About Pia Josephson

http://www.lettersfrompia.com

Posts by Pia Josephson:

Stockholm

I was in Stockholm three days ago. Just for a short visit, a week, yet I had thoughts about re-booking my flight ticket so I could stay another week. I miss it so much. But my uni work is too much, so I decided to fly back to London three days ago. My plan was to go to meet up with three friends from Stockholm tomorrow. But we decided to meet today. Today, the 7th of April 2017.

Of all the days, weeks, and months I’ve been here in England, I’ve barely hung out with any Swedes. Only a few handfuls who came to visit. Today was one of those days. It was a sunny day, almost twenty degrees. My friends and I went into M&S at 2pm UK time to cool down and get some water and fruit. We had just paid, it was 2:13pm and we get the news that just mere minutes ago, a lorry drove 650m down a pedestrian only shopping street in Stockholm. Drottninggatan. I guess it’s our version of Oxford Street.

The mood dropped. We sat down for 30, maybe 45 minutes to get in touch with our friends and family. We’re all from central Stockholm. Our whole lives used to be there.

Most of my friends and family replied quickly to my messages. But some took a while because they’d been there, on that very street when it happened.

Of all the days, it was a day when I spent it with people from Stockholm. We felt similar things. And it was comforting.

From what I’ve heard so far, all my friends and family are okay. But there might be friends of my friends, or their friends, who aren’t coming home tonight. My thoughts are with you.

It really hurts, being away.

End of spring term

… and I’m done with spring term! Which also means I’m done with all taught classes of second year! I can’t believe that it’s gone so quickly, like, ah I’m actually getting slightly panicky over how fast everything is going. I have easter/spring break now until the 24th of April (a whole month, mad isn’t?) but I’m going to be busy writing essays and other hand-ins for summer term. Summer term is traditionally reserved for just exams, but as my degree is so practice based, we don’t have any exams. Instead, we start working on our third year collaboration graduate films and I’m also starting writing my dissertation, which is to be honest, scary.  Not just the fact that I have to write 10 000 words, but also that it really means that we’re on the end bits of the degree.

Lately, I’ve been working on my film which is due on Wednesday. The reason we hand it in after the term has ended is that the other week, the servers crashed and all of our edits, which were almost done, just got wiped out. Luckily I had all the footage backed up, but I still had to re-edit a week’s worth of work. I almost cried in front of my teacher when we realised it was all gone so instead I went home to cry and stuff myself with biscuits.

I’ve also been to the cinema, seen both Moonlight and a new documentary called All This Panic. We’ve had a couple of really nice and sunny days which meant beer in Founders quad and bare legs. My friend from my old school back in Sweden, Anna, came over to look at my university as she’s applied to here and UCL, and the cherry tree outside my window is blossoming with pink flowers so Mary and I took a photo with it the other night.

What was meant to be a surprise for my friends in Stockholm kinda failed as I saw that Cinemateket is showing 2001: A Space Odyssey in original 35mm and I just had to message my friends saying that, yes I’m coming to Stockholm for a week, and please buy tickets and go to the cinema with me. Fingers crossed for some nice weather!

I had my last screenwriting class today, which was kinda sad as I’ve enjoyed those classes a lot and I’ve learned so much too. Later today I’m going to a bbq with a couple of people from my course and then going to Flora’s for a pizza night, hope you all have a great weekend!

March

We’re in March already and I’m slightly stressed over how quick the term and year goes, and I was also stressed over my long and damaged hair so I tried to cut it, failed miserably and Jess saved it. (new season, new hair) Yesterday was one of those sunny nice days and it was a joy to be on my bicycle rather than ‘oh here’s to the usual Tesco trip’. I honestly don’t know what I would do without my bicycle and I recommend every person to get one.

I’m in the middle of post-production of the film we shot two weeks ago whilst trying to keep up with my other uni work (as this film is only for one out of 4 classes, plus then I have my extra uni courses from Lund and Umeå universities). But I’m enjoying it as I’m for once really happy with what I’ve produced and I can’t wait to show people the film. I still don’t have the slightest idea of what my teacher will think of it, but as long as I’m happy with the film, that’s an achievement good enough for me.

Today is spent reading about economic development between 1750-1914 and longing for summer with Pimms in Founder’s quad, bbq’s in the garden and swimming between the islands in Stockholm.

Pia x

A Day at the Beach

After weeks of planning, we finally went to the beach on Saturday to shoot the short film I wrote for my directing class. It was an incredibly sunny and warm mid-February day (which for filmmaking isn’t that great, but we did our best to work around it) and we had rented a 9 seat minibus for our cast and crew.

We went down to Seaford, a small town near Brighton.

Sitting on the bus, we all let out a shriek when we saw the sea.

Hollie, Molly and I decided to go and test the water – it was probably freezing cold but my feet died from the pebbles so I wouldn’t have noticed.

My little cast & crew.

I still can’t believe that we pulled it off. As my teacher read my script, he asked if I was actually planning to go to the beach and laughed a bit when I said I’d try, and then we actually did it. The best part of it was the feeling of going on a short day trip/holiday but at the same time, making a film. & I’m starting to understand how filmmaking is essentially like getting a very large family.

Pia x

#GIRLBOSS

Honestly, I feel like I can do anything with this top.  & today I’ve so far sent 6 emails to 9 different people, had a script tutorial about my film I’m shooting next week, filled in forms, and had a cup of tea with two egg, spinach and spring onion toasts – in three hours! (on the topic of food; I’d like to take this opportunity to push for the lunch I had yesterday; fried potatoes with breadcrumbs, spinach with butter, a fried egg, spring onions and sesame seeds – cheap, healthy and so good)

I’m in a bit of busy period at the moment, with four film shoots over the next 2 weeks, two essays, a presentation, several 500-1000 words hand-ins in my Economic History course and Democracy course (aka a lot of reading and self-studying), and then I have a practical editing exam just before the Easter holidays. I’m almost half way through spring term and it’s scary how quickly everything goes. (my suitcase is still in my room rather than in the garage) But I’m really excited about the upcoming weeks, even if it’s stressful. Oh and also, I got onto the university’s placement scheme so I’ll most likely get a short internship this summer!

It’s been starting to get cold again. Last week we had fair bit of sun and 12 degrees, but just half an hour ago, I saw it was snowing lightly. Not enough to stay on the ground, but still. Sitting in my cold house, freezing my fingers off as I type this, it’s hard to imagine summer and proper warmth. Hopefully Berlin in the end of April will be warm.

 

Pia x

Screenshots

… from a film I did that I’m not happy with but it was good practice and my teacher called me a “sensitive director with potential to go far” before saying my story was too big and not that great, but oh well, I had fun making it.

/

We’re currently working on our 5-minute short films and this time, I do have a stronger and better story (hopefully) this time and will be working with a larger crew, two wonderful actors and we’re hopefully going to a beach in southern England to film. When I first came to uni (and even before during my application process), I thought I knew what kind of films I wanted to make, aka Sofia Coppola meets like Lukas Moodysson and Skins UK, but now I’m not that sure anymore. & that’s what I love about studying film at university; that it’s alright not to have found one’s style yet. I see people on my course who knows exactly what kind of films they want to do (which is seen in the films they make) but also people who have no clue and who jumps between genres and styles for every project. I feel that I’m somewhere in the middle – not entirely all over the place and trying everything (as I do know I want to go towards drama), but still not by the point where I know what kind of aesthetics and feel I want to create.

/

I’ve been having a full on study week recently with about 8-12h of studying each day (no joke) as my dumb me decided to study 175% (my film degree, a course in global economic history and another course on democracy, human rights and sustainability). So tomorrow I’m taking the day off from studying to go to London and eat some Semlor (a type of Swedish sweet roll with cardamon, almond paste and whipped cream – go get it! All Swedish/Scandinavian bakeries/cafés should have them now), visit some galleries and just in general chill. & then it’s back to studying on Sunday – have a  great weekend!

Pia x

(p.s. yesterday I bought tickets to go and see Maria and Gustaf in Berlin in April!)

January thoughts

The photo above was taken on a foggy but yet sunny morning on the way to class the other week. I have since signed a contract for a new house for third year and been down with the flu for six days. & I’ve had a lot of thinking.

There are many things I hate about living here. Yes, I do love it here and I wouldn’t move back to Stockholm now. But there are many things I didn’t expect to hate so much here.

I hate the cold. & I’m not talking about the outside cold, because that I’m used to, but to live in a cold house. To only have the heating on for a bit in the morning and a bit in the evening. I hate that there’s barely any insulation in British houses. I hate that they think they’re warm a country when they’re not. That heating is so expensive that everyone, not just students, can only afford to have it on for a few hours. That people get sick because they can’t afford to have heating. That they then complain that the NHS waiting times are too long because there are too many sick people. That I sit in my room underneath my duvet for most of my days I’m not at uni because it’s too cold outside the duvet.

I hate being fucked over economically just because I’m a student. To always having to pay fees that are straight up illegal in Sweden when you sign for a new house. That me, almost 21 years old, is being treated as if I was 16. That there is no trust between estate agents and young people that the option is to either 1. pay 6 months of rent in advance, or 2. have a guarantor, which essentially means that you’re not even the one legally responsible for the contract. They don’t even trust us enough to sign to rent a house ourselves. To be fucked over and over again just because my label is “student”. Because there is no trust.

I hate living in worse conditions just because I’m a student. Ever since the first house hunt back in November 2015 started, I got told not to expect much because I’m a student. That there is a difference between accommodation for students and regular people. Never in my life, have I heard anything like that in Sweden. Never have my friends being told that they just have to live in a bit of a shit hole just because they happen to be a student. Instead, I currently live in a house with cracks in the walls that have been badly painted over, a hole under the kitchen counters, a dishwasher that hasn’t been in use since September because it’s so bad that we had to re-wash everything. To have mould in the bathroom. To be constantly told that it’s just a thing you live with as a student, and still having to pay full rent.

I hate that people just accept things. All of the above. No one wants to fuss over these kinda things. They just accept them as part of their lives. Accept freezing in your house, being fucked over because you’re a student, having a lesser life just because you’re a student. No one says ‘no this is wrong’, they just accept it. Because that’s what us students are supposed to do – suck it up, accept it and live with it.

I love my life here, my degree and my friends. My little campus. But some days, all I want to do is to go back to Stockholm and live out my days there. I want to be taken seriously, to live in a proper accommodation without having to pay hundreds and hundreds of extra pounds, and to know all of my rights and how to sort it out. To just make a fuss about all the things that are bad, to not feel that heating or holes in the wall are a luxury. To just have a comfortable life for a bit, because as long as I’m a student in Britain, I’ll always be royally fucked over.

January

2017! A new year and probably not a new me. At least not a new me like as if it switched when we switched over to 2017, but if you ask me on 31st of December this year, then probably some things (hopefully for the better!) have changed for me. The bookshop I was working in during the holidays had this beautiful wall calendar with different illustrated plants for every month, and I’d looked at it for a while until a customer was so close to buying the last one but decided not to, that I bought it. It was a bit pricey for its original price, so thank god for staff discount!

I’ve been back in Egham for a couple of days now, and literally just been busy writing one of my essays and trying to not cry over all uni work I have to do within the next 8 days. (I haven’t finished a single assignment yet, so) But I’m kinda doing alright, like I could’ve done better but at least I’m not totally stuck. It’s just going to be and feel very good when all of this chunk of work is over.

I’m still in the process of writing down my thoughts about 2016. That year was a stark contrast to 2015, a year when I got basically all I wished for, and a year that changed me a lot. 2016 changed me too, but in another way, and I’m still figuring out how to put it into words.

However, despite all the change that happened to me last year, all the worrying and fears, I do feel that 2017 is going to be better. I’m hoping to get an internship/work placement during the summer (any tips are welcome!), and I’m most likely going to Berlin in April to see Maria and Gustaf who will be moving there for the spring. Because I don’t know how my summer will look like yet, I don’t know when I’m going back to Stockholm next time, or for how long it will be. & in some ways, that hurts, as I realised when I was back, how much I miss it. Yes, Stockholm will always be there waiting for me, but it will change until I come back for good. (literally, we’re getting a new tube line apparently)

It’s alright thought. It makes me grateful for all the technology we have and that I’m not stuck in 1717 when it was like winning the lottery if your snail mail letter ever came through. Hope you all are having a great start to 2017!

Pia x

December and Christmas

Hello all, or, ‘halla’, as they say in Norway. (honestly, who could’ve missed the success of Skam) I’ve been in Stockholm for about two and a half weeks but leaving to go back to Egham in six days. I spent the first two weeks working in a bookshop whilst trying to see some friends and studying, but the days have been long and as soon as I gotten home, I’ve been so exhausted that I’ve either taken a nap or a bath. I did have time to paint some Christmas cards that I sent out to my uni friends, and here are some.

My Christmas was rather calm, I got grown up gifts such as toothbrushes, different types of body cremes and clothes. For the past couple of years, I’ve been feeling less Christmassy and I think it’s because I’m at that age where celebrations with the family seem rather dull, and I’m just in between that and hopefully whatever future family I’ll have later. Christmas used to be magical and you counted down the days, now it’s just another day but with more food to cook and more stress.

I’m currently dying from all the work I have due after the holidays; five assignments to hand in plus my take home law exam. But after the 16th of January, the last thing, the film I shot just before I went to Stockholm, will be handed in and I’m planning to go and sleep straight after that.

Being in Stockholm does make me miss the life here, with my friends, the food and the water around the islands here. But I’ve also realised how great university is and how fun it actually is; constantly meeting new people and learning new things. Because really, Stockholm will be here waiting for me until I come back.

Pia x