Friday, July 22, 2011

Playing with Lions

On our way from Pretoria to Johannesburg, we stopped for a few hours at the Lion Park. More than 85 lions live there, and also lots of other animals, native to South Africa.  The lions have large plains where they roam freely, but there are also nurseries for cubs who need care, and I got to play and cuddle with some of them, only 2 and 4 months old.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Downtown Johannesburg

A South African street scene. I took this picture last Saturday, when I was exploring Johannesburg all day before flying back to Norway. A fascinating city with lots of huge contrasts!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sonny Boy

I usually don't have those great cinematic experiences during a flight.  There are a number of factors that prevent me from really watching a movie, such as tiny screen with mediocre quality, disturbances, background noise, falling asleep, and more.  I always end up missing bits and pieces of the film, not getting an important point, and very often not remembering it for long.
Well, this was a big exception.  During the flight from Amsterdam to Johannesburg, we wanted to see a movie, and we chose the Dutch "Sonny Boy", 2011, directed by Maria Peters.  It's based on the true story of Waldemar Nods, a 19-year-old boy from Surinam, who went to Holland in the 1920's, where he would endure hostility and prejudice because of his color and his background.  He meets Rika, a married woman in her late thirties, mother of four, and they fall in love, something that is unspeakable in that time...
The story, the pictures, the different themes (Prejudice, racism, family, World War II, hope, love, death) it all add up to a great movie that I really recommend seeing!
Ricky Koole as Rika and Sergio Hasselbaink as Waldemar are wonderful actors, as are many of the others in this rich movie. See here for more information.

Monday, July 11, 2011


So, suddenly I find myself in South-Africa.  I'm here for a week, with no specific agenda, since it's my husband who has that (the agenda, that is) for work.  
I'm just here.  Being. Learning. Reading. Writing. 
And after not even a day, I'm face to face with: Pumba!  He was posing for me, turning this way and that way, and when I told him that I had my photograph, he turned around and left.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Prokofiev's Romeo & Juliet

About a month ago my daughter and I went to Oslo, to experience the Norwegian National Ballet's performance of Prokofiev's Romeo & Juliet. Last time I saw this wonderful ballet was in Paris, in the 90's.  The music is simply amazing, and the story, Shakespeare's tragedy,  is heart-gripping. This choreography was made specifically for the Norwegian National Ballet by Michael Corder in 1992, and it has been performed many times since.  But, this was the first time it was done in the new Opera and Ballet house in Oslo.  My daughter and I  both enjoyed it very much.  Sitting on the front row, we had amazing view both of the stage and of the dancers and their facial expressions.  My daughter has danced classical ballet since the age of 3, so to her this was also an instructive and inspirational experience.

A wonderful goal for a mother-and daughter outing, one that started with the beautiful train ride from our little town, and then a tasty meal at the restaurant Mother India.

Ballets are special.  There is the music, of course, and the dancers, the beauty and the colors.  But there really is the story too, with feelings, horror, joy, anger, love, death...

(Prologue from Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare.)

During one of the intermissions, sitting out by the water.  It's raining, but we are protected by large umbrellas.

And, the show is over...

Indian Baby and I

I was in India, far away from my children, really missing them, and when this baby was placed in my arms,  I sat holding her for the longest time.  She eventually fell asleep in my arms.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tricky Summer Days and Fever Talk.

Yes, summer and kids off school can be complicated when you work from home.  I know I can't plan on getting as much done as I can when the kids are in school, but I try to work in between everything else that is happening, and some days my husband takes the kids to the pool, or on ohter outings, so I get a few hours of concentrated work time.  Other days, I'm parenting full time.
Last week, I got up at 6:30AM and went for a 40 min. car ride in horrible rainy weather, (it rained so hard I could hardly keep the car straight), to talk to a couple whose wedding I'm going to photograph later this summer.  Then there are a baby photography shoot now and then, and I'm in the middle of planning my next guided trip to Paris.
But, now, for a few days, my husband is abroad for work, and I'm alone with my four children, which means no work at all, except answering phone calls and emails. 
Well, it could be nice, taking those days off, just spending quality time with my kids, but, (I'd say of course...)the day before my husband left, I came down with a fever...  I felt really, really bad, but well, you can't get sick when you have four children to take care of, so with lots of Tylenol and strong will, I've been able to be on my feet long enough to cook meals, do some  peace negotiation between siblings when needed, and some house work. Then, I've been back in bed as soon as my youngest has taken his naps, and/or every time the house seemed calm enough for me to dare lying down a little to gather strength.  I've been reading books to the two youngest, though, while lying down.  That's a great side effect to having a sick mom!
Luckily, when I woke up this morning, I felt somewhat better, so hopefully this fever is leaving for good now! And, I'm glad I feel better, because tonight, after dinner and getting the small kids ready for bed, I'm teaching at the health center.  My teenager will hold the fort for 1 1/2 hours.
Borrowed from Lynn Johnston's For Better or For Worse

Friday, July 1, 2011

Les Émotifs Anonymes

Yesterday we had a preview screening here in our little Norwegian town.  We got to see "Les Émotifs Anonymes", (Romantics Anonymous) Directed by Jean-Pierre Améris , and with the main characters played by  Isabelle Carré and Benoît Poelvoorde, you're in for a treat. Thanks, Arthaus, for bringing it to us!  It's a bitter-sweet story set around a small chocolate factory and two people who struggle with anxiety and social life, but still desperately want to connect. 
The movie is extremely funny, and I couldn't help for laughing out loud many, many times.  But still, even though the characters are helplessly funny, you just have to like them, and you really care about what's happening to them.  To me, this is the sign of a good story, of good acting, - a good movie.

Our small-town cinema called in our very own local chocolate facory: Gjøvik Sjokoladefabrikk, so all spectators got free chocolate and coffee to enjoy while watching the movie. A great stunt!

I går hadde vi en førpremiere her på vår lille småbykino i Gjøvik. 
Med regi av Jean-Pierre Améris, og med hovedrollene besatt av Isabelle Carré og Benoît Poelvoorde, er dette en virkelig godbit. Takk, Arthaus, for at dere gir oss slike filmer!  
Det er en bitter-søt fortelling med handling rudt en liten sjokoladefabrikk, og med to mennesker som strever med angst og sosialt liv, men som likevel så inderlig ønsker å komme nær...
Filmen er svært morsom, og jeg måtte le høyt mange, mange ganger.  Men likevel, selv om disse personene er så hjelpeløst morsomme, så bare må man like dem, og man ender opp med å virkelig bry seg om hva som skjer med dem.  For meg er dette et tegn på en god historie, på gode skuespillerprestasjoner - rett og slett en god film.

Kinoen samarbeidet med vår egen lokale sjokoladefabrikk: 
Gjøvik Sjokoladefabrikk, så alle som kom til førpremieren fikk gratis sjokolade og kaffe til filmen.  Et flott stunt!