This morning while driving to Pretoria I got an email from Siberia, Novosibirsk. I had to smile as I saw Larisa’s name. My thoughts started running back. Within moments I was back in faraway Siberia, and could I see the birch trees at the back of their home, the massive statue of Lenin in the city centre. My smile got bigger when I thought back to the traffic fine she got due to my bad advice on which direction to go in a narrow street. Her kitchen with the family around the table, laden with fresh produce from their garden, will always stay one of my best memories.
I wanted to learn Russian, and Larisa was determined that I should stay only with them and nowhere else.
“We are frosen here in Siberia, it is unusually cold for more then 10 days, Marie doesn’t go to school because of cold, cars don’t want to start in such a weather, I can’t breath the cold air.”
How privileged I was to experience Russia and Siberia this year! Because, most probably it had been the last long bike tour of my life.
I went to see the doctor for he scan results this afternoon. After exchanging the normal pleasantries he sat for quite a while at his desk, scribbling some notes on a block of paper. Then he looked up, straight at me. Nearly without any emotion he said those words that I dreaded to hear. “I am sorry but I have bad news for you. It is cancer and it has spread. You will die of this.”
Bang! It was like a shot icy-cold Siberian water straight into my face. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing!
Unfortunately it was not a bad dream. It was reality.
It seems that the chances are slim that I ever will ride my bike again on the sandy tracks of the Waterberg. And not only on bad roads, good roads may be out of the question very soon.
Getting home from Pretoria after 8 tonight I felt the urge to listen to music, loud. I bought a CD this afternoon, it is called Rooiwynliefde (Helena Hettema). Do your self a favour and buy this CD. Listen to the third track Rooiwynliefde. The track was written by Marianne Venter, who wrote this song for her husband Marius, who rode across Africa way back during 2007. What a brilliant love song!
Dear Larisa … Thanks for invitation to come and stay with you while learning your beautiful Russian language. Unfortunaly not now. There is another big journey coming up, and the preparation will take some time …
Your friend for life