We are all mad here
Posted in Life, Thoughts on

“The world is beautiful, but has a disease called man.”

— Friedrich Nietzsche

The other day I woke up and tuned in to the news, as I tend to do every morning. The news then informed me that there had been another episode of  violenceonly a day after the tragic attack in Nice, this time in Turkey, and I realised with growing unease in that moment, that horrible news like that hardly even affect me anymore. Any news of terror and unnecessary bloodshed, shootings and rape, or any other sort of violation against human rights, they no longer get me riled up in anger as I used to. I’m not even surprised or fazed by them, I’m actually used to it. And that realisation absolutely terrifies me, while also making me truly pessimistic about humanity and the future of man-kind.

Where is our humanity? Did we ever have one at all? As far as I’m concerned, looking back through the years, our history is uncommonly bloody. Us humans apparently have a perpetual predisposition for violence and gore. We have always been like that. Driven by greed and power hunger, and yet we still consider ourselves better than animals. We sit here on the throne, on the top of the food chain, looking down upon animals for their lack of intelligence and primitive behaviour, when we are the most animalistic species of all. Most animals are more or less basic. They live to hunt, and hunt to survive. Rarely will animals kill just for the sake of killing or just for perverse amusement, nor do they kill for other desirous reasons. Unlike animals, WE have the awareness, the conscious mind and the intelligence that tells us these things are WRONG, and yet, we never learn nor endeavour to be different.

“Wild animals never kill for sport. Man is the only one to whom the torture and death of his fellow creatures is amusing in itself.”James Anthony Froud

And furthermore, it’s not just the wars and blodshed that leaves me despondent about the future, and the present. It’s everything I see everywhere around me on a daily basis. The lack of humanity from normal people. It’s evident in the small actions and utterings of regular people in our western society. How we judje each other ruthlessly and bully each other into misery. We delight in bringing each other down to feel better about ourselves, mock each other, and measure each other’s worth in fortunes and immaterial accomplishments. Whether it’s in a small town community, or on a global scale through social media and other outlets, we are so unfathomably INCAPABLE of building each other up through encouragement and support. Instead we tear each other down with criticism and penalties for being different or for being weak. Where is the compassion for fellow-kinds? Where is the “love thy neighbour as thyself”? I think perhaps the “love thyself” is the problem.

To me, and the idealist in me, it’s so simple. Just. Be. Kind. Care a little less about judging others, and look to yourself instead. Try to improve yourself instead of putting others down to feel better. It won’t make you feel better in the long run. You’ll only contribute to the ever growing dark circle where people are drowning in despair and self-doubt, desperately clawing at the walls of the hole we dug ourselves in our heedless search for perfection. To be good enough. Don’t compare yourself to others, whether it’s their physical attributes, their social success or their professional accomplishments. Celebrate each other, encourage each other, and be proud of each other’s advances. Rather than being envious, why not try to be inspired by other’s instead. Know that if they can do it, so can you. Nobody has a perfect life, it only appears so through social media. Keep in mind that what you see on social media is other people’s highlights. You don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. Everyone is struggling with something. So just be kind, please.

To the idealist in me, these wars and the bloodshed all around the world, whether it be motivated by political, religiously or other trivial reasons, it just seems like such a mindless waste of time. We send our young men and women into war to lay down their lives, their lives (!!). The only life they have. And for what? For a piece of land? For oil? To prove that “my religion is better than yours”? Can you not see how incredibly brainless this is? That thousands upon millions of more or less innocent people must DIE, all because we are incapable of settling such trivial matters in a peaceful, democratic way. At the end of the day, God is God for those who believe in Him, and for those that don’t, it really doesn’t matter. What does it matter what someone else believes? You keep your fate, I keep mine, we all go about our own lives and respect each other. How does that sound? Ernest Hemingway once said: “Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.” We are a sorry excuse for a species, truly, if we cannot settle negotiate our differences in a better way than that.

To the idealist in me, this refugee crisis storming on right now is so ridiculous and simple. In an ideal world, perhaps if we weren’t humans, we would be able to share the world equally as a species, peacefully. It just seems so petty and narrow-minded to me when my fellow norwegians say to me: “we cannot allow these refugees into our country.” WE cannot allow? OUR country?? Excuse me, but who the hell are WE?? Who decides what biological characteristics make up a “pure-blooded norwegian”? Must you have blonde hair, blue eyes and fair skin, or does that seem a little too close to naziism for your comfort? Must you be be born and raised in Norway, does that make the cut? But what if your parents aren’t pure-blooded norwegians? How far back in the family roots must we rummage in order to determine whether a person is allowed to be a part of that self-entitled “we”.

And our country, really? Do we own this earth? We are not the only species occupying this particular planet, even though we are the conclusive sovereign on top of the food chain. Mother Earth could wipe us out like a particularly vexatious termite infestation with a couple of well-aimed natural disaster, if she had the consciousness to do so (and indeed, if she did, I’m sure she would have a long time ago). So what gives us the right to draw up lines on a map to divide the earth into little pieces of property that only belong to a certain category of people? The earth was here, prospering and blooming on its own, long before us humans came along.

You may call me a naive dreamer, and tell me that these ideas would never work in practice – that it’s just an idealistic fantasy. Perhaps. Perhaps you’re right. And perhaps it’s just my oversensitive nature, but I don’t see how anyone can observe all of the violence and malevolence, the unfairness and injustice in this world, and still manage to be hopeful for a brighter future with humans in it. I cannot. It leaves me despondent deep within the root of my being, I just can’t fathom how we will ever evolve to something better. I’m not sure we’re capable of it. And there goes the dreamer and idealist, only to be replaced by a realist and a pessimist. He makes me want to throw my hands up in defeat and give up. I don’t want to be a part of this. If this is what humanity is, what it’s become. If this is what it means to be human? Then I don’t want to be.





Why am I like this
Posted in England, Life, Thoughts on

Keeping true to tradition, I am once again writing this post from *drum roll* – you guessed it! Starbucks. However, something has changed. I no longer sit at Starbucks because it’s the closest thing to home, now I sit at Starbucks to get some time away from “home”. My, how things have changed…

Although I have been very lucky to find this place where I now live, practically for free, practically in central London, I must admit that the situation is… difficult for me. It’s quite uncomfortable moving into someone else’s home in general, but the feeling is heightened by my never knowing quite what is expected of me. And I really don’t like it. I like to have my work load, and what is expected of me, written out crystal clear. I like to know  what I should do, when I should do it and how it should be done. And this situation is so… diffuse.

When I’m in the house, I can’t really seem to relax one hundred percent, as I always feel like I should be doing something, doing more, to “earn” my staying there. Like I’m constantly at work. And when I do my chores I feel like I’m not doing them well enough, as the gentleman I am living with is very particular about how he wants things done and where things should be. Very particular. So most likely when I perform a task, he will come around later and do it all over again, because I didn’t do it right. Or I didn’t do it well enough. I really hate that. It’s like staring in a new job and not getting any training, you only get told off every time you make a mistake.

Of course, I know he’s an old man who is set in his ways, and I know that when you’re older you appreciate routine and familiarity. And some people are just more detail oriented than others, which is absolutely fine. 

The problem is me. I just have a serious dutiful-good-girl syndrome that makes me unable to handle being anything less than perfect. I’m not very good with criticism, although I would like to be. I know constructive criticism is good. I know it’s meant to be helpful and something to learn by, but truthfully it makes me feel like a total failure. I need to be perfect. I need to be good enough. I need to master everything immediately. I need to be efficient and faultless. And of course, I’m not. I’m only human after all. It’s ridiculous, but I’ve always been like this though.

The problem is me because I’m not very tidy or fussy. I’m not squeamish and I don’t have an eye for that sort of detail. I don’t see it. I couldn’t care less if the spoons were sorted by size in the cutlery drawer. It makes no difference to me if  a dirty stain is left on the kitchen bench over night. I never notice if the hand towel hangs a little crooked on the peg in the bathroom and I don’t see why certain plates need to go certain places in the dish washer, when they clean all the same anywhere. I just don’t see it. I am sort of proud, by in this case a little frustrated, to say that I would make an absolutely atrocious housewife. I was not made for that life.

WHY AM I LIKE THIS? The one question I ask myself an infinite number of times every single day. I just need to pull myself together and stop focusing on the negative. Keep telling myself that I’ve only been here a week, and nobody expects me to be fully accomplished in that short a time. Just need to get that super memory that got me effortlessly through 13 years of school without ever breaking a sweat back into gear and memorise all the ridiculous, tiny details so I can get it right. Think of the perks and benefits. Suck it up. Get your shit together. 

Yep, that’s what I’m gonna do. Because what’s the alternative? Give up and go home?

No.

On top of everything, the weather has gone from this

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to this

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Should I stay or should I go?
Posted in Thoughts on

Everybody has flaws and strengths, and I consider myself one of those people who are quite aware of them. As I am introverted and spend a lot of time “inside my head”, alway examining the workings of my own mind, as well as trying to understand others, I know that I am introspective enough to be brutally honest with myself. I know that I am kind, loyal and smart, some of my better qualities (not to toot my own horn or anything), but one of my less profitable qualities, is that I am very little ambitious. In fact, I would almost go as far as to say that I have none. I’m a dreamer and a drifter. It doesn’t mean that I’m not hard-working or that I don’t have dreams or things that I would like to accomplish, but I have no drive.

Now I suppose it could have been worse. It’s not really a quality that harms anyone other than myself, and it’s not really a quality that’s demeaning in any way, at least I don’t consider it as such. It just means that I’m not very good at sports, at all, because there is not a competitive bone in my body. It also means that when I face challenges, or things get difficult, I tend to choose the easier option or to give up altogether, rather than fight my way through it with claw and nails. Not necessarily because I am lazy, although I think many would mistake it for that, but simply because I lack the motivation. I just doesn’t matter that much to me. I have no drive to get things done, like I said.

I am also one of those people who makes more often than not makes decisions based on intuition and gut feeling, rather than using common sense and practicality. I have a very good intuition, it very rarely leads me astray or lead me to make a decision that I regret. But sometimes intuition can be clouded by other things that could potentially lead to bad decisions or regrets, such as boredom, fear or insecurity. I am trying to change that now, however.

Everybody kept asking me before I left what I was going to do in England, where I was going to live, what was my purpose or plan, and every time I just sort of shrugged and said “I don’t know”. I didn’t have a plan, I still don’t. I had ideas and dreams, of course. But nothing set in stone. I just went. And hoped for the best. I’m not very much of a planner either, I like to keep my options open. See where things go. Go with my gut feeling and whatever feels right at the time.

So now I am faced with a dilemma, or a challenge if you like. I need to find out what I want to do. I have found a place to stay in London, you see. It’s a very good deal. I will get to live in central London, in a very nice neighbourhood, basically for free. In exchange for accommodation, I only have to help the old man I live with do some basic house chores, nothing too time-consuming or taxing. It’s a great deal actually. And I can study or work on the side. I could take a job, of course, and because I have no real expenses, I could live rather well on the unimpressive wages in The UK. Or I could study, which is the smartest option to be sure, but here is where I face challenges.

The only way I would be granted financial support from Norway and Lånekassen, is by starting a degree. It’s not possible to do a year of study, as you can in Norway. Which is fair enough, I suppose. And why not do a Bachelor’s Degree? The only problem is that I don’t necessarily fill the entry requirements to study in The UK, as I am international, and in order to be accepted anywhere, I would have to do a Foundation Year first, which is not funded by Lånekassen. And when I found this out, I immediately started thinking how much easier it would be to just go back home, where it’s easy, and I can study what I want with support, I can move to a nice apartment and live with other students, rather than living with an old man with a curfew, and I would even have my friends there.

Sounds tempting, right? Safe and sound, fun and familiar.

Don’t get me wrong, I really like the place I am staying at, I really like it. And they are truly lovely, both the man I live with, and his daughter who lives there on and off. But it’s always awkward moving into someone else’s home, you never really feel quite comfortable. I’ve done it before, as an exchange student. And you can imagine it yourself, I’m sure, being a permanent guest in someone else’s house. When heightened by my insecurities, it’s very tempting indeed to go home, or even to pay the huge expenses that comes with living in a flat in London.

So this is where I really have to keep myself in check and tell myself to pull it together. I can’t give up now, I haven’t even tried! At times like these I really wish I had some ambitions and a little bit more guts. I don’t want to be a quitter, and I know I would always regret it if I went home now, without having really tried. So I am going to stay. I am going to try. Try to find someway to get accepted to school. Try to get comfortable in a home that’s not mine. Try to not let my insecurities get the better of me, as they so often do (damn them), and hope that in the end everything will sort itself out and end well.

On a more positive note though! I may have found the love of my life

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No but seriously, wish me luck!





Meditating in Kensington Gardens
Posted in Thoughts on

Once again I find myself sat with my laptop and a coffee at a Starbucks cafe. At the moment I feel like Starbucks is actually the closest thing to a “home” for me. It’s comfortable. It’s safe and familiar. And it has free WiFi and power outlets to charge your phone and laptop. In other words, it’s heaven. For an introvert like myself, I must admit that it is quite taxing to travel the way I do, living in hostels and shared dormitories. You’re never alone. And as much as I like people and being social, at the end of the day I relish in being able to retreat somewhere in my own company to recharge my batteries. To have some downtime and just relax, and breathe. And when you share a dormitory with 8 other people, chances are at least one of them will be in the room at all times.

It’s not just sharing a room that is taxing, however. I could retreat there, in theory. There are curtains on the bunk beds that you can shut, and although it isn’t particularly spacious in there, it’s quite cozy and could potentially be comfortable enough to relax in. But, not only is the WiFi connection rubbish, so unless you consider watching Netflix spend 30 minutes valiantly trying to buffer 5 minutes worth of your favourite TV-series surprisingly entertaining, it’s not going to cut it, but  there is also no power outlet within a miles distance of the bed. And batteries do not last forever, especially when you’re watching Netflix.

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So here I am, at Starbucks, a public and rather busy cafe, the closest thing to a relaxed lounge I can find in London. These issues make me feel a little homesick, and I do like to entertain the idea that I will book myself a proper hotel room, just for one night, so I can properly relax and recharge. And take a long, pampering shower in a shower with more pressure than you get from pouring a glass of water over your head, without worrying about people queuing outside the door while you fervently scrub your body and shave your legs at the same time.

Still, today has been a rather nice day. I slept in until 9:30 pm, despite the fact that the four french guys that checked in at midnight last night were making more noise than should be humanly possible for only four people, at 7 am. Then I got dressed and went out for a nice breakfast, before hanging around Kensington Gardens for several hours. One thing I will say about the english, they know how to do parks.

Kensington Gardens is a big park that joins in with the massive Hyde Park to the east, which is London’s version of Central Park. I find it so curious how as soon you enter a park in a big city, all the noise and the racket of the city outside suddenly disappears, and you’re left in the most calming environment where you can actually hear the birds chirping and the leaves rustling in the wind. Even though I love the hustle and bustle of London city, as someone who has lived most of their life in a small, quiet town, I never fully realised how much I would miss and come to appreciate some peace and quiet. So I spent quite a few hours just strolling through the many paths in Kensington Gardens, just appreciating the beauty of English Nature and the lovely weather.

The people who know me may not believe this, but I actually love the outdoors. I love nature. I could walk around for hours just looking and wondering at how beautifully complex this planet is with all its species and plants, all the different colours of flowers and how it all came to be. Not to mention how we take all of it for granted in the stress and urgency of our artificial lives. There is nothing so perplexingly grounding as taking the time out of your day to just be, and truly take in your surroundings. Nothing leaves me feeling so relaxed and conscious of my place in the universe, and how unimportant all my worries and troubles truly are in the great scheme of things.

I know, I know. I’m starting to sound like John Lennon in “Imagine”. To be fair though, that song is a perfect description of how I feel about the world and all the problems us humans create for ourselves. Imagine all the people living life in peace. Truly, John Lennon is my spirit animal. And fun fact: we are/were actually the same personality type. INFP – the dreamer – just look it up! So you may call me a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. 

I should definitely go on walks like this more often. It’s left me feeling very relaxed and zen, and I have done a lot of philosophication today. I’m very sure that is not a real word. Thinking. Contemplation. Reflection. That’s what I done. And I like it.

Peace and love y’all,

Ingrid