Olle and Luisa Come to Dinner

By my calculation, I have spent about three months away from Prince Edward Island, in small and large gaps, over the last year. I’ve traveled more, and to more places, and for longer periods, than ever before in my life. It’s been great.

And one of the things I’ve learned is that the very act of moving about the planet, no matter how smoothly things go is inherently stressful. Because we’re not really programmed to move faster than our own feet can carry us, I assume that there must simply be built-in incompatibilities between human nature and, say, hopping across the Atlantic in six hours, or traveling from Portugal to Denmark in a day.

This isn’t about jet lag — at least not entirely — because north-south travel seems equally stressful. I think it’s the stresses of moving around so quickly, with so little control over the conditions, inside complex apparatus known to suddenly explode and dealing simultaneously with so many little worries — did I forget my passport? what if they find drugs in my pocket? what if the bus doesn’t stop where we’re supposed to get off? will I be able to understand road signs in Danish?

Regardless, travel takes it out of you.

And so we’ve come to understand that the post-rapid-travel day is necessarily set aside as the “get up late, take things easy, remember to eat, and don’t get ambitious” day. Sometimes we pull this off, sometimes we don’t.

Today we started well, stumbled, and the made an excellent recovery.

None of us were up until 10, and we phased into full operations mode slowly. So far so good. Our fatal flaw was — and isn’t it always? — after a late breakfast, thinking that we could just ignore lunch: around 1:30 p.m. we set out to see a little of the core of Copenhagen on three half-empty stomachs.

We quickly faded, and as we faded our ability to figure out just how to eat faded too. And so by 2:30 p.m. we were in the centre of the city, hungry and catatonic and wondering just what to do. Fortunately my “oh, I’ve already been to Copenhagen!” auto-pilot kicked in, and we were able to find our way to the good old shwarma place over near city hall. Thirty minutes later, we were fueled and happy. Isn’t eating amazing!

We spent the balance of the afternoon rambling around, Catherine taking picture of interesting gargoyles and me simply happy to be back in a city I got to know and love last June.

In the late afternoon, Olle rang in with news that he and Luisa were available for supper. Practical negotiations ensued and the decision was made to rendezvous at our place for a cooperatively constructed meal.

Regular readers will recall that I met Olle last year at reboot when he came up to me and said “hey, you’re Peter Rukavina.” Who could turn down an opening line like that? After hanging out at reboot, we’ve stayed in touch over the year digitally, conspiring and cooperating as opportunity arose, and my return trip this year with family in tow was, in no small way, designed to allow for some non-digital time with Olle, to let him get to know Oliver and Catherine, and to meet his [then fiance, now wife] Luisa.

It is always slightly intimidating to meet the partner of someone you’ve known for a while. What if they don’t like me? What if I don’t like them? What if the friend I know solo becomes odd and different when in combo? Fortunately for us, in Olle and Luisa’s case, any worries I might have had were without any basis. It is immediately obvious that they are sensationally compatible and complementary, and we found them delightful dinner guests.

And they were both very kind to, and respectful of Oliver, which goes a long, long way in my books.

And so Catherine and Luisa went out to scare up some food, we cooked up a stir fry, Olle went out and finagled some wine, and we sat down to the first of what I hope will be many happy dinners around the table here at Oehlenschlægersgade 5.

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