I’ll admit I struggled a little with b, because I wanted to talk about bugs, but then I realised I’d end up telling you all the crazy bug stories. And that wasn’t the point of this cross-cultural themed blog. So, I’ll leave it here and say it’s all about perspectives and getting used to what crawls or jumps in your surroundings.
So, books. They were alfa and omega to me after I learned to read. I moved a lot around Norway my first years at school. When I was 12, I had already attended 5 schools (and several kindergartens before that). When I moved around, starting on yet another new school, never knowing how long I’d be there, books were the stable elements in my life.
Even though I became an expert in adapting to the new place, the new people, the new teachers, and being the new girl again and not be able to escape the spotlight and questions, it was always difficult in the beginning. I’d cry myself secretly to sleep, not understanding the codes or rules amongst the new girls.
The books were there. I used them as escape and comfort. Often it was more about what mood particular books put me in, rather than who wrote them. They calmed me when my restlessness became too much and reminded me that there were worlds out there.
I’d read about polar explorers, settlers on the prairie, detectives, talking bears in trench coats, the world strongest girl, moomins, dragons, trolls. I’d read books again and again until they were falling apart. I’d use all my pocket money on books. It was extremely important to locate the library in the new town quickly. I usually carried a full plastic bag home every week. My appetite for books were endless.
The Bobsey children, Nancy Drew, the Hardy boys and I became close friends. I always cried reading Jack London’s book about the wolf dog. I never grew tired of the stories in One Thousand and One Nights. I could go on and on: I loved books. But my mother wasn’t happy to move my books every time we moved, and when I was twelve I was forced to get rid of many. It still hurts, a wound not quite healed. They were my friends, when I needed something familiar around me, when I needed the comfort that there was more out there than my everyday life.