Journal #8

Shakespeare wrote about a Midsummer night’s dream, and on June 23rd (in Norway, at least) we celebrate midsummer night’s eve. Not the longest day of the year as I’ve always believed, but one day past the sun turning; when the night is one minute longer than it was the day before. We celebrated yesterday the same way we’ve always done, and I spent the day pondering how traditions stay the same, how we appreciate the things we’ve always done; my own midsummer night’s dream.

I dream of what I’ve always seen on an evening like this, of bonfires and burnt popcorn, of dogs off their leads and children learning to swim. I dream of grey haired locals playing saxophone from the back of a truck and gulls swooping down to peck at waffle crumbs left on the ground. I dream of shoes put away to dip our feet in the water and the taste in your mouth of knowing that you have all of summer in front of you, endless possibilities for tan lines and sun burns and morning teas on the veranda. I dream of post cards sent and letters received, breakfasts with the ones I love and skype calls with the ones I miss. My midsummer night’s dream is of those nights that never end; when you bring blankets and lanterns and candle light out into the garden, to watch sun sets and sun rise, when you watch the bats soar and smell the jasmine flowers, when life is floating and there is nowhere you need to be.

Midsummer’s night is a night when you remind yourself of how strong nature’s forces are, that we’re all part of nature, and in later years, that we can’t control it no matter how hard we try. On midsummer night’s eve we gather our families and celebrate that we’re out of the cold winter months and that we’ve got all of summer ahead of us. We sing songs passed down to remember that those we have lost are always with us, in the wind and the trees and the stars.
It’s a day where you pick wildflowers and put them under your pillow and where you’re grateful for what you have, what you’ve lost and what you’ve yet to gain.

We are a family of four, and my favourite time of all, is all of us together around the table outside. Yesterday, we sat there for the better part of three hours. There was tea, there were blankets being shared, words floating through the air. There is nothing you can’t talk about when it’s past midnight and it’s warm enough to never go to bed.
My midsummer night’s dream is a wish for many more eternal light like this one.

-Andrea

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Journal #7

Norwegian translation below the picture x 

The house is quiet. I let my eyes follow specks of dust dancing lazily in the sun and I’ve got my hands around an elephant mug filled to the brim with blueberry tea. The steam swirling out of the mug paints roses in the air. I’ve never liked waking up early, but I’ve always loved being awake, morning’s early hours; the silence before anyone else wakes up. It’s just my book and me and the soft and distant whirr of the world outside. I think about the people I miss as I let my fingers play with the steam. As the steam looks like dragon’s breath, I think about all the people I haven’t met yet, and I think about the places I want to go, the things I want to write, as the steam slowly settles down. I also think about how many different “me”s there are, and that since I rarely get up this early, this “me” isn’t one I get to explore a lot. It’s like the rest of the world isn’t existing yet, in my little hour of the morning. Soon there will be breakfast and chatter and the people I care about, and I can’t wait. But right now it’s just me. I’m just here. It’s gonna be a good day.

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Det er stille i huset. Jeg lar øynene følge støvet som danser i late solstråler, mens jeg har hendene rundt en kopp breddfull av blåbær-te. Dampen leker, maler roser i lufta. Jeg har aldri likt å stå opp  tidlig, men det å være våken tidlig, det setter jeg pris på. Jeg elsker morgentimene, stillheten før noen andre våkner. Det er bare boka mi og jeg nå, og den myke, men fjerne, lyden av verden utafor. Jeg tenker på de jeg savner mens jeg lar fingrene spille igjennom dampen. Mens dampen snor seg som varm pust i kuldegrader, tenker jeg på alle de jeg ikke har møtt enda og jeg tenker på alle steder jeg vil se, alt jeg vil skrive, når dampen endelig legger seg. Jeg tenker også på alle de forskjellige “meg”ene som finnes, og siden jeg sjelden er oppe så tidlig som dette, er dette en “meg” jeg ikke opplever særlig ofte. Det er som om verden ikke er til ennå, i denne lille timen jeg sitter her. Snart blir det frokost og småsnakk og de jeg bryr meg mest om i hele verden, og jeg gleder meg. Men akkurat nå er det bare meg. Jeg er bare her. Dette blir en god dag.

-Andrea

Journal #6

AFAC29B9-6BB3-4A6F-B409-DEE8A8EFDE38They say everything comes alive in spring, but I believe summer brings out the best in us. I’m sat on a veranda enveloped in the smell of roses and foxgloves, nursing a mug of strawberry tea, wondering how a warm drink can feel like a cold treat in this heat. Blue tits and flycatchers have been flying around me all morning, gliding from pine to spruce to silver birch. They’re small reminders that no matter what happens, the chatter of birds and the flapping of small wings will always sound like home. A couple of ants are walking in an uneven line along the stem of the peonies. In contrast to the skittering ants, my book is moving at a slow pace and it’s just the way I want it right now. I wonder how many days like this you get in a year. Days where the sun is awake and the clouds are busy somewhere else, and the breeze is playing around your feet and you have nowhere else to be. Summer has hit our little part of the world, and it’s charging batteries that’ve been empty for too long.

-Andrea

Journal #5

During my time at uni, I’ve made a lot of blogs for different modules. The point is always to market yourself, to showcase your writing, to find a way to build an online portfolio. Most of them don’t exist anymore, but one I’m feeling a bit nostalgic about (and also the one I liked the most), is called InstantColouring, and it was for a first year “publishing” module. It has long since been abandoned now, but on it I posted a polaroid picture and about 100 words every day of March 2016.

I know I just said it was the blog I liked the most, but it also makes me cringe. I feel like that’s the case with most old writing; you progress, you learn new things, and suddenly what you used to be happy with feels a bit awkwardly worded, a bit unnecessarily flowery. However, this blog did capture snapshots of my everyday, during a month of my first year of uni, and now that that’s coming to an end, I’ve decided to put some of the posts here, in the Journal Series. I won’t edit them or try to make them better, they’ll just be a small reminder (mostly to myself) of how things have or haven’t changed. Sounds like a plan?

 

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02/29/2016

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“When asked about my favourite season, I wouldn’t say summer, even though I adore the lazy nights of July when the sun never sets and shoes are no longer a necessity. I wouldn’t say autumn either, even though I love the feeling of burying my face in the biggest scarf from this season’s new collection and how the colours change from green to auburn. I also wouldn’t say winter, even though it makes me indescribably happy when snow starts to fall from the clouds like dizzy ballerinas and the Christmas lights are being lit all over the world. No, I will always say spring, because of the soft light that’s reserved for April only, that gently knocks on your window and reminds you that it’s never too late for new beginnings.”

-Andrea

Journal #4

Cafe 004I’ve always been one to enjoy my own company. Don’t get me wrong, I do love being around people, and quiet days without anyone to talk to can make me go stir crazy, but still, at the end of the day, I always need a bit of me-time. Some peace and space to just be. However, lately I’ve started thinking about how this me-time always means staying in. Me-time is quiet-time, it’s pyjamas and knitting and another chapter of my favourite book. Days like that are of course perfectly fine and sometimes also very necessary, but it made me think about how I use the terms me-time and quiet-time interchangeably, when they’re actually quite different concepts (to me, anyway, I’m not trying to speak for introverts everywhere!)

Quiet time is needed when your head is full. When your mind is spinning with other people’s ideas and you just need some time with your own thoughts. Quiet time is for when you don’t want any kind of input, when you just want to hide away. Nights like these are the pyjamas-and-facemask nights, the nights you need to take a bit more care of yourself, to charge the batteries and just be you.

Me-time, however, is when you’re just not that into talking to people, but also don’t feel the need to hide away. It’s when you don’t mind having others around, you just don’t particularly want to talk to anyone. I realise that this sounds quite negative, but it’s really not meant to be. I have found, that when me-time is needed, I don’t really want to keep conversations and react to people, I just want to observe? I want to be around people, but not have them acknowledge me; at least no more than a polite nod, a smile, a hello.

Third year of uni has found me needing a bit more me-time, as the dissertation, assignments and commitments have piled up. I’ve found myself feeling restless during quiet-time, which I never did before, and have been able to identify it as a “I don’t want to be alone right now, but I also don’t want to talk to anyone.”

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This is a very rambly post, as I’m still trying to make sense of this in my own brain. However, as a challenge to myself, and to test out the theory about the difference between quiet-time and me-time, I’m going to start taking myself out for coffee sometimes. Right now I’m sat at Cafè Winchester with a cream tea (peppermint) and my laptop. I can’t remember a time I ever sat down at a cafè on my own, without waiting for anyone, without just quickly grabbing something to go. I like it, though! Not as a profound “I am brave enough to be alone with my thoughts”-sort of way (I really don’t like that whole idea and attitude), it’s just nice to hear people chatter and talk around me and know that I don’t have to partake in their conversations.

Does any of this make sense? Or does it just make me sound like an awful person who’d rather listen to other people talk than keep conversations going, themselves?
I don’t know. But this tea is really good, and I’m quite content right now.

 

TL;DR: Sometimes you just want to drink tea and eat scones and listen to other people do the talking, and that’s okay, too.

-Andrea

Journal #3

“I can’t work in my room,” I say when people ask me why I’m always in the library, “too many distractions in there.” All throughout my degree, separating uni work and down time has been very important to me. I think one of the reasons for this is because I’ve been living on campus for the last three years, but maybe today was a bit different. I’m sat here now, by the desk in my little room, with my bookshelf full of adventures I’ve yet to go on and a phone that’s charging right next to me, and I’ve finished my dissertation without checking either. Or, I mean, I’ve finished the creative part of my dissertation at least. 8000 words, now finally edited, done and dusted. I’m sure I’ll go through and proofread a bit more, but from now on I’ll just be looking for spelling mistakes and stray commas, not any actual edits. It’s a weird feeling. And I did it all from the comfort of my room, here where I say I can never work. Guess I was wrong. I’ve got a proper mug of tea (not just a travel mug), a bowl of (almost completely) homemade pasta carbonara and I’m listening to soft music on speakers, not through headphones. I still think the library’s the place for me to sit down and properly get everything I need done actually done, but maybe I can be a bit more open to the idea of working in my own space too. This has been a surprisingly productive, but relaxed, day.
I can get used to this.

(Blog Andrea Wold Johansen) Desk 1
Have a very staged picture of how I’d love my writing nook to look like all the time. The norm is more pens everywhere and paper flying! (Also, I finished my tea just before taking this..)

-Andrea

Journal #2

Breathe. Sometimes you just need a bit of fresh air. When deadlines clog your brain and word counts don’t act like you want them to it’s like your breath gets stuck in your chest, your shoulders, and you need a change of scenery. For me, fresh air means the smell of salty seas and the sound of seagulls and waves. Whenever things get just a bit too much, I get on the train and I go where I know there’ll be an open sea to greet me, and a beach with sand that can run through my fingers. And just like that, I breathe again.

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-Andrea