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It was back to school today for most of the French children. My co-workers, the ones with children, came in to work a little later than usual, the dropping off had been done. Some of the kids went there for the first time, some were old enough to tell their parents to go to work or just get out of there and stop embarrassing them.

I honestly can’t remember any of my first days back after summer holidays. I just have a vague feeling of how I wanted to get back to school and my classmates. I suppose the fact that I usually had my birthday at school start helped blur the lines of what was a prioritised memory or not. I can’t say for sure.
Last week was my birthday and it wasn’t celebrated in any grand fashion at all. I got an extra kiss on my cheek from a colleague, I was taken out for a lovely dinner by my partner, and I got to hear my parents sing to me over a distance of approximately 3470 km.
 
 
Despite the fact that I turned thirty, which I hear is something most people dread, I was happy to finally leave my twenties behind me, to be closer to the age I feel in my mind.
Despite the even-ness and all the celebration that number should entail I was too distracted to really care. I was trying to pack as much and many of my belongings as I could into cardboard boxes and prepare for the end of the work week when I would get the keys to the house.
I’m here now, pretty much all installed. The first thing I conquered was the kitchen. I scrubbed it from top to bottom and filled it with things I love. I claimed it my own and have already managed to perform tiny, delicious wonders in it.
Most rooms are, if slightly empty with only an echo, habitable and unpacked. Going from a tiny flat to a big house without buying a large amount of new furniture does that I’ve noticed. It makes for a lot of free space. We’re not in a hurry. We like it here and want to stay for a while. There’s plenty of time to fill the rooms and decorate.
My home office is already starting to look great. I’ve found all the screws and bits to assemble my old desk that had been hiding in a closet these past three years. It is an inanimate object, I know, but I am convinced that it likes it better here than in the mould over in the old place.
All my books are unpacked but hardly in any organised fashion. I have huge stacks of them all over the desk. I’m thinking a few good bookcases is first on my to-buy list. If I had been handy enough I’d build them but I don’t have the tools and not enough know-how to figure out where to start. Perhaps I could ask someone for help, we’ll see.
 
It has been less than a week since my first full day here in the house and I have already forgotten most of the details. It sort of like going back to school. I knew I wanted to go, and it was fantastic when I finally got there. There’ll be no tests or exams this time but there will be challenges all the same. I have no idea what I should study for but I look forward to seeing what the future holds. Thirty is going to be a great year.
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So many months since I wrote here last but I’ll try to briefly recap some of the major events as best as I can.

January
held a large surprise in that I got a job offer, it was supposed to last for two weeks, then a month, and at the end of that month I was asked to stay until the end of the year. It is a job I’m still today learning to perform fully but I enjoy it very much and I feel that I’m making a difference. It doesn’t exactly make the world tremble of change but it creates a tiny shiver and I’m mighty proud of that minuscule undulation of good that I can actually do.
A cat came to visit, a very sick and undernourished cat. We took him in, we bathed, and healed, and fed, and loved him. He has been sharing our home for nine months now and our other fur babies have accepted him in the pride.

February
was all about work. Learning new things, trying to get everyone’s names right, getting used to a hundred cheek-kisses a day and so on. We had a big event where people from all our offices around the globe came over. There were meetings and greetings and I managed to charm the heck out of one or two people. Plus I got to speak, albeit briefly, twice to the CEO.
I saw, for the first time, a picture of my best friend’s baby bump. Living far away was a little more difficult than usual then.

March
The beginning of March was spent in bed with the flu. After that I spent a lot of time thinking up food things that I could make since I had an income and I was finally able to relax about my finances. After being unemployed for several years it was strange to get used to spending. It was very odd and wonderful to not have a completely empty kitchen at the end of the month.
An online friend published a book and I received a signed copy (Link to the book here)
I ate frog legs for the first time. I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t so bad. It tastes, not so surprising, like frog and it has a texture that is a mixture between fish and chicken.

April
Björn (my better half) threw his back out and was forced to stay at home and not move for a few days. Work related illnesses at 32yo seems a bit too early.
I was asked if I wanted to be a godmother to my best friend’s baby. I said yes.

May
A beautiful baby girl was born up in the north of Sweden. My mind circulated about news and worrying about her as she spent many of her first days of life in the hospital.

June
Saw Queens of the Stone Age live. The sound was awful but the evening was great.
I studied a lot of German and I worked, worked, worked.

July
I wrote a story. We decided that enough is enough and it was time to look for a safer, bigger, and better place to live.
The flat became a health hazard after, as we found out much later, a water leak next door but the owner of our current home refuses to let us move out earlier. All walls have been attacked by mould, things have been ruined, the air is often uncomfortable to breathe.

August
Took a trip to Sweden to become a godmother to the happiest and most wonderful child I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. Saw my family, and my best friend and her family. Sang, and ate, and celebrated my birthday a little early together with them.

And here we are, back from our short vacation trip. We just found a house that we love and will soon move into.
Reading through my diary notes from the past nine months has been very interesting. It feels like so much has happened and at the same time so little.

I hope it was interesting in some way to hear, if briefly, what has happened over here and I hope you will be around to hear about my upcoming creative projects and musings.
Until next time, my friends.


I received a challenge and an award from the lovely BubbleBoo, over here, called Honest Scrap award. Thank you so much! In accepting this I am to reveal ten random things about myself, so let’s see how that goes.

– I would love to bungee jump but have a bad case of vertigo so I would probably faint before I actually managed to get high enough to actually jump. If I got the chance, I would really want to try it (along with a few other adrenalin inducing and probably very stupid activities)

– I dance and sing when I cook.

– One of my personal goals is to one day consider myself fluent in at least eight languages.

– My first crush was a bus driver named Markus. I was six years old and he drove me and my brothers home from school every day.

– My biggest pet peeve is native English speakers who can’t spell… I know it’s probably harsh, but I can’t help it.

– I think fish tanks and Kate Bush are two of the scariest things in the world. No, I’m not joking.

– I never gamble for money.

– I have dyscalculia which is like dyslexia, but with numbers and mathematical concepts and sequences. This gave me a lot of problems in school when I didn’t even know it existed. It takes me forever to write down phone numbers and addresses correctly since I need to check them many times and I can never trust my mental calculations of costs when I’m out shopping.

– I love red hair. The more ginger the better.

– I always laugh out loud when I write it online. (but my behind doesn’t literally fall off during lmao and neither do I clean the floor while rofl)

The ten bloggers I pass along this Honest Scrap award to have been chosen because of your openness and honest writing:

Tales of a city
Red Rawlins
Astrid Paramita
Cat’s Wire
The First Footsteps of Poetry
Quo Vadis Cowboy
Northern Light
Broken Cricket
Emma

and back to BubbleBoo, because she really deserves it.

A “real” post will hopefully come as early as tomorrow. I’m feeling inspired but I can’t promise anything, to be honest.

I wasn’t really planning on writing a blog post. I was happily ignoring almost all forms of communication when I suddenly realized that there’s nothing I’d rather do right now than to talk to someone.

I had not been very interested in internet communities and never really had the time for them until I moved to France. I understood that to stay sane I had to be able to get some type of breathing space. I had to find somewhere I could talk to people without having to struggle with insufficient vocabulary and lack of knowledge of grammar. Since I lacked a natural gateway to meet new (English or Swedish speaking) people in real life, I joined a few social network sites.

I wonder if it’s when you have no one to talk to, that’s when you need it the most and when you’ve gotten the habit of keeping to yourself it can be very difficult to share. Just a thought.

Much too often I hear people saying that they don’t like being alone. I know what they mean but I can help thinking that the definition of the word “alone” should be changed somehow. I know many people don’t agree with me. But since I’m the one writing here I will take my chance and throw my opinion out in the open anyway.

Being alone is a marvelous thing. No disturbing sounds and noises, you can listen to whatever music you want or just have it quiet, you can dance around in your home unseen (as long as you pull the curtains shut so you won’t put up a show for the neighbors) if that’s what you feel like.

I work (and function in general) best on my own, undisturbed. I have the ability to concentrate fully on the task at hand and switch to doing something else if inspiration pulls me in a different direction. I love the freedom it gives me to not have to adapt too much to those around me.

Loneliness for me is a different thing, it’s a state of mind and the times I feel most lonely are the times I’m being ignored when looking for contact or when I’m in a place with people that I feel that I have nothing in common with.

Sometimes the loneliness penetrates my alone time and I start brooding and worrying. I guess it happens to us all from time to time but it’s never an enjoyable experience. That’s when I should try to seek refuge with my online friends, but for some reason I stop myself, thinking they have enough worries in their lives and I need not add another. I have been trying to break this, but old habits die hard.

However, I am determined that alone physically is not the same thing as being lonely.

And to those who feel lonely I just want to give you a hug and say: You are not alone

The connection between what I create and how I feel is so closely knit that I can’t function properly without creating. Those of you who’ve known me for a little while know that I recently lost someone who was closely linked to my family. R was not a family member but so close in my heart that his departure was a significant loss and a terrible blow to my wellbeing.

I would describe myself as a positive person, I smile constantly and take great pleasure in the little things in life like climbing a tree, watching the sunrise, and getting lost while out walking. But sometimes a mood strikes me and the silly things can’t lift my spirits, no matter how hard I try.

I haven’t been on this earth a terrible amount of years and I would never want to compare what I have been through with anyone else but I think I can fairly say that it’s not been the easiest. The only people I call my family is my parents and my brothers and despite how dysfunctional we all are we can stand to be in each other’s company. The rest of my relatives are just connected to me genetics, not by love or closeness and I do not talk to them. I’ve found myself in relationships marred by mental and physical abuse and managed to get out of it with the majority of my soul intact. I’ve encountered drugs and violence in so many forms that looking back at it I feel like I should be at least twice as old to have had time for it all. It feels surreal to know that over ten people that have played a significant role in my life has died, only half of them by old age and/or sickness.

Death is an inevitable byproduct of life, it’s the only thing we can ever be certain of. I don’t mean to be morbid or depressing, I’m only trying to reassure myself that it’s natural and it’s one of the few things that we all have in common.
The loss of a person you love, is on the other hand one of the most unnerving and emotionally disturbing things one can go through. A sudden void, the lack of a voice and a presence. An event that you can never be fully ready for, even if the person is diagnosed with something mortal. There is no preparation.

Creativity is a complex thing. It’s fickle, fragile, forceful, fascinating, foolish and other fantastically suitable adjectives, not only those starting with an f. Creative is defined as being “marked by the ability or power to create” according to the Merrian-Webster dictionary.
My desire to be creative went away when R passed away. I still created things but I didn’t write any songs or stories, I didn’t sing and I didn’t draw. I kept away from the ways I usually pour out my feelings. Most of all I escaped into books, into the world of literature, where all things are imagined and if it gets too sad or scary I could just close the book and rest. I felt the need to press pause and get over the shock before I could process anything.

I’m ready to write now. I’m ready to sing. I’m back, with another hole in my Swiss cheese heart but I’m also stronger than ever.

Thank you for the support, it meant the world to me.

I’ve been thinking a lot about names. All my life actually. When I was just a little girl I didn’t see my name as something very significant, not until I started school and people, mostly kids my own age, remarked on how unusual my name was. I had already heard the story many times.

My mother had decided, at the age of sixteen, what her daughter would be named. She loved those names so much and she kept them in her heart for years. She got her first child when she was 24, a boy. He got strong, traditional names. One name from our mother’s side of the family, one from our father’s side and his first name from a very intelligent and industrious man that founded one of the most successful companies in Swedish history.

A year later they got another boy. He got two names from our fathers side of the family and my father suggested the name of his beloved, departed uncle, Bernard, for the first name. My mother cringed, she couldn’t name her son after a dog, so they chose another name that just felt better.

Two years later I came into the world. My mother was devastated, the names she had in her head for so many years just wouldn’t due. Two of the names were too common to have as a first name, all the girls the same age as me had those. The third name was her first name, so that was out of the question.

My father, who wisely enough thought it best to not interfere in the matter of my name, called me Q-ball, because of my lack of those downy little strands of hair my brothers had been sporting at birth. So Q-ball I was for a few weeks. My mother, horrified over the suggestion the midwife had given at my birth (and got the entire ward to call me while we were there,) tried desperately to find a suiting name.

The search was intense; books were devoured, friends were asked but nothing felt right. One name searching sessions took my mother to go through her records (yes, real records, not Compact Discs) and she found it. In between her countless albums of Stevie Wonder and the queens of disco lay a humble album with a smiling woman. I had a name.

There’s a feeling of identity in a name. Just imagine being called something else for an entire day.
I have many nicknames, pet names that my friends and family have given me. I have had occasions where I’ve used a different name, not because I don’t like my name, just as a part of a social experiment (long story.) I also avoid using my real name on the Internet but that’s more of a safety precaution.

I wonder how much a name forms you into the person you become. I got a few jeers and snide comments but I would never say I was bullied because of it. I’ve only met one woman with the same first name, she was thirty years older. I know there are more of us out there, but they’re all considerably older than I am. Did the fact that I had a very unusual name affect the way I looked at myself? I’ve always been singing, I can’t remember not doing it. Did the fact that I was named after a singer have any subconscious effect on my choices of education and career? To answer myself I say, no.

No matter how many different names I have had I’m still the same little Q-ball, although I must stress the fact that I have more hair on my head now.

Since this is one of my first blog posts here I thought an introduction was in order. I am a song writing/tune singing, amateur novelist and wannabe linguist. People ask me what I do for a living and to be honest it’s not easy for me to give an answer to that. Most of the time I answer that I’m a singer/songwriter, because that’s what I have always been and always will continue to do until the day someone decides to press mute (and then I will continue anyway).
To pay for my bills, on the other hand, I do various translating jobs and have just got involved with a small business to be their official photographer of online goods.

I was born in the north of Sweden in a little house in a big forest and has to days date moved 14 times, a fact that I blame on my traveling ancestors. My native tongue is Swedish and thanks to the Swedish educational system I started learning English at a young age and quickly became proficient in this. I was not terribly gifted in school so I was happy to discover that I was at least good at music and English. I also started studying German and Spanish but quit both classes for various reasons. Let me just say that a bad teacher can severely ruin the pleasures of learning.

After the normal run of school years I was tired of homework and exams and decided on a sabbatical year. I worked teaching little children to paint and sing and spent my days reading stories and playing, which was fun until it got to the end of the day and I had to go home to an empty apartment, without any friends, in a town I didn’t know. In hindsight the year passed quickly but I know it felt like an eternity. With my sabbatical year finished I couldn’t wait to get back to studying and I thirsted for singing something else than “Twinkle, twinkle” all day long. I applied to a Rock Musicians College and got accepted after auditions. Another year passed and I applied to study abroad, English speaking places only. I got accepted to two very good universities but chose the one in Scotland since they offered one-on-one instrument tutoring.

The following is complicated but please bare with me. I managed to understand the Scottish accent and got my diploma in Music Performance. I got myself a boring job as a switchboard operator for an international computer company, just so I could make enough money to get away from the constant rain I had endured during my years in Scotland. By a series of fortunate consequences I moved to France. I didn’t know a word of French before I arrived here less than two years ago and now I’m close to fluency level of understanding and speaking but in writing things are a little slower. But I am still learning and I enjoy it tremendously.

I’ve always found languages very interesting and my dad always told me that people will listen to you if you speak in their own language, both literally and metaphorically. I call myself trilingual plus extra and I try to constantly learn more in as many languages as possible. I’m not sure, but I suspect my love for languages is closely linked to my firm believes of the notion that music is a universal language that can speak straight to our hearts.

There you are, the factual me. If you want to learn more I guess you’ll have to stick around and read as I update.

Tack, thank you and merci for reading.