Lusus Naturae

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

My global sense of place

I wrote this essay a while back for a geography paper at school. We were supposed to write about globalization and how it had affected us. I get sort of nostalgic when I read it, so I thought I'd share it with you all...

I was born in the wonderful era of synth-pop and legwarmers. On an island approximately 130 kilometres south of the Norwegian capital, Oslo, an old quarry island with some forests and some elks. And little did we see of Depech Mode or the infamous neon coloured legwarmers. My non-paved gravel road into the woods on a small island off the Norwegian coast was not the music or fashion capital of the 1980s. Little impact did we have from globalization on this little gravel road, or so we thought.

As far as can be traced back my family has lived on this island, my grandfather was born on a farm there. When he was young he travelled the world as a cook onboard a whaling boat and brought back marvellous stories from the southern hemisphere. Apart from this adventure, he worked his whole life on the farm. The farm was quite self-sufficient in those days, the hens laid eggs, the cows produced milk, the horses ploughed the fields, and the pigs became nice steaks and so on. When my grandfather became old and weary it was time for my father to take over, but times had changed drastically since my grandfather’s early days, and it was no longer possible for my father to live solemnly off the farm. Because of the European Union’s free trade agreements it was very hard, and still is, for a small farm in Norway to compete with the low priced products of the eastern block countries, people have realised that for a few Norwegian crowns less you can get tasteless Belgian strawberries and other groceries, the domestically higher priced products were therefore no longer desirable.

There were only wheat crops left on the farm that gave any income, so it was important to uphold the productivity of the wheat crops to keep the farm alive. In the 1950s and 60s the miracle came from Switzerland in the form of DDT, it worked magic, weed was no longer a problem in the wheat fields, and the purer the wheat is, the more money you get. However, during the 1970s an American scientist discovered that DDT caused cancer, had it not been for the global market of pesticides many animals and even people would still be alive, including my grandmother’s uncle. When DDT was taken off the market a new wonderful chemical came, Roundup, it did the same trick as DDT, it kept the weed away, but also; it was not harmful to animals nor humans, how wonderful was that? However, recent research has shown that polythoxylated tallow amine, the surfactant used in Roundup, can kill tadpoles, which would explain the drastic decline in the frog population in our small creeks and waters on our island.

My father works as a buildings engineer and builds shopping malls and warehouses for a transnational company, and keeps the farm as a hobby. The sentimental value of the farm is far greater than the economic value of it, keeping up with old traditions is still important even though it is more work and sweat doing so.
My mom’s favourite hobby is knitting, an old tradition which she learned from her grandmother. It is not unusual to find my mother knitting a traditional Norwegian sweater, with Scottish wool on ‘Made in Taiwan’ knitting needles while she is watching Eastenders on TV. Knitting is an old tradition in Norway, people used to knit their own sweaters to keep them warm in the winter, it was in a specific patter and is called a ‘lusekofte’. However, these days you can get one in every tourist shop in Norway, with a tag saying ‘Made in China’. As these days it is cheaper to have them produced in China and shipped them back to Norway again, and in a globalized world, everything is measured in money.

Back in the 1980s and early 90s my brother and I were very occupied with football, his favourite team was, and still is, Tottenham Hotspurs. As a younger sister, the sibling rivalry was on when I declared my love for Liverpool. Norwegian football did not concern us much, it was far more interesting watching the Saturday matches from England on TV, following football stars such as Robbie Fowler, Teddy Sheringham or Gary Lineker. The idea of something foreign was much more appealing than the Norwegian society that we already knew. An alarming factor of how globalization is able to penetrate new society with ideas and glorifications.

When my grandfather was a young boy, the families were a lot bigger than they are today, a small football team was a reasonable size for the average household. It was necessary for parents to have a lot of kids to help them with the farm and take care of their parents when they got old, high infant mortality rate made it necessary to have many children as well, because some of them would probably die from diseases, infections and accidents, it was the cold hard facts. However, society has changed, infant mortality rate has dropped, urbanization is taking over the countryside and having reasonable sized football teams are no longer desirable nor necessary.

We cannot escape the phenomenon of globalization even if we want to, it is everywhere in all shapes and forms. Globalization is also the reason why I sit in New Zealand at this very moment. Because of globalization, the time-space compression has made it possible for people to travel to the other side of the world and back again in just three-four days. With travel also comes the issue of communication, it is getting more and more important for people to communicate with other cultures and languages, which is the reason that all kids in Norway have to learn English at an early age, and later on German or French, and the reason why I am able to study in an English speaking country.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Trip to Nepal...




Monday, September 26, 2005

Sountrack Of My Life - Oct. -05

Opening Credits — “Amado Mio”, Pink Martini
Wake Up Scene — “Feeling Good,” Nina Simone
Car Driving Scene — “Black Betty”, Ram Jam
High School Flashback Scene — “Another Brick in the Wall”, Pink Floyd
Nostalgic Scene — “Babylon”, David Gray
Bitter/Angry Scene — “Girl's Not Grey/...But Home is Nowhere”, AFI
Mad At Friends Scene — “Still Waiting”, Sum 41
Break Up Scene — “I Hate Everything About You”, Three Days Grace
Regret Scene — “Wish You Were Here”, Pink Floyd
Nightclub/Bar Scene — “Yeah!”, Usher
Fight/Action Scene — “Youth of the Nation”, P.O.D.
Jail Scene — “All Along the Watchtower”, Bob Dylan
Sad/Breakdown Scene — “Il n'y a Pas D'amour Heureux”, Danielle Darrieux
Scary Scene — “Boring Machines Disturbs Sleep”, Mogwai
Death Scene — “Will You Carry Me Across”, Midnight Choir
Funeral Scene — “Hallelujah,” Jeff Buckley
Mellow Scene — “Careful”, Guster
Cheer Up Scene — “Belleville Rendez Vous”, Triplets of Belleville
Dream About Someone Scene — “Somewhere Only We Know”, Keane
Falling In Love Scene — “You're Beautiful”, James Blunt
Sex Scene — “I Put a Spell On You”, Nina Simone
Ponder/Contemplation Scene — “They”, Jem
Chase/Hurry Scene — “Black Betty”, Ram Jam
Happy Love Scene — “Love, Love, Love”, Tristan Prettyman
Happy Friends Scene — “Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World”, Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
Closing Credits — “Time of Your Life”, Green Day

Friday, September 23, 2005

Reflection

You made me feel important
you made me feel appriciated
you made me feel beautiful
you made me feel like a woman.

When you kissed me, I smiled
when you danced for me, I laughed
when you caressed me, my heart beat
when you walked away, I died.


-Anonymous

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Insomnia part 2.

Due to recent insomnia incidents, I am really tired and my head doesn't seem to be screwed on quite as porperly as it usually is. Due to 'loose head' I keep forgetting things and doing wird things. These are some of the incidents my sleeplessness have caused in the last few days:

I recently finished a bit paper that was due, in the end i was mildly satisfied with the result. I was getting ready to go hand in the paper and found myself in the bathroom, styling my hair in order to show my self in public. I turn around to go out of the bathroom, for some reason I was looking down when I turned around and started walking and ended up walking, head first, in to the concrete wall. My skull on the concrete wall made such a loud noice, that my flatmates five meters down the hall, in the living room, talking amongst eachother, heared my 'skull on concrete' sound! I am sure I lost quite a few of my much needed brain cells, because minutes later I was headed out of the door, as I turned the corner to go to my bus stop I saw the bus, hundred meters down the road, leave the bus stop... *bummer* Anyway, I went down to the bus stop to stand and wait for the next bus that was due in twenty minutes *sigh*. Ten minutes later, after standing there in blistering cold, 43 km/h wind and rain, I suddenly realised that I didn't have any loose change on me! I turned my bag inside out, not a single cent!! So I had to go back home get more money and try to catch the next bus...

Today on the other hand, I knew I was taking the bus a bit early to Uni, so I thought I'd bring the book I need to read for my next essay, I also had to remember to bring a pen and notebook for my tutorial. Right before I was leaving I was talking to my flatmate about our upcoming Thailand trip *yay*, yelling at a British Airways phone lady for not giving me a straight answere *we have new computers here today, you must imagine the stress...*, I don't care about your new computers, I care about my plane ticket, I want some answers... Anyway, I got on the bus, rode the bus to school, said hi to cute boy on the bus, went and bought my self a nice little sandwich and went to the library. As I was walking up the stairs in the library, thinking most of the way how stupid British Airways telephone ladies are, I sat down at a corner desk, out of the way (your not supposed to eat in the library kids), I opened my bag to get my book. No Book! I had forgotten my book, as I looked closer I realised I had even forgotten my notebook. What I had remembered was my pen! I remembered my pen, but not my notebook or my book!! Just my pen! Go figure...

Insomnia

I'm currently flatting with two other people, a couple. We moved in to our flat two months ago, that's when it all started. After coming off a rocky start (moving was a nightmare) we settled in quite nice. We really liked our new flat, it was bigger, warmer, simply nicer. We were happy!
However, recently we have discovered that ever since we moved in to our new flat none of us have been able to sleep properly. We thought that was a bit odd, too odd to be a coincident kind of... My flatmate (lets just call her 'girl' for anynomosity) is now convinced that we have ghosts in the house. Although I'm not particularly religious of me, I'm not a hundred percent sure we actually have ghosts around, however, I am sleep depreived and will try anything (well, most things anyway). I have even gone and purchased camomille tea, now this might not seem like a big deal, but I really don't like tea... but anyhting to make me sleep properly these days...
'Girl' is a bit more superstiscious and convinced than I am so she (although not particularly religious either) have searched through the web to find a priest, a good catholic priest, that can come and perform exorsism on our flat... 'Boy' (who is catholic) think we should invite Priest over for dinner...
As I am sitting here, tired, drinking shit loads of yacky camomille tea, wondering what we should make for dinner when priest comes... any ideas people? Any priest friendly recepies out there?

Sunday, September 18, 2005

i'm bored and found this set of questions, and in lack of anything more amusing to do, here goes...

PICK ONE OF YOUR SCARS OUT, NOW HOW DID YOU GET IT?
Got one on my knee, from thinking my brother was so much fun to be around (boy wasn't i wrong), ran after him and fell on the gravely ground...

WHAT IS ON THE WALLS IN YOUR ROOM?
pictures of frineds and family

WOULD YOU RATHER PLAY FOOTBALL OR WATCH IT?
play

WHAT SPORT WOULD YOU SAY YOU ARE BEST AT?
uhm... mini golf?!

WHAT IS/WAS YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE?
keep having a dream about me driving a car not being able to stop (break doesn't work), it's quite unpleasant...

HAVE YOU EVER WRITTEN POETRY?
yes (in secret)

DO YOU REMEMBER BIRTHDAYS?
important ones

DO YOU KNOW WHAT TIME YOU WERE BORN?
3:15 am (barely had time to reach the hospital before I came out. funny story; my parents comes rushing to the hospital, which was newly built in those days, and the nurse directs them in which way to go (!), and my dad rushes by her saying 'i know where to go, i've been here many times before'. however seeing as the hospital was only a couple of weeks old, i'm sure the nurse wondered how many women he had impregnated in the last months... thing was, he had built the hospital...)

DO YOU HAVE A BIRTHMARK, WHERE?
Nope, don't think so... lots of moles though

WHAT IS THE WEIRDEST THING YOU HAVE EVER DONE?
eaten crispbread with shaving cream and ketchup on it (long story, didn't taste too good though)...

WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE YOU STARTED FILLING THIS IN?
distracting my self from my essay that i need to write

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE GUM?
usually chew mint flavoured ones... however, hubba bubba are amusing at times...

FAVOURITE CHOCOLATE?
raspberry river

FAVOURITE CANDY (NON CHOCOLATE)
slaty chips

DO YOU OWN ANYTHING LEATHER?
a couple of belts and shoes, no whipps in my closet i'm afraid...

WHAT ARE YOU THINKING RIGHT NOW?
How silly this question is

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE DISNEY MOVIE OF ALL TIME?
the lion king

DO YOU OR HAVE YOU EVER SLEPT WITH A STUFFED ANIMAL?
I haven't done it in years, but I used to sleep with a big penguin...

WHO WAS YOUR FIRST CRUSH WHEN YOU WERE LITTLE?
probably kristoffer, however, in thoese days it tended to switch alot...

WHAT KIND OF HAIR DO YOU LIKE ON THE OPPOSITE SEX?:
medium, not to short (shaved) but not longhaired either... in the middle

WHO OUT OF YOUR FRIENDS (SAME SEX) HAVE YOU KNOWN THE LONGEST?
Ingrid and Marielle

NOW THE OPPOSITE?
Håvard

WHAT IS THEIR BIRTHDAY AND MIDDLE NAME?
Ingrid Marian (16/4), Marielle (24/5) & Håvard (25/1)

DO YOU SPEAK A DIFFERENT LANGUAGE?
Yes

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE SINGER?
Nina Simone, KT Tunstall, Missy Higgins... it varies...

WHAT KIND OF BOOKS DO YOU LIKE TO READ?
novels, history, comedy... alot...

HOW DO YOU LIKE YOUR COFFEE?
don't drink coffee, probably should learn how to as i now get my (much needed) caffein from coke (coke= me getting fat)

DRAGONS OR DINOSAURS?
Puff the Magic Dragon, of course

WOULD YOU FALL IN LOVE KNOWING THAT THE PERSON IS LEAVING?
No

WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO TELL SOMEONE HOW MUCH THEY MEAN TO YOU?
not sure i know the best way, any suggestions??

WHAT IS THE ONE NUMBER YOU CALL MOST OFTEN?
hmm... at home its probably my mums office number, down here (nz) i tend to txt alot instead...

WHAT ANNOYS YOU MOST?
How much time do you got? However, slobs tend to set off a some built in annoyment...