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Faking it.

One thing I have learnt this week (apart from that it most definitely is possible to eat 10 carrés of Monoprix white chocolate in less than 20 minutes) is that faking it might just be the way forward. Minds out of the gutter please, not that kind of faking it!

In language learning my strengths lie within the ‘receiving information’ side of the language; reading and listening. My writing isn’t even especially bad it is just speaking which is my major downfall. I’ve commented before in this blog how the reason is that I don’t feel confident enough and that I must get confident blah blah etc etc. However this week I have noticed some things that just make everything about my linguistic weaknesses disappear. I don’t have to HAVE confidence… I can fake it!

I’ve been doing a lot of listening and observing this week, mainly of non-native French speakers (just like me) trying to speak the language, and to just listen I could be fooled that they are much more amazing than me at the language, but if I REALLY listen I realise that’s not necessarily the case. Miss-conjugations, difficulties finding verbs, talking around the subject when nouns are forgotten and tense problems… that’s what I do!

The thing that separates me from these people (in my mind of course) is that I don’t fake the linguistic capability to mask my uncertainty – I uhm and ah until I find the exact way I want to say it or I rush in like a TGV and blabber everything and anything making it all muddled.

I think that if I really think about it and I take into consideration the things that these people do, adding simple phrases “bon alors” when I lose my TGV of thought, I could convince myself that I am in fact as great at French as I perceive the other foreign francophones!

Also, tonight, whilst l was sat in bed trying to get my sleep on (slight Cassidy reference there), I was thinking through some verbs and conjugations (I’m a language student, we’re allowed to do things like this for fun) and I came to the verb savoir (to know) and I started to think it through, I changed the regular first and second person singular forms of the verb from having an ‘is’ ending (sais) to an ‘it’ ending (sait) and felt uneasy I couldn’t even imagine trying to say “je sait” – just typing it makes me feel like I know nothing.

I know that’s a little trivial thing that may only interest my mind but along with the fact I catch myself thinking and mumbling to myself in French without even realising it I feel perhaps this is all a sign that I’m finally getting to grips with the language and that perhaps if I take heed of all that I have written above I’ll soon start to feel like I’m mastering the great French language!

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Surdité.

Last night I had a pounding and stabbing earache in my right ear, this morning I was bleeding from said ear; my online self-diagnosis told me that either I was  going to die due to brain complications or I had an ear infection.

I rang into my school to tell them I wouldn’t be in because I was ill and the secretary said, more than once, “entendu”  which literally means ‘heard’ but put into context is ‘understood’. I wanted to make many a joke – “of course you heard, you’re not the one bleeding from your ears” however my French isn’t strong enough to be funny and I figured I’d get lost in translation somewhere and sound like my potential ear infection was in fact brain complications.

A quick trip to my doctor confirmed the latter, an ear infection. He prescribed me 5 (yes 5!!!) boxes of tablets and I went on my merry, partially-hearing way. Now, sat in my bed, feeling sorry for myself, surrounded by a wonderful array of boxes sporting long and unpronounceable names, and trying hard to understand Bones on the television without cranking the volume up, I got to thinking about what it would be like if I became deaf.

What would sudden deafness do to me? Well firstly I’d be forced to learn a new language, not out of want but out of necessity. I can spell my name in sign language but I’m not sure that would suffice. Not only would I be forced to learn the language but so would many people around me, all of my friends and family. It would throw a spanner in the works of my life plans; how could I continue to learn French without the ability to listen? I’d no longer be able to switch the radio on to hear the top 40, go to a club to dance to the top tunes or listen to my beloved iPod shuffle on the way to work.

I know that sounds very materialistic of me but hey, this is a material world. Of course there are technologies nowadays to aid those who have lost, or indeed never had, their hearing abilities. I guess what I’m trying to say here is that I’m very thankful that I still have my hearing.

Haïku.

No inspiration

Some evenings are for writing

This evening is not

Attrape-rêves.

Dreams have always fascinated me, there are so many theories behind them, it’s amazing that we’re still so unsure about something so common. It’s also a little scary to think that! Dreams are normally difficult to recall and are more frequently recalled when the dreamer is awakened whilst dreaming. I must be awakened whilst dreaming most of the time because I recall my dreams quite frequently, how reliable these dream recalls of mine are is another story.

My dreams have always been pretty bizarre, but when put into the theory by Ferenczi that my dreams may be trying to communicate something that isn’t being actually said, they  seem pretty logical. I’ve had the most common dreams; the chase dream (although there’s something about being chased by a sausage dog that turns into a dwarf when it get closer that masks the interpretation of anxiety and turns it into plain comedy! I’m not sure what the sausage dog/dwarf symbolises but they are meant to represent things in my life that I’m trying to escape from), the teeth dream (dreaming of being bitten apparently represents the biter having power over me – I should be more assertive)!

So the reason I’m writing this blog at 6:40am is that 40 minutes ago I was awakened by the shock of a dream. Normally I can fall back to sleep easily after being awoken from a dream but this dream really startled me and I’m finding it difficult to find a reliable interpretation to set my mind at rest. All I have managed to depict so far is that there is an aspect of trust. I also felt that there were characters in this dream set out from the start, I felt as if it was some sort of tv show and  I actually saw characters (which never usually happens, normally the characters faces are never very clear) and they reappeared.

In my dream I was trying to walk home from somewhere, nowhere that I particularly recognised, it just seemed to be a route that a normal person might take whilst walking home from work or school. I saw a path that looked like a shortcut, it didn’t particularly look like a shifty place, however I avoided it and opted to walk along the path at the side of the road. The route then guided me downwards to cross a sort of carpark that was just under the ground, I crossed it and walked up the steps to a lighter part of the, now apparently multi-story, carpark. I passed a man on the phone who appeared to work there, he pulled the phone away from his ear and made a face as if the person on the other side was his nagging wife or child. I smiled politely and carried on trying to figure my way out of the building that I’d gotten into. I passed a man and a woman who also appeared to work there, the woman had short red (dyed) hair and they were both wearing navy blue jumpers. I approached them and asked them the way out and the man pointed me in the right direction. I headed off the way he pointed out and eventually got to the barriers that the cars would go through and the man and woman were both there taking tickets off the drivers – I asked the man if this was the way to go as I’d never gone out the same way as a car before and he said that I just needed to go up the steps to my right and I’d be out. I went up the steps but found myself in a room with a chest freezer that was about half the average size, I was just about to leave when I heard a noise so I ducked down. When I looked back up the man was sat on the freezer with a grin on his face and after a few moments he opened it and pulled out a large, weighty (I could actually sense the weight) plastic bag. In that bag all I could see was navy blue and dyed red… he’d frozen his co-worker and apparently I was next (although I never actually saw it as I awoke from shock).

What a disturbing dream! As I was writing about it something actually came to my mind and I may have found my dream interpretation. If I had taken the shortcut I had seen at the start of the dream would I have been safer than I was following my safer instincts and trusting other people to tell me the right way, rather than my initial impulse of the shortcut? Maybe my dream is trying to tell me that I should stop worrying about things (the shortcut being potentially dangerous) and not rely on others to tell give me direction in my life and me the truth all the time. It sounds like a plausible interpretation, right?

After my traumatic dream I cannot get back to sleep simply for the reason that I’ve never had a dream before that had set characters, people that I didn’t know yet whose faces I could see almost fully. This is why dreams are so fascinating. I have no idea what that could mean, maybe it’s a premonition and I will see that face in real life trying to make me trust them and I just shouldn’t. Maybe it’s a face I’ve already seen but forgotten. Either way, I’m worried if I close my eyes the final scene of my dream will haunt me, as I can still see it in the back of my thoughts.

It’s 7am, the church bells have just chimed for the first time today, maybe I will sleep now, knowing that it’s now daytime and people are rousing from their sleep and it’s not quiet, isolated night time anymore.

Nostalgie.

Last academic year was the best of my life so far. I lived in a house with 3 amazing and beautiful girls that I miss ever so much whilst I’m here. Today I’m having a nostalgic day, reading through an old blog created by me and one of the other girls. I found this and had to re-blog it because it defines everything I loved about last year.

Love defined by the GGs.

Love is sucking all the sour off Haribo for her because she doesn’t like it.

Love is letting her win even though the competitive streak is mutual.

Love is not minding curling her hair several times a day so she looks fab.

Love is joining the farm application on Facebook so she can get more money by sending trees.

Love is shaving her legs for her because she’s too drunk to do it herself.

Love is spending 24/7 together but needed to text each other constantly when out of the house.

Love is telling her you want something chocolatey because telling her you don’t is the wrong answer.

Love is loving her to pieces regardless of whether she’s being a tiny bit annoying.

Love is sharing. Sharing clothes, jewelry, boys, make up, food, gossip, love.

Love is her giving up her cuddly toy to cuddle for a bit when grogginess is apparent, even if she’s groggy too.

Love is her texting “Quick look out my window!x” so that she can wave from across the road.

Love is running all the way up the stairs on receiving said text to wave back.

Love is loving every moment spent together and missing each other when apart for even a day.

Love is spending all day together and still needing to text when out and about.

These girls are my whole entire world even despite the fact that we’ve been separated by life and necessity at the moment. I have never met and will never meet any other people like them and I miss them every single day with all of my heart.

Love is GGs. GGs is love!


Le jeu de vie.

Another day down the drain. Wasted away. I’m sat here, with nothing to show for my day except a bag of lychees and a larger knowledge of the life of Peter Kay, mulling things over in my brain. Thinking about the different directions my life  could have gone in/be going in. Thinking about things that I have gained and lost as a result of this year abroad experience. Friends, contact with people and my sanity are all amongst the things lost. Whilst the things gained are along the lines of; language, experience, friends and culture.

When I picture how my life could/will be mapped out I see myself stood on a giant ‘The Game Of Life’ board with a few different roads in front of me and one big one behind me. Behind me is childhood, school, college, all my childhood friends, hobbies and experiences. I’m stood on a university circle right now, it’s a big circle because it doesn’t just contain university but also France and all of the trials and tribulations of this experience. I can’t see what’s written on the roads ahead of me yet, they’re too far away but I so desperately want the spinner to move me forward but I have to wait patiently for my turn before I get forced onto one of the roads by fate and possibly luck.

So it’s the last day of 2009, the last day of the “noughties” decade, a lot of stuff has gone on in the last decade both worldwide and personally. This past year I think I’ve grown up a hell of a lot and I know where my priorities lie in everything. Will tomorrow bring a new year, a new decade, a new chance? Or will it just be another day? I’m banking on the latter.

Yes of course It’s normal to make resolutions to aid a new start in a new decade (the likelihood of me, personally, keeping them fully are low to zero), but that in itself makes it just another 1st January, simply in a new year. Looking at what I’ve got planned for the next year shows me that it’s just pretty much more of the same, only this time I know how to deal with it all which in a way makes me glad that it’s not a new chance because I don’t want to have to go through the process of learning to deal with the way I’m having to live. Personally, that begs the question ‘why are people so set in trying to change everything each time there’s a new year?’ Changes take time to get used to and for the most part people try to change, fail and get stuck back in their previous ways, and whilst there’s nothing wrong with that, why not just cut out the trying to change part and live an easier life without trying to change yourself. Changes happen naturally, well good changes, anyway – I guess they’re more like adaptations – so my words of wisdom for this last day of 2009 are to quit the whole needing or wanting to change fandango and just go with the flow. There’s no right day to make any resolutions, why not make a resolution each morning that you feel the need to change just for that day? Surely that’s a better idea than piling on a load of hasty decisions that, 9 times out of ten, you don’t really mean and trying to stick to them for a whole 365 days, is it not?

Either way, that’s the way I intend to play it. No resolutions. No expectations. Simply going with the flow and learning more about myself along the way, rather than trying to change.