Like a Christmas chick flick with the Night Watch

Four women traveled North to see the Northern lights.

The Strong One was too strong; she kept head-butting things, never on purpose. Just because she was so strong in her resolve to always do what’s right. We all know this inevitably gets you in trouble.

The Smiley One was kind and fun. You’d never guess how sad she really was, mourning a loved one who left the party way too soon.

The Happy One had worked hard at being happy. It hurt her that much more when sometimes things worked hard the other way.

The Dreamer spent too much time dreaming. She stared into the proverbial abyss and found a big pile of nothing staring back. She also loved Game of Thrones and hoped wisdom would come with winter.

Far away in Tromsø, up there in the Arctic Circle maybe they’d age a year in a week?

Cameron Diaz could star in this movie, and of course Queen Latifah should play me.

The great North was a landscape of poetry proving right every redundant cliché, with luminous nights and voluptuously dark fires.

Except the girls kept slipping on ice, falling and getting bruises. They were just too angry and too tipsy for the North. On snow and ice, you must walk slow and take thoughtful steps or you’ll fall flat on your ass. They learned how to leave their baggage behind and walk with a purpose in the process, thinking every movement and each step.

That was a good lesson.

They were also too loud, and it bothered the Northerners. The girls had to learn to be quiet and patient when they spoke. Their minds were too crowded with blue thoughts and bits of anger. They couldn’t hear the snow talking, and it gave them migraines. They had to look and listen, so they forced their brains quiet and focused.

That was an interesting lesson too.

How very Eat Pray Love right? This is the part where at least one of them meets a man, maybe a hot Jon Snow?

That part doesn’t always happen in real life. Mostly it was random conversations with randomly interesting people: a chef proud of his work in fancy restaurant, a Portuguese heavy metal musician, a freegan German tour guide.

What matters more is all the fun they had exploring the food J

Potato, leek and turnip are the vegetables of the North. Not an eggplant in sight, no hint of a good tomato. No sunshine at all. Fish is fermented, the meat salted and dried, lutefiske (fish softened in water and lye served with mushy peas) was a dark adventured in itself! The unfamiliar served in a platter! It all felt so medieval…in a good way, like a festive feast in the castle! It was a World of Warcraft Christmas banquet.

Things were going well.

On November 19 everything went wrong.

The Smiley one drank too much and remembered things were not OK. The Strong one got upset, tried to break another wall and hurt herself, things were not going right. The Happy one got sad news, things were not going her way. The Dreamer went online to upload vacation pictures on Facebook and read the news from home.

23 dead and 160 injured on November 19, 2013.

In her anger she forgot to take a thoughtful step so she slipped and fell on the ice. The others were each in their own little hell too. One hid in the closet, another in another bottle of beer. Someone put played loud music and nobody wanted to do the dishes.

And when they took a walk together, the North worked its magic. It made them slow down, think quietly, accept that things were not right. The North was still there, as imposing as the impossible improbability of Norwegian cuisine, even when everything sucked. The complicated world, the hurtful nonsense of everything, it was also still there, but they could cope. They could move forward on snow and ice.


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