Månedsarkiv: januar 2021

Many, many years ago I ran a Marathon in Finland

I was going through some old papers as I am in the process of getting rid of all paper in my home if possible. Among the old items and document I found notes about my participation in Helsinki City Marathon on August 12, 1989.

I had the start number 2000 which is kind of special. I remember it to this day. As I mentioned above, it was the second Marathon I ran. The first one was in the spring of 1989. I was aiming at at time of 4 hours but I was new to the game and had to learn a hard lesson.

Me at the starting line weighing about 40 kilos less compared to my present weight

The routes for Marathon runs are unique. Where the route for Copenhagen Marathon at the time was a very flat route the route in Helsinki took us along the coastline where small hills meant that my rhythm was broken.

While a bit stressing the route passed through beautiful areas in the eastern part of Helsinki and a part of the route was in Espoo. It was actually a loop starting from the Olympic stadion going along the coast line to Espoo and then by passing several bridges to the Helsinki City center before we after a loop ran the same route back to Finish at the Olympic Stadion. It was a great experience to enter the stadion.

At the finishline I promised myself that I would try to complete marathons in different parts of the world. For work- and private-related reason, I only got Copenhagen, Helsinki and New York on my track-record but that is another story.

I will forever remember that day in August 1989 when I experienced such a beautiful background for a Marathon route. My finish time was humble but the experience was something I remember for life.

2020 was the year that almost wasn’t

It has been a difficult year for us, I guess for most.

We tend to forget the first two months. It was the months where two major things happened in our family.

First my daughter moved back home. Poor financials advice and guidance from social workers combined with declining health meant that I decided that the time was to move her back home where she lives with us to this day. It was not an easy move but we managed and are happy together all 4 as a family for the first time in many years. It will last until my son will attend university which we have to make happen summer 2022.

In the end I of course hope that we will become empty-nesters but I do not care how many years it will take. The main goal is that both my children will follow a path they want to follow and find happiness with whatever they decide to work with.

My son was in the Czech Republic with his school. I was kind of nervous for two reasons. First there is a general dislike for Danes in Prague due to some evil hotel managers who years back hired travel agencies to lure young Danes down there for binge drinking holidays. The travel agencies were heavily punished for the torment the young Danes were put through by the local authorities. Also the Covid-19 virus had spread from China and the last days of the week he was down there we were concerned that he might not make it home in town before all the borders shut down. He made it just one day before the borders closed.

Then the long lockdown started. I was not very often at my workplace. I had to go in at the tax-department and adjust the transport discount I get because I missed a month at work working from home instead. That set us back a lot of money. August 2020 my daughter stopped at school and she no longer got any student grants, so we had to start to balance my income to feed two mouths more (my daughter and her cat). Money were few because I years back switched to customer service and in a world with cloud computing, salaries in Denmark have to be competitive with salaries abroad. That means low heat in the house at winter caring outdoor clothes indoor and planning food for every single day.

Also we had an unwanted guest. A rat had entered our house and we used the better of a month trying to catch it which we succeeded doing in the end. At least we were alive and did not get ill. At the Kindergarten my children attended when they were young they also had rat problems and a child died.

We went to hospitals a lot. Back in 2012 one of my children were evaluated at the hospital. The advice given were that we should be kept together as a family unit to battle this health problem. The local authorities dislike the diagnose and put it aside putting economically pressure upon us so the doctors advice were not followed. The result is massive health problems today resulting in several hospitalizations. Looking back I can state that I paid DKK 186,000 (Some 25,000 euros) to let my child become ill. I feel like a awful father for not taking a more confrontive approach against the local authorities. We talk about it on weekly basis. I try to ensure that no guilt should be felt about becoming ill. Of course it is easy to see for everyone that we have missed out on a lot of things. We only had one holiday abroad during the entire lifetime of my children where I paid for our stay. There have not been money for anything since. It is not my children should feel blame for their illness. It is me who did not fight the decisions hard enough.

Together with my wife we had our silver wedding with my wife. 25 years where our relationship have only grown stronger. It was not celebrated other than a close little dinner with the family due to the Covid-19 restrictions.

The rest of 2020 is hardly to mention. Lockdown follow by lockdown. The media all about people in Denmark losing their job, children not being schooled properly. People on farms losing their animals because the government decided to cull them. People risking health issues because the animals are buried close to drinking water supplies so they risk infection from the water they drink.

I feel that this year was lost. If you ask me. Is there any hope for 2021? I do not think so. It is already up to a bad start. One of my children was committed to the hospital for a ruptured appendix. Distressed and with my mind on other things, I entered a supermarket in the town where the hospital is located. Because it was one of the first days after New Year, I was not aware that the automatic parking timer on my car was showing the wrong time due to a new year being entered. Why it is so, I cannot explain.

I got a heavy fine which will impact the economy of my family for many months. 795 DKK or more than 100 euros. I have to pay because private parking firms in Denmark do not care and have put up small signs about private parking outside supermarkets. In Denmark supermarkets cannot be built so they fill the entire property. They have to set aside an area for parking so the nearby streets are not filled with people shopping in the supermarket. But that also means that the supermarket cannot make as much profit as they want, so they make a deal with a private parking firm splitting the parking fine in two. This approach allows them to earn money on parking.

So now I have a child feeling guilt about becoming sick. Death could have been the alternative had the appendix not been removed and questioning of whether this should have been the case instead of putting the economically burden on our family is a daily subject while we sit freezing our house and look for whatever leftover which are sold in the supermarkets to a reduced prize so we can feed ourselves and our cats.

So in short. 2020 was not a good year for us which is a fate we share with many Danes. 2021 seem hardly to bring anything positive in mind for us.

But I have made a big decision in our lives. For many years I have been waiting every Friday to see if our lives could be turned into success. Once you switch to customer service I like did when Formula closed, your career is over. So I played on the national lottery hope every week if we could win and built a future or my life would remain a failure. 2021 will be the year where I give up. The year where I accept the fate I have been given by using the little extra money every week used for the national lottery to buy extra food so we can overcome the effects of the heavy parking fine a bit faster.

I will become 55 this year. In a welfare society like Denmark used to be, I would only have 5 years left before retirement but sadly that is not the case. But any chances to turn our lives around have been passed. Now everything I will be focusing on is to feed my family until both my children have moved out and the go into hiding by moving out of the city to the countryside in the parts of Denmark called “The Rotten Banana” where we hope to live out our lives.

So 2021 will be a transition year where we have little hope for anything positive and just hope to remain alive for 2022.