Cats: The most low status pet. Shelters are crowded by them – and foster homes and volunteers are swamped at all times, due to the constant, non-stop flow of homeless floofs. But as I find it boring to write ideological posts (I prefer to stick to the less serious), here are some reasons why cats are just as amazing pets as dogs. In other words, if you’re a dog person without a dog – because dawgs require a lot of work – I hereby challenge myself to make you consider a less work demanding, but equally amazing companion.

Sure, I am definitely a cat person, but in general I love all animals – dogs too. My lazy nature however goes better with the one of felines, but otherwise I would be super happy with a pup too, and love the crap out of it.

There, now you know I can be trusted. Just hear me out.

Yes, there will be photos of my cats in this post. Duh

Selectiveness is awesome when you are the one selected. It may take a while, all depending on the individual, but your cat will choose you. He might be an easy going cat who doggily greets everyone else too, but if not – who does not love being the only one approved by that cranky individual who hates the whole world?

Dogs are extroverted, while cats are introverted. Just like a human extrovert will greet you with a hug, all eager to catch up, an introvert human might just say hello and be a little shy before (s)he remembers that you’re great friends. That does not mean they love you any less.

Cats are anarchists. In my experience, most animals have certain individual personality traits, some of which can be altered by humans to a certain degree. That said, cats do not follow your rules. They’re not your baby, they’re your roommate. And sure, at times that fluffy, innocent looking roommate will steal your food and shed on your sheets, but most of the time it’s just really cool to be living your life next to someone else living theirs, while pretending not to depend on you. But you know they do, and sometimes they forget to pretend, and turn into chonky love balls.

At times my cat really does act like my roomie

I divide dogs into two categories: 1) Proud 2) Sorry for existing. Cats however only come in the first, AKA Look at all the fucks I give! One of my everlasting life goals is learning to give even more of those. I admire them. Cats are ~never~ sorry for existing.

Cats are self-cleansing. Did you know that wool very rarely needs washing? Most of the time it’s enough to put it on a hanger and let it air out for a day or two. Same goes for cats (without the hanger part). They can easily go their whole life without a bath, and still be really fresh. They don’t even smell. It’s super practical.

They get really old. Absolutely something to bear in mind when getting one, but I would definitely call it an advantage that cats can live up to 20+ years if they’re lucky. Unfortunately our doggy friends usually last much less.

Dogs are horizontal, cats are multi angled – perhaps that is why they are the stars of YouTube. You never know how high (or low) you might find your long tailed roomie, and sometimes they just disappear, before reappearing in the middle of the floor, as if gone to another dimension. It doesn’t matter how small your flat is. And it’s super fun.

Cats are liquid. How else do they manage to fit into places half their size? A cat’s fear of the vacuum cleaner makes claustrophobia unheard of, and never an issue.

Dogs bark, which is probably the only thing I dislike about them. Cats on the other hand are quiet animals, and the sounds they do make are like precious, therapeutic gifts. A meow here, a purr there. No neighbor complaints, no horrified mailmen.

Unlike myself, cats have the abilty to look super cute even when fat. As much as I wish that were the case for my own appearance, I must sadly admit that I just cannot rock the chonk shape.

They make everything better. You turn on the fireplace, but not really getting in that snuggly mood? Put a cat. Have an ugly sofa that needs pimping up? Put a cat. Don’t feel like going to bed? Put a cat. Cold feet? Put a cat. Raining day? Put a cat. Heartache? Put a damn cat. Dying? Cat. Not kidding.

Edit: I wrote this piece of text while taking a break from writing my Master thesis (yes, I actually take breaks from writing to…write). Now I am in a totally different state of mind, but it has become clear to me that the mental state of pre-finishing and post-finishing a degree are of two different worlds (Planets. Planes?). Now that I am all done, I see flowers and unicorns. This is what I saw in June, before I knew I would start a new and adult life as a full time employee at the Music Academy:

#1
Studying
I recently discovered, while finishing my final Master thesis, that my level of efficiency is turned up about five hundred percent when the sun goes down. While I cannot seem to concentrate properly more than about five minutes during the day, my inner owl is an effective little bugger, who prefers working from eleven to five. Five AM, that is.

#2
Diets
I am so very unable to eat healthy food on a regular basis, or work out weekly. Yet I totally have the will power to lose ten kilos in a month, by starving myself. All or nothing, guys, no problemo. My deepest apologies, body. I guess you weren’t first in line when they handed out souls.

#3
Cleaning
We have lots of visitors. That’s good, because having visitors makes me do chores. And that’s about the only time I do them. People have no idea what a filthy life we would live if it weren’t for our guests. Apparently I care way more about not being judged than having a house that would meet the health department’s minimal requirements.

#4
Speaking Spanish
Some days my Spanish sounds like I am a stuttering Tourettes patient. On those days I sometimes have my regular seven glasses of wine, and it all works out. (OR DOES IT?)

#5
Studying, again
I am not able to get a decent grade on assignments which are handed out a year before their deadline. I am however, very able to get an actual good grade on exams that last five hours or a couple of days. Oh, beautiful pressure. Am I only functional when stressed the fuck out? (Edit 2: I mysteriously got a good grade on the thesis I was writing at this point.)

#6
Photography
I don’t have super bad self esteem when it comes to my looks, but for some reason I look like I have a disease every time I am caught on camera. I have a theory about it; I am actually hideously ugly, but for some reason you can only spot it when you freeze time. You might be thinking, but that picture you have on your front page is really cool! Well, make no mistake, that picture is cool because I laid down on the couch to check something on my phone, my hat fell over my face and I clicked the camera button by mistake. This is when you applaud. Thank you.

#7
Money
Let’s say I get a salary of ten thousand NOK. Even knowing that bills of eleven thousand are awaiting, I can still pass by that expensive shop and buy the hell out if it. In a not-too-unusual moment of irresponsible, immature stupidity. And yet I am to be put in the category of ~adult human~? Can I please be appointed a guardian?

#8
Irony
I try to filter myself, but sometimes I totally forget who I am speaking to, and end up offending people. I am sure there are those out there who have mistaken me for both homophobic, racist and just a general asshole, while I was actually trying to make fun of those beliefs in my own ~I think I am super clever~-way. Is there some kind of turn off sarcasm-button on my body that I have still yet to find? Is there an app I can install? Can my future employer not read this?

9#
Career
I am good at a lot of things – non of which that generate money. Music, writing, languages, you name it. It’s like my personality has thought to itself HAHAHA, let’s see how resourceful AND useless a person can be at the same time! Challenge accepted!

#10
Studying – for the last time
Why is it so difficult to get down the right words for an assignment, and so damn easy to write about all my flaws? Guess what I was supposed to be doing when I wrote this? Why? Just why?

Having worked a great amount of time in cafés and retail, I feel like it’s about time to share some insight. Make no mistake, I always expect the best from my clerks and waiters, but most of the time, it is the customers that need education. Here are some useful tips.

#1
Smile

Just be friendly. The person greeting you when you enter a shop, is not a part of some evil plan to manipulate you into purchasing a quantity that will force you into prostitution. Fact is that most people who work in the service industry are friendly by nature – and if they are not, rest assured they will not last long.

#2
Be efficient

Don’t get in line before you have made up your mind. The stress that goes with having to wait for someone go yeah but no but yeah but no with a million annoyed customers behind him or her, equals being chased by hungry velociraptors.

#3
Don’t argue with me

If an item comes from a brand we don’t sell, nor have ever heard of, you can be reasonably sure we are not messing with you when we say you must have bought it somewhere else. Service workers don’t have a very high societal status, but most of them are neither evil nor stupid.

#4
Don’t be an asshole

So you have a complaint? And you gotta work yourself up and prepare a little speech beforehand, making sure to intimidate your clerk into doing whatever you want him to? Bad move. We have rules to follow, and they might not always run in your favor, but we’re just so much more likely to bend those rules if you’re not being a dick about it.

#5
What if I told you…

We don’t decide the prices! Breaking news, right? This is the moment where you stop complaining about them to us, and send an email to management instead.

#6
Discounts

Don’t ask for them. Just don’t. Sure, I’d like to go buy a Porche at half price too, but living in the real world, I know it doesn’t work like that. This is a business, not a charity, and you don’t even look homeless.

#7
Clean up your mess

Do not smeer your overly tanned face all over our expensive silk blouses. This isn’t the shroud of Turin, and you’re not Jesus.

#8
Don’t cut the line

No, you can’t just buy a coffee. And you can’t just pay very quickly cause you’re in a hurry – your business isn’t busier than others’. Who even raised you?

#9
Don’t leave your dog outside the shop

Seriously, we want to snuggle. It’s the highlight of our day!

Just do this if it’s so problematic

I rest my case.

I was a very shy child. And teenager, horrified of awkward silences or saying something wrong. Until you’re an adult it is never cool to be the quiet one, and I was born an introvert, with all the traits that includes, but around age sixteen I decided that I was sick of it. I jumped out of my comfort zone and became more and more outgoing.

Now I think most people perceive me as exactly that, but the truth is that on the inside I am still very dominated by the typical introvert personality traits. I have taken several personality tests at work and during my studies, and I always come out from 49-51 per cent on one side of the scale, depending on the day. I am a perfect hybrid of an introvert and extrovert. I am an outgoing introvert.

If you wonder whether you or someone you know is also a (closet) introvert, here are some signs;

#1
Eating out alone

If you find me having a coffee or dinner by myself in a public place, it does not mean that no one wanted to come with me. It means that I needed some self maintenance or perhaps to get some work done, and make no mistake; I love it.

(Except the fact that I am actually not single, but I still do this)

#2
We are never bored

I am not claiming that introverts have a richer inner life than others, but I do believe that we have yet to figure out how to turn our minds off. At least I can keep myself busy for hours with only my thoughts as entertainment; every time I see people getting stuck under buildings after an earthquake or after some mining accident, I always think about what an advantage that would be. That is also why I sometimes don’t sleep very well.

#3
We usually express ourselves best in writing

Word always not come out way the right spoken when.

#4
Traveling alone

I admit not having done this as many times as I wish, due to meeting my husband at the age of twenty, but otherwise I would have loved to. In fact, when I travel with people, I tend to escape their company to enjoy my own. Sorry!

#5
We don’t enjoy phone calls

I have worked oh so hard with myself to accept the fact that grown ups sometimes have to talk to people through a device. Thanks to my stubbornness and will to overcome the things that make me uncomfortable, I have managed to become a decent phone talker. Just don’t expect me to call you just to chat. And don’t you dare face-time me.

#6
We tend to like animals

Especially cats. They also enjoy being alone and asleep.

#7
We sometimes overthink beyond what’s good for us

It can happen because I once cracked a joke someone did not laugh at. It can happen because I said something twenty years ago that may or may not have offended someone. And yeah, we know it’s irrational, but we do it anyway. It’s like an extra little person inside our heads doing his own thinking beside ours. We don’t like that guy.

#8
We can be a bit nerdy

Since we don’t depend on the company of others, we tend to dig into hobbies or studies that one typically does alone, being collecting stamps, reading, writing or playing an musical instrument. This is usually the time we feel most productive.

#9
We don’t like conflict

That does not mean we will tolerate anything. It just means that when we do raise our voices, it’s damn serious.

#10
Sometimes we are superstitious

Introverts like to look beyond the surface in search of a more profound meaning, which is why we tend to be a bit spiritual, superstitious or even religious. Should we really walk underneath that ladder? Was that a premonition? Is that my floor cracking or… is it demons?

These are the things that are going on on our insides, although we love to be social and can be perceived as super outgoing. And we are. But we’re also that other stuff.

I took six weeks of vacation this year, mainly because I got a job (Like a real adult job!) and it will be my last chance in a while. When you are away for such a long time, it feels a bit like living there, and you stop doing touristy things and start lazying around like a super useless entity with absolutely no purpose. Oh, the comfort.

Somebody would have probably done this to me if I had had a penis

Anyway, being in Spain for six weeks also makes time for some cool/funny/educative experiences. These are the ones I currently remember.

#1
I’m really so grateful and blessed for having six different people visiting us during these six week, but being three people with three languages in common is confusing as hell. Man, have we said some weird stuff. My husband’s best quote still stands strong; Sí, but egentlig no. (Yes, but actually no. Four words, three languages, and it’s not clear which one the last word belonged to.)

#2
I got the final confirmation that people always assume that a group of friends hanging out consists of people from the same country. Being in groups consisting of people from Norway, Spain, Venezuela and Morocco makes people ask the question Where are you from? with a big parenthesis containing THE HELL between the two first words of the sentence.

I think this is more or less what we look like

#3
A really inconvenient strike among Madrid taxi drivers hit the city in July. I was pretty pissed about having to walk for an hour at three in the morning after having consumed an amount of wine that will remain undefined, but on the bright side I finally discovered the beauty of Über. The good people of Spain reacted as they always do: they laughed their asses off and made fun of the situation. This was the result:

(The refrain goes No hay taxis, meaning that there are no taxis)

#4
Despite the fact that the summer has been colder than I have ever experienced in my eight years of going to Madrid, the papers have been bombarded with articles of a heat wave that we basically never felt. A few years ago we had fourty degrees four weeks in a row and no one made a fuzz. I am still confused.

#5
Leaving my cats with an over enthusiastic cat sitter with an evil plan to spoil my cats so much that they don’t love me anymore when I get back. Didn’t see that coming.

Thank you, María

#6
My ten year old nephew asked me if I wanted to hear his best insult (and of course I did), before proceeding to tell me that a good way to commit suicide would be to jump from my husband’s ego and down to my intelligence. Ouch!

#7
Mentally preparing myself to change my sleeping habits, going to bed at eleven and getting up at seven thirty. My friends and family have no faith in me regarding this, but I will show them! Being a student has also taught me to hunt cheap shops for cool clothes, and I managed to make it fun by pretending to be on a treasure hunt. That does not mean I am sad about finally getting a salary.

#8
My husband finally got over being burnt by a jelly fish in the forehead three years ago, and started swimming again. It was actually kind of dangerous, but I laughed so much when he arrived with a huge, swollen, red circle on his face. So did the Red Cross woman.

#9
Discovering the amazing comics by Francisco Ibáñez; Mortadelo and Filemon. I started reading it as a way to learn new vocabulary, but I ended up laughing way more than I should have.

#10
Seeing my cousin after eleven years. It felt so good to see the one person that connects me to my aunt who passed away in 2007. She also took very good care of my cats for a few days, which always means plus points in my book. Last week I received my favorite perfume, sent all the way from Elba in Italy, – the only place they sell it. Thank you so much! (If I put emojis in my posts I would have put a cat with heart eyes here.)

#11
I went through all of fucking Benidorm to get a long wanted yoghurt ice cream, and ended up getting food poisoned(?), throwing the whole thing back up with the force of a machine gun. I didn’t eat ice cream for two weeks. In July. But it passed!

#30 (~chuckling~)
Turning thirty! And nothing really changes! Life is still great!

Learning a second (or in this case third) language when not a child can be a challenge. When I started learning Spanish, I somewhat subconsciously decided to stop being afraid of making mistakes, and just speak as much as I could. I never had the balls to do that during my years as a French learning (and very awkward) teenager, and now my broken and limited French only pops up in absolute emergencies. (Which is another story.)

This decision is what I believe to be the very reason why my Spanish worked out ok pretty fast. It did however come with the risk of making an absolute fool of myself (which I already have a decent talent for), which is what I will be so generous to share with you in this post.

#1

I once walked into a fancy store and asked for Barajas (the Madrid airport) instead of rebajas (sales). The clerk pointed politely in one direction, but I’m still not sure towards which of the two.

#2

After making plans to fly from Quito to Cuenca (Ecuador), they cancelled my flight, and I told a whole bunch of Ecuadorians at my Spanish school that my flight was cansado (tired) instead of cancelado (cancelled). Some saint had mercy on me and corrected my mistake, and I will never mix up the two again.

I googled ‘tired plane’ and I was not disappointed

#3

For a while I sometimes greeted people with chao (goodbye) instead of hola (hello), because I thought Spanish was like Italian, where ciao means both hello and goodbye. I cannot have seemed like a friendly person.

#4

I once told my Spanish teacher that I was fácil (slutty) when trying to explain I am not a drama queen. This word usually means easy, but apparently not when you say it about yourself. She chuckled before telling me never to repeat that sentence.

#5

Being the only foreigner among a group of locals in Madrid, I once somehow communicated that my husband wakes up horny every morning. I was trying to say that he is happy and full of energy, but the sound level of the crowd’s laugh had me understanding pretty quickly that I had said something cringe worthy. To this day I have no idea what exactly was my mistake. Still makes me cringe though.

#6

One of my favorite Spanish 80s hits (yes, it is a thing) has a line going (…) y cuentos chinos (Chinese tales). Just recently I realized that for years I have been singing (and I have been singing it A LOT) cuento chinos; I am counting Chinese people. I always thought that part of the lyrics was a bit weird, but then again, there are a whole lot of Chinese people in Madrid.

25. Twenty five Chinese people.

#7

In the very early stages of my Spanish, I was walking around the capital of Ecuador looking for an ATM. Not having any idea how to say that (and this was before smart phones), I took a chance and asked a random guy for a mini banco. I now know oh too well that a mini banco simply sounds like a very tiny bank. He did however understand what I was searching for and pointed me in the right direction, but not before having pronounced cajero (the actual word for ATM) extremely clearly articulated and making me repeat it three times. I will forever remember you, my educating friend.

Having recently realized that I spent a total of three months in Spain during 2017, it is perhaps not such a mystery that I never cease to discover new cultural differences that make me chuckle. As I may or may not have made it clear in my previous post on this topic, I usually feel more identified with these Southern beings than with my own country mates, and most of the traits I find are those of a good hearted and easy going people. Here are my recent ones;

#1
Qué tal tu madre?

I recently sat in a bar with my usual glass of ribera del duero, waiting for my husband buying three tons of food for one dinner (how are these people not obese like hell?). As I am enjoying wine and solitude (I have no shame), enter two young, tattooed, cool looking Spanish dudes, as taken straight out of an American high school movie. They order a caña each and hang out beside me by the bar counter, and although I was trying to write, I obviously ended up eaves dropping instead. So, before having said anything else to each other, one of them says; How is your mother?

Norway: Unless you know someone’s mother on a personal level, asking this question is socially awkward between men. I am not claiming that Norwegians love their parents less than the Spanish, but they are certainly not as proud of it. Asking too much about your friend’s mother, might only result in said friend thinking that you consider his mother a MILF.

Spain: The Iberians are adorably family oriented, and no matter your degree of toughness, there is simply never a wrong time to ask how someone’s mother is doing. You don’t even need to have met the woman, this question will always be asked with sincere compassion and interest, and answered accordingly. Is Virgin Mary to blame? I mean thank?

#2
Bar culture

I once read that there are more bars in Spain than in the rest of the European Union all together. Even during the economic crisis, Madrid bars remained crowded, and in our neighborhood none of our regular spots had to close down (Gracias a Dios!). Quoting a random guy I just passed while walking through a backstreet on my way home; Esta tiene que ser la única calle de Madrid que no tiene un puto bar. (This has to be the only street in Madrid that doesn’t have a fucking bar.) I peaked cautiously from side to side, and yes, he was (probably) right.

Norway: Our equivalent to bars is coffee shops, but a lot of that coffee is bought to go. Norwegians like to drink coffee while they do other things, and only actually sit down to enjoy it if they are meeting a friend or family member. This is also why people sometimes think I am a lonely person with no friends, after finding me enjoying a cup of joe in my very own company.

Spain: Bars are the Starbucks of Spain. Spaniards don’t really drink coffee to go, and prefer going to their regular neighborhood spots, where they can – quoting my husband; «talk to the bartender or complain about politics.» Truth is that lots of Madrid neighborhoods are like small villages, where the residents know a) the workers in bars and shops, b) each other, and c) each other’s dogs. It was actually a bartender that put my mother in law in contact with the previous owners of her current pup.

#3
Bar hygiene

I hate to out the amazing bar culture of Spain, but the fact is that they tend to hang sausages and hams on their walls instead of, I don’t know, art? Customers spend their evenings throwing stuff on the floor, giving absolutely zero fucks. Los camareros clean it all up after closing, without further complaints.

Norway: This is not even possible, as the controllers from The Government Food Safety Authority would come and close down your bar at once if you even thought about storing food anywhere else than in ~the restricted food area~. As well, get ready to be crucified by a mob of fierce waiters if you intentionally drop your dirty napkin. Norwegians are kind of obsessed with hygiene, and are generally not into let’s say, eating from the same plate (unless it’s with their partner). It does not take a lot for a Norwegian to say Æsj (Yuck), and in comparison, the Spanish language actually lacks an equivalent to this word.

Spain: If you’re really considerate, you might actually aim for the garbage can, but if you miss, you probably won’t even be able to distinguish your own filth from the other stuff that has already been thrown on the floor. This is not considered rude, but it does have the tendency to frighten foreign (especially Norwegian) customers from even entering. Food being used as decoration does not ever exclude said food from being eaten later on.

#4
Religion

Catholic, conservative Spain, right? WRONG! At least regarding the following.

Norway: Holidays are exactly that; holy days, and it is forbidden by law for others than kiosks (defined by a certain maximum size) to be open on days like Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Christmas day and so on. On the other hand, the majority really doesn’t care about the religiousness of these days, but they do care deeply about not having to work. Taking a look at what people wear on Norwegian beaches (that one week when it is actually enjoyable to visit them, best case scenario), does however make it seem like we are the conservative ones, with our big bikini bottoms and without a single topless girl in sight. Is it because we are so shy? So decent? So… pale?

Spain: Yes, lots of shops are closed on holidays (which are fewer than in Norway in the first place), but they close because the owners choose to. The government does not interfere with what you do with your business, so if you want to work your ass off all year round, you are welcome to do so (The Chinese community of Madrid is a good (and very convenient) example of this). Also, the huge mall chain El Corte Ingles is seriously never closed, not even on holidays that fall on a Sunday. Secondly, if you have ever been to a Spanish beach (or even a pool inside the city), you have for sure seen both tits and string “covered” butts. Not few of them either. Oh, such conservatives!

#5
Dogs

Madileños love dogs, and I don’t think I have ever seen such a dog friendly city. They even used to have small plastic bag dispensers installed on the public garbage cans.

Norway: Being an animal lover, I tend to put on a goofy smile every time I pass by a dog, cat, snake or you name it, and sometimes I try to say hi. Norwegians however do not like to be approached by strangers for any reason, and their dogs are usually quickly pulled away. If you want to see a real Norwegian poker face, trying to make contact with someone’s dog will show you the perfect example.

Spain: Dog owners tend to stop and chat among each other while their pets do the same, and when you walk your dog, you are likely to be approached by strangers wanting to give your four legged friend a pat on the head.

#6
Being old

All countries have old people (right?), but this part of the population might live their lives differently from place to place.

Norway: Old people are pretty much prisoners of their own homes from late October to midst April, unless they are suicidal or devoured by dementia. The climate makes sure our pavements and roads are heavily covered in layers of ice, and I for one usually fall at least once every winter; lastly in February, landing on my butt in a very cartoon-like way. At least it doesn’t hurt where the flesh is thickest.

Spain: Old people are much more defined by other things than their age, perhaps because you actually see them all year round. Even raisin looking hunch backs on the peak of reaching three digits can be seen enjoying cañas y tapas on the street terraces, or walking their equally soon-to-die doggos. It is all very charming, and I am convinced that Spain is a great place to grow old.

#7
Medicine

How people approach the use of medicines, is probably one of the biggest culture crashes there are between these two countries. However, when it comes to mental health, Norway has a much higher suicide rate than Spain, which perhaps tells us that they are doing something right? On the other hand, they will most likely be the first country to develop bacterias that are completely immune to antibiotics.

Norway: We do not ever give people medicine that they don’t absolutely need. If we have it, we like to put the patient (including ourselves) through significant discomfort before we even let them know that said medicine exists. Neither doctors nor patients have a problem with this, as there is a common understanding regarding the importance of not putting chemicals in the body if it can be avoided.

Spain: Most Spanish households have a drawer that I have chosen to call ~The great medicine drawer~. This drawer contains everything from throat fixers and sleeping pills, to antibiotics and everything else, – a lot of which you can use to kill yourself. Spaniards tend to see only the positive abilities of medicine, and do not really see the point of healing naturally or endure physical or psychological pain if there is a chemical cure or pain killer.

Spanish people are also very open about let’s say, their mental issues or other health problems, like difficulties regarding fertility. I have had people telling me really intimate stuff after having known them for five minutes, – things that Norwegians don’t tell their friends after five years. Very few things are taboo in Spain, and regarding the mentioned topics, I applaud them for that!

For more stuff regarding Spain versus Norway, check this out.