My 2020 New Year Resolutions

I left off in my 2019 Year Ender mentioning Su not having had her luggage delivered in the flight from Oslo to TromsØ and sort of suggested I might come back to it. So here I am. We landed just before 2 pm, shadowing the full moon as the small jet taxied in. It was a small airport, with only one or two conveyor belts and it didn’t take long to find out that her piece was missing. The good news was the ground staff spoke good English, but the bad news was the young man refused to offer cash or compensation even after Su demanded for such, arguing that she needed at least US$50 immediately for some heavy and protective clothing for the next leg. She was asked to fill in some forms and to leave a telephone number for contact. She gave him her Hong Kong phone number. Now Su had acquired new chips for our phones before the trip which allowed us to make calls in UK and almost unlimited data roaming during the month in Europe, but no calls could be made outside UK. It meant that we could not be contacted until we changed back to the HK chips. It was getting late and it was dark when we got on a taxi outside at around 3:20pm. Su showed the driver an address and asked him how far away the place was and the approximate cost for the trip. “Not far, 10 or 12 minutes, say, 200 krone,” was his reply. Sure enough, in about 15 minutes, he took us to some low rise buildings that looked like offices or factories. Su told him that we were looking for some vast open areas in the wilderness akin to a camp site, called Camp North, at which time the driver asked to see the address again as he remarked that it was an office address rather than a camp site. It then suddenly dawned on Su that she had been talking by emails to the owner or manager of Camp North who had offered to take us to the camp from City Centre at 4 pm. It being after 3:30 pm, we thereupon asked the taxi driver to take us to the assembly point, by which time traffic had built up to almost a standstill at some point. There being nothing constructive to do at the time, I asked Su to change back her phone card so that we could make or receive calls if necessary, which she agreed. It was fortuitous that she did, for shortly before 4 pm, her phone did ring. The man on the other side mentioned about luggage and Su naturally thought that he was from the airline, until it became clear that he was the pick-up driver waiting for us at the City Centre and who was asking for our whereabouts. Su passed the phone to the driver who learnt that we were rather close to the pick-up point, which we arrived in a few minutes. We gave the taxi man 450 krone and he seemed to be happy as he helped to take my piece of luggage and our backpacks to the waiting van. That was how we were saved, through Lady Luck and Providence.

Our pick-up driver was Tony, a healthy looking and well-groomed young man with clean and smooth hands, whom we later found out was the co-owner of Camp North. There was a couple waiting, James and Penny from Perth, and the four of us would be the only guests staying for the first night. Tony immediately offered to liaise with the airport to track Su’s missing luggage; and we began to feel safe after the uncertainty and anxiety over the last two hours.

It was a good hour, and probably longer, journey to the campsite, initially in stop-go town traffic for about 10 to 15 minutes, but followed by smooth driving on country roads all the way. It would not have been possible to describe the location to any taxi driver, let alone for anyone to take us there. We were extremely thankful. Su began to count her potential losses which included the expensive skin care cream and lotion she bought on the CX flight from Hong Kong to London and other stuff. Luckily she had her camera, tripod, most of the warm clothes and walking boots in her backpack so that she could survive the three day two nights at Camp North, particularly the Camp could provide heavy duty one-piece overalls clothing which proved handy for walking outside and during dog sledging.

We stayed at the Camp until close to 2pm on the third day and left in Tony’s new and expensive looking bus. It was a very comfortable journey back to our hotel at City Centre. Meanwhile, Tony hand learnt that the airline had found Su’s luggage and assured Su that he would deliver it to the hotel, which he did. And that’s how Su survived without her luggage for three days; and the moral of the story is that one doesn’t need too much luggage while travelling.

If anyone is wondering what has the foregoing got to do with the title of this piece, let me quickly say that it was my response to the first New Year Resolution which is to keep up writing my blogs. Yes, I haven’t been doing too much in the year which just ended and I said in the last piece that I intend to change that.

I do not think it is practical to make too many New Year resolutions. People used to make quite a few when they were young or younger, only to have most of them broken before the first week ends. But I would try to say a few that I think is worth keeping.

First, I would try to be with God as often as I can, by going to Mass as often as I can, by saying prayers as often and as mindfully as I can, by avoiding occasions that may take away any remnants of godliness in me, by imploring His name in all my lawful undertakings, and by looking to Him in all emergencies for comfort and support.

Second, I would try to exercise the body at least five times a week and to exercise the mind every day through reading and writing.

Third, I would eat less, but eat well. Here, eating includes drinking, of course.

Fourth, I would avoid having arguments with anyone including myself and particularly those near and dear to me. The corollary to this is that I would avoid people who are known to be argumentative, particularly those loud and aggressive people.

Fifth, and stemming from the Fourth, I would only spend time with people who are like minded and who are peaceful and I would not waste time on people who are likely to upset me, even though they may appear or be known to be wise and sagacious.

I have exhausted the fingers of one hand; and I think that should be enough. I hope to write again soon.

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