I have tagged 2 blog posts with commuting:

Warming Up Winter Mornings: Reviving Recipes and Reflecting on our Collective Responsibility

A woman's hands stir a bubbling pot on an antique stove, snow seen through the kitchen window.
Kaia Thonul, Thursday, March 28, 2024, 08:25

There's something enormously reassuring about reviving familiar flavors and smells in the kitchen, particularly on these cold mornings when the temperature hovers defiantly around the 3°C mark. As I tentatively tap away at my keyboard, the landscape blurring past the icy train window, my thoughts are drawn to the heart-warming dishes that constitute her favorite recipes.

It's more than the mere process of assembling ingredients; it's the dexterity of practiced hands, the subtle infusion of love in the making. Relying on my memories, there's a certain solace in the image of steaming pots on a snowy day, sending aromatic fumes wafting through our house, tantalizing the senses and stirring the appetite. It's a ceremonious act of reclaiming warmth, both physical and emotional!

As the train clunks and groans under the strain of its unwieldy load, I'm reminded of the importance of resilience; of having that extra spot of energy when the going gets tough, whether that's a bit of extra patience when a sauce doesn't thicken or powering through the seemingly never-ending daily commute. Here's where my trusty powerbank steps in as a critical element in my daily journey, almost as essential as a secret ingredient in a well-loved recipe. In an era where we're incessant consumers of information and content, even the most hardy smartphones can struggle to wake when demanded. Ensuring you're equipped with a powerful powerbank is equivalent to having that lifesaving amount of stored energy, a bulwark against the draining affair of my gloomy daily commute!

My fingers frosty against the biting cold, I couldn't fail but notice the recent news article about Onrail. The train accident and the subsequent environmental damage feel unnerving. More so, the disarrayed discourse that's erupted, each stakeholder shrugging off their responsibility, while the environment pays the ultimate price – it feels eerily similar to slicing onions, the biting sadness unavoidable, the underlying acridness potent. Yet, in a poignant way, it's a stark reminder of the collective responsibility we all bear.

Just as much as the blending of ingredients leads to incredible culinary delights, we must also learn to blend our actions with consideration for the broader consequences and assume responsibility for our mishaps. A beautiful dish in the end, doesn't nullify the mess created on the way, but indeed gives us a reason to clean it up. Similarly, the unfolding controversy remind us that as a society, we must remember to clean up after ourselves. Not purely out of obligation, but as a necessary step to better the world we live in.

The sun peeks through the blanket of grey that's typified this morning ride. A lone ray of light caresses my chilled fingers, as the clattering train carries me further into a day holding countless stories. Her favorite recipes continue to simmer in my mind, a tiny flame flickering against despondency, illuminating the age-old wisdom - it is indeed, in the give and take of the kitchen, in the harmonious dance of ingredients, that one truly discovers the essence of life.

Tags: cooking commuting environmental responsibility

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Underneath Shared Silences: A Reflection on Humanity Amidst the Hum of Everyday Life

A person in a train, reading a newspaper about Gaza war crimes, with students studying in the background.
Kaia Thonul, Thursday, November 2, 2023, 08:12

The cold outside is bitter, gnawing, like an uninvited guest. -1°C. It seeps its way in through the corners of the train carriage, making our shared breaths seem uncomfortably warm. As my fellow commuters converse in whispered languages I do not understand, I find myself muffled in the mundanity of our travels, drafting up today’s tale of tedium.

The atmosphere from the study group yesterday still nags at me. The air seemed heavy, tense - each of us carrying our own world of concerns under the weight of our silence. We tend to communicate in fragments - a sentence here, a comment there - papers rustling, keyboards tapping. Each to their own, always. Each absorbed in their own universe of thoughts and dreams. Shared space, yes. Shared camaraderie? Questionable.

An article I stumbled upon this morning ripples within me like a stone tossed into a sorrowful pond, igniting inescapable tremors of heaviness. Stories of war and conflict replace the echo of chatter and creaking tracks. The UN accuses Israel of potential war crimes against a refugee camp in Gaza. So much suffering - so much pain, mirrored in the thousand shattered lives in Gaza, and beyond.

Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights pleads for an independent investigation into these military actions. She emphasizes on the duty to respect international laws, even under the huge blanket that is security concerns. A bitter laugh escapes me - the idea of war crimes in itself is a dark paradox. What part of war is exempt from crime? Isn't the act itself a crime against humanity?

I think back again to the study group. The silence we sit in? Not so heavy anymore. I wonder if any of them read the news today. Do they too let the state of the world seep into their minds, staining their thoughts with a certain shade of gloom? Perhaps we share more than just space. Perhaps our silences are riddled with the same lingering thoughts of gloom, the same questions.

The headlines are screaming, but the world keeps spinning. Morning train rides continue, and study groups go on, amidst the constant hum of silenced stories. How easily we disconnect, looking away from shared humanity, erasing the lines drawn in the sand.

The cold suddenly feels more biting, the silence more pronounced. I look out at the frozen landscape slipping past, contemplating the chill, contemplating otherness, until the conductor’s voice slices through my thoughts, announcing the next station. Oslo is up next…and as always, life moves on.

Tags: commuting war crimes humanity

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