Rikke and Jette gave instructions. Jess and I would be keen servants, cutting peppers, chicken, and boiling rice. We were the first Greenlandic Paella Team.
You could find almost anything in the supermarket in town: pneumatic drills, herrings, anti-aging cream, saffron. You name it, and it was available. What would one do over an Arctic storm? We cooked the most extravagant things, and we watched the latest DVD releases. How had those DVD been shipped there it’s still a mistery. We would walk around in those wooden houses wearing t-shirts, and we would find it perfectly normal that the wallpaper was decorated with polar bears, instead of our, somehow boring, flowers. We would find it natural that the sky was dismantled and reassembled by winds that could have shaken the house to the ground. Taking photos, in front of such magnificent views, would be our main priority.
Greenland allowed me to revaluate the link between cause and effect. Icebergs used to be closing into the harbour over the night, and one wouldn’t be able to move them, or break them. In the same way, Georg believed that some things cannot be shifted or altered. Sometimes, obstacles have to be set in motion by favourable winds. Jess would translate for me, as he shared his Danish linguistic knowledge with Georg: my Inuit friend believed that most things in life were uppa. Maybe. Maybe we will go to the glacier. Maybe we will go fishing tomorrow. Inuit people accept uncertainty as a predominant part of their existence.
I spent the last weekend in the region of the Icatek fjord, and I went picking up berries with the women of the village. This tradition shook my conception of time and rewound my clock back to 400 years ago. I danced at the sound of the Bergie Seltzer, the sound made when compressed air bubbles trapped in the iceberg pop.We ate from a common cauldron. No forks, no knives, and fish had never tasted better. I walked for hours without meeting anything breathing, with the exception of an Arctic fox whose fur colour was mutating from light brown into silver. I met extraordinary people: we didn’t share a language, but we could understand very well in front of a bowl of hot soup at the end of the day. Past and present melted in those crystal clear lakes.
Now, amid these memories, and photographies, I wonder if travelling is my way to dodge boredom, and to live multiple lives. Amid those icy, desolate and vibrant lands, where was my other life? How distant did stylish clothes, cars, mansions, and jewellery feel? And then again, was it really another life, or was it one of the many parallel existences as told by Plutarch, where virtues and failings, ideals and necessities were all part of the same gigantic picture?