From Classroom to Commuter Train: Reflections on College, Choices, and Connection Amidst Norway's Landscapes

A student sits alone in a train, engrossed in a newspaper, with a solitary suitcase by her side.
Kaia Thonul, Tuesday, October 24, 2023, 15:47

As the train slices through the chilly November afternoon, my fingertips hover above the warmed keys of my laptop, guided by rhythm of absent thoughts. The scenery changes from the steel and concrete of Oslo to the familiar patchwork quilt of forests and quaint wooden houses that mark my journey home.

These commutes have become a small part of my college experience; sitting quietly in the corner of a train, a spectator to the changing landscapes outside while fighting the urge to succumb to the lull of the train. It's soothing really, a moment of solitude that seems to exist outside the cycle of assignments and deadlines.

College can be an overwhelming tumble of new experiences. Lectures, seminars, group work and a slew of emails that ask more of me than I think possible. I've come to realize it’s not just about learning in classrooms, but equally about learning myself - my limitations and strengths, both equally important, and equally worthy of acceptance. With every assignment, every research paper I write, I feel an incremental change, a growth, a shift in perspective. And this very train ride becomes my anchor, my time to process the thoughts and discoveries of the day.

Reflecting on the day behind, I am drawn to a snippet of news I read earlier, a chilling account of a missing woman from Ålesund. Been missing for several days now. The sad reality that she may be out there somewhere, battling the same cold I am shielded from inside this comfortable cabin stings me. The details of the woman, still fresh in the cyber pages of, are etched into my mind. A stark reminder of my privileged reality; to live an uninterrupted life, to have the freedom to take this journey every day, to ponder, and to write my thoughts down, unthreatened and unafraid.

It’s a sobering reflection, one that makes all college stress seem trivial. Somewhere in these hours spent learning and growing, it's worth remembering that the world continues its dance outside the university bubble. That people are fighting unspoken battles, that same world is darker to some people than it is to me. In all this maelarchy, I become acutely aware of one thing - Choices. The power to affect change. The power to carve my own path.

In the vast spectrum of college life, filled with all shades of experience that are too complex to pour into words, I somehow find myself grasping a deeper understanding of life’s fragility and beauty. There’s something about college that triggers immense growth, not just academically, but in personal perspectives. And amidst the lessons taught in classrooms and libraries, there lies another lesson, a silent one, pulled from the delicate leaflets of newspaper columns and lived experiences.

As the train pulls into my station, I pack away my laptop and don my coat, steeled against the unforgiving chill. My heart still feels heavy with the news of the missing woman, her life another unknown narrative being written somewhere outside this train. Pushing away the curtain of thoughts, I step onto the cold platform. College has changed me, I can feel it. And it's not just knowledge taking root, but empathy growing within me. A desire to use the power of words wisely, to shed light, to make a difference. Even if it's just by writing about it - every word a pledge, a silent prayer. A hope wrought in ink that the woman missing in Ålesund is found soon, safe and sound.

Tags: college life self-reflection empowerment through education


Balancing Act: Harmonizing Career Goals and Personal Connections on a Norwegian Train Ride

A gloomy Norway landscape viewed from a train window, overlaid with a transparent typewriter.
Kaia Thonul, Monday, November 27, 2023, 16:38

As I sit on this chilly train ride home, my breath fogging up the window looking out onto the frost-ridden Norwegian landscape, I can't help but reflect upon the transient nature of life. The headlines from Porsgrunn, a tragedy unfolding at the core of humanity's darkest fears, ripples through my being, subtly moulding my perspective on the ties that bind us and the pursuits we chase.

Given my field of study, in the bustling world of journalism, I can understand the compromises we often make, the relationships we neglect or put under strain in our endeavour for success. We walk on a wire strung between career and personal connections, and finding the right balance can be an arduous, life-long task.

Having personal relationships, the bonds that pull us out from the abyss of isolation, and propel us towards shared joys and shared sorrows, carry immense meaning and influence in our lives. These relationships, the soft murmurs in our hearts shaped by loved ones, are the lifeblood of our existence. However, the pursuit of a career, an individual journey sparked by ambition and fuelled by personal growth, is significant in its own right. It’s about finding our place in the world, discovering our potentials, and striving to leave a mark. To put one before the other implies a sacrifice that can often bring about feelings of regret, misdirection, or emptiness.

But herein lies the beauty. We have the ability to communicate, to express our needs, our hopes, and our concerns. We can shape both our relationships and career path to complement each other, rather than compete. It involves the art of setting boundaries, practicing empathy, managing our time, and above all, having respect both for ourselves and those around us.

As in the melancholic incident from Porsgrunn, life can abruptly become chaos. We are suddenly reminded that our biggest asset isn't our career, but the existence we live and the relationships that make this existence worthwhile. We are not islands, but tidal waves in an ocean of interconnection. Therefore, as we pursue our dreams and aspirations, let's not forget to share our victories, our failures, our mundane moments, and our extraordinary journeys with those whose hearts pulse in rhythm with ours.

Everyone onboard this train, like me, is wandering within their own universe of thoughts, dreams and dilemmas. Since we all have our own wire to walk, how about extending out a hand to someone who's struggling to balance? Maybe, just maybe, the act of helping someone else balance could provide us with the stability we seek.

In the face of tragic news and bleak weather, I find myself moved and inspired to strive for this equilibrium actively. Because at the end of it all, isn’t life essentially about embracing harmony between personal relationships and career, and finding inner peace in the balance? As the winter chill asserts its grip outside this moving carriage, an inner flame flickers. A flame of inspiration, nudging me not simply to report stories, but to learn, to feel, and maybe even to inspire. For happiness found in balance is not a destination, but a journey that we navigate through our dynamic, ever-evolving lives. I hope my blog resonates with those grappling with similar thoughts, and I trust we can all learn to walk deftly on this beautiful wire of life.

Tags: life reflections work-life balance relationships and career

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Soundscapes and Solitude: A Norwegian Commute with Podcasts as My Lifeline

A young woman stares from a train window with headphones on, a podcast playing.
Kaia Thonul, Monday, November 27, 2023, 08:15

In the humdrum silence of my train car, surrounded by the hazy grays of this chilly Norwegian morning, I find solace in the familiar melody of the recorded voices braiding into my eardrums. Despite the world's ceaseless orchestration of tension and strife, these podcasts form musical compositions of thought, a matchless concert, pulling me from reality's icy grip.

One would think that as a journalism student, my preference for audio content would hover around the lines of current affairs - the staple diet for a prospective news Andrew. But in the midst of my daily news digest, I found my spiritual haven somewhere between the human psyche and philosophical navel-gazing. Between coping with isolation in Nordic weather and keeping up with global dilemmas, these discourse-filled podcasts are my comforting hot cocoa, a soft refuge in a world swirling with perpetual conundra.

I've taken a particular liking to podcasts that delve into the labyrinth of human consciousness, spinning webs of captivating discourse about how we perceive reality, penned in the poignant lingua franca of moral philosophy or cognitive psychology. Something about exploring these intricate cerebral pathways, concealed deep within layers of corporeal matter, feels both intimate and humbling, a haven in my personal storm of intellectual overwhelming.

Extracting warmth from the philosophical, I then often glide into the waltz of socio-political podcasts, absolutely unafraid to stir the pot. Any cold morning becomes an invitation to explore the intricate play between power, government and its omnicompetent populace. Today's news makes a detour to a convoluted world where geopolitical complexities are constant reminders of the daunting task ahead for a budding journalist like me.

The recent resumption of operations in Gaza was a painful reminder layered over the icy landscapes outside my window. Countries can wage struggles of ideologies and power, and amidst this, the toll often remains upon the innocent, underreported, over-suffered populace, whose stories we, as journalists, try to foreground. No hypothetical podcast could dissect this conflict enough.

Lest the world weigh too heavily, sometimes I indulge in culinary podcasts, a welcome delight, providing a light-hearted breather amidst an otherwise dreary morning commute. With no personal summons to the kitchen in sight, these mouth-watering concoctions of culinary stories and recipes are my vicarious gastronomic adventures.

As my frosty breath fogs up the cold glass pane, I'm carried through the weaving tales of the world, immersed in soundscapes that amplify my human connection. Even when reality seems a weary march on cracking ice, these audio lifelines keep my spirit tethered, a beacon in my solitary pursuit of ethical storytelling. This exhaustive reality—an orchestra of international tensions, the bewildering intricacies of the human mind, and the comforting crumb of culinary adventures—are my everyday etudes in empathy and incessant learning.

The world outside continues its icy, slow waltz, and I quietly steel myself for yet another day at the university.

Tags: podcasts journalism Travel

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Winter Reflections: How Solitude Birthed Unlikely DIY Home Décor Ideas

A snowy landscape view from a train window, overlaid with sketched DIY home decor ideas.
Kaia Thonul, Monday, November 27, 2023, 07:11

As my fingers tap along the frosted window pane of the moving train, I feel a certain kinship with the wintery world outside. The silhouettes of skeletal trees sketched against a monotonous grey skyline, the white landscape untouched by footprints, it's all eerily beautiful and empty. Emptiness, it's an echoing word, ringing true in every part of its existence and in my heart as well, as a bitter reminder of the page that would not load, would not provide the much-needed distraction from my day-to-day schedule.

In that vein, my mind weaves its own patterns, recklessly and aimlessly. It veers toward home, the shelter against the cold void outside, the testament to my existence. Each corner has a story, each wall, a silent observer of my veiled despondency. With educate of journalism, I’ve learned to see significance in most minute matters. Can there be a better canvas to transform than the four walls that see my highs and the lows?

DIY home decor ideas seem to sprout in my mind. It might be the lack of distractions or the sensory solitude imposed by the snowscape outside that makes the train journey the free-thinking zone.

You see, redecoration can be a statement or an escape. It might soothe the busy minds and tired souls. It needn't be grand or expensive, of course. Just expressive. The blend of despondence and creativity can birth phenomenal ideas, like transforming cherished words into wall decor. Scribbled words and phrases on scraps of paper, cut and curated, plastered on the walls, or framed less conventionally might create a sense of a living library. Those fall into line, just like the conversations we wish we could have.

What about applying a touch of greenery? Trailing plants cascading off high shelves or standing tall in the corners can bring life into a drab space. The process of repotting, reorganizing and watching them grow could be therapeutic.

Or perhaps fabricating indoor water fountains from unappreciated pots and stones picked up from solitary trails. The soothing resonance of water can be the soundtrack of your solitude.

Light fixtures could be brought to life creatively, by using discarded items like baskets turned upside-down into incredible pendant lanterns or restyling old lamps with paint and ribbons.

It's funny how this melancholy weather evokes a sense of distraction, yet and still paves a convoluted path for creativity. Equally hilarious is how an error in a webpage revealed an unexplored side of my thought process. As if in a twisted way, my desolation turned itself into an epiphany. Maybe stripping away the distractions was what I needed indeed.

Tucking those thoughts away for future reflection, I watch as the powdery snowflakes kiss the windows, much like my thoughts gently touching the canvas of my mind. The relentless hum of the speeding train underpins the silent chatter in my mind. This bleak winter day became the unlikely birthplace of home decor ideas, which might soon be reflected within my sacred spaces. Or maybe it's just the cold seeping in.

Tags: winter reflections DIY home decor creativity

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Amidst Chaos and Uncertainty: A Heartfelt Musing on the Celebration of Personal Achievements

A hand holding a small trophy with a blurred background of a landslide.
Kaia Thonul, Friday, November 24, 2023, 16:50

As I find myself settled in the familiar humdrum of the late afternoon train, nestled between the soft blue fabric of the seats and the detached droning of the engine, I can't help but contemplate the topic at hand: celebrating personal achievements.

A strange phrase, isn't it? Poised somewhere between self-congratulation and recognition, it feels rather like a cruel punchline in the disheartening narrative my day has become. Just minutes ago, I was peering over a news article about a sudden landslide. Although the raw shock of disaster tended to grab headlines, my journalistic instincts had me riveted to the seemingly arbitrary nature of the event. In the cloying chill of the Norwegian winter, the world just tilted sideways without any logical explanation, and we were made forcibly aware of our vulnerability. In moments like this, the self-celebration of personal achievements seems jarringly trivial, even indulgent.

Yet, my pessimism must not overshadow the fact that every accomplishment, big or small, is indeed something to be celebrated. After all, aren't we all striding toward some semblance of success and achievement in our lives; are we not all navigating the intricate labyrinth of our personal aspirations?

But, you see, the world has a way of diminishing the value of our struggles. The banality of the day-to-day can often dull the shine of our accomplishments. The landslide, the sudden shock and chaos of it, is a fitting metaphor for the intrusive uncertainty that breaks into our lives, overshadowing our small but precious triumphs and reducing them to obscurity.

Through the frosty window, I see the landscape outside blurring into a mix of wintry blues, with the temperature hovering at a brisk 3°C. The horizon bodies a muted spectacle of nature’s enigma, mirroring the uncertainty that we as humans are so often manifested amidst. Suddenly, the prospect of celebrating individual achievements seems dispiritingly insignificant, an empty echo in the vast expanse of life's grand theatre.

It's a desolate world we live in, isn't it? Where our personal victories often bite the dust in the face of grander narratives. Yet, we persist and perhaps that in itself is a victory worth celebrating. Amidst landslides and life's unpredictable upheavals, maybe the real achievement is in rising above the basement of despair and choosing to celebrate the victories nonetheless.

As I travel this wintry path through introspection and realization on this daily commute from Oslo, I don’t have the answers. And that’s a hard swallow. But isn't seeking, questioning, and enduring also a form of accomplishment? Life, it appears, revels in such complexities.

Tags: self-reflection personal achievements life challenges

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Meditation on the Move: How Mindfulness Fuels My Journalistic Journey

A woman meditating on a train, eyes closed, with icy landscapes visible through the window.
Kaia Thonul, Friday, November 24, 2023, 09:45

As I watch the chilled landscape whiz past my window this morning, ice crystals glistening like diamonds on the bare branches outside, I am tucked up comfortably in train carriage, comfortably nestled in my thoughts. The world outside is a sharp, glittering 1°C but within me is a kindling warmth - the result of my daily ritual of morning meditation and mindfulness practices.

Meditation and mindfulness, terms often used interchangeably, are essentially practices of focusing one's mind, usually with the aim of achieving a mentally and physically calm state. Meditation, I find, has become as integral to my daily routine as my requisite morning coffee, and to omit it would be the equivalent of walking out into the freezing Nordic winter without a coat. An unadvisable idea, you might agree.

After the early morning news digest, often featuring articles like the one I read today about Israeli Defense Force's videos and the contentious debates it's stirred, I like to sink into my meditation. It provides a crucial bridge between the clamour of the outer world and the tranquility of my inner world.

Mindfulness, like monitoring the rhythm of each breath, often forms the core of my meditation. It helps me navigate both my thoughts and the frequently hectic world around me, offering a silent, peaceful respite. To the outside observer, meditation may seem to be a passive process, a non-action. But within, it is a dynamo of quiet, reflective activity that can both soothe and stimulate the mind.

Being a journalist-in-training, my journey into the realms of mindfulness and meditation was initially inspired by curiosity, a desire to understand. And as I sank deeper into the practice, I discovered an introspection I hadn't previously granted myself. This empowering self-awareness, born out of mindfulness, I believe, is key to my approach in journalism - offering balance, sensitivity and a genuine desire to understand different perspectives.

Mirroring the relentless rhythm of this commuting train, news and world events rarely pause, demanding our continual and intense scrutiny. Yet, withdrawing into the meditative sanctuary of my mind provides me a chance to surface for air, recharge, and return with renewed vigor to the ceaseless flow of information. It offers perspective, which is integral when dealing with polarizing topics, such as the recent escalation of tensions between Israel and Palestine.

The culmination of every meditation session leaves me feeling content, mentally refreshed and ready to dive back into the swirling currents of the world, the news, and the endless intricacies of analysing them. As the Oslo skyline comes into view, promising another day of relentless information consumption and analysis, I am ready, poised and serene.

In our fast-paced world, I find that the practice of meditation, an art of concentrated silence and attention provides a much-needed respite, a soothing balm to our frayed nerves. And as the train slows down to a halt, signaling the end of my daily commute and my meditation session, I am warmed, not just by the heating in the train carriage, but also by the tranquility that meditation and mindfulness have lent me. What awaits is a day at university, filled with knowledge, introspection, and, above, understanding.

Tags: meditation mindfulness journalism

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The Art of Skincare and Journalism - A Journey Through Norwegian Winters and the Essence of Individuality

A woman in a grey sweater, applying cream to her face, with a faded fall backdrop.
Kaia Thonul, Thursday, November 23, 2023, 16:34

The somber autumn sky strokes the window with watery hues of grey and white. Through it, the cadaverous landscape outside whips by in a blur, dressed in pallor by the unforgiving 6°C chill. Mother Earth, too, is transitioning into her skincare regime, exfoliating her summer skin to prepare for the frosty kiss of winter. The biting chill of the Norwegian air is a staunch reminder of the importance of skin hydration, much like Solvang's fervent defence, reminding us to cherish uniqueness and individuality rather than succumbing to uniformity.

The train's rhythmic lull sings a melancholy tale of weariness. There's solace in such repetition, a tender echo of a daily skincare regime. The arduous journey down the aisles of cleansers, moisturizers, serums and toners is not unlike these train journeys, marked by their mundane wrestling with time, hope, and resiliency.

Scrubbing away the harsh criticisms of the world is as necessary as sloughing off dead skin cells. A light cleanser, much like a gentle worldview, is a perfect start. Then comes the tranquil poetry of both toners and equilibrium, balancing the skin, restoring the mind. Consistent hydration, akin to constant empathy, keeps the skin plump and mind open. Nourishment, whether by way of serums or good journalism, invigorates the receptive canvas of both skin and society.

Sunscreen, a daily reminder of our place under the cosmic theater's spotlights, is as crucial as remembering our responsibility in protecting the vulnerable skin of truth. It's like an invisible armour, resistant to the scorching heat of criticism.

Wrapping in the cocoon of a night cream before succumbing to darkness is akin to yielding to introspection after a day of battling ignorance; nurturing overnight repair and renewal of conviction, both on our faces and in our hearts.

A skincare regime is not just a routine, it's a ritual –a poignant tribute to self-care and acceptance, much like Solvang's defense of Stromøy. It's an enduring endeavor, marred by occasional bouts of frustration and despair, cheered by the eventual victory of persistence. It's a lonely boat rowing through the sea of mass opinions, steadfast in its path, guided by the compass of individuality.

Just as every skin type requires a unique care plan, every journalist displays a distinct style of reporting. It's easy to forget that behind our protective layer of skin are unique bodies, souls, dreams –and behind every voice projected on media platforms is a human, echoing their individuality, navigating their path through a world of shared uniformity.

To criticize a softer approach in favour of aggressive interviewing is akin to endorsing harsh, abrasive skincare products whilst demoting the gentler ones. Some might find the rigorous approach beneficial, others crave gentleness. Both are valid, all are necessary. Such is the diversity of life.

And so, as another somber evening cascades through the train and my fingertips draw to a close, I wrap my moisturized hands around a tepid cup of coffee and muse upon Solvang's defence, saluting the courage to be different, to be faithful to one's style –in journalism and in skincare alike.

Tags: skincare regime self-care individuality

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Highway Horizons: A Heartfelt Reflection on Road Trips and Life's Adventures

A weathered map strewn across a car dashboard with vibrant sunrise over Norway's frosty landscape behind.
Kaia Thonul, Thursday, November 23, 2023, 09:43

As I sit bundled up in my warmest coat on this icy 3°C morning, hurtling through the picturesque Norwegian countryside, my joy-filled heart is consumed with thoughts of the open road. Even as I read a fascinating article on the potential for economic rejuvenation by the Labor Party's policies, my mind can't help but drift, planning tactical maneuvers for the perfect road trip!

A road trip always feels like a microcosm of life's journey, doesn't it? You've got a destination, but there's an adventure to be had, detours to be explored, and lessons to be learned. And isn't that just like life - with its plans, unexpected twists, and moments of exhilarating accomplishment?

Nothing feels as good as watching the dotted line on the road merge into a single streak as you speed towards your next marker on the map. But, ah! A road trip is more than that. It also requires that we understand the art of planning and the thrill of execution!

First-off is the joyous task of choosing a destination. The lure of the unknown, mixed with a dash of familiarity, can make this a gleeful challenge. Will it be the solemn fjords, the ethereal northern lights, or the quaint, colourful towns? Oh, the anticipation!

Once the destination is set, it’s maps out, folks! There's an undeniable ecstasy in laying out routes on the table, surrounded by colourful highlighters and steaming mugs of hot chocolate. Suddenly, you're not just looking at a piece of paper, but a treasure map filled with uncharted adventures waiting to spring forth!

The planning phase also includes prepping your vehicle, ensuring it's as excited for this journey as you are! I feel a sense of exhilarating pride when I check the tyre pressures, engine oil, and brake fluid. It's part ritual and another part bonding with your faithful steed.

Once you set off, those plans become gleeful execution. Swapping turns behind the wheel, choosing diverse and exciting pit-stops, lip-sync battles to your ultimate road-trip playlist. And, oh! The liberating feeling when you spot a signboard announcing your destination - It is simply unbeatable!

The article I'm reading right now talks about how proper planning and execution can potentially reverse the economic trend. But isn't that exactly what a road trip is about? Meticulously detailed planning and enthusiastic execution, leading to an unforgettable adventure.

Ah! What gleeful thoughts to chew on as I continue on my own daily journey. Now, back to my Norwegian economics article, feeling more connected to the idea of journeys, plans, and bold adventures.

A road trip is a physical manifestation of a journey we often undertake metaphorically. As we plan our lives and execute our goals, we traverse the roads of life, experiencing lows and peaks, trying to reach our destinations. All while hoping we can enjoy the serpentine roads as much as, if not more than, the final stop. Oh! How the simple joys of a road trip reflect in the grand scheme of life!

I hope that today's reflections on the open road have sparked your wanderlust and left you with a sense of joyous anticipation for your next adventure. Until next time, my fellow travelers, remember – not all those who wander are lost. Sometimes, they're just on a gleefully planned road trip!

Tags: road trip journey metaphor planning and execution

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Stardust Sisterhood: The Enduring Radiance of Female Friendships in a World of Uncertainty

A group of women huddled together, smiling, lit by the soft glow of a setting sun, with a solar panel in the backdrop.
Kaia Thonul, Wednesday, November 22, 2023, 14:13

As my eyes skim the bent edges of the news article, the mournful lullaby of rustling papers fills the train car. The words, etched like epitaphs, pulse through my fingers as I close the worn clutch of my university iPad. Intricate ghosts of what once was and the somber realization of shifting realities. Tucked within the indifferent ebb and flow of commerce, lives weave together like a frayed tapestry, hastily cut by indelicate hands of market trends. Now, left to shiver in the biting 4°C of Nordic dusk, 86 pulses revolve around the closing door of REC Solar, as if suddenly ousted from their familiar orbit. Yet, beyond the cold and the uncertainty, humanity tries to sneak in pastel hues in the unlikeliest of canvases. It adds layers and celebrates the complexity of a world filled with transient contours.

It nudges me to think of my own journey, coursing through the veins of a female student trying to make sense of a world constantly in flux. Then again, are we not all just fragments of stardust trying to return to our celestial escape? Struggling, yearning, aching? These thoughts transport me to a realm often frequented, but seldom dwelt upon—the cosiness of female friendships.

The soothing hum of the train takes on a rhythm, the stanzas of a song that everyone knows but no one discusses. They exist, these friendships, beyond the superficiality of societal norms; they are the beacon in the gloom, the thread that holds these star fragments together. Their importance goes beyond the need of company or the warmth of laughter. For, to exist is one thing, but to thrive is another, and female friendships nurture this thriving existence.

These friendships are not just timely seasoning on life's varied palate, but trademark ingredients of resilience. The warmth they inject, the echoes they persist, hold women together—much like the 86 employees of a beleaguered solar company bearing the brunt of global industrial shifts.

The cold wind that sweeps the Norwegian plains is akin to hard times we face in the sphere of relationships. However, the importance of female friendships steers through this journey much like a solace that buffers the blows. It paints the biting reality with the hue of heartiness, adding the aesthetics of compassion and camaraderie.

Adjusted in seats of trains, in classrooms of universities, in corners of homes, peering into the bustling city life or gazing stars encrusted in ethereal skies, women ink stories. They mould experiences into lessons, and dreams into realities. It's these experiences that knit a yarn of connection and trust, and it’s these shared realities that transform into unshakable bonds with fellow women. The shared whispers, the understanding glances, the comforting silence, all sew a quilt of solidarity.

I grieve for REC Solar—suddenly there seems to be an emptiness in the industry skyline, a void filled with the despair of uncertainty, echoed in the closing lines of industry reports. However, the quiet resilience found in female friendships provides an unsaid pledge of hope. No matter the biting cold or challenging the adversities, sisterhood comes with a promise of unwavering luminescence in the chilling Nordic twilights. After all, are we not stardust, seeking our way home? Through the coldest winters and warmest summers, we gleam in the company of sister stars—outshining the darkest clouds and the gloomiest nights.

Tags: reflection female friendships life changes

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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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Chasing Aspirations: A Reflection on Career Goals Amidst Frosted Norwegian Landscapes

A young journalist gazing out a snowy train window in Oslo, laptop and powerbank on the table.
Kaia Thonul, Tuesday, November 21, 2023, 15:57

From the cozy cocoon of my train carriage, insulated from the chilly -1°C of an Oslo afternoon, I sit blissfully lost in a flurry of thoughts about career goals. Nestled in the warm semi-silence, I feel my fingers just itching to tap into existence my musings on this seemingly vast topic.

As the world outside speeds by in a blur of snow-capped trees and frosted landscapes, I find myself reflecting on the myriad paths we all have the ability to tread when it comes to forging our careers. Whatever field it is - journalism, medicine, art or even politics - the choices, twists and turns are as vast and diverse as the drifting snowflakes cascading down from the heavens.

It's enthralling to think about the freedom that lies within these infinite decisions. We wield the power to mold our lives, like flexible clay, into whatever shape we dream to be. Each choice we make, every risk we take, lead us towards different realities – ones that we alone are capable of creating. It's truly empowering to think of it that way.

I was reading an intriguing news article today about Sindre Finnes promising to sell his stock shares by 2025, due to a potential conflict of interest issue arising out of his political and business associations. Despite the criticism he faced, he has decided to pave a new path, aligning with his values and beliefs.

Isn’t this what career goals are truly about? They are not merely about garnering wealth, power, or status, but also about aligning with our personal values and ethics. Essentially, they are about having the courage to make changes that echo with our core beliefs, thereby leading us toward a future we genuinely believe in.

Speaking of belief, here I am, a journalism student, filled with dreams, just at the start of my own career, and excited for what the future holds. My powerbank is my reliable companion on this journey, much like a steadfast lighthouse guiding ships in the dark. This humble piece of tech keeps me connected to my dreams, as my fingers translate thoughts into words even in the unplugged confines of a speeding train filled with homeward-bound souls.

Despite the unpredictable paths, no journey is too arduous provided we remain firmly tethered to the powerhouses of our ethics, passions, and dreams. It's heartening to imagine that with every blog post I share, every story I pen, I am setting stepping stones towards my own grand career goal.

Even as dusk blankets the Norwegian landscape outside, a warm glow of satisfaction wraps around me. The spark from the fire of my career aspirations has ignited the kindling, soon, it'll turn into a full-blown flame. As the train chugs along, I look forward to the challenges, victories, and the endless opportunities that lay ahead on this chosen path.

So, here's to the journey, cherishing the process, respecting the power of choices, and of course, the undying loyalty of powerbanks. I look forward to becoming a worthy steward of the journalistic values, eager to contribute my own melody to the symphony of words that is journalism. But for now, I’m headed home where a steaming cup of tea awaits me.

Tags: career goals journalism personal reflection

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