WWW Wednesday July 11, Poetry On the Beach

Wednesday again! This has been a reading heavy week, but all the books I chose to put in this post were books I brought along to the beach; small book-friends that fit in a beach-bag or in my pocket. There’s been lots of beach reading in between work shifts, and this week’s been pretty poetry heavy, so get ready for some poetry on the beach!

WWW Wednesday is a weekly post hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words, and anyone can join. All you need to do is write a post about your three W’s, and the three W’s are:

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

I am currently reading:
Our numbered days by Neil Hilborn

Okay, both the “current read” and “recently finished” in this WWW are rereads, but they’re such wonderful books that I find myself reaching for them again and again and again and they deserve to be mentioned here at least once. Our numbered days is a book like that just keeps growing in my hands every time I read it, and this time’s no exception. I feel like raw is such an overused word when it comes to talking about poetry, but Hilborn’s voice is just that, raw and funny and sarcastic and wise, all at the same time.

Blurb:
“When you’re dumb enough for long enough, you’re gonna meet someone too smart to love you, and they’re gonna love you anyway, and it’s gonna go so poorly.”
Neil Hilborn’s debut collection, Our Numbered Days, is funny and mad at itself for being funny. It’s sad, and it thinks that’s also funny. It’s smart, even when it’s calling itself stupid. It says “Love me” while insisting that loving it is a bad idea. Our Numbered Days is like playing mini golf on a first date: it will be embarrassing at first, but, it swears, you’re gonna love it.

I just finished reading:
No Matter the Wreckage by Sarah Kay

This was the first “proper” poetry book I got after moving to England and getting into poetry, and you can see from the somewhat battered cover that it’s been a loyal companion since.I had seen videos of her poems around the internet for a while, but got her book to use as a reference for a poetry essay, and fell madly and desperately in love. This collection has kept me company on many a train journey, and held me through many a homesick night. Like with the last book, I’ll just let the comments from the blurb talk for themselves.

Blurb:
In her powerful debut collection of poetry, Sarah Kay navigates a decade’s worth of writing to present us with a book that combines new poems and beloved favourites. Both fresh and wise, Sarah Kay’s poetry invites us to join her on the journey of discovering herself and the world around her.
Sarah Kay is a fearsomely open and generous talent. In this collection she will give you moments so intimate and beautifully rendered you will come to know them as your own. An unalloyed joy from beginning to end.” – Lin-Manuel Miranda


Next book on the list:
Helium by Rudy Francisco

I’ve had this book for a couple of months but still not read it, so it’s definitely next on the list now that I’m in this “poetry on the beach”-mindset. I really enjoy the way Rudy Francisco performs his poetry, his voice and how he holds himself in front of an audience, and so I’m excited to see how all of that “translates” onto the page!

Blurb:
“Rudy Francisco’s powerful collection Helium is full of the kind of clear-eyed, hurtful moments that make the best poetry, no matter how difficult they are to render as music: all the merciful questions, all the rejoicing and letdowns that come from family. All of the knots of honesty and near honesty that bump against us with abandon at this time when truth is a thin thing. Helium cracks open what it means to be human and vulnerable in America, when liberty is a pliable and dissapearable thing. These poems should be read and reread like an antidote for now.” -Adrian Matejka

That was my WWW post this week! Better late than never, at least it’s still Wednesday even if it is quarter to 11 in the evening.
If you wanna talk books; please hit me with any sort of book talk in the comments!
Blue was apparently a color theme for me this week, do you find that you tend to react for books in some sort of colour code?
And I know I keep saying this, but I still really enjoy the community feel around these kinds of posts, and so please post your WWW Wednesday post in the comments so I can check it out!

Thanks for reading and have a lovely day!

-Andrea

 

Writing cliches: The Ever-growing Tea Collection

A well-known cliche says that writers drink a lot of hot beverages, and if we are to believe the writers’ blogs’ homages to steaming coffee, that’s very true. Countless instagrams of pretty mugs, neat notebooks on coffee tables and writing dens with window sills filled with old coffee-cups, tells us that no writing can ever happen without a cup of something warm next to your laptop.

Originally I thought I’d try and steer away from this cliche; that I wouldn’t mention tea or anything like that in my posts. However, as my veins are basically flowing with equal parts blood and strawberry infusion, this did not work all that well, and my mugs have started popping up in images here and there.

That’s why I figured today I’d just live the cliche I am, one hundred percent, and take you on a tour through my favourite teas; the brews I need to wake up, to write, to curl up on the sofa.

So make yourself a good cup of something you really like, and let’s get started!

Andrea’s Ultimate Tea Tour (with overly enthusiastic and staged summery pictures)

Twinings’ Pure Peppermint:

I don’t drink coffee, but I need a cup of this every morning. Either as a five minute moment at the kitchen table before I face the world, or as a cosy treat in a travel mug on the 06:35 bus to town. Just boiling water, no sugar or anything, preferably in a big, “open” mug so the taste really gets to do the “swirly thing” that tea needs to do.

Writing tea/cozy tea/sleepy tea/energy tea
Big mug/small mug/coffee cup mug

Lipton’s Blueberry Muffin and Infusion’s Turkish Apple Tea:

I’m always here for a good fruit tea! The blueberry tea in the picture is one I drank buckets of on camp as a youth leader for the first time, and every time I drink it I still think of that wonderful weekend a good 6 years ago. It’s also just a really really good tea. It smells and tastes more like muffins than blueberries, and it’s got a really round taste.

Writing tea/cozy tea/sleepy tea/energy tea
Big mug/small mug/coffee cup mug

This Turkish Apple tea is also a really good fruit tea. I found it in a tiny tea shop in Camden, where the lady running the store spent almost 45 minutes telling me about and letting me taste and smell all of the teas she had in the shop. Such a good time!! It’s the strongest tea I’ve ever had when it comes to pure taste, and it’s made out of dried apple and pineapple and other fruits. It also smells divine.

Writing tea/cozy tea/sleepy tea/energy tea
Big mug/small mug/coffee cup mug

Both of these teas do need a little bit of sugar for the taste to really get through, but they’re both the ones I always serve people who say they don’t really like tea. Most people end up surprising themselves and loving them!

Twinings’ Camomile&Honey and Picklecombe’s Lavender Honey:

Okay, so I’m aware that that jar of honey is not tea. But it is Lavender-infused honey and deserves an honorable mention here! It’s also really good in tea, and on its own in warm water. The proper star of this section though, is the Camomile&Honey tea from Twinings. I’m usually not a fan of camomile teas, but the honey is the overpowering taste in this blend, and it’s so warming and soothing. There is no better tea to curl up with after a long day.

Writing tea/cozy tea/sleepy tea/energy tea
Big mug/small mug/coffee cup mug

Dorset tea’s Strawberries and Cream and Twining’s Glow:

Strawberry tea! My two favourite teas are both strawberry teas, and I always have to restock them when I’m visiting Harvey in Swanage as that’s the only place I’ve been able to get my hands on them.
The Strawberries and Cream one is a hug in a mug – warm, cozy, comforting and sweet. It also turns bright red, something I greatly appreciate. The countless shirts I’ve stained with it, however, really don’t. It’s the perfect companion to an evening in with your favourite book and fresh bed sheets, and I’ve always got a couple of extra unopened boxes waiting in the pantry.

Writing tea/cozy tea/sleepy tea/energy tea
Big mug/small mug/coffee cup mug

The last strawberry tea, and the last tea on this list, is Twining’s Glow. It’s a green tea with strawberries and aloe Vera in it, and it’s one of those teas you feel healthy after drinking (I know that’s not a thing, but the feel is definitely there). Much like the earlier mentioned Peppermint tea, this doesn’t need anything added. It tastes strangely like strawberry lipgloss (only so much better, of course,) and is the perfect cup in the morning, if you want something with a bit more taste to it.

Writing tea/cozy tea/sleepy tea/energy tea
Big mug/small mug/coffee cup mug

Well, that got longer than planned! Thank you so much for listening to my ramblings, I can get really passionate about tea, as you might’ve understood. There are of course a billion more wonderful teas, but these are my everyday essential beverages. (Also, I don’t know if I really need to say this, but just to be safe, this post is 100% not sponsored in any way, I just really like tea!)

Do you need any hot drinks to function?
Are you a coffee or a tea person?

Have a wonderful day,
-Andrea

WWW Wednesday July 4

And it’s Wednesday again! Norway’s so warm right now, so all the time I’m not at work I basically spend at the beach with a book. Life’s pretty great, to be honest.

I am at work today doing shifts at the supermarket, and so this is the perfect day for another WWW Wednesday!

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Sam at Taking On A World Of Words , and anyone can join. All you need to do is answer three simple questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m currently reading
Hamlet by William Shakespeare

A bit like with Jane Austen, I’ve always really liked the idea of Shakespeare, but never really gotten through any of his plays. Norwegian schools also don’t set away all that much time for Shakespeare’s works either, and so it wasn’t before I got to England and met some very enthusiastic Shakespeare fans that I really got into his plays. In February, my really good friend Cathy, brought me along to see my first play at the Globe and I’ve seen (and loved) the film version where David Tennant plays Hamlet. Now I’m reading Hamlet in Norwegian, and the translation is wonderful! So sprightly and playful, not heavy and long-winded like I expected it to be. I’m loving every page so far!

Blurb:
“Å være eller ikke være, det er problemet.
Om det er mere edelt av et sinn
å utstå skjebnens slyngekast og piler,
enn ta til våpen mot et hav av plager
og ende dem ved motstand? Dø, å sove –
og ikke mer, å si med en søvn
vil all vår hjertesorg ta slutt og alle
de tusen slag naturen har å by på
og kjødet tar i arv – det er en slutt
vi inderlig må ønske oss.”

“To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d.”

I just finished
Villskudd by Gudmund Vindland

Last year I discovered that I’ve got a very big soft spot for books set in Scandinavia in the 60s, and especially books about the LGBT community in the big cities at the time. So if you’ve got any recommendations for this (rather small) niche market of books, please throw them at me!
There is something about the language used, the characters that always seem stereotypical but then defy all those stereotypes, the places I recognize but depicted several decades ago, before I was born but not even that long ago. I really enjoyed this book, because it was such an unapologetic love story from the protagonist to himself, if that makes sense. It showed young gay men finding their way, really screwing up and having each other’s backs. It also had a lot of hope and good laughs, great humor and fantastic pop-culture references. A very good book!

Blurb: (Translated)
In Villskudd we get to know Yngve, who is gay in late 60’s Oslo. “This book is a little piece of Norway. A tale of a young Norwegian’s journey across the earth; a song of his doubts and his beliefs, his insecurities and his struggling desires, of shame and infamy and the dream of becoming someone.” (“Villskudd”, 29.02.16, http://www.skeivtarkiv.no)

Next on the list
Sky chasers by Emma Carrol

I’ll buy anything with hot air balloons on it, any day. Not entirely sure why, I just love the aesthetic of them soaring through the skies, especially since I have absolutely no idea how they work and so they’ve kind of kept that air of mystique around them! I bought this book purely because of the cover, and I’m really excited to get reading on it!

Blurb:
Orphan Magpie can’t believe her eyes when she sees a boy swept off his feet by a kite… or something that twists and dances in the wind. She goes to his rescue only to find herself dangling in the sky. The world looks so different from on high and suddenly Magpie knows what she wants – to be the first to fly in a balloon above the King and Queen of France.

Have you read any of these? What are you reading right now and how are you liking it? And how is your relationship with Shakespeare?

I really appreciate the community feel around these www Wednesday posts, and would love to read some more! Please drop your link in the comments, I’d love to check it out!

As always, have a wonderful day!

-Andrea

“Grandfather Sea has new eyes now”

The water is a mirror, I’m scared to break the surface,
but our boat just glides through the waves like it owns the place.
On the sea surrounded by sleepy gulls and my grandmother’s handwriting was not where I thought I’d spend my evening, but I’m glad I’m here.
My grandad is steering, like he always is.

Grandfather sea, the saltwater man.
I’ve written poems about him before, said he is like the ocean he grew up next to;
only now do I understand how right I was.

He’s not made of salt water so much as shaped of it,
unpredictable and stormy, wondrous and wild.

I look at how he grips the steering wheel, trained hands that know how to navigate rocks and isles and deep velvet oceans.
It is in his fingers, his eyes, his back,
like riding a bicycle is in my legs.

I used to compare him to the sea;

His heart forceful like the waves, voice quick like sea foam, all excitement and loud words and dark coffee spluttering in a coffee maker.
Now I see the ocean in him, in the pull of the currents towards his home.
I see the sea in how he glides through the ripples, I see the waves in his mind as tension in his hands.

He looks at old horizons with new eyes, navigates charted waters without her telling him where to go.

The water is a mirror, I’m scared I’ll break the surface,
but his surface is one i’m just starting to chip away at.

I went out for a little trip on the fjord with my grandad the other day, and had some time to reflect as we were … driving? We talked about stuff you can only talk about when there is water all around you, and we sat in comfortable silence, silence that felt like home. It all made me think of a poem I wrote about my grandad in my first year of uni, and how both my voice and his focus has changed a lot during the course of those three years, and especially this last year; a year filled with permanent changes that have affected all of us. All of this reflection resulted in this work-in-progress poem! I hope you like it!

Have a wonderful day,

-Andrea

The Winchester Bucket List

Are you going to uni next year, and wondering how life will be as a student? Are you worried about working part time alongside your studies? Even better, are you going to uni in Winchester, UK, and are curious about new places to go, small nooks to discover and explore? For questions like these, the University of Winchester has created a student life magazine that focuses on simply living life as a student, no matter what course or degree you’re on.

Remember I told you about this article I was writing a while ago? The magazine it’s in has been available at the uni for a couple of months, and it’s been handed out to students at the open days for a while, but now I’ve finally got my hands on a copy of my own, and can show you guys!

My article is called “The Winchester Bucket List”, is featured on the front page, and I’m listed on the contents page as a “student contributor”, which I’m really happy and a little bit proud about!
Talking about the article; this one was a lot of fun to write for a lot of reasons:
Firstly, I was contacted and asked to write something for this! After emailing back and forth with the management and content team, we figured out that a “tour” of Winchester would be a fun thing to put in there.
Secondly, I got to pick out my favourite places in Winchester and write about them, and now I’ve basically got the perfect memento of the town I’ve loved living and studying in.
Thirdly, for the first time ever I did both the article and the pictures! The photos in this piece are all by me (except for the St Catherine’s one), and taking “proper” pictures that would look good in an article like this was an interesting challenge I’d never taken on before.

I sent this piece off with pride when I was done with it. Then I was told that it would be given three full pages, something I was not expecting but really, really appreciated! And, drumroll please, here is the finished piece:

Look how cool it looks!! I had no idea how the design would look, but I’m really proud of how it turned out. The whole magazine is available for free at the University of Winchester, and it’s filled with tips and tricks on how to survive life as a student, created and written by current students and recent graduates.

Question of the day: am I the only one who finds it really difficult to take pictures of grassy hills (i.e St Catherine’s hill)? Everything just turned out very green for me… Also, does anyone know how to put separate pictures together into a pdf file? Help and suggestions are very welcome!

Hope you have a wonderful day!
-Andrea

WWW Wednesday: 6 June

WWW Wednesday is a weekly blog “series”, created and hosted by Taking on a World of Words. I heard about it through BookBoodle’s post and thought it could be a nice little weekly posting habit to get into, both to write about books I’m currently enjoying, but also to keep track of books I’ve gone through and want to get through in the next couple of months.

WWW

Everyone can join in, you just have to answer the Three Ws you’ve gotten through or are working in this week, and the Three Ws are;

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m currently reading
Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately by Alicia Cook

A clever collection of free form poetry and black out poetry, presented as Side A and Side B of a cassette tape.

Blurb
:
Doesn’t have one.

I recently finished
The House With Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson

A children’s tale with a bigger story to tell; about love, loss, unanswerable questions and the importance of letting people in.

Blurb:
“Marinka dreams of a normal life, where her house stays in one place long enough for her to make friends. But her house has chicken legs and moves without warning. For Marinka’s grandmother is Baba Yaga, who guides spirits between this world and the next. Marinka longs to change her destiny and sets out to break free from her grandmother’s footsteps, but her house has other ideas.”

Next book on the list
London Triptych by Jonathan Kemp

Picked this up on the airport on my way home (even though I was lugging around 2×23 kilos of luggage, and a significant portion of said luggage was books…) and I’m excited to give it a chance!

Blurb:
“Jack Rose begins his apprenticeship as a rent boy with Alfred Taylor in the 1890s, and discovers a life of pleasure and excess that leads him to new friendships, most notably with the soon-to-be-infamous Oscar Wilde. A century later, David tells his own tale of unashamed decadence while waiting to be released from prison, addressing his story to the lover who betrayed him. Where their paths cross, in the politically sensitive 1950s when gay men were the target of police and politicians alike, artist Colin tentatively explores his sexuality as he draws in preparation for his most ambitious painting yet, ‘London Triptych’.”

Okay, so this has been my first attempt at a WWW Wednesday post! I’m still trying to figure out how to properly format it, but we’ll get there.
Thanks for reading, and please leave anything you’re reading, anything you’ve read, book recommendations and chit chat + your WWW Wednesdays if you’ve written one, in the comments if you’d like!

-Andrea

“I Think I’m Dreaming” again and “Intimacy in the age of social media”

Two posts in one day, I know, I’m sorry.
You see, in my last post I was talking about these two pieces I’ve handed in and gotten back, and I just wanted to share them with you!

This is the creative piece I had to edit so much, called “I Think I’m Dreaming”.
Like I said, it’s a sci-fi, speculative type thingy, and I had a lot of fun writing it.
You can find it by clicking here!

The picture will hopefully make a little more sense after reading the piece.

The second piece, which I don’t think I’ve talked as much about before, is a reflective essay. The main essay title we got as part of the assessment was “How We Live Now”, and then we had to make our own under-title. I ended up writing an essay about how social media has changed our way of being intimate, pros and cons of being able to stay connected with anyone anywhere in the world, and asked the question; Has social media made us incapable of forming and maintaining intimate connections?
It was a really interesting essay to work on, and I’d love it if you’d check it out!
You can do that here!

Okay, that’s all for today, I promise!
Thanks for taking the time to read these posts and maybe also the pieces.

Have a great day!
-Andrea

“In the Soles of Their Shoes”

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m still working on coming to terms with the fact that I’ve finished my BA. Part of this process, I’ve figured, is going back and looking at pieces I wrote in first and second year. Most writers hate looking back at earlier pieces, and I’m definitely no exception. All the sentences you’d cut, all the careless spelling mistakes, so much showing and not enough telling. However, it is interesting to see how far you’ve come, and it feels good to know that all the errors you find in your old work are things you know how to correct now; areas in which you’ve grown as a writer.

This short story (hidden under the Continue Reading bar) was one of the first short stories I ever wrote in a lecture, in a module called Creative Voice I. The task was to find an idea by looking at pictures, then head to the library to quickly research said idea and like this, come up with a story. I got a picture of Audrey Hepburn, the classic Breakfast at Tiffany’s shot, and started looking at her past and her life during the war; how she and some other girls put on secret ballet rehearsals and shows unbeknownst to the German soldiers. It got the ball rolling for a story about children helping out the resistance during the second world war, and resulted in a 700 word story. Also, today I’ve edited it slightly and submitted this story to The Master’s Review‘s Flash Fiction competition.

slipper-1919321_1920.jpg

On the topic of growing as a writer, though, if I were to write this story now I would show more of the surroundings to properly set the time and place more clearly, and also make the character’s intentions and feelings more clear. I would also work more with the characters, as the reader doesn’t really get a clear feeling about how old the girls are or why they’re doing what they’re doing. Also, the change in mood from the girls skipping down the street to one of them suddenly sneaking into the abandoned shop feels very sudden. Other than that, I do like it.

Click the Continue Reading Button to read the piece, or click here to see some of my other pieces!

-Andrea

“In the soles of their shoes”

Read More

Writer’s Log 4

Writer’s Log 4
21/05-2018

Mission Log
Today’s goal is to finish the Creative Voice-Creative Piece.
I’m in Swanage for the time being, staying with Harvey. He’s in the process of applying for jobs and I’m writing this piece, to hopefully finish my degree with a bang. Most likely my last ever creative piece at uni. So weird!

Andrea Wold Johansen Writing Nook Swanage

10:35 I’ve got this.

10:42 So, I just went through everything I wrote about in my last Writer’s Log, and I may or may not have scrapped it all. Didn’t really resonate anymore, it was too much backstory and not enough actual story. Will keep it and maybe put the backstory in as an appendix though, or just use it as something to reference to as I’m working on it.

11:17 Scrapping what I had might actually have been the most useful thing I’ve done with this story! Ended up creating an entirely new storyline, and now the protagonist has a proper mystery to solve. “Kill your darlings,” and all that; even if you like something you’ve done, if it doesn’t move or add anything to the story, it doesn’t belong in it.

12:00 So, this story has taken a completely new turn, and I’m loving it. It now starts out with a teacher fleeing into England’s last existing forest (in the year of 2187), to hide a 100-year-old forbidden dream journal. This is gonna be a ride.

12:22 This feels more and more like a speculative piece, and when it’s done, submitted and marked, I kind of want to post it here. At the moment I’m trying really hard to not make it into a Technology-is-scary story, though, it’s more a comment on how we as a society overwork ourselves and where we might be headed if we keep it going like this. The technology parts are just a bonus!

13:03 Rocky demanded belly rubs, so I had to take a break. It doesn’t matter if you’re well into writing or if you’re in the middle of a good “flow”, there is always time for belly rubs.
Andrea Wold Johansen, Rocky 004Andrea Wold Johansen, Rocky 001Andrea Wold Johansen, Rocky 002

13:15 Since I started the day by deleting everything and had to start again, I’ve changed the goal of the day to 1500 words. Should be doable.

13:45 I’m really struggling with updating the writer’s log today, but that’s actually not a bad thing. I started the writer’s log series to keep myself accountable for how I spend the time I set off as “writing time” and to keep track of how well I’ve been working, but today I’ve just been busy writing and writing. I’ve been banging my fists against a bit of a creative block lately, so suddenly just having the words flow out feels really good again. Not gonna worry too much about the earlier stated goal for today, but I’m having a really good time writing now.

15:05 Okay, Rocky is demanding pets again and I’m feeling good-tired from having been at it since about 11. Gonna call it a day and just keep working on the plot in my head until I can get some more words down!

Andrea Wold Johansen 023
Also, just found this image again from June last year (while looking for some research on my laptop), and I have to admit that I do miss the hair a bit…

Recap of the session:
Did not reach either of my goals (1. to finish and 2. to reach 1500 words), but still, a very productive session! Starting from scratch gave me new drive to keep writing, and I’m a lot happier with what I’ve got now. Now it’s actually an interesting story with a proper action and character-driven plot, instead of just being musings about how the world ended up being as it is.

Mistake of the day: Accidentaly. Acidentaly. Acidentally. ACCIDENTALLY!

Wordcount of the day: 1367

Writing location: My favourite ever writing nook looking out over Swanage bay.

Phone breaks: Not a single one, my phone is very battery-dead at the moment.

Beverage of choice: Started off with just a Yorkshire tea, but have switched over to this green tea one of my flat mates brought from Hong Kong. I’m normally not a fan of green tea, but this is really good!

Mood before writing: I’m not entirely sure where to find my plot after the 1000 word long backstory I wrote last time??”
Mood during writing: Delete everything. Start afresh. See what happens.
Mood after writing: Need some time to really figure out how to use the plot to explain how this world works, and how to use the characters to show how not physically (and genetically) being able to sleep would affect an entire population. This is gonna be fun, though!

Question of the day: When you write, do you start by planning out the plot or the setting?

-Andrea

17th of May

img_1568

Not really a writing or book related post, but yesterday was the 17th of May, Norway’s Constitution Day. I celebrated the day in London, my first time ever not celebrating it at home with my family, and it felt weird not being enveloped in old traditions and places that stay the same. It turned out to be such a great day, though, Cathy came along, and it was so much fun being able to “show” off the traditions I’ve grown up with, if on a smaller scale. Beautiful bunads, marching band songs, flower crowns and Norwegian flags as far as the eye could see.

img_1582

There was a parade, speeches, lots of music, waffles, ice cream and food. All the things you need to really make the 17th of May the day it is.

img_1561
There is something I really like about the fact that on one day every year, the entire population of Norway, both at home and abroad, put on their nicest clothes and meet their family, only to eat ice cream and play games all day.

img_1608

The focus of the day and what many of the speeches were about, was belonging. How we as people always belong somewhere, how hopefully everyone feel at home in a group, be it their nationality, their faith, a community. What really hit me, though, was when the Minister of Culture said that “Belonging somewhere doesn’t mean that that has to be the only place you ever feel at home; we can all belong in multiple societies, we can all belong in different home countries.” Right now, as I’m kind of in the process of coming to terms with leaving England after these three years, that felt oddly comforting. I keep saying I’m leaving England behind, but I’m not really, am I. England’s still gonna be here, the friends I made along the way will still be here, it will just have to be the sowing grounds for new memories, new experiences, new challenges and victories.
Aha, didn’t think a day all about eating ice cream could get so deep, did you!

img_1589
Celebrating with Cathy was also so much fun; she waved her new Norwegian flag higher than anyone, and marched in the parade with newfound vigour. I showed her Norwegian waffles (Sjømannskirkens Vafler) and we had Solo, the Norwegian equivalent of Fanta. I’m well aware of my Solo-bias, but it’s actually a lot better than Fanta, haha.
Then we had some 17th of May Fish and Chips, which is one hundred percent not traditional 17th of May Food, but they put a little Norwegian flag on it and we ate while listening to happy people chatter, watching bunads walk past, and seeing all the kids play games; sack races, potato racing and quoits.

img_1602

A day I felt a bit anxious about going into, because of the weight of the traditions I’m used to and not being able to be a part of them, turned into an absolute fairytale and a memory I’ll take with me forever.

img_1632
(Have a Cathy marching towards the Winchester-bound train, post ice cream and festivities)

Gratulerer med gårsdagen, alle sammen, and Happy Birthday, Norway.

-Andrea