Norwegian salute

Nhim and Celina were in the playground last Monday. There were 2 boys and in no time i heard ‘ I don’t like girls’ play’. I saw the 2 girls clearly formed a ‘gang vs gang’ against the boys, which was rather funny to see.

The girls saw the boys as challenging and hostile, but at the same time attracting, so they keep coming back to face them. The girls concluded these boys are naughty and ‘rubbish’.

When the last boy was fetch by his mum and leaving, Celina called ‘Goodbye’ to him. Nhim didn’t. Clearly she felt this boy was not worth salutting. Celina asked Nhim: say goodbye, you too. Nhim shook head. Celina said: at least to his mother.

I’m thinking: what? She’s only 5 years old and already so typically Norwegian. If someone is not nice to you, what do you say?

‘Hey Joe, you’ve been an asshole. Fuck you.’


‘Joe, it was not perfectly nice what you did, but I love you no matter what.’

The Norwegian way, so round, so civilized and so self-destructive.

I’d prefer my child to be asocial, and rude rather than not being able to recognize and respect her own emotion. For her own psychological and personality health.

That’s what i dislike about the Norwegian, you stop to know what’s good or bad, right or wrong as long as they look all nice and polite.



I’m reading a series of tellings from families with kid having cancer (mostly in the brain) from Human of New York. These stories changed my life as well as so many thousands others who are weeping and grieving for these parents and kids.

The parents say, and the doctors say, and sometimes the kids say. The kids are the most calm, the parents the most in pain, and the doctors the most desperate. I could almost live in their lives, feel their stress, and hold their hands. I see clearer once more why I couldn’t tolerate living in Vn. I’m not built to withstand so much heartbreaking. My sensitivity urged me to run away from pain and stress, like a flight-or-fight instinct. Up to now, I mostly chose to flight.

I read about cancer, and the short answer is: we don’t know so much and so there’s not so very much we can do about it. It’s scary to think that those unfortunate people, the difference between them and me is mere bad luck. How do i know this won’t happen to me. I feel fear.

Fear always has something to do with our instinct.  Anything that touches upon our instinct stirs up tremendous impact. I have some big fear that I have been trying to push away as far as i could, fooling myself that one day I’ll deal with it, but not now. I know it’s foolish, but telling myself i don’t have the capacity. There are smaller fear which I’m trying to do something with.

The most fearsome thing is fear itself, I know. There are all kind of advice, like mindfulness, living in the moment, bla bla bla. But it’s only true to some aspects. You can’t take it completely literally. You still need to think about the future, still need to consider ‘what if..’ option. You still need to accept FEAR as a part of your life. And to cope with fear, you need COURAGE. Where to find courage? I need to look inward back into myself.

Isn’t it so true, the worst enemy of us is just ourselves. It’s like cancer, your own cells are killing you. And nothing can stop it, because it’s the most powerful thing- things that come from within.

We used to attach so much stability to the wrong things, like a big house, a good job, steady routines, certificates, things quantifiable and measurable. Because we can see them, touch them, we use our 5 senses to cope with them. We think they’re the sturdy frames that protect our lives. But it’s the invisible, abstract things that you can only sense with the 6th sense, that you can only detect with fragile means like ‘feelings’, they can sweep our life away. And all of a sudden, all that stable house with roof and pillar, that car with such and such engine, that title, and bla bla bla, they vanish into thin air. Fear encompasses you, because fear is all the thing that has no shape, no money value, that’s invisible but possesses you. And you can not fight the unknown or the invisible. We’re blind men in the world of fear.

From times to times, I understand why people thought up religion in the world. Because we need something beyond the material things to salvage us from our fears. I wish religion could do more than giving such a soothing psychological effect, but i know just as well that it couldn’t.

So up to now, my only gain from these horrible cancer stories is at what i often see as a normal life, how life is supposed to be, is in fact many’s greatest dream. I’m simply living people’s dream – people who can’t walk, can’t see, can’t have peace in their mind, can’t enjoy watching their healthy children. And what i can do to deserve living their dreams, maybe is to be grateful, to be a decent person and give back a little to life. This way I’m seeing them not as ‘the others’ but a part of my life. And by this, I’m connecting to my own fear. Being an introvert – who easily gets closed up in their own world of fears, it’s a small step to go out of my shell, and and it’s a good thing, for my own sake.


The other end

Been reading about children with cancer on Human of New York so far. It makes me think of course about death. I think thinking about death is a normal thing, not that only depressed people think of death.

We’re all marching towards our own deaths, so it’d be strange to not, at some moment, stop and think about this destination. Death is a part of life, so it’s fine to think of it just as we’d think of buying house, having kids, they are all parts of life, and they deserve to be treated equally.

Thinking of death makes clear to me how to live the rest of time I have left. Am I wasting my time while my clock is ticking? Sprinkling too much energy on petty stuffs rather than focus on what’s the important things. And then come the question what’s the important things to focus on. Most don’t know. Most of the time we’re living in ambiguity, trying to figure out meaning of our life.

Those people who are fighting with cancer don’t have this problem. They know they have maybe some years, maybe some months. They have a hard deadline and not so much future, so suddenly things got clear to them what they want in their life, once they know they will not have the time for it any more. Of course all want to have a long life, to eat all the good food, visit all the exotic places, become someone, have a terrific career, read some masterpieces, etc. But if you can’t have a long life, then do live a short life. Feel it. Be real. Don’t fake even just to stay strong. Because this dying one need to feel the connection with the real you. In these short moments they have left.

I finished Anna Karenina not long ago. The lasting impression is also about death. Death by itself is an ugly and brutal thing, yet not always we comprehend it. Death can be deemed to be revenge, relief, whatever. But by itself, it is the stop of your existence. So ask: do i want to stop to exist? It’s a different question from: do I want to stop to suffer? Sometimes we mistake these questions for each other. For Anna, she realized it only the moment she was lying across the rail, too late to reserve her decision. For her, ‘if I kill myself, he’ll be sorry.’ And it’s the fun of seeing him sorry that motivate her to die. But death is more than just the fun of seeing some vicious one sorry. Fun is a part of life. She’s already on the other side.

Aware of death gives you conscious living. Coping with death is a very emotional thing. Because it’s in fact coping with the whole of your life suddenly, all at once, and it’s overwhelming. But emotion is also a part of life. Death is out of its realm. And what’s why it’s powerful.





About academic

One of the best decisions i made for myself is stopping to be an academic person, at least formally.

Got reminded about this by skimming thru a conversation between my hubby and a PhD-or-so guy on Fb about refugees. His answer made me almost vomit.

Thinking back of my Master study, one of my principles was: if i browse an article /book/ paper for half a page and couldn’t make head or tail whatsoever is being written there, it means it’s just not worth reading. Seriously, if you are a responsible writer, you should bother enough to write in human-readable way. If not, either you are just a snobbish guy who cares more of making oh-i’m-so-fuckingly-PhD-impression, or you’re simply afraid if people really get what you mean, they’d slap you square in the face for being so idiotic.

I’m constantly amazed if academic people really have something to say, why don’t they just say it in a simple way enough that anyone can understand. It should, in fact, be an academic requirement, to prevent someone just trying to sell some elaborated cherry-topping, cream frosting shit. Isn’t it shooting in your own foot if you have great ideas but fail to communicate them. I’m sure, more often than not, such papers got published because noone got what’s going on but if it SOUNDS so complicated it must be so intellectually erudite beyond comprehensible level, which deserves publishing. That’s why many academic papers are written just to be covered with dust on the shelves. What a wasteful and meaningless way to spend some years of your life doing research that noone understand and noone will use.

But still it is the better option. Since noone really understand what the crap is being written, bad-willed politicians can twist so-called academic research to serve their propaganda, fooling people that some murderous social experiment are ‘scientifically proven’.

Simply, use small words to say great ideas, not vice versa.



To be sensitive


… everyday is a heart attack.

… you can get violently shaken by some random small things, like .. a nasty virus.

… pain becomes your frequent friend, yet you never seem to get comfy with it. You learn that you should not be so scared of pain, that most of the time it’s rather benign and you don’t need to avoid it at all cost. Because it’s not possible.

… making a decision is difficult. Making a decision that hurt or upset others is 100 times more difficult even though it hurts or upsets you otherwise.

… you become your own psycho-therapist.

… you need learn to draw a HARD line when it’s enough for you. That you have to stop to prioritize other’s feelings over yours.

… taking a silent alone walk, even though it’s short, even though it’s just around the house, helps to calm you down.

… fresh air and being outdoor, during stress, calm you down and put your feet back on the ground.

… your psyche are layered like an onion. You can shut down one layer which is getting overwhelmed and put another layer into use to help the layer in need.

… there is a conflict between what you like (withdraw) and to be alive (being with others).

… there is always the next problem to catch your attention and rob your energy before you’re done with this current one.







Greek myth painting

My love for Greek myth revived after reading them to Nhim. Difference is now i have Google and can stay up late. And since those characters are all nude, and rather erotic, i have even parent guidance.

The nymph which turn into bay tree, pursued by Apollo.
Danae – mother of Perseus and the golden rain
Andromeda -saved by Perseus

Love the story of Hades and Persephone but can’t find any good painting.

Hades and Persephone.

Hades’s capture is such a typical genre. It repeats in so many forms, from the Beauty and the Beast to Eric and Christine. It’s so patriarchal and at the border of Stockholm syndrome. Yet it has its own dark, toxic charm that is irresistible. That is: the struggle between masculinity and femininity is also their very attraction.

Fiori and the unknown best friend

I didn’t know that i am someone’s best friend.

Sounds sweet but in fact a bit horrible.

Fiori is a beautiful Eritrean woman. Her daughter and Nhim are best friends. They play whole day together in kindergarten. Everyday. And that’s not enough. Before going home, they need to decide who will visit whom today. ‘Today’ means the rest part of the day. Often one day Nhim visits Hermela, the next day opposite. Eventually Fiori and I see each other almost everyday as we come and pick up our kid.

But i never thought i’m her best friend.

We didn’t know each other for long, and mostly things goes around the kids. Her Norwegian is not good, we don’t speak English to each other because her English is also not that good. So i can’t say i have exchanged very much info with her. I don’t confide in her and she doesn’t in me. How come i could be her best friend if we don’t know so much about each other.

Maybe it’s just something is wrong with the way i see what ‘best friend’ is. Or maybe not ‘wrong’ but ‘different’ from the way she perceives of ‘best friend’. Well, i mean it’s an honor to be regarded as best friend. I just don’t figure out how it’s possible that i’m somebody’s best friend.

I had a few that i considered best friends in my life previously. In my teen and student years, while the personality are still more flex. In my primary school, best friend was the one i played with the most, like Nhim and Hermela now. Just enjoy each other’s company.

In my secondary school, best friend jumped to the next level. I was a teenager, and i practically adored them. It was almost close to worshiping. It was nearing the kind of attachment you have in a relationship, only without attraction. Maybe this time coincides with the time i dwelled quite much in attraction to boys, and best friend was just a kind of contrasting to opposite sex attraction. When i liked some boy, i tried extremely hard to not make visible to anyone. But best friend was somehow a safer sanctuary where i could measure how much acceptable my attraction to that boy was. I didn’t dare to confide even in the best friend. I was very shy.

Anyway, best friend was when i was very interested on the personality of that friend, her opinions shapes mine, her world was a (big and important) part of my world. And there was a lot of dedication involved. I read that deep friendship does pave the way to deep relationship later in life. That’s why I’m happy Nhim has such a deep friendship with Hermela.

But apparently i have none of such with Fiori.

Actually i realized just today i have stopped to have such kind of need. Maybe it’s gone with the teen years. maybe now that I have my husband and he has taken place of the best friend, as I confide the most in him. Or maybe I have learnt to become my own best friend. Maybe I have learnt to doubt too much and abandoned the need of a best friend.

People still have best friend even when they’re married and old, don’t they. Strangely I don’t feel i have that urging need anymore. It’s kind of I’m relaxed enough to appreciate the relationship but I learn to don’t clutch them close anymore. I let them go, if life separates us. And say thank you, you’ve made a part of my life.