Nostalgia, an early onset

I finish this teaching assignment on Friday.

And I’m already super nostalgic… and I mean super

I keep wanting to plan something amazing and sentimental to send myself off…

And I kind of feel silly for wanting to do that – it isn’t actually that big of a deal… so I keep telling myself.

I think what I’m aiming to figure out here is how truly it is or is not a big deal.

I’ve never been so myself as a teacher, and so, perhaps, I have never been so willing to be vulnerable as I have been with these guys… perhaps this is te closest I’ve ever been with students, and the best I’ve ever been as a teacher…, and so, perhaps, it actually is a big deal.

However, if I am off to be my best self the rest of my life, then this is merely the first of many fabulous situations in which I get to be my true self and allow the students to do the same, and we all love each other and get to be super sentimental all we want, any and all the time.

Nonetheless, I keep wanting to play guitar or ukulele and sing a song to and/or with them as a final goodbye.

I don’t have any French songs that come to mind yet, though… jut a bunch of honest and sentimental songs in English… and even a Spanish one, kind of.

Maybe a German song is actually the way to go… perhaps that would be best, simply because German is more my God-love language than any of the others… and that is good for them, even though it isn’t French, because 1) God and 2) still a foreign language…

Hmm…

Let me think on it…

Maybe I’ll just do the birthday song I always do… I love using it for birthdays especially, but it can apply to any day – the Lord gave you life today when you awakened, just as much as He did on the day of your birth… hmm…

I’ll reflect some more, and trust that God will give me exactly what to do. 🙂

But I seriously am already nostalgic, and it hasn’t even ended yet… I shake my head at how silly this is, yet that changes nothing – I am still nostalgic for it all.

Post-a-day 2019

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Riding the bus with my mother

There are three lots on my block which recently have had their houses demolished.

Two of the lots are nearing the end of construction on their new houses, and the third has, so far, sat empty for a while.

Just about every morning, around 7:30, workers arrive and get to making noise on this, that, or the other part of construction for the two houses.

I have noticed a certain inattention to caution regarding trash and scraps, and so have been quite careful not ever to walk over by either of the houses, as there is an ever-changing blanket of glass, nails, wood pieces, and other sharp objects on the ground by them both.

Today, in an effort to dodge some potholes, my mother drove directly in front of these two houses…

A few hours, a free concert, and almost five hundred dollars later, she had two new rear tires on her car, out of necessity, not desire.

You see, she was picking me up to go to an opera performance, thus her being on my street in the first place.

She had dropped me off to allow me to go use the bathroom and to pick up our tickets at will-call, and gone to park her car, only to discover that the tire pressure, whose warning light had signaled on our way to the performance, was decreasing at an alarming pace, and so needed to be handled immediately.

She told me to leave her ticket at will-call for her, and that she would join me when she could, and then took her car to the one place she found open on a Sunday to handle such issues as her current tire predicament (which, fortunately, was only about a mile away from where we were).

At intermission, she joined me at our seats, her having sat at the back for the first part, due to her having arrived late.

She informed me that she had made it to the performance by asking a woman to drop her off, since it was only about a mile away from where she had had to bring her car.

We laughed at the slight absurdity of it all, and discussed how to get back to the car after the performance ended.

Yes, it was close, but the place would close only half an hour after the performance ended, and my mom wasn’t in running shoes (nor was I).

So, I offered the idea of my spare bus card.

At first, she aimed to find someone we knew after the performance ended, so as to ask for a ride.

Then, she considered Uber (but I was opposed for the cost of it, and the fact that my account isn’t set up properly anymore for here [remember how I lived in Japan]), before reconsidering just asking someone else from the performance whom we didn’t know.

We were running short on time, and I didn’t feel comfortable asking for help, when I had means to handle the situation myself – I’m always rather like that… if I can do it myself, even if it is more difficult, I typically still will handle it myself, so that I only ask for help when I truly need it.

So, I looked up the bus route options, and started walking to the bus stop, which was enough encouragement for my mom to give up her idea and go with mine.

I knew her main opposition was simply the same as most people’s in Houston – most people do not use the busses here, unless they financially have no other means of getting around, making the bulk of bus patronage poor laborers, cleaners, minimum wage people in rough situations, and homeless people…, and that can be an uncomfortable, and almost dangerous-feeling experience for those who do not belong to those groups of individuals…, and it can somewhat easily create a feeling of being somewhere dirty, at times…, so no one wants to ride the busses in Houston…, not really, anyway.

I, myself, struggle with it, despite the fact that I use the busses here… I want to promote public transit as much as possible, but I also prefer feeling safe and clean than the opposite, you know?

Nonetheless, it was our most logical option today (in my head, anyway), so we went for the bus.

Another lady coming from a similar downtown performance also joined us in waiting for the bus, and it was quite cool to me to see another ‘normal’ person, so to speak, taking the bus.

My mom, while waiting, mentioned how she had never ridden the bus here, and that she was a bit excited for it.

I smiled and was glad, and told her how it all worked, and that it was mostly just like any other public transit she had ridden elsewhere (except in Vienna, which has one of the best public transit systems ever, and in all aspects of it).

While riding, she asked about how to signal for our stop, and I explained her two options, however, another woman clicked for our stop first.

I told my mom that she could push the tape anyway, just to have the experience and to know what it’s like, pushing the tape on our busses, and she replied coolly and smiling, “I’m touching enough.”

We had seen a whole range of riders come aboard, including all of the stereotypes, smells and all, but also a few other ‘normal’-esque individuals.

Nonetheless, I understood entirely why she had no interest in touching anything more than was necessary at this point.

When we exited the bus, I rushed off in one direction on my predetermined path to the car place, while covering my gaze to the right hand side, and ignoring my mom’s questioning as to why I was going that particular direction, knowing that she would follow me because of my quick pace.

When we were walking into the driveway of the car place, I slowed and dropped my hand, turning toward my mom and informing her of how I had been avoiding any sort of interaction with the man who had been urinating in the trash can that was next to the bus stop.

No, I had not been certain of that being his task, but it looked to be enough so, and I had no interest in discovering anything further on the matter, and so I blocked it from my view, and headed off with the intention of getting away as soon as was possible.

It is funny to me a bit – perhaps ironic – that my mom has told me so much since I’ve moved back to Houston (from Japan) that I need to be careful here, and that it is not like Japan, and yet she does not herself seem to understand how to be careful when in Houston.

She asked why I hadn’t gone the other way around the block, and I, at first, didn’t understand why she was asking – was it not obvious?

And, of course, it wasn’t obvious, I realized… she had no idea the type of hangout that the area was, nor that more people tended to hang out over by that underpass all along its length, and that it was a better idea for us to avoid it altogether, always.

So, while being a bit nervous at my mother’s lack of understanding as to how to be safe in Downtown Houston, I also was consoled in my own ability to be safe here – without realizing it, I had developed my own appropriate way to keep myself safe here in Houston – that’s part of why I tend not to go out at night.

I typically ride my bicycle or scooter, or even take the bus or walk for getting around anywhere near me, and none of those is a very good idea at night…., so I usually just don’t go.

I had begun to think it was merely because of my anti-social emotional side lately, and my dislike for drunk people, but this had me recall that it is more than just an aversion for stupid people that keeps me in most nights. 😛

Anyway, my mom picked up her car and was bummed about having to spend the money, as was I, but we were grateful for the bit of time we had been able to spend letting my mom experience a Houston Metro bus, and that, at the very least, the concert itself had been free.

But this did remind me of that time we drove way up north to a special spring to get some free, natural spring sulfurous water straight from the source – the city had it posted that anyone could come have water from it, so long as the sun is up – and then drive back home an hour and a half, during which time my mom commented, “Well, that was the most expensive free water I’ve ever gotten,” referring to the gasoline cost and the tolls crossed for the journey. 😛

It’s been a bit of a joke of ours ever since then.

And so, today’s performance, one could say, was the most expensive free concert we’ve ever attended. 😛

(Actually, my mom did say that… haha… I’d forgotten that it wasn’t just something I’d thought, but that seems actually said aloud. 😂)

Post-a-day 2019

A mouthful

I tend to sing when I’m in a good mood.

Not always, but regularly and somewhat often, if I am in a good mood, one can find me (by sneaking up, typically, or else I’ll quiet down somas not to bother others) singing and humming songs as I go about my day and night.

This includes when I am in transit between locations, my singing habit.

However, seeing as how I typically drive a Vespa most of the time now, it has been a funny transition to not singing while driving.

Why is that, you ask, that I must not sing while driving?

Well, even though I am in a good mood just about every time I get on that scooter, and so start singing a good amount of the time, of I were to continue singing once going, I would end up not so happy, due to a mouthful of bugs.

Yes, an open mouth with no windshield while driving is almost always a bad idea.

And so, unfortunately, whenever this thought occurs to me when I am singing as I start out on my bike, it makes me smile really big, making it hard to keep my lips together, which makes me smile and laugh even more, and then makes it even harder not to have a huge and toothy grin showing… it is a tiny but important battle I have with my lips in these situations, and it is utterly hilarious.

In short, singing in my bike would result in a mouthful of bugs, so singing is not really allowed while going faster than about fifteen miles per hour. 😛

P.S. I have discovered two things from my highway travels to work each morning.

First, heading in the opposite direction of rush-hour traffic on this highway apparently does not have “Going the speed limit” on its list of approved activities – it seems that ten to fifteen over the posted speed is more the norm for people, while the opposite direction chugs along at around thirty in its morning traffic.

Secondly, my neighborhood smells like amazing fresh breads in the early mornings on weekdays, and like sizzling bacon on Saturday early mornings… I’m not sure yet about Sundays, though… 😛

Post-a-day 2019

Je te déteste :P

Well, pretty much the only thing going on (of which I can makes sense, that is) in my head is the somewhat constant loop of this song the kids played in class today.

We were working on self-introductions, and, as usual, the kids were asking for additional phrases to throw into the practice conversations they were having with each added question I gave them to ask and answer.

(For example, on the first day of class, one kid asked for, “Can I have your number?”, and, as I gave him the French for it, the kids learned that they really could learn to say in French everything they want to say…, and now, they bring up the number question just about every other class meeting, as can be expected of teenage boys.)

When we brought up the question and answer for “What do you like (to do)?”, there was the natural question of, “What is I love you in French?”

And so I said and wrote Je t’aime on the board.

Then a similar phrase they requested.

And then there was, “How do you say, ‘I hate you’?”

**Do note that the kids are asking all of these things in French, with only the unknown phrase being said in English, and I only speak French with them… and this is only their third week of French ever.**

I laugh, and then write Je te déteste on the board, and I help them say it properly.

Immediately, I recall a beautiful bit of music I’d been shown a few years ago (by a student), and I explain to them that there is a song called “Je te déteste”, and it is sung by an artist called Vianney, and that they should look it up.

They asked if they could play the song now, and I told one of them to go ahead and pull it up on the desktop and projector, so we could all listen to it and watch the music video.

In shock for only a moment, the boy jumped into action – seemingly before I changed my mind or rescinded (is that right?) the unexpected offer.

He found the song, and played it for the final minutes of class, and I showed them how Vianney spells out déteste in the song, and, frankly, they kind of jammed out.

It was adorable.

And so, now, hours later, I have the middle of the song playing on loop in my head…

Je crie de tout mon être

Sur un morceau de bois

Plutôt que dans tes oreilles

Qui n’écoutent que toi

D E T E S TE te déteste

D E T E S T E….

So good, but so loop-inducing 😛

Je te déteste by Vianney… you’re welcome 😛

Post-a-day 2019

Ohrwurm

Ugh…(!!!)

I played this catchy and somewhat annoying song that helps with greetings and basic phrases in French in French I class yesterday.

They loved it so much, they begged for an encore…, so we played it again….

And I surprised them with it this morning again…

They loved t every time, and they put genuine effort into singing along as best they could.

It was adorable.

However, I spent the entire ride home singing the song in my head on repeat… and the past hour since being home, too…

I am so over this song….

If only my brain would pick up on the matter… 😛

Post-a-day 2019

Road Trip Prep

A miniature shout-out to Amazon Music, the App – I just prepared a BA (aka totally nerdy and perfect) playlist for our miniature road trip tomorrow morning.

My mom and I will be able to listen to the glorious soundtracks to various Broadway productions that we love and others that we expect to love in the near future…. and it will cost me no data whatsoever – I downloaded them over wifi just now, for free, and I will play them off my phone in the car tomorrow while we drive.

Some are new, some are older-ish-new, and some are throwbacks to my childhood… whatever the case, I suspect and expect we will have a grand ole time singing along to most of them. 🙂

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. 🙂

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. 🙂

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

Post-a-day 2019