Once upon a time...
there was a girl recollecting bedtime stories from all over the world.
Text by Sonia Gonzálvez Juan
21 year old Astrid Syvertsen started a project about recollecting international bedtime stories while she was living in Ørsta two years ago. As a child, she had always been the kind of adventurous girl, full of fantasy and creativity. Skills that lead her into thinking about how life is, and should be, for everyone. And that's one of the reasons she decided to start this project.
– I have a lot of good memories with bedtime stories. It was because of them that I achieved inspiration and lived through my fantasies. Furthermore, writing about other people’s stories is an opportunity to view life in different ways.
But the project itself is more than that. Astrid, who studies social anthropology at the moment, thinks that those stories also reflect cultural conditions.
– I find it extremely interesting to study how people see the world. The other main reason for this project, is acceptance of the embedded world we are living in. I believe we need more information about each other. I want to make “otherness” exciting and interesting instead of scary, absurd or even wrong.
Currently, the recollection of stories is not finished.
– My aim is both political and for the joy of reading inspiring and interesting stories from other places of the world. I believe it’s political because we reduce people to culture too often. If we keep drawing a harsh line between cultures, we never will have the opportunity to communicate or see possibilities in our new melting pot of cultures. That’s why these stories are thought for children. Teaching children to be respectful, curious and tolerant is one of the most important investments for a peaceful future.
The Japanese jars
This fresh project has stories from Japan, China, and Germany so far. Perhaps, one of the most interesting stories for Astrid is one which came from Japan, and it has a great message behind it.
Once, there was a man who used to collect water from the river using two ceramic jars. One day, one of the jars cracked, and it begun feeling useless and sad, because it had stopped serving its function as a water container. The owner then decided to show the cracked jar the path they use to walk daily while carrying the water. The forest path was full of flowers that had grown aside because of its leaking water.
But the hardest part according to Astrid is collecting more.
– There’s a million interesting stories out there I want to listen to. I’m always grateful to hear a story from other cultures.
If you want to contribute to this project, please send an email to Astrid: firstname.lastname@example.org. You will be mentioned at the “special thanks to” list.