My family and I spent a week at Long Beach Island this summer. The house we rented with some friends was one block from the beach so it was an easy walk back and forth. I love being by the ocean. It makes me feel peaceful and it reminds me of my childhood and of my country.
You see, Denmark has more than 7,500 km (4,660 miles) of coastline and therefore lots of beaches. It is a small country, only 43,000 square kilometers (16,600 square miles), with hundreds of islands and a peninsula where my hometown, Århus, is located (green arrow below). Every summer on sunny days I used to ride my bike to the beach with my friends or my sister, after school or during summer break. It was only a 20-minute ride.
We had a summer house in a small town outside the town called Ebeltoft (red arrow above). I lovingly remember falling asleep at night with the windows open and listening to the sounds of the ocean and the smell of salt in the air. It was the best, most soothing way to go to sleep.
You see why I love the beach? But it wasn’t just the beach at Long Beach Island that reminded me of my childhood. Another fond memory came to me when the ice cream man stopped by the beach and rang his bell to announce his arrival. Not that we had ice cream trucks coming to our beaches in Denmark. No, we would walk to the ice cream kiosks to get us a treat. But it was the anticipation, the excitement and the joy that the ice cream man’s bell reminded me of. I clearly remember seeing the blue ice cream truck coming down my street and hearing the little song it would play. It was exciting every time it arrived which was maybe once every two weeks in the summer. Would we get ice cream today???
It was only boxes of ice cream that we could buy at the ice cream truck, not individual treats, and it wasn’t that we couldn’t get similar ice creams at the store, or that they were any less expensive of course. But to a child, it was such a novelty and oh so exciting. The funny thing is, I can’t even remember eating the ice cream!
I often times wonder what small moments like these my son will look back upon with similar fond memories when he grows up. Probably something that now seems insignificant but later in life will be recalled as precious moments.
My hope is that there will be many….