Studying Abroad in Norway: A Journey Through Solitude, Resilience, and Global Consciousness Amidst Global Unrest

A solitary figure looking out at an icy, Norwegian landscape from a train window, notebook in lap.
Kaia Thonul, Wednesday, November 22, 2023, 08:18

As my fingers lightly press the keys of my laptop, aboard an early morning train cutting through the frost-kissed Norwegian landscape, I find myself lost in the fluency of thoughts that tumble relentlessly like the cold waters of a stream. This chill morning has already laid claim to the swirling curvature of my sighs, the constant rocking of the train harmonizing with the tremor of a loneliness that is as heartbreaking as it is enlightening. I grapple with this solitude as my mind reaches across continents, bridging the transition from accustomed comfort to the challenging unknown of studying abroad.

Every experience here has sounded a clarion call to the depths of my heart, searing my days with the melancholic sweetness of resilience and adaptability. Not just the sheer beauty of Oslo, or the bracing chill that beads my skin and reminds me constantly of my distance from home, but the intricacy of cultures, languages, histories unfolding in layers of revelation, as well as the stark reality of our world at war with itself.

This morning, the news echoed dully against my solitude, speaking of violence in distant lands. A tragic, heart-rending rhythm pulsating with the increasing frequency of escalating conflict between Israel and Palestine. A saga of suffering that seems to have sunk its claws into the very soul of humanity, provoking a sadness in me that is sadly, almost familiar.

I could almost taste the sadness behind the words of Moussa Abu Marzouk: a plea for peace, a desperate overture for something that should be as natural as breathing but has evidently become a sought-after privilege. And in this plea, I tasted the bitter undertone of a world arrayed against itself. I thought of the ravaged realities of families innocently caught in the crossfire, their lives percussively punctuated by the dread and uncertainty that accompanies the scourge of war.

Temporary walls of distance may define the geographical span between my present and that tormented terrain of unnerving tension, but my heart is not impervious to the sorrow that seeps through those borders. Suddenly, a silence louder than atrocities spoken reverberates through the train, drowning the benign hum of travel in the unrequited sea of humanity's ache.

You see, studying abroad has not only allowed me to observe and understand the diversity and nuances of the world—it has amplified my global consciousness. It fuels the realization in me that we, as inhabitants of this shared globe, are all intricately woven into a tapestry of shared pain and joy. It makes me cognizant of the world as a single body, each country a limb, every state a vein—our joys and sufferings flowing through an interconnecting circuitry of life's grand design.

The chill outside feels less harsh compared to the frigid news that filled my morning, and yet, in the subsuming lonesomeness of my journey, I cling to hope. Hope that as I learn, as I grow, as I write, my words, our words, can bridge the chasms of disparity and conflict. That my solitary voice will join a global choir singing a hymn of unity, of peace, and ultimately of love. In chaos, we seek calm, in divisions, we yearn for unity, and in sorrow, we search for joy. Just as my eyes never tire of seeking the familiar in the unknown, my heart never ceases to seek peace amidst unrest, and warmth within the biting cold of a 1-degree morning.

Tags: studying abroad global consciousness Israel-Palestine conflict

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Romantic Rails: An Unusual Perspective on Dating from a Norwegian Train

Cosy window view of snowy Norway, 4°C displayed on a weather app, open book, coffee, powerbank.
Kaia Thonul, Friday, February 23, 2024, 07:00

Smiling at the fresh, crisp morning that greets me, the air is tingling with the humility of 4°C. A beautiful Norwegian day where the thrilling chill in the air simply adds a unique charm. It's perfect weather for my beloved woolen scarf and my favourite book. An exciting chapter calls for my contribution while I bask in the blissfulness exuding from my heart.

As I sit in the comfort of my train seat, weaving through picturesque landscapes, my mind seems to be dancing among the blob of topics to explore in my blog today. And today, it fancies the enchanting and sometimes baffling world of dating experiences. Ah, the sweet and sometimes sour joy of human connection laced with romantic notes.

Dating, in all its shapes and forms, is an art of discovering the intricate beauty of another human soul amidst the mundane. It’s like a delicate dance where each partner takes turns in leading and following, quite like the rhythm of the train as it meanders through the scenic landscapes, sometimes hurtling forward, sometimes slowing to appreciate the view.

There are dates that open your eyes to new experiences much like the refreshing views from a moving train, the taste of a new cuisine or the discovery of a unique tradition. There are also dates that push your boundaries, challenge your perceptions, and allow you to understand others and yourself more deeply. It is this dynamic blend of comfort and challenge, familiarity and novelty that makes dating so enticing and beautiful.

But let's remember, companionship only enhances your journey, doesn’t define it. In the end, it's the essence of self-love and the pursuit of personal growth that truly enriches the dating experience. It's like my dear powerbank that comes in handy all the time. Being self-sufficient, ensuring that I am charged in essence and in life, never losing the power to brighten even a dull moment as we continue the long journey, echoing the strength within. Ah, the unparalleled bliss of self-love.

As my words fill the screen, the chilling news of an incident in Waldemar Thranes street can't help but cast a brief shadow over the serene morning. It’s a stark reminder that life can be as unpredictable as it is vibrant. Our thoughts go out to the victim and their loved ones. Our empathy and support, as citizens, to our dedicated law enforcement and first responders who are working diligently to bring peace back to our beautiful city. It's at times like these that we can truly appreciate the silent resilience that resonates among us Norwegians.

In the end, every experience, sweet or bitter, each dating adventure, a cherished memory or a life lesson, and even the challenging curveballs that life throws at us, mould us into the individuals we eventually become. So here's to embracing every experience, every emotion, and every opportunity that life presents us with a smile and open heart until we meet again in another blog post. Remember that the power is always within you, just like my reliable powerbank.

Stay charged and have a blissful day ahead!

Tags: dating experiences self-love Norwegian lifestyle

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Riding the Taste Train: Exploring the Warmth and Comfort in Her Favorite Recipes

Old handwritten recipes next to a warm bowl of lentil soup and rustic bread.
Kaia Thonul, Thursday, February 22, 2024, 08:25

As I watch the pristine, frost-kissed landscape whizz by my train window, I dive into my touch-activated universe of thoughts and words. The restrained, quiet chatter of my fellow commuters forms a comforting serenade to the rhythm of the train, like a symphony conjured by the nordic morning. Today, I'd like to sprinkle some warmth on this 3°C day with an intriguing topic that swirls in the mind of every food-enthusiast; her favorite recipes.

Once you've located your culinary compass, adventure strikes in the most unexpected of ways. Like a tour guide navigating an intrepid traveler through a maze of bustling marketplaces, her favorite recipes harbor the same kind of charm and excitement. They represent delicious narratives, each plate replete with stories whispered in every bite, every aroma evoking memories and shared experiences.

Her culinary poetry throws open a world awash in brilliant hues and textures. Let's consider a simple dish like a lentil soup, steeped in wholesome spices and serve piping hot, stirring up a voracious appetite even when the temperature plummets outside. Or the luscious summer salads that pop with vibrant colors, an amalgamation of local, exotic fruits and vegetables that sing with flavor and health, dancing a rhythmic salsa on our taste buds. Vi piace? You may ask, and the answer would be, "sì, mi piace molto!"

But it's not just the flavors that enthrall. It's also the affection and warmth that is kneaded, stirred, and poured into each preparation. Her recipes are those age-old spells passed down generations with love, making every meal feel like a heartfelt hug. A slice of homemade bread, doused liberally with locally churned butter, dipped in a hearty tomato soup is comfort in the truest sense.

As the train chugs along, the news filters into my realm of food-fantasy. The 'Lost Ivan' report paints a grim reality far from the warm kitchen spaces that happily simmer away. It's an irony as stark as the chilling temperature outside, each military casualty an abrupt end to a life more significant than statistics, every conflict zone a sharp contrast to the peaceful, food-laden tables at home. The power of her favorite recipes also lies in their ability to bind, soothe, and foster connections amidst even the direst narratives.

If anything, the looming uncertainty outside the cosy train reinforces the importance of savoring every meal thoughtfully prepared and consumed: a gentle reminder that we should be rejoicing in the banalities of life, such as enjoying the soup's warmth that cuts through the chilly winter air, and appreciating the secret ingredient, time, kneaded into family recipes.

Vivid, encapsulating the essence of traditions, exploration, and affectionate hand-me-downs, her favorite recipes serve more than just a purpose of satiating hunger. They bring people together, comfort in times of distress, offer celebration in triumph, solace in solitude, and companionship in gatherings. They remind us that no matter what's happening in the world around us, there are always simple joys to be found, often served on a plate, with love.

Tags: food recipes personal reflections

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Mapping The Science of Home Organization: Epic Hacks for an Effortlessly Clean Home!

An image of a neat, modern living room with labeled storage boxes and a clean laptop on the coffee table.
Kaia Thonul, Wednesday, February 21, 2024, 08:33

If there's a science to the art of home organization, then I've got my beakers, test tubes, and safety goggles on ready to delve into some life-transforming hacks. Nestled in my corner seat, I journey from the stunning frost-kissed landscapes that mark my commute every day to the vibrant buzz of Oslo. The world might be spinning on politics and spectacles, but here on my blog, we keep it light, we keep it personal, and above all, we keep our homes organized!

Now, I don't know about you, but I am absolutely stoked about what I've discovered and I cannot wait to share it with you. Imagine your home, clean, organized and everything where it is supposed to be. It's an amazing feeling, isn't it? Allow me to help convert that imagination into a reality!

Divide and Conquer- start small style. De-cluttering the entire house in one go can be tiresome and even off-putting. Instead, pick one spot to work on each day. It could be a drawer that harbors miscellaneous object du jour or that infamous corner in the living room where everything seems to multiply overnight.

Here's another tip, and this one's a game changer. Everything has a home and everything in its home, they say. But what about the miscellaneous items which don't quite belong anywhere? They too need a place. Having designated boxes for miscellaneous items in each room could be a life saver.

Chilly mornings like this make me a tad too eager to share a warm hack with you. Rechargeable power banks are no less than a godsend in this smartphone age. Not only are they effective in energizing our devices, but they're amazingly versatile in a pinch. If you haven’t incorporated them into your day-to-day life, you're missing out on a lot. They are the ultimate preparation tool—and they're reliable, efficient, and able to power your tech life smoothly, whether you’re on a long journey or just navigating through your busy day at home.

Finally, for all the paper hoarders out there (myself included), it's time to digitize! Saving your important documents, bills, newspapers, and even those cherished kids doodles on your smartphone or computer can clear a LOT of space.

Have you ever thought about the importance environment plays to your mood? Getting our living spaces organized not only makes our homes more appealing but also works wonders for our mental health, offering a fresh new, positive perspective to start our day.

But amidst all the organization, let's not forget to enjoy the strikingly beautiful frosted landscapes outside our windows, the fresh crisp morning air, the comforting hum of our commuting train or the invigorating rush of bustling city life. Inspired by the intricacies of the world around us, let's make our personal worlds a little more organized, a bit more efficient and infinitely more enjoyable. Happy organizing, dear readers! Who knew traipsing through the wintry outskirts of Oslo could elicit such homely wonders?

Tags: home organization life hacks decluttering

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Embracing Homesickness: A Journey of Gratitude Amidst Norway's Frosty Dawn

A notebook, pen, and a printed news article lay on a wooden table, surrounded by snowfall visible through a window.
Kaia Thonul, Monday, February 19, 2024, 07:54

As the morning chill of -4°C embraces the Norwegian landscape, I find myself on the train once again; my heated seat a pleasant contrast to the frosty window panes. In the soft hum of the train's machinery, an extraordinary dance of creation unfolds. The windows become a canvas, on which the cold air brushes abstract patterns, which faded as fast as they appeared.

Today, like every other morning, I use the peaceful rhythm of the journey to exercise my craft, my passion - journalism, and carve out a space for my thoughts online. Today, I feel the need to talk about something a little more personal, a little more resonating - homesickness.

Home. A simple four-letter word that carries a universe of emotions, memories and warmth within it. For many like me, who are living away from their familiar corners, homesickness can sometimes be a bitter pill to swallow. It can sneak upon us in the most unexpected moments; when we sip coffee that just isn't brewed right or when we hear a familiar tune being hummed by a stranger.

This morning, while scanning through the news, I stumbled upon an article from ABC Nyheter. It was an account of an unfortunate series of events unfolding in Avdiivka, a small town in Eastern Ukraine. The pleasant rhythm of my morning journey was disrupted by the vivid descriptions of turmoil, control, and disaster. Yet, reading about Avdiivka, it wasn't the political intrigues that resonated with me. It was the unspoken sense of longing for normalcy, for the comfort of peace. And a deep, underlying appreciation for home.

Among the bombarded structures and disrupted routines, I began to see homesickness in another light. Not as an ailment to be soothed, but as a testament to the deep connections we form with our environment, our culture, our people, and our homes. In my own struggle with homesickness, I see fragments of a universal longing for a sense of belonging that transcends borders and conflicts, knitting us closer to the human tribe.

So for those of us fighting the familiar ache of missing home, perhaps it is time to shift perspective and embrace it with a hint of gratitude. Let it serve as a reminder of the love you carry for your home, the connections you have forged, and the personal growth you have experienced in your journey away from it. Take a moment and cherish the warmth it brings, against the cold, -4°C morning.

For as much as homesickness is a longing for a place, it is equally a longing for time - a time that once seemed ordinary, until viewed from the rear-view mirror of distance. It reminds us of the incandescent joy of simple, mundane routines, and the beautiful complexity of our connections.

Life will always be a journey on a moving train. Home, the well-loved and sorely missed station we pass now and again. And homesickness, the ache that reminds us of the beautiful sights, scents, and sounds etched deep in our hearts. And for this constant reminder, today, I am grateful.

Tags: homesickness journalism Norwegian landscape

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Driving Through Shadows: Embracing the power and responsibility of the wheel amid the icy echo of tragedy

A frosty car window overlooking the somber Rådal landscape, a steering wheel visible inside.
Kaia Thonul, Friday, February 9, 2024, 15:46

With watery gaze, I look over the sheet of ice that has settled atop the world outside my train window, the warmth from my steaming cup of coffee doing little to stave off the bitter reality of the -9°C my phone screen mocks me with. I blink away the moisture that threatens to betray the sorrow that lingers in the corners of my eyes, my heart heavy with the knowledge of the tragedy at Rådal. The brutal nature of it stirs a chilling sense within my soul, colder than the frost kissing the glass next to me.

A cruel reminder of the world's incessant harshness comes to mind; a lesson as sharp and clear as the icicles hanging from the train station rooftops. I've recently embarked on a new venture - learning how to drive. You would think this is an avenue of liberation, of empowerment. Yet as I sit here, I can feel the gear stick in my hands vibrating with an unfathomable dread. The thought of maneuvering a machine so powerful on streets that hold stories grimmer than this Nordic frost sends a shiver down my spine, making the warmth in my carriage seem more like a parody of comfort than an actual sanctuary.

The fierce, biting cold outside is a disturbing reflection of the navigation I'm trying to master. When you're learning how to drive, it isn't merely about the mechanical aspects, but more so about understanding human behavior on asphalt stretches flecked with life's unpredictability. My instructor told me it's about anticipation, about slowly mastering the art of prediction without really knowing what honking horn or rapidly approaching tail light may present.

Today, the car's rearview mirror doesn't just hold the image of a thousand reverse parks and hill starts before it. It is refracting the blood-stained horror of Rådal, a tragedy unfolding in the life of someone who held expectations of a future much like any innocent person behind or even ahead of a car wheel might.

The news article leaves me shivering, a pregnant woman's life slashed away, a man charged for murder, an alarming absence of answers. I clench my hands around my coffee cup, the steam warming my face but chilling my soul. The train tunnel's passing darkness echoes the same ominous feeling as the silence that drowns a car abruptly totaled.

Driving suddenly feels like carrying a sword; mighty, important, giving a sense of grandeur, yet lethal when not used right. It evokes a painful interrogation of the responsibility we share in each other's lives, whether we are hand in hand, side by side, or merely separated by the lanes of the road.

The train moves on, carrying the weight of my thoughts, the burden of learning, the poison of loss, and a resolution more agile than that ice-cold wind has left in its wake; to respect, not fear, the power that our actions hold over life's tapestry. As I raise this invisible toast to understanding and mastering my new skill with humility and love, I realize no tear has yet fallen. The sorrow has not disappeared, but instead has found a place within me, its pain serving as a beacon, quietly lighting my journey ahead.

Tags: driving safety self-reflection personal growth

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Power Banks: The Unsung Heroes of Resilience in the Face of Adversity

A close-up photo of hands passing a power bank, amid a backdrop of hurricane aftermath.
Kaia Thonul, Friday, February 2, 2024, 09:02

Stepping onto the train this frigid morning, with a delicate frost-quilted landscape unfolding before my eyes, my mind is restless. The overwhelming grip of melancholy tightens as I ponder on last night's news. The damage inflicted by Storm Corrie on Øresvika is heartbreaking, reminding us how swiftly our daily comforts can be snatched away by the somber temperament of nature. Yet, even in adversity, perseverance shines through.

Amidst the cruelly pruned trees and the gutted remains of homes stripped bare by the storm's fury, a spark of humanity glimmers. It reminded me of the essence of community service and volunteer work. It is the soul, rolling up its sleeves in cold despair, warming hearts with acts of love and collaboration. It is about stepping up when calamity strikes and extending a hand when those around us stumble into the face of adversity.

I’ve spent my weekends wrapped in varying volunteer experiences, the collective warmth of which contrasts against today's biting cold. The dark, seemingly endless Norwegian winter only deepens the grooves of the stories I’ve seen unfold; tales of resilience, compassion, and undying spirit of service, undoubtedly laying the foundation of the unyielding support network we call our community.

I found a powerful lesson in Øresvika's crisis. Huddled together under duvets, relying on the soft glow of battery-powered lanterns and power banks — these essential items become lifelines in the face of a disaster, giving access to communication networks, powering heating devices, and offering a semblance of normalcy. Power banks, especially, have earned a new degree of my respect. In an age where smart gadgets connect us, enable us and sometimes even define us, these little bricks of energy are our umbilical cord to the world. Power banks embody an understated form of preparedness and resilience, much like the volunteers that gather around a fallen community to lift it back up.

Our power rests not in the grid that supplies our homes, but in the readiness to give. Every hour served at the local soup kitchen, every sweater knitted for the homeless, every child coached in the community centre — they are our silent power banks, unobtrusive until summoned by the unforeseen current of circumstances.

Looking up from my slightly smudged laptop screen, I watch the sun laboriously paint the sky shades of pink. Tomorrow, perhaps, Øresvika might see a new sunrise, thanks to the tireless efforts of volunteers working in wind-challenged, frost-kissed conditions. It’s not optimism, merely the pragmatic acceptance of life’s oscillating rhythm between destruction and creation, chaos and order.

So, here's to power banks, both literal and metaphorical, that deliver more than just energy: they also symbolize enduring resilience and hope — a flicker of light in distress, often transforming into a radiant beacon of community spirit.

Remember, dear reader, it’s the darkness that brings out the stars, and it’s adversity that brings forth the power of volunteering and community service. We rise by lifting others, cell by cell, hands intertwined in our shared humanity. Because even in times of unprecedented despair, we remain our strongest connection.

Tags: volunteering community service resilience

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Echoes with the Wind: A Moving Ode to Feminism in the Midst of a Norwegian Storm

A woman standing defiant in a snowstorm, with wreckage of the storm
Kaia Thonul, Thursday, February 1, 2024, 09:14

As my train meanders through the Norwegian landscape this morning, I find myself cocooned against the 3°C cold outside. The frost-touching windows of my train compartment are armors, shielding me from the bone-chilling gusts that "Ingunn", the untamed storm, sent to dance with the brittle rosy dawn. Wildly she rages against man-made structures, revolted by their static and unyielding grasp on her earth, toppling trees, blowing off roofs, and causing widespread disruption. In her fierce defiance, I find an unexpected symbol - the embodiment of the concept of feminism and empowerment.

You see, in every tumultuous gust of wind, causing evacuation and power outages, I discern echoes of women throughout history, struggling against oppressive societal norms. These winds remind me of the myriad voices that merge in a chorus, demanding equal rights, respect, autonomy. The roars of revolution and change, just like Ingunn, who leaves no corner of my beloved Norway untouched.

As soon as I say “feminism,” some react as if I've sounded an alarm, as if the inclusion and emancipation of women somehow signifies a threat. There is a fear underlying in this resistance. The fear of change, of losing control, of confronting the unknown. But feminism is not about reverse discrimination or female supremacy - assumptions that pile up like the snowflakes slowly covering the tracks outside my window. No. The true essence of feminism is the quest for equality – mirroring the calm, smooth, and steady journey of my train towards Olso.

Like the ceaseless drizzle clinging to the vast expanse of the glass windowpane, individual stories of empowerment creep into every global dialogue, painting a picture of resilience and fortitude. From women fighting for the right to vote, to initiating movements against exploitation and abuse, they echo the same spirit of resistance and daring that Ingunn encapsulates in her wild rebellion against elements of nature.

In the unlikeliest cataclysms, we find potent symbols. As each gust of wind rages against inertia, the resilient spirit of womanhood bellows back - we will not be uprooted. As every roof is blown off, revealing the vulnerable underbelly of a safe haven, we aspire to deconstruct and rebuild the patriarchal ceiling - to discover and push the boundaries of our potential.

The train continues its rhythmic journey, lulling me in a state of pensiveness as I look out upon a landscape that mirrors the resilience of women. The untouched, undomesticated snow, silent in its defiance against the storm, reminds me strongly of the feminist ethos. This is not a ruthless battle for dominance but a plea for equilibrium, where each voice – be it ever so soft, or loud, or broken – finds its rightful place in the symphony of humanity.

As the train hums towards another town surrendering to the wrath of Ingunn, I find peace amidst the turmoil outside. The storm will pass, but it'll leave behind a trail of transformation - much like the feminist movement. It's not just about withstanding the storm, but growing through it – not just about surviving the world, but evolving with it. So, let's embrace the winds of change, for storms, like our movement, have a purpose - they clear the air for a new sunrise, and we owe ourselves that dawn.

Tags: Feminism empowerment Norway

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Braving the Beautiful Storm: A Winter's Tale of Love, Loss and Self-Discovery

A tangled, leafless tree under the gray winter sky, with heart-shaped snow patterns.
Kaia Thonul, Tuesday, January 30, 2024, 07:25

Hello world, and hello to all those beautiful souls gliding through the digital sphere of my thoughts! I hope that you're all bundled up, because outside is a crisp 0°C. Winter's icy fingers are at play in Oslo right now, weaving intricate frost patterns on the window of the train I am traveling in. There's something about the whiteness of winter that has the power to ignite within us an intense desire to cuddle close, a yearning for warmth and companionship. Don’t you think?

I’ve just been reading an article about the severe storm, Corrie, battering the beautiful landscapes of Northern Norway. The biting cold only intensifies the excitement surging through me as I spin this web of words. Like a fierce storm, love and relationships too can change the landscape of our lives - sometimes calmly, sometimes with battering winds and rocking waves.

Navigating through the stormy seas of romance is similar to sailing through these unpredictable weather conditions. There's courage, there's fear, there's joy, and there's despair. It's a brilliant journey, amongst undulating waves of emotions and feelings, where each crest and trough teaches invaluable lessons about oneself and about the other.

I believe that our romantic relationships are not mere checkmarks in the race of life, but they are cherished tales etched in the depth of our hearts. When the light of the sun hits them, they glisten and glow, adding an extra embellishment to our being. Our relationships shape us, nurture us and even break us sometimes, but remember, every season has an end, and every storm subsides eventually.

Our romantic journey is a voyage of discovery. Some of us are anchored, let's say, in marriages or committed relationships, some are sailing adrift in the ocean of singleness, while others are caught in the turbulent storm of break-ups. But the beauty of it is that there is something to learn from all these stages, each uniquely potent in its impact on us, molding us into the beautiful souls we are.

So, while Storm Corrie is painting a white canvas in the breathtaking landscapes of Northern Norway, we're over here, navigating through our personal storms of love and loss, discovering unexpected shores and forming an incredible tapestry of experiences. Maybe, just maybe, if we let go of our rigid image of a perfect romantic relationship and replace it with a sense of wonder, we would see that even in its tempestuous form, love is a beautiful storm, worth braving!

That's it for today, my digital family. As my train nears Oslo, this chapter of thoughts comes to a close. As always, navigate the storms, embrace the sunshine, and never stop exploring the boundless ocean of love within you. Bundle up, brave hearts, the world outside is beautiful... and cold!

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Winter of the Heart: Embracing Heartbreak and Discovering Inner Resilience

A lonely figure standing in the snow, clutching a powerbank, eyes hopeful towards a distant spring.
Kaia Thonul, Monday, January 29, 2024, 08:41

There’s a chill in heart today that matches the biting frost outside. As I watch the enchanting Norwegian landscape pass by from my cozy train seat, I’m reminded once again of stretches of life that are painful to endure, filled with trials and heartaches that make us want to surrender. Heartbreak, that dreadful moment when love ceases to exist where it should, can sometimes feel like winter - cold, long, and harsh.

We all have our share of heartbreak, just as every winter carries its burden of snow. The ensuing avalanche that the frozen heart triggers can be as devastating as the cyclone that's now ravaging Northern Norway, cancelling flights and disrupting life. Heartbreak brings a similar chaos; disregards plans, scatters stability, and leaves us feeling stranded in the midst of a perplexing emotional cyclone.

The trick to overcome such emotional turmoil lies in acknowledging your pain, just as you would accept the wintry chill outside. Wrap your sorrow in the warmth of self-love and kindness, just as you would bundle up in a thick cardigan on a cold day. Remember, it’s okay to feel sad. Heartbreaks, like winters, aren't meant to be easy. They're here to test us, temper us, and ultimately shape us into stronger souls.

The chilly winds continue to blow against my train window, and I comfort myself with the knowledge that winter is temporary. The bite of frost and sting of tears will eventually give way to warmer weather, to blooming flowers and to smiles. That’s the beautiful aspect of life; even winters have their end. Similarly, the heartbreak you feel now is not an eternal winter. It’s a phase that will one day pass, and the sun will shine once more on your heart.

One thing that has been a tiny blessing in all of this, and perhaps an odd metaphor to use here, is my trusty powerbank. It sounds minuscule, I know, but it's been a reliable little companion on this everyday journey. Like a friend with unwavering support, it never lets me down, always providing the extra juice when I need it. In a similar vein, each one of us has a robust powerbank within us. We only need to recognize and utilize it. It's the resilience we possess; the power to absorb the shock, store the learnings, and keep moving forward despite the odds.

Perhaps, we need to be like these powerbanks. Regardless of how drained we are, we can still recharge ourselves and power on. We can transform our heartbreaks into a source of strength. We know the low battery feeling you get when you’re heartbroken, don’t we? Yet, don’t we also know the satisfaction when we’re back to 100 percent, all charged up and ready to face the world again?

Heartbreak can drain your emotional energy, just like following the news in a loop drains my phone's battery. But don't forget, like we carry our powerbanks for those emergency drain-outs, we also carry strength within us to overcome a heartbreak.

Despite the mournful mood in my heart and the icy cold outside, I can't help but feel a sense of hope. The cyclone up North will pass, the avalanches will cease, and the heartbreak will eventually heal. Until then, we venture on, daring to face the biting cold and the stinging pain. Meanwhile, I’ll continue my daily journeys, blogging from this train seat, charging my devices and emotions, cherishing the winter - in nature and in heart - while eagerly awaiting the spring.

Tags: heartbreak resilience self-love

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Jot, Scribble, Succeed: Essential Stationery for the Discerning College Student

A young woman bundled up against the snow, holding pens and notebooks against a backdrop of Oslo University.
Kaia Thonul, Friday, January 26, 2024, 09:18

Hello, lovely readers!

I glance outside and spot snowflakes softly kissing the ground as the Norwegian landscape passes by. It's a chilly -3 degrees Celsius this morning, quite the perfect setting for curling up with a warm drink and reflecting on my thoughts. As I make my way to university in bustling Oslo from my humble home tucked amid the tranquility outside the city, I thought I'd share some insights that I've gleaned over time, in the hopes that they would be of help, especially to my fellow students.

There's an understated magic in old-school stationary, wouldn't you say? Those tangible keepsakes preserving our thoughts, our dreams, our aspirations. Yes, we live in a digital era where laptops and tablets are pretty much ubiquitous. Yet, there is something intrinsically comforting about the good old pen and paper. This brings me to the topic of how essential stationary is for us, college students.

As a journalism major, I’ve found that a selection of notebooks is crucial. A larger, spiral-bound pad is perfect for lecture notes, while a pocket-sized version is best suited for jotting down spontaneous thoughts or those Eureka moments that seem to appear out of the ether when you're not hunched over your desk actively searching for them. Dotted notebooks, in particular, have been a personal favorite. They maintain neatness while allowing freedom to sketch quick diagrams or charts, proving essential, for example, during my media law lectures.

A range of pens, from ballpoints for rapid note-taking, to gel pens for more considered prose, can make the process of writing as much about pleasure as practicality. And of course, highlighters of varying colors help emphasize important points, rendering revision a less daunting task.

I also firmly believe in the value of sticky notes and flags for book marking and quick scribbles, as well as index cards for keeping track of research sources. Moreover, a sturdy, aesthetic organizer or pencil case is a worthwhile investment. It secures your tools in place, and there's a certain sense of satisfaction in being able to lay your hands on what you need without wasting precious study time foraging through your backpack.

Finally, let's not forget the grace of a planner or a calendar. In the whirlwind that is college life, with classes, assignments, club meetings, and social events, a dedicated space to log your tasks and deadlines can provide a tremendous sense of control reducing stress levels significantly.

As a side note, while writing this blog post, I stumbled across a news article that echoed how miscommunication can lead to potentially grave consequences. The narrative led me to reflect on the importance of clarity and precision, whether in conveying important information or, for that matter, in our daily academic pursuits.

The train pulls into the station, bringing me back to reality from my cocoon of thoughts. It's time for me to prepare for another day of journalistic exploration. Here's hoping this little share of mine resonates with some of you. Remember, the right tools can set the tone for success.

Stay warm, stay organised, and keep exploring, everyone!

Tags: stationary college life journalism

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