Monthly Archives: December 2012

My 2012 highlights

Another year of blogging is over and frankly, I was quite surprised when I received a report from WordPress by email letting me know how my blog had done. I never received such a report with my earlier blog which no longer exists, nor with this one last year, so I figured that only the blogs that do well, or get more than a certain number of hits received one. The report told me my blog had 6000 views in 2012 from 99 countries. Americans, Brits and Norwegians are my most avid readers. My most read post was, not surprisingly, my Blindness and dating post which I know is linked to from Action for blind people in the UK. I know, it sounds like a shady porn site, but it is a very innocent organization helping the blind, so I will thank my friend Kiesha for linking it and say sorry at the same time for not having written more for her wonderful magazine at http://www.styleable .co.uk

My year started with a break-up. Those who have read my blog since the beginning may recall me mentioning an Italian boyfriend. I didn’t write about the break-up, because I was the one who ended it and I wanted to respect his feelings. But though we may be over, my love and passion for Italy has, if anything increased. I’ve got a few good Italian friends in Oslo so I get to practice the language, and I was back in Florence where my ex comes from to visit friends I made there. I sincerely hope I get to live at least part of my life in Italy in the future.

In February, I started writing a novel. I won’t say too much about it, but I’ve always wanted to be a novelist and I had all the time in the world to make a start. It was hard. Both because writing well is difficult and because I chose to write in Norwegian. I did this both because I hadn’t written anything except e-mails in Norwegian for the past few years and I wanted to get to grips with my mother tongue again. Also, should the novel be released, it has a bigger chance of selling well in Norway since the market is smaller. And if someone wants to publish it and it sells, I will personally translate it to English. I had to put the first draft aside when I started studying, but I read through it a couple of weeks ago and realized it’s not so bad, so I’ve started the editing job which so far, is going well. It probably will take a while for it to be finished because I also have to start writing my master’s thesis soon, but I will do my best to make my book a priority when I have free time.

In June, I participated in a designer project which was a lot of fun. There were four groups of designers who were going to design something new for someone who had a disability. My group didn’t win, but we designed a professional network where designers could get in touch with disable person in order to make their products user friendly. The design bit itself, was in the website and how we laid out the project. The winning idea, was very similar to our own, almost identical, but we didn’t communicate with the other groups, so that was just random. I worked with people from Norway Germany, and England and it was three hectic days with very little sleep and a lot of fun. Later that month, I went to Florence, which was 95% lovely in every way and 5% “Damn, I wish I had a boyfriend here still so I could move here.”

It was in the summer, that I lost my faith. It happened gradually and it took me a long time to confess it even to myself. As my readers know, I spent a few posts ranting about Christianity and how oppressing it was etc. I haven’t really felt the need to do that since then. I am at peace with not yet having quite arrived at what I believe in although I will always keep values like the golden rule. I doubt I’ll ever get into a religion, but that I will be like many Norwegians, with one foot in the human ethics, and the foot of tradition in the church. I could write page up and page down about what my definition of God is, but it’s still something I’m trying to figure out.

In August, after a boring, very boring, July, I was happy to start university. I still think I chose the right course and I miss seeing my classmates every day now that we’re on a Christmas break. I haven’t failed any subjects. I have also not received the grades I want, but I am thinking it has more to do with how I present things rather than my knowledge of the subject, because I have read everything, and been to all the lectures. I will be improving this in 2013 and I will do very well on my thesis, I’ve decided! Becoming a news reader and reporter with the student radio station, has also been a great experience and I hope to do more for them throughout 2013. I also made some good friends there whom I love working with!

In October, I got my new flat. For the first time ever, I love staying in the house. But without all the visitors and dinners I have served and will keep on serving, it wouldn’t be so exciting. Great to live near the underground and the forest at the same time!

Christmas was nice and filled with family and good food. I got many gifts including a rice cooker, a printer, African jewelry and sweets. But the most wonderful thing this Christmas is that I got my wonderful, handsome, intelligent and beloved friend back into my life. Remember the one who said I was on a slippery slope and whom I wrote a long post about because I was so upset? It’s all behind us now and I’m so happy he’s back. All I need to do now is convince him to want to marry me! 

Tonight, I’m having two highschool friends over. I’ll cook a Thai green curry and we’ll drink some nice wine and probably chit chat all night.

I wish all of my readers a happy new year and I thank you for making me want me to continue blogging by reading and commenting. I especially want to thank Michelle because you got me writing that fictional story about Tony and Jenna. It feels like I know you now. Elisabeth for her precise comments and being my real life friend and reader making it possible for me to get a lot of things done that otherwise would be tricky. And to Bruce. And Bruce, if you read this, please reply and tell me where your new site. I have to admit I haven’t read much blogs this autumn and was puzzled to n I couldn’t find it when I wanted my Bruce fix. You have been great in my time of leaving my Evangelical faith.
And to the readers who are silent, or have commented only a few times, you are equally valuable to me, so thanks to you too.

All in all, 2012 has not been a bad year, although it’s been boring at times with little happening. But moving to Norway is something I’m glad I’ve done and I know 2013 will be quite adventure filled. My first adventure is visiting a friend in Monaco in only 16 days. Bring it on! 2013 starts tomorrow, so I guess I’ll be blogging more soon, in 2013!

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Valid taste

It was when I was a bible study group leader in London. Us leaders where having a meeting to discuss how our groups went and seeing as we were a bunch of young women, we talked about all sorts of irrelevant things as well. “I had a dream about you,” one of the girls said. “Ok?” I was naturally curious, and wanted to know what the dream involved. “You had been healed and got your sight back.” She began. “And a few days later, you showed up at church and you’d had a complete makeover.” I was fine with the dream so far. It was, afterall a dream. “How did I look?” I asked intrigued. “First of all, you had straightened your hair and cut it Rihanna style.” I drew my fingers through my long curly hair and laughed a little. “And my clothes” “they were completely different and you were wearing different make-up. Oh and your hair was Rihanna’s red colour too.” “That’s funny.” I smiled. “Do you know what Linn?” she said suddenly. “I don’t think you would look the way you do if you could see.” “What do you mean?” I asked the smile dying on my lips. “I just think you’d look different.” “How do you mean different?” You would maybe straighten your hair,” “I like my curls, always have,” I interrupted. “I think your style would be totally different too,” she went on. “Is there something wrong with the way I look now?” I asked feeling simultaneously insecure and quite angry because I thought she was being indirectly rude. “Because even though you may not think so, I have certain tastes and I am aware of what I like and fashion in general.” “Well, I just think your taste might be different.” I can’t remember whether the conversation continued after this, but I was a little upset and felt that people assumed I dressed and looked how I did because someone else told me it was nice. Sure, I got some help with finding matching colours while shopping, but I chose the kind of clothes I wanted and because my mum spent a lot of time straightening my hair when I was younger, I knew that I preferred my hair curly both because it was easier and I felt better with my hair curly. I also happen too have a rare hair colour and my hair has both got a little red plus honey yellow in it, making it shine like gold when the sun’s shining on it and I have been asked how much I paid for that colour, so apart from one year in highschool, I haven’t wanted to colour my hair.

My taste in men believe it or not, was also challenged once by a former friend. Our friendship is unfortunately over, but not because of this issue. I have always been more attracted to Caribbean, Latin American and Southern European men, not in that order, but equally. I don’t know exactly why, but those are the type I tend to fall for. I like those cultures too, though I think the primary reason I’m attracted to men from those parts of the world more than others, have something to do with types of voice, how they tend to smell and how they behave. Smell and hearing, that’s too senses which determines how I find them attractive. But according to my friend, I would probably be more attracted to guys who look more like me, blond hair and blue eyes, if I could see. “Because that’s how it is. It’s scientifically proven that people who look alike are more started to each other,” she said.Sight, that’s only one sense to determine initial attraction. So wouldn’t my two senses technically be more reliable?

The point is, that I, as a blind person have my tastes exactly how a sighted person has his or her taste. Our tastes are shaped by both our personality and our environment. That is as true for me as it is for someone who can see. And what if I got to see one day and my tastes stayed exactly the same? I would still love dressing in a variety of colours like I do now and wear jewelry. I probably wouldn’t use so much make-up, because I don’t like the sensation on my skin plus the less foundation I use, the better my skin keeps. And what if I remain blind, can my taste change? Of course. Taste changes all the time. Without sight necessarily needing to play a part.

A conservative liberal, or liberally conservative?

I am strongly opposed to anything labeled conservative. To me, the word does not describe traditions, but anything I don’t want the society to be like. Traditions are something positive, for the most part at least, but conservative to me, makes me think of something which stagnates societal developments, or even undevelops a society. If anyone asks me where I stand politically, I’d say liberal and forward thinking. It is not necessarily the same as being socialist, although most political parties in Norway have socialist elements due to our very ingrained socialist culture. So I can’t entirely escape from being a socialist which is ok. I am a socialist though I’m not of the red hot kind. On the surface of things, I’d say that liberals are more accepting than conservatives. But is that necessarily the case? Am I, as a liberal, not being just as conservative as a conservative by not liking the majority of what the conservatives stand for?

What got me thinking about this issue was an episode of the radio show This American Life which was released two days before this year’s elections. In case you are not familiar with the show, it is a show which comes out of Chicago, broadcast on Public Radio International, and each week presents a theme and gives you stories on this theme. They can be all kinds of things from fictional stories and interviews, to theatre performances and investigative reports. The themes also vary each week and can be anything from what goes on inside middle school, to stories of people who almost died, but came back to life. Anyway, this episode was among other things, talking about how the red (democrat) voters had no understanding for the blue coloured (republican) voters. No matter how much some of them discussed, the biggest agreement they seemed to arrive at, was that they had to agree to disagree. I would, like 93% of Norwegians, have been a Democrat had I been American. Because I don’t just dislike what the Republicans stand for, but, and I think a large majority of Europeans would share my sentiments on this: the Republicans are so blue coloured that it’s hard to grasp how they can have any supporters at all. I could immediately understand therefore, how the two sides couldn’t or even didn’t want to understand each other.

When I one day have children and when they grow up, I will be fine if they’re gay, choose to marry outside their race (they may themselves even be mixed), choose their own faith or religion, although that is a very sensitive topic for me. I would let’s say, pretty much accept anything except if they became Republicans, or the non-American equivalent. What does that make me? A conservative liberal, or a liberal conservative?

Meet Romeo

They say that you learn something new every day. This month, I have learned about a new kind of man. New is perhaps not the right word, because this kind of man has existed since men could be called men I guess. But this month, I became aware of this kind of man. I should give him a name so that I don’t have to write “This kind of man” every time. I am going to call him Romeo. Why? Read on and you shall see.

Romeo is handsome. Of course he is handsome. He wouldn’t be Romeo if he wasn’t handsome. He can be blond, dark, black, white, Latino, Asian, it doesn’t matter really, but he is so handsome that looking at him almost hurts the eye. No, he is not movie star handsome. He does not possess that sickly boy band looks, meaning just pretty and no character. No. Everyone of Romeo’s features have character. A peculiarity perhaps that gives the pretty boy face an interesting twist, such as a Roman nose, or eye brows that would look too thick on anyone else. Or it could be that he has many features that despite not being perfect in themselves create a breath taking symmetry.

Romeo’s eyes are magical. They don’t only reflect his great wisdom and intelligence, but they tell his life story, mirror yourself as the most beautiful woman who ever walked the earth, give you a sensation that they read your inner thoughts and pierce right through your soul. No matter what colour they are, Romeo’s eyes are always like that.

Romeo has a nice, no wait, and explicitly lovely voice. It can be deep and soothing, or a little higher and cheerful. It’s still the kind of voice you could listen to forever while gazing into his handsome face and beautiful intelligent eyes.

Romeo smells so good, that all you want to do is to draw closer to draw in his scent of Hugo Boss, coco butter, Giorgio Armani, or whatever he is wearing.

Romeo’s body is perfection. Tall and thin, shorter and more muscular, it’s always perfect. He is never too thin, never too fat and his skin is always nice too. Romeo can even be Romeo if he happens to be a little hairy. You can’t help but imagine what he would look like dressed in shorts and with the upper body bare and gleaming of oils, accentuating the perfection in his proportions.

Romeo is intelligent. He is perhaps a university lecturer or a PHD student. He might be a journalist who produces hard hitting documentary which has put his life in danger. No matter what he does, he is always highly educated and even if you don’t want to, you can’t help but admire him.

But Romeo is not only intelligent. He has a social IQ which is so high that he need only take one look at a person to know how to behave around them. Because of this, he will make you feel like a real beauty even if you know you’re not. He will make you feel special and being around him will probably make you feel happy, excited and a little important. When you are with Romeo, you are a winner. You can take on the world and your world is without limits.

Romeo is charming. You just can’t help but being charmed by him even if you try hard not to be. He knows what to say and when to say it, and because he has used his social intelligence to realize that you hate sweet talkers, he doesn’t do that. He converses in a very intelligent way

Romeo’s life is interesting. There is always something going on which makes you feel a little boring in comparison.

Romeo has a lot of friends. Most of them are women. Most of them have fallen hopelessly for him, like you, and are either current flirts or ex flirts who haven’t yet realized they are exes. You hate all the stuff his female friends write on his facebook wall because, despite your best efforts, you have joined the Romeo fan club. You also realize that the kinds of women who surround him are women you probably never measure up to. They are famous documentary makers, artists, writers, professors, or musicians. Mind you, they are not all famous, but no matter what you yourself have done in life, they are competition and might always make you feel lesser than them.

Romeo is not a calculating player. However, his good looks, charms and intelligence have positioned him well in life. He may not be the one to two/time a woman, but will have many women who all think they are the one without him never having said so. Romeo does fall for women and want to settle down eventually, but there is just so much to do. Another long voyage to set out on, another scientific discovery to make and he just can’t, not now. Romeo has feelings like the rest of us. He has up days and down days. But his brilliance is always made known to him by his many female fans. A glance across the street, a comment on an obscure Facebook status that would be stupid if it wasn’t for the fact that Romeo had written it, a coffee with a female friend whom he suspects, or knows, is crazy about him.

Romeos. There might not be many of them, you’re damned if you meet one. Let’s hope you are lucky enough to recognize a Romeo so you can save yourself the heart ache following in his wake.

The world in skin colours

One day, my partially sighted friend from Sierra Leone had the following status on Facebook: “I fail to understand how blind people can be racist. They don’t see the skin colour.” I personally fail to understand how anyone can be racist. The colour of your skin has no effect on what kind of a person you are. The culture around you and your experiences however, do. I think racism is equally stupid to for example, discriminating people according to their eye or hair colour. But my friend’s status got me thinking and I wrote something along these lines in the comment field.

“It is very easy for a blind person to be racist. He or she may not be able to see your skin colour, but they can still have prejudices built into them from childhood. And they can figure out your skin colour from things like your name, nationality or accent.”

It turned into a very interesting discussion about how you really can tell a person’s skin colour as a blind person. Especially today when the world is so global. It took me a while to understand that my favourite comedian Russell Peters was Indian for example.

I dare say I’m fairly good at picking up what race people belong to. Black and white skin feels a little different and every racial group has slightly different voices from one another. My good friend and ex colleague at the BBC was quite shocked when I asked her if she by any chance had Indian parents. I can’t remember exactly why I asked this, but it could have been either because she asked me to guess what she looked like, or she talked about her boyfriend who had an Indian name. She herself had an International school kind of English accent and her name, both first and last, could pass off as European, so I can understand her shock. I told her that it was her voice “It sounds like a voice from India.”

But we don’t always get it right. One blind friend of mine, who happens to be a black girl from Uganda, asked me, after having known me for five minutes whether I was Chinese because I had a voice that sounded a little bit like I could possibly be a Hong Kong girl. And recently, when I was walking through campus, a young man started to talk to me, as students do. I was absolutely sure he must be Indian or Pakistani, because he had that kind of Urban city accent most countries and languages have. In Oslo, people who talk like that, tend to sound Pakistani. So I was very surprised when he shook hands with me and introduced himself as Stian, a very Norwegian name.