To Vaccinate? Yes!

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate is, to many, the question. For several years a successively more well-educated Western world has become successively less educated when it comes to vaccines and their risks and benefits. This is a Western world which is happily governed by media, where phrases like “Big Pharma,” “corporate giants,” and “autism” are often enough to keep children far out of reach of anything vaccines.  I am such a child. Born in 1988, I have as of today still not had a single vaccine. Not one, ever. I will naturally immunise myself now as an adult, since I do not want to be responsible for spreading serious diseases like measles, mumps, and rubella. And they are serious diseases. I quote from the ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control):

Myth

It is a common misperception that measles is a harmless disease. Some people also believe that the healthcare system in developed countries has sufficient resources for good care when someone is infected with measles.

Correction of the myth

This misperception probably occurs due to the vaccination’s success: many people have never seen a person with measles infection and consider measles a relatively harmless disease. In fact, measles can be a very severe infection, which cannot be directly treated with antivirals.”

This is just one of many diseases we have the opportunity to immunise ourselves and our children against, which also helps our community and those children who are unable to vaccinate because they are allergic to some component of the vaccine. These allergies do in no way mean that vaccines are generally dangerous; humans can die from ingesting nuts or being stung by a bee, things which occur naturally and have in no way been modified by humans. It seems as if this anti-vaccination wave that has been spreading for years has several different sources. The greatest is perhaps our fear of the unknown. The many different components of a vaccine, and how it works, is complicated and therefore difficult to understand. If something is difficult to understand it also becomes scary to adults and children.  Instead of reading the long texts with medical terminology – or even the publications which have been specifically designed for parents – which explain why vaccines are vital, and are not a threat to your child, it’s easier to read the 30-word fear-mongering texts being shared on social media.

Beyond the difficulty in understanding and ignorance creating fear, media has created an almost insurmountable myth regarding serious side-effects that vaccines supposedly have. To this day I have not seen a single vaccination-negative study which didn’t turn out to be paid for by anti-vaccination groups, or unscientifically and unprofessionally carried out on a small group of subjects. There is no link between vaccinations and autism. None.
And yet there I was a year ago, about to move to England. “Mum, could you scan and email anything you’ve got on my health as a child? I want to be able to tell the doctors in England what I’ve had or not.” “Well, you’ve had chickenpox it says here, but you haven’t had rubella, I’d be glad if you could contract that before you try to get pregnant.” Thanks mum, that’s so sweet. I translate information about Rubella from folkhälsomyndigheten.se:  “if the disease is contracted within the first 14-16 weeks of pregnancy, there is a risk for so-called congenital rubella syndrome. During this early embryonic stage the cellular division is rapid, and if a rubella infection was to disturb the foundation of various organs the risks for stillbirth, spontaneous abortion or long-term means for the child are great.” But what if any of those unfounded studies were true; better to risk the death of your unborn grandchild, or severely impairing it for life, rather than immunising your child.

When it’s time for my husband and I, we are going to vaccinate. For our sake, for the child’s sake, for the sake of the world. If we all vaccinate against these diseases we have the power to eradicate them. If we all spread information we can eradicate ignorance and fear. If we all just read a little and decide that perhaps it isn’t that hard to understand, then perhaps we can step into the 21st century a little bit wiser, a little bit better equipped, and with safer, healthier children.

Here Comes the Bride… (And who’s that? Oh. It’s just her shrink).

It is now a few hours less than 8 days  till my surname changes forever. In other words, I will be a married woman, and I am aware that I do not HAVE to change my name, and that I can change back to my “nee” at any moment… but since it is a voluntary action, I do not think we have to argue any further.

My wonderful husband-to-be is none other than a fellow WordPresser. In fact, we met through our respective blogs. It was far from intentional: he read an early blog of mine, he liked what he read, I read his blog, likewise, and a friendly exchange between bloggers began. To be honest, it never even entered my head that we could have any kind of romance ahead in our mutual future, nor that we would ever meet, or even speak outside of the “Leave a Comment” section on the other’s blog.

Ha ha ha.

Well, here we stand today… or rather, in 13 days and a few hours time. Since I will be going on and on about how we met and who we are and all the romantic stuff for several posts ahead, I would like to make this post one of caution… and no. I am not telling people not to get married. Duh. What? I’M getting married for crying out loud! I would never lecture people on that. No. I am instead going to make a weak attempt at being of help to other future brides out there, by listing a few things I didn’t really think about before the wedding, and which have come back to bite me in my more sensitive parts as the day draws near. These are:

1. People.

You may think that it is very obvious exactly who you want to attend your wedding, and who you’d never want to share your special day. Fair enough. To me, it seemed an easy enough question… and then POOF! Out of the blue, I certainly started thinking “how do these people get along? will that person get hurt if I invite him but not her? will these people want to sit together, or apart? is it too long ago that I saw that person to invite them? I know this person will say no, but should I invite them anyway, because it’s the right thing to do?” and hey presto! Your head is suddenly spinning with what-ifs and whose-its. So my number one recommendation is take time to THINK! You may end up not having invited some people that you in hindsight would really like to be there, or inviting some people out of guilt that you regret inviting once you think about the food and drink you’ll be treating them to… so stop to think. Take your time. You’re only getting married once (well, I am. If you’re undecided, maybe it’s not so important. Then you can forget about this one and move on).

2. Theme.

Now, I’m one of those wondrously naive people who can say stuff like “I don’t really care what it looks like/I never really thought about it/I’m sure it will all work out in the end” about things such as decor, venue, general theme of the wedding etc. *stifled laughter*. Mhm. Here’s the thing. Even if you, like me, haven’t spent your entire life planning your wedding-day into the tiniest and minutest of details, all of a sudden things which didn’t seem that important will take on a magnitude that the Sphinx can’t really compare to. So try not to sit there like me, a few days before the wedding, hoping you will be able to find something green in the wild to decorate the room with, that won’t whither and die within two second of being picked. And if you were wondering, yes, it will be important to get those specific candle-holders. Trust me on this. This wedding is stupidly simple, low-budget and laid-back… and the details are still hurting my brain.

3. Expense.

Think about that for a second. If you have a certain dream-wedding in mind, you will definitely want to think about the budget before you pick a date. And once you have thought about the budget, think about it some more. Try to come up with more possible expenses. We have already had multiple: my dress, which was only going to cost me £162 (custom-sown, ordered on the internet, including transport) ended up costing me another £78… in customs. This is a cost that many sites will conveniently forget to mention when you order, so you’ll have to look up possible customs expenses when you order from out-of-borders by yourself. Because when you are already hard up for wedding-funds, an unforeseen £78 is not what you want to have to pay.  We also have to pay extra for the ceremony, which would otherwise have been free, because our officiator is from a municipality not our own. And a cravatt can be much more expensive than you think. So sit down, think about the cost down to the nitty gritty details, and then add extra money (a lot of extra money) for the “in case” fund. Because there will be “I never thought about that” expenses.

4. Help from your friends.

My friends and family-members, and family-members-to-be, are truly wonderful people. If you are arranging a wedding where you are doing basically EVERYTHING yourselves, you will probably need to ask some people for help. Think about who to ask for what. Some people will gladly help you cook or set tables, whereas some may feel a bit insulted. Some you can trust with carrying those rings and getting your grandmother home safely, and some you can’t trust with pouring welcome-drinks. Asking for help can be difficult, and it is, for me. If you are worried about stepping on toes, try to gauge who actually would like to help, and who would just say “yes” to be polite. Just try to keep a nice balance on things: you don’t want to have a guest of yours working their a** off all day, but you don’t want to be standing there doing dishes and carrying chairs either.

5. Traditiooooooons. Traditions. TRADITIONS!

Today, quirky and modern is becoming increasingly popular. The bride shall carry the groom across the threshold, the mother will give her away and maybe the ceremony should be held whilst bungee-jumping? There are, naturally, still some very “conservative” weddings, with the white dress, the cake-cutting, the father-of-the-bride speech etc. I have no objections to either. What is important is to ask yourself: this thing that we are about to have/not have at our wedding, is it because WE want it or because a) we don’t want to follow tradition or b) we haven’t even thought about it simply being a tradition because everyone does it? There are some I’ve chosen to stick with: the cake, “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue”, bridal bouquet, brides-maid… but my dress will be champagne, my father won’t walk me down the aisle and our best man is a wonderful woman… but the title is still Best Man, so don’t you go trying to change that around now! 😉 Just consider that a wedding can be exactly the way you want it. Don’t let yourselves be governed by traditions, or the fear of them.

 

One last, tiny piece of advice… don’t panic. Douglas Adams said it right. My husband-to-be has tried to help me in this regard. When I start hyperventilating about the things that may go wrong, everything that will have to be done last minute and all the expenses, he does his best to calm me down. I can’t say I don’t panic occasionally anyway… but it certainly doesn’t help one bit. Here’s a friendly reminder, printed on our custom-made wedding-invitations:

20130719_015733

I don’t know if these words will help any desperate brides or grooms out there. It has given me a nice little venting-space, however, and something to type while the pasta-sauce is simmering to delicious, tomatoey thickness. I’m going to go boil some fusilli now. OK. Bye.

One Wedding and No Funeral

Yes. It has been almost a year. I know. I’m shocked to see that there are occasionally people still checking in here, almost every day! I do not have a long, elaborate explanation as for why I haven’t written. Life happened.

 

Last time I wrote, my oldest brother and his fiance had just had a little boy. He is now about 8 months old, and a proper person, but a lot smaller than most of us. It’s my job to talk English to him, so he grows up knowing several languages. I have no problem with that. Well, not just my job, mine and my fiance’s.

 

Oh yeah. Remember that amazing person I mentioned frequently back when I was still blogging, last year? We’re engaged to be married this summer. It’s rare, not only in it being my first, last and only marriage to anyone, but also in it being a full-blown WordPress wedding. Oh yeah. Do you remember how he was a blogger and we met through WordPress? Well, he’s still a blogger, he’s been a lot more active than me over the last year, and right now he’s working on some exciting updates to his page. It just so happens that his 2 year bloggoversary falls on the 17th this month, so give him a wordpressent by visiting him a lot! It will be fun, because the changes are happening gradually.

 

What else? Last time I wrote, I was still finishing up courses to get into university. Well, I did a summer course on “Visual and Material Objects”. Does it sound complicated, pretentious, weird? It probably was all of those things, but I enjoyed it immensely. My – occasionally – overly analytical brain thoroughly enjoyed picking apart and decoding images and various forms of art. I feel like I have had good use for it in my current field of study; English. I did English all of last fall, and now all of this spring, and then I will spend all of this summer planning our wedding.

 

So the one wedding should be fairly obvious by now. Best get to the second part before you claw my eyes out.

 

A wonderful, beautiful person in this world has died. Sierra, a girl that I have known since I was 16, and whose blog I actually linked to once or twice, chose not to live any longer, and I have to deal with that over Christmas. I was not angry with her – though I have the feeling that her relatives were, because they did not have a funeral –  I was just sad that she was so sad that she could not carry on anymore. Sierra had a wonderful sense of humour, was very caring, hated conflict, drank like a champion, rocked short hair, gave the best of hugs, doted on Audrey Hepburn and could not stop smoking. I love her to bits and pieces. I still feel tears welling up when I think of her “too closely”, but at the same time I am grateful for having known her, and happy for her that she doesn’t have to be as unhappy as she was anymore. Ironically, her last blogpost is titled “the queen is dead”, and the last thing she wrote in a book we sent back and forth, like a letter, was “BUMMER!”

I can’t bring myself to leave you on such a sad note. Think about all the wondrous and joyous things I will share with you this summer! I am sure to blog about the wedding and the wedding-plans, because apparently everyone does that, and I have noticed that women become absolutely obsessed with that date as it draws nigh, so I’m sure I won’t be an exception. Also, with the permission of my brother and his lovely lady, I will post a picture of the most adorable – to me, and yet – baby ever born!

One thing my English course has taught me – so far – is – besides quite a few things that I know happen to be incorrect, because my fiance is not only English, but good AT English, and most Englishmen would cry if they knew what they teach us at this university – how to write a very boring, overly complex, fancy, abstract, and to most good writers, unacceptable, text, which needs a conclusion that repeats everything you have just told people. To that end (clears throat): In short, I have studied a lot, I have a wonderful little nephew, my friend is dead and I will get married this summer to the most wonderful person I have ever met and then get to spend the rest of my life with him.

 

Write you soon.

How happy some o’er other some can be

Upon my return from the longest blackout yet in the history of this blog, I feel no remorse. My life has been busy and a blur of school, spending time with my boyfriend and friends and trying to sleep somewhere in-between the two. I do not have enough readers that there’s a riot or a global crisis when I take a break from writing, but mayhap enough that there’s a tiny spark of joy on seeing that I’ve finally posted something again.

This post shall be about happiness. Ever since I first read an excerpt from the Declaration of Independence I’ve never quite been able to get over the wording “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. The pursuit of happiness. See, every human has the right to try to make themselves happy. This should give people a clue. It’s not like we’re born little bundles of joy. Sure, babies smile a lot, but they also cry at the top of their lungs a lot of the time. And sometimes there’s no telling why. Are we maybe born depressed and live our lives in the pursuit of happiness?

Maybe you wonder what triggered these strange thoughts. Well. I go to school in my decently sized but scarcely populated country’s capital city, and the other day I was making my way back from the school-grounds to the subway. I was dressed in a very plain black coat, black pants, black boots, colourful scarf. My hair a complete mess as always, but that specific day, a fashionable mess. A latte in one hand, a cigarette in the other, I cruised with my shoulder bag through the crowds. I felt at one with the city. I stopped dead in my tracks next to the subway entrance. There in my head stood the strangest question ever, bent over laughing at me in a very annoying manner: right this moment, you are the person you’ve wanted to be since you were quite the young lass. You look like you could be anyone in a crowd of thousands of other Stockholm girls like you, with slight variations. You flow through the crowds and move with the beating of this city’s rather unrythmic heart. You are she, the woman that you looked at years and years ago and somehow decided you wanted to become one day. But are you happy?

The answer was of course yes and no. Though there are times in our lives when we are absolutely over the moon, and others where we are way low, for the most part we’re pretty content, and if someone asks we can give people a list of the things that are good in our lives right next to the things that are bad. A lot of the time we put quite a big focus on the things that are not good, or not as we wish them to be rather. I bet you that if you start keeping track of how your friends respond to “how was your day?” or “what is happening in your life right now?” many of them will either start off, or quickly fall into, a long list of complaints regarding their health, co-workers, work-load, family, out-of-date cellphone, few too many pounds around the waist, too small kitchen, horrible weather… and it never ends. There will always be a million and thousand things that could be improved in our lives, and for some reason we’re really good at noticing them and then pointing them out to others. No end.

But then when you’re there, whining and bitching in your head about something really frustrating or annoying or how tired and stressed you are… you can just stop for a split second and ask yourself the classic question: What about if this is as good as it gets? Say that you, right now, are at the high point of your life. Then shouldn’t you be overjoyed over all the amazing things you have at the moment? How about the fact that you don’t have a blister on your heel, that the coffee wasn’t a dollar more expensive than it was, your mother didn’t call you a whore today, and yes, it’s raining, but it’s not hailing! For lots of people the reverse psychology of thinking about how much worse things could have been doesn’t work, but just consider, we really notice the bad things when they are present, wouldn’t it put us in a better mood if we noticed how un-present they were?

And if you’re depressed, if you find yourself constantly bitching and moaning and making the people around you cringe when you walk into a room because they know their mood is about to drop by about 30 degrees… so what? What is so wrong with not being happy all the time? It’s a bloody fact that we can’t maintain the same happiness for an extended amount of time – actual study showed that people, after having won a really big, like huge, sum from the lottery were right back at the same level of “happiness” a week after the win as they had been at before the win. This is true! -, and every single person, be they life-coach or millionaire or rock star or preschool-teacher, every single human on this earth has had, or is about to have, a bad day. But no, when there’s misery on the horizon, people run. When did sadness, anger and frustration turn into the Black Death of our time?

So kids, happiness cannot be maintained as a constant. Happiness is a bit of a rollercoaster and if you don’t like it that’s tough shit. P.S Doing E won’t help, I’m sorry. I don’t know this from personal experience but I have noticed from hours of observation that drugs wear off once you run out of them. Sorry. And if you’re feeling down, don’t be so afraid to show it. Please don’t go all emo and start cutting yourself and your bangs, because a) it looks bad on most people and b) the bathroom zink becomes a mess and you’re probably going to be too depressed to care about cleaning up yourself, so someone else will have to do it. But don’t go around trying to hide your sadness thinking people will run from you if you don’t. There is nothing wrong with not being the most energetic flying squirrel on a sugar-high around, 24/7/365,25. Because nobody is. It’s OK not to be OK.

Can you see the blue elephant in the room?

Today in class, we got to pick an article from the Daily Mail and create a debate about the topic. At first I went with the “intelligent” article, where they were discussing the financial crisis in the U.S (where they mentioned, among other numbers, $1.2 trillion. No, I can’t get my head around how massive of an amount that is either. $1.2 trillion. Try to picture it. Can you? I’m impressed.) and Barack Obama was all like “I can has veto, I can has use it, hah!” and the Republicans were like “Well you suck!” and it was all very mature and grown up and interesting.

But then me and the girl that was doing the assignment with me started talking about other things. It was my fault we got side-tracked (and that usually never happens *coughs*). I said “They only got into the crisis because today, money isn’t an actual thing any more, it’s an abstract concept, an empty number. If you can’t see the money, if you don’t have money that you can hold in your hand, then how are you supposed to grasp the idea of your actual resources?” This quickly lead into “Nothing is real any more!”, “Can you believe this years Christmas-present in Sweden is a 3 month subscription to ‘Linas Matkasse’ (Note for non-Swedish readers; Linas Matkasse is a grocery-bag with a selection of groceries and recipes, so you don’t have to decide what you want to cook for yourself any more, and if you don’t want to bother with planning a meal and finding the recipe yourself, you probably don’t want to go to the store either, so yes, it comes to the door for you) how sick is that?”, “I can’t remember where someone said this but you know how if a guy wanted to ask a girl out in the good old days he had to turn up with flowers on her door-step and now he can just scroll through a list of eligible young singles and click ‘send flirt’ on the ones he thinks are hot enough for him (e.g, way out of his league)… Oh, I’m pretty sure that’s what Drew Barrymore says in ‘He’s just not that into you’. Yeah, that’s probably it”, “In fifty years from now people won’t even talk to each other in real life because you never have to leave your house to do anything!!!!!” and other similar remarks.

Seeing as how I felt this conversation became so interesting I figured it would be more fun to start a debate on this topic, so we quickly scrolled… I mean, looked through the page… I mean, newspaper, to see if there was an update… I mean, article about Facebook. Lo and behold, there was! According to this article we’re now several steps closer to anyone else on the planet… getting in touch with them, that is. The question me and the other girl decided to ask was this; do you feel that iPhones, laptops, media in general and networking-sites such as Twitter and Facebook brings people closer together or makes people more detached?

My own response was instant. “More detached, of course” I thought to myself. Then I stopped and mentally chided myself for being so hasty. Because think of all the people we would not even bother to keep in touch with if it wasn’t for Facebook? And all the people who would not spare the time out of their day to see what was up with you if they couldn’t read it all in a tweet? In this sense, the social networking does help us keep in touch with people. Ok, so I guess that’s determined. But wait. Keeping in touch with people, is that the same as maintaining a friendship, or a functioning relationship of any kind? If there were blue elephants and I was friends with one on Facebook, we’d be able to poke each other and hit the “like-button” every once in a while when one of us posted a status-update, but “Phoowro-proooo-pheeeuut!” (< what it would look like if a blue elephant could type. Assuming they exist) doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, and so even though I might think that the blue elephant is an all right dude, I wouldn’t really know the blue elephant, or care to get to know him. (In case any blue elephants are reading this, I’m really sorry, I apologise for my race’s inability to understand any language but its own, I know, we’re very ignorant.)

If they exist, the probably look like this.

With these questions in mind, maybe the social networking of today brings people closer together while making them more socially dysfunctional at the same time? Or are we just developing a new way to socially interact, which might be different but doesn’t have to be wrong just because it’s not like we used to interact? We don’t bow to people and kiss their hand any more (if you do, that is totally rad. Keep it up), just like we’re now starting to get closer to equality between men and women and in certain awesome countries and states, gay marriage is legal. So who’s to say that only some change is ok, but some things have to remain the way they’ve “always” been? Maybe this new way to socially interact is just another step forward in our evolution, and not a step backwards into social awkwardness and seclusion.

I’m sure you guys have a lot more interesting input on this, so I would like to hear your thoughts regarding networking-sites such as Facebook and Twitter and how they’re affecting social interaction today. If you can be bothered to comment 😉

For the time being

I think it’s been long enough of a forever by now that I can write another post. I used to have this down to an average of one post every four or five days. I don’t know what happened. Life maybe. It’s not like I don’t have the time to write as often, I think it’s the energy that’s fading. This post is just going to be a bit about a couple of things that have dominated my life of late with their presence or absence.

Sleep

I have treated myself horribly in the sleeping-department the past couple of weeks. With a maximum of seven hours per night being the average, when I allowed myself to go to bed without setting an alarm, I woke up twelve hours later… at 4:30 pm. I’m worried that I am returning into the same old habits that I used to have when I lived on my own in Sweden for what seems like a miniature lifetime ago now. Back then, I averaged at four hours of sleep per night, so in a sense this in an improvement. At first I thought it had something to do with how my bed was placed. I moved it further into the room, then I woke up with a nightmare and turned myself around in the bed. When I still didn’t sleep any better I moved it next to the window. It will probably stay there, I don’t think it’s the bed any more. I don’t know if you guys have any theories but I have a feeling it’s this restlessness, this worry combined with the feeling of never doing enough, this feeling that I should probably be some place else and three steps ahead instead of sitting where I am and just enjoying the moment. Believe me though, I try. I consciously stop myself sometimes and force myself to just enjoy the moment and let go of any “whatifs” and “hastobedones”. I’m just really bad at it, but maybe with a little practice, I will be able to sit down and just watch a show or read a book without getting up ten times in the process to fix something or do something else.

Kittens

God has there been an abundance of kittens in my life of late! The two little crazy bundles of claws and fur and ginormous eyes have made my life so much brighter and cuddlier but also a lot more hectic. When you’re trying to get a paper done that needs to be turned in the following day, battling two kittens that are doing their best to chew off the numerous cables and wires sticking out of your laptop is very distracting and far from helpful. When you step into the bathroom only to discover one of them has decided to try their hand at modern art on the floor with their own excrement as paint, it does not exactly make you bubble with joy (I still kind of smile at the memory though). But yet these two, at only ten weeks of age, came into the 95 square metres that me and my room-mate had recently installed ourselves into. And they came into it so naturally, without any complaints, they started playing around the first evening on eventually after long discussions and arguments the little turtle-patterned female Saga realised the error of her ways and started using the litter-box as well as her ginger brother Selon. Never have I known two kittens from the same litter that have such different personalities! I mean, they’re both playful like mad, bloodthirsty, climb anything they can and can’t, cuddle and purr like nothing else… yet they appear to have two very different kinds of intelligence. When running after the cat-toy, Saga waits and calculates to then pounce and snag the mouse-like appendage with skilfulness, whereas Selon just bounces after it and often has his paws on it but let’s go too soon. Saga is a bit of a gourmand, whenever we eat she gets extremely curious and often-times after Selon has started munching away at whatever has been put down in front of him his sister will move over to the stove and start mewing in the most pitiful way she knows how. “Why do you want me to eat that crap? I know you have something better. Selon is busy eating so just give it to me. He’ll never know.” It’s still the best feeling in the world when a sleepy kitten crawls up on your lap and curls into something oddly ball-shaped, and then just falls asleep there in a relaxed lump with no resistance at all, somehow trusting that your warmth and size gives them the safety they need to sleep with abandonment. Well, the only thing more heart-melting might be when said kitten makes its way up your chest to nuzzle your face. That might do it.

School work

So much reading and writing. The lack of sleep does not make it easier. I think when you write a lot for school it makes you want to write less for anything else. But the worst part is over soon. When I hand in my paper on a book by a Swedish working-class author tomorrow that is the last thing I need to do for the first stage in Swedish. The second stage starts in two weeks but even a temporary respite is a welcome one. Then I only have to spend four days straight reading and writing about the conflict in Northern Ireland. That should be fun. Great fun. I, who never gets affected by what I watch or read, and who do not get severely depressed when reminded about the stupidity of mankind. I have to do this. Great fun. At least with the English class I don’t have any extra school work burdens; we get barely any home work at all, which might well be one of the many reasons that the class isn’t going anywhere. I can’t wait for university. I’ll get to learn things. *faint smile of hope*

That has pretty much been it for my life of late. What is there too much or too little of in your life right now? What engulfs you, what occupies your time and makes it impossible to do other things?

The Journey

It’s time for the story of how I spirited myself away from the people I love so much to the other people I love so much on this planet.

Leg 1

After tearful goodbyes for the last week, I was finally on the actual plane. I was sad yet excited. I can’t really explain the pain of tearing myself away from my life and the people I have been so close to for the past 3 years in order to join the other people whom I love and explore the world as a student. The first part of my flight was joined by Lorapope, we discussed the contents of the latest “Cosmo” magazine, it was fun ^^ It still hadn’t really hit me at that point, because you know I was still in Canada and the flight was only a little over an hour. I felt rather fine. Like I was taking the bus somewhere. I arrived in the sweltering heat at Halifax and me and Lora said our goodbye’s, she was heading on to go meet LENORE! YAAAAAY! Personally I stumbled out of the plane, retrieved my painfully heavy luggage (no, it wasn’t that heavy but it was heavy for me :p) and then proceeded to drag it around the airport in search for one of those modern smoking-booths with the fans in them you know? I didn’t find one so I went outside to a place that didn’t have non-smoking signs. Halfway through my cigarette a lady came out and said there was “no smoking on the upper level, you have to take the elevator down and turn right”. Of course I forgot the last part of directions, so I just went down and outside and sat down on the grass. I called Gerard with the last 10 dollars on my phone and then had to escape as angry wasps interrupted my second attempt at smoking. Well back inside I bought a 3 dollar ice-cream and sat down to play Mah-jong Titans on my computer. (My laptop is kind of big. It gets a lot of “that’s the biggest laptop I’ve ever seen” when I bring it out). Then I decided that 4 more hours of Mah-jong Titans on a dying battery wasn’t what I wanted to do in the Halifax airport so I went and bought “Paradise Lost” by John Milton and got through the first 50 pages. After much waiting and attempting to get the weird non-verse that is used in this book, I got on my second flight.

Leg 2

Halifax to Keflavik in Iceland. In the lineup outside the airplane while people were trying to get into their seats a little woman, who was probably from Thailand or those parts, commented on my sweater. She thought it looked really nice. I do too. My oldest brothers fiancée knitted it for me some years ago, I wore it when I got to Newfoundland and I wore it when I left 🙂 I sat next to a nice old couple and decided to watch Avatar since I’d never seen it before. I must say I really enjoyed it, even on the tiny shitty screen embedded in the seat in front of me I jumped and squirmed at the wonderful special effects. Foreseeable yes, bad no. Though I did mostly like flying with Iceland air I was unimpressed by how they missed our row while serving people and then took forever to bring us two glasses of juice. I started getting tired then but wasn’t nearly tired enough to sleep. When we landed it was raining. Gone was the streak of gorgeous weather that had followed me so far on this trip. They instantly security screened us upon exciting on the old French-Canadian woman who’d sat next to me mentioned how cold it was. I didn’t feel it. It was early morning and Iceland, what do you expect? On the flight the stewardess had announced through the speakers that “personnel on the ground will help you if you have a connecting flight”. The only help I got was this one guy who told me that arrivals and people with connecting flights had to go in the same direction. After that, I walked through the airport a bit paranoid, and decided that even though there was no one to ask all the signs pointed towards that the flight I thought I would be taking was the right one and that I didn’t have to check in and that my luggage would indeed go straight to Stockholm. But then…

Leg 3

Well all those things did happen. However, do you remember how I said I’d had a problem finding those smoking-booths in Halifax, and how there in fact where none there? Well, I started circling the airport with my 9 pound laptop over my shoulder (I told you it was big) and after walking around it 3 times I decided to my dismay that there were none here either. And I didn’t want to spend money on iffy food since I had gotten a Starbucks frappucino in Halifax. So I walked back towards the gate that would have my plane next to it in 2 hours, and broke down crying. It was very embarrassing because if anyone came up to me and asked what was wrong I’d just blubber out “is there a place to smoke anywhere?” But I guess it had finally occurred to me. I was no longer in Newfoundland. I wasn’t even in Canada. I was alone without help and with 2 hours and nothing to do and I hadn’t had a cigarette for a looong time by now and I missed all my friends and I missed Gerard and I was just so so sad. So after attempting to stop crying for a while I walked into the ladies and cried a bit there. Then I walked back and sat sadly in the same spot for a while. Then I walked to the ladies on the opposite side of the airport. And out of the corner of my eye I saw it. Gloriously double-doored and with an airflow from outside through barred walls. A smoking-area. A place where people with a stupid and self-inflicted addiction to making their health worse can go to do just that. And I was so happy. It was a little sign of acceptance in a big world of “you are alone”. I can’t even explain. So then I got on my flight after that and endured the American lady on my right talking to her husband across the aisle on my left while some young girl was doing her best to poke her feet through the seat-back of my chair, despite my best efforts at pushing her feet back. And then I finally landed in Sweden, and Daniel and Jessica and Anna were there, and they had flowers for me, and they brought me home and made me food, and Tilda came over, and we watched Sex and the City, and I finally got to sleep, and all was good.

What do you love about travelling? What are your pet peeves? Is there any place you’d like to go especially? What makes you feel alone and helpless?