I’m not gonna lie, the past couple of weeks have been rough. It has been time for another round of dreaded essays before the big start on my final dissertation and while essay time is unpleasant enough at the best of times, I have also been rather ill. So the essays have been put aside for now and I have had to give myself some much needed time off to recover. This has turned out to be a good idea and I am now finally starting to feel better.
And today has been the most beautiful, perfect Saturday in a long time. Today has been all about doing what I have longed to do while I was stuck in bed. After an exciting morning delivery of Daniel’s latest camera aquisition, a 15-85mm lens, we hurried out to the car and went on our way to the perfect spot for a photo shoot; a rapeseed field he had seen in a rural part of Kent on his way to work one day.read more
On the UK World Book Day back in March I wrote a review of the English translation of Danish Helle Helle’s This Should Be Written in the Present Tense and promised you guys that I would post some more suggestions of Nordic literature in English translation. Since it’s the World Book Night in the UK today (and World Book Day in the rest of the world), I thought it was the perfect day for me to write about Nordic translated literature.read more
At the end of my parents latest visit we did not only have sore feet, tired legs, happy tummies and in my case, a camera roll full of pristine photographs (metaphorically speaking of course, as I always shoot digital). We also had a whole new round of fresh adventures and new memories to look back on and (dis)covered many more kilometers of the city streets, as we wore our shoe soles thin. It would be a bit much, both to write and I’m sure to read about all of the things we did together; far too many things happened in that one week to mention in a single blog post.
Instead I have created a little list of just a few of the things that we got up to, which I am posting here along with some snapshots of what we experienced on our trips together:read more
As I mentioned in my last post my parents recently came to visit me. It always means a lot when my family and friends from home take time out of their calendars (and money out of their wallets) to come and spent time with me here. They get a holiday in a different country and we all get to spend some much needed time together. For me, it breaks up the routine from my every day life here and it gives me a chance to be in London as if I was on holiday. But having them here is also an ambivalent experience because it reminds me of all the little moments and big events I miss out on at home and all the time we could have spent together if I still lived in Denmark.
I almost always feel homesick and a bit funny after these visits, unsure if I’m making the right decision to live here; if it is too big a sacrifice. And then I remind myself that although we don’t see each other every day, like when I lived at home (something which was inevitably going to happen anyway when I got my own place), we get to have these experiences of the city together, which have become really special and important to me.read more
It was Virginia Woolf who wrote about the importance of having A Room of One’s Own. The same can be said for a walking space. It’s no secret that walking in London is one of the best things I know. But it can also be one of the most tiring. Anyone who are familiar with London knows how hard it can be to find a good place for walking; a long stretch of space that allows you to walk freely, uninterrupted by traffic and indisturbed by the hordes of other people seeking a place of the city to trace their own steps.
My parents recently visited me and it was their suggestion that if the weather turned out nice we could go for a walk by Regent’s Canal and follow the canal around the park all the way down to Little Venice, in the same route that the longboats sail tourists to and from Camden Lock Market.read more
Earlier this year I realised that with only 2 lectures every week I would be spending a lot of my time at home reading by the desk, alone. I also quickly realised that I needed something else to keep me going and motivated, something completely outside of the academic world, which could give me energy and make me feel involved in London life. And thats when I discovered CreateVoice.
CreateVoiceis the V&A’s Young People’s Collective. They is have a monthly meeting, tours and workshops, where you can meet artists and designers, get behind-the-scenes talks and meet other young people who are interested in culture and art. I love going to these social evenings, meeting film producers and experience designers, hear them talk about their creative process and their way into the industry. One of the best things about those meetings is the tours that take place afterwards, presented by other members of CreateVoice. And for the last couple of weeks I have been busy trying to learn how to be a really good tour guide.read more
Its World Book Day, so today’s post is going to be about literature, of course.
I have been meaning to write this post for quite some time now. For years actually but especially since November, when an exciting package was pushed through my door. As a Danish former literature student I have often wanted to tell everyone on my blog about the fantastic literature that is being written not only in Denmark but also in my fellow Scandinavian countries. But every time I have tried to sit down and write about my favourite Scandi authors I have come up with the same problem: Few of them have been translated into English, so what’s the point. Some of them have been translated to other Scandinavian languages, French, German and even Czech. But in English?read more
I’m home again! It’s reading week at Uni and with a surprisingly (and unfamiliar) empty academic calendar reading week has actually meant a week of reading for fun for once! I have been able to go home and have a proper study-free holiday, the kind where I have been sitting on the sofa indulging in uninterrupted hours of reading and tea drinking, and been able to spend time with my family and friends guilt free, as I don’t have other things I really should be doing instead. But my visit at home haven’t just consisted of staying inside, cuddling up next to the cat on the sofa where its nice and warm, I have also been out and about almost every day.
Yesterday my mum and I had planned a trip to Copenhagen for some much needed mother-daughter quality time. It feels strange to think about this but I am much more familiar with the different areas and streets of London than I have ever been with Copenhagen. I have always lived in a suburb far from the city center and Copenhagen has always been a place I went to on daytrips, for shopping, cinema trips and birthday celebrations. Or a place I commuted to for work or lessons when I was taking my Spanish A-levels.read more
I don’t know what has been up with me this Winter. Winters are always hard, with their cold and gloominess, the long days spent in darkness in the mornings and when you come home at the end of the day. I always struggle during Winter and run out of energy and passion, even for the things that normally make me feel alive.
But this winter I have been even more negative than usual and I haven’t been able to feel enthusiastic about the things that normally make me feel excited. University is getting a bit old and the lectures, which has always been my favourite part of Uni experience has become a thing I just need to overcome, even when they are interesting. I have struggled to find essay topics engaging, even those in research areas that used to make me feel giddy with excitement. Bad health has meant that I haven’t had much energy at home either to do any photo projects or write on my novel (in those sadly few periods when I actually have the time).read more
It was the cat meowing out in the hallway that woke me up on Christmas morning. My presents lay in a neat pile in a corner of my room, unwrapped the evening before after our Danish Christmas dinner and our traditional dance around the candle lit tree. The calling of the cat made me get out of bed and into the hallway, where I picked her up. It wasn’t until I turned around that I realised what had happened over night/during at the night/until I saw.
Soft, large snowflakes was falling quietly down from a cloudy sky, the bright whiteness of the snow reflected in the impenetrable clouds. Over night, sometime in the 8 hours when we had been asleep, a fine layer of snow had laid over everything, on the whithered pot plants and herb bushes in our small garden, on top of the garden’s wooden fence and on the branches of the tall trees in the playground on the other side of it, a layer that grew thicker and thicker as I stood looking out the window.read more
Footsteps on cracked pavements, echoing between Georgian terrace houses on half empty streets. Under a harsh burning sun in a heatwave in October, when the leaves are falling yellow, orange rust and cinnober red from the London Plane trees onto the broken tiles. Or beneath the orange-yellow glow of a black streetlamp in misty rain at night, shining down on the black tarmac, making it shine.
The surprise of turning a corner and suddenly looking down a quiet row of 2-storey mews decorated with wild plants and doors in orange and forest green. Of turning yet another corner and discovering an unknown square for the very first time, like a secret that belongs just to you. Or the pleasure of a moment where you find yourself lost, that split second of uncertainty, and then the decided resolution that it does not matter. The happiness there is in that.read more
I might not have spent my childhood in England, having Charles Dickens famous novel “A Christmas Carol” read aloud to me on dark winter nights in December but I did grow up seeing the many film versions of it. I have to admit I am not the biggest of Dickens fan out there but if there is any literature I always link with Christmas, it is that story of the old, rich man who learns to be generous at Christmas.
Last year I heard that the Charles Dickens Museum in the house where he once lived in Bloomsbury had decorated the old Georgian Town house with traditional decorations used in his time and I popped by to see the museum and get into the Christmas spirit. The house on 48 Doughty Street was Charles Dickens house in town from 1837 to 1839, fully restored with original furniture and belongings owned by the author. You can almost feel his presence in the house, see him walk through the many rooms and up the tall, narrow staircase, all the way up to his writing room where he sat writing Nicholas Nickleby among others.read more
From the moment I first stepped foot in London I began a long list of favourite places that I come back to again and again but for reasons unknown I never really took the time on my holidays here as a tourist to visit the Victoria and Albert Museum. Then last year my mum suggested that we went because both of us would be able to find something of interest there. For me the photography collection, for my mum the galleries of glass design and for both of us the amazing jewellery room. Later I came back for lectures with my History of Art class and so slowly, the museum grew on me.
I think it is like that for many of the people who love the V&A and come back again and again. Like the city itself, the museum has so many things to see and discover that you are never really finished with it. I think I might have seen about 10 % of the collections, if even that! My love for the museum has only grown since I recently got involved with CreateVoice! the museums Young People’s Collective, as I now also see it as a place to meet other like minded people and a place that belongs to me, in the same way I feel about St. Georges Garden or Gordon Square in Bloomsbury.read more
To me, there are 2 very special days every year. One is my birthday in March, which I take very seriously. The other is Christmas.
I will be going home to Denmark in less than a month and I can’t wait to get home and be with my family, hopefully bake (and eat) homemade biscuits and cookies, eat pork roast with crackling and decorate the house and tree with all the baubles, tree decorations and elf figures that have been a part of Christmas every year of my life. Christmas is all about family, traditions and (for a light-depraved Scandinavian) also a celebration of light in the dark and of warm cosy evenings with lit candles and fuzzy blankets, tucked far away from the frosty cold outside.read more
For the last week or 2 I have woken up almost every morning to yet another dark, cloudy sky. I know it’s November and it is to be expected but it just feels depressing to wake up every day to the same gloomy view. It’s the same for me every year. When it gets dark, cold and completely overcast I just want to throw in the towel and go into hibernation until Spring. Does anyone else feel like that?
I’ve realised that since I can’t change the weather I have to change my attitude and look for the things that make me feel happy. I get most of my happiness from the simple things in life but I seem to have forgotten that lately. Yesterday I might have woken up to gloomy skies but also the most beautiful morning mist. It’s all about attitude right?read more
I don’t know what it is about autumn but as soon as the dark and never-ending overcast takes over the days, I just feel so tired, worn out and in need for a new shot of inspiration to keep me going. That and many, many cups of hot chocolate. The good Danish one, which my mum sends in care packages from home. Nothing else will do.
I have been so busy trying to keep up with work for Uni and getting over a period of illness that I haven’t been a very active blogger lately. I simply haven’t been able to find the time but I want to change that.read more
It’s raining today. I’m currently sitting in my living room, holding a cup of steaming, milky tea, listening to the fall of the rain through the open window and looking out on the grey clouds. Yesterday was amazing, a heat wave at the end of October, who would have thought? I remember a similar day last year in mid-October; the first day perhaps, that I really felt as if I belonged in London, as if Bloomsbury was now mine too.Yesterday I enjoyed the welcoming heat wave as I sat outside on my little piece of rented front garden, sipping tea and working hard on my novel under the burning heat of the sun, finally enjoying that I had a bit of spare time to get on with it.
So, where have you been? you might ask. As the date on my last post tells you I have been on a bit of a break from blogging while I settled into my new life and post-grad studies. It has been a less intense but a much slower process of settling down this time and I have been spending a lot of my time, trying to get used to living here away from the noise, traffic and masses that I so wanted to escape when I lived in Bloomsbury. I have to admit that I miss it, despite finally being freed of that claustrophobic stressed out feeling I always had when I lived there; I miss the life on the streets, I miss Saturday evenings at one of the cinemas at Leicester Square and the proximity to all the museums. I miss being able to walk down to Soho or Chinatown whenever I want and having Gordon Square, Russell Square and St. Georges Gardens as my nearest local green places, when the weather is good and I want to read outside. I miss living in the student house so much, our pizza parties and movie evenings in the common room late into night, or meeting my house mates in the kitchen in the mornings before our classes, everyone still wearing their pyjamas.read more
Yesterday was a very special day, for the 16th of September marked the day of my 1st Anniversary of moving to London. Exactly one year ago yesterday I said a very difficult goodbye to my parents at Kastrup Airport [CPH] and walked teary-eyed to the gate that would send me on a flight to England. I remember being more scared than excited that day. I remember procastinating packing my suitcases (for a control freak who loves everything to do with sorting, organising and packing, this is rather impressive!). And I remember most of all, the sadness, not excitement I felt as I said goodbye to my parents, even though I would see them again only 6 weeks later.
Because it is a massive deal to move out of the childhood home you grew up in. It is a big deal to leave your country. And to begin studies at a new university when you have finally settled in at the old one. Not to mention what a big, massive deal it is to start your life completely from scratch. When you leave your country the way I did, you have to learn things all over again. You do not have your own language, customs and manners, friends, family, home and neighbourhood to rely on. You have yourself and in the beginning before you make those first amazing friends, that is the only person you can rely on to help you get through this. It is scary to be independent and have so much responsibility for your own life, – and also very liberating. You see, I found that I do pretty well on my own and that relying on myself to solve problems and make me happy is actually very empowering.read more
Our red-painted wood cabin by the edge of a forest in Sweden has over the years become a sanctuary to me. While I lived in London I longed to come back to the tranquillity and stillness of this place. Unlike our house in suburban Copenhagen the cabin has a large, wild garden, where we spend most of our time when the weather is up for it or which we look out on from the windows when it’s not.
There is an old apple tree in the garden that brings no fruit but blooms with the most delicate, blushing white flowers in spring and every year wild pink and white foxglove and raspberry bushes, including yellow ones spread over more and more parts of the garden. My parents have planted a small herb garden that includes oregano, thyme and curry and they grow redcurrant and potatoes as well.read more
To me summer has always meant one thing: spending as many hours as possible reading, in a deck chair in the garden in the sun, in the cooling shade beneath a big tree or in the quietness of my room. The last two years at Uni have kept me busy even in my “summer holidays”, which meant I haven’t been able to pick and read all the books I wanted to. But this year I’m making up for that! I’m pretty sure my dad will frown at me when he sees the pile of books I insist on bringing with me to Sweden but how could I possibly choose between them?!
This is what I have picked out to read this summer:read more