With the exception of the Copenhagen Airport during layovers, I have never been to Denmark.
So, when Esten´s soccer team signed themselves up for Dana Cup, a week long soccer tournament, I became excited!
Dana Cup claims to be one of the biggest and most prestigious soccer tournaments in the world, and takes place in Hjørring, Denmark.
And since I have never been there I showed up with a list of MUST DOs.
Most important for me was to take a day trip to see some of the German bunkers that are now washing up from their hiding places in the sand and are slowly eroding out to sea.
And thank goodness we arrived a day before the tournament began to experience the history, and the uncommonly good weather.
We ate the famous Skagen Salad,
and marveled at the sight of two seas coming together in Grenen.
Then we found our way home to our tiny ocean front cabin, where we discovered many of our neighbors to be vacationing German parasailers. So cool to watch!
We took our bikes and loved how flat Denmark is compared to Norway! Biking in Norway is not for the gear-less beach bikes from my childhood!
The next morning we went to Esten´s first scheduled soccer game, a game in the qualifying round against a Frankfurt, Germany team, and our boys lost.
It was clear they were nervous. They have never played in such a big tournament before and it showed.
Ironically, at the end of the game one of the the German trainers approached the parents and trainers of the Lillehammer, Norway team. Evidently, he felt our team was special and particularly difficult to beat!?!
ANYWAY…If and when they lose out of the tournament, my itinerary of things to see and do in Denmark for the rest of the week was ready.
But, after the qualifying round, THE DREAM TEAM CONTINUED TO WIN!
And wow was it exciting….
I began to text updates to Dad in LA (Lower Alabama). He was on the edge of his seat til the final second.
We ended up watching a LOT of soccer, and seeing very little Denmark.
NRK 1 news showed up and filmed the games so all of Norway could follow along on the nightly news. Other teams and coaches started showing up to watch our games, and the boys were beside themselves.
You could see our coaches were having a difficult time hiding their excitement as well.
Anyway, our thirteen year olds, made it to the finals of The Dana Cup!
A pretty big crowd showed up for the rainy 10:00 am final game on Saturday morning to see Norway vs Mexico.
We could see our guys warming up on a practice field in the background, then they disappeared into the locker room.
The official introduced the Lillehammer team first, and the boys nervously paraded onto the field. They were stretching and bouncing around like they had ingested too much sugar.
to everyone´s surprise, there was an announcement that Mexico had booked their return flights the day before due to a scheduling misunderstanding!
You should have seen the looks on the boy´s faces when it finally became clear that they had just won The Dana Cup for 1012!
It should be mentioned that it has been over twenty years since I was first seduced by yoga. It was a romantic fling that began with Iyengar, where my yoga virginity was gently taken upon a colorful handmade cotton mat. And with the help of bolsters, belts, chairs, and blocks, I gained experience in patience and technique through the use of my body and drishti (focal point, intelligence and wisdom).
Then I fell head over heels for Bikram, a hot and strong class that was a force that overtook me like a bad addiction. Bikram has the ability to change everything. He has a way of making you crazy, and will leave you lying on the floor dripping wet, exhausted, and wanting more.
Unfortunately, a sudden move caused a painful break-up between Bikram and I. Things do happen for a reason, and looking back, I understand now that I wasn’t ready for such an affair. I was rushing, and needed to slow down. Bikram was too young and egotistical for me, at the time, but I desperately hope to bump into him again someday.
An older and wiser Hatha class in my new home town served as a temporary bandage for my broken heart. This slow and nurturing classic was as therapeutic as a trip home. However, it wasn´t too long after my introduction to Hatha that I met Energy Yoga, a vinyasa class based on Ashtanga. I had no idea what Ashtanga was, but it was invigorating, and seemed to satisfy me more than the classic classes; yet, something was missing.
I started studying Ashtanga on my own, and applying the tips and tricks I had absorbed spongelike from books, DVDs, and YouTube to the led vinyasa classes I was attending. The sweat I had been missing from Bikram returned, stirring passion once again.
About a year later, my virtual guru David Swenson and his wife Shelly Washington came to Oslo to teach a course. Nothing could keep me from attending, and the result was insanely emotional. David and Shelly leavened my infatuation which gave rise to love. Through flow and flight, they inverted my senses and encouraged me to become more serious about my personal yoga practice. But I still felt empty.
Years of studying and practice go by, and I notice the thing I am desperately awaiting begins to slowly appear. Like blurry letters coming into focus, I see the answer becoming clear. It isn´t the excitement of passion I am missing, it is the commitment.
Yoga isn´t training. It is a way of life. And although I have heard and read this repeatedly, the ah-ha moment took it’s sweet time meandering through my super-thick layer of denial.
This realization prompts the weight to shift on my mental pendulum. And before charting a course through troubled waters, a sense of calm descends. I am ready.
For more Goodness and Grit yoga posts read: Extreme Yoga Under the Influence of Gold
Once again I was caught without my lipstick.
I suppose I will simply apply from now on whether I think I need it or not.
Because this morning,
when the LIPS (Lillehammer Is Pike Svømmerne/ Lillehammer Ice Maiden Swimmers)
made their way through the foot of fresh powder to the icy water´s edge of Mjøsa,
a photographer stood waiting.
Irritating the lipstick-less as well as the swimsuit-less.
I had my suit, but you know there isn´t a dressing room in sight.
And the sun is back.
No more hiding behind the curtains of darkness.
This would have bothered me seven or so years ago before hopping the pond.
But the realness of Norway is grounding.
None of us are perfect.
we all age.
Wobbly bits that hang slightly lower than they once did, is par for the course.
Norwegians do NOT care.
They will change clothes in front of you in a blink as if it is the most natural thing on Earth to do.
ESPECIALLY in the summer time.
When the LONG awaited warm summer day finally arrives in Norway,
Norwegians will begin peeling off layers with NO reservation.
A lady gardening in her bra and shorts is a common visual.
My neighbor (age 60-something) gets her paper out of her mailbox wearing only her panties (no bra) every single summer morning.
Norway is freeing,
Ice swimming is too.
With an added adrenaline rush.
I do wish I had on lipstick though.
Rumor has it we could make the Lillehammer Calendar.
if you are EVER visiting Lillehammer and wish to spend an invigorating morning with LIPS,
let us know.
It is an experience of a lifetime!
you are WOMAN enough.
(Don´t forget your lipstick.)
Upon receiving my latest blog post,
`Kim, I just knew from the title this was going to be about Esten.´
It wasn´t, but I understand why he would think it was.
Esten has a Serious Shoe
He comes by it honestly.
MUST READ Esten stories:
I parked, and sat still until the garage door was closed securely.
Kimberly is bar none one of the MOST common names in the States!
The fact anyone could have a difficult time remembering and pronouncing it is mind boggling.
Shaking off what was surely a mental OVER exaggeration, I entered the place I now call home, and went straight to the coffee pot. It is remarkably dark for early afternoon, but such is Norway in December.
My mind becomes distracted by thoughts of this horrific house.
I really do feel like I am on vacation in a bad rental.
We have not unpacked;
there is no room!
And I seriously do not wish to pay for a kitchen nor a bathroom this disgusting.
I want to complain, be upgraded, or better yet get a refund.
But It´s too late.
These first few months I have been in a surreal euphoric state of mind.
I´m not happy, but I´m not miserable either.
I am simply here, mentally wandering around aimlessly.
Lately my ora has been fluctuating towards misery. Being postpartum is NOT helping.
I remember the culture shock of relocating from Florida to Boston as a college student.
It took a good year to make piece with that decision.
What I wouldn´t give to be in Boston now!
I tell myself to give Norway a chance, but I fear a year isn´t going to make a difference.
As I begin the hypnotized motions of filling a filter with grind, something catches my eye, and warms the heart I was certain I had left lifeless in America.
I saw a candle flicker from a kitchen window two blocks away.
A signal sent only to me.
And I respond by lighting the globe in my kitchen window.
A signal of welcomed friendship sent in the language of flame.
An announcement that I am home and putting coffee on!
Truth be known, I have no idea who lives in the house two blocks away, and it may or may not be a kitchen.
But every time that candle is lit, I pretend someone is reaching out to me. A silly game of secret signals I have been playing for sometime.
Snapped out of the coffee making trance, by the baby waking, I think to myself red wine is what I really want,
and was tempted to pour a glass.
The boys will be home from school soon, and I hear myself say out loud, `What mother sits at the kitchen table at homework time with a glass of wine?´
I pour a cup of warm brew, cursing the taste and missing Starbucks. I also pull out the cookies and milk.
The doorbell startles me. I peer through the kitchen window, but can not see who is there.
I make my way to the front door and can see through the gross 1970s gold frosted glass on the door the silhouette of a tall man, and I know instantly who is on the other side.
Simultaneously the boys enter the back door slamming it behind them and the baby starts crying.
An idiot amidst chaos, I open the front door and find the man from the gym standing in a hunched over stance holding a single red rose.
He wipes his mouth on several occasions as he stammered and stuttered his way through what he was evidently trying to tell me at the gym.
`Merry Christmas Kimberly. You were not easy to find.´
My mentals begin sifting through the ingredients around me. I am guessing he is in his sixties, and it is becoming apparent he is a stroke victim or something…
I hear my second grader console the baby and recognized the sound of my middle son kicking his soccer ball repetitively into the wall. Something that normally drives me APESHIT, but today I am finding calm in the sound.
The visiter continues, `I have given everyone at the gym that has touched me this year a rose. And I wanted you to have one too.´
With a slightly crooked smile, he hands me the bud, turns and walks away.
Eight years later….
He is now one of my people.
A dependable and reassuring face in a yoga class.
One special someone out of MANY that contribute to making my daily routine complete and fulfilled.
A piece of the puzzle to the map guaranteed to help shorten my journey home.
Grab a coffee and catch up on the Grit Part I Horror of Reality