“Maybe I Like Honey After All”

“We used to come here for Easter sermons as children, but back then the stone building had stood straight-backed like a school teacher, hushing every childish giggle. Now the doors were wide open and the entrance was decorated with draping curtains of pink and yellow.”

Hello!
This post is my 100th post on this blog! This page has been up and running since February 5th 2018, so that means a 100 posts in exactly one year and two months. Seeing as this blog began as an assignment for my former Creative Writing degree, I figured today I could show you a piece of writing I handed in as coursework, around the same time I started this blog!

So, the piece is from a module called Travel Writing, and it was written in January 2018. It is about the notion of “holidays at home”, and the ways that your hometown can surprise you when you start really looking at all the places you’re so used to existing in. For me, it was going to a festival my hometown puts on every year, for the first time a couple of years ago. Have a read, and thanks for sticking with me for a hundred posts!

-Andrea

“Maybe I Like Honey After All”

                 “You don’t have to buy the honey; you just have to taste it.” She grabbed my arm as I walked past her and shoved a spoon dripping with fresh honey into my hands. “Only local bees.”
I called her the Bee lady in my head. Her hands were rough; a worker’s hands. Wrinkles followed the lines of her face, the price of a long life well lived, and silver hair was gathered in a braid that hung down her back. She had decorated it with flowers for the occasion, greens and pinks and yellows.
“So many people think they don’t like honey at all, but that’s because they’ve only ever tasted the store bought kind.” She shook her head, making the braid dance.

                  “They don’t know how real honey actually tastes.” She winked at me. I thanked her and was about to leave, but she insisted on another spoonful.

                  I bought a jar.

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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

17th of May

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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

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

-Andrea