Monday was a new day and the start of a new year. I have long believed that how this day is spent will be an reflection of how the upcoming year will pan out. If this thought turns out to be even a little true, then I may be in for a turbulent year.
After being summoned from my bed at 9am, I was immediately put to work helping to clean the house from top to bottom. This was less of a spring clean and more of a ritual cleansing, as all traces of Christmas were stripped with ruthless efficiency and packed into boxes destined to hide in the attic until November once again graces Denmark. The entire process took several hours, as the mess we'd created the day previous was quite extensive, as was the vast collection of Christmas decorations.
After Freddy and I packed away the boxes in the attic, we were sent out to clean up the remanence of the fireworks. First of all, it had been lightly raining all morning up until that point, so when we got there, all the unexploded pieces were laying in thick mud or at the bottom of icy puddles. Secondly, the gail force winds that were plaguing us were really not helping to make the experience more enjoyable. Using a large wheelbarrow and a pitchfork, we spent the next half hour working to retrieve the rubbish from the mud. While working, I had no gloves on as I had to reach into nature's equivalent of liquid nitrogen to grab the mud covered pieces from the puddles. This meant by the time we'd finished I couldn't even feel my hands.
At this point, Freddy stuffed up. Apparently we had to walk a 300m perimeter of the house to look for any big pieces of fireworks that the large explosions had left behind, or that had come from the neighbors' own pyrotechnic displays. As I went to follow Freddy as I usually do, he told me it was better if we split up so we could cover more ground quickly. I was somewhat reluctant to do this, as I was unsure of the parameters of the walk, but Freddy was insistent. He then asked me if I'd like to do the house, or the field. When I chose the field, he pointed in the vague direction of it and went the opposite way. I would now like to point out exactly what went wrong.
This is a picture of the Frank-Jessen's farm, centralised around the house (marked in red) and the large barn, behind which we were cleaning up the fireworks.
This is the direction Freddy wanted me to go-
He intended for me to walk up the path and up the driveway to start walking in in a square perimeter of the house, that looked something like this-
However, due to his vagueness, I heard "walk the perimeter of the field" and walked in the direction he pointed. Kind of. This is the direction I actually went-
As you can see, I made a wrong turn (Totally Freddy's fault). Because I was determined to help find the fireworks, I continued on walking the perimeter of the field like I'd been asked.
And I kept walking. It was about this point that I started thinking- "300m my ass", as it was apparently more conceivable that Freddy sucked as estimating distance (somewhat true) than me having gone the wrong way. I still had no gloves, and my hands were alternating between burning and complete numbness. As I walked, I also discovered another horrendous fact. If you wear ankle socks under gumboots, the back of the shoe will pull the back of your sock completely off, leaving you with a bunched up pile of sock under your foot. This happened more times than I care to think about, and with my hands muddy from fireworks cleanup, I couldn't use my hands to pull them back on, which resulted in me balancing on one foot while desperately rubbing the other against my shin in an attempt to create friction that would drag it back on. I'd say I had a success rate of about 64%.
I kept walking, more than once encountering ground so uneven I nearly fell mutiple times, light rain and wind that would blow off my hood and slice straight through the limited layers I was wearing. At one point, I had to wade through a spontaneous lake the recent rainfall had created, that was only centimeters from reaching the top of the knee high gumboot I was wearing ( I walked very, very slowly to avoid getting wet feet).
This is the I ended up walking-
As I was finally reaching the rear edge of the field something began to twig in my mind. I was definitely in the wrong place. At this point, death seemed a possibility, be it from frostbite (My fingers were hella red and burny cold at that point) or possibly from starvation, as it was past one and I'd not had any food yet that day. The I did what any rational person would in that situation- took photos. I figured they could be a picture account of my final moments.
When I was finally nearing the house, I could see Freddy on the other side of the paddock, walking glumly in the other direction to me. Uve soon caught sight of me and whistled to Freddy, who gave me look like "What the hell?"
As it turns out, Freddy sending me the wrong way (sticking to my guns here) caused a bit of a panic at the farm. Freddy had attempted to follow my tracks (followed the wrong ones like a donk), and the rest of the family had also been searching around the farm. Nina was apparently verging on calling the police, as I'd been out there for about an hour at that point.
I did some maths later, and this is a few observations I made about this journey.
#1. Freddy does actually suck at estimating distance. This is the "300m" perimeter I was supposed to walk-
See that- 640 Meters!!!
#2 observation- when I got back, Freddy was like "I said 300m perimeter, not like 500m!". He really, really sucks at estimating distance. This is the distance I actually walked-
Nearly 2km everyone. I could have died out there.
The thing that annoyed me the most out of the whole ordeal was simply this: I DID NOT FIND A SINGLE BLOODY FIREWORK!!! Not one- Not even a tiny remnant. Had I found even one, It wouldn't have been a waste, but as I returned empty handed I was furious at the amount of time I had wasted in that hellish field.
When I got inside, I was absolutely knackered. I had limited sleep, had just gone on a impromptu trail hike and hadn't eaten in over 12 hours. After eating lunch (clad in the pluto onesie because I was actually that lethargic) I ended up having a really long nap. The rest of the evening is a bit of a blur of blog writing and reading.
Tuesday was quite busy. Helene was babysitting the neighbour's little girl, and also had friends coming over that evening, so the first thing on our agenda was a trip to the shops to get ingredients for that nights dinner. This was quite a fun trip for two reasons: 1, The little girl is super chatty and animated, even to me despite not speaking the same language and 2, The sun was actually out (for maybe the 3rd time since I've been here.)
When we got back, in a strange turn of events I ended up getting taught how to make the traditional thai spring rolls we ate the other day. We also made a hell of a lot, so I'm pretty much a master now.
As babysitting continued, we did some drawings, which was lovely as art doesn't require words. Freddy then came to me with a request- his new axe he got for Christmas was a tad plain.
The brief was vines, and I think I delivered. Freddy also added the question mark symbol of his scout clan (why don't we have clans? That sounds so much cooler than "troope"). I drew onto the ax, and then Freddy macgyvered a soldering iron to burn the design into the wood. It turned out pretty cool:
Next I helped Helene make a salmon and spinach lasagne. I'll admit, I didn't have high hopes for it, but after Helenes gaggle of friends arrived and we got to eat I discovered it was actually quite delicious.
Since the girls had overrun the lounge room that we usually occupy of an evening, Nina and I made our way upstairs to the other living room that I have possibly only sat in once in the whole time I've been here (It's mostly for display, I've decided) and I wrote on my blog and watched Hamish and Andy (I'm feeling deprived of Aussie Accents, they help).
I was woken up at 10 the next morning by Nina who was quite insistent that I be up quickly. Outside my room I met a grumpy Helene that had also been woken up. Apparently we were supposed to be going to the shops at 10, but Helene and I both evidently missed the memo. One of Nina's students was also joining us for the morning, and we all set out closer to eleven, after we had choked down some breakfast.
Helene and I split off from the group and browsed the shopping center in search of one of Helene's friends that was supposed to meet us there. After meeting up, we did some shopping and then stopped in at a cafe. There I bought the world's most expensive vanilla chai latte. It was quite large and very tasty, but do I think it was worth $10? No.
Also strange was the fact that they served my *hot* chai latte with a straw? Not even one of those slushy-straws with a spoon thing on the end. Just a normal straw. In my hot drink. It actually made drinking it quite painful, as the heat didn't disperse nicely in my mouth and instead slid like nails on a chalkboard down my throat. Apart from that, it was lovely.
We headed back home and while the other girls were having lunch (I was putting it off because I'm a self-destructive idiot and read in the car on the way home even though I knew it was going to make me carsick), I facetimed some friends from home. This actually progressed for far longer than I was expecting, especially as it was the middle of the night over there. When I finally hung up (It was necessary. I'd completely missed lunch and was just about to miss the daily tea party we have) I discovered we'd been talking for just under 4 hours (That's got to be some kind of facetime record). I stumbled out into the dining room and snagged the remainders of tea time. Dinner came not long after, which was a new cultural experience for me.
That meaty looking thing, my friends, is deer. Shot by the family's neighbour no less.
I've never indulged in such a meat before, and so approached the task tentatively, eating the potatoes and salad first to mentility prepare. Eventually it was time to face the inevitable and I could stall no longer. With images of Bambi swimming through my mind, I took a bite.
First Impressions: A lot more similar to beef than I was expecting. They are by no means identical, but it was the closest meaty taste I could mentally compare it to. Uve told me he reckons it tastes a bit like rabbit, however I can neither confirm nor deny this statement as I'm not sure if I've ever partaken in bugs bunny, unless we had it in one of Grandma's roadkill surprise pies. Overall, It was quite tasty, and I can tick another thing off my bucket list.
I had school starting the next morning (weirdly on a Thursday, like why bother?), and we had to leave by 7:15, so I actually set an alarm for 6:30 (horrendous right?). I did some drawing and settled in for the night.
That's where I leave it for today, thanks for reading everyone.