Early semester drama

The semester has just started (ok, it started a month ago) and I was super excited about the new subjects (ok, some new subjects) it brought with — but that didn’t bother a train of thought that cost me 6 slides on a very dynamic class. I will now share that fascinating conversation with myself. Just because I have pictures. And I got a fun cute eraser.

Here’s what my “desk” looked like during class:

The view.

The view.

Thoughts:

#1 “Oh wow, maybe this class will actually be pretty cool, I seem to be getting the hang of things, look at that notebook! Do you remember what it looked like last semester? Keep up the good work! o/”

#2 “Wait. Did I color coordinate my stuff with my pencil case?”

"Oh my, I think I did"

“Oh my, I think I did”

#3 “Is it weird that I hadn’t noticed that WHILST buying the stuff? Which I did in different days? It even matches my pendrive. And it is oold. Maybe I have a bit of OCB. Just a bit.”

#4 “OK, a miiinor bit. Remember what my room looks like?”

*half a minute goes by*

#5 “My eraser is cute.”

"Best gift my aunt ever gave me."

“It is adorable.”

#6 “Remember that beautiful MONO I had? I used it ’till it was a quarter of its original size, then I couldn’t hold it any more.”

#7 “WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I’VE USED UP ENOUGH OF THIS ERASER THAT IT DISAPPEARS INTO THE STRIPPED CASING?”

#8 “I’ll have to cut it??? But it’s STRIPED, I’ll never cut it straight enough! It has a fixed bottom, it’s not like MONO. It’ll be a nightmare. I’ll be staring at the uneven striping for the rest of the semester/year. It’ll be an OCB nightmare. Like that squirrel and the soap bar in ‘Let’s pretend this never happened‘…”

*half a minute of panic and anxiety*

#9 “It’s oookay, it is only an eraser. You can do it.”

*another half a minute goes by*

#10 “OK, let’s cross that bridge when we get to it. Now get on with it.”

*six slides have gone past*

Lucky number seven

OK. Let me just start with: I don’t DO new year’s resolutions. I mean, really.

They’re doomed to fail.

January is month of extremely high hopes, whereas the ensuing months are… not energetic enough to keep up. Setting up goals in January is like asking a tiny kid what he wants to be when he grows up, after he’s rocked at kart racing for the first time. Of course he’s going to be a Formula 1 winner.

HOWEVER, after reading Ms Inkeri’s post I’ve decided to write Things I Aspire To For 2014. But I’ll call it LN7 and copy her number seven. But in my defense: I was born on the 7th, the week has 7 days,  7 is a prime number (and I like prime numbers), and according to Chinese medicine, life is divided in 7 year chunks. Tadaaa!

In 2014 it would be very nice to:

1 – Exercise regularly

Which I have. At least for every weekday since January 2nd. I’m the opposite of fit and my classes are all the way up 4 flights of stairs. Gasping for air ain’t attractive.

Also, found peace with dance classes. More specifically, zumba. I hate running around like a hamster and Zumba actually feels more demanding than running track — and it’s loads more fun.

2 – Keeping up with uni

It’s not that I’m lazy, it’s not that I’m not organized. I’m just… poorly motivated to fully dedicate myself to uni. I’ve got two years left, hopefully including an exchange program, and I am going to do my best, and show people what I’m capable of.

And, you know, not drive myself insane when things begin sounding cryptic.

3 – Not feel guilty about which books I’m reading

Ever since I entered college, I’ve been reading very dense books. I mean, seriously. They are from the 1970s. They’ve got loads of equations. They’ve got examples. Usually not fun examples. And even if I didn’t tire my brain out with those stuff, why should anyone feel guilty going to the bookstore and picking up a Sophie Kinsella book, or whatever chick lit I’ve found? It’s still one book more than the average person in my country reads. Per year.

Entertainment is a valid choice. Ignore the judgemental eyes of the hipster salesperson.

4 –  Stay calm. There’s plenty of time.

Well, there might not be. But the things I usually stress about are things not worth stressing about. It’s done. Things will fall where they may. Be zen about it. Try learning to french braid your own hair. Maybe Inkeri can help.

Just don’t fret about all that planning and all that nothingness. About your age. About the years going by. About people. About liiife… just HUSH.

Also, this was the item I’d saved for my reading goals this year. But it’s not worth it. I don’t want to start demanding myself to read. I like reading. Let’s keep it that way. I read about ten books this year, but I also found three new favorite authors (Danny, Jenny, John) – actually, four, if I was entirely honest. I read books that enticed me, that made me laugh, that made me cry, that made me think, but most importantly: that kept me in cozy company. I really loved some of the books I read this year, even found a top favorite. And I’m pretty sure my being extremely picky had something to do with it, so I’ll trust my gut.

Though I probably should consider taking a closer look at the books I currently own, as my bookshelf situation is a growing nightmare. No. More. Bookstores.

5 – Improve my French to B2 level

And I mean B2. I have studied it on and off for 2,5 years, but I feel in no way confident about it. This holiday I have been on Duolingo quite often (you can even check that here). Duolingo is a really, really great memorizing tool for learning new languages. If you are looking into German, French, Spanish or Portuguese I invite you to take a look.

But I still need to do some deeper reading/writing. For that, of course, I’ve bought some books (Le Petit Nicolas, and a book by G. Musso) I’m too scared to read yet, and I’m trying to find a penpal (email or otherwise). Suggestions on either?

6 – Go and get that exchange program

I want to study abroad. I want to learn how other people live. I want to go somewhere cold! And I won’t rest until I do! Hehe. Seriously. On-going procedures. Fingers crossed.

I just need to work on not sabotaging myself.

But I think first and foremost, after this year that’s gone by, I’d like to be able to say that I’ve managed this:

7 – Stay true to myself

I know it’s corny. I really do. But I honestly feel I wasn’t true to myself this year. And that caused me a lot of unnecessary pain. Not to get too dramatic here, but to put it simply: I let people treat me poorly and didn’t stand up for myself. I let myself be carried away and forgot that the one person who knows what makes me happy or not is really me. I thought my sense of self-worth and my values were bigger than whatever petty remark could turn me into, and I was disappointed in myself.

But this year being happy will be a goal, not pleasing others. I am important. What I feel matters.

And that will be my motto for this year. Life’s too short to spend it dreading mornings. And I think that’s the first thing I’ll do: start sleeping early and waking up well rested and looking forward to a brand new day.

Have I mentioned it’s 2h25 in the morning here?

I’ll start tomorrow :P

Otherwise, I pl— No, I won’t plan, I’ll intend to write a little bit. Either here, either privately, try to keep my head in order. But most definitely share fantastic books I’ve come across (maybe even the embarrassing ones), including some from last year which I shamefully neglected to review, and anything nice that comes my way — and hopefully I’ll read about your’s too :)

Happy New Year!

When friends become friends

Some time ago, a friend and I were talking about when we realize our friends have become friends — you know, when your colleague with whom you chat with after a meeting becomes the person you call just because, and then go have pizza. And my friend said something I’d never given much thought to: you become a friend when you feel you can mess with them and they’ll take it as a joke.

It felt particularly meaningful because he – my friend – messed with me the very first day we met. He made fun of my hair, and suddenly I was part of the group. It was such a silly thing, but it worked as a social trigger. And thinking back, it was like that with every other group I’ve been in, and every newcomer that joined us. Like a rite of passage of sorts.

But what happens when this intimacy that allows for (and maybe even encourages) these sort of comments and jokes is lost?

I’m in that tricky path of seeing which highschool friends survive the test of time, distance, different new interests and blablabla. I’m heading to my 4th year of uni. We still have a facebook group. I still know what they look like, in which city they are living, what courses they are taking… But we are not that close any more. Or I’m not that close any more. Different cliques have developed for those who live close by or still don’t forego when that singer they love comes into town, like expected. But when we meet, they don’t seem aware of the lack of intimacy with the entire group — and then messing with becomes actual messing with.

And it’s annoying.

And I was just wondering, how far should one go to keep friends from the past? Is it really worth it? Are they really friends still?Has this happened to anyone else or am I just too sensitive?

Forgetfulness — and then old friends resurface

Beware: memories come up and take over.

Have you ever felt scared that you were forgetting your life? The childhood stories your mother doesn’t insist on re-telling at every family gathering, the secrets you shared with your friends, those simple little things that meant so much to you?

Or even more recent stories, things you lived in college, parties you went to, awesome people you talked to that one time and never saw again, stuff that made you feel every there. Like this isn’t a trial, this isn’t a movie, this is your life, and these are your stories?

I’m twenty years old, and I’ve held some sort of diary (which I liked to call “journal”, so I’d feel all grown up and British) ever since I was 11. I have a trunkful of all my older journals, with all the little dramas, and all those hidden messages we’d send to one another during class, all the sketches from my “I’m-such-an-artist” fase, several comments on whatever reading I’d been doing at the time… It’s A LOT. I mean, REALLY.

But if you ask me right now to tell you a story about that time, I can only think of the ones that bugged me. You know. That time, in Drama Class, that I got the nameless part and teacher was personally offended I didn’t want to jump up and down in utter joy. Or that other time that I was going to go to the city’s Public Library with my best friend, but my mother got a migrain and couldn’t take me, and she told me “Well, you had to learn disappointment somehow” and I think I might have felt the mental equivalent of “¬¬” for the first time. Or that time my friend started reading the first Harry Potter, and I was on The Prisoner of Azkaban, and accidentally told her about Hogwarts and she did the funniest and scariest face I’d ever seen.

OK. Maybe a few happy ones too.

But it’s weird. Everyone remembers something different. The other day I ran into (ok, it was on facebook) a friend from the “Before I was 10” fase and I remember so clearly the time her mother took me to see her for a surprise, and I hid on the backseat and jumped out when she showed up. She remembers a letter I wrote to her in glitter. I have no recollection of that.

I also remember that once, literally on the playground, a new group of girls came up to me and started saying “you” a lot. Don’t remember what they were saying. But my friend – my best friend – came up and said, as angry as a kid can get, “HER NAME IS M.!” And I was so confused. I didn’t really get conflict.

Not long after that, we got to different classrooms, different periods (I started going to school on mornings), finally different schools, and now different cities. (Actually, for a while there, different countries too, I now found out.)

And it’s so strange to wonder what might had happened if we’d stayed close friends. She’s as confident and fierceless as she was when she was a child. She’s driven. A bit impulsive too, but I think it suits her.

See? That’s what happens when I try to remember stuff about my past: I get overjoyed when I drag something out of the black hole that my memory is, and immediately feel the need to record everything I’ve remembered. Why?

So I don’t lose it? But it’s happened already.

Why should it matter?

But anyways. Sorry about the trippyness, I’m just getting that itch to write stuff.

Here‘s a lovely French movie that shows how we can completely forget how we were when we were kids. But in a less cliché way.

 

-M.

 

My parents are awesome

I went to this thing with André Borschberg, the pilot of the Solar Impulse project (in case you, like me, have never heard about it, it’s a 2-ton solar powered plane that flies day and night and has crossed Europe, the US and god knows where else, and they are going for the world-round trip in 2015, pretty darn awesome), and ten of us won the raffle for a tiny replica of the HB-SIA – myself included.

I never win raffles, so I was super excited. The following texts ensued:

me: I just won a tiny plane!

Mom: YAAAAAAAAAY!

Dad: How many seats? When are you taking your license test?

My parents are awesome ;]

And this plane is beautiful.

My tiny plane

My plane.

Their plane.

Their plane.

 

What is it about magic?

I know, I know. I’ve neglected this blog for way too long. But now at least I have something to write about. I think.

Yesterday I finished reading “The Magicians’ Guild” by Trudi Canavan, which I’d got from BetterWorldBooks at Tanya‘s suggestion, and I couldn’t be more thrilled about it.

It took me a while to get the courage to start it, to tell you the truth. Though pretty much all my favourite books are set in fantasy worlds, I get quite spooked with covers such as these:

There’s something about half-photoshopped pictures in covers that freaks me out. And as I’ve mentioned, I judge a book by its cover.

But if someone who loves Neil Gaiman as much as I do loved this, it must be good, right? So I picked it up and had a bit of a struggle letting go to study for my pre-midterms. It’s GOOD. The characters are interesting, the story moves along at a quickening pace, and you just can’t wait to read more about this world, this magical society – their buildings, their classes, even their door knobs. Everything is interesting, everything is engaging.

I did take a step back more towards the end of it, though. I had the eerie sensation that this was going to be one of those annoying series with no proper ending ’till the very end at the last book – you’ve read at least one of those, right? But sure enough, it quickly patched things up and though there’s a big hook linking it to the next book (which I’ve already ordered at BWB), the plot of this book was pretty much concluded. Nicely, too.

There were bits that were a bit annoying, particularly whom she chose to trust and distrust, and I wanted to yell at her, but thankfully there’s reason soon enough. There are also bits I didn’t really think matched the character’s previous behaviour – and perhaps that was meant to illustrate personal growth? I don’t know, it still made for pretty witty, fun characters to get to know.

But that was not the thing that I wanted to write about — At the university, a friend came up to me when I was reading this book, looked at the cover and honestly uttered the question “But it’s fiction, it’s fake! How do you bear to read it?”. I was shocked. I’m used to being appalled by their not reading Hitchhikers’ Guide or Harry Potter, and understand that at the moment it is a bit tricky to squeeze in some books not related to our classes, but COME ON.

The most coherent thought I could come up with was “Because it’s FUN”. But that shouldn’t be all of it, should it? There must be a reason for it to be fun. And it’s something that has been tormenting me for days.

Is it about escaping into this other world we know nothing about and discover it bit by bit? I hear that one quite often – stories as a distraction, an escape from reality. And sure, that must be it. But there’s something else too, isn’t there? Something that captures our attention and turns us into little children again.

I think it’s magic.

By reading something someone else wrote we’re giving them the power to construct whatever characters, whatever plots and whatever worlds the author wants. They are masters of the universe for the length of those pages. It feels a bit like magic, doesn’t it? The way twists and fixes spring about. Entire cities created, complex societies described. Creativity flows and we’re drawn to it.

I’ve got this book I got at the airport, it’s called “What are you optimistic about?” and in it there are several little articles by different people saying – you’ve guessed it – what they are optimistic about. One of these is about the world population. The author (whose name I cannot for the life of me find) said he was optimistic about the extra billion people that are expected (and dreaded, for the most part). He says something like “That’s an extra billion creative minds, thinking up solutions”. I’d never heard anyone see it like that.

And I think books can support that view — aren’t they the biggest proof of all the creativity running around?

Through that, I believe reading books somehow gives us power too, in some level. We’re given one of the best presents we could get — hope. That perhaps we’re not as helpless as we’d think. Perhaps all we need is a good idea, a good magician.

What do you think? Was I too high on caffeine and lack of sleep when I thought about this?

And what on earth should I tell No-Fiction Guy?

Parenthesis & Gilmore Girls realisations

I’ve got a feeling this post will be a parenthetical one. You were warned.

You know how sometimes you’re talking to someone and you hit it off and all is good ’till you have to say “bye” and it turns out majorly awkward and perhaps embarrassing? (Not to brag, but I’m the friggin’ master.) Well, I don’t know how everyone else deals with it, but I mainly – and involuntarily – mull over it while forgetting all the happy Hey-this-was-fun feelings.

Something along those lines happened today and I was bummed and didn’t know why. And then I watched a Gilmore Girls episode

(Mom and I are re-watching it. Again. Third time, I think.  It just keeps getting better! And I keep noticing more stuff – movies to watch, books to read, bands to listen to. Speaking of which, anyone ever read “Howl” by Allen Ginsberg?)

in which Jess finally arrives to Stars Hollow – we’d been expecting him for quite some time, and had been making lists of reasons why he’s so much more interesting than Dean (not a good re-watch for Dean this time), but then he finally came and… well, he was more than a bit annoying! (Notice I use the past tense in the hopes he’ll grow out of it, again.)

And that bugged me too.

And I think something hit me. A stupid, simple realisation that may – may – aid me next time I experience some stupid social embarrassment.

I don’t have to like you all the time.

You don’t have to like me all the time.

And it’s okay! Ain’t a big deal. It happens. (Even with Jess.)

And I know that now that I’ve put it into semi-coherent sentences the thought is neither original nor revolutionary, but trust me, it’s a big deal to me. Particularly because I think it’s more difficult to accept that than the “You don’t have to like me. PERIOD”, which is bad, but at least you can put those people into a tiny can, label it Okay, Then and move on — with people you’re friends or sorta friends with you can’t really… compartmentalise. They’ll fight with the others if you stick them in the Okay, Then can. Which I guess is what makes them friends. Or sorta friends.

 

I thought I had something insightful for today. Really did. What waas it? Came up during one of the tests today. (Two tests today, brain rebooting with GG.)

I think I need to watch a few more GG episodes. With some icecream. And popcorn. And tea. (They are always eating! They make me hungry.)

Have a good weekend :D !

 

“We have buried the putrid corpse of liberty.”
Mussolini, quoted in episode 2.03