Friday, December 6, 2002 - Perspective
Ten reasons we know we are in Europe

- By: Sara Renner

1.Upon arrival, breakfast conversations inevitably revolve around the nightly triumphs and tribulations of overcoming jetlag. Beckie Scott, on the verge of sleep deprivation mania, would convince herself that her body takes as much rest as it needs. In her case, one to three hours of sleep a night. The bitter irony of the situation is that afternoons are spent battling the urge to pass out. Throughout the years of travelling in Europe, there has been substantial midnight roaming of hotels, sneaking into kitchens to cure early morning munchies and reading in the bathroom. All these experiences provide endless humor at the muesli buffet.

2. Meals, whether good or bad, become an anticipated event. Predicting what we are going to eat has been refined to a science. At least once a day, Scandinavians serve the famous boiled potatoes. Estonia is home of pood (Estonian word for food). Canadian definition of pood is food of indescribable description containing hairs of unknown origin. Asiago in Italy is my favorite place to race. Yum! Our host isnít satisfied until we have to loosen the top button of our pants.

3. Chocolate consumption increases. Canít be helped. European chocolate is no Mars bar.

4. Anything on television catches our attention including cooking shows in Finnish. We have intentions of expanding our cultural and historical horizons but get distracted by MTV and find ourselves hand crossing and knee knocking to Las Ketchup, the latest eurobeat.

5. We are the first people at the bus stop but the last ones to get on the bus. The same goes for lines in cafes and exiting the airplane.

6. News from home, especially the weather, becomes a hotly traded commodity.

7. I see more of my mate and alpine skier, Thomas Grandi, racing on TV than in person.

8. When it comes to fashion, we look like we just fell of the turnip truck. No fur coats, moon boots and definitely no skintight jeans.

9. Ciao, Kitos, Salute, Hova, Tak, Hei Hei and Danke. As youngsters to the World Cup we conducted a "Hello Survey". We would break normal training protocol and say hi to the passing teams in their languages. We started with the Norwegian Menís Team and after some prompting we got a response. It sounded like a mixture of Kermit the frog and a foghorn but, nonetheless, we distinguished our first "heja". Our experiment was an instant success with the Italian team. Their wax technicians have always been friendly, especially after the Nordic Nudes Calendar. Stephania Belmondo, the Italian Olympic legend, must have been conducting a survey of her own because she would holler a "ciao" across the entire stadium.

10. Every second counts. On the racecourse, wiping your nose could move you down a spot. The challenge is never easy and the women keep getting stronger but a skiing to ones potential is incredibly rewarding.

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