DISCLAIMER: I’m not good at telling these type of stories, so I apologise in advance – I always tell the punch line before the story is built up, and the effect is not as powerful. This memory has popped up many times in my mind since Greenland came into the picture, though, so I’ll try to write it out.
My first encounter with Greenland stems back to more than a decade ago. I had just started Year 10 at Girraween High School in Sydney. It’s anxiety galore having to make new friends at that age, so it was comforting when one of the girls, Kristina, kindly introduced herself to me. I don’t really remember how the conversation went. I remember she told me with a cheeky smile that she was from Greenland. There you go, there’s the punch line – Kidding…
Not knowing anything at all about the country, or where it was, I accepted it at face value.
Yep, Greenland was ice and Iceland was green. They could have Asian looking people there if she said so! So off I went, happy as a bumblebee that I’d made a new friend. I didn’t find out until a few days later that she had played a joke on me; she was actually originally from the Philippines!
I did feel a bit silly for believing her, but I think it was karma for all the tricks I was to play on unsuspecting classmates in the future. I don’t know how many friends I convinced that I was born on the 31st June, but I felt really bad after receiving a few presents on the 1st July. Some of my sweet friends had forgotten my ‘birthday’.
Fast forward a few years later and I’m sitting in a lecture in Denmark learning about Greenland. Lo and behold, images of Kristina’s relatives popped up in the slide show!
I found out then that the Greenlanders were Inuit people. They looked like what I thought Asian people looked like. I think their genealogy could be from Siberia, but the Internet says many things. When I contacted Kristina recently and told her that I was going to Greenland to meet her family, she also had a little chuckle.
The most ironic thing is that when I finally arrive there on the 25th March 2013, I will most likely be mistaken as a native, until they find out that I’m mute. I know that some of them can speak English however, so I will learn how to speak Greendanglish (Greenlandic-Danish-English).
Signing off again with “I’ll let you know how it goes!”.
Do you remember how your first day starting at school went? Please share at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below.