Blog Posts

Oh happy day

I have some news on this rainy Monday afternoon.

But first I just want to thank you for being so understanding regarding my break from social media. I never thought I’d be one of those people who would take a step back from the interweb, but Oh Lord, what a treat it’s been! I haven’t even missed it the slightest, and the amount of work I’ve been able to do in its absence is simply astonishing.

I didn’t even spend that much time on social media prior to this “detox,” but it always made me feel that I had to be alert and available—and as a result—was unable to fully charge my batteries. Now that I feel free and at peace I actually feel much better about working long days, and life in general. So, I can highly recommend unplugging and focusing your time and energy towards something productive and creative instead. I’ll stay offline for a little while longer.

Phew! That was a long paragraph.


Photo: Rannveig Froestad.

Back to the good news: You probably remember the nightmare-like scenario related to my housing situation earlier this year? The apartment that slipped through our hands last-minute, a security deposit that never got returned, a stay at a hostel with … eh… bedbugs. Yes, that was a crappy time. Read about it HERE.

However, this is the happy part; the days of being a homeless international student without a US guarantor are behind me.

I      finally     found a room in an apartment that would let me sign under far better conditions, and I have a place to live when I return to NYC in august! The best part is that it’s on Manhattan. In East Village. With walking distance to school.

God is so good!

My motivation to head back to New York suddenly got significantly better, and I’m actually so excited I’ve started counting days. But first I’ll be sure to enjoy quality time with family and friends, and continue writing and prepping my next film – which I’ll tell you more about next time.

Have a blessed evening,
Maria

Change

Good afternoon darlings!

I’m just stopping by for a quick announcement before I head to work.

If you stop by this blog somewhat regularly you’ve probably noticed know that I’m a sociable creature. I love to meet new people, I love to spend time with people, and I’m incredibly fortunate to have lots and lots of people I have the privilege of calling my friends. I have no idea how they put up with me, and I honestly don’t think they know it either, haha.


This is an example of how they always put up with me doing my thing… 

I’m not the kind of person who shows up with surprise-gifts and homemade baked goods in Mason-jars. I don’t invite people over to dinner, I don’t join them in clubbing and, unfortunately, I have a reputation for sending their birthday greetings four minutes before midnight (#timezones, but still).

  

    

In return, I choose to believe I’m a good listener, and I’m certain they all know I love and care about them. Whether they live in Norway, South Dakota, New York or somewhere else, they under stand and accept that I’ve chosen a path in life that doesn’t give me much free time, and they know I have a tendency to get very focused on the things I do. They’re okay with it, and I’m forever thankful for that.

When I’m with my friends, I give them my full attention and I keep my phone out of sight most of the time, and that’s what I’ll talk more about in this post.

Like I said, I love socializing, and I also love social media — it allows me to stay in touch with friends all over the globe, and I think I’ve done a pretty good job staying connected with most of them, even after I’ve moved across continents or oceans.

However, this is where I’ll make a slight adjustment.

Over the past year, social media — combined with an enormous amount of emails (that I actually have to respond to, as opposed to ads and spam) — has started to eat away so much of my time that I need to make a change.

Contrary to a lot of people — especially students — I actually keep my inboxes clean. I don’t leave 8,756 unopened emails hanging, but this is often what my phone looks like after just a short time away from it. This was after I returned from an hour at the gym.

Where to begin?

The emails in this case are, perhaps, on the more extreme side because of several projects and my full-time job: I can assure you it’s usually slightly less overwhelming, haha.

Even as much as I love to be connected, I’ve realized I have to give myself more work time, and less “trying-to-stay-on-top-of-all-my-social-media,-and-realizing-I-won’t-have time,-and-end-up-walking-around-feeling-guilty-because-I-don’t-make-enough-time-for-my-friends – time.”

I’ll soon start my 2nd year as an NYU Grad Film student, I have a script to write, a film to direct, and four films to produce in addition to regular school work, so I figured it was better to write this post, instead of having people wait on my ever so slow snapchat-replies, or wonder why I suddenly stopped liking your posts on Facebook or Instagram.


Before and after I’ve cleaned up my inbox.

To summarize: I’ll now reduce my social media activity drastically. I’ll turn off the notifications and only check them occasionally. I do want to stay connected with you all, but please contact me via email or text.

My email is marelav@gmail.com, and I can currently be reached on my Norwegian phone number. I’ll switch to my US number on August 19th.

I’ll try this for a while to see if it gives me more time. I’ll update the blog like I usually do.

 

Much love to you all,
Maria

Watch my Viking-film

Hello and good afternoon!

I’ve spent the weekend with my grandparents in Bergen, so I’ve been logged off social media for a couple of days. Today, however, I figured it was time to share this with y’all.

As you know, I made three films during my first year at film school.

I’m already working on my next one, but thought maybe some of you’d be interested in watching the so-called documentary I made?

(The other two have not been published online yet due to the possibility of entering film festivals.)

Before we start watching, let me just explain a couple things.

This documentary is a so-called Observational Character Study (OCS), which means we as filmmakers were prohibited from doing interviews or directing the action in any way at all. We simply had to observe people in an environment of our choice, and then try to patch it together to a somewhat cohesive piece in the editing room.

Since we had to shoot this over Christmas break, I decided to find some interesting individuals in my hometown. The choice fell on a group of people who spend their time researching the history of the vikings and practicing real viking-crafts.

If you didn’t already know: Norway actually got its name from the sea-lane here in Haugesund, during the Viking Age. The viking history in this area is, therefore, pretty significant.
Read more HERE.

Anyway, this is what came out of my observation:

Please disregard the noise from the hurricane winds, and try to watch this with your journalist-eyes, rather than your movie-eyes.

To see some behind-the-scenes shots, feel free to watch this interview I did during the production as well:

Special thanks to
– All the members of Vikingklubben.
– Harald Ottøy and his family.
– Assistant Producer – Cathrine Glette
– Boom Operation – Fredrik Skauge.
– Production Assistant – Cecilie Udstuen.

Photo: Cecilie Utstuen.

Blessings,
Maria

Thankful

Good evening and thanks for stopping by!

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know that my financial situation almost kept me from accepting my spot at NYU Tisch last spring. But what I haven’t told you is that my financial situation almost kept me from entering my second year at Tisch.

The Truth

I had to use all my savings and resources on just making it through my first year of film school. My family, friends and even anonymous donors put a lot of work into making my dream of film school become a reality, and I did end up having enough money to make it through the year, for which I’m incredibly grateful.

As you now, my semester was filled with lots of stressful events that kept me busy, and the truth is that throughout the entire year I had no idea if I’d even be able to afford a second year at Tisch.

I chose not to worry about it, because I wanted to believe God would provide, somehow.

The Bread and the Bananas

My close friends started to notice this “economical scarcity” on my eating habits, while others probably thought I was “just on a special diet consisting of bread, bananas, yoghurt and peanut butter.” I’m not a big fan of either of those foods (certainly not after this year…), but I found that it was cheap enough for my budget and it gave me what I needed to keep going.

However, I received the most wonderful email a few weeks ago. If you follow me on Facebook and Instagram, chances are you already know, but I’ll tell you again.

I got to know I’ve been accepted as a NORAM Scholar and was selected as a recipient for a scholarship that will help me close the financial gap between what I get in funds from Norway and my Tisch Scholarship.

As a result, I’ll be able to attend NYU Tisch for another year!

It’ll still be tight, and I’ll probably have to sustain myself on a few more of those banana sandwiches in this upcoming year, but receiving this scholarship lifts a huge burden off my shoulders. Combined with my reporting job this summer, I might even be able to afford some actual meals.

God is so good, and he does, indeed, provide.

Here are some pictures from the award ceremony at the Nobel Institute in Oslo:


Three Lavelles. My sister had to work, and couldn’t make it to the ceremony. But the three of us had a great time.

 

Have a blessed evening,
Maria

 

Psalm 23.

About Recovery, Travel, and the Significance of Vending Machines

Hello dear readers!

Thanks so much for the feedback and warming words on my previous post; I’m glad some of you were able to see the humor in it. I did too, it just took a while, haha.


Film school isn’t exactly known to be a health-promoting institution, and it’s no secret that very few of us grad students have the time, nor money, to eat well and exercise as regularly as we’d like. The excessive stress is also a faithful companion to some.

As a former athlete and fitness freak, this was a bit of a shock … and actually one of the hardest things I’ve had to adjust to since I moved to New York. It sound silly, but the fact that these are actual quotes heard in the halls at NYU Tisch, kind of says it all:

Person 1: “I’m so stressed I can’t eat.”
Person 2: “That sounds nice. I’m so stressed I can’t stop eating.”

Person 1: “I can’t afford dinner today.”
Person 2: “Me neither. I just eat Ramen.”

“The only food I’ve had today has been from the vending machine on the 10th floor.”

Same person a week later: “My hair is starting to fall out … I think it’s because of the vending machine.”

Another person: “The vending machine is giving me acne.”

“There was no Nutella Sticks left in the vending machine. It made me more upset than it should have — I almost cried.”

“I need to cry, but I don’t know if I have time … When is our next class?”

“I feel like I have a sword sticking out of my chest. Is that normal?”

“I’ve had this eye-twitch for weeks. I’m thinking about adding it to my resume as ‘special skill.'”

“Do you think the students who smoke are less stressed? I’m considering starting.”

Person 1: “Can you see my heart beating?”
Person 2: No, why? Are you worried you might be dead?”
Person 1: No, it’s just beating so hard and fast I feel like you can see it through my shirt.”

With these quotes in mind, it should come as no surprise that I, too, looked and felt like a haggard mammal after the school-year ended. All the stress and burdens from the semester (that you can read more about HERE and HERE) had left some marks here and there, and I felt like a zombie. When I then caught a nasty virus shortly after my arrival in Norway, things only got worse and I was in bed for over a week, feeling worse than that zombie I mentioned above.

So, when my sister — spontaneously — invited me on a trip to Sardinia in Italy, it felt like bread for the starving.

A week spent on a beach in the Mediterranean turned out to be exactly what I needed.

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Sardinia🇮🇹 📷 @celenalavelle

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P.S: The Norwegian college system is designed in a way that allows students to work almost full-time on top of their studies — which in this case made my sister able to sponsor me on this trip. She knows I’m a poor artist in NYC, so this just shows what a lovely sister I’ve been blessed with. Thank you, Celena.

But after a couple days of so-called “tanning,” I needed to do something and I discovered that paddleboarding can be more fun than it looks.

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Mediterranean🌅 Photo: @celenalavelle

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Especially when you do it the wrong way.

After a week of eating and sleeping more than my lifestyle of the past year has allowed, I returned to Norway a little less exhausted. In fact, I felt more rested than I’ve been in over a year … maybe two.

I’m not sure if it had more to do with the Italian sun, or the news I received while I was there, but I’ll tell you more about that in my next post.

Have a blessed afternoon,
Maria

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