Location: Bergen and Stavanger, Norway
Everything here seems so figured out, every cog in the wheel following an intricate schedule of tugs and turns, each tooth locking the next with near surgical precision, with little room for error or greasing. My bus stops in Storavatnet and I jump out and cross the divide onto another bus, who closes his door behind me, the last passenger. He had been waiting for me. As the brakes release, the hulking vehicle pitches forward and makes the 270 degree wind up onto the bridge to Sotra; and suddenly, it is snowing again, sheets of sticky, white clumps gusting towards the windshield. The cloud is a single strip of menacing gray across the sky directly above us, and I can almost make out its structure as it forms over the mountains in the western horizon. On both sides of me, the sky is a clear vivid blue, and the sun is shining.
We slowly cross the divide, and an island appears through the fog. By the time we stop in front of Glenn’s house in Hjelteryggen, only some ten minutes later, the sun is shining once again, and there is only a shean of water on the ground belieing any existence of snow. His is the type of house I think of when I think of Norway. A multistoried cabin, all wood on the inside, timbers and beams naked like the inner belly of a whale. Spacious and cozy and rustic all at the same time, and warmed by fire, heat, and a fiercely happy husky pup.
Poor Glenn on his liquid/mashed potato diet after having a tonsillectomy, watching as his friends ate all the solid food his mother created. I felt for him, but it didn’t stop me from cramming all the delicious chicken and chocolate cake down my gullet. This meeting was both novel and familiar. Novel in the environment, halfway across the world from where we last met, with the addition of family and friends and scenery, and the perk of unexpectedness. Familiar in the themes: friendly banter, shared lives, ubiquitous Go. He is hosting the first Bergen invitational this summer, which is an exciting development. Of course we played a game (it is after all, what brought us together in the first place), and I am quite thankful, that this act managed to reawaken my inner Go warrior, making me once again think Go thoughts: attacking and defending, survival and slaughter. I told Glenn I would work on my inner viking, and try to be more violent on the board. Perhaps I will improve some more when our next lesson occurs, wherever and whenever that may be.
Traveling south after all that was a bit of a challenge. I seem to have adapted to the chilly climes a bit too well. When there’s no snow to tumble through, I venture it feels almost stifling. In the direct sun in Stavanger, I find myself unwilling to escape the clutches of winter and consistently ducking into shade and wind tunnels to find some semblance of refreshment.
Location: Stavanger, Norway