Eyes

Do you know that experience of when you can’t seem to stop yourself watching someone, looking at him/her?

There are many versions of this, but I am referencing a particular happy yet unidentifiable one…

You don’t necessarily know what exactly it is that has you looking, but you can’t seem to stop checking up on the person, making sure he’s still around… you purposely make yourself not do anything differently in terms of seating arrangements or activities – you pursue your same goals and intentions, free from whatever this influence happens to be – but you keep an eye always knowledgeable about his whereabouts within the room…

And then you notice that his eyes are on you roughly half the times you look over at him… and you wonder if he even knows that he is doing it, or if he is only responding to the feeling of being watched…, or if he can’t seem to keep his eyes from tracking you either…

It doesn’t happen often in my life, so I a no expert at the situation, I dare say…, but I’m not opposed to it at present.

I also have no romantic intentions here, so it is extra unique to be having this drawing feeling… perhaps it is God, merely making it clear that this person is to be in my life, albeit not in a romantic capacity…

Yes… perhaps…

Post-a-day 2019

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Photo Lingo

I helped out on a little photo shoot today.

I always learn something new at these, which is great, but I always enjoy them just for the fun of their being an event: a photo shoot.

Photo shoots aren’t just an everyday nothing, really… usually, they are, to some degree, a little or big to do, an event that requires at least one someone’s best up-do, and then some.

Today’s, though a small shoot, was no different.

Those being photographed were clearly in their best getup for the occasion, make-up done to a T, and several costume changes at the ready.

It was, as I mentioned, an event.

Now, this was fun, of course…, especially some of the silly things that happened throughout the photo shoot.

However, the little nugget of surprise delight and God-granted satisfaction popped up when we had a few quick comments from the photographer to one of the models, who was the husband of someone there.

The photographer was giving a few specifics about how to do something, if that model was doing it, and then somewhat simultaneously asking the model to come throw something in the background of the photo.

Now, the husband of this model, in a moderate accent, said to the model, “Entiendes?”, which is Spanish for, ‘Do you understand?’

The husband then gave an iffy explanation, still in English, of what the photographer had been saying.

I could tell that neither one of them was getting what the photographer had said, not even the English-speaking husband…, and so I went ahead and, in a quick aside, verified with the photographer for myself when he had wanted communicated.

I then, while still standing atop a large ladder, broke into the conversation between the husbands, addressing the Spanish-speaking one pointedly.

I asked him a few questions in Spanish, told him the first the the photographer had said, and then communicated the answers to the photographer in English.

I then explained to the model, again in Spanish, the second topic the photographer had mentioned (i.e. throwing those objects), and asked if he could do it.

He asked for some clarity on specifics, and then readily agreed.

Problem was solved, and amazing photos ensued.

When that model was then in photos, I let him know to tell me if ever and whenever he did not understand… he agreed, and proceeded to check with me on just about everything that was said to him.

At the end of it all, it had become very clear that he was relieved to have had me there, and everyone was grateful for my surprise super-helpfulness in the form of Spanish, whipped out of my back pocket.

Might I point out that I am dirty blonde, pale, and blue-eyed, – obvious German heritage of which, one could imagine, Adolf would have been proud – an outer shell that does not boast a likelihood of speaking Spanish?

But it is situations just like these that send a delighted tickle to my core when they arise, because everyone is simultaneously flabbergasted and relieved that I have this oh-so-unexpected skill.

I love having my languages be of use.

When I went for that “Super” trip the other day, it felt like a relief and a blessing that the person selling turned out to be a German guy, with whom I was able to interact in German… it made things feel ever so slightly more ‘right’, like I was on the right path.

It really felt today that this same sort of thing was happening – the World, God, was making a sign to me that I was (and am) in the right place.

I want photography to be the right place, and it increasingly feels more and more like it is the right place for me to be and to be putting my efforts and my love and my passion right now…, so this whole Spanish thing today was like a super-blessing from God and the World.

So, yay!

Thank you, God.

Thank you, World.

Thank you, Universe.

Help me to continue on this beautiful path that is meant for me to create and travel, that I might share the beauty and the love I have to offer the World. πŸ™‚

……..

In a separate note, I found myself wondering this evening: How can a couple be married, and not really be able to communicate in the same language?

From what I saw today, the one guy’s Spanish is super limited, and the other’s English is very questionable… so, how do they communicate?

Is it really more like the idea of mail-order brides that caught on back when I was little, than a naturally-occurring relationship?

But then, perhaps their language is presence, and words are in the works…

I know fully well that speaking the same language fully isn’t exactly a requirement for wanting to be with someone.

I even had a time (with one of the acrobats) in which I declared this guy and I could not date until we both spoke the same language fluently (though, I didn’t care what language that ended up being), and I, eventually, followed my declaration (after, of course, passively ignoring it, and, essentially, being in an informal but distinct relationship with him for about six weeks)…. (We had a great time, but too many problems began to arise due, mostly, to language issues, but also to cultural differences.)

So, they very well could be that way, where words are not the language of the now relationship, because they just absolutely hit it off without the words, but the words are in the plans for the future of the relationship.

I dunno… anything is possible, but I know that I, personally, need to speak the same language fluently as my partner in life, whatever language that may be.

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

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.

Karate

Whenever I do this teeth whitening thing, I have to keep his little blue-light mouthpiece in my mouth, gripped between my teeth, for five minutes.

Afterward, I spit out the excess gel in my mouth and I wash off the mouthpiece.

Whenever I’m in the cleanup stage, I’m always adjusting my jaw, stretching its muscles, and feeling around my teeth a bit with my tongue.

As I do this, I find myself remembering strongly my days of American karate in my youth.

For sparring, we had to have a rubber mouth guard to protect our teeth… I remember how, every time I got a new mouth guard, my mom and I would be in the kitchen, trimming edges, boiling the rubber, and mashing my teeth into it to make it mold perfectly to my bite and teeth.

It was always so exciting to me, for some reason I cannot yet understand… perhaps it was the specialness of the whole process, like we were doing a whole (and real) science lab experiment, tongs and boiling water and all… and it was for me… so it was something unique and special and process-filled, specifically being done for me…

Perhaps that was a large part of it…

Whatever the case, I always enjoyed it, forming my mouth guards.

Especially the bit of biting down on my mouth guard, squeezing my teeth tightly, and wedging them each into the rubber, claiming specific territory to be forever theirs in that particular mouth guard…

Whenever we did spar, and I got to wear my mouth guard, I rather enjoyed sucking and chewing slightly on my mouth guard, tasting the rubber, feeling the tiny rebound it provided when I clenched my jaw and released, hearing the squishy sounds of saliva being pushed around and in and out of the mouth guard’s coverage area as I clicked my teeth (with the rubber between them, of course) together several times in quick succession… and then tasting again, as I held my jaw snug and sucked everything out of the mouth guard.

It all seems odd to me now, considering it and sharing it, but also still quite familiar… I don’t see myself doing half these same things nowadays, yet I remember them fondly nonetheless.

And, every time I whiten my teeth, I am filled with a few drops of that excitement and delight brought it me for years by karate…, making it a unique and somewhat special experience so far as teeth whitening goes. πŸ˜›

P.S. I love finding words that I’ve known for years, but whose language of origin I didn’t initially speak, but now speak, and, therefore, as I cross the word anew, I suddenly see it from the eyes of this language I now speak, instead of as a foreign word with meaning I must struggle to remember… karate is one of those words… from my American eyes and ears and mind, it is pronounced the American way and means merely a form of martial arts… from my Japanese eyes et cetera, it is pronounced with a Japanese pronunciation, it means 空手 (からて), which literally means “empty hand”, and it is a form of martial arts… and, somehow, the two are simultaneously the same thing and two totally different ones… so it goes… πŸ˜›

Post-a-day 2019

Gal Pals

In a comical and slightly intoxicated – truly only slightly on the one side, and then sober on the listening side – conversation between two girls (women) this past weekend, I heard the following line, delivered slightly like a five year old’s declaration of wanting her own birthday cake at someone else’s birthday party, from the girl who has a boyfriend:

I want a boyfriend who does the sex to me every day.

She then proceeded to say, “I really do,” in an effort to convince the sober, single friend who was laughing deeply beside her.

And no, English was not a foreign language for either – they were all too clearly native English speakers.

I think that’s part of what makes the silly statement so wonderful.

I am still laughing at the whole thing today, days after the fact, it was so odd and goofy…

πŸ˜›

Post-a-day 2019

β€œLove”

I really love when younger adult men (e.g. aged 20-40) call women “love”, “sweetheart”, “darlin'”, and the likes in an entirely and obviously non-romantic but loving way.

I mean like how the guy in the student ID photo-taking station wished me well as I left, by saying, “You, too, gorgeous,” or how this particular cashier at Trader Joe’s always calls me “love” – ‘You’re all set, love.’

The first was perhaps around 35, and the cashier possibly around 25… and neither gave off even the slightest hint of desire or sexual connotation to the use of the endearing terms… they were, simply, terms of endearment on a friendly, human-to-human level.

And I love that.

Today, after class, a coach said to me, “Great job today, sweetheart,” and waved me a goodbye… it was clear that he intended encouragement and care on a friendly level, and nothing at all on a romantic level… and it felt so good…

To be cared for by the opposite sex, without there being an alternate agenda of any kind, is really, really nice.

Certainly, when someone uses the same words in a derogatory or demeaning, looking-down-at-me sort of way, it is dreadful and, even, somewhat inappropriate.

In these contexts, however, it is clear that I am respected for who I am, and the word is used as an expression of human love and concern for one another…

(I’m not sure how else to put it right now, but I hope you can see what I mean with all of this.)

I just love that these men have started doing this again – it once was somewhat normal, here in the South, anyway, but has fallen away almost entirely in recent decades, leaving only the really old men to use the terms with women.

But these younger guys are somewhat bringing it back, and I love it.

Perhaps it can be a sort of step toward showing our love and concern for one another more openly in the world, like how I always told my Starbucks coworkers every time I left work, “Okay… love you guys… bye!”

Perhaps we are on the path to show one another and to share with one another our mutual love as human beings, who are together here on this Earth.

You know?

Post-a-day 2019