Friday, December 22, 2006
- you find the keys on british keyboards are annoyingly in the wrong places
- you find yourself saying "pardon" and "excusez-moi" to Scot randoms on the street
- you find yourself even more eager than usual to talk to randoms on the street because they are a fellow native english speaker
- little signs on trains with catchy phrases such as "keep clear" become interesting to read
- you finish your meal and start searching for the nearest baguette to mop your plate with
ah the joys of the reverse cultural shock! Mais quand-meme c'est super bien de rentrer à la mère patrie :) euuhmm... what language was I just speaking there?
- When I was in primary school my best friends and I took our imaginations to dazzling heights in the playground. The trees in our playground were not only alive and had highly original ungirly names such as Starlight and Shady but Shady could transport you to other exciting worlds when you jumped up and down by the base of her trunk... I also owned one or two magic horses and we frequently fought a formidable foe known as TheBloomyGrassThief.
- I am ridiculously squeamish especially when it comes to wounds caused by blades and broken glass... e.g nearly fainted whilst watching a very un-gory part of Edward Scissorhands earlier this year (when Edward strokes his creator's cheek) Lay on the bed and gulped down water whilst my Glasgow flatmates (rightly so) laughed at me
- And on a tangent from squeamishness I had chronic nosebleed problems from ages 3 to about 9. When I remember spending an hour or two most nights over the bathroom sink at the age of 4 with parents holding back my hair whilst I literally bled into the sink... loooooovely
- I finished a fantasy/sci-fi/teenageish novel when I was 14... (started it when I was 12) I say finished as I have actually made many attempts at such a work and never finish them. It comprises of a glorious 96 A4-sized pages in size 12 font and though I have tried rewriting it several times since then I just can't find an antidote to the romanticised metaphor-ridden idealistic drivel with that makes up the most part of it... even got halfway through a sequel... tant pis
- Oh and I reeeeally like marmite on toast!
humtiddlyumtum I feel I have too much choice for tagging so I pass the tag onto people who I hope will have fun with their responses - Frassle, Mac-ers, Trevor, Diana and Breakey the blogomniscient... will you rise to the challenge?!
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Friday, December 08, 2006
Not that I'm not enjoying life here in Grenoble! This week has flown by what with 2 orchestra concerts avec this lovely outfit, what felt like a million rehearsals, spongebob square pants watchings, a fair bit of a tea, a bit too much chocolate, eating roasted chestnuts over a bin at le marché de noel, a wine tasting (at school of all places), advent calenders arriving by airmail, what must be worldrecordworthy long phone conversations to Ecosse, randomly playing for the 2006 version of this with lots of kiddy violinists, lots of very lovely classes, only a couple of slightly less lovely ones, beeeeeyoooootiful christmas lights... realising this again and again
smiley shiny smiley :)
Friday, December 01, 2006
Psalm 105:4 - in english (NIV)-
Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.
- en français (new Louis Segond version) -
Cherchez le Seigneur et sa force, recherchez-le constamment.
I like the french better... because the verb "rechercher" - neatly sums up in one word, in a way that doesn't quite translate grammatically into english, that we're being asked to search after having already found Him, i.e re-searching/re-seeking. And it says to keep it up constamment; constantly.
I often forget to do that. After finding God in some awesome way, my natural tendancy is to get complacent... to subconsciously be like, ok so I'm fine now and don't really need God right now cos the fact that He sorted me out in that situation should keep me going for a while.
But right here in this verse, it tells me to do the opposite. To keep searching for God after I've found Him. Desiring more, wanting to know more... I want that to be the case and it can be sometimes, but I find it's a constant battle... especially for someone as naturally lazy as myself... I'm just so grateful that I have help! :)
P.S 1st December => Christmas is coming => AdventBlog has started
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Lessons on Pronunciation en français for Anglophones
The difference between dessert and desert is you pronounce the 's' in dessert like the 's' in snake and the 's' in desert like a 'z'
il y a plus de (they are more...) - prounounce the 's' at the end of plus
il n'y a plus de (they are no more...) - the 's' is silent
bouilloire (a kettle) is not pronounced like bruillard (fog)
Reims en France is pronounced Reins
New Phrases en français
ringard - closest french equivelant to word cheesy
anticonstituionellement - longest french word (I can say it!)
To say 'that's a shame' you can say quelle dommage or c'est ballot but not c'est dommage. The latter n'existe pas en français...
The Francophones learnt that
You cannot use Angletterre to describe all english speaking countries or even all British countries
Meaning of the words 'redneck', 'cheesy'
antidisestablishmentarianism - didn't teach them the meaning of that
The difference in pronunciation between 'angry' and 'hungry' - those 'h's are hard to say!
The difference in pronuncation between the 'i' vowels e.g in 'fit' as opposed to 'feet' (I'm not going to publish what words were actually being talked about there)
And it's all written on the unpainted wall as pictured above so no chance of forgetting!
Communal educational bilingual dinner = Badinage!!!
Monday, November 27, 2006
Soroco winds, ridiculously warm sunshine for November, bucketting rain, snow on mountains, then all melted again...
3 "Scottish" visitors, 10 visits to Grenoble train station (3 to retrieve a lost bag, 1 to miss a bus), several meals out, several meals in, 2 trips up the Bastille, 2 sunsets watched, much tea drunk, 1 chocolate tasting attended, 1 night of silly dancing to silly hours had, 1 trip to the cinema made, much franglais spoken, several new friends made, one random lunch with one lovely random muslim lady, random tram trips taken...
I am now losing my voice and am finding it difficult to speak english let alone french. Try saying "Royaume uni" (united kingdom) in the post office when you have a sore throat! The woman behind the desk might think you're saying Italie!
Some photo highlights
Crisp November leaves crunchcrunchcrunchbeeeeautiful mountains all covered in snow
and yes this was all made of chocolate!!!
we didn't eat it all!! honest! :P
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Today... all just before 10am this morning all trams and buses stopped...
of course today was also the day that I had to travel to Meylan, a small town (also mini-utopia), 2 buses away from where I lived to teach at a school for 4 hours...
and of course I had already taken one bus and so was in the centre of town and even further away from Meylan when they decided to go on strike... and so I waited and chatted to grumbling little old ladies in french for a bit... and then walked... and was an hour and a half late for classes! Tant pis... All part o the cultural experience eh?!
Friday, November 10, 2006
I wonder whether I'd rather be back in Glasgow sometimes, and be stressed and manically busy, or here with lots and lots of time and relaxation which sometimes I wonder if I need...
All I know is, whether or not I am always contented with the situation I'm in, I should always be grateful for it, for what I have and what's now and the situation that God has put me in... because he knows best and I know he's teaching me a lot by taking me out of my usual environment and placing me somewhere tout à fait different for a while.
Therefore... Rachetez le temps car les jours sont mauvais
Un mot - Enjoy :)
Ah... the joys... today I had to tell a class off for the first time
I said to them with a quiet disapproving teacher voice- "Il y avait trop de bruit aujourd-hui. Cette classe est pour vous de pratiquer parler et ecouter en anglais, mais si vous n'ecoutez pas, il n'y pas de point d'etre ici!" - translation -
"There was far too much noise today. This class is for you to practise speaking and listening in english but if you don't listen there's no point in you being here!"
They apologised so I think it will be ok. Bear in mind this was the first time I've ever had to properly tell anyone off.
See so far teaching has been generally very good! Very different from how I expected it... not at all nerve-wracking despite the fact that I frequently have to adlib... somehow french organisation means that despite all the preparation I may have done, every week I get at least a couple of groups of classes of age groups I haven't been expecting, so often have to make up lessons on the spot... but somehow managed to do ok so far though preparation is most definitely the way forward!
I teach kids ranging from the ages of about 12 to older than me. Have to use french with the 12-15 year olds cos the only english they understand is "I have blue eyes, I have brown hair etc." but some of my older classes speak very good english which is pretty cool, I just have to speak slowly and clearly with them!
And for some reason the fact that I am young has so far been a big advantage! There is always a collective exclaim of disbelief or surprise ("aaaah mais c'est jeune!!!") if anyone asks me how old I am, it's quite amusing! And after one class one guy who must have been about my age came up to me and said "Are you really only 20, I thought you must be like 22 or something!!" Hahahaha I think that was meant as a compliment... I think...
And aaaah the accents! My friends in France will tell you that I have developed quite a passion and a liking for imitating the french accent when speaking english... I will demonstrate with some phonetic spelling - demonstration of todays lesson with the 13 year olds
"Wot aaaav yooou got aateuuh treee o clockeuh?"
"I aaav got euuuh... doctors appooointeuhmnt"
sniff... isn't it just beautiful!
I'm tired... I think all this teaching has gone to my head...
à la prochaine
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Of course I got to see the wonders of Germany too... bright neon signs, ridiculously tall trees and graffiti everywhere! Icecream, erasmus students and bicycles are plentiful!
I feel like I've just spent the last few days living the life of an erasmus student in Freiburg, which I basically did! Highlights included:
- Wonderfully large communal meals
- the Stusie bar (the student union) - is so scarily similar to the qm it's unreal! I felt very very at home!
- Being able to chat to a German girl in what was our only common language - french!
- Cable car trips into the mountains never go amiss
- Good food
- A judith-cooked German breakfast fry-up... mmmmm...
- Church in German AND English! (complete novelty!)
It was just sooo nice to be somewhere so completely different from France for a few days and break up the term, since I won't be going home till Christmas. And to live the student life again, Grenoble life is so quiet in comparison! Plus Freiburg is beautiful! If you wanna check out photos check out Jamie's blog, he's got a mixture of mine, his and other folks photos from the weekend.
It was however very satisfying to return last night and understand and be able to chat to folk at the station and in shops again! I discovered I really dislike being able to hold my own in a country communication wise. I hope to visit again... so the what has become quite a long list of languages to learn, Deutsch now has a prominent spot!
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
It's funny how misunderstanding or simply not knowing the meaning of one word can cause such major communication problems! This weekend for example, I went away with the youth group at church and after dinner on Saturday there was announcement made about how we were going to "faire les châtaignes". Now this caused some excitement but left me completely bewildered since I hadn't the faintest idea what les châtaignes were! In the end I had to ask someone and I eventually managed to work out what it was - see photo below and let me know if you still don't know what it is! :P
It just hit home how important words can be!
Words... so potent, so loaded... I crave them! A couple of weeks ago I discovered many joyous libraries in Grenoble, most notably la biblotheque internatinale. But before I made this discovery I first found la biblotheque centre-ville; just your average french library with lots and lots of books in french. By this point I'd been deprived of books in english for almost 3 weeks (apart from my bible - not necessarily a bad thing!) and so felt drawn to scour the library until I found the one and only thing I could read in english - a copy of Newsweek dating back to April of this year. I devoured it, page by page... it tasted surprisingly good but rather than satisfying merely whetted my appetite. I then munched on a novel in french, the first couple of chapters anyway and was left feeling half-stoked, half-utterly unsatisfied.
It occured to me that words which mean so much can at the same time be so empty, insufficient. I feel this a lot right now, caught between 2 extremes... whilst trying to relate to people in french when my vocab is so limited I often end up resorting to lots of gesturing and sounds and facial expression to get my real meaning across, whereas so much of my communication with folks at home is right now is mostly reliant just on words. Both, though exciting, aren't quite enough.
Thinking about all this hit home the aptness of this description of Jesus. And yet this concept far surpasses my understanding of "word" : He fully expresses God and is satisfying and complete in all that He is and offers us! Mind-blowing!
I am also very very glad that God doesn't simply rely on our words to understand and listen to us and that he reads beneath, right into our souls! :)
Thursday, October 12, 2006
1. I received 2 positively wonderful parcels from 2 positively wonderful people!
2. Turns out that hiring cellos isn't really that expensive after all in Grenoble and so...
(dish does dance round the table) I HAVE A CELLO!!!!! IhaveacelloIhaveacelloIhaveacelloIhaveacello!!!!
I have a CELLO
As you can gather I am just a little bit delighted by this
Monday, October 09, 2006
You see, yesterday, I discovered not all French people have their hearts set on eating les grenouilles...
I met a young girl yesterday simply besotted with the creatures... The very first thing she said to me of her own accord was - "tu aimes les grenouilles?" Of course using my knowledge of French culture whilst employing Grice's maxims I replied with, I don't know, I've never tasted them, the response was not one which I expected.
After a fabby lunch, a raclette to be exact and some origami... of sorts
we went to a very beautiful conservation area pour chercher les grenouilles... apparently not always the easiest of tasks, in amongst feeding ducks, and skimming stones. I learnt so much new vocab such as....
une libellule - a dragonfly
un cygnet - a swan
faire un ricochet - to skim stones
faire du ski nautique - water skiing
ni oui ni non - the yes/no game (i finally managed to out trick the aforementioned young lady in the end though it took a while!)
un tetard - a tadpole
Meet Raphaelle... a well-developed tetard with budding legs
It was soooo nice to get out of the city even just for one afternoon! Beeeeeyoooootiful
There now leaps somewhere in a lake in Grenoble, a frog by the name of Dish
Saturday, October 07, 2006
- That it is possible to be paid for doing nothing
- I will have a loooot of free time this year!
- There is such a thing as a keen teenager... I was practically interrogated by 2 college classes yesterday when I had to introduce myself to them, a class of 13 year olds and a class of 14/15 year olds!
- Le Ska does exist and is actually quite popular in France! Went to a free student-filled gig on Thursday night and twas an eye opener.
- "Le slam" (crowd-surfing) is a popular activity at french gigs... especially when there seems to be no security to be seen. Every 30 seconds (no exaggeration) we saw the silhouette of someone climb up on stage wave their arms for a bit and then leap off again after which the silhouette of flailing legs could often be seen.
- International libraries rock!
- Seems I can drink ridiculous amounts of tea and stay up till silly hours no matter what country I'l in! :)
Bring on week 4...
Monday, October 02, 2006
Anyhoo... on this stage which had all assistants in the region in one place and I mean all assistants... of languages English, German, Spanish and Italian... I assumed that this would mean there would be assistants from Britain, Germany, maybe somewhere like Austria or Switzerland and of course Spain and Italy are a given.
I was wrong.
I spoke to assistants from... deep breath... Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, just about every state in the USA (loads of them from there!), Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Argentina, Germany, Austria, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, Spain, Italy...
I learnt so many random facts about different cultures: from the ridiculousness of the American voting system to Argentinian prices in comparison to France, to Jamaican food to English/Scottish/US slang and there was even a guy from Glasgow uni who I hadn't properly met before with Glasgow-sickness to reminisce with!
Any excuse to wax lyrical about the aforementioned concept
Et enfin some much-missed pubbage was had
not quite uisge but equally banterous
though I must say, not liking this lack of smoking ban here, I didn't realise how much I'd become accustomed to getting home and night and not smelling like a chimney... tant pis
Aaaah and how could I forget!!!!
The food... was spendiferously spiffingly scrumdiddilyumptious! I exclaimed so much excitement and delight with every course that people started to comment... Bran, you would have been proud
Saturday, September 30, 2006
Such a silly question really... why do we use it all the time?!
The oxford dictionary definition of the word "how" shows that it is
an• adverb with 4 meanings
1 in what way or by what means.
2 in what condition or health.
3 to what extent or degree.
4 the way in which.
This doesn't make any more sense of the question in my opinion...
I think I must just have a problem with short unspecific questions...
I will demonstrate
"What are you?" - I'm a human (I think)
"Who are you?" - Does my name define who I am?
" Why are you?" - Why are you not?
"When are you?" - When I am not.
So you see, short and unspecific questions are really quite difficult for me to answer...
So to the question that so many people have asked me... how am I...
It really depends on when you ask...
If you had asked me
- on my first weekend here I would have said... I'm feeling sooo excited about the frenchness, suddenly remembered why I study the language and why I chose to come here in the first place
- during my first week I would have said... I'm feeling kinda lonely. Exploring on your own 5 days in a row even in the beating hot sunshine and in a beautiful beautiful city and getting lost every day wasn't quite as fun as I thought it would be.
- If you had asked me at weekends I would have said... refreshed and welcomed. The church here has been such a breath of fresh air, even if it has been a bit hard to follow at times.
- If you had asked me anytime in the last couple of days I would have said I'm enjoying doing one of the things I enjoy most, meeting new people (at the training course for assistants up in the mountains). And getting incredibly excited about
that old clichéd concept once again! Also feeling less lonely having met so many other people in exactly the same boat as myself.
- If you ask me anytime I would usually tell you that I'm feeling somewhat Glasgow sick
- And if you asked me right now I would say... I'm feeling fairly at peace, having just remade the realisation that my God is more stable, unchanging and bigger than one of these
So you see... it hasn't exactly been the easiest question to answer and the main reason for this is, although I have now been here for 2 weeks I haven't had much of an opportunity to settle down. Work hasn't started yet, haven't even got a timetable yet, I still feel as though I'm in limbo between countries, still riding on the tail end of this endless void of a summer holiday... but I start teaching on Monday so watch this space.
I hope this answers all such questions adequately for now but what I want to know is... How are you?
Friday, September 22, 2006
Ils sont partout!!!
In theory the fountains should help for navigation on the windy streets au centre ville... at least I can recognise one from another now! For example the one to the left of this is à la place Victor Hugo... I still don't know how to get from one to another though... surely Glasgow was never this difficult!!!
Mountains and fountains... ils sont partout
Even on the street where I live...
Monday, September 18, 2006
- I have been awed by the beauty of the area! It is gorgeous!
- I have been charged 16.50 twice for being 3kg over weight limit by ryanair!
- I have become an expert at kipping... anywhere, anytime, anyhow
- I have a real french window in my room conplete with shutters and balcony!! (there would be a lovely photo just here but i forgot the cable for my camera)
- I visited Le géant (tesco but 10x larger) and it is exciting! I discovered that garlic really does come in bunches here, need 2 masseeeeve aisles of yoghurts and they sell baked beans in the international food section... what more could I need! (Lack of chillies was rather disappointing tho)
- I have met lots of lovely welcoming people, almost all French
- Ive had to give my testimony in French! (not easy)
- I have been to french-speaking church which was draining... tis hard work having to concentrate for more than 2 hours in french, but it also exciting to be part of!
- I have got lost (no surprises there!)
Note to self: French keyboards are confusing
I need to get hold of a thesaurus... there are so many things I want to say and can say but only with limited vocab... it gets boring using the same 3 adjectives all the time... any ideas anyone?
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Of wide variety
Each exciting, different, rare
Delights all sense with colour, flare
Yet somehow I’m found unaware
A piece of heart is caught, ensnared
And then that gap… a question bares
Where is my heart at home?
I’ve lived in places that I love
Steep myself in those I know
Friends and loved ones I adore!
Places along which I grow
Places, which I label home…
Knowing though, they are not so
Where then, is my home?
For somehow, still I’m wandering
I cannot settle down
You see, I’m subject to propulsion
Lumbered with a yearning yawn
Always wanting something more
Always searching for a place
Always never quite at home
Is that the end that waits me?
To be always searching for my home?
Aching for that “always more”?
A wanderer, until I find
Where sparrows nest and nurse their young
Where bouncers bounce in joy
Where one day betters all the best
Where my heart sighs… enough, to rest
where You are
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
After weeks of sunshine it's nice to have a change, but to be honest I think the real reason I enjoyed the Glasgow weather so much because I know I only have a week and a half left.
Yes that's right blogosphere... a week on Saturday I leave for Grenoble, France... currently averaging in the late 20s/early 30s (celsius)... (not that I wish to gloat or anything... but I can almost feel an inevitable mwahahahaha rise to the throat! :P )
(Bear in mind however that Grenoble also has ridiculous amounts of snowfall during the winter and gets to ridiculously low minus temperatures too)
A week and a half left of rain perhaps... but also of:
- packing (my White Street stuff has to be moved out within the next couple of days and I haven't even started packing yet! waaah!)
- filling in silly forms
- visiting silly banks
- phoning silly ryanair (and pleading that they let me take Mr Cello on board!)
- seeing many silly and not so silly people in Edinburgh and Glasgow (I thought of putting a nice little hypertext link under silly and not so silly there, but couldn't think of anyone on the blogroll who I could class as being not so silly! :P )
Just one small question... how did it come on so fast?!?!
Thankfully I have a God who holds the world in his hands! And I know the following verse to be true... (I wish I could enact this out with all the actions that made it so memorable which I learnt at music camp this summer - you'll just have to make do with the words, pretty colours and insinuated vocal emphasis)
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you whereeeever you go." (joshua 1:9)
Saturday, August 26, 2006
a. Aqcuired a job - receptionist temping in Milngavie in a garage where everyone is delightfully Glaswegian, and switchboards are huge!
b. Acquired a pseudo-flatmate. I say pseudo in that both of us are going through the transition period, i.e she's moving into my room when I leave for France, but right now we're just living together and loving it. Nothing like an afternoon on the comfiest sofa ever of tea and deep chat when it's pouring it down with rain!
c. Acquired a mild addiction/healthy love of retro sesame street videos on youtube... I enclose a favourite below...
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
A veeeery long afternoon/evening of 3 fabdabbydosy bands
Memorable moments include:
- Getting confused between meadowbank and the football stadium in Leith
- Beck puppets moving in perfect synchronisation with their real-life counterparts
- Some glass/plate/table tapping accompaniment to acoustic guitar
- Winning the "how many people can I recognise/know at this gig" game (I'm sooo sad!)
- Much over-excitement from big bald guys with huge beer bellies over songs such as "creep"
- Walls of unusual tall people in all corners of the crowd
- Good asian style train journey back to the west, cramming us in everywhichway
- Listening to a crazy woman on the train describing the difference between a "munter" and a "muntor" to a complete stranger - "a muntor" apparently is someone who is part o your gang...
I refuse to wax-lyrical about radiohead, there are plenty folk more than willing to do that
Other things worth a mention
- Dish has another temp job (waaaaaaaaaaayyyyy!!!) Working as a receptionist with a bunch of boys (sounds familiar) in a secondhand car garage
- Do not busk on Buchanan Street during the day, people are stingy, even if you stand on a bench with a cello and a guitar and sing "Hit me baby one more time" at the top of your voices in harmony
Thursday, August 17, 2006
When I say "the park" however I am not just referring to one single patch of grass which I frequented. No I have tried my hardest to maintain a sense of diversity in my life. And have thus visited a handful of parks in the west of Scotland... and so I thought for those of you who desire some parkage whilst the sun still shines bright in Glasgow, I would include some craic on a few of my favourites.
Especially wonderful due to it's close proxmity to la rue blanche. Good for a quiet read as the chances of bumping into someone you know are minutely smaller than in other parks. It has swings and the taps are particuarly useful for waterfights!
An old favourite, plenty of space and trees for slack-lining/tree-climbing/poi/silliness/frisbee action/football action/forbidden bbqs/surprise picnics
- The Botanics
The pigeons and children are extradorinarily friendly. There is a high chance that you will make a new friend if you take some bread of a ball of any size with you.
- Victoria Park
Worth a trek in order to experience it's wealth of "secret gardens", stunningly brightly coloured flowers and fossilised tree trunks. Also sports a very large pond in which it's seemingly legal to fish for tadpoles in.
- Hamilton Park
Hamilton believe it or not is a wonderful place...
brimming with motorways, streets with interesting poetry segements paved into them, and very bright purple flowers...
Take a trek for a while, you don't have to search for long before you find a lovely large expanse of green to sit on.
- Behind Glasgow University
Stunning views and relative peace and quiet make this a perfect for a spot of reading and philosophical chat.
If you run fast enough towards the flagpole you can just about make a mini-kite lift in the air for about 20 seconds.
And there's always the GUU just down the road if you wish to visit the loo/get some tap water from the beer bar.
Only a month left of Summer 2006: A summer of learning in green pastures.
Friday, August 11, 2006
I have for the last few days... and then 3 things happened
I saw this from the window of a train...
and I read this...
and this - "Praise is response. Praise happens when there is revelation, and there is revelation waiting for us around every bend, in places we would not suspect. Our task is to live with eyes wide open to God's greatness because when we see the imprint of the Creator, our insides will swell with devotion, our hearts will erupt with thankfulness. You will live, breathe, and radiate praise. The habit isn't in learning how to praise; it is in reminding yourself who to praise. It is a remembering of who you are. It is a remembering of your identity."
And so I remembered... looked around... and my heart sang in delight...
Monday, August 07, 2006
- Sleep deprivation is a nasty... especially if it has been caused by 8 days of non-stop go, running after kids, teaching them music and about God... and then when you get home your body clock has set itself to wake up before 7am every morning!
- Music camps are weird... especially Christian music camps... the kids learn a song you teach them in about 30 seconds flat, they all can sing in tune and some even in harmony round the camp fire...
- I ended up with the the 5 nutter-est girls you could possibly imagine around my sister's age, in my dorm. So as you can imagine, we got on all well, (like with like and all that) By the end of the week they had pronounced me as their "adopted sister" :)
So... what have I learnt this week? Much! But more than anything - this - that God's grace is enough. Enough for any teenager no matter how great or small their issues are, enough when things are easy, enough when things are tough, enough for me even when I feel messed up, in all my weakness... enough
Monday, July 24, 2006
Contents include: 2 balloon pumps, 3 instruction booklets, lots and lots and lots of balloons
So to end a day in the great city of the East with my good friend Jen, we picked up the kit and decided to have a go.... and we were hooked.
I would have taken many photos to show you exactly what wonderous models we made, unfortunately you will have to make do with my verbose descriptions and this picture here...
An illustrative example of what our models should have looked like... but didn't. Although our pink elephant wasn't far off that blue model there (a model that's probably supposed to be a dog)... We attempted and sort of managed to complete the aforementioned pink elephant (by far our best attempt) which looked more like a mouse, a 2 headed dog (that didn't start it's life off with 2 heads), a dog that looked more like a rat, attempted and failed a monkey, which I then tried to turn into a nessie... didn't quite work.
Balloon modelling is both easier and harder than it seems. Once you get over the intial terrified to burst it phase it seems fairly easy. You move from normal twists, to loop twists, pinch twists, toe twists and it's all fine and dandy... until you start to make animals.
You see... what they don't tell you is that giving animals the correct proportions is reeeeally rather tricky. Our monkey had arms 3 times longer than it's legs, the elephant started off with ears bigger than it's body...
These are your words of warning... for you competitive/persistent circus hooligans, it is addictive!
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Just a little experimentation with my new toy...
a small taster of "the homeland"...
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
and invite strange looks by taking silly photos by exhibits
in order to be a cheap skate
and bahdebahbabuy a...
engage in some obligatory paddling (even if it is absolutely baltic!)
and spend the journey home blasting out the "choons" and taking pictures of posers driving cars...
1. pick up as many freebies as you can ----------------------->
2. Being a cheap skate is the way forward
3. When navigating the kelvingrove, play a word assocation game...
animals, eeer... extinct... errr... guns,
fish... sea... painting of boat..., Glasgow... err... sectarianism!
4. There is time to be serious, there is a time to be silly
photos courtesy of Jamie's camera
Friday, July 07, 2006
In honour of the Frenchness of the last wee while consisting of:
- finding out exactly where I'm going to teach in Grenoble
- acquiring a French slang dictionary
- a 3 day English Language Assistant course (tips for teaching english, practising lesson planning, listening to long promotional talks about the "ohsouseful" online tools we could promote to English teachers when we're over there, meeting other cool assistants)
- acquiring an's arm length postitnote list of things to do before I go to Grenoble
- and writing 6 formal letters in French to 3 different schools this afternoon (bleeeeugh)
...I thought I would share with you a few snippets of joy from my slang dictionary
From the a and b sections
azimuté - crackers, barking, wacko (interesting choice of definitions)
se faire appeler Arthur - to get one's head bitten off
baba - flabbergastered or gobsmacked or hippy or ( in the context of l'avoir dans le baba) - to be had or conned
bachotage - cramming (something I have done often)
et tout le bataclan - blah blah blah
and for no other reason than the hilarity of the beautifully rhyming contextual example given - "et lui il se tournait ses pouces, a l'aise, Blaise!" - and he was, twiddling his thumbs without a care in the world! -
a l'aise (easily, no problem, no probs)
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
- Flatmates here and elsewhere rock the mike
- Chats with 55 year old women who have entertaining stories about their childhoods and upbringing rock the mike!
- Kids rock the mike (but they are hard work!) : Does anyone have any ideas of how to entertain the mostgorgeousbuthyperactiveandintoeverythingkinda one and a half year old, an opinionated six year old girl, a very shy eleven year old boy alongside 2 very entertaining sisters aged 8 and 9 to whom I'm know as "scuseme" and who all continuously demand my attention en même temps?!?! Your suggestions would be muuuuch appreciated!
Click on mes fantomes and Smile!
I did :)
P.S If you're going to pronounce mic as mike, spell it as such! Mac however does not = make :P
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
- He was willing to stoop down and meet people where they were, do things outwith the acceptable norm; not afraid to get his hands dirty
- He was willing to endure the cross
- and He went through with what he said he would do willingly though he had the power to evade it
- He understands
How completely contrary this is to my mindset, how contrary it is to the mindset of our culture, how utterly counter-cultural Jesus was, then and now. In a culture where all that matters is that we please ourselves, living a life with the objective to please God simply goes against the grain...
Just so you know, I did actually publish this on Thursday! ... silly date formatting on blogger grumphlimfrgrmph...
One night I'm ridiculously worried about my lack of job and debating with family and with God about where I should be for the summer, the following night I am frantically filling in forms for a 2 week admin placement which started the following day (i.e today)! There aren't many things which better cups of tea, lady chats (mostly about babies), and labelling files... oh yaaaas... God is soooo GOOD!
Monday, June 12, 2006
- 28 degree heat (resulting in the odd waterfight)
- the start of the westend festival
- sweaty silly swashbuckling sambasambaSAMBA
- an Asian-swamped Mela in Kelvingrove, full of pretty pretty material, bangra pop, where there was a falooda stall and it was surreal not to be in the minority
... I feel like I've just returned from a holiday in some exotic country! (I'm sure photos will appear at some point from various different corners in the near future.) The travelling bug has been fed and I didn't even need to leave the bubble that is the westend this time.
But I think the awesomeness of diversity really hit me while I stood waiting for a bus outside a 30 floor tower block in Springburn containing around 200 asylum seekers of over 25 nationalities still in the process of trying to make asylum claims, ... standing in a Glasgow bustop and listening to banter in 3 or 4 languages... the language student in me jumped for joy!
A few words of advice: DO NOT try to climb 28 flights of stairs in one of these...
...even if you can't find the lift. Be sensible and ask where the lift is. This is far more favourable than nearing colapse as you reach the 20th floor.
If you go to Springburn, do not be misled by deceptively short train journeys, because if you add on findingyourdestinationandgettinglostontheway time, it will be inevitably be a lot longer than getting the bus that goes straight to outside the door of where you're meant to be.
Samba is cooolio... anyone feel like forming a samba band with an aspiring conducteress and me?!
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Saturday 10th - Brel
2pm: Tom Colquhoun, innovative virtuoso solo guitarist.
4pm: Paul Tracey Quintet: contemporary standards and originals from energetic quintet.
6pm: The Jazz Collective, from standards to drum and bass.
QMU 9pm -> Samba Ya Bamba (an awesome band!) £5
Sunday 11th June -
Surely there's no age restriction on this!
Carnival 2pm-7pm Byres Road (whole road's gonna be closed off and open to chaos! Main stage on uni place just across from the greatest street there is)
8pm-12pm The Goat - Gary Devenay (My Latest Novel) &
Jim Lang (No.1Son) + David McGinty (Endor) + BELA (all FREE)
Tuesday 13th - Brel - 7.30pm Endor (acoustic set) and Wake the President 3 quid
Wed 14th/21st - "Talking the West-End Talk" - all about languages (especially made for linguists like me! :) ) - Hillhead Library 1pm FREE
9pm - The Goat - The Zephyrs FREE
Tue 13th/Thurs 15 June 8pm - The Liquid Ship
Free Candy Live Acoustic Night. Apparently it's "Glasgow’s best acoustic music evening!" (I dunno if calling Free Candy means that we get free sweeties, but I hope it does!) FREE
Sunday 18th June - Cottiers Bar 4pm till 7pm - Michael Dean Jazz Quintet 4pm till 7pm . FREE
Wednesday 21st June - Oran Mor A FREE gig with a French title should at least be interesting if not decent... with these bands... a bargain I conclude.
23rd June - 2nd July - Lots and lots and lots of Jazz! Most of the free stuff seems to be in either Brel or The Goat.
And for those of who will be kicking about in August - yuuuummmmmm!
If you want to check things out more thoroughly for yourselves, information was gleaned from
Photo by Neal
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
What with my exams having finished, and silly colds being passed on, and library living grinding to a halt, and X-men 3 and Da Vinci Code films having been seen, and much hanging out accomplished, and wallowing in endless reminiscence (a trait I just realised I've inherited), and the science centre visited, and many a communal meal shared, a ceilidh, the last CU of the season, birthdays, a jamming session resulting in this song on perpetual repeat in my head (his fault), books that refuse to be put down, cakes and fry-ups and foodfoodfoooood, and having had so much time for his chipping away at me, I think as preparation for all that's to come... What with my head being so full to brim-levels, I've been struggling to focus anything into a blog entry. So instead I'll let you read this...
by: George Herbert (1593-1632)
LOVE bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
If I lack'd anything.
'A guest,' I answer'd, 'worthy to be here:'
Love said, 'You shall be he.'
'I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear,
I cannot look on Thee.'
Love took my hand and smiling did reply,
'Who made the eyes but I?'
'Truth, Lord; but I have marr'd them: let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.'
'And know you not,' says Love, 'Who bore the blame?'
'My dear, then I will serve.'
'You must sit down,' says Love, 'and taste my meat.'
So I did sit and eat.
End - June 2nd
Friday, May 19, 2006
(drawing by Mac, poem by Dish)
Mac's sunshine pic will lay to rest
a burden caused by too much work,
looming exams in misty murk.
It represents the week I think,
when sunshine reigned the Glasgow rink.
Such beauty drove our misery
right way back into history
Alas the sunshine did not last
But Ailsa Mac's is not yet past
It's shines on my sweet page just here
and fills us all with song and cheer!
Saturday, May 13, 2006
I still don't know where in Grenoble I'm going (it's a big academie) or what kind of schools I'll be teaching in - college ou bien lycee, and I certainly don't what the schools are or whereabouts they are in the region... but it's so exciting to get the region I put down as my first preference and to actually know something!
Grenoble, me voilà !!!!!
Thursday, May 11, 2006
What on earth has happened to Glasgow weather?!?!?!
.. There seems to be an overall and ever so slight decrease in beboage in the last couple o days. :D
Note to self: a + b + me = very silly late nights with very silly conversation
And now for some more sunshine...
Saturday, May 06, 2006
I did learn a few things tho... other than lots of the French language and about every single significant and not so significant political and social problem in the country...
God is bigger than me
Thursday, May 04, 2006
- Being fed fabby lasagne (Who ever said men can't cook?!)
- Actually getting some studying done in the park
- Slack-roping in the silly hours with these suspects
- Observing Fox and Cat (the latter of which Neal took a strong aversion to) in stand off
- A random drunk guy coming up to us and ending up chatting about the validity of the bible and Jesus
An afternoon/evening of
- More slack-roping
- Me getting very frustrated whilst attempting poying
- Many other crazy antics
- BBQ on Great George St
- Reading The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe out loud (voiced by Beth - narrator, Almostadoctor McHardy - Mr Beaver/Morgrim the wolf Mac - Lucy/Susan Afroless man - Peter/Father Christmas, Tom - Peter (when the afroless man was Father Christmas) moi - Mrs Beaver/The White Witch)
- Baking a cake and watching Lost in Translation in the silly hours
- Getting hit on the back of the head by a pack of frozen sausages thrown by a certain doctor to be in an attempt to scare Michie into wakefulness (I still bear the bump!)
The sun was gone by Sunday... as was the silliness... siiiiigh
P.S Don't ever let Dr Breakey drink 2l of Dr Pepper in one evening. The consequences are quite frightening.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Friday, April 28, 2006
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
I recommend the gigging appearance to all you who music! All the gigs I've done so far with mes bandes (can count them on one hand so far... but that's not the point) have been so very different and sooo very class!
1. With "Simpletones" (cello, trumpet, drums, guitar/singer) (watch this space - the name could change for the third time - that Toby's never satisfied!)
- Phil the drummer getting a throne to play on
- nice lighting and smoke machine
- 3 amaaazing bands playing after us, an accoustic jazz trio who poached our drummer, a crazy ska reggae band with many veeery good brassists and an awesome acid jazz/funk band
(the best part was I had "dish moments" with them all! hehe )
2. With "Simpletones" again.
Venue: This guy's flat as a charity band night/80s party to raise money for some girl going to save squirrels (or something similar) in Peru. (This was raised through selling drink as the guys had a bar in their flat)
The best bits had to be
- The fact that this was the night when it snowed buckets! thus resulting in a snowball fight at 3am
- Meeting lots of crazy PDE students
- jamming scottish tunes at half 4 in the morning
3. With "Potential Strangers" (2 acoustic guitars, cello, all vocalists) Unfortunately only 2 of us could make it, since Terry was sick :( However...
- We got to play to a reasonably filled up Albert Hall in Stirling!
- We got fed pizza by son pere
- There were lots of other quality acts who played including them
4. With "Simpletones" just this weekend.
- The venue
- banter on stage, eversoslightdisorganisation turning into a source of much amusement
- Finally getting to socialise with all the boys afterwards (out of band context)
NB - I do not include jamming/busking experiences on this list. It would get too long if I were to do that. But I recommend that people try this out too. (I do however include this photo courtesy of Jamie)
P.S I took a fair few photos on that page anyway
En conclusion: Playing music in random places = gallons and gallons of fun!
Saturday, April 22, 2006
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Yes I know! This defeats the purpose of blogging really, or at least my purpose for blogging. This blog is a very handy procrastination tool (of course I do enjoy the blogging as well) but no, I have been studying in order to avoid this next blog entry simply because of indecisiveness, being unsure of what to and not to include in this next blog entry.
The last wee while has been an interesting mush of ups and downs, there has been some quality banter and hanging out with various people, from language geeks to CU peeps, in Edinburgh and in Glasgow, plenty studying of course (as I should be doing right now), a crazy Easter weekend brim-full with musicing. I have learnt that Gambit my fav x-man was French and that he is going to be in X-Men 3 (He'd better be - I couldn't find him on the cast listing. I'll be heart-broken if he's not!), that severe radiation to the brain reduces salivation output, and to say something is random en francais would be to say "c'est h.s"!
My good friend Douglas, medic (though not of the NI variety), tech, our flat superhero and photographer extraordinaire told me about a line that someone put at the bottom of an email he received - "May we all be surprised again by Easter" I thought and thought and thought about this before and throughout the weekend, wanting so much to be surprised, and I was, though I didn't expect what surprised me, to surprise me. Strangely, although I knew the story inside out, I'd somehow forgotten that Jesus rose again, or at least hadn't thought about it in a while. The simple incredible fact that he overcame death was a surprise again to me!
Thank God for grace that overcomes all my rubbishness, that paid the price I couldn't pay!
Aaaand... back to the stats project
Our French orals might be cancelled... AAAAAAHHHHH!!! Woooooopeeeee for the AUT!!!!!!!!!!!!
Saturday, April 15, 2006
Thou Lamb of Calvary
Show me the awfulness of sin,
The thing which grieveth Thee:
Purge Thou my soul from dross,
Cleanse me from every sin
Wash me in Thine atoning blood
And make me pure within.
Break every barrier down
Till Christ be formed in me;
Till of the travail of Thy soul
Thou, satisfied, shalt see;
May earth's success seem nought
May self be lose to sight,
Reproach for Thee be counted joy
And weakness turn to might.
Break every barrier down
Thou risen Son of God;
Take Thou possession of my heart
I crown Thee now as Lord!
O for a closer walk
A greater love for Thee,
A fuller knowledge of Thyself
A life of victory.
Break every barrier down
And reign triumphant, Lord;
May every breathing of my herat
With Thee be in accord;
Grant me to enter in
The secret place with Thee
To wak with Thee, as Enoch walked,
William E. Vine (Courtesy of that fabulous bretheren book: "The believers hymn book" :) )
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Oh and if you've been blogging here on the lent blog, then read this and if you haven't even been reading it, check it out - it's fab! :)
Shortest blog to date! Mainly due to the uselessness of google when searching for wonderful very old hymn lyrics... tant pis. They will be found!
Friday, March 31, 2006
Still twas sooo nice being back at my home church yesterday! Though it scares me when I see folks I remember as tiny kids being ridiculously tall (including my little sis in this) and babies and bumps seemingly popping up in every nook and cranny.
And Edinburgh castle was free in the afternoon for a nice change so branched out and went to investigate with some Edinburgh medics from church (gaasp!). (photos may soon follow). We spent half an hour deciding whether it was worth it to go and stand in the massive queue, half an hour in the queue, and then half an hour in the castle itself, most of which was spent staring at the gorgeous view. (I'm from such a beeeeeautiful city!) hmmm... productive use of time...?
Here's a question, it' s been sunny since I got here - Is the weather really better in the east than in the west?
Still it seems even when my resolve is as feeble and as flimsy as a twig, I can rest on The Rock, which never lets me down.
Lord lead me to the rock that's higher than I!
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Branching out here... Hebrew is the coolest language ever! (just about as cool as French!) Had a couple of Hebrew lessons with a Mad one with the hope of getting beneath the surface of the Bible. This Mad, blogless girl (otherwise there would be a lovely hypertext link right about here) who is also of the theology student variety has been passing on exciting knowledge she's been gleaning from lectures. Anyhoo, I was informed that the very first word in the Old Testament (phonetically - bereshiit) usually translated as- "In the beginning" - (Unfortunately I couldn't get Hebrew fonts to appear on the blog so you can see the verse at the bottom of this page in Hebrew script.), literally translates as "in a beginning". "In a beginning" seems to communicate so much more, seems to infer continuity, existence before and after what we term as "the beginning" - For me tis a window into the mind-blowing concept of eternity... I guess our human minds are cantonné by time, the concept of time, the reality of time. Our lives are like grains of sand on the Sahara desert in the light of eternity... scaary...
And yet, these last few days, having un peu de temps on my hands, I've had time to reflect back and see how God's been shaping and working and changing and moving, underlying the little things, sweeping over the big things and suddenly it doesn't seem so scary. The God who said the word and the stars fell into place, our God who was and is and is to come... cares intimately about us -
Hebrew is a cooool language!
about boy! mmmmm.... muuuuusic!
Monday, March 13, 2006
... brought the city of Glasgow to a standstill
... stranded folks in the centre of glasgow on a saturday night. (I've never seen such a sorry sight as two girls in tiny skirts and tops, makeup and tears dripping down their faces with desperation written in their eyes, standing shivering in the snow, because they had been unable to get a taxi home! - fortunately they found warmth)
... brought everyone outside in the early hours of the morning
... caused services (though not church :D) at various churches to be cancelled
... meant that we had an awesome afternoon long church accompanied by muffins at our flat... followed by food and snowball fights
... also instigated some igloo building
... when compacted, made it take 10 minutes to walk from one end of White Street to the other
... seemed to be a way God was using to draw folks together in bizarre ways!
... rendered me a giggly extremely excited jumpy hyperactive child-like mess!
A day qui m'a fait réfléchir