Tuesday, 18 July 2017

I've read: Nights of the Dark Moon

by Tutu Dutta


Nights of the dark Moon is a collection of folktales from Asia (and a few from Africa) that I picked up on an airport recently. I thought it might be fun to read something with a local connection for once.


And sure, there are fairy-tales from Indonesia, China, Japan, Korea in here (none from Brunei though). It's interesting to see the similarities (moralizing) and differences (cultural and settings obviously) to the legends and tales we know from Europe. And it was nice to read short stores too.


But generally I wasn't a big fan of this book. I don't think the prose was well enough written. And sometimes they ended a bit too abrupt. 

Friday, 14 July 2017

Digital declutter

When I'm on vacation, away from home, I always start planning what changes I want to make in my "regular life" when I get back. This usually takes the form of me writing lists... One of the things I've been thinking about lately is that I want to organize and change some things in my digital presence and on my devices. I imagine that will make life easier and maybe end up in me reducing my screen time... *hoping*

Here's what that list looks like so far!
  • Un-follow Facebook updates from groups and people I'm not all that interested in
  • Remove apps I never use
  • Find one proper news-app to use instead of several half decent ones
  • Un-follow some accounts on Instagram
  • Remove myself from various mailing lists 
  • Clean out dropbox and cloud
  • Double check Facebook privacy settings
Let's see if I can get this done before my classes starts in September!

Thursday, 13 July 2017

homecoming

In only a few hours I'll be on a plane, taking me on the first leg on a trip to Sweden. This trip back home was not in my original plans for the summer - having already traveled so much - but my grandfather passed away in May and I wanted to go back home for the entombment ceremony and to visit my grandmother.

As usual when I go back home, I'll go a little bit all over the place. As I haven't lived in my home country for about eight years (shit) I'm pretty used to this, although I have mixed feelings. Of course I want to see as many people as possible when I'm in Sweden, but it is also quite stressful to try and plan all of the logistics and to never really sleep in the same place for more than a few nights in a row. This time I have decided to add yet another stop to my trip, as I will be going back to Stavanger (in Norway) for a few days as well.

But it's going to be great. I'll get to see most of my best friends and all my family, and will even have a few days in Stockholm, completely unplanned! I'll try to spend those days just enjoying the Swedish summer, however cold and rainy it might be, and also make sure to do some of the shopping for things I can't buy here.



Now, I have already written a few posts that are scheduled to pop up here while I'm gone, as the Blogger app refuses to work on my iPhone since my last OS upgrade... I don't want it to be as empty here as it usually is when I'ma away. And let me just say, while on the topic of blogging, that I'm so happy for your comments and likes! I know I'm like the worst person ever to promote this place, but I'm still super glad that there are a few people coming here to read every now and then.

Oh well, now I'm off to pack my toilet bag! Always hard to decide what makeup to bring... I always just end up using a third of what I pack...

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

I've read: the Wonder

by Emma Donoghue


To be completely honest, I bought this book 95% based on the pretty cover. The blurb was promising, but not totally convincing, but I needed more books so... This story is about a nurse, Lib, taught by the legendary Florence Nightingale (so it takes place during the later part of the 1800s) and now sent on a mission to a remote part of Ireland. Only once she arrives she realizes that her job will not be to take care of a sick person, but rather to monitor a young girl who has stopped eating and now seem like - miraculously - she has survived without food, for over four months.


Libs job will be - in collaboration with a nun - to watch over the girl and make sure no-one is secretively feeding her. Is the girl a medical wonder, a holy person or a fraud? 


I didn't like this book to start with. I wasn't impressed with the main character or the set up of the story. But it grew on me, kept me really wondering, and in the end I really liked it! Not the best book I ever read, but as mysteries goes, quite unusual and interesting!

Monday, 10 July 2017

3 film reviews

Hello Bloggy!
I'm back in Brunei after almost 2,5 weeks gone, traveling in South Korea and Japan. I have about a billion of photos, and a bunch of fond memories from this trip, but as I'm not a huge fan of reading other people blog posts about travels I'm just going to summarize this trip (along with the other resent trip I made to Hong Kong) in a short travel guide. But that I wont do until I've sorted and edited my photos, and gathered my thoughts. I'm thinking these posts will show up in September or so. No hurry.

Today I'm just here to say HELLO and also to provide you with a very important service called film reviews! I saw three movies when I flew from Japan to Singapore on Saturday, all of them movies I had on my "to see" list. Read and decided if they should be on yours too. If you haven't already seen them, then just scroll on...

Life



This was NOT the best film to watch while in the air. It's not good to feel contained and stalked while on a plane. But that aside I think it was ok. Interesting to imagine what will have to be considered if life is ever discovered "close" to earth, even if it isn't life in the shape of little green men. When it comes to the actors... eh. Not bad, really, but I didn't grow that involved with any of the characters, although I liked I liked that the cast was so international.
Score: 3/5

Beauty and the Beast



Beautiful movie. I rarely watch Disney, but when it comes to live-action fairy tales I just can't stay away. And surprisingly I don't mind musicals! I used to have the Swedish Disney version of this story on audio tape when I was a kid and listened to it over. I remembered many of the tunes and most of the story but still loved this remake. The cast is impressive and the scenes and settings beautiful. I do kind of wish that the beast could stay a beast though. Now the ending is like, "if you are nice you can become pretty and then you'll be happy". Not cool.
Score: 4/5

Kong: Skull island 



Interesting historical setting, just by the end of the Vietnam war. As action movies go, where the plot isn't super important, this is exactly what I want from a movie. Cool actors! Jungle! A little bit of humor! Epic monster fight scenes! plus, lots of people dying spectacularly and surprisingly which keeps you on your toes. I did not like the last King Kong movie, but this one was better.
Score: 3,5/5

FYI the photos are from my phone, taken during the flight. The reviews are also written in flight. I was a bit bored by the end...

Sunday, 25 June 2017

I've read: 77 shadow street

by Dean Koontz


I've read several Dean Koontz books before, a few in his Odd Thomas series and a couple of other ones as well. With Koontz I expect easy read, suspenseful and supernatural mysteries.
Perfect to read by the poolside, that is.


This story fulfilled all of these expectations. The setting is an old fancy mansion turned luxury condominiums -  the Pendleton - where strange things one day begin to happen. Strange, scary and deadly things. The various inhabitants that we get to know, like the single mom with an autistic daughter, the ex military now stockbroker, the old attorney, all come in to contact with things that seems to be ghosts, or monsters or maybe something worse?


This is one of those books where you can't really tell too much of the plot without revealing too many spoilers, but to summarize: it's scary in a good way. A few of the creatures the Pendleton inhabitants meet was described in such a way I could really see them in my mind, and it was not a pleasant experience. The story is told from the point of view of all the different people living at the house, and it is cool to see the plot develop through all of these different people eyes.

I liked it! Didn't love it, but liked it. Go ahead and read it if you want a modern scary story.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

expat life, one year in: things I think about

There are two issues that have been on my mind more and more lately. The first is that I am homesick and in a way long for living in Sweden again. All of the photos of and stories about Swedish summer that I see on social media make me nostalgic and a bit sad. Maybe it's just FOMO, but I think it goes a bit deeper. The other issue is that I feel should try to reconnect with my "old" profession in some way.



I'm not sure if the feeling of  homesickness have influenced the idea that I might want to be an architect again, as some kind of nostalgia? Or if it's just the fact that I have now been here a while and have had my fun with the graphic design courses and now it's time to "get serious" again? I'm not sure. 

The homesickness is funny in a way because these past few months I have felt more established here. I have a few friends to hang out with - even though I don't do it very often - I have hobbies and meaningful projects and I like our home and routines. But I also think I am in the third stage of culture chock. (The first stage is: Aaargh, everything here is so strange! The second: No, actually it's not so strange after all. The third: What was I thinking, it IS strange! ) This makes me long for things that are "normal" and safe to me, and miss my friends and family.

Luckily I have decided to do something about this. I'll be going home in the middle of July and stay for two about weeks. The original reason for this is actually not my homesickness - I hadn't planned to go home until September - but my dear grandfather passed away in May and I wanted to go home to see my grandmother. I'll also be visiting my mom, my dad, my brother and a bunch of friends so I hope the homesickness feels better after that.

The other part of this, the profession thingy, is in a way more complicated to do something about, since I can't work here. But what I will try to do is to get back into the architect-mindset and get myself more up to date about what's going on in the business. I couldn't find any suitable online university courses within my field for next semester, but I'll be taking one short online course. Plus, I have decided to not take as many other courses this semester and set aside time to sketch, develop my software skills and read some of the many architecture books I have here at home. I might reach out to one or two of my old friends from uni, to see if they can give me feedback on my sketches. 

All of this will be something I'll start planning more seriously for in August, when I'll be back here again. For now it just feels good to have some sort of plan. I'm still not a hundred percent sure I'll be working as an architect again, but I don't want to become too distanced from all the things I actually (used to?) know.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

I've read: hard-boiled wonderland and the end of the world

by Haruki Murakami


Let me just start by admitting I've never really understood the hype about Murakami. I'm sure the books are well written, and maybe I've just not read the best ones, but... no. This is not for me. I read my first Murakami book - Norwegian Wood - while vising Japan in 2004. It made me feel unhappy and lost. Well, to be honest, my whole trip to Japan I felt quite lonely and sad, and maybe it wasn't the best time for reading it... So... but what about this book then?


This is a very strange book. When I had finished the first chapter and began the second I was totally confused and wondered if this was a collection of short stories? The reason for that was that the second chapter took place in a completely different world. After a while I realized that the book continues this way, with two parallel stories, one chapter you are in Tokyo, following this 35 something man that work for an information company. The other story is about another man, a newcomer to a small town, isolated from the rest of the world by a giant wall. Strange things happen to both men. After about 4/5 of the book you are let in on the secret, how these to two stories are connected.

Oh, let me just stop here for a sec. As I was writing this I wanted to write the name of this Tokyo-man. Couldn't for the life of me remember it (and I finished this book today). So I pickedit up and after some careful browsing I'm pretty sure you never get to know it. And I haven't even once reflected upon this fact the whole time I read it! And I think this signifies one of the things I don't like about this book, the fact that I just don't care. None if the characters are described in a way that make me feel much sympathy for them, or really care what happens with them. They feel, maybe not one-dimensional, but I just can't identify with them. The rest of the characters in the book - pretty much all of them - are in my opinion just that: one-dimensional. 

Yeah, I didn't like this one either. 

I still have another Murakami-book - Kafka on the Shore - in my bookshelf, so at some point I'll have a go and give him another chance. Norwegian Wood was published 1987 and this one 1985, maybe a more recent book (the Kafka one is from 2002) is easier for me to relate to...

Sunday, 18 June 2017

long time no cat

Looking at these photos I doubt they actually qualify to be blog-worthy when it comes to quality... I sooo need to become more confident using my DSLR and not just use my iPhone all the time. But. I also don't want to apologize too much for posting them because I truly believe that for every posted photo of cat-paws and fluffly cat bellies out there on the interwebzz the world becomes a better place... And sometimes the exquisiteness of the subject is motivation enough for posting, right? So I give you Hugo, lurking behind the sofa so I almost tripped over him.



why don't I just DO this?

How come there are things in life that you know you should do, that they would make you happier, healthier and better at coping with everyday life, but just still just don't do them? For many people I guess it's a question about time, but I have all the time in the world and I still don't do these things, however many times I set my mind on doing them. In my case I have defined three things that I know would make my everyday life better, but I also just ignore doing most of the time:

physical activity in the morning
It doesn't have to be a super heavy workout or an hour of running, even 20 minute walk before breakfast makes me happier the whole day. There is more of a chance that I'll be productive, that I feel calm and happy and not bored. I have done this routinely for some periods this past year, but eventually something (small) comes up and I stop. So stupid!

get properly dressed
I don't mean properly in a fancy way, but just in normal clothes and not the same sweats and t-shirt as yesterday. Catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror and thinking "hello pretty!" makes any day better, in my opinion. I fall back on thinking it's a waste to use my favorite clothes and that i should save them for a more eventful day, but I don't have that many of those and my "good" outfits just lives in my clothes without ever seeing the light. It's sad really.

leave my phone alone for a while
Browings through Facebook, Instagram and Bloglovin to catch up takes up so much of my time. And mostly I don't mind, these are great ways of keeping in contact with friends and family back home, and to get updated on what is going on in the world, but when i just keep returning, doing the rounds again when nothing is new, that's when it just becomes a waste of time. And since I actually have a bunch of other hobbies that I know would make me feel better, more creative and happy, why don't I just go do those instead!?

I obviously don't have a lot of self-discipline. I'm not going to make any promises that either of these things will change in the future. But I am aware, at least...