Advent Day 22: Lego and princess tents

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Up until recently, I didn’t really know how to play with small humans. They’re quite a mystery to me, having been quite a serious, thoughtful, worried small human myself, prone to spending hours reading, building a sandcastle complete with moat and dams to protect it against the encroachment of the sea, concentrating on slowly forming very tall drip-sandcastles, or playing Lego in a blanket fort.

So, I did not become the child-friendly variety of adult.

Until recently…. when my aunt set up a pink princess tent for my very small, still-portable goddaughter. The little ankle-biter started putting all her fat-Lego pieces into the fort, so I went and sat inside and started making random things. That’s when the small human crawled inside, emitted a screech and a giggle…. And we ended up sitting there in amicable silence for the longest time– I clipping pieces together to make things, she pulling them apart with a satisfying “click”.

I even ended up having a wonderfully calming and entertaining time. She finally likes me a little more.

Yup, I’m grateful for princess tents and Lego.

[Mind you, if my “biological clock” (pffft, please; I question its existence) ever starts ticking, I won’t just press the snooze button… I’ll throw it out the window onto the pavement downstairs.]

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Advent Day 20: Four things for which to be grateful.

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Swimming pools. When it’s scorchingly hot and sunny, and humid as a jungle.

Teletubbies. I am a young godmother to a small human, whose mother seems to have some kind of misplaced optimism in my child-minding (non-)skills. I don’t know what to do with a crying baby except to find the Sesame Street baby-equivalent on YouTube and desperately plonk it in front of it, gasping, “here! Here! Look! Teletubbies! You like Teletubbies, right??!!”.

IKEA’s small-things-I-never-knew-I-could-live-without section. Because Christmas and acquaintances.

Craft skills. Not drawing a regular pay check has its downsides! But it certainly prods out any artistic and creative craft skills….

Advent Day 14: I’m grateful for Christmas trees.

Oops. Missed the advent yesterday as was rather busy.

I feel bad for Christmas trees chopped down from their Northern hemispheric homes to be shipped off to, for example, the tropics, to stand dying in pots but bringing such joy and lovely piney smells to homes all over the world. But I do so love them. I love pine cones and pine nuts and Christmas is just not the same without that pine smell.

I’m grateful for Christmas trees.

Advent Day 13: I’m grateful for beaches.

Wakatobi_beach_2006

Beaches do something to our frequencies, I’m sure. Apart from teeming with negative ions pulling away all those pesky positive ions we all apparently generate that make us stressed and twitchy, the waves and wind make these wonderful calming noises. Seagulls. Coconut trees. Soft, crunchy sand.

I think that if you grow up near the sea, it sort of works itself into your DNA. I am very uneasy landlocked; I’ve never had an overwhelming desire to visit Switzerland, nor Canberra, and I didn’t really like the claustrophobic feeling of being inland on continents more than an hour from a beach by fast train. It didn’t have to be a swimmable beach, just a beach. A coastline. Somewhere I could dip my feet into the seawater, even if it was very cold water. I can remember every single beach I’ve been to in my life– the colour and granularity of the sand, the temperature of the water, the colour and clarity of the water. I just love them.

I’m grateful for beaches.


Picture from Wikimedia commons.
 

Advent Day 12: I’m grateful for writing skills.

http://m.mic.com/articles/98348/science-shows-writers-have-a-serious-advantage-over-the-rest-of-us

Apparently, I’m just that little bit less crazy because I write stuff regularly. We scribes don’t often have stuff to be smug about, so I thought this was rather nice. We also tend to be a bit more sensitive and neurotic, so this was reassuring. And vindication. 🙂

I’m grateful for writing skills.

Advent Day 11: La langue française.

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I hope any Francophone reading this will forgive my terrible grammar and anglicised turns of phrase:

Je suis convaincu qu’on est nés pour aimer chaque certaines langues. J’ai essayé aimer les autres langues: chinois, allemand, espagnol…. et j’ai aimé le son et les sensations du roumain, italien et russe. Mais, la langue avec laquelle je n’ai pas seulement tombé en amour, mais me suis retrouvé pris dans son étreinte, était français.

Un de mes désirs de cette année a été d’atteindre un niveau de français assez avancé pour écrire un poème en français. (Ok, on a déjà établi que je suis un peu trop ambitieuse).

Eh bien, je ne suis pas encore là. Mais, j’ai assez du français maintenant pour être en mesure d’écrire une courte blog en français. (C’est probablement incorrecte et plein d’anglicismes, et ma grammaire pourrait être mieux, mais je suis toujours prêt à essayer. Sans Google Translate, naturellement.)

Essentially, French is the second language of my heart. I’m an Anglophile first, but since I was really quite young, I’ve been fascinated with the French language, probably because of all its similarities to English. These days, I get a deliciously exquisite wriggly feeling whenever I find French turns of phrases that sound like old or formal English, or that translate directly, or even the false friends (because that in itself tells interesting stories).

I started learning French properly at a time when I needed a new language in which to feel anew and think anew. It was one of the things that took me out of my head and helped me sit in my heart. I’m grateful for the French language.


Picture attribution: Paris/French Culture by Sarah Benson.

Advent Day 10: I’m grateful for letters in the mail.

We are all so glued to our smart devices these days, particularly in big cities. We email, Facebook mail, What’s App, text, Viber, Line, Skype, FaceTime, tweet,  etc., each other. We expand our personal space at peak hour on the underground metro through our little screens, as we are squashed elbow-to-elbow with other commuters. Some families or groups of friends sit together in silence, absorbed in their respective virtual worlds, or are regularly interrupted by dings and beeps.

That’s why letters from friends in the mail are so precious these days. I recently received a little package from a friend who recently got married overseas. She had sent along her sweet little bomboniere, what Aussies call those thank-you gift for guests, with a lovely note. It was such a nice surprise. That’s why I still send Christmas cards.

So, I’m grateful for letters in the mail.