Mission First, People Always

So, I don’t know if you guys know this, and I don’t remember if I’ve ever blogged about this, but I know I haven’t recently, so here we go. My dad is a Major in the Royal Norwegian Air Force. He joined the military when he was 18, met my mom when he was almost 24, and they had me, and my brother. My parents are still together, a rarity these days, so I consider myself lucky.

For the last few years, I’ve noticed it especially since I moved to the city and started uni, every time there’s something involving military families on a TV show, whether it be good or bad, I always tear up and get emotional. Every time I rewatch Army Wives, it’s really just me crying my way through 7 seasons one episode at a time. But occasionally there is military stuff on other shows too, cop shows, medical shows, even comedy/family type shows do episodes dedicated to the armed forces. In Norway, life in a military family is quite different from that we see on shows like Army Wives; I didn’t grow up on a base or post or anything like that, but there are still things that are true for every family, regardless of where they live.

And that is your loved one being away. Whether it is your dad, mom, brother, sister, son, daughter… being away from someone is never easy, especially when you know that they are in a dangerous situation. Thinking back to my childhood, I remember my dad being away three times. Once to Turkey, twice to Italy. I know he was in Italy during the Kosovo war, but back then I didn’t know what that was or meant. I just knew that my dad was away and we didn’t know when he’d be back.

There is particularly one morning that I remember from when my dad was in Italy, and that was the last morning we had together. I remember because I’d had to give my teacher in school (I was in the first grade)  a note beforehand, notifying her that I would be late for school because daddy was going to war and we didn’t know when we’d see him again, so we were gonna have a family breakfast together. And I remember eggs, which we normally only had on Sundays, and orange juice.

I don’t remember much of my dad being away. I remember before I started school, when I was in daycare, my mom was driving me and she let me eat breakfast at home before we left, whereas when my dad took me there on his way to work I had to take breakfast with me and eat it there. I remember my dad coming back. Once, I got a pink kitchen for my Barbie dolls. I think that was from Turkey. I know I have some jewelry from Turkey as well, but I don’t remember getting it. Once, I got roller skates. And my brother got a tiny bike with Mickey Mouse on it that my dad had in his suitcase, which was crazy! I remember ridiculously green aloe-vera. And a giant plastic bag of coins – most of which have disappeared, some I still have in my room at my parents’ house. But I don’t remember asking my mom about him. I don’t remember whether he missed any holidays or birthdays. I don’t remember much of him being gone at all.

Maybe that’s just the way the brain works. Defense mechanisms, blocking out painful memories. After all, this all happened before I turned 7, and how much does one really remember from that age, apart from select memories, good or bad, that somehow made it through? I remember one thing from back when I was 2, my earliest memory is from after I fell off the slide in my back yard, and my mom had to call my dad to take me to the ER to get stitches on my forehead – I remember holding a washcloth to my head, it was red, but I don’t know if that was the washcloth or blood. That was probably traumatic. But that was a single event, not weeks and months at a time.

A few years later, my dad got a job in a different part of the country. I think my mom didn’t want to move, didn’t want to uproot our lives in our hometown, because it was decided that my dad would commute. Apparently he was gone for 2-3 weeks at a time in the beginning, but I don’t remember much of that either. This was towards the end of my mandatory education, I know he had this job for a few years and got a new one while I did my exchange year in high school, so it was at least most of my middle school years, if not all. Towards the end though, he left at 7am on Tuesday mornings and arrived back home around 7.30pm Thursday nights. I remember that time a lot, especially when I was in middle school which ended at 2pm, because I would have a larger meal after school because dinner would be late on Thursdays (we usually eat dinner between 4 and 5). Funny, how many of my memories are related to food, isn’t it?

My dad’s new job required travels to the US, but at least that was only 2-3 weeks every time and only a couple times a year at most. But now he doesn’t have that job anymore either. He did go to the US before Christmas though, I got some nice presents, including a coffee mug and some lovely tea!

Where my dad works now… it’s closer to home, but he has to travel a lot. Sometimes just for a day, sometimes for a few days or a week… but now he’s been gone for 3 weeks and not been able to come home on weekends even. I thought that it wouldn’t affect me, since I’m not home either, but I think a lot about how it affects my mom. My brother lives at home, but he has school and friends and social stuff so he’s not there all the time, and my mom is home alone, which makes me feel bad for not being there. But he got to go home yesterday, and I’m going home on Monday, so at least I’ll get to see my entire family then. I haven’t spoken to my dad since Easter, except for a few text messages, which feels weird. So I’m happy I get to go home and spend our Constitution day (May 17th) with him and the rest of my family!

I wanted to write something earlier this week, as last Monday, May 8th, is a significant day for Norway and for military men and women present and past. We call it Liberation Day, because it is the day that World War II ended and Norway was no longer occupied by the Nazis. It’s also our Veteran’s Day. Some say that the focus should be exclusively on the Veterans of WWII, but I am among those who believe that ALL Veterans should be honored on this day. War, no matter what you call the war, is gruesome, and it affects the people in uniform as well as their families. Happy late Veteran’s Day, dad.

Now, you might be wondering what’s with the title of this entry. It’s a military quote, I first heard it on Army Wives. As I am writing this, I am remembering that I’ve definitely written about this before. I thought at first it was on tumblr, but I couldn’t find it, and then I realized that this will actually be the 2nd entry on my blog with this title; you can read the first one here. You don’t need to read the whole thing, the most important bit is at the top, which I’ll recap for you here now:

This is a quote I learned when I was watching the Lifetime TV show Army Wives. However, I did grow up with a father in uniform. And this is one of my all-time favorite quotes. When I told a friend about it, he didn’t get it. But then I explained.

To me it’s like, people are what matter, people are what’s important. Not all people – but like, the people that matter to you. Your friends, family, who you love… They’re the most important thing in your life. And I’ll always choose them over doing something. Not like, use them to avoid doing something I wanna do but like, if/when they need me, I’ll choose them over sleep and I’ll ditch a lecture and I’ll drop what I’d been looking forward to doing on my day off to be with them because they’re more important than things. Mission first. People always.

The quote within the quote is a bit messy, because that was copy pasted from a conversation I had through some social media or other, and my thoughts aren’t always coherent when I’m trying to explain something. But I hope you get the gist of it.

And speaking of incoherent – this entry might be becoming it. So I think I want to end it here.

Have any of my readers got people close to them in uniform?

~ Julie

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I feel old…

Right next to where I live, there is an elementary school, and a middle school. These are just the terms I use, since I’ve lived in the US; you might call them something else. Elementary in Norway is 1st through 7th grade, middle is 8th through 10th, and that’s all the compulsory school there is; it’s illegal for a parent not to have their child attend school for those 10 years (I don’t know the rules regarding home-school, long term illness and such, but in general, 10 years of school is compulsory). Next month, it’ll be 9 years since I finished grade 10, and I’ve forgotten a lot of things, but living next to a school triggers memories of when you were in school yourself.

I was not yet 6 years old when I started 1st grade, and I had to walk to the middle school to take the bus to the elementary school. I remembered getting in line for the bus, and being scared by the middle school kids, because they were so much older, and scary. But I noticed things about them – some of them smoked, which was something only adults were allowed to do. Some of them wore a lot of black and a lot of makeup. And some of them wore chokers. This was in 1998.

Almost 20 years later, chokers are now back in fashion. The last few years, I’ve started noticing things that I remember from my childhood coming back, and it’s a weird feeling when you notice it for the first time. When I was in maybe 5th grade I was allowed to get a rainbow colored choker, and a while later I got a black one (black was edgy, and a little bit scary). Being almost 25 and seeing them back in style now, is weird, and personally I cannot imagine myself wearing one. It’ll probably happen, someday, when I find one I like, but I can’t imagine it. The same goes for faded, light blue jeans that are not skinny jeans. And mustard yellow clothing. I cannot imagine wearing it, because I remember it being worn by older people when I was a child. I know that fashion always goes around, but I didn’t expect it to come back around so soon.

I probably make myself sound old.

There is a development up the hill from where I live. I live at the bottom of the hill, and a bit further down the road is where the schools are. A lot of the school children live further up the hill, and therefore I can see them walking past my window around 2pm every day that I am home. And one thing that I’ve noticed is the surprising amount of people who wear sweatpants to school. When I was a child, sweatpants is something you only wore when you were sick. I didn’t even wear them when traveling in a car for 10 hours. For many years I didn’t even own a pair. And now everyone wears them, all the time. When I was in school, we wore jeans. Boot cut jeans, most of the time, before jeans that had cuffs around the ankles became popular. And at some point it was in to have your socks on the outside of your jeans, to imitate cuffs, before cuff jeans were a thing. And at one point, camouflage pants in all colors were in, too; around 7th-8th grade for me. I had a pink and a blue pair. And hoodies, from “WOW”, at the same time. I only ever owned one because they were expensive.

And if you didn’t wear makeup, you were weird. I found that out on my first day of middle school, when it was just me and one other girl who didn’t wear any. She had chosen not to – but no one had informed me of the unspoken rule of popularity that if you didn’t wear makeup you were weird. I haven’t studied the faces of the girls walking past my window, so I don’t know if they wear makeup or not. I know some girls in town walk around with a full face of makeup and sweatpants. Such a contradiction, to me. If I’m gonna do my makeup, I’m gonna wear proper clothes. If I’m gonna wear sweatpants, I’m not gonna bother putting on any makeup, or at least not more than some mascara at most. But that might just be me.

I find it strange how, at the age of almost 25, I’m sat here feeling old, because fashion is recurring and I’m shaking my head at the clothes worn by girls in middle school. I’m sure people my age have always done that. I just didn’t really realize it until just now.

Until  next time,

~ Julie

13 Reasons Why: My Honest Opinion

Hello, beautiful readers! I know it’s been a while… I was unable to finish a post a day for April, but I don’t care too much. My blog is still here, and I know I can write whenever I want to. And there’s no point in forcing oneself to post every day, or on a schedule, if one does not feel like writing. If you don’t feel like writing, anything you write will more than likely turn out like crap, so it’s better to wait until you feel like writing to write, in my opinion.

Yesterday, I watched all 13 episodes of the Netflix original series, 13 Reasons Why. It’s very likely that anything written after this sentence will contain spoilers, so you should stop reading now, if you don’t want any spoilers whatsoever (although, with the Internet being what it is, you’ve probably seen some already anyway).

I watched 13 Reasons Why in one sitting. I started it sometime in the afternoon, and I finished at 1.30am. Naturally, I had breaks to make food and get myself hot drinks and use the bathroom, but I didn’t watch anything else from the moment I started episode 1 until the moment I finished episode 13. I wanted to watch it because I’d seen people tweeting about it, how deep it is, how they couldn’t stop crying at the end of it… So I thought I’d give it a try. Now, you might think that, because I watched it all in one go and didn’t take breaks other than to make food, that I found the show to be so incredibly good.

I did not. I have mixed feelings about the show, actually. I thought it was well made; I kept watching because I needed to know what happened next, whose tape would come up next, why Clay was on the list, when it seemed like he was such a good friend to Hannah, or at least tried to be. He didn’t humiliate her by sending her picture to everyone at school, or publish her writing without her consent, or steal her compliments from her paper bag for revenge. I was glad he didn’t deserve to be on the tapes though. I said I have mixed feelings about the show – I’m not entirely sure I liked it. I don’t think I’ll be rewatching it, at least not anytime soon.

The other students kept saying that Hannah lied, that what she said isn’t what happened. Toni had a good point – she was telling her truth. Because two people can witness a situation and experience it and what is the truth in two completely different ways. That’s why eye witness’ testimonies can be unreliable, right? Every person is different, every person’s mind works in a unique way, making their experiences unique to that person. And everything that happens affects everyone differently. One of the guys, I don’t remember who, said that nothing happened to Hannah that didn’t happen to every other girl in high school, inferring that the people on the tapes can’t be responsible for Hannah killing herself. But Hannah wasn’t every other girl, Hannah was Hannah, and how she experienced these things were different from how other girls did.

I read somewhere that when people kill themselves, it’s not because of one big thing. It’s all the little things, that add up until it becomes unbearable. I know that feeling. You cry, and people ask you what’s wrong, and you say you don’t know because it’s not just this one thing that you can say, it’s many little things, it’s everything. But how people handle it varies from person to person. Clay took a really long time to listen to the tapes, longer than any of the others. Alex listened through all of them in one night, the first time he listened to them. Clay had anxiety. Skye was a cutter. Hannah slit her wrists in the bathtub and died. Alex shot himself in the head but is in critical care. And was it just me, or did Tyler have a gun in his room, at the bottom of that trunk or whatever it was? I remember thinking, “he’s gonna shoot up the school”.

Maybe, to some, this show is deep. I didn’t find it deep. I found it exploratory, in the way that it explored the different ways the mind works. But it wasn’t earth shattering-oh my god this is so deep-deep, not to me anyway. I didn’t cry at the end. I felt sick, watching the suicide scene, but I didn’t cry. The show didn’t make me realize a lot of things. I read a review posted on a Norwegian website, where the author wrote that, at its worst, the show is awkward and full of cliches, but at its best, it is truly heartbreaking. Furthermore, the author wrote that the show is more important than it is good. A little more humor would have been nice, because even at its worst, high school isn’t entirely without it. And the show deals with important topics, such as peer pressure, drinking, sex, sexuality, bullying, and, of course, suicide. But I felt that Hannah was a bit unfair. She says all these people contributed to her taking her own life, that they broke hear heart and spirit and soul. But she couldn’t have thought about what kind of damage she would be inflicting on them by making and sending out these tapes, making each and every one of them listen to them and hear not only what they did but what 12 other people did (well, 11, because Justin had two tapes), threatening that they are being watched and that all tapes will be released to the public if any one of them fails to do what she tells them to. Not her problem, right? Because she’s dead. And you can’t blame a dead girl, can you?

Anyway. I’ve probably rambled on for long enough, so I’ll stop here. Anyone else watched 13 Reasons Why? What did you think? Let’s discuss in the comments!

~ Julie

Personal Update

I wanted to write an entry a day for all of April. I’ve been using the schedule system for that, writing when I have something to write about, but I feel like I’ve hit a wall. I’ve lost the will to do things. And that goes for everything, not just blogging. I feel like I’ve gone numb.

Yesterday a friend asked me to come with her to one of our uni campuses to sit and work from around noon, and I didn’t answer her because just the thought of working on my thesis made me feel tight chested and brought tears to my eyes. I feel bad for not working, but the thought of working sends me into panic, so what am I supposed to do? For now, I’m just avoiding it. When it came down to fight or flight, I fled. And I’m not proud of that. But I don’t know what to do.

I spent a lot of Easter watching Grey’s Anatomy and going on trips with my parents, visiting my grandparents and my great-grandmother, taking our car to a service shop, driving to a place in the middle of nowhere where someone’s made an American Diner where people come from far away to eat and see. And sleeping. A lot of sleeping. 8-10 hours a night of sleeping.

Since I got back to the city I’ve been hiding in my room, when I’m not out shopping. Yesterday I went and bought some stuff and walked around town for a while. After I’m done writing this entry I’m going to do that all over again.

I’m working this weekend, at the museum. And I’ve got two weekends in May, since a girl quit. I might as well sell tickets and glasses and books, and make some money, since I’m incapable of working on my thesis, right?

My heart hurts, and I don’t know why. My parents, uncle, and grandfather put my grandmother’s urn in the ground earlier this week. That might be a contributing factor…

How are you all doing, dear readers?

~ Julie

Student housing, room mates, and thoughts from a 5th year

I’m in my fifth year of uni studies. I moved out of my parents’ house when I started studying English, because it would have been too long of a commute, too expensive, and I wouldn’t have been able to do anything social with new friends. I spent some time looking for places to rent, and sent out a couple of applications. I didn’t hear anything from the student housing I applied for, but I did get a call from a private renter. He had converted the basement of his house into student housing and was renting out to three people, as there were three bedrooms, and a shared kitchen and bathroom. I moved there in August 2012.

I lived there for four and a half years, with 9 other girls, none of which stayed longer than a year. The landlord’s kids were loud, his wife was a yeller, and the house was on top of a hill 7 minutes from a bus stop, and the connections to the city weren’t great; if you stayed out past midnight it was expensive to get back there and the stores weren’t close enough. Everyone wanted to live walking distance from town and have to take the bus to uni, at least that’s what they said when they moved out. I enjoyed living walking distance from uni though. It was a nightmare in the winter when there’s snow, to walk the shortcut was nearly impossible, but they usually cleared the sidewalk by the main road early enough so that it wasn’t a problem. I walk a lot less since I moved, and I’m not too happy about that.

I became friends with some of my roommates. With a couple of them, we’d all go on grocery shopping trips together, getting the items on special offer from the different stores around, and watch movies, and sit in the halls and talking for hours. With others, we coexisted in total silence. Some resulted to slamming doors in my face so hard that the walls would move, because I put up a couple of notes with tape about turning off the lights and cleaning – nice notes, but I guess they were perceived as passive aggressive, or something. I have a lot of good memories at the old house, but I also have a lot of bad memories. The last semester was good, the year before it was really bad, roommate wise, but good in other ways – boyfriend wise.

All of my roommates at the old house were girls. Since I moved, I’ve lived with two guys. It’s a different experience in some ways. I put up a cleaning sheet on the fridge and a note on the door reminding everyone to lock it when they leave – but no one is slamming any doors in my face and we still sit in the kitchen and talk. Sometimes I get annoyed at dishes in the kitchen or loud screaming due to a football match, but I guess that’s always the case with roommates. But you deal with it because it’s a part of being a student.

I would love nothing more than to get a house, or at least an apartment, with a bedroom that I don’t have to be in for anything other than to sleep. I want to have a couch that I sit on when I watch TV, and to not have to sit at my desk for anything other than work that requires a desk. I don’t even like the desk as a piece of furniture, but I have this amazing desk chair. Perhaps I could get a proper computer, with Photoshop that doesn’t crash and where I can play Cities: Skylines with actual mods and assets without it taking ages to load. That would be a good use for a desk. But I hate sitting at my desk day in and day out. I want a couch and a coffee table and a TV screen that’s larger than 15″.

But that’ll have to be in the future. Slow upgrades, one at a time. I went from having a room in a basement, to a room in an apartment building. I still have 2 roommates, but I no longer live underground, and I have a personal sink in my room. In July, I’m moving again. I’ll still be in an apartment building, but on the 3rd floor this time. I’ll be living with 6 other people, so technically that’s a downgrade when it comes to the shared kitchen, but I will have my own personal bathroom, with a shower and toilet and sink that I don’t have to share with anyone, and I cannot freaking wait!

One step at a time. One dorm room at a time. The good thing about moving is you get to redecorate your living space, make it into who you are, and redo it all over again! And that, I am excited about. Room tour, anyone?

~ Julie

Motherhood Thoughts and Fears

I’m almost 25, and my boyfriend turned 28 earlier this year. We’re adults. I’m two years older than my mom was when she had me, six years older than my grandma was when she had me. So if we go by years I still have two more years before I should have my first child. But that’s not how it works. 

The first girl who had a baby in my year in school was 16. Another followed close after. And in the last few years many others have had their first and second child as well. Last November my oldest friend had a baby. I’ve visited twice since then – in my defense I’ve only been home three times since she had him. With everyone buying apartments, having kids, upgrading to houses, having more kids… It’s easy to feel like you’re falling behind, when you’re almost 25 and still in school (master’s degree is still school), living with roommates that weren’t your choice, and the only jobs you’ve had are seasonal or weekends only. But a couple of weeks ago I found this quote on Instagram, which was really something that I needed to hear:

I visited my friend with the baby while I was home for Easter holiday. He is five months old, and when he wasn’t sleeping he was giggling and sucking on his fingers and we played airplane and with a stuffed elephant with toys on it and he was so incredibly cute! 

When I came home I had a message in a group chat with me and two other friends asking what we’re doing today so I said I just came home and was putting on laundry because I had some drool and spit up on me. One of my friends responded with a heart eye emoji. Both of the girls in the group chat are in serious want of babies. They’re a year younger than me. I’m not in the same want of babies. And I don’t feel like heart eye emojis at spit up and drool. 

Of course I’m gonna have babies someday. But is there something wrong with me when my uterus isn’t screaming for them, and I don’t feel like heart eye emojis at the thought of baby fluids at the age of almost 25? Hanging out with a 5-month old was fun, but I was a bit scared of hurting him when holding him, even now that he was much larger than the last time I saw him, when he was only 5 weeks old and so fragile I was scared to even touch him, and I couldn’t move him when he moved in my arms when I was holding him. Will this change, if the baby is mine? Or do I not have what it takes to be a good and loving mother? Is there any way of knowing? How do I put up with the not knowing until I know? 

~ Julie 

Feling Like a Failure

The truth is, only about 40% of people in my country finish their master’s degrees on time. That means 60% take extra time. I’m a part of the 60. That’s the majority. 6 to 4 majority. 3 to 2 majority. Two thirds majority. That’s not a failure. It’s common.

Then how come I feel so bad? It’s got to be because I don’t fail things. I don’t do things halfway. I never have. I once found out that I had to write a screenplay for the next day, something we could make a short film out of. My host dad told me I had two options: try like hell, or give up. So I spent the entire evening rewriting a short story I made once into a screenplay. We ended up not using it, because another guy in my group wrote one that was more doable, and we used that, but I was so scared of failing the assignment that I did it anyway. I spent all of Christmas break writing an assignment once, because the research required to do it in addition to the rest of my school work took all of fall semester, and it was due in January.

I don’t do things halfway. Not when it comes to school anyway, because all I’ve been told all my life is that school work is the foundation. I have to get good grades in middle school to get into the program I want for high school. I have to get good grades my first year because I want to go on exchange my second year. I had to get good grades there so that I wouldn’t get sent home. I had to get good grades my senior year to get into the study program I wanted in uni. I had to get good grades on BA level to be accepted into the MA program. I got good grades on all of my course work on MA level, and now I have to get a good grade on my master’s thesis to top it all off, so that I can get a good job that I will enjoy and be good at and deserve. But now, I’m not finishing it in May like planned. Now I’m not getting my degree until December.

But I’m gonna get it. I’m gonna figure out how to write 80 pages. I’m gonna figure out how to analyze my data. I’m gonna figure out how to finish the whole damn thing without suffering from panic attacks and depression and the occasional suicidal thought. I’m gonna do it. I’m not gonna be a failure. I’m gonna be a winner. Slightly delayed, but still a winner. I’m gonna do it.

Unpopular Opinion: Daily Showers

Do you judge people when they say that no, they don’t actually shower daily? If the answer is yes, you should stop. There are many reasons why someone might choose not to shower every day.

People say it’s bad, unhygienic, smelly… but daily showers or daily baths is a fairly recent phenomenon. People didn’t use to wash their hair daily, or shower/bathe daily. I’ve already talked about my decision to only wash my hair twice a week here. But I also don’t shower every day. I shower every two or three days, depending on what I do or if it’s hot or I’m cold or I feel like it. That’s not to say I am unhygienic. I clean myself, like most other people. I just don’t like to use soap and water all over my body. My skin has issues. It gets dry and itchy and patchy, sometimes it resembles fish scales, or I get rashes. Soap and water doesn’t help. Soap makes it worse.

Just like the natural oils your scalp produces is good for your hair, and daily shampooing strips the scalp of these oils causing over-production of oil, the skin all over your body does too. No matter how many creams or ointments you put on your skin, they are outsiders forcing themselves on you, and they cannot replace the natural oils your skin produce. At some point in human history, we went from never washing, to washing often enough to stay clean and healthy and hygienic, to obsessing over showering once or twice or three times a day! I met a girl on a field trip who showered and washed her hair twice a day: in the morning because she’s slept and at night to get rid of dirt and dust. I went to middle school with a girl who said she would shower three or four times a day on days when she had football (soccer) games: in the morning, after gym class, before the game, and after the game.

Over-washing is not good for your health, just like under-washing isn’t good for your health. And most people don’t shower four times a day. Once a day is normal in the world as we know it, and people tend to judge people if they find out they don’t shower every day. Some people might be lazy. Some people might not have time to shower in the morning. Someone might have skin condition necessitating not showering on a daily basis. Most of the time you’re probably surrounded by a lot of people who didn’t shower this morning, or last night, and you don’t even know it. Because most of the time you can’t tell. But once someone says it, it’s somehow “so gross”? Get over yourself.

~ Julie

Huawei Honor 8

Hello! Today I am coming to you with my opinion/review of the Huawei Honor 8, after using it for about a month. Basically, I just wanted to write about the pros and cons I’ve found since using it; I’ve tried to keep a running list in my journal that I keep with me everywhere, so that I would have stuff to write about.

So far, there are a lot more pros than cons to this phone in my opinion. Saying that, before this I used an old iPhone 4s, before that an even older Samsung Galaxy S2, and before that a dysfunctional Samsung Galaxy S5 Neo. If you want to read my previous phone entries from earlier this year, they are here and here. So keep in mind the awfulness of these phones and my inevitable comparison to them while you read on!

Pros 

  • The first thing I noticed about this phone is that it downloads really fast. Every app I installed only took seconds to finish!
  • You can use your finger print to unlock this phone, and it’s at the back of it instead of the front like some newer Samsung phones. You can save up to 5 different finger prints, and you turn your finger to save every line of it. It’s therefore not super sensitive when it comes to unlocking it, as long as it is the right finger. I know people with Samsung phones that struggle a lot to open their phones because they have to hold it exactly at the angle they saved it at – that’s not a problem with this phone in my opinion.
  • The fingerprint reader can do all sorts of cool things that you can decide. For example, I set it so that when I push it and hold for a second a screenshot is captured. My brother has the same phone, and he set it so that you can double press it to open an app of your choice.
  • Both the headphone jack and the charger input are at the bottom of the phone. To me this is a huge plus, as I often charge my phone using a power bank on the go while listening to music or audio books, and keeping the phone in my pocket is a lot easier when all the cords come out of the same end of the phone!
  • The phone charger is a USB-C charger, you can plug it in both ways, which I absolutely love! I just wish it was USB-C on the other end as well, where you plug it into the box that goes in the socket… Let’s hope that’s the next step for technology!
  • The phone also charges incredibly fast. 0 to 50% in less than half an hour! As a person who often forgets to charge her phone, or hates putting it on charge when it’s on 60% at night, this is a huge plus.
  • The phone has “do not disturb” mode where you can set the time you don’t want to be disturbed within for weekdays and weekends separately.
  • The screen brightness goes lower on this phone than any other phone I’ve had. I don’t need to install a separate app to turn it down, it just goes incredibly dark when I turn it all the way down. Never get blinded by your phone in the middle of the night ever again!
  • Themes. You can set themes for your phone. I could do this on my S5 Neo as well, but not the others. I think it’s great, it gives you more options when it comes to customizing how your phone looks, more than just setting a background picture.
  • Lastly, this is something I noted on my very first day, and was later told has to do with the latest version of Android, but I’m gonna include it anyway. When you pull down the top bar to see your notifications, they are grouped together, so that all the tweets are together, for example. Furthermore, when it comes to twitter notifications, there’s a show/hide button for each individual tweet, so I can read the whole tweet without having to open it in the app. On older versions of Android I could only read the whole tweet if it was the top notification, which was really annoying.

Pro and con

  • There’s one thing about this phone that is both a pro and a con, and that is the fact that you can have two sim cards or a sim card and a micro SD card. The fact that you can have two sim cards is a pro, if you’re someone who needs two sim cards for any reason. However, you cannot have two sim cards AND a micro SD card, and that is a con, because then you’re stuck with the internal memory of the phone only.

Cons

  • The phone is very slippery. I have quite small hand, and with phone having a 5.2″ screen it’s somewhat big for me, and therefore extra difficult to hold. Especially when my hands are cold, which they so often are!
  • The original keyboard would only let me add emojis in text messages, not on snapchat and twitter and instagram, for example. The autocorrect was also not very good on that keyboard. I quickly switched to SwiftKey, which is great.
  • In my opinion, the “settings” menu is a little bit messy. But I’m getting used to it. It takes some time though as I don’t actually have to go in there so often.
  • When I put in my SD card, I got a pop-up saying that it was outdated and that I needed to get one that’s class 10 or higher but mine is class 10. It’s a few years old though so maybe it registers as a lower class becsude technology had changed. I should get a new one, but it’s not on top of my priorities right now.
  • When I press the button to see all active apps and then close all of them, I tend to not get notifications until I open the app. This is especially true for WhatsApp, but I have a feeling it might be the app itself, not necessarily the phone. But since I don’t know yet, I’m adding it to this list anyway.
  • A couple of times I’ve had to restart the phone to get some of the apps working properly. This is especially true for the music playing app Shuttle, which I use for audiobooks, because it never forgets where in a chapter I left off, while the pre-installed music app on Android phones goes back to the start of the chapter when the app is no longer running. I don’t know if having to restart my phone to get Shuttle working (it skips tracks and won’t play) has to do with the phone or the app though.
  • Lastly, sometimes the touch buttons don’t react for a few seconds. This has happened in a few different apps. I don’t know why it happens, but it does, sometimes.

So that’s it for my review of the Huawei Honor 8! Thank you to All The Jazz for suggesting that I write this post, I hope it was helpful!

~ Julie

Milestones

Hello lovelies! 

I’m writing this from my new phone, the Huawei Honor 8, which arrived yesterday! I will write a reviews of it when I’ve used it a bit more, which was actually requested, and I’m keeping a list in my journal that I write as I go, but I want to use it for a week or two so I have a bit more experience with it, and maybe some negatives will pop up as well, but for now I’m loving it! 

Today I wanted to write a little something about milestones, more specifically about birthdays, which popped into my head while I was on Twitter just now (follow me here). Three days ago, I was exactly 24.5 years old. But it hit me that I more often think of myself as 25 than 24, which is something I’ve never done before. I usually struggle to remember how old I am for weeks after my birthday, but I don’t think that’s be a problem this September. And I started thinking about why I feel this way. 

I think it’s because 25 is a different kind of milestone than other birthday milestones. It puts you exactly in the middle of your 20s, halfway to 50, and you’re done with the first quarter of life (not basing this on life expectancies, just the way I see it). I want to write a list of the different birthday milestones and what they mean to me:

24: not a big one, but to me this marks the beginning of your mid twenties (20-23 being early, 24-26 being mid, and 27-29 being late). 

21: not a big one in my country, but to me this meant that I could now legally drink in the USA. 

20: Finally not a teenager anymore! And for me and my fellow Norwegians, this also meant that we could buy all kinds of alcohol, not just below 22%.

18: this is probably the biggest. You can buy alcohol (up to 22% in my country), get your driver’s licence, vote, and make all your decisions because you are legally an adult! 

16: another not-so-big, but in Norway this is when you can start practice driving with an adult and also get your moped licence. 

13: you’re finally a teenager! You probably wanted for this one for a while, feeling like it took forever to get here, and having already gone through (at least some of) puberty. 

And I guess that’s it for the list. 25 is mostly considered a big day around the world though, I think. But I know a lot of people dread it because it makes them feel old. But it doesn’t scare me – I already feel it. 

What do you think? Got any thoughts to share on birthday milestones? 

~ Julie