Kaleo – “Vor í Vaglaskógi” (Spring in Vaglaskógur).

   Hey people! 🙂 

    Today, let’s listen to a song in Icelandic. I believe Kaleo is one of the more popular Icelandic acts outside of Iceland, as I know quite a handful of people from other countries who like their music. I’ve known and quite liked Kaleo for years, but this particular song was recommended to me last year by SadiRose and I instantly liked it a lot and was happy to hear that they make music in Icelandic as well, as previously I thought they had exclusively English lyrics. This song was originally a love poem, which was then made into a song in the 60’s and sung by Vilhjálmur Vilhjálmsson who was a very famous singer in his home country. I think his version is also really nice but Kaleo’s speaks to me a lot more. I’m not sure who wrote the original poem, but both  Vilhjálmsson’s and Kaleo’s credits of this song credits on Spotify mention someone called Jonas Jonasson (which perhaps should be Jónas Jónasson if he was Icelandic). I just can’t seem to find any info on a poet with this name. The Vaglaskógur mentioned in the song is a forest in the north of Iceland. It seems that the YouTube video of this song includes some English subtitles, but for people like myself who are blind and don’t speak Icelandic, the translation is below: 

   The night is ours, spring in the wood of skies
We head to the heath with our tent, where the berries grow
Take me, dear friend to the mirth of yesterdays
Where our creek runs free and the birch will blow

Light in the mountains, scent from our dearest fountains
The wind is counting your hair in the light aglow

The dew comes forth, our valley is swept with peace
Our dreams come true, who sleep in the wood of skies
On the berry hearth, the last touch of sunlight dies
And the calm is deep where the quiet waters flow

Light in the mountains, scent from our dearest fountains
The wind is counting your hair in the light aglow

Light in the mountains, scent from our dearest fountains
The wind is counting your hair in the light aglow
The wind is counting your hair

Question of the day.

   What’s something you never want to do again? 

   My answer: 

   Have another cat. Not because I regret having Misha, but for a whole bunch of other reasons, First, I feel so attached to Misha that it would be unfair on that other cat, because I’d always want him to be like Misha and probably even if he was “better” than Misha in some respects, like being more cuddly, I wouldn’t be satisfied because I’d want him to be  Misha. Also it would feel similar to as if I decided to get myself another mum or another sister if Mum or Sofi died. A new cat would definitely be out of question if I no loonger lived with my parents, as I don’t think I’d be capable to take good enough care of it. Even if I’d move out of here and live more independently while Misha would still be alive, as much as that would be sad and heart-breaking and despite he’s officially my cat, I wouldn’t take him with me. I can’t imagine giving him his eye drops when he gets his eye problems, or locating and successfully cleaning his vomit, or keeping track of where he is so that he doesn’t go out. I know blind people who are so keen on having a cat that they hang a bell around their neck so that they can know their whereabouts, but sheesh, if it were you, would you really like to hear a ringing sound every time you move? I wouldn’t feel good torturing someone like that, just because I WANT a cat. And my other reasons are consistent with those of my family’s, who also feel the same about having another cat. While knowing Misha has been one of the best things that happened in my life, I think we all feel a sense of guilt towards him at the same time. Because, well, let’s just say it out loud, in the grand scheme of things, he’s quite clearly not happy with his life. A cat who cries like Misha does when he wants out can’t possibly be happy. He thinks he’d be happy if he was an outdoor cat, which, practically, is not the most viable option for a Russian blue who has no idea about outdoor life and has always been mollycoddled, spoilt and taken care of, not to mention has had very little contact with other animals and is very anxious by nature. He can act very courageous sometimes when interacting with seagulls through the window, but that’s as far as his courage goes. He’s not even used to dealing with as much stimuli of all sorts that are out there in the world, so it’s a bit as if you kept someone in isolation and sensory deprivation for years and then you just let him out free and expect to act sane and calm and know what he’s supposed to do. 

   It’s also not a viable option for a pure-bred cat owner. You don’t buy an expensive, pure-bred cat to let him roam around freely so that someone can steal him or a fellow feline can annihilate him. So why do you buy a cat? Good question. Well yeah, ‘cause I WANT! I’m no better than those people who hang a bell round their cats’ necks. I have quite conservative views on animals, at least for today’s standards. I am not a vegan, animal rights activist, ecologist or other  selfless tree hugger. Same about the rest of my family. But the longer we live with Misha, the more we feel like we’re not fair to him. Sure, if not us, someone else would have bought him and he’d still suffer. It’s difficult to think of a life scenario for him where he wouldn’t. But if we didn’t get him, we wouldn’t be contributing to it.

   If you don’t let him out, he cries his lungs out and everyone is sad, stressed out and frustrated to no end. If you do let him go in and out as he pleases, he isn’t safe. If you try to control it and let him out at a certain time, keep an eye on him and make sure nothing bad happens, he’ll stilll cry as soon as you get him back home. Autumns and winters are very much bearable – if you don’t go out too much and if it’s not too sunny – but springs and summers are more of a nightmare each year. Especially for my Mum who has to keep an eye on the door constantly so that no one leaves them open while going out. Misha wakes up with the sun and starts roaming around the house, stopping by every window and serenading it – the sun – mournfully at the top of his lungs. He doesn’t even get much sleep, because every opening of a window or door, every sound of someone going in and out, of a bird calling, of Jocky barking, of people talking outside, every breeze or sun warmth coming through the window wakes him up, so he’s constantly undersleeped and cranky and properly hyperactive. It’s impossible not to feel pity for him, but also his constant meowing and howling and crying drives people nuts so it’s also pretty much impossible not to snap out at him at some point, especially if you’re someone like my Dad, which doesn’t help him at all. Sometimes my Mum gives in to him and lets him out on a terrace, or is just so resigned and desperate for a bit of peace and quiet that she lets him go wherever and for how long he wants, and every single day he’d go further, until at some point he’d go so far that it would start to feel really dangerous and my parents wouldn’t be able to find him, until finally at some point it’s usually one of our neighbours who would call worried that they saw Misha’s fur gleaming somewhere in the distance and give us a hint of where more or less he might be. We suppose that, if nothing bad would happen to him in the meantime, he’d always come back at some poiint, but taking such high risk and waiting when we know that he’s two houses away and could go further feels very silly and irresponsible. Every time he comes back – regardless of whether he wants it himself or someone has to bring him home – as soon as the door closes behind him, the crying starts all over again, except it’s more obnoxious. At some point my Mum realises that letting him out only makes him feel more upset and doesn’t help anything, so again the strict rules are put in place for Misha. 

   I know not every cat is like this. Perhaps even the majority are not. My aunt also has a Russian blue cat who is as laid back as it gets, in fact he seems to me like he’s on the opposite extreme to Misha, he can happily sleep on a rug and even when you pass him by and almost step on him he won’t move an inch. Sasha (the kitten we got on a whim a year after Misha and had to rehome after a few months because Misha didn’t tolerate company of his own species well at all) was a very cheerful kitten  who didn’t seem to need much at all to be happy, just a bit of attention and play, and some food that doesn’t need to be as sophisticated as Misha’s, anything edible and nice-smelling is good. Sasha did have a problem with pooping in every place possible except not where he should, the causes of which we couldn’t establish for a long time and which seemed to be emotional in nature, but eventually it turned out that it was Misha who must have scared him away from the litter box and that’s why he didn’t want to poop there but would rather do it anywhere else. I have no idea why Misha’s like this. I guess it’s just like with people and many just are born with weird brains for no apparent reason. I remember once reading an article about some study that claims that cats have a tendency to be anxious if their owners are anxious too, and vice versa. We’ve always thought it interesting how Misha and me are so similar in many ways, and same about Sofi and Jocky, and earlier Sofi and Sasha. And there’s such Polish saying that I guess could be roughly translated as like the stallholder, like the stall, which basically means that what is yours is like you, and my Mum always says that whenever the topic of Misha and Jocky being like me and Sofi respectively pops up. 😀 So perhaps it’s me who is responsible for Misha being “weird”. Misha’s mummy, with the very original name of Hansa Luft, had some problem giving birth to her offspring and so Misha was born through a C-section, and we’ve heard from a vet that used to be Misha’s vet that cats born via C-section apparently are more likely to be “weird”. Misha’s behaviour has always reminded me more of a severely traumatised shelter cat, so that sometimes I was wondering whether something awful might have happened to him at his breeder’s. He’s always been very fearful, wary of touch and closeness with people, easily upset by things – I mean even things like  slight, unexpected movements, a minor furniture rearrangement or something laying on the floor that wasn’t there whenn he looked previously. – He’s always overgroomed himself, though thankfully it never led to some more serious complications like I’ve heard it does in many cats who do. He doesn’t purr like normal. I have absolutely no problem with that, I love his quiet, soft purr which is more palpable than audible unless you literally  put your ear to his chest or face, but the truth is that it just isn’t a normal purr. 

   Last year, as you perhaps remember if you’ve been around on here back then, Mum took Misha to a behaviourist and he said that the only viable option he sees is to medicate Misha and he gave him fluoxetine/Prozac, which really shocked me initially but, like, what else can you do, I guess there’s no talk therapy for pets that you could try first. 😀 So my Mum gave him that Prozac, which wasn’t easy to administer at all because it was pills and it must be a nightmare giving pills to a cat judging from their struggles. Mum had to wrap Misha up in a blanket so he couldn’t move and scratch her or run away, force open his mouth, give him the pill, close his mouth and hold his face till he swallowed so that he wouldn’t spit it out. Not fun. It wasn’t long until Misha started to recognise the signs that it was pill time and would run away and hide. Moreover, the fluoxetine was making him very drowsy and he wasn’t quite himself. His crying had reduced a lot, indeed, but not because he felt calmer or happier, just because he slept through pretty much all day long. When he was awake, he continued to cry. Mostly though, it felt like there was no Misha anymore, just a little ball of fur with no Misha inside. He mostly hid under beds and didn’t want to interact with us almost at all. Sometimes I would find him somewhere and cuddle him and he’d seem to fall asleep in my arms but that was very clearly simply because he was totally indifferent rather than was in a more cuddly mood. I might’ve as well been cuddling a lifeless teddybear. At some point both my Mum and Sofi started realising that he doesn’t even actually sleep when he is under those beds, just lies there on his belly staring emptily into space with his eyes wide open. He ate very little. When he was awake and you’d call him, he’d just look at you and continue sitting like a statue where he was, a bit like he was too weak to carry out the complicated activity of motivating himself to stand up, standing up, moving his paws and walking to wherever the calling was coming from. Not even Mish ice cream did the trick. So finally, with all the pill troubles getting worse and Misha clearly not feeling well, Mum said she was worried that he could just die one day while laying sleeplessly like that, and we decided it’s best to stop giving him the Prozac, because we wanted Misha back and it was starting to feel rather creepy. He gradually did come back, and his crying wasn’t so much of an issue anymore, so we were hoping that perhaps it will just get better. 

   But this year, spring came again and finally it seemed like my Mum has reached her limit and was at witts end for what to do, as she and Misha basically kept repeating the same cycle with this whole going out thing every year, as if hoping that finally there will be a time when it’ll work and everyone will live happily everafter, whatever “happily” might mean for poor little Misha. And she said that perhaps he should try Prozac again, maybe if she stuck to it for longer than last year, which was only about a week, he’d start tolerating it better and get back to his normal self. And so she started giving him the pills again. She has even been to the vet, asking if there perhaps is another medication that Misha could take, that he’d perhaps tolerate better, or a different form of fluoxetine like liquid, but, surprisingly to me, he said that no. I did some research beforehand and there clearly are people out there who give their cats fluoxetine in liquid form or even topical, or use feromones to deal with emotional problems with cats, so I wonder if he’s just opposed to anything else or what. Instead, he actually said that Mum could even give Misha one whole pill rather than just a half as last year – one half in the morning and one in the evening – and if it’s a problem she could hide the pill in a bit of food. He clearly doesn’t know Misha. I honestly don’t even understand how other cats are so gullible that they can eat a pill with food just fine. Mum tried it first thing last year, but Misha would spit it out as soon as he’d taste the pill in the food. I sometimes feel like veterinarians underappreciate animals’ intelligence. Like when Misha once had to have a urine test, he was supposed to pee into some fake litter, and, much as we expected, he didn’t, because it wasn’t his litter. Is Misha really in a minority who is too smart/hypersensitive? I kind of doubt it, though I know nothing about other cats.

   Also there didn’t seem to be much point in upping his dose if the lowest one zonks him out so effectively. It’s not like he’s aggressive or something. I don’t think I even realised before that SSRI’s can be sleepifying like that, but perhaps it’s just different with cats’ brains than people’s. 

   He’s started taking it at the beginning of May and it’s clearly going better this time than last time because he’s a bit more social and lively than he was then in that he doesn’t hide so much and even plays a bit when he’s awake and is a lot more cuddly and a bit more relaxed than he normally is which doesn’t seem to be just a result of indifference, but he still sleeps through most of the day and night. It always used to be so that Misha woke up first, now he’s often still asleep when I wake up, and I’ve been rarely waking up before 9 this month, most of the time around 11. He yawns literally AAAAALLLLLL the time, and despite he sleeps so much his sleep seems to be very shallow, so perhaps that’s exactly why he sleeps so much more to compensate for it. He also seems very weak, or tired or I don’t know how else to call it. Just acts as if he had very little energy and reacts to everything very slowly. The pill administering hasn’t been easy for my Mum, because it’s so unpleasant for them all and my Mum is worried that he’ll develop bad associations with her, or will at some point totally refuse to take the pills, but we always try to give him something yummy right after he swallows it so he can forget about everything as soon as possible. I also firmly believe that, as much as Misha is very anxious, he also has some really impressive amounts of patience and gentleness for people, I’m not exactly sure how to describe it. I know that Mum actually realises it herself too, because he showed this virtuous trait of his very much during and right after Sasha’s stay with us, and Mum herself called it that Misha has a very “noble character”. So that even if people have to do something unpleasant to him, or do it thoughtlessly or accidentally, even if it affects him a lot he keeps being gentle-mannered, as classy as ever and good-naturedly understanding and forgiving of his peeps’ countless weaknesses. I think he might just understand in his little brain that Mum’s new whim is to give him this yucky pill every day, and he really doesn’t like it but, oh well… he still loves Mum. Today it actually went very smoothly and Misha didn’t even protest at all, so there’s hope that it’ll continue to go in this direction.

   But the biggest concern for me is that he has almost stopped pooping. I mean it’s really getting serious, because yesterday he cried so loudly and pitifully whenn he was in the loo, and was there for so long but nothing came out. Normally you could almost set the clock by his pooping, he would poop every day at pretty much the same hour, unless his breakfast was a lot later than typically, but now it’s good if he poops every three days. Unfortunately Mum wasn’t home when Misha cried yesterday in his loo so she could hear it, only Sofi and me did and told her about it, oh yeah and Misha very clearly tried too but Mum can’t speak his language. He ran to her as soon as she came back (he doesn’t really run much ever since he’s been on fluoxetine) and made a wailing sound which made us laugh because it sounded as if he was saying “Muuuuuummmmmmmyyyyyy!” And then kept following her and crying. She wasn’t particularly concerned. Probably because she didn’t hear how awful it sounded when he was in the loo. I’ve given her my card already when Misha first started to seem constipated and have been telling her for a long time to buy him some Miralax and she keeps saying that she will but she still hasn’t despite going to town almost every day. 

   So yeah, really, I most definitely wouldn’t want to make another cat feel unhappy like that. 

   What is such a thing for you?  🙂 

Haloo Helsinki “Tuntematon” (Unknown/Stranger).

   Hey people! 🙂 

   I thought I’d share some Finnish music today for a change, because while Sámi music is now better represented on my blog than it used to be, there’s still few Finnish songs on here. Haloo Helsinki is a great rock Finnish band and as far as I’m aware they’re pretty popular and chart-topping in their motherland. Finnish radio stations that I’ve listened to definitely like to play them. I have already shared one song by them in the early days of my blog. A couple years ago (guess it was 2018) I had a phase where I was listening to Radio Suomipop all the time. My computer was away being fixed, and I had some bad Finnish music cravings and found that radio station in the stations catalogue on my Braille-Sense which can play Internet radio. I didn’t have an iPhone or anything like that back then yet. And, discovered a LOT of cool Finnish pop via this station, their playlist was just so extremely repetitive, and this song was among their particular favourites as it seemed. I haven’t listened to them in ages now but I wouldn’t be surprised if they still played it like every hour. 😀 I originally really liked it just like pretty much everything from Haloo Helsinki, but Radio Suomipop made me feel really fed up with it, and it took some time before I could listen to it again with a fresh mind. 😀 It’s also a bit funny for me as a Polish speaker because during my Suomipop phase, Sofi heard this song once while being in my room and she claimed that there’s a Polish swearword in the chorus. I’d never paid any attention to that, but once Sofi said that I too started hearing it very clearly, even though what she’s actually saying is korvamaton which means priceless in Finnish, at least according to DeepL. DeepL also claims that the title of this song means either unknown or stranger. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find an English translation for you, or actually the only one I did find seems to have a broken link or something. But I fed DeepL the original lyrics and it seems to be something about how we all have different backgrounds and experiences and are in a way strangers to each other and about fear and stuff like that. 

Question of the day.

   If you could move to anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? 

   My answer: 

   I would most likely stay where I am. I like it here, and moves are very stressful. But if I HAD to move, and could choose anywhere I wanted, and it would be doable logistically, I’d move to Wales, preferably to North Wales, most happily somewhere in Gwynedd close to the sea, and I’d establish my little hermitage in there. 😀 

   You? 🙂 

Alexander Rybak – “Let the Music Guide You”.

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Continuing the recent Sámi theme on my blog, I thought I’d share with you one more song which is not Sámi, but inspired by joik and with joik influences, from the Belarussian-born Norwegian singer Alexander Rybak, best known (at least to Europeans) for winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 2009 with his song Fairytale, and for playing the violin. Some of my readers might also remember that he is Sofi’s childhood crush, who, as it happens, was introduced to her by a certain Bibiel, who was totally unaware what sort of results it will have and that the whole household will end up having to listen to his “Oah” on repeat for two weeks, and whom she still listens to a lot and has a strong sentiment for. I definitely don’t like all of his music, but some of his songs are really good, and I have already shared three other songs by him on here, one children’s song sung in Norwegian called Dyrene i Afrika (The ANimals in Africa),  which is so easy that I had managed to translate it even though I wasn’t learning Norwegian then yet, then a cover of a Swedish song by Mats Paulson called Visa vid Vindens ängar (Song at the Wind’s Meadows), and the third one a song in English by another ESC contestant from Romania – Roxen – called Wonderland in which he plays the violin. I think this one is really nice and I like the Sámi influence in it. 

Question of the day.

   What is the least stressful job there is? 

   My answer: 

   I guess it’s really hard to say without having worked in a given profession, and also that while what you do as part of your job is very important, it also matters in what sort of environment you work and other circumstances. My job at my Dad’s is probably as low-stress as it gets, but I’m sure that there are many office worker/secretary people who can’t say the same about their job. I don’t know how this thing is called in English, or even if it is a thing at all, but I’d think the sort of small, manual jobs  that one can do at home here, which are usually a source of additional income but for some people who are otherwise unemployable for any reason it might be their only job or especially it used to be the case in the past, like assembling pens, or cartboard boxes, packing up leaflets etc. Shouldn’t be particularly stressful. But I have a feeling that most people who decide to take on such jobs may already have lives that are stressful enough at least in the financial sphere, if not any others. Besides, they can’t be particularly interesting or even mildly challenging, and I think long-term boredom/lack of real purpose can be experienced as kind of stressful in a way too. 

   What are your ideas? 🙂 

Jarŋŋa – “Äno Jiedna” (Voice of the River).

   Hey people! 🙂 

   As I said yesterday when sharing a song by the Swedish Sámi singer Katarina Rimpi, I was thinking about sharing a song by her band Jarŋŋa at some point, and I figured that since I’ve been sharing quite a lot of Sámi music lately anyway so why not do it right away. Jarŋŋa is the Sámi word for the widest part of a lake, and this band consists of the aforementioned Katarina Rimpi, as well as another singer called Mandy Senger. This is my favourite joik tune by them. 

Question of the day.

   Which part of the stereotypical teenager experience did you not relate to? 

   My answer: 

   Probably more than what I did relate to, and more than what I can think of right now. I guess most people think of teenagers as being rebellious, loud, having an attitude (this is such a weird, vague-sounding expression, everyone has some sort of attitude) and stuff like that. I wouldn’t say I was those things. I never really felt the need to rebel in some ostentatious way. Well, I guess you may say that I sort of did in my late teens when I turned away from Christianity and pretended mostly for my own sake that I was an atheist or agnostic, then later tried playing with Wicca, because my school was Catholic and I wanted to reject everything to do with it. I also identified and liked to present myself as a Goth, and I think there was also a sort of rebellious element to it because it doesn’t really get along very well with Christian values. I would also do stuff like I-dosing (using such binaural beats which work sort of like drugs and simulate various mental states) or lucid dreaming, which was primarily a way of escapism for me, but in a way I think a sort of rebellion as well. But while I really regret all of that now and have not only got a chance from God to re-convert but also found my place in the traditional Catholic community and now attend exclusively traditional Latin Mass, which is kind of funny when I think of it more, I don’t think people around me perceived me as particularly rebellious in a typical teenager way. 

   I definitely wasn’t impulsive or into risk. I certainly was emotional like a proper teenager, but I was a huge fan of bottling things up and apparently very good at it so I came across as the opposite of that to many people.

   I’ve always felt that most fictional teenagers – and most of the real ones that I knew while being a teenager myself, for that matter – seem to have a lot of friends, or at the very least one best friend that they share stuff with and are really close to each other. This is also not really an experience I had. As I wrote on here before, I think I was liked at school and unlike your stereotypical friendless teenager I didn’t have any enemies either and was never bullied or anything like that. I got along well with most people and had some common ground with a handful, I even called some of them friends, but wasn’t particularly close with anyone. The girls I particularly enjoyed hanging out with were already a very tightly-knit circle of friends to each other, and while I think they liked me and my company and we had a lot of common ground, they clearly didn’t see me as part of that circle and were most happy to spend time without additional people, as they had their insider things that they liked to do together and that they weren’t keen on introducing to anyone else, so I spent most of the time alone. I mostly didn’t mind that, though I often felt that life would be a lot easier in a lot of ways for me at school if I had someone that I could be closer with and with whom we could be best friends for each other, and while I wasn’t desperate for a friendship, the lack thereof contributed to my already strong feelings of inadequacy. There were also two girls that I met online about whom I really liked to think as my best friends, we met in a blind online network that was a thing back then. We had a lot of fun times and one of them introduced me to my first two faza people which she also had fazas on. But we only talked online, and I only had access to the Internet when I was at home, which was only either when there was some school break, or on an occasional weekend, or when I was sick or something so not too often, which doesn’t help with maintaining a relationship. Later on, when I was still deep in my teens, I met my now late friend Jacek from Helsinki which was quite a close yet also very turbulent friendship, but I don’t think it fits in with your stereotypical teenage friendships because I didn’t meet him at school, except on a forum for translators where I shared my Vreeswijk’s translations. 

   As regulars ón here know, I didn’t fall in love, date, or have sex either. Still, for some reason, some girls really liked to come to me for relationship advice. It sometimes felt a little awkward being practically the only one not going out with someone, except for those girls who had some mild intellectual deficits, but I didn’t really have any desire to that just because that was what everyone else was doing, and, more importantly, there was just absolutely no one sufficiently interesting that I could go out with, and just the mere idea felt slightly intimidating. 

   I didn’t go to parties. Well, I did, if I had to, but these were mostly stuff like school balls/proms or people’s birthday parties also held at school, and obviously parties within my family. No teen house parties, discos or clubbing or whatever else people might do. I never had any desire to do that sort of thing either. I hated even the school balls and always dreaded them and did whatever I could to avoid them. 

   I didn’t have much of an interest in make-up, doing my nails and stuff like that. Which I suppose is the typical teenage girl thing because it is very much Sofi’s thing and Sofi is, for the most, very typical of her age group. It just seemed like a lot of hassle to deal with being blind, and I had very little motivation. I became more interested in it once I became a Goth, but it was still rather half-hearted. 

   I was lucky enough that I almost didn’t have acne. I did get some occasional  pimple, especially before Jack the Ripper’s visits whenn he started coming, but for the most part I don’t seem to have a particularly oily skin. My Mum says that it also could be because I usually didn’t pop the pimples unless the more gross-looking or painful ones in more visible locations. 

   I didn’t try to desperately follow my peers in what I did or was interested in. Sometimes like I’ve already said it contributed to me feeling more inadequate, but even so I wasn’t interested in fitting in more. On the other hand though, I also liked not being into everything that happened to be trendy at the moment either worldwide or in my immediate surroundings and having my own taste in things and thinking a bit more independently rather than blending in with the crowd for all costs. Sure, there were things that the majority did that I did as well, it wasn’t like I would reject something just because everyone else did it so I wanted to be different for all means. I just took what I liked from what they did. 

   I didn’t look up to my peers more than my parents and I didn’t have any major generational issues with my parents. If I did, they never led to any huge conflicts or arguments or anything like that. A huge part of that was definitely the fact that I spent most of the time in the boarding school and I really didn’t like it and didn’t want it to have any influence on me, I also missed my Mum a lot so she was the strongest authority figure for me. But also my Mum is a very flexible-minded person so it’s easy to get along with her and make a compromise if needed even if we have different ideas about something, she’s also very loyal so even if my siblings or I did something wrong at school or anywhere else outside of home or were in trouble or something, she would always be on our side rather than, say, the teacher’s or whoever was accusing us, while at the same time acknowledging that what we did was wrong and not being happy about it, but she just thinks that if you’re a parent, you should be in your child’s corner so that they’re not alone even if they did something bad or stupid. She was also always very interested in our lives and we knew we could talkk to her about anything freely if we wanted, unlike what seems to be the case with many teenagers and their parents. In fact, as a teenager, often when I was witnessing a class- or groupmate having some trouble I’d be surprised when they didn’t think of talking about it with their parents first so that they could help, but instead tried to unsuccessfully deal with it on their own or talked to the staff who were often rather biased, or other kids who could often comiserate but not necessarily always help in a real way. I also didn’t understand regular teenagers living with their parents on a daily basis how they could be often so rude to their parents or argue with them all the time or almost not talk with them at all. So whenever I needed some advice, had some questions of vital importance, or decided to let a little bit of that bottled up stuff out, I would most often call my Mum. And I think I must have achieved some school record in calling my family , as from what I could observe, no one did it as often as I did, which was often multiple times during the day. 

   I guess it’s also a common stereotype among people that teenagers really want to become adults so that they can finally do what they want. Well, I didn’t. I always dreaded adulthood, even at preschool age, which I’m pretty sure I’ve already written about here how I had some sort of dream or vision or whatever that was of myself being an adult surrounded by little kids and having totally no idea what I’m supposed to do. If anything, when I was a teenager, I often felt a very strong sense of a sort of emotional/mental weariness, probably due to depression, and I sometimes thought how cool it would be to be a baby again and not have much of an idea about anything. That probably says something about my emotional maturity. 😀 I also often felt really confused when facing various life responsibilities. 

   How about you? 🙂 

Katarina Rimpi – “Julevädno” (Lule River”

   Hiya people! 🙂 

   How do you feel about yet another Sámi joik, this time from Sweden? 

   Katarina Rimpi was one of the first Swedish Sámi artists that I’ve discovered when I was first introduced to Sámi music in general, and I’ve really liked her right away. But then at some point I sort of forgot about her music and hadn’t been listening to it for a long time, until I was reminded of it recently and was happy to sort of rediscover it. 

   Katarina Rimpi is from Jokkmokk in Luleå in Sweden, and is a very versatile person, as she is not only a singer and joiker but also a painter and a craftswoman, and has a degree in technical physics. Her music is inspired by Arctic landscapes. She has also founded a band called Jarŋŋa which means the widest part of a lake in Luleå Sami, together with another singer called Mandy Senger. I am also planning on sharing with you one song by Jarŋŋa with Katarina Rimpi as the vocalist. She must clearly have a close affinity with lakes, rivers, and perhaps other bodies of water as well, since this song is about a river (Julevädno is the Sámi name of the Lule river), her band’s name has to do with a lake, and the song I plan on sharing with you from Jarŋŋa’s repertoire is alsoo about a river. Funnily enough, for the longest time I used to think that this is a Christmas song, because it has “jul-“ in it and jul means Christmas in Swedish so my brain jumped to that conclusion without even thinking whether the Sámi word for Christmas is anŧ similar. 😀 

   Below is the translation of this song. 

   The river flows, whispers to me
Julevädno speaks to my heart
Voice of the river leads me
Julevädno touches my soul
The well lies far up west
Pours water into the river day by day
The water of this river is sacred to me
This river valley the place I want to be

Clear water like silver
Rushing with force through all times
The soul of the river whispers to me
Julevädno I love and honour you
Nothing takes the soul of that river
The clear silver water
As long as the water flows
And the rushing sound of streaming water
Can be heard
There will be hope and comfort in our lives

 

Question of the day.

   What irritates you the most? 

   My answer: 

   People who are so extremely touchy that almost whatever you tell or ask them is considered attacking, stupid, or otherwise inappropriate or whatever and react in a way that feels aggressive or oozes with huffiness. It’s hard not to get irritated in response to something like that so it can start a vicious cycle. Both my Dad and Sofi, for all their virtues, are like that. Sofi in particular. Like, when it’s the “wrong day” you can’t tell or ask her about pretty much anything at all ‘cause everything will be interpreted as personal attack and she’ll respond with an eyeroll and almost yell at you in a very unpleasant tone, or with emphatic silence. If you don’t know Sofi well, you may be tempted to try and be even nicer to her, thinking that perhaps she’s just had a bad day at school and, you know, puberty and all. But the nicer you’ll try to be, paradoxically the worse it gets. My Mum is a huge people pleaser by nature, so am I I suppose but I guess to a lesser extent, so even though we know about it, we often try to make her feel better anyway, but that just never helps. And no, unfortunately it is not something that has come up now that she’s a teenager, she’s always been touchy and moody and easily irritated like this even as a toddler. We can only hope that it changes as she gets older, because overall Sofi is a very cool and likeable girl if she’s in a good mood or if she wants something from you, with a lot of good traits, but this particular trait makes her quite a difficult person and potentially even toxic, especially over time if she doesn’t grow out of it, because such stuff can get worse with age. My Dad is a bit different in that it doesn’t always take so little to set him off, but once you do succeed (which usually happens to my poor Mum), it can even end up almost like a proper tantrum. And it’s always everyone else who is to blame for everything, never him, and the whole family and everyone at work and their dog is plotting and siding against him. I dunno, I’m also quite easily irritated, and most definitely touchy (thanks, AVPD), but what I don’t understand is spilling it out so much on the other people. For me it would kind of feel humiliating if I just broke down like that and started yelling at someone just because they dared say “Hi Bibiel” and I have a feeling that they hate me and are laughing at me inside their brain. If it wasn’t true, I would only make someone feel awful, and if it was, it certainly wouldn’t make them hate me less or would give them more of a reason to laugh at what a freak Bibiel is. 😀 

   You? 🙂 

Elen Marianne Utsi, Piera Eira & Bernt Mikkel Haglund – “Movttegis Nieiddat”.

   Hey people! 🙂 

   I think I have already mentioned how I think that of all the peoples speaking my favourite languages, the Sámi seem to be most fond of mixing folk music (in their case of course joiking in particular) with more modern genres, from electronic, to pop, to hip-hop, all sorts of things really. Perhaps it’s because it seems so obvious that when you sing in Sámi, it’s almost impossible not to include joiking, so naturally it comes out sounding a lot more folky than it would be otherwise. But I also think that joik blends extremely well with modern genres, better than many other kinds of folk music do, so they may just be very aware of it and take full advantage of it. I find blending folk music with modern genres or modern instrumentation very interesting in general, even if I don’t always like the results. I feel like it either comes out very good and tasteful, or the complete opposite and on the kitschy side. With Sámi music, more often than not, it’s the former. 

   So since I’ve been listening to all sorts of music in Sámi lately, I thought I’d share with you one such song which blends together Sámi folk and pop/dance vibes into a quite surprisingly coherent-sounding whole. I don’t really know much about these three musicians behind it other than they’re all from Kautokeino in Finnmark in Norway. I don’t even know what the title of this piece means, other than that I believe nieiddat means daughters but I’m not even entirely sure of that. 

Question of the day.

   If your life would’ve been a book, what would you name that book? 

   My answer: 

   Well, I’ve been thinking about it for a while now and the idea that sounds best to me out of those I’ve come up with is: “Bibielle’s Brain Bubble. A story of parallel worlds”. But if I really was to do something like write my autobiography I’m sure I’d be thinking very long about a good title and would probably only decide for one when I’d have the whole book or at least a detailed draft ready. I don’t like coming up with titles. So if my entire life was a book, I should probably wait til the end of the story to be able to give it an adequate name, haha. 

   What would your title be? 🙂 

Ben Alexander ft. Mörmaid – “Somni”.

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Today I’d like to share with you this interesting, dreamy electropop song which I’ve only recently heard. It’s the result of collaboration between two Norwegian musicians –  producer and composer Ben Alexander, and singer and producer Live Sollid Schulerut who is better known as Mörmaid and as far as I know is based in Norfolk. – This the first and so far the only song that I’ve heard by either of them, but I really really like it so I’ll certainly be checking out their other music. 

   Ben Alexander says that this song is about how a dream can be more appealing than reality, because of how things can look so perfect in it, so that one may end up desiring the dream more than reality. Thus, the song is a love story between the dreamer and their dream. Being a keen daydreamer and a vivid night dreamer myself, I can definitely relate to how dreams can be more attractive than reality, and I like even just the concept of this song, and it just sounds so great as a whole. 

   I suppose that it’s title is simply like the Norwegian equivalent of somnia in English, as in insomnia, coming from the Latin somnus meaning sleep, though it’s just my assumption that that’s where they got it from. 

Question of the day.

   Why do you think cats are so fluffy? 

   My answer: 

   ! A lot of people seem to think that cats are as cute as they are – not just fluffy but also make all those cute little sounds and purrs and do almost everything in a cute way – because it’s their way of manipulating people into loving them so that then they can use it to their advantage however they want. And that’s certainly very plausible and wouldn’t surprise me at all if it was the case. I also think that a fluffy cat can be used instead of a hot water bottle and work just as well, if not better.

   But, actually, what I find a lot more interesting than why, is from where. Oh, how I wish I knew it! I ask Misha about it so often, “Where does one buy such elegant, luxurious furs? Is it somewhere in Arkhangelsk”, but he’s so unyielding. I guess most cats would have already answered me for their own peace of mind so I’d stop asking the same damn thing over and over, but not Misha! This is so awful, because I really, really want to know it, so that in case I ever lose Misha, I could buy an identical fur to remind me of him, and I would buy enough that I would be able to wear it as a coat in winter and have a muff to go with it, and everyone who’d see me would be jealous, and I’d sleep under it as well and use the muff as a pillow. But of course I wouldn’t want to use Misha’s own fur like that, ‘cause it’s his fur and he has every right to be buried in it and I would hate for him to be skinned posthumously just because of my whim, and that would be too little fur for a proper coat, my Mum says it would only be enough for a hat. I’d probably have to get a HUGE loan if he ever tells me where’s that mysterious fur shop, but I wouldn’t mind paying it back for the rest of my life. 

   You? 🙂 

Agnete – “Linna Giella” (Soft Language).

   Since recently I’ve shared quite a few Sámi songs, why not share another one today. I heard this song yesterday for the first time on NRK P1, and I really liked it right away. Agnete, who is also known as Agnete Johnsen, Agnete Johnsen Saba or Agnete Saba, is a Sámi singer from Norway, who might be known to non-Norwegian audience for representing her country in 2016 Eurovision Song Contest with the song Icebreaker.

   This song is about her love for her mother tongue, North Sámi. I found some Norwegian translation of it where the title is translated as soft language, but I have no way of verifying it. 

Question of the day (13th May).

   Hiya people! 🙂 

   I meant to post some question for you all yesterday, but since I didn’t, after all, we’ll have two today, yay! 😀 

   You have fifteen minutes to prepare a lecture to 5000 people about anything. What would your topic be? Why? 

   My answer: 

   Goodness me, I have lots of ideas for what I could give a lecture to people about that I guess could be of decent enough quality, but, fifteen minutes… that probably wouldn’t go to well, whatever topic I’d choose, and I wouldn’t even be able to think of all the things that could go wrong to prepare for them as well! 😀 What I know for sure is that I would make people aware that someone organising this whole lecture thing is a very realistic thinker because I’ve only learned fifteen minutes ago that I’m supposed to be giving this lecture, so it’s not me who’s to blame if it’ll end up sounding like I prepared it last minute, the more that I’ve never given a real lecture, let alone to this many people. Oh yeah, and that I am no expert or authority on anything, just some random Bibiel who’s into a lot of weird things. 

   But, let’s think… well, I think the idea I like most out of those I’ve come up with so far is a very ranty lecture about all the shortcomings of the education system, because everyone who knows me knows I love to rant about this topic and find all things possible that are wrong with it ‘cause it’s just evil. But I’d try to make this lecture something productive rather than just ranting for the sake of it as it usually is, hoping that it would give people some food for thought. I’d really like to see a wise, carefully thought through, maybe even radical reform of how schooling works, I think such an investment in people’s minds would be really worth it and I guess I don’t have to convince anyone why. But because I am just one little Bibiel who has no experience working in the field of education, parenting or the like, I wouldn’t feel competent talking on my own about how the changes would exactly need to be made, just share some ideas and  raise some issues due to which I think changes would be worth considering by those who actually have more of an idea about it. I chose this topic over all the others that came to my brain when thinking of this question because, unlike the others, it’s based on my opinions rather than facts, which would be less demanding to prepare for in fifteen minutes and so more likely to be successful.

   I’d try to keep it as unniversal as possible because I think a lot of these shortcomings are a thing regardless of which country we’re speaking about, but of course I myself only have first-hand experience of schooling in Poland and more second-hand idea about it than about other countries so I’d refer to that a lot. I would probably go with the flow and get a lot of stuff covered spontaneously depending on how much time I’d have for this lecture, but some things I’d like to put some particular emphasis on would be the following: 

   individual approach (or lack thereof) to students in schools. Even in schools with small-sized classes where a teacher may have a closer contact with their students and be able to devote more time to each of them, there’s rarely any real focus on a specific individual’s particular needs, strengths and difficulties, academical first and foremost but also social, physical, emotional etc. Since everyone says that school is not just about academic learning. Special schools, inclusion schools, schools for gifted children and other such are probably a bit better at this than the rest, as they have IEP’s and all that, but still as someone who’s actually been in a special school, an inclusion school and then individual education for a while, I feel it’s largely just theoretical. I think what most smaller schools really do better than large/public schools is put more effort in making every student fit somehow into the curriculum, if not vertically, then horizontally, if not horizontally,  then whatever way goes so that they can finish school, pass what they have to and who cares if they actually retain any of the knowledge well enough that they’ll be able to recall and use it in practice in daily life, if they even know what they want to do with their life after school or if what they’d learned is all useful and valuable stuff. I’m sure it’s not because of anyone’s bad intentions, but we seem to forget that things (like schools, curricula (or is it curriculums? The more I think on either the weirder it sounds and looks 😀 ) grading systems etc. ) are for people, not people for things. Then there’s the problem with slower-learning children vs gifted children and how their potential is usually measured compared with the class overall, so if a kid does all he can to do well at school but is not doing as well as the class does on average, he’s being stretched beyond his limits and his self-esteem is being systematically ruined. Or if a kid is so-called gifted and does better than the class, he’s  bored to death at school seeing how his peers painstakingly deal with something he’s figured out on his own two years ago, which may be just as discouraging in the end. Let alone a child who, for whatever reason, whether “special” in any way or not, doesn’t develop very evenly and is exceptionally brilliant at some subject(s), but just as exceptionally lame at some others. Yeah, there are gifted schools, extra tutoring for struggling students, and all sorts of extra-curricular activities/interest-based clubs or however they’re called in English for those who are very good at some specific things. But not all schools have that, and not everyone can send their child to a school that does. So I think there really should be a lot more focus on working individually with each child by default, in that the teachers would actually take the time to sit one on one with a student and work on their individual skills, or at least we should have some better system of assigning children to specific classes rather than just based on their age. 

   Second language education. I’ve written a lot about that here already so won’t be repeating myself. Thankfully I believe it’s not an ever-present problem, I can clearly see for myself that the quality of language education is mostly very low here, but it doesn’t seem to be the case everywhere. 

   And last, but not least… yeah, homeschooling! Have I told you guys that when I was a kid it was my biggest dream to be homeschooled ever since I first heard of it? Sadly it never came true (it would be a huge thing if it did given my disability, the fact that my Mum doesn’t read Braille etc.), but I did get to sort of homeschool myself when going to the mainstream high school/college for adults as it made more sense for me than to sit in class while they were looking at slideshows and working with textbooks which I didn’t have in an accessible format so I only went there for term exams and emailed assignments to them. I’m still a big fan of homeschooling. But at the same time I realise that it is something really, really, REALLy difficult and daring and not every parent is able to do it for all sorts of reasons. I guess we all can think of some reasons for why it is so difficult and, as it is, not doable for many people, even if they really want it and even if their kids would really benefit from it. But one of the problems I see here is that homeschooling is seenn as some sort of last resort, when all else fails, and there’s very little support for parents who are brave enough to decide to do it. If someone does it even if nothing has failed in their child’s case, or there could be other options to explore, they’re seen as kind of eccentric. So I guess many parents may not even know that it’s a possibility, or if they know and are willing and theoretically could be able to do it, they don’t know how to go about it, because it’s not something you hear a lot about. I think it should just be one of the default options. You can send your children to school, or you can homeschool them, or flexi-school them (do some days at school and some days at home/somewhere outside like a museum), and there should be resources or places widely available that would give people all the info and help that they might need to make either of those three things happen. My Mum has really wanted to homeschool Sofi, which obviously didn’t work out, and that was one of her difficulties as well, that she didn’t know how one actually makes it happen. Like, can you just pull your kid out of school and say “I’m teaching her at home now?” I think it would be a lot easier if there was some sort of department at schools or separate places that would be there to help parents to make it easier to coordinate it all – helping the parents to make a plan of children’s education that they would stick to, make sure that the parents have all the materials they’ll need, assess the progress of the children with exams and what not organise time for children to  spend  together and socialise and have group activities, organising additional tutoring for children who are struggling in some subjects and whose parents aren’t able to help them adequately, just generally support such families. Perhaps they even should get some sort of benefits or however you’d call that in English, for homeschooling, so that one parent wouldn’t need to work and could stay with the children and teach them. I’ve heard that such families often stick together a lot because it’s naturally a lot easier for them to homeschool if they help each other out. Not every parent is good at every single subject, not every parent will find the motivation for taking their children for educational trips on a regular basis, but it’s easier when there’s a group of families who goes together so they don’t have to be alone with coming up with and preparing everything, so such parents share the responsibilities, plus the kids get to spend a lot of time with their peers, unlike what a lot of people think is the case with homeschooled children. There’s also flexi-schooling. Someone may want their children to develop their particular talents first and foremost, but obviously they also want them to learn everything and anything else that might be useful, except they don’t have a clue about physics, so the kid goes to school for physics. Or someone wants their child to be homeschooled but realistically can only take certain days of the week off work, and the rest of the week the child would go to school. 

   That’s, more or less, what I would give my lecture about. 

   How about you? 🙂 

Phyllis Taylor Sparks – “Celtic Farewell”.

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Today I’d like to introduce you to another harpist, whose music has never yet been featured on my blog before. Phyllis Taylor Sparks is from Nashville, and she plays both pedal as well as Celtic harp, and has also been a harp teacher since a young age. This gentle piece comes from her album called Harp Horizons. 

Órla Fallon – “Mo Ghile Mear” (My Gallant Darling).

   Hiya people! 🙂 

   For today I chose to share with you this Irish folk song, which is quite modern as we know it in its current form, but whose origins actually go back to the 18th century. It was composed in 1972-ish by Dónal Ó Liatháin with lyrics partially based on several Jacobite poems written by Seán “Clárach” MacDomhnaill and set to a tune collected by the composer Seán Ó Riada from a man called Domhnall Ó Buachalla from Cúil Aodha in Cork. One of the original poems on which this song is based (whose title translates to MY Heart is Sore With Sorrow Deep in English) is written in the voice of Éire – the personification and goddess of Ireland – lamenting the failure of the Jacobite rising of 1745 and the exile of Charles Edward Stuart or Bonnie Prince Charlie. The other one (known as Over the Hills and Far Away in English) was written during the Jacobite rising of 1715, with the lamented hero this time being James Francis Edward Stuart.Ó Liatháin decided to pick the least explicitly Jacobite-sounding verses from both poems, and because he composed it a year after Ó Riada’s – the aforementioned collector of the original tune – death, this new song was created as a lament for his death.

   I’ve already shared several songs by Órla Fallon so I guess she doesn’t need a special introduction on here, but for those who don’t know she’s an Irish singer and Celtic harpist who used to be a member of the Irish all-female group Celtic Woman (who also did their version of this song, by the way) and has released several great solo albums since leaving the group. 

The translation i Found has “mo ghile mear” as “my dashing darling”, but it seems to be known more widely as “gallant” rather than “dashing” so that’s why I put “gallant” in the post title. 

   My dashing darling is my hero
He’s my Caesar, a dashing darling,
I’ve got no rest and no pleasure
Since my dashing darling went to a distant land.

I’m incessantly sorrowing each day,
Lamenting sorely and showing signs of tears
As the lively lad has been separated from me
And no news from him is told, my sadness.

My dashing darling is my hero
He’s my Caesar, a dashing darling,
I’ve got no rest and no pleasure
Since my dashing darling went to a distant land.

My dashing darling is my hero
He’s my Caesar, a dashing darling,
I’ve got no rest and no pleasure
Since my dashing darling went to a distant land.

Let a story be sung on tuneful harps
and let lots of quarts be filled on the table
with high spirits faultless and unclouded
to find life and good health for my lion1

My dashing darling is my hero
He’s my Caesar, a dashing darling,
I’ve got no rest and no pleasure
Since my dashing darling went to a distant land.

Daniel Kvammen – “Du Fortener Ein Som Meg” (You Reserve Someone Like Me).

    Hey people! 🙂 

   Today, let’s listen to a song in Norwegian. I’ve known and liked it for a couple years now, definitely longer than I’ve been learning Norwegian. However, even now that I’m learning the language, whenever I’d listen to it I had a hard time understanding much. It’s generally a problem I have a lot in Norwegian – I feel pretty satisfied with the results of my learning overall and how it seems to progress quite quickly, but when it comes to listening, not even just music but also  people speaking, anything other than your typical, posh-sounding Oslo Norwegian that most people think about when they think Norwegian, makes my brain lag and I really struggle to understand what people are saying, unless someone speaks REALLY slowly. – It frustrates me as shit because with the Oslo Norwegian I really don’t have much of a difficulty understanding it at all, unless I simply don’t know a word or phrase or something. – I comfort myself that natives experience this too to an extent with dialects that are a lot  different than their own, but still, to me it happens quite a lot, and then if I am able to see the same thing in writing like a transcript or lyrics or something, I’m usually surprised how I could not understand it. 😀 And that sometimes makes me feel that perhaps I’m not making all that much progress at all, because even when I didn’t speak almost any Norwegian, only Swedish, I could still understand a decent amount of written Norwegian bokmål and people speaking “typical” Norwegian. So that’s what I decided to do with this song at some point  – look up its lyrics to be able to see how much of it I’d be able to understand when reading. And I did, more or less, but it wasn’t as easy for me as it is most of the time, for some reason. I’m not even entirely sure why. So when I thought that I could share it with you, I was very happy to discover that there is a very decent-looking English translation of this song available here so I won’t have to write my own. 😀 Here it is: 

   It doesn’t bother me that you are the kind
That smiles while you’re crying
and that you always ask me why we two even exist at all
because you know I struggle
with the same thoughts as you
and more than that…

Because you deserve someone like me
someone stranger than you are
and if you don’t know where to go
then at least we two are together still

It doesn’t bother me that you get angry and crazy when you’re drunk
and that you scream that you will die before you get old and round
so long as we can run
till our feet fail, through all kinds of mess

Because you deserve someone like me
someone stranger than you are
and if you don’t know where to go
then at least we two are together still

It doesn’t bother me that we don’t make much money
or must live in a tiny room with a tiny bed
and if it all should come crashing down
I will partake in the absurdity that constitutes who we are

Because I can see how your head burns
How your hands shake
How your eyes water
but I know there is so much more to you
and you and I together we could lay a plan
and maybe we could make it work

Because you deserve someone like me
someone stranger than you are
and if you don’t know where to go
then at least we two are together

Because you deserve someone like me
someone stranger than you are
and if you don’t know where to go
then at least we two are together still

Clannad – “Eleanor Plunkett”.

   Hey people! 🙂 

   I have already shared with you two versions of this Irish tune composed by Turlough O’Carolan, one played by Lynn Saoirse and the other by Celia Briar, and today I thought I’d share another one, this time played by Clannad. You can click the above links to learn a bit more about the song.