To Fan or not to Fan

Not to fan, if you are asking me.

I have never really liked the idea of being a fan.

Why should I? Why would I watch someone do sports, if I can be there doing it myself? Unless of course I am trying to learn something from them. I see no joy in sitting on the bench, at the side of a field, or on the sofa at home, munching on something. Watching other people sweat. I would be getting cold or bored, likely both. I would rather take my trainers or hiking boots and go find myself a trail to run. Or just about anything else to stay occupied.

Somehow the events usually related to fandom seem to me like an ultimate horror. To be there, in the huge crowd of yelling people, who shove you around and squeeze you tightly into one another. Brrhhh.  Something totally not for me. I seek peace and solitude, rather than unknown, and certainly unwelcome, armpit sweat to my personal space. Who exactly enjoys that?

I know there are millions of people out there, to whom being a sports fan is just about all there is to life. And the industry of sports needs that. So it is good that a crown like that does exist. In Finland, the whole country holds breath when the ice hockey season hits us. People are allowed to publicly wear silly clothing if it happens to be in the colors of their team. And grow a beard. Something called the playoff-beard. Insane amounts of time is spent watching every single game. Every single conversation on the coffee break handles ice hockey. The world outside the rink looses all meaning.

To me, all that just seems a bit silly, thank you, Daily prompt on Fandom

 

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Safety First – Or maybe not

The moments I have felt the least safe, are most somewhat related to horses, and the high probability of sudden injury – or death. 20 years spent in the stables, gets you to plenty of not so safe situations. Trust me on this one.

Well, my horse, Hiksu, she was known for being a bit stubborn and mean, my special one. Sometimes trying to get rid of the rider, or at least scare them so hard, they would not dare to ride her again. Just for fun, apparently.

Sometimes she also got really scared herself. One of these times was, when we were returning home from a short cross country ride. We were approaching the road,  covered in ice. Just as she stepped onto the road, turning towards home, there was a tractor appearing from behind the corner. A particularly noisy tractor, with chains in the tires, for better grip. That noise my dear mare had never heard before, her solution was to panic. Blinding panic.

The direct outcome of that panic was speed. Quite some of it. Hiksu headed away from that tractor, at full gallop, on the icy and slippery road. I could not see anything, thanks to the snow, flying into my eyes, stinging, cold air biting to me cheeks. There might have been cars, or who knows what, coming from the opposite direction. At this point I think I started to get a bit nervous, afraid for the safety of both hers and mine.

She had lost her ears, no matter what I yelled, no reaction followed. She had taken the bit tightly between her teeth. So I basically had no brakes. At one corner I heard one of the shoes flying off. Not that it seemed to be of any interest to Hiksu, we were just slipping a bit more.

Picture from here.

She pushed on for about 5 km, not showing any signs of slowing down. I had lost all hope of getting her listening to me again, and basically just hoped that nothing too bad was lurking behind the next corner, and holding onto the saddle. The only thing to do for me, was to make sure I would not fall off.

Finally there was an uphill, which ate her speed. The tractor was long gone too. She was foaming from sweat. I was shaking out of exhaustion, too. She turned around, head held high, nostrils wide, ears pointing sharply to the direction we had come from. I was genuinely worried what would happen if the tractor would appear again.

I slid down to the ground. and started to lead Hiksu back home on foot. She was still very nervous, taking a good look at every moving thing. I was talking to her, to make her calm down and to focus on me, rather than on a moving leaf. She was not willing to let me walk too far, but kep her head right next to me arm. Except for a couple of nervous jumps and side steps.

That day I almost became religious. I was so happy to get to home safely, I even found the shoe, we dropped off, hanging on a tree. Long walk had relaxed us both and I was feeling extremely tired. After a good brushing and check up, Hiksu stayed at her pile of hey, and I dragged myself to the house. Just giving mom a yelp to let her know, I was home again.

This was not the first, or the last time, Hiksu arranged some excitement to my life, but this must have been one of the scariest.

Safety First

Looking back – Going forth

It is December now, today, is the day exactly a year after my first visit to Belgium. Exciting. I guess now is the proper time to look back and see all that happened, or didn’t happen, should have happened and so on. In my case, a lot has happened. I have lived the busiest, most exciting, happiest and fastest time of my life.

All of it began with my heart, being stolen. I had to go after it, so I moved to Belgium. That was the first thing leading towards this adventure. Many people were speculating the motivation for this move, since I had met Waffle only a few times before making the decision. But for me, the only motivator was intuition. A nice tingly feeling, that something good was coming up. And the fact that there was love, a lot of it. No matter how deep I dug into this pool of emotions, the only thing I found was love and affection, warmth and fuzziness.

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The decision of moving over just might have been the best one I have ever made. The gearbox of my life finally found the 6th, or 7th, gear and this girl was going full speed ahead. So was Waffle, the first person ever to actually keep up with me. Just how wonderful is that?

Before, I did not really travel that much. I had crisscrossed and zigzagged almost the whole Finland, but the rest of Europe, and the world, was largely undiscovered. Since February, a lot of new pins have appeared into my travel map, many parts of Europe have been sniffed, tasted, walked, climbed and explored. My hiking boots now look like they are worn.

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The time to travel is now, rather than tomorrow. There are still places untouched by tourism and they are easier to reach than ever before. We, me and Waffle, seem to be in especially happy situation, we live centrally in Europe and flying as well as driving is easy. Also we both have the energy and interest to do this, right now. Horses, houses, gardening and all that shall come later.

The traveling has been one huge part of this new life of mine. But of course, when you get a new home country, a lot of other things change too. I now have new hobbies. Horses and life at the stables have been set a side, for now, and I spend more and more time hiking through all sorts of places, or on the beach, with a kite and a buggy. There is also a small love story being born with a camera and blogging, of course.

I have turned into one of those irritating people, who never have empty weekends to spend with friends. Except when you ask something 2 months in advance. Before, all my weekends were empty, until the last minute. I had time for everyone. The life is now a bit different in that way. I am always somewhere, except home.

The circle of friends naturally went also through a turmoil. There are new faces, old faces that have started to fade away for one reason or the other, and some, who became even closer, even though the distance in between has grown. I am grateful for all of those, who still find the time to stay in touch.

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Such a change in life is not just all things new. It is largely loosing, having to let go and replacing. You need to ponder on what you want to keep and which parts of the past are just holding you back. There is also the  wistful side to this, you miss things, you wish some things were differently and struggle to adapt into new ways of living. Right this moment I am missing the sound the snow makes under your feet, when it is really really cold. And rice porridge with cinnamon and butter, something that holds the essence of Christmas for me.

The future then, how is that looking now? Well, honestly, not that much have changed. I still nourish the same dreams, wish for the same things. Maybe some are postponed a little, but they might have gotten even a little bit brighter tones in the process. Waffle is someone, with whom I can dream together, and turn those dreams into reality. He doesn’t say that I am being silly, or tell me to get back down to earth from my clouds, he floats there with me, and pulls me higher. It is all so easy with him. I can’t even think of any situation where we would have needed to compromise.

The traveling we are still planning on doing. That is something truly exciting. Next year is going to be busy, with the Dolomites, Azores, Balkan mountains, Finland, France, Wales, Spain and all the rest on the to-do list. After next year? Well, we don’t know yet. The world maybe?

It is a little bit bittersweet, all this. But then again, what do you get out of life, if you never mix the tastes? My stew is only going to get richer. 2016, hold on to your hat. We are coming for you!

The whole year in pictures is here: Flickr!