Motivational Training

Aarhus is a lovely seaside city, strikingly similar to Hobart in size and mentality, perfect for my motivational training. It is a University town full of trendy cafes and bars where students haggle passionately over the bill and PHD student walk about thinking complicated thoughts behind their thick glasses. Aarhus is big enough to have late opening hours but not so big that people don’t randomly smile back at the strange bearded man talking to his iPod (Danish lessons). Our apartment is on the top floor, this means that we enjoy great views into a whole street full of lower apartment windows. It is a rare morning when I don’t catch the man with the beer belly having a cigarette on his balcony and scratching his ass through tight boxer shorts. This view is not free though, we pay, with seagulls. Every morning when they finishing annoying the fishermen they fly three blocks over from the harbour, land near our bedroom window and ensure we are awake. They sit there at 5:30am, gleefully squawking away, no doubt loudly bragging to eat other about the fish heads they just stole or the black Audi they crapped on.

Every-bloody-F#@N-morning at 5:30am he is back… “Squawk-bloody-squawk” Jette warned me about this bastard.

After luring me to Denmark with promises of Legoland and Prawns on toast for breakfast Jette came clean about the seagulls. She recounted a story from last summer when a particularly vocal gull would repeatedly visit early in the morning and squawk at her through the window. Even the early bird, not yet fully awake and chasing worms, was unimpressed. Mr Gull quickly claimed pole position among Jette’s list of nemeses (The American chap who sends Purchase Agreements for toilet paper and pens to check holds a close second). Totally frustrated Jette told me she would throw open the window and yell at Mr Gull, asking him to kindly leave, or similar, only for the smug bastard to stare uncaring at her and pretend not to understand with his evil, beady eyes.

He would squark as if to say, “What are you going to do about it?”, safe in the knowledge that Jette can’t fly over to the ledge and bash him. The other week I came up with an ingenious plan to fix this issue. We originally were shopping clothes for our upcoming Asia trip when we walked past a toy shop, looking into the window a light globe went on above my head. Thinking about the 90 in 100 Americans who sleep with a gun under their bed I went in and bought the biggest, most badass water pistol I could find, unfortunately they did not have real guns or slingshots. Back at home Mr Gull must have spotted my pump action ‘Super-squirt 2000’ When I hear him in the wee hours I spring out of bed, invariably stubbing my toe, grab my rifle and fling open the window yelling “Say hello to my little friend”

Before I finish my groggy war cry he is gone, only a lone white feather fluttering down betrays a hasty departure. The slippery bugger, ‘I will get you one day” I think, feeling like the Coyote watching the roadrunner’s dust settle. I’m normally something of a tree hugger but am toying with the idea of filling the gun with lemon juice or dog piss in the off-chance I can get him in the eye with a clear shot.

grey Motivational TrainingThe other thing about our location which makes slumber difficult are the churches. Now on principle I don’t have anything against Christians but I don’t see the need for the each of the three churches surrounding us to toll the hour right through the night. Midnight is a personal favorite. The church next door thankfully just gives a single hearty “dong” on the hour. The church four blocks away however chimes twelve times then stills for half a minute. I lie in bed half awake, knowing what follows. The insomniac bell ringer then goes on to display his bell ringing skills by playing a song. Last Saturday night he ambitiously attempted “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen but, thankfully, tangled the ropes on the second chorus and stopped mid; “Bismillah! We will not let…”

Nocturnal frustrations aside things are ticking alone nicely here in sunny Denmark. I am continuing to swim vast distances at the local pool to get myself in Nepal shape for an upcoming climb. The other day my lane was blocked by a particularly large woman doing the breast stroke. I was head down doing freestyle when I felt distinctive turbulence indicating someone ahead. I looked up ahead under the water and saw what bore a striking resemblance to underwater footage of a polar bear swimming, it was amazingly hypnotic, like watching a bubble of lava lamp wax doing laps. Anyway, the result was that I had a few slow laps to think about the mountain. I realized that, despite doing much physical training, I had done almost no mental training. This, I figured, is best remedied by going all to out scare myself.

First stop was the diving platform. I can dive off the 5 meter ledge no worries and had been thinking about trying the seven. Jette came with me to either laugh or cheer me on, the jury is still out. As I left to climb the stairs Jette told me that failure to dive off the seven would result in a whole weekend of merciless teasing, and this from the girl who is scared of roller coasters. This saw me standing on the edge of the seven meter ledge, looking down and realizing that a whole swimming class were outside doing theory while watching me, there was no backing out. Now seven is only two more than five but the difference felt huge, ripples on the pool surface seemed so much further away. I blew out my considerable nerves, bent at the waist and did a kind of My Bean tumble from my perch.

Somehow as I plummeted I managed to get my arms out in front of my face such that when I hit the water only my forehead was unprotected. I smacked into the water with a reverberating crack, all my wrist bands which have survived over twelve months of abuse were stripped from my body. I eventually found the surface, shorts blessedly intact, with a big grin, a bright red forehead and liters of chlorinated water filling my sinuses. The class were looking on with interest as the crack of flesh hitting water faded. “That wasn’t so bad, I might try the ten” I thought. When I climbed the ladder out of the pool, my legs nearly buckled under me and water flooded from my nose, so I added; “Next week”

I was going to ramble on about my lead climbing lesson at the gym last night. Lead climbing is where the rope is below you, as you climb you click the rope into anchor points on the route. However, I had better get back to my studies. I only have one and a half more weeks to finish my Uni work, as I will be on the move again. The other thing which has kept me busy is product testing. Since visiting Legoland last Saturday and buying a lifetime supply of Lego for my Niece and Nephew I have taken it upon myself to check my purchases for quality and the ‘fun factor’ This is seriously cutting into my study time, but I think my solemn duty as an Uncle.

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