Diary, Ålesund, a taste of life

In the morning Norwegians eat sandwiches. They spread and put on the bread everything they have – cheese, cucumbers, pate, fish, eggs or jam, honey, chocolate butter. Probably, in the north they need more energy to refuel a body in the morning (although in my native region Poltava, in addition to all these, for breakfast, you would get baked milk with a brown layer on the top, piping hot pastry, sizzling scrambled eggs made on a pig fat, sausage, chop, potatoes, pink tomatoes, yellow cow cheese, butter, it’s enough, stop …). There’s also such a brown cheese with a caramel, which you must taste with raspberry jam (“this is a calorie bomb! But try it, I beg you,” Lisa told me. She was serving us dinner), herring in a sweet onion gravy, bent in half and stuffed with sugar and cheese slevery (kind of pancakes, the size of a frying pan)

Portly tourists take small plates from a pile of dishes and put there – one cracker, a grape, a slice of cucumber…

Although, mentally, they are eating all that I have listed above. Therefore their thoughts are full of flour, their bodies get out of t-shirts and boundless shorts are like cake dough… In this world, everything happens out of thoughts, everything!

And, as my companion Vika says, the world is driven not by the economy but by conscience. I will always be guided by this precise definition, which suits everything in the world. And in this case, I would apply this theory as follows: I won’t hide any thoughts! You won’t get anything good out of the hidden ones… They need to be placed on a public display. Let them fly in the wind, let them sound confidently, as a march, to the sound of which, it is fun to walk around the world, looking at all its kitchens, scooping with a large spoon all of its jams and berry yogurts, breaking all of its hot bread on which you put cold and sweet, or fragrant and salty butter. To the sound of that march, you’re pounding a table with large mugs, accelerating the process of serving that milk, currant yogurt, strong beers, and ales. You’re picking up from roadside bushes all its honey raspberries, you paint your cheeks with indestructible juices of their strawberries, which just have ripened and spread all over Ålesund‘s fjord promenade. These juicy, tempting, exciting and all-consuming honest thoughts make person joyful, light, cheerful and comforted. He or she tastes the world and laughs. He or she remembers the smell and taste of every street passed by around the world, how salty was every meeting and its sauce, wine and smoke of every farewell…

Tomorrow I will fly away from Ålesund, taking under my belt shrimp wind of its green emerald waters. Before setting off I’ll take a breath of that lemon-thyme from those creamy salmon and cod soup. I’m going to leave a note for a fat lady that will come to eat here without me: stand up my dear, eat everything here that cries with tears of cold butter on hot bready cheeks, blend all these beautiful melons, wash it down with this hot chocolate of love. Don’t hide your thirst – be it. Run around this world easily, like a graceful and hungry dear – that’s from this Lovenvoldgat Street to the Ninth and a half Avenue or Cherry Lane – you fly and want this world, to celebrate it, to eat it and drink it! Breath it in with your nostrils and don’t be ashamed of your thoughts and appetite – because everything in the world comes from thoughts and appetite. And you’re already packing your suitcases and locking your door to the house, where not everything becomes so clear. Is it time to set off for some journey?..

My ode to the joy was interrupted by Vika, who came in from the street, shook off her umbrella while singing a song about sprat in tomato souse and existential crisis. Vika always performs something conceptual and moral. She went thinking to a pier, where another cruise giant just had been unloaded, the one with a lot of Germans, many Spaniards and four Indians who spoke among themselves in English with a strong accent… They brought with them a barbecue and bags with food. The next batch of hungry tourists broke into the town. The fish hid and stopped biting. The boy and the girl had almost diverted fish’s attention while pretending to be two local monuments… Vika, after finishing her thoughts, said that her “life seemed to be transformed as a whole”. She asked me to remind her to take a shrimp sandwich from the refrigerator before departure. Because she had already forgotten the one with salmon in Bergen when we were in a hurry to get there. To be in a hurry – it’s just pure losses and lost opportunities…

Tomorrow will be the same small as poppy-seeds, rain, 17 degrees of blissful coolness, Lisa will give us warm buns and jam, There Norwegians will put fish, potatoes, cheese, cucumbers…

We will fly with that entire sandwich further, to Stockholm.

Olha Gerasimiyuk

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