Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Dip in The Oresund

Life is a series of crossing and re-crossing our steps. It's the experiences that we have between those steps that give us a new perspective and makes it seem like we're treading anew. No place is exactly the same if we are different inside.

Such was the feeling as I rode through Dyrehaven (The Deer Park) perhaps for the last time yesterday. What a pleasure it's been to see the changes of the season and the deer habitat. The foliage was bright green, bursting with life. The new baby fawns were feeding and scampering together in packs, a short distance from their adult guardians. While Van Morrison, my "minister of soul", piped through my IPOD I was filled with splendor and gratefulness. Nature is my greatest teacher, because I feel closest to God.

About an hour into the ride, I came out on the Standvejen, near Skodsborg. I stopped at a local beach where people come out every day, all day long, for their dip in the Oresund. The sound is the waterway between Sweden and Denmark and the water temperature runs slightly higher than the ocean. It's a fairly common sight to see bathers walking across the street in their bathrobes, getting out of their cars in robes or changing in the bathhouse provided. They walk out onto the pier, take off their robes, some with suits and others without, and step down into the water, swim for 5 - 10 seconds, get out, put on their robes and walk or drive back.

Danes will do this year-round, which amazes us foreigners. The Danes are hearty people, man. They train at a young age to enjoy the out-of-doors. Mothers purposely put their babies in prams outside in the winter for naps! I guess that's why when it's summer here, people where shorts and sun dresses when it's in the 60's. That's summer baby! But I digress.

When I got to Skodsborg I figured this was the opportunity to join in a Danish pastime. It was now or never. I walked away from the popular pier and down the beach, near some boulders and modestly hidden from the roadside. I stripped down to "au natural" and walked right in. I did the Danish 10 second swim, came out and quickly dried off and dressed. The whole episode couldn't have lasted more thn 3 minutes and I felt refreshed and envigorated. We all knew there was a good reason they do this.

Biking home south along the Strandvejen, I took a mental picture of the views of Sweden, ships going in and out of port, the windmills, the sailing boats and docks and committed to memory what a unique and interesting place this city is to live in.

Later that day, my friend Geeta Adams had a farewell luncheon for Gail Gorman and I - Americans both leaving after only a year here. Everyone brought such fabulous foods and desserts and I had a rare glass of wine in the middle of the day. The group gave us a tea pot from Illums Bolgihus, the quintessential Scandinavian household products store. The gift couldn't be any more Danish, since tea and cofee are the daily fuel source. It was nice to have a formal good-bye to mark my sisterhood of fellow ex-pat wives. There's a solidarity among these women - a lifeline to sanity in a sea of uncertainty. My thanks and appreciation to them all.

Today and the next 2 days will be a somewhat avoidance of packing, by taking more bike rides and visiting with friends, assemblies at school and such. I'll leave the main push for the weekend. Craig is officially off beginning Friday evening, for 2 weeks. We'll bust out the last 3 days together before the packers arrive Tuesday morning.

This is the beginning of the end. The transition back home will take 2 months, from the time I start packing here, until the last box is unpacked in our Portland home in mid-August. To quote the greatest known band in the universe, "What a long strange trip it's been".

Love and Light,
Mary Jo
comments to thecohen4dk@gmail.com

1 comment:

Michelle Rafter said...

Joey, I can't wait to have you back home, but at the same time, I will miss these reports. You must promise to continue writing until the last box is unpacked in August. Then you must promise to talk to me about turning these blog posts into a book and how to shop around a proposal. Expats would love it, but the things you've written about your life over the past year have a very universal quality that would appeal to anybody. And your writing is beautiful, as it always has been.

Good luck in the next few days, and have fun in Croatia.