Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A 26.2 mile-long day!

Confession: It was NA beer
and he didn't drink much of it!

I really felt this happy but you should
have seen me try to walk. Ouch!

We did it! Sunday we ran the Berlin marathon, for which we had been training for over four months. It was all worth it. What an amazing experience!

There were nearly 41,000 registered runners from all over the world- Japan, Korea, South Africa, Brazil, Mexico, US, Canada and of course every European country. The race course was elbow to elbow the whole time. There must have been a million people lining the route- cheering, waving flags and signs, clapping, dancing. It was wonderful to see all the families and friends, standing out in the pouring rain in enthusiastic support of their runners. There were dozens of bands playing every kind of music. Thousands of volunteers gave out water, sports drinks and fruit, flagged the course route and generally helped make sure everything ran smoothly.
I can say so much about the day but I can't yet find the words to describe how it felt to cross the finish line after running 26 miles, training for 18 weeks and accomplishing a lifetime goal. It was a moment I'll never forget.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Looking for rainbows

We've been having the strangest weather lately. It has been windy and raining nearly nonstop for the last two weeks. I'm super-duper sick of it. I start to feel claustrophic; I get crabby and hard to live with, even for myself! Gray skies, damp air, harsh wind- even Pollyanna might have her spirits dampened after a while. But the really strange part of this weather is that five or six times a day, the wind blows enough of the clouds away to reveal a snippet of brilliant blue sky or a bit of sunshine. It fools you into thinking the storm is over and you can go out for a walk or hang laundry on the line. Then ten minutes later, sometimes with sunshine and blue sky lingering, it begins to rain again. It's almost worse than never seeing the clear sky at all. However, I have seen more rainbows in the last several days than I have ever seen in my life. They're so vivid and beautiful and I can't help but smile. A rainbow is so fleeting that to catch sight of one feels like being in on a secret, sneaking an extra helping of delight when everyone's back is turned. So while part of me is chanting, "Rain, rain, go away..." another part is remembering the saying "Without rain, there are no rainbows."

Friday, September 10, 2010

The meaning of dreams

Since moving here, my dreams have been haunted by ghosts of the past. It sounds a little dramatic but for some reason, people from different times and places in my life have been showing up pretty frequently at night. I'm tempted to psychoanalyze and figure out why this is happening and why certain people who I haven't thought of for years are suddenly showing up to help me bake cookies for my dog's birthday or competing against me in a surfing contest during a hurricane. By the way, I don't have a dog, know how to surf or have any deep fear of natural disasters. Man, dreams are weird!

Rather than delve into the innermost recesses of my psyche, I have been reflecting on the fact that my life has crossed paths with an awful lot of people in thirty-three years. These dreams make me realize that every friend, every classmate, every acquaintance, every neighbor has made a kind of indelible imprint on my life. And likewise, I have made some impression on every person I've known.

Imagine if we could really see these impressions, like stamps or tattoos on our bodies. We'd all be covered in the unique signatures of those we've known. Some might be tiny little stamps, like a nice (or mean) old neighbor lady who lived down the street. Some would be big John Hancock-like scrawls from the important figures of our lives- parents and siblings, childhood best friends, first loves, college roommates.

Looking back, I can only wonder what kind of mark I have made in people's lives but going forward I'm determined to be more aware that everything I do is part of the impression I leave in someone's life. The little things do matter because they are what make up the big things. Every smile and kind word but also every snub and snide remark make up my signature. Thirty years from now when someone runs their fingers over that mark, I want the memories to bring a smile to their face.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Finding Uncle Sam in Denmark

Denmark's second city, Aarhus, is just two hours north of us. We'd heard good things about it and decided it was a perfect location for a weekend get-away to celebrate Aaron's birthday. It was a festival weekend so downtown was hopping and we had a delicious dinner at a local brewery on Friday night. Aaron indulged in some bbq ribs, something not often found around here, and they tasted gooood!

On Saturday, we wandered the city and found this little place called The Cockney Pub. It was packed with locals before noon and as we entered we saw that they were celebrating American Beer Week. What a surprise! In Germany, you're hard pressed to find anything other than German beer but apparently in Denmark they embrace the whole wide world of brewing. Of course I chose something Danish and Aaron tried an English ale but this poster of Uncle Sam, whose face I have seen with alarming frequency since living in Europe, really made us laugh!

We awoke to a beautiful sunny morning on Aaron's birthday and had a lazy breakfast before heading back. When we arrived, Aaron set out to run 33 kilometers to mark his 33rd birthday. Then we ate tacos and chocolate cake, also part of the training plan! Ha!