How to (hopefully) crush a reading week

Hello, you!

Now that we’re about a month and a half into the semester, our lecturers have given us a reading week for reading, revising and getting on top of the course. We’ve already handed in 8 assignments and gotten through quite a lot of set material, so this feels like a nice treat, a “go, focus on the parts of the curriculum you want to focus on.”
However, with great freedom comes a completely unstructured week, with what could potentially be just 5 days of off-time. I don’t want this week to slip away like holidays often did when I was a child; one day you’re running home from school with 7 long days of fun ahead of you, and then suddenly you’re back at school feeling like the holiday hadn’t even been a thing in the first place.

But not this time!
This time, I’ve made a plan, split my day up into “classes” and focused on different modules. This time I’ll get what I want done, done.

So, I figured, why not make a blog post about how I’m intending to structure and spend this week, and who knows, maybe it could help someone else too. I’d also like to post updates throughout the week, to see how successful this plan is, and how I have to adapt and change it to fit how the week is actually going.

So, let’s get into it!

  1. Make a plan (and stick to it)

I’ve split my day up into hour-long chunks, from 10am-4pm.
2 and a half hour before a half hour break, with one module in focus before the break and another after it. At the end of every hour, I’ll give myself about 10 minutes if I feel like I need it, to go get some food or make another cup of tea.

This plan looks a bit intense, but everything I’ve put on it is stuff I already know but want to either just get further under my skin or want to better my overall understanding of. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get into a good workflow and get most of these things done. Tuesday and Wednesday are also study group days, meaning a change of air and work scenario.

2. Find a place to work

It’s important to find somewhere to work that is the right kind of quiet. I work best in areas where there is a little bit of background noise, but nothing actually loud. Home alone is almost too quiet for me, libraries are perfect, coffee shops are a bit too noisy. I find that if there are absolutely no sounds around me, I get distracted. If I’m home alone and the flat above me is (uncharacteristically) quiet, I start tapping my pencil, looking out the window and reaching for my phone. Libraries, however, have all the “good sounds” that keep you focused; tapping on laptop keyboards, chairs shuffling and bumping into the desks, book pages brushing against each other, and pencils scribbling on paper. Also the occasional heavy sigh from that one economy student in the corner poring over yet a larger book every day. However, this is highly individual, and you need to find out how much noise you’re comfortable with and that makes you the most productive.

I’m going to alternate between the study section of the library and my desk in the flat. For the Norwegian module-part of the plan I’ll be at home because I’ve got a lot of work resources in different books, folders and also taped to my walls, and so that would be easier to do at home. Heading to the library to then get started on the module after the break will provide a bit of fresh air on my way down + a change of scenery.

Note to self: Need to properly clean the desk before getting to work, to tidy away the worst distractions.

3. Make sure you’ve got everything you need!

Print powerpoint presentations, make sure your notes are tidy and organised, have all your books and stationery easily within reach. Have everything prepared so that you can just reach out a hand and grab that book you need with that great chapter, when you get into that work-flow it’s so easy to talk about but not as easy to attain. Also, take a lot of notes along the way, as notes are often easier to revise from than your textbooks when exam season comex around. Keep these readily available too.

4. Get enough food and enough sleep!

You can’t get any productive work done if you don’t eat well and get enough sleep. I’m very guilty of going to bed a bit late, but I am making a conscious effort to turn that bad habit around. Not getting enough sleep makes you drowsy and unproductive, and it’s also just bad for you and your health in general. So let’s get in some early nights, people!

5. DRINK TEA

Okay, this one might not be relevant for you, but I firmly believe that no work can be done without tea. Ever. Tea increases productivity by approximately 102% and those are completely and utterly true facts. Or maybe not. Or are they?

6. Take breaks and call it a day

Make sure that you’re working when you’re supposed to work, and that you give yourself a break during break time. Also, evening time where you don’t think about work at all, is also important. I often find that if I don’t have a plan to follow, everything I do end up taking a lot longer than it needs to, as I’m doing a lot of things at the same time, and not really devoting all my attention to one project. Because of this, I can be working on an assignment for an entire day, and then end up with that final “come on, just get this done with”-impulse late in the evening, meaning it has eaten up all my potential evening me-time. This rarely leads to results I’m happy with, and so that’s why this plan starts the day at 10 and ends it at 4 pm. After 4, I won’t even be thinking about uni, if I can get this right.


I’m excited for this week, and to try out this new system. I know this may seem super basic to a lot of people, but as the degree I did before this was a very creative one, I’m used to working whenever creativity hits, which is often at the most inopportune moments, and I may be a bit guilty of carrying that habit over into this new degree. I’m using this week, however, to get myself properly back on track and hopefully start the process of developing some good habits!

Wish me luck, and any tips, anyone?

-Andrea

When your childhood stops by for a minute

When your childhood stops by for a minute, in the shape of a sudden new book in a series who shaped you at 14 years of age, you run to the mail box. You run in your red wellies and your pyjamas, with sleep still misting up the corners of your eyes.

When you open the book for the first time, you’re going to be 14 again, clawing at the covers of what you thought was the end of the story. When you turn the title page, sat on a chair in your student flat-kitchen, you’re going to be transported back to that holiday when you were 10, that time you almost didn’t get in the pool because the story had you more captivated than chlorine water ever could. When you run your fingers along the pristine pages, the shining dust jacket and the black silk bookmark, you’ll remember the feeling of the tattered covers of books reread, of books well-loved, in your 12-year-old hands.

When your childhood stops by for a minute, in the form of a book you thought you’d never read, you put aside linguistic terms and phonetic theory, to dip into this world that welcomes you back, with cloaks and scrolls and fairytales.

When your childhood stops by for a minute, you stop too. You make a cup of tea, you put on some cosy socks.

And just like that, the story never ended.

So, context time! I loved this book series called Phenomena, by Ruben Eliassen, when I was a kid. The first book of the series came out in 2006 and the last in 2011, and these stories were important companions that proper helped shape my reading journey as a child and teen.

Through crowdfunding, the author has now published a new book; one that can either be seen as a finale to the old series, or a new beginning to what happened next in this story. Whether a final bow or an opening number, I’m so so so excited to get into this book, and I can’t wait for a deep dive back into that part of my childhood were the skies in the books were as real as the ones above my head.

Here we go.

-Andrea

One month down, Eleven more to go

It’s February 1st today, and January felt like it lasted a year.

I started this month at home, with Harvey visiting from England. From then and until now, I’ve moved flats and gotten settled, started up a new semester of my BA, found out that I really really enjoy my degree, received marks and got As on all my exams (!!) and with some lovely people, I’ve done a lot of work, both at uni and outside of uni.

Last year I filmed a second everyday, from January throughout July. A lot of stuff happened during those months, and I love to look back on those clips now – to see how much can change in a short amount of time. Watching the days slip by as seconds also really do put things into perspective.

This year, I’m gonna try again, and this time I’ll see if I can do a whole year, now that I’ve proven to myself that I can do six months.

So, without further ado, here’s my January! It may not look all that eventful to you when you watch it, but it’s been a good one.

Hope this first month of 2019 has been kind to you!

Have a wonderful day,

-Andrea

“In defence of Foreign accents”

(Draft of a work-in-progress poem)

The goal among the international students at my uni
was to completely drop our accents
to sound like we’d grown up with English birthday songs and ice cream floats.

We wanted to be able to go to any bar, to order any coffee
and keep any conversation going for however long a time,
only to be able to slip in an “oh, I’m not from England, actually”
and watch peoples’ surprise.

We worked so hard to lose our accents,
the sound of what we thought was “not enough practice”,
not good enough.

Oh, how wrong we were.

Accents are identity
just as much as names and clothes and the street corners you crossed on your way to school
Your accent’s where you’ve come from,
the journey to where you are now,
it shows the world you dared to try.

Your accent is your family traditions,
the lessons of your mum’s lullabies,
the laundry songs of your house,
a grandma’s lap,
and the courage it took to get on that plane alone.

Your accent is a road map of the people you care about,
those who took the time to sit with you while you were learning,
who let you spin wonders of the words you didn’t understand
and didn’t mind you trying on their pronunciations for size.

Your accent is your home away from home,
the amalgamation of all that you are and all that you’ve been.

So instead of dropping our accents,
let us celebrate them.
For all that we are,
and all that we’re yet to learn,
and every step along the way.

-Andrea

WWW Wednesday, 23/01-19, First reads of 2019

The first WWW of 2019!
I’ve been a bit slow on the reading front lately, but I’ve really liked the books I’ve worked my way through. Life’s a bit busy these days, with uni and organizations and board meetings and work and study groups, but it’s all interesting, so it’s not too bad.
But let’s jump straight into the book post!

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words, and anyone can join the fun! All you have to do is answer three simple questions (“The three Ws”):

-What are you currently reading?
-What did you just finish reading?
-What are you planning on reading next?

I am currently reading:
The Storm Crows by Kalyn Josephson

I’m in love with the idea of elemental crows and magic basically being the lifeblood of a city, and the world building in this book is solid and so interesting! At the moment the plot feels a little bit heavy and a couple of the characters are quite one-dimensional still, but I’m pretty sure that’s just because I haven’t gotten far enough into the story yet. I’m excited to see where the story and the characters are going, and I’ve got my fingers crossed, cause I really want this book to be good.
This is an advanced reader’s copy, so it’s not out in stores until July, but I’ve got a feeling it’ll definitely be worth a read when it’s released. I’ll keep you posted when I finish it!

Blurb:
Eragon meets And I Darken in this thrilling new fantasy debut that follows a fallen princess as she ignites a rebellion to bring back the magical elemental crows that were taken from her people.
In the tropical kingdom of Rhodaire, elemental crows are part of every aspect of life…
Until the Illucian empire invades, destroying everything.
That terrible night has thrown Princess Anthia into a deep depression. Her sister, Caliza, is busy running the kingdom after their mother’s death, but all Thia can do is think of everything she has lost.

I just finished reading:
Leksikon om Lys og Mørke by Simon Stranger


This book got up close and personal and I had to put it down multiple times. It showed scenes from the war that I’ve not really heard about before, and I don’t know what to say about this book, at all, so I’ll just leave you with the blurb. The rights have been sold internationally, though, so there will be an English translation out soon. If you can stomach it(which I nearly couldn’t), you should definitely read it.

Blurb:
According to Jewish tradition, everyone dies twice. The first time is when the heart stops beating, and the synapses in the brain shut down, like a city during a blackout. The second time is when the dead person’s name is uttered, read or thought of for the last time, after fifty or hundred or four hundred years. Only then is the person really gone, erased from life on Earth.
A chilling and gripping double portrait of a young man who became a torturist and a family that would have been an entirely different one had Norway not been invaded in 1940.
What turns the bashful shoemaker’s son Henry Rinnan from Trøndelag into one of the most hated criminals in Norwegian history; a double agent killing Norwegians for the Nazis? And why would a Jewish family want to move into Rinnan’s headquarters shortly after the war, in the house that for many became the very symbol of the atrocities committed during the German occupation?

Spanning over four generations, Simon Stranger skillfully constructs a story consisting of the most beautiful and painful elements of human life in this epic and ambitious novel, pieces that when put together also becomes the history of his own family.

Next, I’ll be reading:
The Moomins and the Great Flood by Tove Jansen

This is a cute, little book that I’ve wanted to read for a long time, and now I’ve finally gotten around to borrow it from a friend. I might sneak a read of this before I finish The Storm Crow, as it is only about 50 pages long, and it looks sweet. Also, I’ve loved the Moomin universe since I was a child, and as this is the first book, I’m excited to see where it all started!

Blurb:
“What sort of thing are you?” asked the little creature.
“I’m a moomintroll,” answered Moomintroll, who had had time to feel brave again. “And this is my mother…”
And so, for the very first time, we meet the young Moomin, Moominmamma and Sniff as they search through the forest and flood for a long lost Moominpappa, last seen wandering with the Hattifatteners. Along the way, in a series of delightful adventures, they encounter Hemulens, stranded kittens and the blue-haired Tulippa.

What are you reading, this cold January day? We’ve got a bit of snow now, and all I wanna do is just curl up in a blanket with these books, and watch winter cover the ground.
Have you read any of these? Have you done a WWW post this week? Leave it in the comments, I’d love to have a look!

Have a wonderful day,
-Andrea x

“Sophie’s Adventure”

In lack of proper wine glasses, we improvise with teacups,
and as the shutter of a Polaroid camera goes off,
she’s pouring rosé,
small, pink oceans, bubbles and light storms in our glasses.

We’ve made a cave of my uni room,
filled every nook and cranny with silly laughs and fairy lights,
hot chocolate scented candles,
and unfamiliar words in both our languages.
Words we hope’ll make sense
when English just doesn’t cut it as our middle man,
when the words of home become impossible to translate,
– so we let her German paint pictures in the air,
and Norwegian show off all the words it has borrowed;
we meet in the middle.

There are some things you just cannot learn in your home country.

Dreams are dreamt up tonight.
Plans for all the cities that are yet to be seen,
Northern Lights still to be chased,
the cross stitches of who we’d wish to be one day hopefully coming together.
Everything navigated in between sips of pink and the idea of fairy story cities.    

There are no thoughts that cannot be put into words,
no words that cannot be sown into these blankets,
and the four years separating us don’t keep our musings from dancing,
from twirling,
from harmonising to the same melody.

Because, in the strangest way, it’s like she is me three years ago,
just with a dollop more maturity it took me an extra year to obtain.
Alone in a new country,
figuring it out on her own.
We talk about being lonely;
we talk about that empty feeling of evenings on your own, beating yourself up for not living your adventure abroad to the fullest,
and of the nights that last forever, where you’re surrounded by friends and this new country feels like where you were supposed to be all along,
We talk about how that’s okay.

And we agree that on those days, whether the sunset reaches us before we’ve even gotten out of our beds,
or if 4 am finds us in the middle of a favourite song,
we’ll pour the rosé in our tea cups again,
raise a glass to ourselves and our empty rooms
and celebrate.

There are some things you just cannot learn in your home town.

Because there are so many people to meet,
so many friends to make, hands to shake, eyes to get to know.
So many languages to learn, so many wines to taste and teas to test,
so many pictures to take, that need their own space in an album somewhere,
or hung above a bed,
the memories of your own fairy tales lulling you to sleep.

So many stories, of the adventures that are waiting.
So let’s raise a glass to that.

-Andrea

55 of my Favourite Things, pt. 2

~Blue and white striped shirts ~ my new little flat ~ Yorkshire tea ~ travelling ~ discovering new TV shows ~ rewatching old TV shows ~ peach ice tea ~ knitted jumpers ~ new projects ~ that feeling when a particularly grumpy piercing has finally healed properly ~ Brooklyn 99 ~ woolen socks ~ volunteering in a job that’s relevant to your field of study ~ new pens ~ knowing that you’ve given your all on an exam and being rewarded for it in the marks ~ Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency ~ 90s romcoms ~ tarot cards ~ exciting plans ~ an unmapped new year ~ new work experience opportunities ~ hiking boots ~ horses on the farm next to the uni ~ the fact that there even is a farm, one minute walk away from the uni ~ new set texts ~ STARKID musicals ~ tacos ~ the smell of someone you care about on your clothes ~ this blog ~ the sea on sunny days when the surface glitters like a million pieces of broken glass ~ the sea on rainy days where the line between the ocean and the horizon is blurred by the weather ~ learning new words ~ floral bed sheets ~ my translation studies ~ the size of the campus at my uni ~ having my work featured and acknowledged in small publications ~ swimming – finally nailing the lyrics to a particularly wordy song ~ watching my friends excel at what they do ~ when films put the credits in the opening scene ~ tipsy showers ~ how smells can instanly transport you back to a moment in time ~ old perfumes you used to wear ~ homemade blankets ~ nail polish ~ cheese on toast ~ coming up with lines of poetry that aren’t connected to any poem you’re working on, but writing them down anyway hoping they might develop into a poem of their own ~ lecturers that love their subjects ~ dishwashing soap ~ fresh towels ~ talking to people about the stuff they love ~ catching up with people you haven’t talked to in ages ~ student organisations ~ tiny tattoos ~ cats ~

-Andrea