“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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March Wrap Up

Hello, you!

I’m trying to come up with fancier names for these monthly wrap up posts, but for now the titles are what it says on the tin!

I know we all say this, but where did March even go? Just a minute ago I commented on how February blew past without me noticing and suddenly it’s April. I can also proudly proclaim that I only fell for one April’s Fools joke yesterday, which for ‘lil gullible me is a new record.

However, as March has waved goodbye, here’s my monthly video; little snippets and tidbits that I’m hoping to look back on one day and go “oh, I remember that!” Loved ones were hugged, many mugs of teas were drunk and new challenges were faced head on. March was a good one.

I hope you’re having a wonderful day,
-Andrea

February Wrap Up

And just like that, February wrapped itself up in its big, woolen scarf and took off. See you in a year, it said, as it tottered away.

February brought with it:

  • New and exciting job opportunities
  • Copious amounts of tea
  • A lot of Sophie
  • Midnight kitchen dancing
  • So many assignments and study groups en mass
  • 11 postcards sent and 10 received
  • New friends
  • An embroidery project that’s bigger than anything I’ve ever done before
  • Huge changes to plans I’d already made (good ones, though, so it’s okay)
  • An IKEA nightstand that needed much love and attention
  • A need to be creative again
  • One poem and one creative piece accepted for publication
  • Sun

Here’s to March being just as good, if not better than February turned out to be.

-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

Revisiting my 2013 writing challenge

Hello! 

Merry Christmas and happy holidays, everyone! I am in a holiday-sized bubble of Christmas cosy at the moment. Harvey’s visiting for the holidays, I’m at home with my family, we’re all shrouded in soft pyjamas and old cartoons and more Christmas food than anyone should ever eat. It’s great. 

As we’re reaching the end of 2018, I’ve taken a look at my Goodreads 2018 reading challenge, and I figured I’d make a post about that next week, as we’re rearing closer to the end of the year. For now, though, I wanted to revisit my 2013 reading challenge, to see how it went five years ago!

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I’ve always loved reading and I’ve always loved books. Ever since I was a kid I just couldn’t get enough. 2013 however, at the age of 17, was when I proper started recording what and how much I read. It was my first year of using Goodreads as a way to keep track of my books, and it was when I started setting myself reading challenges to complete.

First of all, my goal for 2013 was 40 books, and I managed to read 38. I’ve decided to sort these books into three lists, the ones I remember reading, the ones I have no recollection of, and the ones I’m pretty sure I didn’t read and might have added just to up my number on the challenge. Embarrassing, but hey, it’s years ago.

Total of books: 38

Books I read and remember to this day: 28

-Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
-An Abundance of Katherine’s – John Green 
-Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls – David Sedaris
-The Fault in Our Stars – John Green 
-Looking for Alaska – John Green 
-Paper Towns – John Green
-The Time Keeper – Mitch Albom 
-A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I learnt while editing my life – Donald Miller
-Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs 
-The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
-The Island – Victoria Hislop
-Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist – David Levithan
-Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares – David Levithan
-Naomi and Eli’s No Kiss List – David Levithan
-Eighty Days Blue – Vina Jackson
-Eighty Days Yellow – Vina Jackson
-A Street Cat Named Bob – James Bowen
-The Five People You Meet in Heaven – Mitch Albom
-One Hundred Names – Cecelia Ahern
-Me Before You – Jojo Moyes
-The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
-To Kill a Mocking Bird – Harper Lee
-City of Bones -Casandra Clare
-Dear John – Nicholas Sparks
Every You Every Me – David Levithan
-The Lovers Dictionary – David Levithan
-Noughts and Crosses – Malorie Blackman
-Søskenkjærlighet – Katarina von Bredow

Safe to say it was the year of John Green and Young Adult fiction, but it was also the year I found my favourite author, David Levithan, and my  all time favourite book, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, and realised that I didn’t just have to stick to the YA romances. 2013 was also my first time dipping my toes in the classics and the advent of buying books online; i.e, asking the cashier in the bookstore to order books that you could never get in my little Norwegian town, otherwise. 

It’s also interesting to look at what you read at a certain point, because I feel like it can show what you were thinking about at that point in time. Your taste in books can’t really define you, but it absolutely shows what you care about, and offers pointers at what was important to you. 

Books I have no recollection of reading: 3

Boy meets Boy – David Levithan 
I’m so sure I’ve never read this, but I can remember starting it so many times. Not sure why I never got through it, maybe it was just the one Levithan book I couldn’t get into?

The Book of Tomorrow – Cecelia Ahern
I cannot for the life of me remember this one! All I can remember is the fact that I bought it on my first ever trip to a Waterstones and read it on the plane back from my second time ever in London. 

I Don’t Know How She Does it – Allison Pearson
So, I added this book to the list twice, but I’ve no clue what it’s about. I just know that I read it on a beach in Mallorca, and eventually forgot it at the hotel room. 

Books I’m 100% sure I didn’t read and just kind of pretended to have finished: 6

Evig søndag – Linnea Myre
This book was a Christmas present if I can recall, but I have not read this. I think I wanted to be cool and say I’ve read it though, because it was kind of “the book” of my year in school that year. 

Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
Yeah, I remember actively putting this book away after the opening pages. This was one of those books that really weren’t what I was expecting, even though I knew nothing about the book before starting it, and it just didn’t sit well with me. I’ve wanted to pick it up again so many times, but just never get around to it. It felt like a very “grown-up” book, though, and I wanted to be able to say that I’d read and loved it, I remember..

The Reader – Bernard Schlink 
Same situation, I have never read this book. It was very adult-y, and historical and quite gritty, though, so saying I’d read it felt impressive. Goodness me, sixteen-year-old me was a mess.

Will Grayson Will Grayson – John Green
I remember my sister loved this book, but I just couldn’t get into it! It also didn’t help that I didn’t get that the two Will Graysons are two different people, either, but to be fair, that’s my bad. Maybe I should give this a go again, 5 years later.

James Potter and the Hall of Elder’s Crossing – G. Norman Lippert
Okay, I’ve done my googling. What is this book? Not that I’ve got anything against fanfiction at all, but I’m very certain that it’s never been in my bookshelf, and I’ve no clue why I’d put it on my “read-shelf”.

Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher
I never finished this, I didn’t get along with the narrator’s voice, I think. 

As I’m back at my parents’ for Christmas, I had a little look around for how many of these books I actually still own. We all know I’m a bit of a book hoarder, but I was surprised to find that 36 of these are still on my shelves (and the other two I can remember borrowing from a friend) which basically means that I’ve never been very good at throwing books away, huh…

But I figured it could be a bit fun to have a look at some of the ones I’ve still got!

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2013 was the year I felt desperately and irrevocably in love with David Levithan’s writing, a love affair that to this day is still churning in the pit of my stomach. I remember ordering these at the bookstore, as online shopping wasn’t really as easy an option as it is today, at that time in my town. Well, it all began in 2013, but to this day, I still have all of David Levithan’s books on my shelf, he’s got his own one as he has quite a lot of books published. His stories embody the feeling of home, safety and comfort even in the sadder tales, a warm cup of cocoa written in between the covers.

img_7055This copy of The Great Gatsby was the first classic I ever properly read because I wanted to, and also the first time I realised I could make notes and highlight in my own books. After this, I finished To Kill a Mockingbird, and to this day those are the two only classics I’ve ever really gotten through on my own. 

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The beginning of a long and true love story; Mitch Albom, my designated November reads. 

img_7061-1.jpgThe year of all the John Green books in both Norwegian and English, and a rather large school assignment based on (among many others) John Green’s books and his characters. “The Manic Pixie Dream Girl, could she exist?” I think it was called. 

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This copy of Malorie Blackman’s Noughts & Crosses has been read to absolute pieces, and surprisingly enough it also showed up on my uni set list for a Children’s fiction module, in 2017! 

This post got a bit list-y, but it was fun to have a look through. Like I said, I hope to make a little walk through my 2018 reading challenge, plus I want to write a post about New Year’s resolutions and a bit more about 2018 and its lessons learned. I want to update the blog more and have got some fun ideas I’d love to work on more in the new year. 

So, do you do Goodreads reading challenges? Did you read any of these when you were a teenager or a young adult? And have any of these been, or are some of these maybe still, a favourite? 

Hope you have a wonderful day, 

-Andrea

WWW Wednesday, 5/12-18, Some Christmas reading?

And so it is time for Christmas music, lanterns and candles, and the annual return of the Grinch pyjama trousers!
This WWW Wednesday isn’t all that Christmassy, except from one book, just because I’m really bad at reading Christmas books! This time of year I always want to be like Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail, where she says she reads Pride and Prejudice every Christmas, but I guess I still just haven’t found my Christmas book yet. (Okay, this is a lot of Christmas)

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However, I’ve been reading other things these past few weeks.
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
Snøsøsteren by Maja Lunde and Lisa Aisatio

This book is something different. It’s a story that makes you feel all the big things, by showing you the small, if that makes sense? It’s about a boy who’s lost his sister and is worried that Christmas will forever be cancelled now, but then he meets a new friend who apparently will show him that grief and mourning and rejoicing over things like Christmas candles and hot chocolate with whipped cream isn’t mutually exclusive.

I haven’t gotten very far into it, because it’s like an advent calendar in a book; 24 small chapters, “a Christmas story in 24 parts that creates the magic Christmas feeling so familiar from the works of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol and H.C. Andersen’s works.” 24 parts that will make up one wonderful story just in time for Christmas Eve. Also, the illustrations are gorgeous and done by one of my favourite illustrators, Lisa Aisato. You should definitely check out her work!

Blurb (translated):
Christmas Eve is coming up, a day that’s also Julian’s birthday. Usually, this is the best day of the year, when the Christmas tree is decorated and the candles lit, the air filled with the scent of clementines and gingerbread, and the fire in the fireplace is crackling contentedly. But this year, nothing is as it should be. Julian and his family are carrying a sorrow in their hearts after their sister Juni died, and Julian can’t help but think that Christmas is cancelled.
Then one day, Julian meets Hedvig, who reminds him how lovely Christmas can be, and Julian starts wondering if maybe it can be Christmas after all?

Just finished
Mirage by Somaiya Daud

Oh, this book’s got me in a mood! I really wanted to love it, but it felt like it was just trying to do too much, and I struggled to get to the end. It’s supposed to be a sci-fi “space opera” sort of love story, but the fantasy elements are so well-written in it that the sci-fi feels a little bit out of place. The characters, the dialogue and the setting all feel like epic fairytale settings and I kind of wished that the author would have stuck with that. It also felt like it ended quite abruptly, while the start dragged on for a while.
Still, it is a really good book. The story is interesting, the world-building intense and so detailed, and the idea of someone acting as a body double to the monarch, and what playing the role as someone’s duplicate might do to a person, is really interesting. The relationships between the characters are also well-written, I loved the shifts in the dialogue between Maram and Amani, and the moments between Amani and Idris.

Blurb: 
The crown of Dhiya had been stripped from me, my face changed, my body broken. But I was not a slave and I was not a spare. I was my mother’s daughter, and I would survive and endure. I would find my way back home.

Next, I’ll be reading:
The name of the wind by Patrick Rothfuss

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Giving this another go!
I got this book for Christmas in 2016, and so many people have told me it’s their favourite book ever. I’ve started it a couple times, but something’s always gotten in the way of getting further in than a chapter or two, but not this time!

Blurb:
I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during the day. I have talked to Gods, loved women and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
My name is Kvothe. You may have heard of me.

Do you have any books you have to read the second December starts? Any Christmassy reading traditions or recommendations? Please drop me a comment!

Have a wonderful day,
-Andrea

Journal #14, a little life update

Hey, you!

I’ve missed posting bits and bobs on this blog lately and really hope to get back into it again, soon! Uni’s taken over my life a little bit at the moment, but the last month or so has been a really good one. Crazy busy, but good.

The last few weeks I have been lucky enough to:

find the world’s smallest cinema screen with a good buddy
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visit too many Christmas markets for it to still be the first week of December


do some translation and interpretation jobs
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enjoy some very light snow img_7762

have some late nights fighting off a cold
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study for multiple exams (currently done with 1 of 4)
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do a lot of stand work with a charity I care about
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make a makeshift Christmas tree out of a tiny plastic palm tree
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have some really good cake
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try and fail to make a gingerbread house with some wonderful peopleimg_7934

and have a lot of tea
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I haven’t managed to get in as much reading time as I was hoping, but still, I’ve got what I needed done. Plus, I’ve found a new flat from January on, and managed to decide on where to do work experience and where to study abroad next year! Back to England, I go, to work hopefully in Sheffield and to study in York.

I really want to make some more Christmassy posts throughout December! Both because I’m really excited for Christmas, and also to think about stuff that aren’t my exams.

I hope you’re having a wonderful day,
-Andrea

55 of my Favourite Things

~ my tiny house in this new city ~ my finished degree ~ the degree I’m working on at the moment ~ learning languages ~ postcards ~ holding hands ~ anything blue ~ wordless books ~ old notebooks ~ the little curiosity robot on March ~ scented candles ~ tiny ear piercings ~ orange leaves ~ home cooked meals ~ the Hamilton Soundtrack ~ planning trips and journeys ~ successful study groups ~ facetiming the people I miss ~ feeling acquaintances become friends ~ big chunky “disappear into the world of this story for the next four hours” books ~ books in general ~ jazz music ~ big blankets ~ fresh bed sheets ~ milk chocolate ~ the smell of laundry detergent ~ daisies ~ strawberry tea ~ Christmas lights ~ Christmas markets ~ theatre tickets ~ the sound of the orchestra tuning their instruments before a concert ~ cinema dates ~ the smell of ground coffee beans ~ lazy mornings ~ rain ~ bagels for breakfast ~ spaghetti carbonara ~ the plants I got for this house and have managed to keep alive for the better part of three months ~ stationery ~ whipped cream ~ coffee dates ~ when a film plot really surprises me ~ sleeping with the window open ~ crocheting ~ cuddles ~ quiet playlist ~ spontaneous dancing on the kitchen floor ~ fairy lights ~ people smiling ~ musical theatre ~ spoken word poetry ~ learning new things ~

-Andrea

Blue Psalms of All Hallows Eve

Today we celebrate All Hallows Eve, and for the first time I’m feeling the weight of it as more than just a holiday for other people to remember their loved ones.  This year I’m one of the one’s remembering, and that still hasn’t entirely registered, even after months have passed. Our days are so busy, our minutes too short, our steps too hurried, it’s so easy to wrangle that dark spot in your stomach into the back of your mind, to think grief is for another day. Except it rarely is, and it shouldn’t have to be.
Most days grief is for right now, most days grief has no interest in being pushed away, and on those days we should give grief a name.

I translated an All Hallow’s Eve Mass, for a service that was held today in the cathedral in the town I’m living in now. I don’t think of myself as Christian, but I’ve been working in some churches in my time, and I’ve been translating and live interpreting services in the cathedral for a little while now as work experience for my translation BA. This was a challenging one, though, just because the liturgy’s so heartfelt, the psalms so well-chosen and thus, the words just hit that little bit closer to home. It didn’t feel like work, more like hurting and healing.

The service was a beautiful one. Dignified, graceful and appreciative. It focused on relations between people, and what happens when we suddenly have to start talking about our loved ones in the past tense.
I must admit I’m still not entirely used to that part, yet.

For some, death may come expected, it may even be wanted, while for others it strikes abruptly and harshly, changing everything, taking people we cannot bear losing.
“Those who are loved will never be forgotten,” said the priest, a young woman who touched every heart in the congregation, who laid an arm of kind words around the shoulders of everyone in the church. You could see people needed to hear what she was telling them; that their emotions were valid, that grief takes many forms and that no one form is more correct than another.
Death is weird, it always has been and always will be, and we all react so differently when we encounter it.

This post is a bit jumbled, but I just wanted to share with you a paragraph from her sermon that I translated:

Those who are loved, will never be forgotten.
Many of us carry heavy burdens, we carry bereavement, loss and grief.
Today we think of those we love that are no longer with us.

We think of our community, of compassion and wonderful memories.
we are grateful for the days and the years we got to share,
for kind words, for warmth and for joy.

Many of us carry grief over everything that never came to be, 
for relations that were challenging,
for wounds that struggle to heal,
grief over what was taken too quickly,
over everything we never got to say.

We humans are so great at not saying what we think, at forgetting to remind people that they are appreciated; we often take it for granted that people know we love them.
But we also have a million tiny ways of showing that we care, and today I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about all the ways the one I’m missing showed that she cared. I’ve lit candles and quietly sung songs that remind me of her. I’ve twirled her bracelet around my wrist, and I’ve consciously tried to name all the feelings that have bubbled up in my stomach, wound its way around my heart, up through my throat and that’s lingered behind my eyes. It’s been strange and a little bit scary, but it’s also brought a sense of calm.
I think I needed it.

I wasn’t prepared for today to be as heavy as it was, and I didn’t think I was going to write about it. I’m not sure what this even is, a little stream of consciousness, my mind trying to figure out what it’s feeling.
It’s been a good day, though – an important day.

I hope you all have had a good day today, too, and that you’ve had your loved ones around you.
Because those who are loved, can never be forgotten.

-Andrea