This fall I have taken a giant leap out of character. Brace yourself well and properly! I have started WORKING OUT!

There are a few reasons why I made this revolutionary decision. After having worked in shops (and as a teacher) for years, I realized I got a lot of free exercise from walking around all day (obviously, you might say). Thus, starting an office job for the very first time, my general crappy shape has crapped itself even further. A few years ago I was able to play an hour of squash without losing my breath and having to stop. My biggest issue was being the worst loser the world has ever seen – and being nicknamed John McEnroe. I never thought I’d say this, but when, half-game, I discovered I was so ruined I couldn’t even pronounce my usual fucks, I missed my nickname.

Me after 5 minutes of exercise

The results

The advantages of never really having worked out are that you really feel your body reacting – the reaction being somewhere between Oh my, thank you for finally taking care of me and Good Lord in Heaven, what is this discomfort, whatcha doing to me, you masochist punk?!

It hurts the pride of my lazy ass to admit it, but it does feel good to notice that one’s shape is improving. That said, the soreness of muscles I honestly did not know that I had, is not to be underestimated. But at least you know it’s working, right?

Yeah, pretty much

The lies

I have never believed in the training gurus who tell you that regular working out makes you addicted. But, having done three times a week at my best, I thought my attitude towards movement would, for the very least, change slightly for the better.

I was wrong. I still fucking hate it. It hurts, and whoever says otherwise is lying.

Unfit, but cute. Just kidding, only unfit

So, now what?

I have not felt much body-related difference after 5 months, but there is one thing I would like to emphasize. We women all have what I have come to call a fat day. This does not mean that we wake up fat in the morning – it’s mental fatness that no one but ourselves can spot. Having a fat day and not having done shit about it, feels like crap. Having a fat day, but having gone to the gym, makes it a little better. Not to mention the joys of eating and feeling like you’re just evening out what you already lost, and that you deserve it.

To be continued…

True story

Cultural differences are interesting to get to know, and appear in the strangest of forms, – often on subjects where one has not even considered the possibility of their existence. It is usually mostly entertaining, somewhat educational, and – I will not lie – at times slightly annoying. Anyhow, it’s worth writing about, and I hereby declare that the following observations are based on the Spanish and Norwegian individuals of my own life, and might be totally wrong for the rest of the countries’ population, but I tend to think they can be applied to the greater majority. Prior to further reading; brace yourself for stereotypes, generalizations and (although I hate to admit it) exaggerations.

Watching TV while having dinner

Norway: The taboo among dinner customs; mostly considered the practice of dysfunctional families that don’t care for actual communication. Apathetic faces staring blankly at some kind of useless sit-com or TV-shop woman selling a vacuum cleaner, while not noticing that grandma died in her chair an hour ago. In reality, most people dine in front of the TV from time to time, but they DO NOT tell anyone, due to the shame and social exclusion following such a reputation.

Spain: The TV is on most of the time, also whilst consuming one of the many meals during a day in the life of the average Spaniard. Another family member might be watching a youtube video and a third one checking out a song on Spotify. No one turns down the volume, and no one stops the five conversations that are going on across the room at the same time. Watching TV while eating in Spain is not anti-social, and does not mean that you don’t enjoy conversing with your family members. Spaniards are world champions on multitasking and seem to think that no activity excludes another.

Sleeping with the window open

Norway: Ah, fresh breeze from the window, all year round. Thick duvets all the way up to the chin, winter temperatures in the room, slippers ready by the chunky carpet on the floor. No headaches, no old air (as we like to put it), cold nose but a really, really warm body. And the comforting sound of rain or wind slowly lulling you to sleep.

Spain: For PUTA’s sake do not open the window, are you LOCO? Turn on the heat, make sure the vents are closed, the fan is off and that #noairwhatsoever is let in. If there is a tiny breeze from like, your cat sighing, we will get sick. We will get a cold, sniffy noses, sore throats and probably swine flu, aids and rabies. And we will not be subtle about it. We will complain and we will let you know every five seconds that YOU ARE TO BLAME.

Bringing kids into bars

Norway: The first sign of real child abuse. Call teachers, neighbors, the police, social services and the pope. This child is being molested by every single person inside the family, and it is plausible to conclude with both violence and general psychological torture, all to be blamed on the occasional beer within the presence of ~a child~. All future offsprings will be automatically aborted by the prime minister herself.

Spain: A bar is a social place, where there may or may not be a drunk fellow. Anyhow, your kids will not really notice, nor be frightened by them, considering that present parents won’t treat mentioned drunk people as something shameful nor dangerous. Most people however will have a couple of cañas and some tapas, while having their kids run around just like in the average Starbucks. Parents don’t drink enough to get affected by it, and kids are usually having fun with other kids, while their folks earn a well-deserved break from everyday life. All are happy.

Doing stuff

Norway: Let whoever doing something, do it in peace and quiet. Leave the person undisturbed until the task is finished, unless there is something really obvious you can do to help. When in doubt, just ask, but prepare to have your offer to help rejected.

Spain: Your husband, your mother-in-law, her father’s third cousin’s long lost nephew and his dog are coming with you to do whichever task you have before you. They will tell you how to do it, maybe try to do it for you, or discuss the best way to execute the task. Sometimes while staring at you and standing way too close for you to do what you need to do properly.

The concept of NOW

Norway: Being ready to leave NOW means that you’re standing fully dressed by the door with the keys in your hand. NOW describes the moment of something happening instantly, mostly within seconds, with the exception of the real-time (HAHA) signs belonging to the public transport system. Those were probably made by Spanish workers and auctioned away with Norway as the only bidder.

Spain: NOW is relative. NOW can mean right away or within some hours. You can be waking up from your siesta, naked in bed, looking like an earthquake, and telling your hubby you are ready to go NOW, meaning that you will be ready an hour later. Ironically the public transport system is actually reliable, but after the one-minute limit has passed, the real-time sign goes to zero minutes. Otherwise, no one would know when the transport is actually coming, obviously.

Aesthetics

Norway: A scratch on your car must be fixed immediately. Any respectable citizen will renew the kitchen every tenth year or so. Clothes with tiny holes or stains are simply unusable (Trust me, I worked in retail for eight years).

Spain: In Madrid, people actually calculate distances by slightly bumping into the cars in front and behind when parallel parking. Cars get scratches, and nobody cares as long as they still run. Regarding appearances, it is easy to assume that the good people of Spain can be compared with their stylish fellow southern Europeans in France and Italy, but nothing could be further from the truth. Most Spaniards are naturally attractive and charming, but they are also totally chill and casual, and everything but snobbish.

Rules

Norway: Rules are made to be followed! Five hundred grams overweight when you check-in your luggage at the airport means that you pay, – not for four hundred and ninety-nine, not for five hundred and one, – but for five. hundred. grams. Norwegians like equality, and therefore rarely make exceptions from the rules. They also rarely question the rules, if said rules are made by higher forces (meaning the government, not Jesus C.™)

Spain: If you enter a bar that says restrooms are only for paying customers, you might very likely still get to use it if you ask nicely. Also, getting minor services on let’s say, your car, doesn’t necessarily have to cost you a single Eurocent. If the car repairman doesn’t feel like he has really made an effort to solve your problem, he might just say hasta luego baby and leave, while you, having the role of the confused foreigner, are left with your credit card ready, not knowing whether to feel relieved or uncomfortable. No wonder the country has had some economical issues when they insist on working for free. Spaniards are the mere opposite of square, and their relaxed attitude has them bending the rules all the time, especially if the rules imply more work. Which is also why the airport employees won’t even charge you for five kilos overweight.

How the day works

Norway: It is almost socially frowned upon to have a job that does not take place between the hours of eight and four. At five people have dinner, and most of these workers go to bed before eleven, after having put their kids to bed at eight.

Spain: People generally work later, not to mention have dinner no earlier than ten. Before that, they have what they call lunch, which is basically the first dinner of the day. The lucky and/or traditional ones also sleep the famous siesta after dinner number one, and people (including children) go to bed way after the majority of Norwegians are already asleep. It’s like the whole day has been moved three hours ahead, like the primal Spaniards overslept and their descendants never managed to catch up.

Greeting

Norwegian: No one is introducing me. Maybe I just say hola. If I’m in a good mood I’ll wave from afar.
Spaniard: No one is introducing me. Better take matters into my own hands.
Norwegian: Oh-oh, Spanish stranger approaching. What does he/she want?
Spaniard: Why is this person reversing like a car?
Norwegian: Fine, I’ll do a handshake.
Spaniard: Handshake? What are we, politicians? (Damn politicians de mierda) Come here, amigo!
Norwegian: Why is his/her face approaching mine? What are you – ? What? No. No! NOOOOO
Spaniard: That was a good kiss! Now let’s do the other side.
Norwegian: Now what? I thought that was it!
Spaniard: Good thing I didn’t let go of that hand. Better pull. Ngh –
Norwegian: You gotta be kidding me!
Spaniard: There! My work is done.
Norwegian: This trauma will forever haunt my soul.

(Play this inner dialogue in very fast motion to know exactly what happens when a Norwegian and a Spaniard meet for the first time)

Conclusion

Norway Pros:
• Being on time, and actually knowing when people arrive.
• Being left alone when you need to.
• Getting to sleep without sweating through your sheets.
• Routines and rules.

Norway Cons:
• Hysterical and slightly judgemental attitude towards people doing things differently.
• Being left along when you actually do need help.
• Living in a society that basically discriminates everyone who is not an early bird.

Spain Pros:
• Being a part of a very inclusive society, without even trying.
• Not stressing about anything, – no pasa nada! (nothing will happen!) is a very comfortable life motto.
• Having the opportunity to live life as a night owl.
• A life dominated by variation and adaptiveness.

Spain Cons:
• No one is ever on time. On the bright side, that means you don’t have to either.
• Not being given much space when you need it.
• Having your car scratched more frequently.

I guess the pros and cons mostly depend on how one is wired, but I tried to be as objective as possible. That said, I know where I belong.

Having just finished my exams, I thought this would be a good moment to share my groundbreaking knowledge on how to procrastinate. I have indeed learned a lot from my studies this far; I have gained a profound insight into arts management and more or less mastered the theory behind project management, and, – I have once and for all got a confirmation on my insanely well-developed ability to procrastinate. My talents are indisputable. She’s born with it.

(This text will be absolutely life-changing for productive people. You should sponsor me.)

• First and most importantly; wait until the very very very very last minute to do just about anything other than what’s on this list.

• Make sure to always snooze when your alarm goes off. One hour, two hours. There simply cannot be too many snoozes.

• Have insomnia. If you don’t, think about that thing you said fifteen years ago that might or might not have offended someone.

• Have cats (I cannot say this enough times). They tend to lie on you, on your books, on your computer. Follow the house rule of any decent cat household. ~Never~ move the cat.

• Make sure to have access to Netflix, HBO, and absolutely every other streaming service that exists. Side note: documentaries are technically like reading a book.

• Have a messy house. This will require you to do chores, and you will enjoy doing them for the first time in your life. (The same rule could be applied to working out.)

• YOUR SOCK DRAWER NEEDS ORGANIZING

• Contact friends you haven’t seen in a while. Your guiltiness will justify prioritizing to go out for a coffee (slash wine slash vodka slash drugs) with them.

• Make sure to rest and reward yourself after each goal you reach, which makes it totally logical to put very.many.goals.everywhere.

• Social media is your friend. Buzzfeed is your friend. Google is your friend. Memes are your friend. This site is your friend. The quiz What kind of butter are you? is your friend.

• Forget your glasses. Or lose them completely (you may prefer stepping on them by accident). If you don’t wear glasses, poke yourself in the eyeball with a fork.

• Spend months organizing your future progress. Buy fancy folders and other inspiring office equipment. Make sure to never be inspired by them.

• Call your mother. No further elaboration needed.

• Share a bottle with a random child or lick the used cup of your colleague that isn’t in today.

• Have daily selfie sessions for your resumé. Tell yourself it will help your future job search.

• Do some volunteering. No one can argue with volunteering.

• Make your husband/boyfriend/parent/friend/cat dinner. Disguise it as a simple act of love, but know better. Laugh like Dr. Evil within yourself.

• Make a blog that nobody reads. Write stuff like this, and tell yourself it’s educative.

Told you I’m good. Thank me later. Later.

I’m way above averagely interested when it comes to languages, words and grammar. I simply cannot understand people who move abroad without learning the local language at least decently well. However, I do realize that this interest is what most people would categorize as one of great nerds. I do admit it, but I’m not ashamed. I do not learn languages for practical purposes, but for the joy of it. Because they actually taste good in my mouth. Facepalm? I know.

I started learning Spanish in 2009. It was a quick, sometimes embarrassing, but joyful process. As years went by, I kept on teaching myself the slangiest slang I could possibly find. And I have come to realise that Spanish is a humorous, rich but oh so damn brutal language. If you think your own mother tongue has some juicy stuff, I dare say you will be defeated. Just wait for it. And stop reading if you consider yourself a sensitive soul.

Puta. Everybody knows this one, but I’m starting soft. Puta means whore, but the interesting thing about puta, is that is can be both good and bad. Su puta madre is bad. His/her mother is a whore; obviously bad. Or is it that obvious? Moving on to de puta madre. Es un tío de puta madre! He is a guy from a mother who’s a whore. Great! Best compliment ever! Two small letters difference, guys. Welcome to Spain.

Coño. Probably also a familiar one to certain people, literally meaning pussy. The interesting thing about this one though, is that everybody uses it. All. The. Time. Like, you go to the pharmacy, and the pharmacist drops a package of meds on the floor. PUSSY! I mean, if that happened to me in English or Norwegian, my jaws would drop to the floor. Spanish people don’t even react. At least the female genitalia is not a taboo.

Joder. Literally means fuck, but it’s not really used as a verb. They have another word for that. This one is as frequently used as the previous, and you will hear it from children, sweet old ladies, and everything in between. I’ve even heard a monk say it. Conservative, Catholic Spain, you say?

Soplapollas. Now we are getting into the really interesting ones. This is one of my favorite words and basically means cockblower. I seem to think it translates better to idiot or fool because it somehow has a kind of innocent, humorous touch. Always makes me smile.

La polla. Here comes a piece of provocative language sexism! If something is la polla (the cock), it’s great. Now read the next one.

Un coñazo. This means big pussy, and if something is un coñazo, you can be sure that it is a big pain in the arse!

Cantamañanas. If someone calls you this, it means that you’re kind of an idiot. In a charming, sweet way. It’s not really an insult. Literally, it translates to a morning singer, which I totally identify with, as anyone who interrupts my mornings with singing, is obviously an idiot.

Abrazafarolas. A streetlight hugger! Isn’t that great? It has the same meaning as cantamañanas, but this one is even more descriptive. You hug streetlights as if you were wasted. You can’t be very clever. You’re loving though!

Tienes los cojones grandes y bien plantados. You have big and well-placed balls. A very illustrating way of describing someone who gives a whole lot of fucks.

Cojonudo. Balls are usually a good thing in Spanish. So if something is ballsy, it’s awesome.

Estás como una cabra. Spanish goats must be crazy. If you’re like a goat, that’s exactly what you are.

Eres más raro que un perro verde. You are weirder than a green dog. So many words for calling someone weird!

Eres más simple que el mecanismo de un botijo. You are simpler than the mechanism of a mug. Again, so much work!

Eres más pesado que una vaca en brazos. Pesado means heavy in Spanish, but it is also slang for pain in the ass. Knowing that this joyful phrase gets a double meaning; you are heavier/more of a pain in the ass than carrying a cow in your arms. Also reasonably descriptive.

Eres más tonto que Abundio, que vendió el coche para comprar gasolina. You’re more stupid than Abundio (very, very strange, old Spanish name), who sold his car to buy gas. Maybe there’s a reason why the name isn’t really in use anymore.

Eres más tonto que Abundio, que se cortó una oreja porque la tenía repitida. Abundio again, this time he cut his ear off, because he had two. Who the hell is this guy?

Vete a hacer gargaras con la regla de tu madre. Ok, brace yourself for the worst of them all. Fuck off. Or, as our Spanish friends may say; Go gargle your mother’s period. Grossness times a hundred. This one thankfully isn’t very common, but I for one am saving it for a time someone really insults me. Can’t wait to see their face. Just. So many nopes.

No menees tanto el culo, que se te van a marear las bragas. Now, moving on to the compliments. This somewhat strange phrase translates to; Don’t shake your ass so much, your knickers are gonna get dizzy. Exactly what all women want to hear!

Estás como para comerte y luego coserse el culo para no cagarte. So, you’re on a date with a handsome, dark-haired Spanish Latino lover, he leans forward and whispers in your ear; you are so fine I’m gonna eat you and sew my ass closed so I don’t shit you out again. Seriously? Who makes up this stuff? So, this situation probably wouldn’t happen, because to use this phrase, you got to be like the tackiest person ever to have been born. It does exist, but it’s brutal even to these guys. I can’t help laughing at it though. And the fact that it’s actually meant as a compliment.

Ok, I feel like I blew up the shock scale like three phrases ago. But, if you memorize a few of these ones for your next vacation to Spain, you will definitely impress the locals, and probably make them laugh. Or possibly punch you in the face.

There is more where it came from.