Friday, 31 August 2012
I just made a decision. A big one. That’s all I’m willing to say about it right now, even though I must admit that I’m quite excited about it.
This is what the decision making process (more or less) should have looked like in an ideal world
This is what the process actually looked like, on the surface at least
(in reality I did analyze this in my head for quite some time, and believe that the decision I reached is a good one)
Image 1 and image 2
Thursday, 30 August 2012
I wanted to write about slow motion, what it feels like to live in slow motion, but at the end it was too difficult to know what to say on the topic – except that there is no time for slow motion right now. Note to self, time to start getting things done now. Instead, three things have been occupying my mind and time lately.
1. The Reason To Get Rid Of Stuff
Who on earth needs that much clothes? And mind you, that’s after I got rid of one third of the things in my wardrobe. Half of this is going to be thrown/given away (I think I’ll keep the laptop, though. For some odd reason it ends up in all my photos). There’s no place for sentimentality now (= that typical thought that “maybe one day…” or “but, it is so pretty…”).
2. The Reason There Is No Need For Any Boyfriends To Keep Me Warm At Night
Somehow I had completely missed the first book in the Harry Hole-series (it seems it was published after the following parts, in English at least) – I believe it’s called The Bat in English. Anyway, while reading this , there was no time for anything or anyone else, that’s what a good book should be like.
3. The Reason To Love Polish
Dżem is a Polish band and listening to their music always brings back a lot of crazy memories. And don’t you agree that Polish is a very beautiful language?
Monday, 27 August 2012
The thought is appealing. It forms part of a bigger picture, a faraway (?) dream of escaping the rat race and the kind of dependency it leads to. It’s about personal freedom and the possibility to be creative. It’s also about being kind to other people, the planet and the self. And yes, it’s also about spending the 70-80 odd years we (hopefully) have in the best possible way.
Minimalism is not a big word but it consists of a lot of things. It’s the art of letting go of possessions, but I would also like to believe that it’s the art of maximizing the things that matter – appreciation for people, nature and creativity, a curious and open-minded life, health and balance, seeing and experiencing the world.
The change does not need to be radical. It could be a question of little changes in everyday life, changes that we feel we can implement and stick to. The leap could also be huge. Whatever it looks like, it's personal. I, of course, have a pretty good idea of what the "good life" would look like (for me), otherwise I wouldn't be writing about this. Writing about the good life in a post about minimalism is possible because the good life has nothing to do with status, money or fancy stuff. It's something that's been on my mind for a while now.
*Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu
Sunday, 26 August 2012
Heaven is listening to multiple languages at once and trying to make sense of them all. The Russian woman with raven hair and red nails mumbling to her baby. The Swedish teenagers who are drunk at 9 am on a Sunday and talking about all the fun they had last night. The middle-aged ones discussing left-wing politics in Britain. The Spanish couple with husky voices discussing monkeys. The happy German family: the parents laughing while the daughter annoyingly (and rather loudly) repeats “gib mir dein ipod, bitte, bitte, bitte…”.
It was raining in Stockholm today – but the city was lovely, as always. We were all sleepy and not so very keen on getting wet. So we stayed inside, talking about travelling and drinking coffee and tea and hot chocolate all at once.
Friday, 24 August 2012
One thing that has suffered this summer is my working out. Going to the gym and eating healthily are very important factors for my wellbeing – it’s the way I keep myself together. The feeling I get from working out and cooking and thinking about these things is indescribable, it goes beyond vanity and surfaces, it’s about inspiration and passion. There’s no point in trying to explain it in any other words. The point is that when this part of my life is standing still, I feel bad. Who would have thought that a few years ago? Slowly, slowly. I need to get a pen and paper and write down my goals, make a plan, list the priorities, and try to integrate them to the rest of my life – but let’s start with going to the gym, shall we?
And oh. I’ve found something else that completely turns me on:
Thursday, 23 August 2012
Something is happening, there is change in the air. Something must happen, otherwise I will go mad. If everything turns out the way I hope it will, then there will be some interesting things to read about in this blog in a month or so from now….
This summer I’ve been trying to keep my mind open, not spend too much time thinking about things, just letting them come to me. Maybe it’s working. There was a time I felt a little lost, I don’t anymore, now I know where I want to be and what I want to do, just need to figure out how to get there. I’m really grateful to all those, who have been lending me their ears and shoulders this summer.
Right now I’m listening to this Hungarian song a lot:
And. As you know, I love polka dots.
Fresh blueberries are also quite yummy
Sunday, 19 August 2012
The thesaurus can be found here.
Sometimes the best thing one can do is take a deep breath, forget about the world and try to tie together all the loose ends. Sometimes the easiest things become so difficult and you lose sight of them, sometimes you lose your path. And then you find it again. Languages, words, thoughts, ideas, happiness, endorphins, places, the mind, society, behaviour, attitudes, goals, anything Slavic, tasty food, love, politics, music with a meaning, laughter. I think that is it. No need for anything else.
Saturday, 18 August 2012
The last days of summer are always wistful, the autumn is already knocking on the door, full of promises of things to come. Excitement? Despair? Curiosity? Fear? Confusion? All emotions are swimming right under the surface, making their whispers heard. Above all, there is a lot of certainty that everything will indeed be good – although I have nothing to feel certain about.
Friday, 17 August 2012
Time management, attitudes and priorities aside, there's one thing I've been thinking about. There are people who are so wrapped in their own stress and negative emotions that they don't seem to function properly. Suddenly everything is too much for them. The problem is that others cannot turn to these people for advice or help: their stress shines through and affects others negatively. Their own pain prevents them from seeing and sensing how others are feeling. What do you do when you have a person like this in your life, someone who seems to be ready to explode any minute? Do you try to listen and help them work it out? Do you suggest they get help (with the risk of being yelled at)? Do you just run? Telling them about time management, attitude change and priorities does not seem plausible, since they might actually bite your head off.
Thursday, 16 August 2012
What works then? In my opinion the ideal situation for learning a language is to be in the country in question. Sheer presence is not enough. When in Rome, the language learner should do as the Romans do, as well as actively attempt to internalize all aspects of the language (and culture) being learnt.
It is also possible to learn a foreign language at home, far from the country where the language is being spoken.
There are two (and a half) methods that I've found especially useful in my own language-learning. These work best when combined.
Grammar translation method
Wikipedia tells us the following: "...is a foreign language teaching method derived from the classical (sometimes called traditional) method of teaching Greek and Latin. The method requires students to translate whole texts word-for-word and memorize numerous grammatical rules and exceptions as well as enormous vocabulary lists. The goal of this method is to be able to read and translate literary masterpieces and classics"
Yes. This method requires a lot of time and effort, and it also fails to take into account some very relevant aspects of language, such as speaking. The learner does not necessarily learn to use the new language in a flexible way. However, vocabulary, grammar and syntax will be learnt quckly. For this to work properly, the language learner has a teacher who has the knowledge to explain both grammar and vocabulary. The student should also translate from to the target language from an early stage in order to gain good writing skills. Here the teacher revises and explains, but also supports the language learner so that s/he learns to use the language as freely and flexibly as possible.
Surely someone has created a better (and more official) name for this method, but the aim is really to brainwash oneself into learning a language. In short, the goal is to use the target language as much as possible in one's daily life. This includes watching films, listening to music, writing shopping lists, writing letters, reading newspapers, debating with native speakers etc. And when something new pops up, what shall the language learner do? Well - translate it, of course!!
Comparative language learning
This is something I'm trying now with Croatian*. My idea is that it's possible to learn a language quite easily if it bears some resemblence to one or several languages you already know. By comparing Croatian to Russian and Polish (you should see the vocabulary + grammar lists I've created), I'm quite convinced that the new language will make sense in a broader context. It will also be easier to see the differences between the languages and find a way to explain said differences.
*Croatian and I are currently at a very intial stage of flirting. I have done this before with Czech and Serbian, but didn't really manage to complete the project. Will see how this goes.
Wednesday, 15 August 2012
The only plan for tomorrow - or shall we say today - is going to the gym.
Tuesday, 14 August 2012
Chanterelles in butter...
Pepper + buckwheat (?)/chanterelles + feta cheese + havarti cheese heated in the oven.
Note: onion, herbs + spices would probably give this dish a nice touch. If you don't have these in your kitchen, add tabasco.
Thursday, 9 August 2012
Forget about scales, measuring tapes and all kind of calorie counters, clothes are pretty good at telling you if there have been any drastic changes in your body.
This summer I haven’t been to the gym as often as I would have liked (because of the all the travelling), my eating habits have worsened (say hello to LOTS of carbs) and wine has become my second best friend. Imagine how surprised I was when I managed to squeeze into a pair of pants that was way too small just before we went to Spain. My weight has not changed but my bum is apparently a lot smaller… score!
Does this mean that carbs and wine are the way to go?
The other day, when I was on my way back home from the gym, I was thinking about this whole fitness-thing. How can something be so much fun? Why do it? And what is the ultimate goal with it?
My top 3 reasons for going to the gym (and trying to be healthy) are the following:
1) Focus. My mind is usually in a constant state of chaos (in a good way), there is so much to think about. At the gym my mind goes blank and I focus only on what I’m doing at that very moment. The tougher the session, the more relaxed and energized I feel afterwards.
2) Experiment and pushing borders. I like planning and working towards goals. I also like trying new things. Training and nutrition are perfect in this sense, because they provide a framework in which one can experiment and try different ways to be even better. It is also easy to see the results from the various experiments. Furthermore, I’m a sucker for food, and I think it is great fun to experiment in the kitchen, while keeping it delicious and healthy.
3) General well-being and health. This is probably a very common reason for training and eating well. Not only do people want to feel good NOW, but there is a desire to guarantee (to whatever extent it is possible) future well-being. In my opinion each individual has a certain responsibility to live as healthily as possible: it may not always be fun, but we are living in a society where many illnesses could be avoided, or at least be less common, with better eating habits and higher levels of activity.
Tuesday, 7 August 2012
Monday, 6 August 2012
A dark man with a burning torch was running down the street on a bleak night in late autumn. The little girl saw him through a window of her home as she woke from a bleak dream. Then she heard a powerful shot from a rifle and a poor, sad cry–the man running with the torch had probably been killed. Soon afterwards came the sound of distant, repeated shots and of uproar from the nearby prison. The little girl went back to sleep and everything she saw during the following days got forgotten: she was too small, and the memory and mind of early childhood became overgrown for ever in her body by subsequent life. But until her last years the nameless running man would appear unexpectedly and sadly inside her–in the pale light of memory–and perish once again in the dark of the past, in the heart of a grown-up child. Amid hunger or sleep at a moment of love or some youthful joy–suddenly, the sad cry of the dead man was there again in the distance, deep in her body, and the young woman would immediately change her life: if she was dancing, she would stop dancing; if she was working, she would work more surely, with more concentration; if she was alone, she would cover her face with her hands. On that rainy night in late autumn the October Revolution had begun–in the city where Moscow Ivanovna Chestnova was living.
Happy Moscow by Andrey Platonov, English excerpt from here