winter weekend wonders

16 02 2015

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We have been here in Vilhelmina for 6 months already, can you believe it? 

We are amazed at how time has flown by.  have got so much right in this time, but also the time has gone too quickly to achieve all that we wanted.  Our aim is to just take things step by step, which we have done… so then we cannot complain! 

After the warmest week in about 160 years (yes, records are kept!) we were all rather worried. 

This past weekend was Vilhelmina WINTER Weekend.  Usually mid February is a good wintery time: low temperatures and thick snow for all of the wintery activities of the weekend.  This last week has seen us, sun-loving-lizardy Africans wishing for the deep minuses and lamenting each dripping iceblock, like all the locals.,,,

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So that this creation could stick together and be used for its purpose, and that all the other icy events could proceed! 

Each day we would see the progress of the ice chapel and get  so excited.  It was looking so amazing. 


(Photo taken from the Vilhelmina Lions Club facebook page.  They are the ones who undertake this project every year and do a brilliant job of making it all run smoothly). 

But that steeple just would not stay!  It all dripped away!  The ice chapel was insulated against the heat(!)  to the best of the builders’ abilities, and we all hoped for the cold to come back… and it worked!  The scheduled wedding went ahead, the ice chapel was open for visitors and we got to step into an amazing beautiful little space. 

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(That was how close it got to falling apart)

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Just catching the light playing in different ways through layers of water was a beauty to experience! 

The weekend was about various competitions:  fishing competitions, snow sculpting competitions, skiing competitions, and the most bizarre:  Ice-pole sitting competition. 

From 11:00 on Thursday until 11 on Saturday, the aim was to sit out on a pole of ice,  In the open.  With no cell phone for boredom relief.  And only a few short toilet and food breaks.  This is all just too wild and crazy for a heat-loving ADHD lizard like I am…


There is a good piece of reindeer skin between their butts and the ice.  And the rest is good clothing, as the Swedes confirm works so well, and patience.  Lots and lots of patience.  There were 6 who were due to begin, but there were 3 who made it all the way through to the end.   

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School kids did many of the ice sculptures.  They were rather good!  But not nearly as good as our own school’s contribution of an igloo. 


From the slippery tracks before the door it looked like several kids visited.  It had gorgeous lights in and glowed at night (video on this link here)  and although that was also touch-and-go at one time, the kids and Gunnar did it, and our school impressed! 

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No Norrland event in the winter would be complete without snowmobiles.  Old, new, scratched, shiny, big, small.  We saw this weekend that there really are snowmobiles /snowscooters for EVERY  fancy. 

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(Even the kugels from Sandton might find something to go with the leather bomber jackets, doll…)

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This one took the fancy of SEVERAL people.  Even Deon!  I mean the big orange one, in case you were wondering.  The benefits there is a place to escape from the cold. And that it  looks like a good overlander from Africa on the inside, might just have something  to do with it too.. .

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We ambled around and enjoyed eating waffles, visiting with new friends and old, and having our Ugandan friend Dianah visiting for the weekend.  I contemplated some of the new tracks we have come to appreciate: the squirrels and hares that come to visit, and the way that snow has become the new normal in our lives.  We are very used to identifying African animal tracks in the dust.  Now we figure out how the new snowy substrate changes with different temperatures, winds and  falls as we adjust to the crunch beneath us. 

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Even in icy places, the Light can shine.  The tracks on the heart can be left.  While we reassess that after 6 months we know we are where we should be, by happenstance and God-incidence.  Where are you?  What are you doing despite situations around you? 

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And find something to say thank you for each day.  There are always a few moments to relish if you look for them! 

Why not consider popping in for WWW2016?  Here are some facebook links and websites to get you thinking. 

South Lapland airport facebook

Lions club Facebook   Take a look at their chapel photos! 

Visit Vilhelmina Website





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