I have never liked water. I didn’t like to swim as a child, it was too cold outside and too much smell and noise inside, I used my asthma as an excuse at school (chlorine! argh!), and whenever my friends went to the beach, I played basketball or did something else, far away from the water. Even now, I much prefer walking in the mountains to lying on the beach. It’s so much more interesting.
My wife, however, loves water. She could stay on the beach days on end. She could stay in the water for hours, and every time she looks at art, she values it based on how much sea there is. (I like forest. But don’t tell her that.)
But I am beginning to warm to the idea of touching water. I swim now, sometimes. Beaches are still not my cup of tea, but water is not as bad as it once was. I even put my head under water for several seconds, and last month, I even think I learned how to crawl. Sort of. (Our sons, aged 3 and 6, both swim like fish. I’d prefer to postpone the embarrassment of them swimming faster than me.)
And: on water, you can sail. After having heard my wife talk about it for years now, I have finally understood that I too like sailing. Not the water bit, not that much, not yet anyway — but the travelling bit, the bit about going places without the sound and smell of an engine, the freedom of going wherever you want to go, and the possibility to stay on board the boat for days, to use the boat as a floating home.
We have a dream now, both of us: to take some time off and sail with our kids for months, somewhere where the water is clear and the sky is blue and the air is warm without being too warm. (Three kids ages 4, 7 and 0, then? Or 5, 8 and 1? Yes. In our dreams this is not a problem.)
So with my wife staying at home with the kids, I have begun taking sailing classes. In september, I went sailing on real water. No major accidents, but a few minor ones. Water everywhere, a lot of it, often proper waves too, and either too much or too little wind. This winter, I’m doing a course in preparation for the so-called Duelighedsbevis. I learn how to navigate, what the different buoys mean, and how to interpret signals from light houses.
It all seems very easy when I summarise it like this.
Tomorrow I’ll have to hand in answers to some old exam questions. I will get to it right away. My best guess is that I’ll answer 50% of them correctly, and the rest incomplete. But at least I am attending the seminar more often than not (every Tuesday at 19-21; I’ve been there most Tuesdays). The exam is in April, I think. Lots of time.
The hard part is knowing your things on a rough sea with a seasick wife and three either terrified or bored small kids.