Friday, 22 August 2014

Where the heart is

Back in Sweden. Everything is the same, but I'm different. A year of mostly travelling has changed me. Not to mention the way I see the world. It feels smaller and friendlier, now that I've circumnavigated it. This ground is familiar, but the sky feels strange now that I know that there is another side to it. That's when I miss it the most. Looking up at the stars, feeling the tug of longing for adventure. At least that's the way it's always been.

Here's familiarity. So much it almost chafes. People hadn't forgotten me, and there have been many happy reunions. That combined with lots of things happening keeps me distracted enough not to drown in my longing back to New Zealand. Instead that land is like a happy dream, only I know it's real. It makes other dreams seem less impossible, and that brings me even more happiness. And a sort of peace of mind.

Problems that once would have freaked me out don't bother me so much. My current living situation, for example. I didn't manage to find an apartment as was the plan, and so I'm currently homeless until further notice. Luckily I have several awesome friends who have offered me their homes to crash at. The very thought of such a temporary existence would have driven me crazy not very long ago, but with the better part of a year of living out of a backpack behind me it feels quite okay. 

I'll admit it makes me a bit nervous. It puts me in a very dependent position and forces me to trust others to a pretty high degree. And there is that little fear of being too much of a burden without giving enough back. An unthankful parasite. But then again, I know that I would do (and have done to a rather large extent) the same for my friends. Helping them out in their time of need without asking anything back, just hoping that they will pay it forward to whoever will need it some day.

So I'm being as calm and positive about it as can be. I will get to spend more time than usual with my friends. And there is a certain feeling of freedom to not having a fixed geographical location full of stuff to own me. Hopefully I'll learn something about the world, or about myself. Also: it is a temporary thing, just like life itself.

“I don't think home is a place anymore. I think it's a state of mind.”
— Neil Gaiman (A Game of You, vol. 5 of the Sandman series)

Love and home,
Winterdragon

Friday, 18 July 2014

Vacation

Still alive, still in New Zealand. Everything is well apart from an annoyingly lingering cold. Seriously, how much mucus is it possible for one body to produce? New Zealand in midwinter is cold, in an unexpected way. The temperature isn't all that low, usually lying somewhere between 5 and 15 degrees it's more like Nordic spring or autumn. And although I see signs of people falling into winter depression around me, the light levels are higher than what I'm used to, so the darkness doesn't faze me. 

What bothers me is that it's cold indoors. Even with multiple layers of clothing one is left shivering without people to snuggle up against. This is just wrong! I know it's kind of impolite to be all "this is how we civilised people do things better than you barbaric foreigners" when visiting another country, but seriously kiwis. Did you know that double-glass windows is a thing? That insulation is pretty useful, and that building houses with radiators placed under the windows is actually rather clever when it comes to heat-preservation? Have you noticed that while you may not get much snow, temperatures actually tend to get quite low in your country in wintertime? That building more expensive but warm houses could be very well-spent money?

Oh well, end of rant. In a couple of weeks I'll have more heat than I can handle, going back to pretty much the height of the Swedish summer. In the meantime I'm visiting Dunedin and Auckland again, to hang out with awesome people. Roleplaying, larping, playing boardgames, swordfighting, going to interesting shows and museums, snuggling. Going for some sightseeing walks as far as I have the energy for it. An excellent way of spending four weeks' vacation in this lovely country, I'd say. There are still places I'd like to visit and mountains I'd like to climb, but that will have to wait for the future, I think. The flu messed up my physical energy levels pretty badly, and moneywise I'm almost broke. But I'm not sad about that; I am enjoying myself immensely.

I'll be sad to leave, but that's the way it has to be for now. I'm happy and grateful for all the wonderful memories of places and people and moments and adventures I will take with me. 

The sun sets behind the hills of Dunedin.

Love and vacation,
Winterdragon

Friday, 4 July 2014

Bittersweet endings

University is out for the semester. Courses are over and done, whether I passed my finals or not. Results won't be brilliant, but hopefully good enough. I gave up the high-grade-chasing game a long time ago, since I really quite enjoy having spare time. There are so overwhelmingly many fun things to fill it with.

Moved out of my student room this week, and in a few days I will be leaving this place which has been my home for the past half year. The beautiful, shaken, construction site of a city called Christchurch. I love it to bits, along with all the lovely people I've made friends with here. 

The plague I've been down with for the past few weeks is giving way at last, and I feel my energy gradually returning. Joy and rejoicing! It makes such a difference that I realise I shouldn't be taking my health for granted. If you haven't got your health you haven't got anything, indeed.

I'm spending this last week here hanging out with awesome people. Roleplaying, boardgaming, swordfighting, movie-watching, snuggling, making out, partying, exploring. All those things I love so much and that make me feel like I belong. This is home now.

But I'll soon be pulling up the roots I've grown here and go back to where I came from. It hurts. It always hurts to leave someone or someplace you've gotten attached to. Because it's scary. I'm having nightmares about going back to Sweden only to find that the place has changed completely and that no-one remembers me anymore. The same fears are creeping up on me regarding New Zealand. That I will be forgotten as soon as I leave and that the friendships with people I've connected with will fade to nothing before long.

But that's the risk in any situation, not only for travel. Nothing lasts forever, and in many cases that is much more of a blessing than a curse. Life itself is fragile and will pass, so either nothing or everything will have been worthwhile. I'm going to go with the latter. I don't want fear of loss stopping me from enjoying life or connecting with people, because that's no way to live. Every moment is worth experiencing for its own sake, regardless of any possible prices of pain. I've found that the joy gained is so much greater.

Besides, since there are never any guarantees for anything, there is plenty of room for hope of future re-meetings. No expectations, for those quench the soul. Just hope.

Love and endings,
Winterdragon

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Feverish musings

Snivel. Here I am, coughing my lungs out, and in a little more than a week I'll be leaving this lovely town that I've been living in for the past half year or so. But not forever. I couldn't bear it if I had to tell myself I'd be leaving this place never to come back. I don't know when or how I'm going to get the money for it, but someday I will return to this wonderful land. Someday.

Accursed cold. I'd rather spend this time doing fun things, socialising, and properly preparing for my exams than lying around fever-dazed, devoid of energy and just generally wanting to escape my body. Talk about shitty timing. But then again, any timing tends to be shitty when it comes to illnesses. Maybe this is some kind of divine punishment for my numerous sins. Oh well, in that case it was totally worth it. 

I've had a splendid time these past couple of weekends. Hanging out with awesome people, and dancing almost until my legs fell off. I used to hate dancing, but now I love it. New Zealand is changing me. In a lot of ways. And I think all of them good.

Love and sniffles,
Winterdragon

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

All-nighter euphoria

So. True.

BOOM. Project report finished. Well, sorta, at least. Still got some details to fix probably, but that is a problem for tomorrow. The equivalent of a bachelor's project. Ten weeks' worth of work. I'm about as happy about my accomplishments in this one as with my actual bachelor's thesis. Although this one was a bit easier. I didn't have to learn a new programming language basically from scratch, and the data I got to work with actually yielded some scientifically interesting results. Woo!

According to my analysis colliding galaxies actually do produce more stars than their isolated counterparts, but dust can make it appear like the opposite is the case by obscuring the star-formation if you look at light in the wrong colours (i.e. optical rather than infrared). I'll have to say it's somewhat satisfying getting to write the academic equivalent of "HAHA I'm right and this is why you're wrong!".

Now I'm savouring the blissful state that can only be reached through excessive amounts of energy drink and sugar, dissonant gregorian chants (apparently the ultimate study music! who knew?), sleep deprivation, an overdose of academic lingo, the mandatory hours of wrestling with Python and LaTeX, and four days' worth of an undoubtedly unhealthy mix of work and procrastination. For goodness' sake, I've even gotten some writing done on my novel as a means of procrastination. That must surely be a sign of the ultimate reluctance of writing up a report. 

Nah. I'd like to tell myself that I'm just a slow starter. I actually do like the writing once I get a flow going. It is my favourite part of science, and the process through which I learn the most. And I may be slow, but once I get those words down the formulations tend to be pretty darned good. But maybe that's just the all-nighter euphoria talking. Right now my project and my report and I and everything seems fucking awesome.

I should go to bed. As much as I love this state of mind, it would be nice to get a couple hours of sleep before having to tackle the world tomorrow. Future me will probably thank me for it. So well. See ya.

Love and all-nighter high,
Winterdragon

Monday, 2 June 2014

Buckets of Dice

Who am I, again? A hopelessly romantic smuggler in space? A member of the resistance, or a traitor? A bureaucracy demon having had a proposition of the most alphabetic firesome in history turned down by the hottest vampire in the castle? A teenage witch with werewolf-ghoul-fae-human friends? A scientist occasionally passing through heaven? A meeple fleeing from owlbears in the world of necronomiconomics? A president loyalist, or a terrorist?

Trying to regain sanity and a sense of my own identity after a weekend filled with gaming convention. Back in Sweden my favourite convention LinCon is celebrating its 30th birthday, but I can't find it in my heart to feel the least bit disappointed for having missed it. I've been to an admittedly smaller, but still very excellent, one in my current hometown: Buckets of Dice. Awesome games, awesome people. Fun times were had! And I even won a prize for communicating only through interpretive dance when my character lost its ability of speech for the remainder of the game during a larp.

The post-convention feeling of euphoria coupled with exhaustion is the same on this side of the world, I've found. It is the best way to meet people, hands down. Totally worth the social overload. Now, time for food, tea and some silence. Possibly also stop being incoherent, but probably not.

Love and gaming conventions,
Winterdragon


Thursday, 29 May 2014

Street art

Just to clear things up after my recent rant. I love street art. There are a lot of nice examples of it in New Zealand, too. Here's some of what I've found.








 Love and art,
Winterdragon

Friday, 23 May 2014

Life and its lemons

My code is handing me a lot of lemons today. In the form of error messages and ridiculously unreasonable results. I debug and solve some problems, just to have new ones crop up. This was supposed to be a very simple piece of programming. My supervisors are disappointed, and I feel so stupid. I'm useless at programming. Even in Python, the simplest programming language on the planet, I manage to fuck everything up. And I suck at maths. What am I doing with my life? I'm not worthy to study astronomy. I'm about as much of an astronomer as Rincewind is a wizard. The only reason I haven't been kicked out from the university is because they need someone to keep around to blame for all the things that go wrong, and to make everyone else look like a genius in comparison.

... yeah. Self-esteem level hardly detectable today. Fuck this shit, for now. I'm gonna spend the rest of this evening writing, and pretend that it doesn't matter how useless I am at it. *puts on hat saying WRITTER*

 
Having an office on the 8th floor has its upsides. Autumn Christchurch is pretty.

Love and lemons,
Winterdragon

Friday, 16 May 2014

Rösta, för tusan!

En solig höstdag med långa promenader och inspirerande insikter. Jag har fått klarhet i min politiska ståndpunkt och brevröstat till EU-parlamentsvalet. Är du svensk medborgare så gör detsamma. Om du inte bryr dig eller har gett upp hoppet så till den grad att allt verkar kört ändå: tänk om. Hitta någonting du bryr dig om, läs på, och om utsikterna verkar dystra så rösta på det parti du tycker verkar minst ondskefullt. Politik påverkar dig, vare sig du vill det eller inte. Demokrati är din möjlighet att påverka den tillbaka, och det är sjukt jäkla viktigt att du ser den möjligheten som ett ansvar. Därför att om någon makt skall finnas kvar hos folket så måste den utnyttjas.

Om du inte använder din röst så kommer andra att använda din tystnad!

Kärlek och politik,
Winterdragon

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Vandalism

It's everywhere. It's bloody everywhere. At bus stops, train stations, bridges. On buses, street-light poles, even on trees. In dark alleys, on brightly-lit streets, all over windows. On cars and bikes. On the outsides of trains, and on the insides too. On the walls of crumbling houses, and even fancy new or beautiful old buildings. Sometimes on the very street itself. Offensive messages, words and images meant to be inspiring or funny, but for the most part just names scribbled all over the place. As if these signatures being seen by people at every street-corner would inspire respect and be a ticket to immortality. I hear there is a whole business for it nowadays. Children are growing up thinking that it is a perfectly respectable way of making a living. That it is not vandalism, morally despicable, or defacing our beautiful surroundings. Some even go as far as calling it art. The general population seems to have accepted it as a part of our culture, and there are even spaces specifically dedicated to it. There is just no respect for public places these days!


It's time to free our cities from this vandalism. Let us ban and eradicate advertisements once and for all!

Love and bitching,
Winterdragon