. Anyway, one point they make is that literate cultures have this obsession with the past, writing things down and a fear of forgetting things that have happened. In literate cultures, the past trumps the present, unless there is a change of thinking (that is, what has happened before and has been written down is always followed). However, in oral cultures, because you can only go on what you remember, the present trumps the past (so, even if a literate culture writes down the past for an oral culture and then brings it back for them at a later date, the oral culture goes on what it considers right in the present, as opposed to what people say happened in the past. Does that make sense? I don’t think it does. They are complicated ideas and I’m no good at describing them. I’m only slightly better at reading about them). ANYWAY, the point is, I suddenly have realised that I do have a complete obsession with writing down everything and a dreadful fear of forgetting anything. Which is a bit funny really. I mean… if I forget something, I won’t even remember that I’ve forgotten it, so is it really that bad? I’m sorry, I’m not being very interesting at the moment. Stephen Fry would be giving my minus points on QI. I’m just finding the blogging tough, so instead of just doing it, I’m over-analysing it. Boring, and much harder work, of course.

So, my wonderful plan to go back to Vadsø for a quick trip down memory lane last week all ended rather tragically. That sounds wrong. It wasn’t that the trip to Vadsø wasn’t wonderful. It was! It was all a bit crazily nostalgic. Like, overwhelmingly nostalgic. And at some points it was all so overwhelmingly lovely and nostalgic  that I didn’t quite know what to do or what to say or how to act. So many confused feelings all at the same time I wasn’t even certain what all the individual feelings were.

I didn’t see much of the town. My host sister drove me on a bit of a tour (which we would have called ‘paa runde’ when we were teenagers. It was quite the thing to do on an empty evening or afternoon. Get a car, get a bunch of friends, crank up the music in the car and just drive around. It’s not like there was much to see, but you’d talk and get out of the house and it was warm in the car and sometimes exciting things would happen, like the guy driving the car would spend half an hour deliberately skidding on the ice on the pier and you’d all think he was going to lose control of the car and were going to fall into the water and drown and/or turn into blocks of ice. Oh, the joys of being a young ‘un in a small town), so I got to see the high school, and the shops area and a few other important places, which was great and crazy and… I don’t know I don’t know I don’t have the words. It was cold and dark and there wasn’t much to do, so we didn’t really get out of the car. It was crazy going back. It was crazy seeing everything again. So crazy I want to do it again as soon as possible. Maybe in summer so I can go climb the mountain again.

Anyway, we headed up to the house of a woman I had been very good friends with in Norway. Of course, me being me, I’d been a terrible correspondent over the years, but I was still very much looking forward to catching up. She also had a beautiful baby that I was dying to meet. The afternoon was spent eating lovely Christmas food, catching up with my friend and a variety of other friends who came to drop in (and I will be forever grateful that they took time out of their days to do so, even though I gave them very little notice and have been a terrible correspondent).

The tragic thing happened the next morning. I missed the taxi I had pre-ordered to take me to the HurtiGruta. Apparently it had been sitting outside for ten minutes whilst I sat inside, confident they would call or beep the horn when they arrived. They did neither. By the time the next taxi came by, it was too late. As we drove into town, we saw the HurtiGruta leaving the harbour. So, I didn’t get to ride on my beautiful HurtiGruta again. But, I am seriously considering (depending on money), heading back up North again this September (when the weather may be a little more hospitable), so we’ll see if I can get on it then. I don’t know what my obsession with the HurtiGruta is. I just love everything about it. The name, the romance of a boat that goes all the way up the Norwegian coastline, the actual boats themselves, the fact that they all look different… all sorts of things. One of my friends tells me that they made a documentary that filmed the whole journey up the coast (it takes 6 days) and screened it on TV. I need to see that documentary, because I’m obsessed with doing the same thing (my friend also tells me its quite a boring trip, even if very beautiful and I should save it until I’m 60 – which is how old most people on the boat are – and then she’ll come with me and we can sit on deck in silly knitted hats and I can blog and take photos the whole time. Its a most inviting prospect, I have to admit).

I didn’t do much in my second day in Vadsø. I really should have gone out, but I ended up falling asleep on the couch of my friend, because I hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before. Perhaps I was also a little intimidated by the idea of going around Vadsø and experiencing all those strange, complicated feelings on my own and in the cold and dark. It did seem more than a little intimidating, if a little pathetic now that I’m trying to explain it. My friend came back around lunchtime though, so I did get to chat more with her. She gave me a lovely Norwegian jumper and hand-knitted socks to take with me (I’ve decided hand-knitted socks are possibly my favourite gift ever, I don’t know why people get so down about receiving socks for Christmas), so that was also incredibly lovely. I took the bus back to Kirkenes later that evening and managed to lose my gloves along the way, so the socks also proved very useful – I transformed them into kind of wonky looking mittens, by putting my thumbs into the pocket where the heel should go. It worked tolerably well.

Alright, not much more to say on this subject and I do need to get to bed before an early shift in the morning.


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