Thursday, 30 October 2008

Sister Winter on her way

The first snow came yesterday, and with it came the realization of just how fast these last few months have passed by. In a month my financing runs out, and I need to have finished my article. Tick tack...

Despite being stressed about all the things I am doing and all the things I should be doing (working out, cleaning my room, packing my things, arranging my visa...), I feel quite happy, and all that is due to my wonderful friends and house mates. As long as I have plans during the weekends, it feels ok to sit at Uni 24/7 the rest of the week.

And today I even got good news. A response from an SA uni about my PhD dreams. There is hope. Time will tell what God decides for my future. But wow, the landscape sure is expanding. It is too much to think of, and I can hardly believe it. Just need to remind myself not to get ahead of myself here... Focus on the here and now. Finish the article at hand.

Autumn in Tromsø

Kitten, the boss of the household

Elin, and our dear friend Amarula on an average Friday afternoon. Mys!

Autumn (morning) sky over the Campus

Autumn (morning) sky over Tromsø

View from my house

Love the colour!!

The spirit of autumn

Sunday, 19 October 2008

The London I

Russell Square, the area in which I lived this time around. I love how London has all these parks in the middle of everything else.

Trees are awesome!

The bar in Russell Square. I want this fireplace for the library in my future home:)

Super stars of African literature. Nigerian author Chinua Achebe and critic Simon Gikandi. Major MAJOR rock stars of African literature indeed!! AND I shook Achebe's hand!!

The SOAS campus in London on a beautiful autumn day. I could live with having my lunch in surroundings like that...

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

All Work and No Play

After a weekend in London with perhaps more pleasure than business, I return home to the ever-increasing mountain of responsibility that is my life these days. The London trip was SUPPOSED to be a business trip, with a side dish of pleasure, but the call of that city always gets the better of me, and I let myself be tempted again and again. However, even if my few days of fun has set me back a little in terms of my other responsibilities, I do not regret it.

So. Today has been my first day of proper work since I got back. In addition to the article I am writing for the CPS, I have a few other things piling up (or perhaps it is the article that is in fact piling up..?).
  • I was offered a translation job from Norwegian to English, a curriculum for an MA program in child and adolescent mental health. However, I only have 30 days to finish it, and I find I am having a lot of trouble doing it, seeing as they use numerous terms which I am not familiar with... I am starting to wonder if I am biting off more than I can chew.
  • My former professor has asked me to do an introduction in one of his courses on one of the novels I wrote my MA thesis on. Naturally I want to do it, but it means a little extra work, and yet a distraction from my article.
  • My former professor FURTHER has hinted in no uncertain terms that it be a good idea if I also use the time I have for my article to write a PhD proposal... Only problem is, I do not know what I would have liked to do a PhD on... So that would have to be figured out BEFORE I could WRITE the actual thing, which means even more reading...
  • I have to apply for my SA visa. Which means having to call the embassy, and then organize numerous papers... *sigh*
  • I have my volunteer obligations, which I fear will be what will have to suffer now that I am engaged in so many other things.
  • I have my job in the Bookshop which I also have to go to at least once a week.
  • To top it all, I have to get a new phone and sim-card since I lost mine in London.
  • Oh, and of course the fact that I am blogging heavily, both here and at the myspace...
*continues to chew, with the help of a little wine*

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Love and Loss

Love and Loss are two of the most powerful themes in literature.

With Angelo Badalamenti's moving music as the soundtrack of my life these days, everything I read is coloured by his moods.

Half of a Yellow Sun, the amazing novel I am writing an article about at present, deals in depth with these themes. A quote that really got to me, that was agonizing to read, but at the same time immensely beautiful and poetic, was the following:

"Darkness descended on him, and when it lifted, he knew he would never see Kainene again and that his life would always be like a candlelit room; he would see things only in shadow, only in half glimpses".

This image really hits home with me.

We live as we dream -alone.

Sex and the City

Most mornings and evenings, over a cup of coffee or tea, my house mates and I talk about love, sex, life, etc. We do not always reach a conclusion to our debates, but sometimes merely posing the questions and discussing them, is answer enough.

On this specific morning, my house mate Elle and I were talking about boyfriends. And on the need girlfriends tend to have to change them, in minor or major ways. It has struck me that if we are talking about our brothers, or merely male friends, we are willing to accept them for who and what they are -however flawed. The moment we are interested in a guy, on the other hand, we instantly have this need to fix him, so to speak. And posing my question in a Carrie-esque way, I could not help but wonder if there is a way for girls to just accept their boyfriends like we do our brothers.
Elle pointed out that the moment that happened, it would mean that we had started feeling only brotherly love for our man. And I agree. The moment we give up trying to change them, is the moment we "give up" on them, and no longer care in the same way. Or am I forgetting something? So the distinction between our brothers/male friends and our boyfriends is clearly a border between different kinds of love.

The question I am left with, is this: is this what true love is? -This obsessive need to change our man?

And to make something clear: the goal is not necessarily to actually change him. Rather it is a project, an ongoing thing.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga

Just finished reading this amazing novel. Recommended! Here's an excerpt I found to be very striking:

"...It stung too saltily, too sharply and agonisingly the sensitive images that the women had of themselves, images that were really no more than reflections. But the women had been taught to recognize these reflections as self and it was frightening even now to even begin to think that, the very facts which set them apart as a group, as women, as a certain kind of person, were only myths; frightening to acknowledge that generations of threat and assault and neglect had battered these myths into the extreme, dividing the reality they faced, of the Maigurus or the Lucias. So instead of broadening from both positions, instead of an encompassing expansion and a growth, the fear made it necessary to tighten up. Each retreated more resolutely into their roles, pretending while they did that they were actually advancing, had in fact initiated an offence, when really, for each one of them, it was a last solitary, hopeless defence of the security of their illusions." (p. 138).

Fiction is truth.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Without You I'm Nothing

One of my BFF's are leaving:(

Two more days with you at calling and walking distance, and then we'll be divided with only the world between us.

I know it'll probably be good for the both of us. Manage on our own, spreading our wings, and not come crying to each other whenever something happens. But my oh my, I will miss it. Sure, we've had some rows, and sure, distance makes the heart grow fonder. But Australia is a long way away, especially when you are difficult to get a hold of even when you live only a 5 minute walk away. So please, babe, DO let us know you are alive;)

It's been a joke in the BFF group for a while that we need to be separated (as we know, jokes often tend to have a bit of seriousness in them). This probably because as enemies, we are a force of destruction that pulls everything and everyone around us into our black hole. As friends, however, I'd say we are equally deadly, perhaps even more so, and even in our darkest hour, anyone who DARES interfere will find him/herself anything but thanked for the effort.

I'll miss you so much. I'll miss the way you see through me SO easily. Without judging me. I'll miss the way you understand, the way we understand each other. I'll miss your sense of humour. But most of all, I'll miss bugging Shooga and Miss Chris Crocker by talking too loud at the movies. (Well, that and watching Twin with you...).

I wish you the best of experiences, and that you find what you are looking for. And when you are ready to come back, I'll be right here, ready with a bottle of red, Twin and guakkis. Loves ya baby!! *kiss kiss kiss*