My Generation X – Birth

With my 44 years I am one of the last generations to have had an analogue childhood but who is now more or less struggling with re-branding ourselves in the new digital world. We are talking about Generation X, those who are born between 1960-1980.

In this series of posts I will revisit some of the elements from the oast, and I will start with…. birth

Birth

A hot August day in 1974, my pregnant mom was dropped off at the hospital stairs by my dad on his way to work. There she was left on her own with a midwife from hell who traumatized her to the level that my mother was a complete wreck when I was pregnant 32 years later (so bad that she needed to meet my midwife to make sure I was in good hands). I mean, she was constantly yelling at the poor woman and actually tried to force me out by placing her very generous body weight on my mothers pregnant belly.

This was of course back in the days where smoking was allowed everywhere, so most likely the whole hospital was engulfed in heavy sigarette smoke. Probably the reason I didn’t want to leave the comfort of the womb voluntarily, but had to be dragged out with pliers.

My first meeting with my big brother

A couple of days later, I was brought home from the hospital (which literally was across the street, like 200 meters away) to meet my brother. The first meeting was, however, not exactly a great såsuccess. Being used to getting all the attention, my brother at the age of 18 months, was not willing to share his privileges. The result was that instead of a warm welcome and a hug, I got a slap in the face with the message that he did NOT want a little sister. Luckily his hostility did not last for long and he grew up to be quite protective of his little sister.

Parental Leave

Currently Norwegians are entitled to 49 weeks of parental leave with full pay, or 59 werks with 80% pay. One of the world’s best atrangements, but still some are complaining saying that it is bordering child abuse to send your kid to kindergarten before the age of 3. Back in the 70’ies, the whole concept of parental leave was unknown and the mere thought of the daddy spending quality time with the little diaper-bearing creature was unthinkable (even though that in my case my father made up for the lost time, with interest, later on). My mother had the option of unpaid leave or giving up her job. She chose the last one and spent the next few years at home with us children.

 Kindergarten/Day Care

There is a long way from the pedagogic kindergartens of today to the more or less detention centers we had back in the days. I hated that my mom went back to work, something that meant me and my brother having to spend several hours in a terrible place where we had to stay outside in all weather conditions and where we were hardly allowed to go inside to use the bathroom. Possible this is an unfair description of the conditions, but hey I was like 4-5 years old and this is all I remember.

We often hear statements saying “everythingwas better in the good ol’ days”, but I dare argue that at least I prefer the modern world of paid parental leave, the pedagogic fundamented kindergartend and the amicable and warm midwives we have today.

 So let us be thankful and let us not take our privileges for granted…

Tokyo Marathon – Less than 1 month to go (#SoNotReady)

Sometimes life throw you a curve ball that takes you totally by surprise and forces you to re-evaluate all plans…. 1 week ago, with only 1 month to go before Tokyo Marathon, my biggest concern was whether I will be able to complete at all and get my big, fat six-star-finisher medal. Then my mother was diagnosed with cancer, and suddenly Tokyo seemed inconsequential. After 10 days back and forth to the hospital for MRI, CT, colonoscopy and you name it, we finally got the good news yesterday that the tumor seems operable and that the cancer seems not to have spread to any other organs. Safe to say we cried of relief of that message.

So, given the good news, my trip to Tokyo is back on. But, of course, having used all my energy on worrying, my immune system was quite beat, so no I am out cold with fever, sore throat and an aching body… In other words, I think it will take a few more days before I am wearing my jogging shoes again.

Even being quite unprepared (but then again, what else is new?), I am starting to look forward to my trip to Tokyo. My knowledge of the city is quite below par, and what springs first to mind is sumo wrestling, sake, supporters who actually pick up their own litter after world cup football games (even when loosing big), and of course the a bit too close proximity to a sometimes trigger-happy Kim Jong Un. After reading “The Runner Handbook” that arrived last week, I must also found some of the warnings to be quite interesting and new: First was a list of what was prohibited to bring to the starting area. I mean bottles and cans, unless for commercial unopened container for less than 500ml are prohibited. A bit strange, but OK. Then to the a bit more bizarre: it is not allowed to bring advertising, boom boxes, animals (!) and plants…. But, what really got me freaked was the necessity of actually having to specify the prohibition of bringing pepper spray, knives, poison, fire works and explosives!

A couple of other warnings in the handbook are also new to me in marathon settings.

» If the Japanese Government’s nationwide warning system J-Alert sends an alarm related to ballistic missile launches, follow the instructions.»

and

»If an upper 5 or greater earthquake strikes Tokyo, the race will be discontinued immediately»

Not very comforting, I must admit, but hopefully it will be OK. At least I feel my lack of preparation is not my biggest concern at the moment…

India – Goat-throwing and Taj Mahal

A few years back I went to India to visit an orphanage and to travel around in this enormous diversified country and was left with experiences for a life time.

The orphanage was located approx 5 hours of train ride + 1 hour by car from Chennai and was driven by a Norwegian philanthropist. I was to sleep on the kitchen floor and there were no glass windows, but only holes in the wall with bars. The first morning I woke up to a racket just outside my “window”. I went out and saw a SNAKE. When I asked if it was venomous I was told “Yes, 10 minutes dead”. Very comforting considering we were hours away from the nearest hospital. The worst of it all, they took it across the street an let it go! Well, safe to say I did not exactly sleep peacefully for the rest of my stay.

The people in the village was really friendly and invited us into their homes to meet their families. One day some local boys tried to tell us about a festival and something about goat and throwing. This we had to see, so we drove for an hour into the deserted landscape and when we stopped we were greeted by thousands of cheerful persons of all ages who included us in their procession (meaning 1 hour of walk in 40 degrees Celsius, in a sari and wth no water) to the festival area. It turned out they were to do a fertility ritual where they mixed goats blood with rice and ate it to be blessed with a baby. Very interesting, but when they started to throw goats in the air for some reason, we wished them luck and departed.

After a week at the orphanage I went to Agra to view the wonderful Taj Majal and then I spent some days in Dehli before returning back to the cold winter in Norway.

Running on Ice (#DontBreakALeg)

Less than 3 months left to Tokyo Marathon and I am starting to panic a bit, since darkness and icy tracks are not exactly the perfect combination when doing intervals. Luckily I was able to get a hold of running shoes with spikes before they got sold out, so that I hopefully will me able to stay on my feet this winter.

Next week, when I leave for Dubai,  I will luckily be able to shred a couple og kgs of clothes and donne my regular running shoes again. I cannot emphasize enough how much I am looking forward to that…

#running #winter