Sunday, July 19, 2015

Second Time Around

Dear Dan,

We're bidding farewell to Norway and Bergen's clouds are teary to see us go ; )

Yesterday's beer tasting in Flåm's Ægir Brewery and last night's bar hopping left me to sleep like a baby only to be disturbed by some disturbing bass thumping from the bar below us. My dreams took me to a techno bar and I then had to engage in the formidable post-midnight task of emptying my bladder in a shared bathroom (by the other guests on our floor). You know me well enough to know my loathing for public bathrooms. My threshold for pain is reasonably high. But if you ever decided to extract top secret secrets from me about my past lives, you know what to do, right? Lock me up in a public restroom with no ventilation. Of course, do keep in mind that my mindfulness techniques are getting far superior practice on this trip!

This morning's walk to see the "Red Church" was magical. The clouds hung low in the hillside picturesque houses. They didn't seem ready to wake up from their cozy bed in the hills.

Our second time around in the same hotel we stayed in a couple days earlier, was different. Different building, different wifi connections  (connecting versus no connection), different breakfast (thanks for advocating for a vegetarian option), different bathroom situation  (our private pee-poop pit versus coop style with 10 other people, all of whom had very active bowel and bladder movements!), different setup. But it didn't matter. It was comfortable, a clean decent place to sleep, and had free breakfast. Our second time around was different.

Our second time on the boat through the Sonjefjord was different. It was a fancier boat with an easier standing setup in the back. Which meant that it was a lot less windy on the top deck and also I had to bust out my standing-in-a-Delhi-bus kickass ninja skills. Especially ready was I for the creeper who kept trying to take photos of me. You're in front of the most gorgeous glacial valleys and phenomenal waterfalls, and you want to take a picture of me?? Nincompoop. The views, not my views, were out of worldly. They didn't exist in time or space, yet they occupied all of the time and space my imagination could fathom. Our second time around was different.

Our second time on the train was distention than the first. Felt like a ride in a less comfortable seater class Shatabdi Express. The toilet location planner for the drain must've never had to vacate her bladder on a train. Who puts a toilet right on the junction of train cars?! I slept like a baby and you were kind enough to let me snore on your lap. Still, the ride was safe, comfortable, smooth, and took us to the place we wanted to go.  Yet,  our second time around was different.

Our second time walking around the streets of sweet Bergen was different. Thanks to the thorough Julie tour, we knew where we wanted to go without getting too lost. Although getting lost with you, I'm realizing, is one of my favorite things to do. We wandered through the main park and down into Bryggen to see the shops in the old wooden houses by the fish market and port. We alleyed in and out in the light drizzle of the evening and hit jackpot when we found 3 vegetarian items on a menu (4, but oyster sauce didn't come from oyster mushrooms ; ). 

We watched dusk paint the streets with shadows while we sipped on King Christian's favorite beer at the only bar allowed to serve it in Norway. We felt mild stress trying to grab a seat at the hip and trendy bar No Stress and then got rudely thrown out of Felix for having our own water bottle (no libation without hydration). We noticed the different food and drink choices at McDonalds, Starbucks, and 7-Elevens. 

We wondered how many cigarettes a day the average smoking Norsk smokes. We noticed the things that were the same from two nights ago in Bergen. And we noticed that our second time around was different.

I appreciated the difference. It reminded me to not become too complacent and pretend that I knew what was going on. It also reminded me to keep my mind and heart open to the sameness in new situations and the difference and newness in old ones. It reminded me to not take any experience for granted and leave space on our adventure for surprises.

It's been only 5 days since we ran to catch the bus in our dear Boulder, but I'm not the same Suparna I was then.

This time around, I am different.

Are you, Dan?


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