Christmas is upon us again! It doesn't feel like a year has passed since my last Ausrian Christmas. This year is a bit different than last though. This year we are in Saalfelden, Austria, in a normal hotel, and I had four days to spend with my Dad wherever we chose.
My Dad and I decided to go to Vienna, Austria and then Salzburg, Austria. We enjoyed the Austrian Christmas markets, drank some gluhwein and ate amazing food. I will say more on that soon, maybe in my next post.
I don't want to preach, but what I am thinking about are coincidences, or what we think of as coincidence. You see someone in a store, and think "What a coincidence", but is it really. I will give you a couple of examples.
1) When I was in grade 9 or 10, my mom decided to get necklaces made for my sister and I. We were able to choose any word we wanted to be written in the flowing silver. After a couple of days of thought, I decided that my favourite word was believe. From that point on, I wore the necklace hanging around my neck, as a simple reminder of something so great. About 4 or 5 years later, they announced the word that would define the 2010 Olympic Games. The word was- believe. A couple of months later, I was named to the Canadian Olympic Team. My believing payed off.
2) We just moved into a beautiful new house in Collingwood, which until this moment I believe I have called "the project". Well, my mom and Clay, began this amazing project before our old house had been sold. You all know what they are saying about the real estate market at the moment- it is a buyers market. This was not good timing for my mom. All summer, she tried to sell the house. There were hurried house showings, multiple showings in a day, and yellow flowers on the table. Finally, we got an offer, but it was a "low ball" offer and we let it go. Months passed, and no other offer came. They say that after Thanksgiving, the market hits a low point and most houses do not sell. Thanksgiving came and went and my mom still owned two houses. About a month ago, my mom said that she had a few house showings on the weekend and she said that these were probably the last showings that she would have before the winter. As we were saying goodbye, she said that she had a good feeling about this weekend, and joked about a "bidding war" starting on the second home that she has ever owned. Well, one offer came in and then another. She knew that she would accept either offer, and started taking things out of the house. Little did she know that there was one more showing, and a bidding war HAD actually started. Our house sold that weekend for the asking price, with nothing added in to the contract.
3) Possibly another "coincidence"- When I just entered high school, I was in an art course. My artistic abilities have definitely improved over the years, since I stopped gripping my pencil like it is a weapon (thanks to my friend Paul). However, I am not talented in the arts department. Nevertheless, my mom kept most of my artwork. I had to decorate my portfolio, and I creatively thought... Why not draw a skier? (creative right). I drew my skier racing around a paneled gate, as a sort of self portrait. On the panel I wrote, Vancouver 2010. After that art class, my mom put my portfolio away. Over the years, I had a lot of firsts in Whistler. I raced in my first international race, I had my first vacation (without skiing) here and I went on my first date with Kevin in Whistler. I just can't believe that it was a coincidence that Whistler was my first Olympic Games, where my entire family could come to watch. Especially not after pulling down the rough artwork I had done that had the words "Vancouver 2010" written across the panel. I was 14 when I drew that picture, before I even really knew the work that is to be done to go to an Olympics, before I made the Ontario team, 4 years before I made the Canadian Team. (This is also where my mom met Clay for the first time)
One tale that I know I can tell, is my Dad's story. When I was 6 my dad got Strept-phneumoccus Pneumonia. He declined in health very quickly. Eventually he was hallucinating snakes on the floor and the priest thought that it would be a good idea to give him his last rights. My mom slept at the foot of his bed. My grandma prayed, saying that she would say the rosary every night if only my dad would live. In a moment of lucidity, my dad asked my mom to get him his medical books from school, he is a dentist. She brought his books, and after searching for symptoms, names, and I don't know what else, he found the disease that he thought he had. The doctors treated him. He has a large scar down his back, from where they took out a rib, with four smaller scars below this. Yet, to this day, my grandma says the rosary each night, and my dad is now able to spend Christmas with me in Europe. My dad is very talented at many things, his dream was to be a war photographer, but he became a dentist, and saved his own life.
Another skier's Christmas story! Brad Spence has the most amazing little fan there can be. He is not very old, not very tall, but had a huge heart! This little boy heard about how difficult it is to pay for everything involved with ski racing. He decided to bring it upon himself to be Brad's headgear sponsor. He put money into a piggy bank with Brad's name on it. A few days ago it was announced that Gage Ferguson will be Brad's headgear sponsor for the next world cup race in Wengen. Gage will fly there to see his favourite athlete wearing the name Gage Ferguson on his head!
I won't steal anymore stories at the moment (except there is one fairytale that I will tell you if I get permission!). However, we each have those moments when things seem to come together perfectly, whether you realize it at the time or not.
Sometimes it is easy to get mad when something doesn't go as planned, yet what if that one small setback makes you late and you miss a car crash. You have a tough year, and go to a race you aren't supposed to, but meet the love of your life. Your parents divorce and you move, but you meet irreplaceable friends, go to an amazing school and your dad can come to visit at Christmas more easily.
I'm not saying the world is perfect. It is hard, messy and beautiful. It is Christmas, so I wanted to share a few of my stories with you. Maybe it will make you think too...
If you have any stories of your own, I would love to hear them! I think many people would. We hear so many stories of despair, that one story of hope goes a long way.
Oh and I almost forgot. MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!! I hope you spend it the way you want too!