I have tagged 3 blog posts with global-conflicts:

Staying Positive Amidst Chaos: A Journey through the Overcast Hues of Oslo and Life's Challenges

A gloomy Oslo skyline, woman reading newspaper, visibly pensive, with a resilient sapling in foreground.
Kaia Thonul, Friday, June 21, 2024, 08:06

As the train hums beneath me, gliding relentlessly toward the heart of Oslo, my fingers pause above the keys of my laptop. Outside, the world is smeared with watery gray hues, a fitting reflection of the 13°C temperature. The relentless drizzle against the train window mimics my current state of mind – morose, melancholy. As always, the day starts with a review of global happenings, this time throwing light on the perilous circumstances brewing several thousands of miles away.

Reading an article about Russia and South Korea in a Norwegian newspaper prompts a heavy sigh. It puts into perspective how quickly situations escalate and conflicts begin, rendering our lives into a tumble of complexities. Yet there they are, the tricky situations that beg a thousand questions penetrating the fog of melancholy that seems to descend with the morning mist.

However, every circumstance, irrespective of its intensity, awards an opportunity to rise above. It's an arduous task to maintain positivity when the world you see outside your window, both literal and figurative, lacks color. But isn't it exactly during these very shades of gray that the most vivid colors of human spirit shine?

Staying positive in grim situations is less about erecting a façade of constant happiness, and more about holding a steadfast belief in the power of resilience and evolution. It's reorientating your understanding from seeing darkness as destructive to acknowledging it as a canvas for creation. This isn't about dismissing grief or pain. They're raw and real, rendering the world into an impressionistic painting of sorrow. But, allowing this painful reality to coexist with the prospects of hope, that's the challenge.

Remembering to breathe is essential. The world will continue its unwavering pace, and we can choose to be swept in its torrent or anchor ourselves momentarily, breathe deep, and take it one step at a time. Breaking down the problem, understanding its components, it empowers us. It doesn't make the problem less potent, but it does make us stronger, the situation less overwhelming.

Next, seek aid in empathy. Isolation is a byproduct of crisis. Reach out. Share stories. Welcome shared experiences. Even if people can't mend your situation, just knowing that someone understands, that someone cares, can go a long way in restoring positivity and strength.

Lastly, remember your resilience. Difficult times are stark reminders of past hurdles that have been cleared and battles that have been won. Harnessing memories of prior resilience can act as a salve during present hardship.

Life, with all its twists and turns, is a mirror reflecting back at us our capacity to evolve, adapt, and persevere. And as I close my laptop, the frigid winds outside carrying the faint taste of sea salt and spruce, I'm reminded that even amidst the most brooding landscapes, positivity can, and does, survive. The faucet of bad news might continue running, wars might continue to rage on, but we, as individuals, can still find ways to stay positive amidst the chaos. Because without hope, what is there to fight for? Now, as the Oslo skyline springs into view, it's back to the university. Back to the place where I can at least try to make a difference, in my own little way.

Tags: positivity resilience global conflicts

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Preserving Bonds Across Borders: The Paradox of Long-Distance Friendships in a Chaotic World

The photo shows a person gazing out a rainy window, a cellphone clutched in hand displaying a half-typed message.
Kaia Thonul, Monday, May 13, 2024, 08:58

In the quiet hum of the morning train, I sit bathed in the feeble warmth of my overused laptop, my fingers dancing tentatively over the keys as they spill my thoughts onto the screen. The lukewarm coffee in the plasticky cup nearby offers little comfort as I glance outside, the world wrapped in a shroud of steely grey, painting a gloomy, 9-degree canvas for me to write on.

My mind, however, is not entirely here, captured in this physical reality of coldness and sobriety. It sits thousands of kilometers away, nestled among the lives of dear friends, strewn across different corners of the world. We sit, separated by miles, oceans, time zones yet kept close by the tenuous strings of shared memories and laughter. As the rhythmic lull of the train merges with my thoughts, I ponder on a relevant subject: How to maintain long-distance friendships.

Such a topic draws to mind the turbulent ongoings in this world, like the thousands of innocent lives displaced amidst an unwarranted meleé in northeastern Ukraine. The gloomy specter of war, seen in the subtle lines of a news article, illustrates how our world is drifting apart in its own way. The chaos of today shapes the context for the friendships we attempt to sustain over these distances.

In the case of long-distance friendships, technology provides the modern lantern that lights our path. Social media, video calls, instant messaging - these magical tools whisk us across continents and into the lives of our distant friends within the space of seconds. Yet, the bitter truth nestled amidst this marvel is how the same technology that brings us closer also emotionlessly amplifies the somber realities of the world; like the fog of turbulence shrouding Ukraine right now.

Heartening it may be to hear the familiar laughter of a friend at the other end of a video call; disheartening it is to read of the suffering and mass strife in the same world where our friendships thrive. It is incredibly jarring, the war within these digital windows, how one may breed the warmth of connection and the other, the chill of despair.

And so, maintaining long-distance friendships becomes less about battling the challenges of time zones and missed calls, but more about navigating this ocean of paradoxical realities that we live in simultaneously.

You see, in this gloom-tinted world where civilians flee from danger and accusations are traded like toys in a sandbox, one has to remember to be grateful for those far-off friendships. Grateful for the resonance of shared human experience in the vast body of drifting faces and names. Grateful for a text received late in the night, for hearty laughter echoing over poor reception, for shared stories of daily lives, mundane and extraordinary.

These friendships, must be cultivated with patience and understanding, always remembering that behind the screen, there is another human adjoining in the chaotic tapestry of human existence. Allow for differences in opinions and perspective and let that be the strength, the glue that binds your friendship together – a mutual respect for each other's life experiences and insights.

Perhaps then, long-distance friendships can be our anchor, a beacon of burning hope in the cold, gloomy reality we inhabit. As we relentlessly grapple against the tides of fragility and impermanence, they serve as poignant reminders of smiling faces, shared moments and echoing laughter in the chambers of our minds, a sanctuary in a world so often marked by chaos, made far too real by the parts of the world we don’t inhabit but can't ignore.

Tags: long-distance friendships technology and relationships global conflicts

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Battlefields of the Heart: A Parallel Between Online Dating and Global Conflicts

Winter landscape & train tracks, open news app on Gaza conflict, dating app notifications visible.
Kaia Thonul, Monday, October 30, 2023, 15:23

The frigid air outside seeps through the gaps in the train windows, chilling my fingertips as I begin to type. The familiar clack of keys against my laptop aligns itself with the rhythmic hum of the tracks below, a comforting monotony that echoes the resonance of my thoughts. I look out at the stark winter scenery rushing by, a melancholy and desolate landscape mirroring the somber mood that's settled over me.

My mind wanders back to the news article I've just read. A bleak analysis of the conflict in Gaza. I begin to sense a disquieting parallel between my ruminations on the realities of global strife and human suffering, and my recent experiences with online dating. The connections seem absurd at first, but the contemplation continues to nag at me, persuaded by a shared sense of desolation and uncertainty.

Online dating, much like the ceaseless conflict, is a sort of battlefield in itself. It's a war characterized by unseen adversaries, faceless profiles writing thoughtless messages that scrape past the surface of who we really are. A war of attrition, the casualties of which are hope, authenticity, and patience. Much like a protracted conflict, we become mired in the cyclical nature of it all, hardened and weary with every passing interaction.

The vortex of potential matches is like a carousel that never stops turning; a relentless stream of profile photos and half-hearted introductions. In the ceaseless churn and swirl of faces and words, we're left with the overwhelming sense of disconnect. The promise of abundance that online dating was supposed to deliver instead has become a parading line of dissatisfaction and disappointment.

And just as the Gaza conflict drags on in its agonizing cycle of provocation and retaliation, in the world of online dating, there's always the next swipe, the next match, the next fleeting conversation that invariably fizzles out. We're caught in these looping patterns, repeating the same steps while hoping for a different outcome.

The bitter cold outside feels particularly invasive today, clawing at my body through layers of clothing, slicing straight into my bones. Its icy grip is polarized by the heat of boiling frustration inside. I wonder how much more we can bear; how much longer we can endure the desolation brought by this never-ending cycle of hope and disappointment.

We yearn for connections, be it romance or global harmony, but on the fringes of our longing, what we learn is the harsh reality of humanity: therein lies the tendency for cruelty, the propensity for misunderstanding, and the seemingly endless capacity for carrying on despite it all.

Staring out at the bleak, frozen winter landscape reflecting in my window, I can't help but feel a chilling alignment with the images conjured by the news article. And if this is how disheartened I feel by the world of online dating, then I can only imagine the despair that stems from conflicts that transcend borders, cultures and generations. The world, it seems, on both personal and global scales, runs rampant with a profound sense of disconnection.

As the train carries on through the icy landscape, I am left grappling with these feelings of despair, thinking about how it parallels my disheartening journey through online dating and the unending conflict halfway across the world. The frosty weather outside serves as an inescapable metaphor, an eternal winter encapsulating my solitary trek through the affections of strangers, brushing against the bracing winds of rejection and unmet expectations.

Perhaps it's the despondent mood setting upon me, exacerbated by this cold winter day and the aggravating update on the world stage, but I can't help concluding that we're all trapped in our respective battles, personal or universal, in search of elusive victories. In online dating as in life, we're merely soldiers in the war of connection, trapped within cycles of hope and despair, echoing the ceaseless rhythm of the train plowing through the wintry landscape.

Tags: global conflict online dating global conflicts personal reflection

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