In Summary

Oct. 10th, 2012 09:03 pm
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Picking up where I left of, a summary of the past few days.

Friday last week was all red wine and filmsOn Saturday I tried to read, stared out the window and realised that there was no way constitutional democracy could keep me inside. So I went out to enjoy the day instead. I bought flowers for Synne (a birthday present), had coffee with Ingebjørg, before I rushed home to make dinner and change into a party-appropriate dress. We celebrated Synne's birthday, went out to dance, had too many drinks, lost our bags and jackets in a corner, moaned about idiot men, and danced till our feet were sore and we couldn't anymore.

I was hungover on Sunday. But invited Father over for pizza, so Anton (the family dog) could get used to staying in my flat. I was at the dentist's for a filling on Monday, and spent the rest of the day reading. Tuesday I met Anette for lunch, before the lecture on 'Fiction and Film'; it was long-winded and terrible this week, so Marion and I escaped early, and went for greasy burgers and fries.

Today I've tried to untangle my thoughts about knowledge in Paradise Lost, which got me nowhere. I have to write an essay about it, so at some points it will have to come together. If all else fails I'll call Kristine, and we will drink and write. I should have gone to the university library to do research, but went for a hot chocolate and a walk in the park instead. Ah, priorities.

And since I've added so many new people, it feels appropriate to add a photo from Saturday. Me, with a light-up mohawk at Synne's party behind the cut.
The mohawk )

Sellotape

Jul. 29th, 2012 08:42 pm
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Here I am, at work in the reception at the student home for the last time this summer. The weekend shifts are long and dull, broken up by the one-an-hour on average student that stops by to borrow a hair dryer, or ask the way to the subway station (which is just down the road). The weekdays are made up of laughing at students we've turned into super heroes – my favourite is JAG, the English class warrior who has a tuxedo problem – drinking coffee, doing badly at newspaper quizzes and pretending to work. We have 'office parties' each Friday, and the occasional Wednesday. We made fun of a poor lecturer for saying 'sellotape' (our graphic designer made a poster for him), we had a formal staff party that deteriorated into shots.

It's been quite a fun summer at work, but working endless hours at the student home is not my favourite way to while away a weekend. At least I get to read a lot. And because I was immeasurably stupid, I get to edit a master's thesis for a friend of a friend; The thesis writer is the worst Norwegian speller I have ever encountered.
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I love precedents! I get to take a green book full of important court decisions to the exam, and I plan for it to be my rescue. (Norway does not practice common law, but we have aspects of it, hence the precedents. Come to think of it, the judicial branch would be powerless without it.)

I experienced the kind of moment that, when I see it on film, makes me groan. At work, of course, the day I wore a short dress and sandals. I kneeled to fetch a pen from the supply cupboard, and as I took the box out to find the right pen, the bottom went out. A new employee came out of the copy room, saw me and rushed over to help. He's around my age, looks like he does not belong at the literature department. 'Clutz', he said. 'No! I'm not clumsy, the bottom of the box gave out. That can't be my fault?' I said. We reached for the same pen, our hands brushed and we withdrew them. We reached for the same pen again, and again, and he grinned just as sheepishly as I did. He got up first, and reached out to steady me. If it were on film I'd groan and complain that the director is an idiot, it's so cliché, it never happens in real life.

Grünerløkka feels nothing like the rest of Oslo. The buildings are old pastels, we have sidewalk cafés, independent shops and parks around each corner. In the mornings it feels like Oslo in the height of summer, when it is only the natives left because everyone else has left for sun elsewhere.
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My friends are somewhere out there in the sun and the new leaves, partying. I am inside, reading law and drinking wine. And this will be my life until the 8th of June. After that I work through the summer, but that can't be too terrible. The most exciting thing I've done all day is make pizza, or, perhaps, talk to Marion who is more stressed than I am about the exam.

But I did find the Celine shoes of my dreams on sale. I saw them, held them and walked out of the shop. Ten metres down the road I had to run back and buy them. They have ankle straps, and there was only one pair left in 38.5, I couldn't leave them there. What if someone else had bought them before I could?

Ching Ming

Apr. 23rd, 2012 07:55 pm
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I'm supposed to be reading about causation (and I'm barely resisting a terrible quote about cause and effect), so what better time to update LJ? I think I've forgotten to mention that we went to Hong Kong over Easter. It's a strange city, they've built skyscrapers in the water. The city itself is partly on the Hong Kong Island, and partly on the mainland. By filling in the harbour, they've got additional space, but there is very little water left. I think there must be more skyscrapers than in Manhattan. And in-between all the glass towers there is an occasional market, with stainless steel outdoors kitchens in the street, fish in polystyrene tanks and derelict Chinese medicine shops.

Because there is so little space on the ground level, they've built into the hillside behind. The streets are often cramped and winding, which makes travel upwards difficult. In order to make things easier they built the worlds longest escalator. It is outdoors, moves between the houses and up from the lowest city level to the mid-levels. If you live in the mid-levels and work in the lower levels of Central, you could go out of your flat, take the escalators to work and stay dry most of the way. And there are elevated, roofed gangways between the buildings. You can get off the underground, go up to the gangways and walk through most of Central, I think. I felt disconnected from the city on the gangways, they were stainless steel and full of people, but you looked down on the traffic and the streets.

We lived in Sha Tin, at the Mission station my great great grandfather built, Tao Fong Shan, where my grandfather grew up. Sha Tin is in the New Territories, one of the cities the government built to house the masses of refugees after the war. It consists mostly of government housing projects, massive shopping centres and cultural buildings around the river. There's the same odd juxtaposition of very old and very modern. On the city's edge there are old houses, a Buddhist temple and small cemeteries in the hillside.

The Buddhist temple, Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery, has become a tourist trap, despite some four hundred steps to reach the top. When we got there there were people queuing everywhere. Streets were roped off, police officers direct people through the throng. We were in the middle of Ching Ming, the Chinese all hallow's eve or festival of the dead. They burn paper money, paper food, clothes and incense as an offering to their ancestors. The Chinese are a practical people, they don't offer real food, everything is made of paper. All this is sold in temporary boots across the city on Ching Ming.

On the final day, After a turn on the escalators, we ended up in SoHo (South of Hollywood Street). There are a lot of expatriates in Hong Kong, particularly European bankers, and they've created a European refuge in SoHo. English pubs, Greek, Russian and Italian restaurants. We found an Italian place that was built into an alley, where the proprietor had never been to Europe, but played Italian opera and served Limoncello after lunch. Most of the customers were not Chinese, but the three who were sat next to us, and were fascinated by how we ate, it seemed. I had an asparagus soup as a starter, and the lady next to me watched in fascination as I used my spoon. I caught her mirroring my eating, though she was having pizza. I expect it's the first and last time I will ever feel exotic with a spoon. The roles were reversed, I spent much of the holiday looking covertly at the locals eating, trying to copy them.

We had drinks on the top of the Peak, ate living sponge soaked in a spicy sauce, fried squid balls the texture of bouncy balls, dried jellyfish and got caught in unseasonably heavy rain at the Ladies Market. The forecast promised a light shower; I stood in water to my ankles in the street. My umbrella developed a hole in the middle, we bought flip-flops and walked through half of Kowloon to the Jade Market. And I scared a local man to death on the way. My brother and I were both sick of complaints, I had had enough of the rain and he dared me to jump in a puddle. I ran towards it, and jumped squarely in, umbrella sticking out and flip-flops nearly flying off. Grandfather says they call whites 'sea-devils', and the poor man who stood across the road looked like he had just had all his worst fears confirmed. I should have grinned and shouted, 'Ching Ming!' Ching Ming turned into a greeting and/or an expletive after a few days of use.
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Spring in Oslo at last! I was supposed to stay in and read today, but I couldn't make myself in the end. So I went out to meet Ingebjørg, bought an ill-adviced pair of shorts, had lunch and Oslo's best Gelato at La Dolce Vita. I got off a few stops early on the way home, and walked through Grünerløkka. I had to beg a man to let me join him at the table to get somewhere to sit, but I managed to have a coffee in the sun. If only I could have Pimm's in London, as well. Or celebrate the 17th of May in Rome – perhaps I will. If we can find an affordable hotel, and I work and read like my life depends on it the next weeks.
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For some reason I've not gotten any notification e-mails from LJ lately, so I'm sorry if I've not responded to anything important!

Kristine and I left the books to their own devices today; we walked through town, had coffee and pastries by the harbour, had more coffee, and were dead on our feet at four. Oslo is lovely in spring, the parks are full of the first flowers and people crowd together around disposable grills. I always wonder where all these people hide through winter. In January and February the streets are almost deserted, and when the sun returns the sidewalk cafés are full. Perhaps they hibernate?

One of our collective rituals as a people is 'utepils', it translates directly into 'outside beer'. It involves finding a sidewalk café and drinking beer. It's only done in the sun, and everyone posts pictures of their first 'utepils' of the season on Facebook. The earlier the better, particularly at lunch on a Friday, and everyone else comments their envy. I can't stand beer, but I drink wine and eat seafood instead.

When we were walking towards Karl Johan after lunch, some boy took a picture of us. He stood ahead of us, pointed his phone at us and quite obviously took a picture. He didn't even have the manners to look apologetic when we caught him, he just raised an eyebrow and grinned. We must have made an impressive picture, walking arm-in-arm in the sun. (That was ironic. We looked very ordinary.)

At four, we found Fiskeriet and had moules frites. We perched on bar stools around a tiny table, with two large plates between us. And we had sun! I love irresponsible Saturdays that do not involve books.


Food behind the cut )
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I've gone mad. I got up on the wrong side of the bed, if not the universe, this morning. I knew I was in for a day of reading property law and making intelligible notes. After two hours of property, I am in a splendid mood, and cackling maniacally about precedents and boundaries; I like property law. WTF?
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I've read, but not commented, on my friends list the last month (has it been more than a month?). I got an office job, that demanded more than I had expected, and law school is draining. But tonight I've indulged in macaroons and martinis with Kristine, and I'm fending off a hangover by staying up too late. I apologise for not commenting, and I hope I will be back in better form from now on. Are you all well?
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I bought a flat! I thought I'd try to be eloquent about it, but it doesn't work. I bought a flat. You can see pictures here. Woolf, I now have a room of my own.
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The weather turned from cool, clear blue skies to slate grey and pouring rain this morning, and I'm inside writing. There are leaves falling everywhere, there's snow falling in the mountains, the dog came in with my brother looking like a muddy monster and we had to turn the ovens on to keep the house warm. I considered going to the library at University, but it's apparently closed on Sundays, and the weather deterred me. So I'm in the corner of the sofa, looking out at my realm of paper. Right now I'm trying to find a post-it I wrote two weeks ago, about fragments in The Wasteland (the lecturer insists we italicise the title, I'm not convinced, but I'll pretend). And I'm planning what I'll wear to Synne's birthday party this weekend, which is more difficult than it sounds. Black dress, pink dress, blue dress? Which black dress, what shoes? I can't wear anything too fancy, we're going out, and someone always spills at least one drink over either my dress or shoes. I also promised the hostess I wouldn't look to 'scary'; she said I scared one of her friends to death last time he saw me. I don't know what to think of that, I don't think I'm all that formidable, frankly. I'll just laugh at their bad jokes and not say anything opinionated.

What do you do to avoid boredom on Sundays?

When did LJ add the option to 'add media'?
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I'm still, technically, in the void of no internet. But Father had to go back to Oslo today, for a meeting, so I went along. To answer e-mails from Lånekassen about re-applying for student loans, fume at idiot bureaucracy and figure when and where I have to show up to become a law student.

I had lunch at a café, rifled through books at Tronsmo and chatted to the proprietor about Bolaño, had coffee, looked at beautiful things I cannot afford, and got high on my tiny, welcoming city. I've never been patriotic, but today I loved Oslo. Oslo is mostly full of outsiders, from all over Norway, who move here to work and study. They never think of it as 'home', most of my outsider friends have never grown to like it at all. Getting to know Oslo takes time, but is rewarding.
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My internet connection's been gone, and when I did find time and opportunity to post, LJ wouldn't let me. So here goes a summary:

I got into the 5 year law program, in Oslo, starting this fall. In, oh, seven years, I'll be a lawyer.
Oslo was bombed, and the perpetrator killed 80 young people at Utøya. It was hideous and heartbreaking, yet I don't think I can bare writing about it yet.
I've spent a week in Halden, where I'm off to for another two weeks tomorrow.
I've seen friends and friends of friends.
I've read the last George RR Martin book, A Dance with Dragons.

I'll write properly when I have the time, this is just a 'hello, I'm alive'-post.
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Off to the south of France for a week, Montpellier specifically. I'll catch up when I'm back. I also seem to have gotten a BA, I feel so useful.
nirinia: (Default)
Off to the south of France for a week, Montpellier specifically. I'll catch up when I'm back. I also seem to have gotten a BA, I feel so useful.
nirinia: (Default)
So, if I get into law (well, when, I hope, I just hope it isn't spring admission), I have five more years of essays to write, method to indoctrinate, lecturers to flirt into amicability, and a coffee addiction to battle. I'm not worried about the lecturers (the only ones I haven't been able to charm are the linguists, and they can't count), I'll have a PhD in Essay Writing, but the coffee will be my downfall. Ay, me!

I am finally turning my Dickens thesis into a coherent narrative, stripped of my 'shorthand'. I have a developing sense of a conclusion, and since the rain is coming down like machine-gun fire, I have no need to feel bad about not jogging.

June 1 I get to sit a New Norwegian exam. Have a look at the linked Wikipedia page: New Norwegian is a constructed written standard that is actually in use. Though most of us use Bokmål, we're all forced to learn it. Alongside Chemistry, it is one of the things I am really, really awful at. I tend to write Swedish instead of New Norwegian. Re-taking the stupid thing was such a brilliant idea, hah. I'll just go make more coffee and laugh at how I ever thought this was a good idea.
nirinia: (Default)
So, if I get into law (well, when, I hope, I just hope it isn't spring admission), I have five more years of essays to write, method to indoctrinate, lecturers to flirt into amicability, and a coffee addiction to battle. I'm not worried about the lecturers (the only ones I haven't been able to charm are the linguists, and they can't count), I'll have a PhD in Essay Writing, but the coffee will be my downfall. Ay, me!

I am finally turning my Dickens thesis into a coherent narrative, stripped of my 'shorthand'. I have a developing sense of a conclusion, and since the rain is coming down like machine-gun fire, I have no need to feel bad about not jogging.

June 1 I get to sit a New Norwegian exam. Have a look at the linked Wikipedia page: New Norwegian is a constructed written standard that is actually in use. Though most of us use Bokmål, we're all forced to learn it. Alongside Chemistry, it is one of the things I am really, really awful at. I tend to write Swedish instead of New Norwegian. Re-taking the stupid thing was such a brilliant idea, hah. I'll just go make more coffee and laugh at how I ever thought this was a good idea.
nirinia: (Default)
Rules:

☇ Take four books off your bookshelf.
☇ Write the first sentence
☇ Write the last sentence on page fifty
☇ Write the second sentence on page one hundred
☇ Write the next to the last sentence on page one hundred fifty
☇ Write the final sentence of the book
☇Let your friends guess what book it is.

Stolen from [livejournal.com profile] basje

Quotes for guessing )
nirinia: (Default)
Rules:

☇ Take four books off your bookshelf.
☇ Write the first sentence
☇ Write the last sentence on page fifty
☇ Write the second sentence on page one hundred
☇ Write the next to the last sentence on page one hundred fifty
☇ Write the final sentence of the book
☇Let your friends guess what book it is.

Stolen from [livejournal.com profile] basje

Quotes for guessing )
nirinia: (Default)
Since I've been knee-deep in life lately, and haven't been posting regularly, I thought 'what better way to post something again than with a meme?' Stolen from, er, no one in particular? It seems to be all over. HI LJ!


Say you were meeting a new person, blind date, new friend, who knows, and you wanted them to have some idea of what kind of person you are, and who you are. But you can't actually tell them in so many words.

Instead, you have to give them a box, with a baker's dozen things in it for them to look at/read/listen to/taste/whatever. What would you put in the box?

01. Norton Anthology of English Literature Volume 2
02. A pair of ridiculous heels.
03. My favourite red lipstick.
04. My iPhone.
05. A first, or other valuable edition, of a book.
06. A bottle of champagne
07. A rapier.
08. A picture of a flat-coat (I don't suppose I can stuff an entire dog into a box)
09. The black Cruella dress.
10. My glasses.
11. Coffee beans.
12. A kiwi.
13. A copy of Norges lover (Norway's laws collected in book form, I – embarrassingly enough – have no idea what it's commonly translated to)

October 2012

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