Back to English now! Since I’ve had a quite a lot of free time lately, I’ve started to paint a little bit again. So I thought I’d share what I made and some of my thoughts behind it.
The painting on the left is a self-portrait I made last weekend. It had been quite a while since the last time I used acrylic paint – it feels so different from watercolour, more like a getting-your-hands-dirty feeling, if that makes sense. I think making self-portraits can be very nice and consoling (I think I got that idea from Frida Kahlo), but you have to be in the right mood for them. For the this one, I was inspired by the American painter Winston Chmielinksi: his colours are often very bright and I liked that idea. I like how it turned out, although I also think it maybe looks a little bit too perfect, as if nothing was left to chance.
The right one is a little watercolour painting that I made back in September when I was listening to the audiobook of The Serious Game by Hjalmar Söderberg. I heard that they were going to show the film adaptation at Film Fest Ghent, and I wanted to read the book first, because I figured I would get more out of the film that way. However, since it was quite a long book and I wasn’t even sure if I could get my hands on a paper copy so quickly, I decided to go for the audiobook. I really liked the film, by the way: it was nice and intimate and sort of dynamic, and there were a lot of nice details. Whenever I’m listening to an audiobook, I enjoy doing things like painting or crocheting, especially when autumn’s coming around (even though it sometimes takes up so much concentration that I can’t focus on the book anymore).
The text says “dare to take up space”, which I think is a nice reminder to myself. You can interpret it in a physical way, and then I suppose it means that there’s no point in being ashamed of how you look – and that, to give an example, you shouldn’t apologize for being “fat” (according to the norms of society, that is), because why on earth should you apologize for something that is essentially just taking up space. If you wouldn’t take up space, you wouldn’t be at all – and everyone has the right to be, whichever way they are. Besides that, you can also interpret it in a more abstract, social way: to dare to say things, to do things and to be seen in social situations. A couple of months ago, I listened to Liv Strömquist’s episode of Sommar i P1, and she said that “to overcome shame is to give oneself an inner right to express oneself”, and I think that’s what people should do. That’s what I am trying to do.
I made another video. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to put this online, because on the one hand I think it’s kind of corny (although that might be because these kinds of things always sound corny in English), but on the other hand I do think it’s kind of nice to have some kind of a (concise) snapshot of how I see myself right now, because it’s nice to look back on later. And I don’t think you ever remember these kinds of things if you don’t document them. So well. I’m just putting this up. I hope you enjoy it.
Zoals jullie misschien al wel weten (of misschien ook nog niet) zit mijn laatste jaar als student in Gent er alweer op. In augustus maakte ik mijn thesis af en mijn kot leeg, en nu woon ik voorlopig weer thuis bij mijn ouders. Ik heb geprobeerd om zo veel mogelijk te genieten van mijn laatste jaar in Gent, en ik had me voorgenomen om de stad dit jaar wat beter te verkennen, maar natuurlijk komen er als je studeert altijd weer andere dingen tussen – en voor je het weet is het schooljaar alweer voorbij. Eigenlijk denk ik dat het altijd wel de moeite is om zo nu en dan wat tijd vrij te maken voor dit soort dingen, zelfs al denk je dat je geen tijd hebt, want dat zijn toch altijd de dingen die je bijblijven. In juli probeerde ik de schade nog een beetje in te halen, en maakte ik een fietstochtje naar de Bourgoyen (een natuurgebied waar je fijn kunt wandelen), maar verder had ik het zo druk met mijn thesis dat er van mijn andere plannen niet echt iets gekomen is. Natuurlijk kan ik nog wel eens terug naar Gent, maar dat is natuurlijk niet hetzelfde als wanneer je er woont – dat je gewoon wakker wordt, je fiets kunt pakken, en spontaan erop uit kunt trekken.
Daarom bij deze, mijn to-do-lijstje voor als ik ooit nog eens in Gent ga wonen (of gewoon voor als ik nog eens terugga). Toevoegingen zijn altijd welkom!
naar een museum gaan (niet dat ik dat nog nooit gedaan heb, hoor, kijk maar hier)
nog eens ergens koffie drinken
bloemen kopen op de zondagse bloemenmarkt
veel fietstochtjes maken (en daarmee bedoel ik meer dan drie)
naar de Blaarmeersen gaan
naar de Gentse feesten gaan
het Belfort beklimmen
feesten! (of op café gaan of zo)
Translation: I recently moved out of my student room, but there’s still a lot of things I’d like to do in Ghent – so I made a list of them, which includes going on bike tours, having a picnic and go to the flower market.
Hi people, time for a life update! Last week, I finally handed in my master’s thesis :) The title is “Barnboken som leksakslåda”, which means “The Children’s Book as a Toy Box” (ugh, that doesn’t sound nearly as good as it does in Swedish) and it’s about children’s books written by children. Even though children’s books are supposed to be directed to children in the first place, it’s usually adults who write them. So that’s why I thought it would be interesting to see if children’s books written by children reflected the same thematic and aesthetic ideas as the ones written by adults. Also, I thought it would be interesting to see what kind of literature children between 10 and 12 years old would produce, to see to what extent they’re aware of literary conventions.
As it turned out, most of the books reflected a lot of the typical aspects of children’s books, both traditional and modern, and they also played with them sometimes, for example by mixing different genres. They had themes like desert islands, doors to fantasy worlds, and there were also a couple of problem-oriented books on themes like bullying. The most striking difference with children’s books written by adults was that the distinction between children and adults wasn’t as sharp as it usually is. A lot of times, the protagonists in children’s books kind of oppose themselves to adult ideas and rules (think of Pippi Longstocking ;)), and leave home to go on their own adventure, but that wasn’t exactly the case in these books. For example, there was one book where the parents and the children went on an adventure together and never returned home.
I mainly chose this subject because I wanted to explore the theoretical background of children’s books a little more. Even though I also wrote about children’s books in my bachelor thesis, I didn’t really study them from that perspective. It was really interesting to find out things like how the concept of childhood (just like the modern ideas about family and motherhood) didn’t really exist before the 18th century, because there simply wasn’t enough prosperity — and how child readers often have a preference for pulp literature and why that’s totally fine. So now, I just have to wait for my results!
Well hello, here I am again! Last week, I made another weekly vlog. I decided to do it in Dutch again, because it does feel a little bit more spontaneous that way, but of course I made sure to include English subtitles. Also, if you do speak Dutch you can put on the subtitles for the parts in Swedish. Hope you like it! :)
PS: In case you speak Swedish, here’s the recipe I mentioned.
Yaay, I handed in my last paper! I finished my bachelor thesis a couple of weeks ago, but I still had to write one more paper for my Swedish literature class (luckily, this one was a lot shorter, but it still took more time than I expected). So now I have vacation until the 20th of September! I hadn’t told this before, but I decided that I’m going to do the Master in Scandinavian studies as well, because this year only made me feel like more, and I wasn’t able to say goodbye to Ghent just yet.
I didn’t just spent these last couple of weeks reading and writing, though. Last week, Tysje, who is studying photography at the KASK in Ghent, asked me if I wanted to be a model in a photo shoot for her master’s project. So I took the train to a tiny little village in East Flanders and we spent the whole day shooting in this beautiful, beautiful house where her aunt lives (I wouldn’t mind living in a house like that either!). It was really fun to hop about in the house barefoot and try all these different clothes and poses. So what do you think of the results?
Guess what I did last week? I handed in my bachelor thesis! Now I don’t usually write about my school work on my blog, but since I’ve been talking about it before and I’m actually quite proud of it, I thought I’d share this. It’s written in Swedish, but in English, the title would be something like: “I wish somebody would write a story about the people who warm up the heroes afterwards.” An analysis of gender stereotypes in Tove Jansson’s Moomin books. Tove Jansson was a Swedish-speaking Finnish children’s book author, illustrator and painter, and she’s mostly famous for her books about the Moomins, which she wrote and illustrated herself. There’s also a tv series that’s based on the books, which you might have seen if you grew up in the 90s like me.
In my thesis, I compared the gender stereotypes in two of the Moomin books: Trollkarlens hatt (Finn Family Moomintroll) and Trollvinter (Moominland Midwinter). What I found out was that in Finn Family Moomintroll, the characters were portrayed pretty stereotypically, although this may also be interpreted as irony at some points, whereas in Moominland Midwinter, the characters were breaking the gender stereotypes. Moomin is probably the most complex character: he is very sensitive but also smart, and he loves adventure, but sometimes he just wants to be safe at home. This probably explains why he, along with Little My, who doesn’t care one bit about what other people think of her, and Too-ticky, who’s very dreamy and philosophical and questions basically everything, is one of my favourite characters.
So, that’s how things ended with my thesis. I thought it was interesting to write about a literary subject for a change. Even though I’ve written two of these papers before, I feel like I have learned a lot during the process of writing this one, and it was the first time I actually enjoyed it. So tell me, have you ever read the Moomin books or watched the series?
Hey, it’s me again! :) I feel like I’m drowning in all the papers and presentations I have to make (don’t worry, I’m still enjoying it!), but last week I found some time to film this room tour. I hope you like it!
PS: if you want to know what my room looked like three years ago, click here!