Happy this year everyone! The following includes some random reflections to the previous one.
Best run. A run I didn’t run: Vaarojen Maraton in Koli, Finland. My role was to be the supporter, photographer, driver (after-race bar visit) and volunteer. It was a fun and casual event with good vibes. It made me buy trail running shoes (that I’ve so far worn once…) and enter a trail running event in May 2018.
Best hike. Amatola hike in Eastern Cape (sorry Fish River Canyon, you were great but I only like sand in pictures, most definitely not in my shoes). Stunning scenery, great company, tough enough. Taught me a lesson of never again counting grams with food supplies. Without my generous fellow hikers I’d probably starved if not to death, to exhaustion.
Best new friends. Tanja and Ian. Related to the best hike (see above). When it just clicks with some people for no particular reason or purpose. Good times on trails, cups of coffee, laughs, and meaningful discussions. On dreams and disappointments. Personal and national. An enormous amount of positive energy. People who make me believe in South Africa, and love it even more.
Best old friends. Satu and Mervi. My lifelines in good and bad times. In 2017 and many years before. Cheers to laughs, cries, runs, wines and so many more things and moments. IMHO we all deserve a good 2018!
Best roadtrip. This is difficult. As there is no such thing as a bad roadtrip. If i’d believe in reincarnation, I wish I’d be reborn as an overland truck driver in Africa. As I have to choose one, it’s the one we made to Tankwa Karoo. Literally in the middle of nowhere, with a dust storm, hour-long thunderstorm, off-grid, dry and hot, it was a once in a lifetime experience.
Best play. Musta Laatikko 9 (black box) in Helsinki. Part of series of plays where journalists from the biggest daily newspaper in Finland perform monologues about more or less whatever. To me this was a completely new approach with a non-traditional twist. Fascinating and odd. The journalists clearly being out of their comfort zone, yet not in a way that would have made the audience uncomfortable.
Best book. In 2017 I read way too few books. Less than five. None of which was mind-blowing. Closest to get there Murakami’s Wind Pinball. In 2018 the focus will be more on books and less on social media (the scapegoat of many bads in 2017). As a good start, I’m just about to finish A thousand tales of Johannesburg by Harry Kalmer, that by far beats every signle book on seen on my pedestal in 2017.
Biggest decision. This is an easy one: decision to move back to Finland. One of the hardest decisions in my life, yet one with (rationally) no alternative outcomes. Quite ironically our son being South African (without that bloody unabridged birth certificate), we were more or less forced to leave. The other option would have been possibly, and quite likely, eight more years in a temporary visa limbo, where ones life gets put on hold every few years, and laws may change overnight. With the current government and economic climate not really an option at all.
Biggest achievement. Running “parkrun” (a very unofficial one) every single Saturday morning in Finland. In Finnish climate and culture of sleeping late on weekends this IS an achievement. On the other hand it tells a cruel story of my 2017. Not a year of achievements.
Biggest disappointment. Finnish school. The world famous one. Obviously my sample size is small (=one), and we knew the first year will be tough. But still. I could go on and on about lack of discipline, conservative teaching methods and focusing on the negatives. One size doesn’t fit all, and trying (in my eyes) to make everyone brainwashed to think, act and behave the same makes me sad. An education system producing robots.
Finally. The one and only New Year’s resolution. 2018 will be a year of Buy Nothing (material). Apparently I’ve developed a serious dislike for clutter and everything excessive during my Africa years. Naturally travels do not count… In 2018 I will only spend money on something (material) truly needed. Like hiking and running gear.