The Value of Decaf?!

I’ve been a coffee drinker since I was 17. That’ll be 8 years this summer/fall. And in this whole time, I have never ever seen the value in decaf coffee. What’s the point in drinking coffee without caffeine, right? Decaf is for the weak!

When I was at my boyfriend’s last month, he bought decaf coffee. And I had decaf coffee. And now, two weeks later, I’m sat here, it’s 8pm, and I want coffee. But I don’t want caffeine because it’s 8pm and I don’t drink coffee at this hour because I like to sleep… And for the first time I’m sat here wishing I had decaf. But I don’t. So I made coffee with caffeine. I just really wanted the taste of coffee. I’ll deal with the sleep consequences later.

How’s everybody’s evening going? Or, what time is it where you live?

~ Julie

20 Questions // The Book Tag

1. Which book has been on your shelves the longest?

I think that would have to be some sort of fairy tale book from when I was a child. The Harry Potter books were also an early acquirement of mine, although I didn’t buy the books until the 7th came out, because for most of my childhood I read books from the library.

2. What is your current read, your last read and the book you’ll read next?

I’m currently reading “Paris for One and other stories” by Jojo Moyes (the last two books I read were Me Before You and After You). Next up is probably going to be “Mi briljante venninne” (“My Brilliant Friend” but in Norwegian) by Elena Ferrante because I borrowed it from a friend of mine and I don’t like to keep borrowed books for too long. I’m excited to read it because I’ve heard it’s good but it’s also written in nynorsk which is not the standardization I’m used to reading – I usually read bokmål which is slightly different.

3. What book(s) did everyone like and you hated?

I don’t know about everyone because I know a lot of book lovers really hated these books too because the writing isn’t very good, but a lot of people who don’t study literature and prefer to just read books that are enjoyable loved the 50 Shades series, which I absolutely did not like at all.

4. Which book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t?

That’s an easy one: Lord of the Rings. I have a book with all three books in it (in Norwegian) which I’ll probably never read because I’ve tried and failed twice, if not three times. I just brought it to a friend’s house because her fiance wants to read it and I’m in no hurry to get it back!

5. Which book are you saving for “retirement”?

I don’t currently have any books that I’m saving for retirement; I’m 24 years old and haven’t thought that far into the future yet!

6. Last page: read it first or wait till the end?

Wait! What’s the point in reading the end before you even know what the story is about?

7. Acknowledgements: waste of ink and paper or interesting aside?

I don’t think it’s a waste of ink, because it can be important for the author to thank people who helped them write this book, but personally I don’t read them if it’s just one long list of names. But sometimes the acknowledgements can be interesting to read!

8. Which book character would you switch places with?

I’ve read a lot of dystopian YA etc, and I don’t really want to switch places with any of the characters there – they’re books that make me glad I don’t live in those societies, you know? Like Hunger Games, The Selection series, Divergent, Maze Runner, Beautiful Creatures… Even Harry Potter goes on this list. And then I’ve read books where the main character falls in someone who dies. Or something else horrible happens. I absolutely love the characters and the stories, but I wouldn’t want to be a character in those stories, you know? I really can’t think of a single character in a book that I would like to switch places with. I guess I have to read more!

9. Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life?

Everything does! The books remind me of where I was when I read them the first time or last time, or what was going on in my life, or what else I was doing. If I have to mention one book specifically, it would be Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and how I was on a roadtrip vacation with my family, reading in the car, and laughing a lot – Fred and George were particularly funny.

10. Name a book you acquired in some interesting way.

I get most of my books from bookshops or online bookshops. There are only a few that that isn’t the case with… Oh okay, I’v got one. When I went home to my parents this last weekend, my mom had left a copy of “Granateplene” (Traveling with Pomegranates) in my room because she had bought it when she already had it at home and decided she didn’t need two copies so she gave me one! I guess that’s kind of interesting. Another one was back in October last year when I was visiting my boyfriend and someone rang the doorbell and he went to open, and came back in and threw a parcel at me, which turned out to be the illustrated Chamber of Secrets book that he had pre-ordered for me months earlier and I’d completely forgotten about!

11. Have you ever given away a book for a special reason to a special person?

My friends got a “words of …” (love, wisdom, perseverance…) books for their birthdays last fall and each title was something I felt was fitting for that friend so I thought that was a special reason for special persons.

12. Which book has been with you to the most places?

This one is really difficult to answer because I usually save books for when I’m going somewhere, but most physical places would probably be Goblet of Fire as I had it with me on vacation that one summer that I mentioned above.

13. Any “required reading” you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad two years later?

I haven’t actually reread the required reading that I hated in school… One was required twice and it wasn’t so bad the second time around as it was the first time though, that was Of Mice and Men.

14. What is the strangest item you’ve ever found in a book?

A grocery list used as a bookmark (I would assume, as it was in the book).

15. Used or brand new?

Both. I love opening new books, but used books seem to have some sort of soul to them… And they tend to be easier to read because they’ve already been read once before.

16. Have you ever read a Dan Brown?

Yes! I’ve read all the Robert Langdon books, as well as Digital Fortress and Deception Point.

17. Have you ever seen a movie you liked better than the book?

I didn’t hate the 50 Shades movie like I did the books. And maybe Maze Runner – although I audio-booked that one so I’m not sure I got the complete experience of it as I would have if I’d read it as an actual book…

18. A book that NEVER should have been published.

50 Shades and Twilight series. They’re not good writing. Although I suppose they’re guilty pleasures for some. Speaking of Twilight, did anyone else find the reimagined version better than the original first book?

19. Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry, cookbooks being excluded from this question?

Not that I can think of. Who actually reads cookbooks though?? Oh wait – I can think of one person actually.

20. Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?

My mother. But I can’t read only what she recommends because a lot of it is basically the same storyline and she doesn’t read fantasy or anything like that.

The Worst Day

It’s funny how, when you’re a kid and something bad happens to you, it’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you and your parents smile at you, saying “no” and “it’s not that bad”. And it isn’t – for them. Because they’ve experienced worse. But for you in your young life, this might actually be the worst thing that’s ever happened to you, so far. As you get older you learn how to deal with things, and the bad things don’t seem so bad. You have a bad day, it’s bad, but you’ve had worse.

When I was 16, I bought a ring. I’d made a mistake, and it was the worst one in my life, until then. I bought the ring, and told myself I’d wear it every day, to keep me from making the same mistake again. Wearing it became a habit,and I felt naked without it. But a skin condition kept me from wearing it for a while. I didn’t feel naked anymore. I still wear it from time to time, but less and less, and I don’t feel like I need it. Now… It’s just something that I used to wear. I’ve had worse days than that one I had at 16. The ring that once meant everything, and symbolized growth, learning from my mistakes… Is now just a piece of ugly metal, with a worn down fake stone in it. I wear other rings now. I have worse days. But I have better days too. Life is different now from when I was 16. I’m different. I’ve grown.

On Stressful Living Situations

When I moved to the city to attend university, I started renting a room in a house. The owners live on the ground and second floors, and in the basement there are three bedrooms with a shared kitchen and bathroom. I’ve lived here more or less happily for three years, but that all changed last August, when I returned from my summer job in my home town…

I won’t say I’ve been BFFs with the six different girls who have lived here the previous three years, but these two are really no fun. One of them slams the doors all the time, worse so when she sees me – I’ll partially take the blame for that, being the author of some passive aggressive notes around the place, but it’s been going on for months and I don’t understand how she’s not tired of it yet… I’m treating this whole situation as a bully type of thing where I’m refusing to react as that’s probably what she wants, I don’t know.

The other has had pre-drinks here several times now, without giving notice. The first time I took me completely by surprise as she’d had a total of one visitor over  several months. I hoped it was a one-time thing. Turned out not to be. Last night it happened again. On a Wednesday, for crying out loud! At least the last time was on a weekend. I was boiling inside. Well, partially. The other part of me is finding it really difficult to react because I have zero energy left to spend on these girls.

I have a bit of situational anxiety, and I hate confrontation. However, my boyfriend, two best friends, and mom all told me I had to talk to her and tell her that I should be notified when she’s having people over. So I managed to find the courage to do that not long ago. Doing that was worse than presenting my project in literature class this morning. Essentially, I told her I would appreciate being notified so that I could choose to be elsewhere when she’s having people over. She said she would, but I doubt it, really… And now I’m sat here, with my heart beating incredibly hard and fast,  the most uncomfortable I’ve been all day.

After my summer job as a guide at a historic property I’ve gotten a lot better at talking to people, presenting things. But in a situation like today’s presentation, I just take on a role and put up a shield between me and the people. I’m incapable of doing that at home. I can’t pretend to be someone else here. I’m just me, and just me is not a very brave person, just me is vulnerable and awkward and hates confrontation. Just me is on the edge of tears. Just me is not sure how she’s supposed to handle this permanent situation for much longer. Just me wants out.

Today, I am sad, for Paris, and the world

All of my social media are flooded with support for the victims of the terror in Paris last night, Friday the 13th of November 2015. I want to share some of the pictures I’ve found scrolling down my Facebook this morning, and I also want to remind you all that we need to do more than pray, by sharing something that a friend of mine posted on their Facebook:

Don’t waste a second of your time praying for Paris.

Instead, take practical steps in your communities to build bridges with different groups to prevent these sorts of horrific things from happening.

Prayer won’t achieve a thing, actively building bridges will.

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Paris, the City of Love, has become the victim of terrible acts-

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I hope you are all well. Let’s remember the victims and think about what we can do to help, and prevent something like this from happening again.

How Did I Get from Elephant to Here?

When I was little, I had an imaginary friend. He was an elephant, he was my age, walked on two feet, and was my height. I was four.

I don’t have an imaginary friend anymore. On the contrary, I have imaginary enemies now. I think everyone hates me, that they look at me and think negative things, that every time someone talks to me they have an underlying motive, that they’re talking to me for a reason other than they want to be nice and make friends with me.

I also have a terrible habit of interpreting everything in the worst possible way, even if people don’t mean it that way. I interpret everything as an attack on me, or an attempt to start an arguement. I really believe people people will start arguments with me to cause irreparable damage to our friend-/relationship… I believe people are only with me because they have to or because it’s convenient for them, never because they really truly want to. I believe people don’t really like me.

But just like I knew the elephant wasn’t really real when I was four, I know that this isn’t really real now. I doubt strangers think much of me at all. Most people are just being friendly. In the majority of cases people don’t mean things as bad as I think they do. The friends who stayed my friends even when we didn’t have a single class together all last year are proof that people aren’t just friends with me because it’s convenient or they have to. My online friends must like me somehow otherwise they wouldn’t spend time talking to me. It’s all in my head. The rational part of me knows this. The rational part is not always the dominant part though.

I have flaws. Big flaws. Ugly flaws. Things are wrong with me. These are some of them.

Tongues of Ice and Fire: Creating the Languages in ‘Game of Thrones’

Entertainment

Fans of Game of Thrones now know the character of Daenerys Targaryen (played by Emilia Clarke) has truly arrived. Sure, the erstwhile heir to the Iron Throne has already eaten a horse’s heart raw, wandered barren wastelands and escaped a gaggle of amphibian-faced warlocks. But at the end of the fourth episode of season three, Daenerys utters words for the first time in her mother tongue of High Valyrian — and, in so doing, takes command of an army, orders a shock-and-awe dragon strike and emerges the Stormborn Queen she was meant to be. Never, as my TV-critic colleague Jim Poniewozik wrote, has she “been more compellingly terrifying.”

A big reason for that (at least, judging from fan reactions on Twitter) is the awesome authority this language seems to give her. It’s new, of course, to viewers, but not in the universe of Game of Thrones:…

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Reconnecting

Few things are better than reconnecting with people that were once important to you. This week I’ve reconnected with two such people.

The first one is a friend of mine from Brazil. We were friends when we were exchange students in America in 2009-2010. We were sisters, she and I, and another girl, from Poland. The girl from Poland and I have met twice, first in 2011 when I visited her in the summer, and then again last summer, 2014, when I was in the US visiting my family and they decided to surprise me by bringing her over. My Brazilian sister felt left out and she didn’t reply to our messages when we were there, and she didn’t talk to us for a long time… And then two days ago she sent us a long message on our group chat, talking about how she had felt left out but that this isn’t what she wants from our friendship, and that she was sorry. And now we’re talking and getting to know each other again, catching up on the past year… It’s been wonderful!

The second is a bit more of a complicated situation. I’ve been reconnecting with a guy I got to know last fall and have been talking to all winter and spring until the end of April when things took a u-turn and I’ve been really sad for a month. Monday last week he sent me a message and we’ve been talking and it’s almost as if the last month didn’t happen. Everything is wonderful again.

Reconnecting is a great thing. I wish I’d been the one to initiate.

– Julie

Welcome!

I just really didn’t like the “nothing found” entry on my blog’s front page so I just wanted to take a minute to write something…

So why not take the time to welcome you all to my blog! I’ve literally no idea how to use WordPress, I’ve never been on this website before, so I hope you’ll all be patient with me as I figure this out and please leave me tips and tricks on how to make my blog more interesting, what topics I could write about, stuff like that.

I just had a mini workout sesh and am off to take a shower before I do something productive today…

I hope you have a great day!

– Julie