If you breathe it in for too long, Norway becomes like a lover you meet many times in your life; sometimes you argue and sometimes just go through the world together in tranquility, but you miss her when away and the heart skips a beat seeing her again. She is full of secrets and complicated, but will lie to you and tell you she is just a simple girl from the countryside. Take the time to get to know her, and she will teach you a hell of a lot about yourself. I never lived in Finland, but have the fortune of knowing many Finns. They are the most grounded in reality. They have Scandinavian values, but the toughness of the Vietnamese. Some of that is probably their own mythos and me reflecting it back, but reality is quite a relative thing. That kind of sounds a bit hard on my real parents, both of whom I love deeply, but my biological dad did often say he had never wanted to be a father and I’ld retort “Dad you’ve got 4 kids, you were an adult when each of us was born and you knew how to prevent getting a woman pregnant.” Then he’d just giggle and say our mom was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen and that he loved us all. He was a bit of a ladies man, a terrible husband because any pretty face would turn his head, good looking, funny, a terrible tease (poor Uncle Charles suffered as his little brother, we were lucky enough to learn from his mistakes and warn our own children not to spit out the window of a moving car, no matter what grandad told you to do!), stubborn, opinionated, charming, optimistic old man. I miss him terribly.
My stepdad raised 6 kids to be hardworking, responsible, kind and loving people. He and my mom had the tough job of loving and being responsible for one another’s children (even when we weren’t being loving or kind to them). He’s got dementia so he doesn’t remember us now but I know we are still loved by him and when he is released from the prison that his mind and body has become, he’ll remember us and know that we all love him too. My mom, the first beauty that turned my dad’s head, she had a bun in the oven both times she got married, with my older sister and then later with my baby half brother Chris. She actually asked us if we would like her to marry our stepdad before she accepted his proposal. My older sister and I said “If you don’t marry him, can we marry him when we grow up?” She’s had to deal with so much throughout her life but she’s done it with grace and compassion. She’s the rock that we are all teathered too (even my stepbrothers and their children and now her great grandchildren, it doesn’t matter if you are a half, step, or whole and even steps that have divorced out of the family are still family) as far as mom is concerned. Our house, because of her, welcomed all children in need (and thanks to my stepdad, animals in need found a safe haven there too!), our friends knew it was a safe haven when their own homes might not be so safe. Our boyfriends continued to visit mom and dad long after my sister and I moved away. Dobermans are strong family/pack animals and rank in the top 10 for eagerness to please. While they are bred to be guard dogs, most are incredibly sweet when not on duty. They are only on duty if you tell them to and trained them to be. Dobermans are also very smart and know that the Great Dane would not be a threat once introduced properly.