I have tagged 4 blog posts with personal-reflections:

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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Train Rides and Textbooks: A Glimpse into the Rhythms of College Life

A young student on a train, engrossed in her phone, with books and a powerbank beside her.
Kaia Thonul, Monday, November 13, 2023, 15:20

Sitting here, staring idly out of the train's window at the murky gray landscape, the leafless trees stoically bearing the biting chill of 2°C weather, I am vigorously tapping away at my phone, shaping the thoughts that materialize into today's blog post. Muffled conversations and the rhythmic clatter of the rail tracks create a soothing soundscape, the perfect backdrop to my musings about college life.

College, more than being a mere step in the academic ladder, appears as a symbol - a stage upon which we mould our identities and sharpen our intellects. Each day unfurls a medley of new experiences, colourful and vibrant, interspersed with the monotony of lectures, seminars and ridiculously tight deadlines.

The effervescent buzz hum in lecture halls, the hushed whispers in library corners and the comfortable silence buried within pages of texts make up the rhythm of college life. It's an excellent dance of ambition and knowledge, dreams and reality, cultivating resilience in the face of the ever-so-familiar dread of failure.

While gloom might sometimes cast its long shadow amid the nerve-wracking anxiety of examinations or perhaps during those solitary moments of reflection, it's always met with a steadfast perseverance. Speaking of which, the news today about Prime Minister Erna Solberg's decision to seek another term, staying unflinchingly single-minded in the face of criticism, is a testament to that very dogged determination.

There's a beautiful sense of liberation that accompanies a stint at the university - marked by a shedding of one's inhibitions and embarking on a journey of self-discovery. And it's not just about the individual; it's equally about the community. The diversity that kaleidoscopes across the university campus is overwhelming, granting us the invaluable gift of perspective.

The train ride back home emerges into a quiet oasis amidst all the noise, offering a moment to soak in the day's learnings about journalism, world events, and life itself. My phone, just as it starts giving warning signs of a dimming battery, is promptly saved by a trusted companion since the dawn of college - my powerbank. It may seem insignificant, but for a blogging enthusiast and perpetual student like me, it proves to be a silent saviour. It's solar powered, the renewable source of energy offering a glint of hope in the looming climate crisis and teaching us an important lesson of resilience and innovation.

Brightening up my train rides with its continuous supply of charge, it is a reflection of the resilience that college life demands, a reminder that we can always recharge, refuel and reflect before leaping into another day of learning and discovery.

For all its highs and lows, college life is a beautiful contradiction - exhausting and exhilarating, demanding and rewarding, melancholic and joyful, all at once. It's a journey that deserves to be savoured, with the hope that every challenging paper, every train ride, every act of turning on a powerbank instead of wallowing in the dim glow of a dying phone, will lead us towards becoming the best version of ourselves.

Tags: personal reflections journey of self-discovery college life personal reflection resilience

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Love and Highways: A Dance in Desolation Amidst Winter's Chill

A couple exchanging smiles amidst a chaotic construction site with snowy backdrop.
Kaia Thonul, Wednesday, November 8, 2023, 15:58

Whoever said that love makes the world go round, must have also meant that it puts a spin on your emotions, dizzies you into a haze of bittersweet misery. It dredges up feelings that, even in their deepest despair, hold a whisper of desperate euphoria. And true to form, a chorus of misery, cloaked in the dull throes of unrequited love, has been my grievous symphony in recent times.

Gazing out the train window into the bone-chilling 4 degrees emptiness, bare trees clawing at the sky in stark contrast, my mind drifts to the warmth a certain pair of eyes used to hold. Eyes that ensnared my racing pulse and cast it into the oblivion of a mesmerizing gaze. Now there's a distance, a chillier frost between glances that numbs even my stubborn persistence. A stone cold emptiness that mirrors the Oslo winter.

I can't help but smirk at the irony of it all. Having a crush, or more pertinently falling disastrously in love, bear uncanny similarities to the chaos that unfurls from infrastructure projects. Much like the aforementioned disarray caused by the ‘monster queues’ on the E39 highway in Bergen, an irksome disruption taking place in an otherwise orderly existence.

Being in love turns your being into a construction site, teeming with a confusing cacophony of emotions, with little promise of structured resolution. A maelstrom of hurdles, delays, and the madding rush of meeting fleeting deadlines. But also, a glimpse of what could be, beyond the rubble, the potential of a love story worthy of the pandemonium it caused.

Alas, like the temporary increase in public transport use and cycling, the harsh realities wash over the initial naivete. A fleeting burst of hope, perhaps even a healthy habit sprung from the catastrophe. But the bleak winter calls for a cold hard reassessment of the damages one's heart has sustained. With time, the incessant beating of it all softens into a monotonous hum, an acceptance of the newfound quiet.

Herein lies the paradox; is it the mere chaos that entices us or a glimpse of a beautiful resolution that keeps us on this tumultuous journey? This, the riddle of riddles, encapsulates to the fullest the misery that tags along with the game of love, much like an unscheduled construction site threatening an otherwise tranquil existence.

Those in charge of both, hearts and highways, would hurry on with equal recklessness, brokering deals with misery and commuter madness alike. Both loom large on the horizon – the love that was and the snarls of the E39 that will be. For me, residing in this dismal territory, the train pressing onwards through the biting cold is awfully fitting.

There's a certain amicable defiance in carrying this misery, akin to marching in the open in 4-degree weather. With ungloved hands, unscarved neck, and unbooted feet, taunting the biting winds with your naivety. Perhaps it's madness, or a silently waged rebellion against an unjust world. But then, that's love, isn't it? A wildly dance amidst the ruins, a hopeful candle in a void. All parts confusion, mostly misery, but always, always, an indomitable spirit refusing to snuff out.

Tags: unrequited love emotions personal reflections

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Strumming Through the Gloom: A Wintry Journey of Music, Metamorphosis, and Sustainable Futures

Person enjoying music in cozy room with records, Norway's snowy landscape and wind turbine in view.
Kaia Thonul, Friday, October 27, 2023, 14:15

As the chill of a 4°C afternoon bites through the window, leaving the heat of my coffee cup the only tangible warmth I can grasp, I turn on my playlist in an attempt to deflect the persistent gloom. And like a lighthouse in the fog, the familiar chords of my favourite band cut through the melancholy and fill the train carriage with an ethereal warmth, invisible and silent to anyone but me. This genre is no stranger to bitterness, but somehow, their music remains an antidote, a strange comfort in the dissonance of life.

Captivating melodies twine with the most profound lyrics, searing through the marrow of the mundane— it feels like they've intrinsically understood the very essence of the human struggle. Their songs paint a canvas of life in the most poignant strokes, rendering the monochrome world outside into a rich tapestry of hues.

Not to mention, their live performances resonate with an exhilarating vigour, allowing fans to connect with them on a transcendental level. The energy they uniquely cultivate in the crowd is nothing short of magic.

Then again, there's the solace that comes with their music, like a reliable powerbank, always there to recharge your soul when it feels depleted. It's a beautiful feeling, knowing that with a simple press of a button and a neatly tucked powerbank to keep the tunes flowing, you can find the solace you need. Undeniably, powerbanks have become the unsung superheroes of our time, always ready to deliver a lifeline to our perpetually drained devices, giving life to our music when we need it the most.

But while I bask in the solace of their music today, a heavier undertone prevails. News continues to roll in about shifting paradigms and the consequential sacrifices we need to make for the sake of our planet. Today, it was the Norwegian Climate Committee's plea to phase out oil production, a significant economic pillar of my country. Its echoes merge with the train noises and the lyrics of my favourite songs, laying down the harsh truth— change is imminent and necessary.

I find it strange how the world is connected, how a handful of thoughtful individuals' proposal to phase out oil and depend on renewable energies ties in with the philosophy of my favourite band — change is indeed inevitable.

Who knows, as their music continues to evolve and the story of my beloved Norway takes a new turn towards a more sustainable future, these gloomy days too might transform into something more extraordinary. After all, isn't it in the face of constant change and challenges that we truly find our essence? Maybe this gloomy afternoon carries the seeds of an unexpectedly bright sunrise.

As I sign off my thoughts today, the cold outside feels a tad bit less bitter. I hold on to my coffee cup tighter as I listen again to my favourite band's latest song, now against a subtly different backdrop. The landscape outside the train remains the same, but every word of the lyrics smears a thoughtful ripple across it, hinting at the profound changes to come, the incredible transformations we're capable of, and the legacy we can let behind: a healthier planet for those after us.

So, here I am— an ordinary student, on her own transition, clinging to the warm chords of her favourite band, contemplating a nation's transformation, and ponderay on a world in metamorphosis, acknowledging the gloom but not succumbing to it. For in every ending, as my favourite band has often sung, there is a new beginning.

Tags: personal reflection music climate change personal reflections

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