I had a whole schedule of blog posts to write for this week, but I was really inclined to write this today so it jumped to the top of the pile. Sorry in advance if this is very poorly constructed writing…I’m just writing as thoughts pop into my head haha.
So far today I have spent a decent amount of time with these Spanish flashcards, preparing for my quiz tomorrow. I already graduated college, I already speak pretty decent French, and it’s hard to sit and memorize a stack of vocabulary words…but I love it.
I find languages very intriguing. Each one is just a composition of sounds to represent images and feelings; wouldn’t it be amazing to just learn how to replicate those sounds and express yourself in so many intricate ways? Each language is like a key to unlock a whole world of culture and people that would be out of reach without a way to communicate. I want to hold all of those keys.
I read this article the other day about languages in the international business world today. The people mentioned speak upwards of 3 languages a day, some of them more than 10! Isn’t that the coolest?!
I don’t know why learning a new language is so intimidating…I mean everyone has already learned one language, so we know for a FACT that we’re capable of it. It just seems too challenging to tackle for some reason. I remember taking my first French class and just being overwhelmed; unable to distinguish sentences let alone words, all I could hear was a slur of sounds that were foreign to my ears. The idea of me ever being able to create French words with my tongue and lips seemed absolutely impossible. Even after five years of studying, I have only recently stopped translating in my mind and actually speaking French the same way I do English, associating words with images and not directly translated words.
Spanish is really scary right now and I am so so so so beginner at it it’s not even funny, but I love it. With so many Spanish speakers here in Southern California (not to mention the whole world), I am looking forward to opening this door of communication. I also want to learn Arabic, Turkish, Polish, German, Italian, Chinese…I can’t stop. I never want to stop. It is seriously so inspiring to me! I wish I could just earn a living learning haha.
Anyways. Do you speak another language? Do you want to learn one? If so, what’s stopping you?
Take more pictures. Took more than usual, but could have been better to be honest.
Finish the Arabic alphabet. DONE. Finally!
Finish the top of my quilt. I made some serious progress, but the sewing machine broke so…
Finish A Clockwork Orange. Done!
Watch Pride and Prejudice in French. I didn’t do this…no excuses.
Five goals for this week:
New perspective on taking pictures…I was really inspired by this photo diary by Haleigh at Making Magique. This is exactly how I want my photos to read, so to speak. I need to stop waiting for an opportune moment in particular to snap a photo. Life itself is one moment waiting to be captured and each day is special it its own way, and that’s what I want to remember. This week, I really want to focus on seeing the beauty in each day and recording it with my camera.
Since I was away from home for Easter this year, one of my lovely friends was kind enough to invite me to her home in Saint Malo (Bretagne) for the weekend. It was beautiful and SO nice to be by the sea. The first day that we were there, we visited UNESCO World Heritage site Mont Saint Michel, the absolutely stunning church built on a hill in the sea (at high tide, the hill is surrounded by water).
I’m beginning to realize how long it is going to take to post all of my travel photos haha. I took so many in each place, I’m going to need to divide them up not by location but by specific themes in each location. Eek. So here’s Amsterdam Part One: Canals.
I think Amsterdam is one of the most serene and pristine cities I’ve ever been in. It’s quite unfortunate that the images that come to mind when someone mentions the city are of weed and prostitutes. Even in Amsterdam, almost all of the souvenirs revolved around those images. I would have loved to have seen more of an emphasis on the stunning architecture or the traditional Dutch items (clogs, tulips, cheese…anything), or at least more options in that direction rather than being stuck with party-themed material. But I digress.
It was truly amazing; you could be walking on the busy, touristy main street that was loud and bustling and crowded and turn off onto any of the side streets and the mood immediately changed. Not even a five minute walk out of the major tourist areas would bring you into the most quiet capital I’ve ever set foot in, and we LOVED it. It’s true that everyone rides bikes, which heavily reduces the noise pollution.
The buildings, mostly dating from the 1600-1700s, are dark and beautiful and have aged to lean with the wet foundation on which they were built, reminding you how much history they have endured. Looking at them, especially given the tranquil surroundings, you could almost hear them creaking. On a creepier note, hardly anyone used blinds or curtains, so when the sun started to set and people turned lights on, you could see inside the homes. Let me tell you, they were just gorgeous and perfect.
We felt very peaceful in Amsterdam.
I could keep rambling, but I’ll continue writing about this city next week. Hope you enjoyed!
So as I’ve mentioned a few times, I really want to be more creative on a day to day basis. I think it is important to stretch your brain in as many ways as possible, and I know my creative side has weakened considerably since before college (school tends to be quite time consuming…). It is my plan to post something creative each Wednesday, be it a DIY, a new recipe, a photo of something I drew that week, etc. We’ll see how that pans out.
To start off, I’m going to share some pictures of some onesies I customized recently for an old friend’s baby shower :] I was really, really pleased with the results.
These were super easy to make, just cut out shapes, used iron-on appliqué, and sewed the patches on for extra durability.
Some close ups of the stitching…
These were a little bit time consuming, but all in all I would DEFINITELY make them again. I think they make a cute little collection :]
I just bring them into the shower with me (taking care to not get my shampoo/conditioner on them as it can hurt their skin) and wash them in there. I like to think they prefer that to a bath as showers more resemble their rainy natural habitats in South America…despite the fact that domesticated guineas are far from their wild cousins. Whatever, I’m right, right!?
Nala is much more afraid of the water than Loverboy is. She shies from the water and hides in the corner, only becoming more comfortable with it once she’s completely wet.
Loverboy is much more adventurous than Nala in general. When he gets in the shower, he is only nervous for a few brief moments before he pleasantly sits in the water. So cute!
In other news, I have been sleeping terribly lately. I hate it. Last night for example, it took me over an hour to fall asleep (I had to count sheep…literally. I was past 500 before I was finally out) and then I woke up at 4 and couldn’t sleep again until almost 6. What is going on?! It’s really frustrating and really negatively affects my day. I was supposed to get work done this morning but instead I fell back to sleep right after breakfast for over an hour. ASLDJHSLGD.
What do you do when you have problems falling asleep?
I took this picture from the top of my driveway this past December or January. I for one HATE extreme heat and would rather have 20 degree weather than 90 degree weather any day. I can’t sleep when it’s too hot, I can’t be productive when it’s too hot…basically I can’t function properly when it’s too hot. Looking at this picture makes me extra winter-ready to say the least. The cold colors, the snow capped mountains, that puff of smoke from someone’s chimney…gosh, what’s not to love? I CANNOT WAIT.
Anyways (I need to stop using that word so much…), I didn’t accomplish last week’s goals quite as I thought I would sadly. But whatever…all the more reason to focus on my goals for this week. Here are five of my goals for this week:
TAKE MORE PICTURES. This is serious. I want to blog more regularly but I can’t without a consistent stream of photos. Plus part of the point of me blogging is to push my creativity and photography skills.
Finish the Arabic alphabet…only ten letters to go so I can easily do this.
Finish my quilt top…I only did one row last week :[
My wonderful sister came to Europe so we could travel together for my last six weeks there. It was a really amazing experience that I am very grateful for. Nothing like six weeks of travel with your sister best friend :] Anyways, London was our first stop. I took the “chunnel,”which is the high speed train that goes from Paris to London through a tunnel under the English Channel. Erica flew in to Heathrow Airport and we met up there.
We both LOVE British history, so it was awesome seeing the Tower of London and the other historic sites in the city. Unfortunately we didn’t have a lot of time in London, barely two full days. In that time we squeezed in a walking tour with some friends of mine, a lengthy Tower visit, and trips to the National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, and the British Museum.
My favorite part was definitely our visit to the Tower. Anne Boleyn is my favorite historical figure, and her body is buried in the church inside the Tower. The place she was executed is also there, which was pretty moving to stand next to.
London has a really cool mix of history and modernity. As a history lover, I personally prefer cities like Paris and Amsterdam, where history is apparent everywhere you look. I like the feeling of stepping into the past, where you can look at the buildings and picture yourself a hundred years ago looking at the same things. You just have to ignore the cars!
Unfortunately, England is SUPER DUPER expensive for Americans, the pound being worth almost twice as much as a dollar. So although I would have liked to have had more time in London, it was definitely more practical to head into continental Europe where things are just a tad cheaper.