“Time goes by so fast, and the older you get the faster it goes.” When I was younger I used to shrug my shoulders and brush that line off whenever someone told me. I totally disagreed, one year felt like and eternity back then..
Well not anymore I tell you. I hear you and am willing to bet that by the time I am 80 a year will feel more like one month than 12!
It is strange that those few childhood years, from about age 3 to age 7 are etched into my mind so deeply that I can still recall sounds, smells and feelings, but somehow I now easily seem to forget what I did one week ago! Strange what getting older does with you..
I remember playing outside the day-care in a thicket of bushes, thinking that the grown-ups had NO WAY of seeing what we up to. We would giggle and laugh and collect “gold beetles”- tiny little beetles that look like golden ladybugs.I’ve later worked at the same daycare,
and the kids still think we can’t see them through those bushes, they still giggle and laugh and collect the same beetles… We see them perfectly well, we just pretend we don’t!
I remember our mom taking my twin brother and me to daycare on the Spark,
and riding down the hill from our house in break-neck speed (that is what it felt like, really we weren’t going very fast)I remember the cold smell of snow in our nostrils, and the feeling of safety that came from the scarf my mom had used to tie us back to back on the spark. The feeling of my stomach doing cartwheels of joy as we swooshed down,down,down the never-ending hill, which is about 25 metres long…
I remember the 10 months we lived and went to school in Greece so clearly that it could easily have been only 2 years ago! I remember my desk at the old rundown school, I remember the old chapel in what was supposed to be the school-yard, I even remember seeing an open casket funeral procession walking slowly by, complete with crying old crones dressed all in black and the body of an old wrinkled lady looking as if she was sleeping instead of being dead.
This sight started me crying as it reminded me of my great grandfathers funeral, which was not an open casket funeral at all and had no procession, in fact the only similarity with the old woman’s funeral and the only one I’d ever been to,was the fact that a very old person, who had probably lived a long, hard and beautiful life had died. Yet I cried when I saw it, because I was sad that my great-grandfather was dead,we weren’t even close, and because I felt shame and regret that the last time we had gone to visit him at the nursery home where he lived. The very day he died I would NOT go inside. It was scary in there, and we had been there my dad and I only the day before. I didn’t like how it smelled in the building, a mix between disinfectant and old stuff, and I thought the fact that my great-grandfather was just lying in a bed and didn’t even recognise me was terrifying! I pleaded with my mom and dad not to have to go in, and in the end my dad and I waited outside, I even remember the feeling of the warmth from the hood of our car as we leaned against it in the sun waiting for my mom and brother to come back out. When they finally came out we got back in the car, and drove home, and as we opened the door the phone rang. My mom picked it up, it was my uncle calling to tell us that our great-grandfather had passed away… Guilt hit me then, so badly, for not having gone inside to say goodbye.. Strange how a little girl, I can’t have been more than 4 at the time, can feel remorse so strongly that she remembers it, and cries over it a year and a half later when she sees a funeral in Greece…
In our family we were very very pre-occupied with what was fair. It was a big word for my brother and I, very very important and never to be forgotten. I think this obsession with what is fair comes with being twins. We had always had to share everything, and when sharing everything being equal and fair was super important. We had always been raised to think about others as well as our selves, sharing stuff and toys, and sharing and quality being important,it was not anywhere near as important as being nice to others.
In Norway, a socialist country, equality is important, and people being of equal worth no-matter where they are from is preached and taught from an early age. You can imagine our disbelief then when we came to Greece and were playing in the gravel covered schoolyard, as we saw all the kids aged 5-9 running over to the fence and start throwing gravel, spitting and shouting obscenities to some poor kids on the other side.
We were mortified! How could they possibly behave like that?! They were not being nice, they were being damned right evil to this poor kids.We couldn’t even begin to understand what was going on… We rushed over to the fence, and peeked through, and saw some of the poorest looking people I have ever seen. Their clothes were either too small, or too big, and tattered looking. And they were all skinny… They were gypsies. Their parents drove around in small,cramped cars filled with whatever you could dream of from toilet paper to garden chairs to watermelons. And I suppose that since the weather was so warm, and the sun was probably baking the inside of the car, they had dropped their kids off outside the church and school to sit in the shade on the pavement and wait for them to come back. The car had just pulled away when the first bully saw them, and started the attack, and the other kids followed as mindless as they were of the fact that these kids were humans too. They were just doing what they had been taught, they had been taught that gypsies were trash, and thus they treated them this way..
My brother and I ran up to the fence and started screaming and shouting too. But we were shouting to the greek kids to back away, and leave them alone. We of course jumped to the defence of the weak, as we had been taught to do, and when the greek kids paid us no attention we ran to the principal, he would surely set a stopper to this…
He came out to see what the commotion was all about, and low and behold he started screaming to the poor frightened gypsy kids as well. He told them to stop bothering the school children and go sit somewhere else.. And they took their tattered old toys, and presumably went to wait somewhere else for their parents.. My brother and I learned something that day, that there was a huge difference between being raised in a small fishing village in Greece, and being raised in wealthy Norway. And as my mom and dad tried to explain these kids behaviour to us, not as something that was ok, but as something that was different, that they were wrong, but that they hadn’t been taught better we learned another lesson. That kids will mimic their parents behaviour, and that we were lucky to have parents that knew better..
I have many amazing memories from living in Greece as well, I remember shooting through the beautiful blue water wearing swim fins, and feeling like I was flying. Eyes open in the salty water, and blurry shapes of stones and sand underneath me.
I remember eating copious amounts of what we had named “thing-ice”- a small ice-cream that came in a box that had a secret compartment underneath where you could find a little thing. Usually a toy or a sticker.
The amazing girls that lived upstairs in the house we were renting,
who played with me everyday, even the oldest one who was at least 4 years older than me. And I remember being very envious of anyone who had two sisters to play with. My brother was fun, and my sister was cute, but she was only a baby and more of a doll than a playmate.
I have so many memories from Norway as well, walking through the street I lived in I can spot a thousand places we used to play or make cabins, I can remember all the houses of my childhood friends. We used to come and go as we pleased between our homes. Play a bit here, play a bit there.
It was great.. A summer back then felt like it went on forever, as if it would never end. Now this summer has hardly begun, and I feel like it will be over tomorrow!
I remember never-ending winters, we used to play outside in the dark, the sun never comes over the horizon between November and January when we used to make snow men outside
play with flashlights and dig snow caves. One of my favourite things to do was watch the northern lights as they wound themselves slowly across the sky, sometimes only in green, but once in a while in all the colours you could possibly imagine. And when that happened it would take my breath away, and I would want to run inside to tell everyone how beautiful it was, but I didn’t want to risk it being gone before I came back. So I would lie back in the snow and just watch it. It still takes my breath away to this day!
But the fact that I do remember my early years so fondly, makes me want to make sure that Nicholas has beautiful memories from his childhood years as well. I want him to remember these completely careless years as some of the best of his life. I know I can’t pick his memories for him, so therefore I want him to have millions of beautiful experiences so that the ones he will remember will be good ones.
I try to think like a child when I am with him, what would make him the happiest, what is the most fun thing for him. And then do whatever I come up with. I’m probably not right all the time, there is so little he can’t tell me verbally yet, but I still get a pretty good idea of whether he likes what we are doing or not.
I am hereby naming my-self a memory collector, and I will keep collecting memories with my boy, and recording them here on the blog for as long as it is still fun for both of us. It is amazing to think that he can read this when he gets older if he needs help remembering exactly what it was we did that time..
On a completely different note Kenny’s team A.I.K won again yesterday, great game and so fun with the first win away this season! I am so proud every time I see my husband on TV ❤ Nicholas thinks it is funny too! He talks and points at the TV, and smiles every time they show Kenny kicking the ball..
Hope everyone has fun making memories today!
p.s when I am in Norway next time I will scan some proper pictures to put on this post, in the meantime you will have to make to with photos of the photos 😀