Books I loved sticking my nose in this year: Part III

 Rounding up the books I’m enjoying the most this year! I know, I know, it’s only September, but just the thought of making lists like these in December – which appears to be kind of mandatory for bloggers – makes me feel exhausted. I’m getting off to a head-start.

First, I rounded up 3 awesome true-story books about journeys and adventures.
Part I here
Then we moved on to the fiction books I found particularly original and exciting.
Part II here

This week, let’s look at… 

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…the ones that taught me to eat like a champ

In defense of food, Michael Pollan 1 //  In Defense of Food: An eater’s manifesto by Michael Pollan

Mandatory for anyone slightly interested in health, nutrition, and the catastrophe that is SAD (Standard American Diet). Pollan’s mantra goes a little something like this:

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” 

Should be simple enough, right?

But it’s NOT in today’s society, because so much of what’s on the shelves in supermarkets have been processed and fiddled with in laboratories to the point where it’s not even food anymore. It’s just an experiment of refining food to the unrecognizable and playing around with ‘nutritional’ lego bricks. The most interest part of the book for me was reading about the age of “nutritionism”: how everything basically went awry as soon as scientists where able to break down food into molecules vitamins, minerals, omega-this and fiber-that. Cue the inevitable…. politics got involved. There’s money to be made here, folks.

I don’t respond well to people pointing fingers and saying, “the reason your health isn’t optimal is because you’re not eating well enough. make better choices” – you being any one of us in modern Western society.

What I love, however, are these guys like Pollan who educate us in how we got f***ed, basically, by the Big Guys: The meat industry. The dairy industry. The GMO companies. And the politicians trying to protect their interests.

When someone says, “we know you’re trying your hardest, and it’s actually not your fault that you’re not eating nourishing enough food! and the choices you make from here on out DO matter! let’s educate ourselves on the subject and make a difference where we can”….. that’s when I listen 😉

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Nourishing wisdom, marc david2 // Nourishing Wisdom: A mind-body Approach to Nutrition and Well-being by Marc David 

Marc David is the guy who founded the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, and he has an immense amount of knowledge in nutrition and  nutritional psychology.

In this book he argues is that there really is no such thing as “good food” or “bad food”. In order to have a healthy relationship with food – and good health, of course – we need to get our heads out of the science behind nutrition and try to be more grounded in a mind-body approach to eating. Yes, yes and yes!

Total game-changer for me. I loved this book so much that I actually wrote a post about back in May which you can check out here.

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Clean, Alejandro Junger

3 // Clean by Alejandro Junger, M.D. 

This is one of the last books I read, and I only just finished it last week.

It’s a nutritional detox program, developed by Dr. Junger that is meant to restore the body’s natural ability to heal itself. It’s a very revealing book with lots of “inconvenient truths” about how our bodies are constantly bombarded with toxins through our food, our homes, our environment.

The thing is that our bodies are this incredible machines that have ability to get rid of all these toxins, but all the toxins we consume constantly in the 21st century blocks this ability. I like the metaphor with the band-aid: one of the basic things Mom teaches us when we’re kids is that if we scratch our knees, put a band-aid and don’t pick on it. The wound will heal by itself as long as you get out of the way. It’s basically no different when it comes to our illnesses.

Haven’t finished it yet, but it’s for sure one of the most interesting (and scary…!) reads of mine this year!

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 4// BONUS! The documentaries… 

 Some of these I’ve seen before, but they’ve all been revisited this year. Must-sees for those of you interested in health and diet.

Hungry For Change – true story: this was the  straw that broke the camel’s back. I watched this in March and started green-juicing the next day. Haven’t looked back since.

Food Inc. – Oldie, but goodie. A little bit more controversy-y and focuses a lot on the politics involved in farming and the big animal-based food industries in the US.

Forks over knives – argues the case of vegetarianism and benefits of getting protein from plant foods vs. animal foods, and that all the ‘Western diseases’ are linked to animal foods; heart disease, diabetes etc. One of the most memorable points made is that we could put an end to hunger today if we took all the grains used to feed cattle and give it to starving world citizens instead. Yup. And cattle is supposed to eat grass anyway, so we’re only messing with nature feeding them all these grains.

Food matters – from the people behind Hungry for Change.

Fat, sick, and nearly dead – a documentary film following an Australian guy who goes on a month long juice cleanse to save his life, and travels through the US to gain awareness about it. Funny, uplifting, inspiring, and will teach you a lot.

May I be Frank? – the guys working at Café Gratitude in San Francisco take on a project: sick, depressed and overweight Frank who wants to fall in love one more time before he dies. And you guessed it… he has to change his diet and lifestyle and learn to love himself first. Awww… this movie is hilarious and very touching at the same time.

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I hope you’re feeling inspired to learn a little bit more about nutrition and diet!  

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Good Vibes and Liebster Awards

The sweet Marisa from The Green Sunshine was kind enough to tag me for a Liebster Award, and I had so much fun doing this!

Liebster Award Symbol

Marisa blogs about travel, health and living life to the fullest – exactly my kind of blog, in other words 😀  She’s currently in training to become a certified health coach, and shares some amazing recipes… Not to mention, she wrote a whole post about why sweet potatoes are awesome from a nutritionist’s standpoint. Seeing as I eat sweet potatoes by the bulk practically every week, I’m sold.

The Liebster Award works like a chain letter, and it’s a way for bloggers to spread some love, support and encouragement, and to discover new blogs. The rules are as follows:

  • Thank the awesome blogger who nominated you.
  • Post the award badge on your blog.
  • Answer the questions your nominator has left for you.
  • Nominate some other awesome bloggers.
  • Make up 10 questions for them to answer.

First up – here are my answers to Marisa’s questions for me!

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1) If your life was a movie, which title would it be?

This was hard….! My head’s spinning after trying to come up with something good for this one.

I’m gonna have to go with the tagline instead:

I decided to live it

via

2) What smell do you love?

The smell of Christmas!

I’m obsessed with Christmas, and it happens to be my birthday month as well, so I live and breathe for December. The smell of snow, pine trees, clementines, cinnemon, a lit fire…

… in Norway, tradition says to bake 7 kinds of Christmas cookies to have on hand for the whole holiday season. The smell of “julebakst” throughout the house is one of my favorite smells in the whole world. (I promised myself I wouldn’t go there to torture myself now that I’m a vegan-ish, but the smell of “pinnekjøtt”…. oh God. If you’re Norwegian, you get it.)

Bonus: the smell of coffee and aquevit doesn’t hurt either.

Christmas Cookies

3) Which season do you adore?

(I hate to be this person, but) I love all of them!

I really can’t choose. I come from a country with what I would say is an extreme diversity in its seasons, and there’s just no way I could choose one that I love more than the others.

That’s the whole point, isn’t it? To appreciate and adore the changing seasons and what makes them each so special to you 🙂

Changing seasons in Norway

4) What is your wildest dream?

a) Be a rockstar.
b) Marry Sweden’s Prince Carl Philip and become the Kate Middleton of Scandinavia.

I’m kidding. (No, I’m not. Kind of.)

If I can’t have that, my wildest dream is to travel the world and go on adventures for a living. To write, play music, meet like-minded people, go to far and distant corners of this planet, and just be… me. To work for myself and be my own boss, and write a fantastic memoir one day about all the mind-blowing adventures I’ve been on. To inspire people to follow the feeling of joy and happiness wherever it may take them.

I want all that – and then a private helicopter so that I can fly home at moment’s notice to be there for all my friends’ birthdays and wedding, all the big moments in my family members’ lives, and whenever I need a hug from the people who knows me best.

Look where your mind goes when it wanders

via

5) What is your best childhood memory?

I have to say all the memories I have of playing outside with my sister.

People always commented on how “good” my sister and I were at playing together. Whether it was at our family cabin, in the woods behind Dad’s apartment building, or in the backyard of Mom’s house, we had a very vivid imagination and always made the most of our surroundings.

I cherish those memories so, so much, and I want that so badly for my future children.

Creek in the woods via

6) What is your favorite book?

I have several favorite books, but I’m going to go with what is probably the most meaningful book to me; the first book I ever fell in love with and read over and over again.

Nobody’s Boy by Hector Malot.

Sans Famille Hector Malot

I was very young when I first read this book, and I kept going back to it over the course of a couple of years. It was the first time I can remember experiencing the power of books and stories – how they grab a hold of you and make hours disappear.

I was so emotionally involved in the story of Remi losing his parents and being all alone in the world, and eventually getting to the happy ending was  reassurance that all is well in the world (and that Mom and Dad would never leave me. A child’s brain will nearly always circle back to that).

This is the book that made me fall in love with reading, and therefore it’s my favorite! 🙂

7) Share one of your healthy tips.

Adding.

I really can’t stress this enough: if you want to make a bit of a healthy change, don’t immediatly take away something that you like. Don’t think, “I’m gonna quit sugar” or “I’m gonna quit coffee” or “I’m gonna quit eating meat”.

I believe you have a 100% better succes rate if you just focus on adding more of the “good” stuff.

Want to quit drinking soda? Just start slowly adding more glasses of water into your daily routine. Soon, you’ll find you can’t physically drink as much soda as you used to because the water is taking its place, so to speak. And the less soda you drink, the less you crave it.

Want to eat more veggies (cause we all know we should…)? Don’t think about cutting out meat or pasta or starchy carbs. Just add more veggies to your plate every single time, and in no time at all you’ll find that you’re eating twice as much veggies without even making a real effort.

These subtle changes really do add up! 😉

Small daily improvements key to staggering long-term results

8) What is your favorite quote?

I’m a huge collector of inspirational quotes, so this is a tough one!

But at the moment, I think my friend Roal Dahl is the winner of this one… It’s a simple quote that always makes me smile and reminds me that as long as I’m kind and grateful and think good thoughts, all is well.

If you have good thoughts... Roald Dahl quote

via

I’ve had this quote stuck on my bathroom mirror for months to make sure it’s one of the first things I see in the morning 🙂

9) List one thing on your bucket list!

Just one?!

Better pick a good one… Let’s see…

Unsurprisingly, a lot of the items on my bucket list deal with travel – I would say most of them are travel related. So to share something other than that:

Be present at a major sporting event, like the Super Bowl, winter olympics, or World Cup finals in football.

World Cup Final Spain 2010

10) What makes you shine?

Lots of things make me shine because lots of things make me happy!

But looking through pictures, I definitely think I shine the most and the brightest when I’m having a laugh with my girlfriends. And I have the best friends.

I feel exactly the same away as Raves & Revelations when she writes, ‘I have the best friends. No, really. My group of friends is better than yours.’ 😛

But, seriously. My friends are better than yours.

And they bring out the very best in me ♥

Friendship collage ————————————-

For the next round, I nominate these wonderful ladies…

Zauni from The Kind Side.

Lisa from Love To-Go.

Laura from inspiration.sparks

… and my questions for them are as follows: 

  1. What is one skill or talent that you desperately wish you had?
  2. If you could time-travel and go back in history to experience one thing only… which moment would you travel back to?
  3. Do you have any completely irrational fears or phobias?
  4. Do you have a daily or weekly ritual that you cannot forego no matter what?
  5. Name one of the people who have inspired you the most in your life!
  6. If you could speak one other language fluently, which would you choose, and why?
  7. Do you own an item that you cherish more than anything? That you would practically run into a burning house to save?
  8. What makes your family unique from others?
  9. What is the nicest thing someone has ever done for you?
  10. Tell us about your best childhood friend, and one of your fondest memories with them.

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The good things in life

It’s that time of the week again!

Erika hosts the Gratitude 101 linkup, and I get to put up a post celebrating some of the highlights of the past week 🙂

GRAD-ITUDE 101: A Linkup By Chimerikal

 

There have been plenty of blissful moments, but it’s also been a week of testing my ability to be thankful for even the things that don’t exactly go the way I want them to.

I’ve been sick, but not sick enough to go to the doctor or stay in bed, which I think we can all agree is the worst kind of sick. It means doing all your chores, going to school/work, being social when you’re expected to… but no exercise, no good night’s sleep, no yoga, no energy. I don’t like feeling unproductive and I go stir-crazy without my morning runs, so I’m not feeling my best right at the moment.

You know that voice in your head, that little gremlin, that tends to be really annoyed in times like that? This is when it’s crucial for me that I transform that voice into my best friend and remember to be kind to myself, above all else.

I focus on the simple things I can do to make a difference: prepare nourishing meals for myself, lots of herbal tea and vitamin C, morning meditations, sleep in even though it’s a Tuesday. These are all little joys too.

Being grateful isn’t something you save only for the good days. It’s a practice that you need to bring into every living moment.

This week reminded me that no matter what state – sick or healthy – I wake up in…

…begin each day with a grateful heart.

Here are some happy moments of the week:

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Surprise birthday decorations

+ Putting a smile on someone’s face

This Sunday was my roommate’s birthday. While he had lots of plans with his friends and things going on that day, I’m a firm believer that you can never get too much attention on your birthday. So surprise decorations were in order, and seeing his face when he came out of his room on Sunday morning was priceless. It’s the little things that count!

Warning: Hypothetically speaking; if you’ve gone to the liquor store and asked for the “cheapest vodka you have” earlier in the day, and then had a vodka-drinking party with your friends until the wee hours of the morning… it’s a really stupid idea to start blowing up 40 balloons by yourself when you get home.

Don’t do it. Just don’t. But rest assured, if you do pass out, you’ve got 40 balloons to break the fall.

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Hearty salad and white wine, Mooloolaba

+ The little moments that make you feel like today is special

Everyday life is to be celebrated, and the simple pleasure of a chilled glass of wine to go with our lunch on the Mooloolaba esplanade made it feel like we were on vacation all of a sudden. Brainstorming actual plans for an upcoming vacation made it all even more perfect. Good food, great company, the coast bathed in sunshine… What more could a girl ask for?

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New Girl 'BOOM!' GIF

+ Skipping winter

I can’t believe I actually pulled it off, but I’m officially skipping winter this year.

I left Norway in the middle of summer and arrived in Australian winter in July. Here in Queensland, winters aren’t too bad at all, but this one flew by so fast I barely noticed it. Sure, there were some rainy days for the first few weeks, but August has just been glorious…! This week you could really tell that the weather was warming up as well, and I’m just gonna go ahead and say it: Spring. You’re here. We welcome you.

Looking forward to lots and lots of days like these in the near future….

Mooloolaba Beach, Sunshine Coast, Australia

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roasted chickpea and broccoli burrito

+ Thug Kitchen

*if you have a problem with the f-word, best not click on the link 

An amazing thing happened: I just recently discovered Thug Kitchen, which is probably best described as a gangsta vegan food blog.

This blog is hilarious…. and the recipes look amazing! Some of my favorites: this, this and this. A book deal has been signed, so by fall next year you can buy the Thug Kitchen cookbook. I definitely plan to! 😉

The first recipe I’ve tasted is this little guy in the picture above, and it was AWESOME. In fact, I’m eating leftovers of this for lunch today once I’ve finished writing this post.

(Recipe found here).

— also, who am I kidding: food in general. I made my favorite healthy blueberry muffins this week and a crapload of vegan burritos that totally blew my mind… might share the recipe for those in the near future 😉

Healthy blueberry muffins; Vegan burritos

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That’s it for this week’s spotlight on gratitude!

A million little things happen during the week that deserves our appreciation, and don’t forget to acknowledge all those moments. Nothing is too big or too small to deserve some gratitude vibes  😉 

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There is always room for gratitude

Erika is an awesome blogger I “met” this spring when we did a 3-month e-course together with the absolutely brilliant soul that is life coach Connie Chapman (you can read Erika’s awesome review of the program here, and here’s the link to the program that I can wholeheartedly recommend to anyone looking for change in their lives. I’d love to tell you more about my own experiences with this coaching program, but for now it’s still very personal and dear to me. So we’ll save it for a rainy day…;)

GRAD-ITUDE 101: A Linkup By Chimerikal

Erika just started this linkup (blog lingo. literally just found out what this is one week ago) called Gratitude 101, and I knew I had to jump on the train, because getting serious about practicing gratitude changed everything for me.

picture quote gratitude

Gratitude – turns what you have,
and what you are, into enough

I take the business of practicing gratitude very seriously (⋙insert serious frown), and for months I would sit down for 10 minutes before bed and write in my gratitude journal. The idea is to acknowledge all the itty bitty things that happen during the day that made me happy or that I could be grateful for, while also reminding myself of the ‘big ones’ – my family, my friendships, my health etc.

Often my lists consisted of simple things like,
  • freshly cleaned sheets 
  • my green smoothie in the morning
  • seeing people being happy in the parks when the sun suddenly came out in Oslo
  • having time to actually talk to my sister during a 30-minute car drive
  • nailing an amazing recipe I found on Pinterest
  • Yogi tea ♥

I don’t write these lists religiously anymore like I used to, because I feel like the practice of gratitude and acknowledging all these little joys is so deeply instilled in me now that I don’t need the daily ritual. But make no mistake about it – whenever the mood strikes, I love sitting down with a cup of tea and my gratitude journal and let the love flow…

And now I’m bringing some of the action over to the blog!

Here’s what’s been thrilling me lately

+ Nature

Yup, just nature! A wave of inspiration came over me last week and I’ve not been able to stop pinning beautiful outdoors-y pictures to my new favorite Pinterest board. Hours have been wasted (though never really wasted if it makes your heart sing) looking up beautiful pictures of mountains and waterfalls and campfires online.

I think what sparked it was going through pictures from Step-Father’s trip up to Andøya in northern Norway, earlier this summer. You can see my first post about the place here, and some more pictures that I posted a few days ago here.

mist over mountains, Bleik, Andøya, Norway

+ Finally feeling like I can do this

Going back to school after a 4-5 year hiatus is a little bit daunting.

I had no idea how I would respond to the demands of university-level education, and for the first few weeks I definitely rocked a “fake it ’till you make it”-attitude. Who was I to know how much time I should spend on doing different things, or how to prepare for this and that. Panic hit after I got back from my short trip home to Norway, and I wondered how the hell I was supposed to catch up and get all my assignments done – because they tend to all fall in the same week, don’t they….

Now that I’ve handed in a couple assignments and got to do my all-time favourite (oral presentation! I’m actually not being sarcastic at all. I love it) yesterday, I feel like this is going to be okay.

I’m slowly getting into a groove. And damn, it feels good.

study desk, with inspirational quotes

+ Writing 

It feels like I currently have about 46 drafts on my blog dashboard.

Might be a bit of an exaggeration, but the point remains that I’ve been spending a lot of time jotting down ideas and feeling inspired by reading other blog posts around the ol’ internet. I really do cherish the time I spend on this blog (and this little hobby does take a lot of time…), though at the moment, I might be a little bit all over the place.

Some days all I want to do is start writing 5 different posts about travel and amazing places I’ve been that I want to share stories about. Other days (usually after reading a few chapters in whichever nutrition book is currently sitting on my nightstand), I want to stand up with a megaphone and share what I’m learning about health. And then sometimes I just want to write about nothing too specific, and try to entertain some poor old bugger who’s maybe not my Mom.

I’m kind of diggin’ it, though; writing a lot and about whatever I feel that day 🙂

+ This place

mooloolaba beach

I live roughly 20 minutes from this little slice of heaven (otherwise known as Mooloolaba Beach). In a few months’ time, I plan to live a 5-minute walk from there.

Just that, right there, is enough to remind me that I am such an incredibly lucky girl, and I must never ever forget to express gratitude for my life and the places I get to see and get to live in. I chose this path, and it’s not easy every day, all day, all of the time, being away from family and friends and trying to figure out where I could create a happy home for myself.

But oh my god it’s worth it when I look back at the places I’ve lived and the memories I’ve made so far.

My ability to adapt – that’s something I’m extremely grateful for. bloom where planted picture quote via

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Do yourself a favor and fill your days up with a little more gratitude…. ♥

Total gamechanger. I promise. 

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Basic knowledge I don’t understand – and probably never will

Happy Camper Project // scratching head accepting your limitationsLast week in one of my lectures we were talking about the old Left Brain/Right Brain debate. I’m such a classic example of a dominant right brain person that it’s a little bit embarrassing… (I curse the day math was invented). I started thinking about how terrible I am at things that require a basic understanding of math, economics, physics, chemistry – that kind of thing.

This quickly spiraled into me realizing that if I’m being honest with myself, there are some serious holes in my General Knowledge for Adults. I drop hints to my family and friends that I’m really not good with this stuff, but I don’t think anyone actually realizes the extent of the problem.

I shall now make myself completely un-employable and present you with this list of things I honestly don’t know:

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How boats can float

Obviously I understand how boats float.

Because the weight of the water is greater than… the weight of the boat…or something. And something about a Greek in a bathtub… and oxygen?….but then there are really tiny things that sink to the bottom, like my iPhone when dropped in the sink, and then there are cruise ships the size of Texas that can float. Air pockets? Dolphins carrying the ship underwater? David Copperfield involved somehow?

It’s just one of those things that if I really try to explain it to myself, it becomes clear that I don’t actually understand how it works.

imlimnoupolis, zakynthos, greece

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How electricity works

No idea.

Dad tried to explain how electrons move (electrons, schmelectrons) earlier this summer over a nice meal at his house, and his little speech is still going around in my head like a broken record that I’m trying to decipher.

I look at my TV or my computer sometimes and I genuinely wonder how the power gets transmitted (from where??? from what???) through a plastic chord and into my electronic device. And while we’re at it, where do these pictures and symbols I’m seeing come from? How is it possible that I can watch something, as it’s happening 5000 miles away, on my TV?

We’ve all heard the story of Lumiére Brothers’ Arrival at the train station in 1895, right? How when they first showed this movie the audience rushed out of the theater thinking that the train would come out of the screen and kill them all. I can totally relate to those people, even in 2013. That’s kind of what it’s like to be me sometimes.

Google how does electricity work

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Currencies

Clueless.
Not about currencies in general, but what makes currencies go up and down. And how they relate to one another. When someone says “the Euro’s gone down”, I get that it means the economy is bad over there. But how come you can tell that by the Euro going up and down…? Why can’t the currency stay the same, but because the economy is down people just don’t get enough of it? Or something?

{I am making absolutely no sense here, but can you see how this whole concept is just beyond my comprehension?}

Another thing: who decides the relationship between two currencies? For example, 1 US dollar is generally around 6 Norwegian Kroners. But that doesn’t mean that the US is richer than Norway…. In fact, Norway is about one million times richer than the US (actual figure. not.)

It makes no sense…! Who makes the rules?

graph norway vs us

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Where babies come from

No, I’m not gonna get all technical on you. That’s what Youtube is for.

Dad is a chemist, but somehow I got all of his Right Brain genes and none of his Left Brain. I really don’t get how you take X (an egg) and Y (the other thing) and BAM! you have a living cell.  I also don’t understand what constitutes a living thing, scientifically. As in the whole concept of how both me and plants are living things (or how something like the greenhouse effect works, for that matter).

The funny things is that I can totally go off on the longest rant explaining all of this in a philosophical sense. I can go on and on (don’t tempt me) about how all living things on Earth are connected and how it all works together with the universal laws of nature. How we really are no different than a straw of grass or a turtle except for our ego, our consciousness, our ability to separate our two minds.  How we are born into this world by choice, from an eternal Source of Energy and yadda yadda yadda – you get the picture. I’m one of those people.

What I don’t get is how a living cell or organism works from a scientific point of view.

A little help?

But for the love of god – do not bring atoms and ions into the discussion…!! Do I seem like the kind of person who knows what those are? I think I just had a stress-induced stroke.

Stork with baby

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Signals/radiowaves/satellites

To me these are interconnected and equally intimidating, because they seem to circle back to one thing:

I haven’t got a clue what radio waves are.

In fact, if you asked me how any ol’ radio works, I’d just distract you with some weird dance moves and then run away.

There, I said it.

What are radio waves

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WiFi

Don’t get me started on WiFi….

I do not understand how the internet works. Let’s just put that in bold letters and get that clear right off the bat.

I do not understand how the internet works + I do not understand how electricity works + I do not understand how the concept of ‘signals’ works.

= when I think about WiFi, my head hurts.

Anytime I think I come close to grasping the general works of it, they do things like put WiFi on planes and buses. I give up.

Jack Sparrow confused - run away, gif

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Now, come on people! 

I know I’m not the only one who pretends she understands things that actually make no sense to me. What are some of life’s basic things that you just do not comprehend? 

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A love letter to “Our deepest fear”

Confession: I read a lot of personal development books.

My love for the Self Help section of bookstores (seriously, do we still have to call it “self help”??) probably began when I was around 19. I’ve read everything from very practical books on, say, how to make body language work to your advantage, to way-out-there New Age philosophy stuff.

It should come as no surprise then that I’m a sucker for inspirational quotes.

Author Marianne Williamson is one of the wisest people I know of, and her Our Deepest Fear Is That We Are Powerful Beyond Measure passage from her book Return to Love gets me every time. (In this passage, she calls “it” God. You don’t have to get hung up on that; you can call it whatever you like. In fact, you don’t have to call it anything at all.)

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“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

– Marianne Williamson

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Let it sink in.

What would the world look like if people stopped playing small, unconsciously or not, because we don’t believe we’re worthy of being absolutely amazing?

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Believe in yourself, picture quotePhoto credit 

Lucky to be home

Home, window sill

Although I’ve only been gone one month, I cherished every minute of being home for a few days. I got to spend a lot of time with family, which felt really good given the circumstances, and even managed to see all of my closest friends who were in Oslo. As luck would have it, one of my best friends who live in Sweden was in town that particular week, so I managed to squeeze in a good hour of hugging and laughing with her.

Some of the things I’m most thankful for include:

+ Hearing my little brother complaining about how stupid I am to be living so far away. Being a 12 year old boy, he’d never flat out say that he misses me, but his tight hugs and his whining about me leaving all the time, speaks volumes.

+ Timing is everything… I got home just in time for my remaining grandmother’s birthday. Getting to hug her and spend time with her on her birthday meant the world to me. I’m pretty sure it meant a lot to her as well 😉

+ Laughing till my stomach hurt with my oldest and dearest friends. Ahhh, these girls… I don’t know what to tell you. Let me start with how incredibly blessed I am to have one close-knit group of friends who have been together since we were 15 or 16. It’s pretty rare to be as close as we all are, I think. Since high school ended, we’ve all lived in different cities and different countries, but there are always a few in our home base Oslo. These girls bring me so much joy and so much love, and we spent the entire Friday afternoon sharing stories, laughs and hugs. I adore them, and I’m so grateful for the friendships I have back home. Girls, you need to come to Oz, please!

Oslo Opera House, Summer, View from harbor Oslo, Aker Brygge, Summer

+ Oslo looking good. As much as I’ve been itching to get away, I really do love Oslo – especially this time of year. While I was home, summer was slowly drawing to an end and people were enjoying every last bit of it. It was the week of the annual music festival “Øya”, and Oslo was buzzing with life on every street corner and outdoor café.
You made your point, Oslo. You’re really not bad; not bad at all.

Fishing at Vippetangen, Oslo, Norway Oslo Opera House

+ Getting to kiss and hug my baby nephew Vincent. This little guy came to see me at the airport before I left. Only 3 months old, and he’s the most handsome guy I’ve seen in a really long time… ❤ Isn’t he precious? (And can you tell his auntie is a little bit obsessed with him??)

Meg og vincent collage

+ Being wealthy enough to be able to come home when the unforeseeable happens. I am not ‘wealthy’ by Western standards; I am a student who relies on her student loans to get by from day to day. However, from a global perspective, in the larger scheme of things, I am a very, very rich person. I have insurance for situations like these. I have family members who can pitch in. Even without parents who are able to help out, I would be able to find a way to get my hands on cash so I could fly home and back. Financial repercussions would be substantial, but bottom line is I would be able to figure it out. I think of all the millions of people in the world who don’t have that option.

How many people lose someone they love and aren’t able to be there? How many people are separated from their family during times of grief and hardship?

I don’t take it for granted. I am so, so thankful for that.

Until next time, Oslo! 

Xx Christine