While making plans for my birthday trip to Boston, my friend Madhawa – Mads for short – said he wanted all of us to go skiing. Every single one of us said, “No.” I was last on skis when I was about 10 years old and it was horrible and traumatic and I was happy to never do it again. Pedro has the most ski experience, but it’s all cross-country, which is totally different: different skis, different boots, and importantly: no steep slopes. Mads and his wife Udi had never been on skis. Our friend Romain had also never been on them.
“But that’s why I want to do it!” Mads begged. “I don’t know what I’m doing and there’s no one else I want to learn how to ski in front of other than you guys.” I moaned, “It’s so hard. It will be ridiculous.” “We will all be ridiculous together!”
His enthusiasm was infectious, and I eventually came on board, powerless against his persuasion. I helped him recruit the others, and it was a similar battle with them, but I did like the idea of all of us making fools of ourselves together. It could be a source of laughs in the future maybe. We agreed to purchase the same skiing lessons.
We were DISMAYED when we arrived at Wachusett Mountain in Princeton, Massachusetts, and found out that Mads refused to join us, and chose to stay back and watch their toddler so we could all go “have fun.” What?! Romain also got lucky when he was called to work that day. I wondered if he secretly volunteered for the Monday shift. In the morning I tried to talk Mads into taking turns with watching his son, but nope. Udi had begged to switch and watch Kai while he skied, but nope. So the three of us grit our teeth and put on a brave face and went through with it since the lessons had already been paid for.
I am plotting my revenge as we speak. I told him I am going to sign him up for surfing lessons. Mads responded, “Trust me, you don’t want to see me surfing.” I told him that is exactly the point.
We got a great instructor, who was patient with us. We were by far the oldest people on the bunny hill by a decade (or two?), and in 30 minutes we saw the young people in other groups move into more advanced levels. Others got their seal of approval for safety and were sent off to go have fun on their own. Our instructor resigned himself to watching us slip and hit the snow over and over. He spent a solid two hours with us, trying SO hard to teach us something.
Our entire goal was simple: stay upright, turn left, turn right. But….it’s so much harder than it looks. I am proud to report that after two hours of physical and mental effort, I was able to turn right and turn left and usually stay upright.
Finally our time was up and our instructor gave his cheeriest smile and pleaded with us to come back and try again soon. Our purchased tickets allowed us two more hours to play on the mountain on our own – since the assumption was that we had just been turned into decent skiers. But all three of us were exhausted and had had enough, and we happily returned our rental gear and made our way out into the parking lot to find Kai and Mads. And yell at him. 🙂
The photos of us on the mountain make us all look quite happy though! We’re a bunch of fakers. In Mads’ defense, he had never skied and had no idea it would be difficult, and he honestly was trying to be thoughtful and generous by watching Kai so we could learn uninterrupted. I suppose he is forgiven.
Romain was off work by then, and met us at an Italian restaurant out along highway 2. We had great service and a great meal, but best of all was getting my friends together at a table. I feel fortunate that these two wonderful people, Mads and Romain, adopted me into their circle back when we attended school together. I love that Mads married the also wonderful Udi, who I met this day (and their boy) for the very first time. I am grateful that they opened their arms to Pedro immediately. How sweet my life is when I am so loved by people I adore.
The next morning, we were blasted with a real New England cold snap!
And just like that, our vacation was over! The next morning when we went outside to get our Uber car to go to the airport, my phone said it was 8 degrees (-13 C) while we waited. Our driver said it was the coldest day of the winter so far. Despite the beautiful sunny skies, I was glad to be going back to rainy Portland, where at least it’s usually too warm to snow.
When we arrived in Portland that evening, it was deliciously warm, and the next day it was like summertime!! 57 degrees at my house and Pedro said it reached 60 degrees (15.5 C) at his place. What a difference.