Oink, oink!

I did lots of things today, but I dare say that the best part of today was meeting Mr. Snorty, a rockstar pet to someone I know.

He welcomed me into his home quite happily and easily, and proceeded to snort at me jollily, while sniffing and rubbing against me constantly…

I’ve never met anyone like Mr. Snorty before, but he certainly reminds me of a cross between a cat, a dog, and a barrel. πŸ˜›

I know. πŸ˜‚

Mr. Snorty:

Post-a-day 2019

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Today’s Gloss

What to say, what to say…..

What did you do today?

I worked out super earlier, then slept in late, then walked around this fancy posh place.

I hung here with my mom, and then my aunt and grandma, too.

And we had fancy dinner, and we laughed so hard over our food.

Then we lounged in our connected rooms, and gabbed and chatted some more.

And now we’re all to bed*, and I’m grateful no one snores.

Such a good day.

Oh, and I had a reunion chat with the kid who tried flirting with me on my first day as his French teacher (and my first official day as a full-time teacher), because he thought I was just a new student… he works here… he’s gorgeous and all grown up now… and it was still hilarious. πŸ˜›

*We each have our own queen sized bed tonight… super posh and fancy, are we not?

P.S. We are here because I am a professional photographer, and because I am making wonderful connections and am doing photos that make the right people happy and delighted and grateful… how lovely it is to treat my family to such posh-ness as we never have together… truly lovely… Thank you, God

Post-a-day 2019

Cultural Villainy

This afternoon/evening, I found myself discussing various voice and talking style stereotypes in American English and in Japanese (from Japan, of course*).

It all started with seeing the film “Aladdin” in the cinema this afternoon, and then, over ice cream afterward, we veered onto Disney music and its composers a lyricists (and how amazing some of the greats are[!!!]).

Then we branched into the Japanese versions of this music, as the friend with me is Japanese, and she grew up only hearing the Japanese language versions of the songs.

We discussed differences I had found in the music, and why I thought each one was so… now that she has been living in the US for about a year, she saw exactly what I meant and genuinely understood.

“Colors of the Wind” sounds somewhat stressed and so compounded and busy in Japanese, yet the English sounds so open and contemplative, filled with deep breaths and space through the notes and the words… there are just too many syllables in the Japanese, and too many consonants in between all the vowels…

An American likely would be appalled at hearing the Japanese version of Scar’s voice, because the voice doesn’t match the type of villain that he is… it is not entitled and brooding and, almost like serial killer style, the voice of someone who is biding his time until his plot can unfurl perfectly to his advantage – until, at last, he is granted his dues, as Scar says.

To American ears, the Japanese Scar in pathetic and angry and holds no weight behind his short-man angry yelling of a voice, desperately hoping someone will listen to him and do what he wants others to do.

And yet, to Japanese ears, the Japanese Scar is exactly right: He is the stereotypical ‘bad guy’ voice and has that same ‘bad guy’ and ‘villain’ manner of speaking… the English version would sound just ‘American’, and have nothing special tied to it for Japanese ears.

And my friend was able to see and hear just these things, and mainly because she has become accustomed to hearing so many different ways of speaking that people have here in English (unlike Japanese English in Japan, which is pretty much always the same).

And, somehow, I found the whole situation to be fascinating and utterly fulfilling… I had never really thought quite so much and quite so pointedly about the translations and the voices of actors until today, though it certainly was not my first or, even, tenth time considering it all.

It had me feel an almost silly passion for Disney and, in particular, “The Lion King”, and yet I couldn’t find a reason not to care so much about it all – I love languages and music and seeing things in new ways, and these Disney movies had huge impacts on my childhood and, therefore, my life as a whole… they are a part of me… and I care about and love myself.

So, I guess I get to love those Disney films, too, silly little perfect details and all. πŸ™‚

By the way, I went into “Aladdin” with an attitude of its being a different film and perspective of the same story as the animated version…, and I thoroughly enjoyed the film – it was wonderful(!).

And it was filmed in Jordan(!)… how cool is that?!

I don’t often go to cinemas these days (in the US, anyway), but I am glad I went today – it was a lovely experience. πŸ™‚

*Does Japanese have a culture of native speakers anywhere else in the world?

Post-a-day 2019

Adulting

I shared with a couple adults tonight about my current endeavors, and especially how grad school is for my back-up plan and that photography is my number one plan… and they trusted it and supported it.

It was my brothers’ dad and stepmom, so they’re kind of like slightly distanced close family… like aunt and uncle distance, in a sense… so they care about me and know me rather well.

And, tonight, that was very clear to me (though I already knew it).

They asked questions first to understand the plan and financial logic, and then to understand the artistry and passion of it all.

They accepted my logic and my back-up plan with only a handful or two of questions (at which point their concerns were relieved), and then they genuinely asked about and listened to my responses regarding what I am doing with photography, artistically speaking.

They understood it.

I showed them some photos, and they had funny comments and then also genuine comments of understanding my perspective and approach to photography…

And it felt so…. freeing, I guess…

People whom I’ve always seen as ‘the adults’ in my life haven’t exactly been supportive of my current efforts, some even openly opposed and contradictory to just about everything I believe regarding work and lifestyle, and others not being opposed but not being supportive either… just somewhat passively accepting that I’m up to something or other and taking care of myself.

So it was truly refreshing – yes, that’s the word, refreshing…. aaahh – to have them respond in such a way, especially considering that they are both very practical individuals, especially financially speaking.

Yeah, tonight was really awesome… and they wanted me to show and tell them even more… and even asked if it were possible to make them look “good” in some photos (as opposed to just tolerable or old), and offered to be subjects for me, if I were interested, which I was and am… and they even offered up the idea that my doing photos would happen in exchange for a fee, which I informed them was unnecessary, because they would be doing me a service by letting me use them as low-risk subjects for practice, anyway.

I mean…, I think that none of my family has done that or even mentioned the idea of doing that with/for me…

Tonight was just a great experience, and filled with love – I adulted really well, confident in my current endeavors and in sharing them with others, and it was all fully accepted and embraced by those others.

Thank you, God and all Creation for the love that has empowered and engulfed me tonight.

May I share it with the world around me tomorrow. πŸ™‚

Sat Naam.

Post-a-day 2019

Summer days

I was just invited to a swimming party.

I realized that I was feeling a sense of anxiety, and I asked myself its source.

I discovered it was about being seen in a swimsuit (of any kind, really), which has been frustrating for me in recent recent years, due to my poor physical fitness level.

I quickly evaluated my body, to verify the reason for the concern.

I then chuckled silently, as I recalled that I clearly don’t have that same problem anymore, especially considering the fact that I almost ditched my shirt during our workout today (It was just so hot and humid today, and the tank top felt like it was holding warmth in!).

It’s a new feeling for me to be back to swimsuit ready at the drop of a hat, and to be fully comfortable with the thought of swimsuits and whoever might be around while I’m in one.

And it is a very good feeling. πŸ™‚

Thank you, gym, and thank you, God, for getting me to this gym where beautiful magic is happening, at long last.

Post-a-day 2019

German Rank

By the time I arrived in Germany for my summer of German language courses as a precursor to my Fall/Winter study abroad semester, I had done the whole foreign language study and foreign language immersion thing a couple of times already – I knew what I was getting into and how I wanted to go about it.

True fluency was my goal, and I knew how to manage that.

The day I arrived, however, my German was absurdly limited and rather laughable…. I could hardly ask questions, let alone understand the answers (more on that some other time).

And so, by the time I was visiting with the others in my program’s group (they had also arrived that day), and had met the head of my program, everyone had been socially established in terms of their levels of German ability.

One girl was ‘the head’ of the group, so to speak, another was ‘the absolute beginner’, and the other few were sprinkled in between them… I openly declared my poor abilities that had been used throughout the day, only somewhat successfully, and expressed concern of not placing high enough to receive credit for the German courses back at my college (you had to be at least in the second level for the courses to count, and I was worried that I might be ending up in the beginner, first level, based in the day’s events).

In other words, I was ranked ever so slightly above the absolute beginner girl, and just barely below the girl who’d studied for a few semesters already (two years, I think, actually).

However, I wasted no time in immersing myself with the German-speaking head of our program, and got help from her immediately for the things I knew I would need and want to say starting the next day, when I would be interacting with all the people at the school and taking a placement test and starting classes… again, I had done the foreign language thing before, and I was knowledgeable about how to function on minimal vocabulary and grammar – I could make anything work, so long as I had a certain set of vocabulary ahead of time.

And so, to my delight the next morning, what I had prepared myself to be able to share with others about my absurd travels getting to that small town in Germany, ended up being the essay question on the placement test!

Therefore, to my pleasure and total surprise, I was placed in none of the beginner level courses, but in the first of two intermediate courses!

Since I had arrived late the day before (again with the telling another time), I had missed the regular times for the placement tests, and everyone who had taken them then was already in the first day of classes while I took my own placement test (along with a few other people who weren’t in my program, but who were also studying at the language school that month).

Therefore, when I walked into my intermediate level class – this was after multiple verifications that they were sure they were putting me into the correct class – and I found ‘the head’ of our group sitting at one of the tables, there was a brief moment of shock for the both of us, as I blew apart the ranking of our whole group by jumping rank so obscenely (I use obscene, because it rather was obscene, in a sense).

She was not happy, to say the least.

Two weeks later, when I already matched and, in some areas, had surpassed her German capabilities, I had voluntarily removed myself from the ranking altogether.

Rather than be a part of the group so much, I had become ‘the outside associated’, someone who isn’t truly a part of the group, but who comes to visit and gets along well with everyone whenever she does.

I never spoke English after that first day, not once… and that was enough to set me away from the group hierarchy.

(Okay, I did speak English once… this British guy seemed like he was about to cry one day, while begging me to speak English, because he so desperately wanted to hear how I sounded in English, since he had known me for weeks but had heard none…, but that was genuinely the only time I did it while there.)*

And it was wonderful.

In the second month, we had a similar situation happen with the new group arriving and joining our ranks… everyone was re-ranked, with me still as an outside associate for the first round of people, but ranked in a real place by the new folks (just above ‘the head’ from the first month)…

For that month, I was ranked below a new ‘head’… however, a month or so later, when we had all moved to Vienna, Austria, I was fully removed from the ranking system by all the new people, too… I had real friends who were native German-speakers, and certain parts of my German were better than anyone else (not all parts, though, because five years does teach one a lot, so the new ‘head’ definitely had some knowledge on German that I never really intended to have)… and I still used no English.

However, I eventually started throwing in the occasional bit of English just so they wouldn’t hate me so much – speaking only German had kind of pushed me way off the ranks… almost no association at all anymore…, but I got rather pushed back out by some when they discovered my many friendships with non-foreigners….

So, yeah… essentially, I ended up a distanced associate, and that actually was really great for me… I was there to learn German and learn German-speaking culture, not American anything (which was mostly all that my group had to offer), so I did just that: I learned German and German-speaking culture by being a part of it.

And it was awesome.

And I still found the hierarchy of our group to be hilarious, especially when I blew a hole in parts of it again and again. πŸ˜›

That was rather fun, actually.

I wonder how I would have felt had I been a regular member of the hierarchy, and not the super-gifted member that I was… hmm…

Post-a-day 2019

*Something tells me that I might have used the occasional translation with the outright beginner girl for the first few weeks while she got her bearings, but we kept that rather hush-hush and between ourselves, so no one really heard or knew about my occasional English words to her.

Happy Birthday

“Happy Birthday….

“Happy Birthday, baby, oh… I love you so!

“Siiix-tyyy candles….”

That’s what I sang to my mom as I played the ukulele tonight… it’s her sixtieth birthday today, and, just after I had sung her our usual birthday song (“On this day”), I suddenly had the beginning of “Sixteen Candles” in my head…

And it hit me: sixty sounds a lot like sixteen… I can do this!

So, I did a quick chord check, and then called her back.

As soon as I hit the third line, she was laughing… ‘sixty candles make a lovely light’… they do, indeed. πŸ˜›

And then, she apparently had her phone sitting open in front of her, with me on speakerphone, because she had just been sending my brother a message while I figured out one last detail before singing to her, and so, as I sang, the Animoji I had sent via her phone to my brother this morning was playing (silently) on repeat… as my mom said afterward, it was like one of those translated Kung-fu films, where the lips are nowhere near lining up with the dubbed speech, but, in our case, it was a tiny digital monkey serenading my mom with my voice. πŸ˜›

When she told me that, we both cracked up at the stupidity of it (including the fact that she kept watching the monkey babbling the whole time in the first place!). πŸ˜€

I love my mom… thank you for my mom, God… really great work there. πŸ™‚

Post-a-day 2019