Monday, 19 October 2009

5. Solveig

Solveig's name is not exactly Solveig, but Maria. But who wants to be called Maria? And what if you're a student in an international dance school in Amsterdam where half of the Spanish and Argentinean chicks are also already called Maria - that is quite a contingent! So she's far from home, she knows nobody around, a few days after joining the school she decides to pick her second name - Solveig - and so slightly alters her identity (fortunately she's a very shy girl and didn't introduce herself to anybody yet). So Solveig she is now - and I'm one of the very few to know the truth outside of Bergen – well I was until now... Anyway what shall I say about Solveig? She studied to be a dancer but never became one, in Amsterdam she became a vegan but unlike many she stuck to it. At some point she started to think that it was dumb to go south and end up in a city with such a terrible climate as Amsterdam. That’s quite a common conception amongst Amsterdamers, so she found herself a few years later in a Dutch village in the southern French Alps.

For two decades, several waves of Dutch semi-hippies, semi-artists - and a lot of schoolteachers - have been rebuilding this abandoned village they bought for almost nothing in the late 80s. Locals can’t choose if they should hate them for being tall, blond and invasive (bad memories), or love them for bringing life, children and money in an otherwise quasi-deserted area. It’s shifting with the wind changes. Some of the first invaders have now very comfortably renovated farmhouses that acquired after a while quite some unexpected values, and they retired there to leave a peaceful bourgeois bohemian life (now most of the Euro coins in the area carry Queen Beatrix’s portrait). The less stable couldn’t sustain there but they left several half renovated houses to their followers, with bits of experimental architecture, bottle glass walls, sun-dried brick parts protected by epoxied windshields glasshouses, Japanese gardens, troglodyte experiments, old roting trailers, of course a couple of yurts… So there is now a core of strongly implanted ones, plus those who come steadily on holidays, and those who pass by, tolerated in the memory of the good old days. Solveig is in-between categories.

She stays there a couple of years, now she gives pro Shiatsu massage but this is not really recognized in France, and it’s much more difficult to make a living with it there than in Amsterdam, even in the hippy south and mostly Dutch customers. I connected her with some people in Paris to come and give some workshops but she learned French with a southern accent on the top of her Norwegian one, so at that time she is hardly understandable! She goes back to Bergen for a while but she can’t live there anymore, though she reconnects with dance and comes back to France with a new project, and starts a training to become a graduate dance teacher. Then she gets pregnant.

Since she’s always been a happily promiscuous girl of the condom age, and didn’t know anything else , she has been as careful with using latex than with not using any kind of animal product in the last years, so I strongly suspect that this was not completely involuntary. At the village, she’s had a regular though not exclusive lover, a first wave Dutch invader twice her age – a quite comfortable relationship in an otherwise joyfully rambling life (she’s always been like this, a contradictory mix of abandon and obstinacy – probably because though she usually achieves what she decides to do, she can only do what she really wants!). So I assume that at some point the relation with the guy was safe enough to give up latex – that must be her decision anyway, and also the ensuing pregnancy, though this one not a completely conscious choice. But she doesn’t really love the guy, not the kind of love that makes you trapped in a family for the next 15 years, so she decides it’s time to move to Montpellier to finish her training in the best dance school of the area. She’s too used to live in the countryside though to settle in town, but she’s acquainted with a bunch of semi-nomads fetishists of Mercedes trucks with a big network, who find her a lodge rented by the year in a village in the hills around Montpellier (the landlord is a depressive local farmer too tired to really try to make money with tourists by renting by the week).

(to be continued in 'Kaneda')

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