Post by Grace Sørensen on Jul 29, 2020 10:44:53 GMT 2
don't make me sad, don't make me cry
It had been one heck of a day and as Grace 'excuse me'd' her way through the unrelenting barge of third year students leaving their classroom and flooding the hall, she was sure of one thing - she needed to wind down. Her classes had gone terribly today, especially Transfiguration where she showcased just how hopeless she was at conjuring spells in front of her judgemental, eyebrow-raising classmates, and so she needed a place where she was quite firmly away from the Griffins.
Setting 0ff into the grounds of Durmstrang, Grace was determined to find a quiet place of reprieve... but the fact that she still wasn't sure where everything was made everything a bit tough. After meandering around for a couple of minutes, eventually she landed on visiting the greenhouses where she'd had Herbology a few times since the beginning of school. Perhaps she could find some plants to tend to, keep her hands busy that way? Herbology always had been one of her better subjects.
Moving towards the greenhouses, Grace gently pushed open the door, saying a quiet prayer of, 'Please be empty,' to herself. But, as usual, her luck proved to be abysmal because there was somebody bent over gardening, silvery blonde hair shining in the afternoon sun that managed to creep it's way into the greenhouses. For a moment, Grace debated just whirling around but then, thankfully, she caught a sight of the person's face - Professor Koivu. She'd only taken a few of her classes so far, but... she was definitely one of Grace's favourite professors. She was different than the others like Professor Lindberg and Professor Dąbrowska, a bit softer.
"Excuse me," Grace said as she took a step inside, wringing her hands. "Can you... am - if it's not much of a bother, Professor Koivu, can I help you do something here? It's just - well, tending to plants and herbs and... and all this kind of stuff is relaxing and it's been a long day and -" Grace cut herself off abruptly before she went on to explain her entire life story to the professor who definitely hadn't asked.
Just as in Finland, the plants in Norway had to be prepared for winter right away. It was only September at the moment, but it wouldn't surprise Kirsi in the slightest if October came with frost. Durmstrang couldn't have taught Herbology at all if they hadn't had greenhouses--and in the winter, when the darkness covered a good part of the day, they needed magical light, too.
So all the work of that had been assigned to Kirsi, in between all the classes she had to arrange. It wasn't the subject that was difficult--if anyone knew plants, it was her--but it wasn't as if she had ever taught classes before. She knew her lessons wouldn't be anything like those ones where students just had to sit at their desks and take notes the whole time, but there was a bit of nervousness that the Headmaster would want her classes to be like that. The professor who had taught her had certainly made them sit down and take a lot of notes in this very greenhouse. But she had always learned more from doing things. That was how she had learned to make wands that actually channeled magic instead of being a particularly pretty stick. Wouldn't that sort of teaching be better for everyone?
The train of thought was interrupted by a soft voice at the door, forcing Kirsi to pause. She had thought she would be alone until dinnertime, with classes having finished for the day, and seeming unlikely that any student would need help quite so soon. She hadn't even assigned any essays yet.
"Oh, hello, Grace." The blonde girl had been in the morning lesson that day, though she hadn't been nearly as talkative then. If Kirsi thought about it, though she was still getting to know all the students, she had already assumed that Grace was simply one of the quieter ones. Kirsi glanced at the plants, then back to the girl. She had been looking forward to spending time alone after a full day of noisy children, but it was true that she could use a bit of help.
"Sure, you can give me a hand. I'm just winterizing the greenhouse." She dusted off her hands, standing up straight. "You can help move the plants away from the walls and clean off their leaves. I'll work on the lights--unless you want to learn the spell for that?"
Post by Grace Sørensen on Aug 14, 2020 4:13:45 GMT 2
don't make me sad, don't make me cry
As Grace stood in the doorway, hands spinning in circles as she waited for Professor Koivu's answer with a baited breath, her mind raced at all the ways the blonde woman could say no. She could be polite and turn her down, a small smile on her face; or an intimidating scowl could slide onto her lips and she could bite out in no uncertain terms that Grace (a.k.a. muggleborns) were not welcome here. Either way would have Grace wondering where she went wrong, if she'd offended Professor Koivu by asking, if...
But then finally after the woman had glanced around the room, she agreed and Grace finally breathed once more in one long exhale. Oh thank God. "Thank you, Professor Koivu. I... I won't let you down," Grace promised, voice full to the brim of sincerity. How she could let her down by moving plants was... completely unbeknowst to her, but Grace was quite positive there could be a way. Perhaps if she dropped it or...
Grace's train of thought was soon interrupted by Professor Koivu asking if she wanted to learn the spell for the lights in the greenhouse. Eyes brightening, Grace began to nod enthusiastically but paused soon after as reality sank in. "Oh, but I... I'm not all that good at magic," she admitted sheepishly, fingers flying to the end of her braid as she stepped inside the room and towards Professor Koivu. "I don't want to be too much of a bother... it might take a while and if you're in a rush, well, I can just stick to the plants?"
"Don't worry, I'm sure you're not going to let me down. I just have to remember to send you back before curfew," Kirsi said, keeping an eye on the low sun outside the glass of the greenhouse's panels. She couldn't imagine how someone could screw up carrying pots unless they were trying to cause problems, and well--Kirsi liked to think she could read people well enough to figure that Grace wouldn't do that. "If you could grab the moly--the one with the black stems?" That was on the list of plants she would be having her older students work with, but she wasn't sure if Grace was familiar with it yet. In truth, having grown up in a wizarding village, she wasn't sure how many of the plants she used for magic grew in Muggle areas as well.
Climbing onto one of the benches where the students would have sat if class was being held at the moment, Kirsi reached up to the containers hanging from the ceiling where she was working on setting her lights. "It's not too difficult of a spell--it's conjuration, yeah, but it's not like conjuring animals or anything. I can work on it while you do the plants, though." Frowning, she looked down at Grace while she considered something. "Maybe it has to do with your wand? Where did you get it?" Kirsi knew she was biased toward her own family's craftwork, but she still had a pretty good idea of which wand shops around the world were good at matching the wand to the wizard, and which were less so.
Post by Grace Sørensen on Oct 19, 2020 9:09:07 GMT 2
don't make me sad, don't make me cry
The words that Professor Koivu spoke were encouraging, to say the very least, and it felt like the first words of that kind that Grace had received from a professor since transferring to Durmstrang. She certainly hadn't received any sort of reassurance from Professor Dąbrowska... but then again, she kind of had the feeling that nobody received words in that vein from the dark-haired woman. She was... very slightly intimidating and didn't exactly exude a nurturing vibe. "If I let you down, you can kick me" out. It's fine. I won't... I won't cry or anything," Grace replied, before giving Professor Koivu a small smile.
Eyes seeking out the moly that Professor Koivu was referring to, Grace gently fetched it. "I've read about moly before, but we didn't learn about it at my old school. I think they were waiting until we were a bit older, perhaps, and... for when we chose to take Herbology. I mean, more than once some of the boys in my class decided to try and chop then smoke the herbs like they were some sort of -" Grace cut herself off almost instinctively because okay, no, Professor Koivu did not want to hear her musings on how the boys in her class attempted to get 'lit' (their words, not hers) on an assortment of different herbs when their professor wasn't looking.
Even though Professor Koivu told her that it wasn't a particularly difficult spell to learn, the one that sorted out the lights, Grace still hesitated because... well, she didn't want to embarrass herself, and the thought of possibly do so was daunting. "I... I don't think it's my wand. I got it from one of the Russian wizarding towns in... in... in Russia." Although it was discounted because the wizard who sold her the wand had apparently deducted that from her appearance, she wouldn't be able to afford a full priced wand. The Professor that had accompanied her to the wand shop had later divulged to Grace that she was fortunate the wand shop owner had a soft heart because she only had to pay a fraction of the price to her peers.
Kirsi couldn't help but let out a small puff of a snort. "You can't smoke this. I mean, there's nothing really stopping you, but it won't do anything that it doesn't normally do. It's a protective herb." She made a mental note to add it to her lesson plans for the next few weeks--it belonged next to rue and the Wiggentree as plants to know about in the face of Dark magic. Even if it wasn't native to the area, and had to be grown in the greenhouse here--most of the students, Kirsi knew, came from locations far further south than herself. The knowledge might be helpful to someone.
Balancing with one foot on the bench and one foot up between a couple of plant trays on the shelf, Kirsi touched her wand to the inside of one of the lamps hanging from the ceiling, producing a small but vibrant ball of light. Shutting the little door on the side of the lamp, she nodded, admiring her handiwork before stepping back down to the bench.
"There are some good wandmakers in Russia, I do know that." But none of them, Kirsi thought, could ever compare to the one she had custom-made for herself, with the supplies she had chosen ever so carefully. "There are some less good, too, but that's everywhere." Like with any craft, both the skill and the materials were incredibly important. "You're not Russian, though, are you? Your surname--that's Scandinavian if I've ever heard it."
Post by Grace Sørensen on Nov 13, 2020 4:53:34 GMT 2
Grace's lips twitched just a little as Professor Koivu mentioned that you couldn't smoke this because yes, whilst according to her it wouldn't give you a high (something Grace had never, ever seen the appeal of, which… was absolutely linked to her parents), it wouldn't have stopped the boys from her class from trying. "It's… there's a lot of things I wouldn't put past people," she said before blanching because oh dear, did that sound negative? Too judgemental? Very possibly. Grace tried to see the good in everyone she encountered but life had taught her that everyone had their faults, including her - especially her. Merlin knew she wasn't perfect.
Having handed over the moly moments before, Grace watched as Professor Koivu worked yet magic with ease, creating a small ball of light in one quick go. She only wished she accomplished that one day… or even just had the confidence to say a spell and know it would work on the first try. Half the time she worried even lumos wouldn't cast for her, although it always did. But to be fair, it was difficult for even first years to mess that one up.
A small, embarrassed flush crept up Grace's chest and to get neck as Professor Koivu started talking all about wands. Ducking her head, avoiding eye contact with her teacher altogether, Grace confessed in a sheepishly quiet voice, "even if there are good wand makers… I wouldn't be able to afford their work. I'm -" poor. The word went unspoken, Grace knew it was likely obvious given her less than regal appearance, but it felt important to say nonetheless. People thought… they thought that money didn't matter when it came to magic, but the quality of people's tools in any art - well, it definitely made a difference. She was almost positive if she had some fancy kind of wand instead of a discounted-from-pity wand, it would help. But… for her family, getting food on the table with the little money they had and paying bills to keep the lights on was far more important than buying her something as trivial as a wand. They needed to eat, to have proper lighting. She didn't need a wand carved out of gold.
Grace shook her head at Professor Koivu's question. "No, I'm from Norway. I'm not Russian - but Koldovostoretz was the only school that would… you know, uh, take me until this year." She could have remained there… very possibly should have… but with her grandmother's rapidly declining health problems, she wanted to move closer to home. Just in case, God forbid, something happened. "And… where abouts are you from? If I can ask that. If that's not rude. I can't really place the… your accent, I'm sorry."
"I'm from Finland. But my mother is Swedish." Kirsi spoke the answer slowly. Her relationship with her mother had been so complex for so long--how the same woman who had given birth to her and raised her could also resent her own blood at the same time. But the student didn't know that, and Kirsi didn't think it was right to burden her with that. "The accent is more Finnish, though, I think. Now you know." She had always thought that the sounds which felt so melodic and flowing in Finnish came out all halting and staccato in English or Swedish or German, for reasons she didn't entirely understand.
Jumping off the bench, Kirsi's feet landed on the dirt floor of the greenhouse, leaving boot-prints in the soft soil. In the confines of the greenhouses, the earth was richer than the thinner Arctic soil outside that supported only northern plants. It would provide enough to teach the students for the full year, as long as all the winter preparations held. She shoved her wand back in her pocket, dusting off her hands.
"I don't want to make you if you don't want to, but if you wanted to--I could take a look at your wand sometime?" Kirsi's arms were crossed, but she tried to make the words inviting. "I was a wandmaking apprentice in Finland--technically, I still am. Maybe I could find some way to improve it."