Happy New Year! It´s only the fourth day and this far I am happy that I am in the process of keeping with my resolutions. I am a firm believer of New Year resolutions, a habit that dates back to my childhood days. I am a very talkative person in nature and grew up with everyone telling me I talk too much and even getting branded the noisy maker of the family. Funny enough, even to this age, I get people saying, “We miss your presence around and your laughter.” Ha, ha ha!! No wonder I landed in broadcast media! I can do all the talking I want to and get paid for it!
So when I was young, one resolution I would always make was: This New Year, I will keep quite, say very little, never start any conversation, will not laugh and will just keep my mouth shut. When it hit midnight-New year I went mum. I never said a word, only a prayer to ask God to make me less noisy.
I woke up the following day and would really struggle to keep quite, just reminding myself: Patience, you made a resolution to be quite. It failed the first day and I would cancel it off, I always went back to being me -talkative, loving my hearty laughter and just being social to my family and friends, though I would try to work on others.
Now if you’re like me, as you get ready to ring in a new year, you like to reflect on the previous one, the memories you made, the lessons you learnt and the successes you had. Where did you go wrong and what could possibly be carried into the following year, if need be.
Last week, immediately after Christmas went down with flu and fever and spent my whole week indoors. It was a blessing in disguise. I took it as an opportunity to have some me-time as I reflect on 2010. I was happy to go through my resolutions with 88% achievement and realised the 12 % wouldn´t have been achieved because of one reason or another. As I reflect back on the past three years, I realised I have managed a progressive graph, very encouraging therefore a reason to write new ones for the year 2011 and I am already expecting at least 90% plus achievement.
That aside, I had a great New Year at Kristiansand. I had three pending invitations from my friends, but then there was this one I just couldn´t resist. One of my dear friend, a 70-year-old lady, a mother and a grandmother of two, sent in her invitation long ago, “ Patience, I would love to be with you over this New Year, I know you are already booked for Christmas. If you get other tempting offers for the New Year, please go, however I would really love to be with you. I know you are a young lady and maybe you might want to be with your friends, but just remember would like to be with you and my girlfriends.” Said my former Norsk teacher and a friend, Inger Gupta.
When I was indoors and feeling down because of the flu, here she was. With full shopping of fruits and medications just to ensure I did recover before the New Year. She was so nice to me, felt like a young girl and of course I really do miss being mothered. So by Thursday, was back on my feet and did confirm my invitation and she promised to be pick me up on the New Years Eve at 4pm.
As I earlier said, trust typical Norwegians to keep time so on Friday at exactly 4pm, there she was, parked outside my apartment. When I heard my phone ring, I knew it must be her and rushed out. We headed to Søm, 9 Kilometers away from the city centre. She tells me, her girlfriends wouldn´t join us for the night so we will just be the two of us. I am excited, after all I love her company and always want to be her center of attention because she has so much wisdom and advise to share with me. Friday was one crazy day, slippery, cold and windy. Seated as her co-driver, she adjusts the heater on my seat and ensures that I am warm enough. “You know you really need to keep yourself warm, you need to fully recover, this flu can be dangerous at times,” she said.
In 20-30 minutes we are off the city and to her place. A magnificent building, beautiful decorated and I immediately fall in love with how she has managed to plan her house. She tells me she has been living in that house with her family for the past 31 years, with her two sons all grown up and living on their own while his husband is abroad.
She has some special love with her young grandson and tells me stories after stories concerning him. I like the fact that she holds so dear most items in her house, and has memories of how each item was obtained. She even shows me a cutlery set she inherited that was her mother´s wedding gift.
She takes her time to light the many candles in the house as I try to assist her and in a minute, the house looks really cozy. We then head to the kitchen where she shows me around, and of course my New Year gift from her is to learn a new recipe. She carefully guides me through our meal and promises me it will take a little time before we finally settle to feast. I am excited about this.
We are making a special New Year meal, potatoes, meatballs, greens, Rodkål, which takes us about 30 minutes. With me, is my pen and paper and writing down the ingredients and the recipe. Once we are done, we serve and head to the dinning table, with all the candles lit up, the food looks yummy! I took a little just to try it first before I head for my second round.
We take our time amidst hearty laughter, insisting that I need to go for a refill and a constant reminder she made all the time, ”Tomorrow is a brand new day, very inexpensive indeed, so don´t start it by giving it your meal costs, you have plenty to eat today, so you can go even for a third round.” Ha ha ha! This was funny and so tempting. I am sure she had no clue that one of my resolutions was to watch my weight.
By the time we were done on the second round, I had no plans of adding a thing, not even the drinks nor the desert. She convinced me that we could take a break and watch the Kings New Year speech from the Television, one of main rituals Norwegians follow year in, year out. So at exactly 7.30pm we sit to follow the monarch´s adress to his subjects.
I was informed that Norway is famous for the fireworks display. So as early as 6pm, the city was already noisy with sounds of fireworks all over. So we struggle to follow the speech more so because she has to translate for me. Being too full to concentrate, I fall asleep on the sofa seat. Unknowingly, she covers me with a blanket, I am in a dreamland and wake up one and half hours later. She then tells me about the speech and that the King did emphasize more on upholding of human rights and equality for all.
We then head to the kitchen to do the cleaning of the dishes and then come back for a second round of dessert. A Norwegian meal is incomplete without dessert. So we sit down, and I am asked to make a choice on what to take. There´s wine, soft drinks, soda, coffee and tea and being the Kenyan that I am, for me tea anytime. A cake is available among other Christmas cookies so I am spoilt for choice. But my only problem, I do not have any space left for more. I struggle on a small piece of cake which takes me like an hour to finish.
After a moment of chit-chat, it´s almost half past 10 so we are on our way out again. We are heading to the Cathedral church in town for the midnight mass. We walk to the garage with a lot of struggle, hand in hand, carefully and definitely scared of falling down because it is too slippery and windy. In less than 20 minutes we make it on time for the mass. The town is packed despite the cold and wet weather which I thought would keep most people indoors.
The service takes exactly one hour and at midnight we are done. The church bell is rung 10 times to mark the countdown and unlike Kenya, this is a different kind of mass altogether. I hear none of the preaching but I am happy I know it is a New Years eve, so I can make a rough guess on what the preaching was all about. It basically had to be about thanking God for 2010 and trusting Him in 2011. At midnight, I expected applause, ululations and screams, at least to usher in a New Year. None of those, just a quite congregation and I miss being in Kenya on such a time. The sound of fireworks however takes the city by storm. The variety of fireworks is mind-boggling, the sky is lit up with a thousand colors. The toasting of the New Year starts, so my phone gets active with friends calling in with New Year´s wishes.
We take a drive around the city as she drops me back to my apartment. Of course I am grateful to my host, for the company, the new recipe and food, the laughter and the wisdom she impacted on me. She is so special, the most I could if I was given the power, is to make her live forever and to share the abundance of her heart with many more people. My special thanks to you Inger Gupta, may God richly bless and keep you.
As Albert Einstein once said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” This new year, aspire to do something new in a new way and expect different results!
Happy New Year!!