Bad Kitty.

Eek! How did I ever let a month (close enough) go by without posting anything?

Bad, bad kitty.

Truth is, I have still been writing constantly, albeit mainly doing lines over and over again, in French.

I’ve always loved languages – writing it, reading it, hearing it – so keeping myself motivated wasn’t hard at all.

As it happens, it is only too easy for me to get over-motivated and started banging away on French everything like a language-learning Nazi really. I have my beloved secondary school to thank for that – Diligence  is one of the school values widely extolled. Where did the fascist attitude come from? Well… we were chased from spot to spot by someone blowing on a police whistle; our hair lengths were scrutinised frequently (nothing below our cold, trembling earlobes). Read: Discipline (and Nazi-ish nitpicking). Can I just say though, I honestly LOVED that school. But that’s another story altogether.

Anyway… Not contented with just taking my tutor’s word when it comes to the prickly subject of ‘en’, ‘à’, ‘de’ and the million other split personalities these annoying lil’ buggers come in, I *had* to go research on what it means when the same word morphs and mutates into partitives, pronouns, prepositions and monsters.

Sometimes I made progress and I feel like the champion of the world. As if my legs had grown two-inches longer.

Other times… many times (Though not most times, thankfully.)… La tête just goes… vide.

Like when I figured out preposition à is for ‘going to’ and preposition de is for ‘coming from’ and then I turn a page and the article de that roughly translates to ‘some’ and ‘any’ swings by to say ‘Hi’ while swiftly being chased down by en, which can be both a preposition and also a pronoun.

Oui.

And I can’t let it go.

I. Can’t. Let. It. Go.

My school motto demands that I get to the bottom of things. And to the bottom of things I got to.

With these…

Yes. I applied a filter to make it look nicer. Hurhurhur.

So what did I discover at the bottom of the pile?

Me. Lying rather lifeless. With a very firm and fit writing arm all sinewy and Michelle Obama-y from all the copying and writing and rewriting I was doing.

Not too bad, I’d have to say. (I’m shallow. You mean you didn’t know?)

Just last night I’ve started dreaming in French… though I can’t be sure if it was actual accurate French, at least I can say that without a doubt, my subconscious recognised it as awesomely fluent French.

So now the conscious me just has to catch up with my subconscious half.

Tonight, we conquer French Gender.

Ninja! Peace out.

 

Snooping around in Amsterdam.

The long-awaited Europe post is finally here, and A is for Amsterdam!

I have been to Amsterdam once a few winters before, and thought that since I was visiting in summer this time, my wardrobe can be slightly more lightweight. Little did I know that we would be experiencing slightly freakish weather – even the locals said that what we were experiencing this June was pretty much winter all over again. However, it being me, I still trotted out in the tiny shorts that N (the beautiful bride whose wedding I was attending) gave me; then proceeded to brave her wedding in a backless dress. I think I have acclimatised well. Bravo.

Since I was on bridesmaid duty this time round, I only had two days to head out – which was okay by me, largely because I had no exact agenda. I just wanted to snoop around, explore.

How lucky was I that the two days I headed out were filled with sunshine and surprises!

Along this lane I’d turn into was a pretty little vintage shop.

But guess what? I didn’t go in (Surprise, surprise!)… because I was distracted by its next door neighbour…

Now I’ve always preferred cosy, quaint, little shops over large institutions and malls. So I was absolutely delighted when I chanced upon Cine Qua Non, a film shop that is stocked and stuffed with everything film related – DVDs, photos, posters, postcards, books, calendars, collectibles…

The Fifty-Foot Woman guards the door.

The space itself, I think is most accurately described as a physical manifestation of the word ‘paradox’. It is messy yet organised; simple yet overwhelming; utilitarian and functional, yet wild and imaginative.

My dream study/workspace. Right now, I just have a mess.

Dying and going to heaven? This is pretty much my version on earth, sans the dying bit of course. I love the creaky flooring – wooden boards with chipped faded mint green/baby blue paint. I love the haphazard lighting – a few spotlights, a few fluorescents… I could camp in there until I’ve gone through everything. (Yeah. Could.)

The DVDs don’t come cheap – at least the ones that caught my eye, were around 30€ on the average. But they are pretty unique titles and many come with great features – not the sort you’ll get on discounts at megastores. I would have drawn up a list and do some research before going in for the kill, but I didn’t have the time to head back this trip, so I decided to leave with a few postcards for Bestie and other worthy recipients. A return, for sure.

Before I left, I had a chat with the lovely owner, who lamented that shops like these are closing all over Europe because of… well, the usual: high costs of operations, illegal downloading, piracy, competition from industry giants, etc. I absolutely empathise, and I truly, truly wish him well. There is something intimate and personal about these small operations that will always draw me to them. That these people who run these businesses have so much love, faith and passion for what they do is already something worth applauding; and that they will take time to share with you a little nugget of information of that postcard that you are holding, or the director of the film you were checking out just makes the experience so much more special.

Cine Qua Non is at Staalstraat 14, 1011 JL Amsterdam.

You can all them at +31(0) 20 62 555 88, email them at cine.qua.nonsense@gmail.com

Or visit them virtually at www.cine-qua-non.nl or www.cinequanonline.com

Her Majesty’s Request… What’s in my bag.

Severe bruising, fatigue, and the stress of un/employment has taken me away from writing for a couple of days. (MISS ME? Ahh… you’ll survive!)

But after two full days of sticking medicinal patches and applying heat packs all over my body, I’m finally ready to face the world again…

Or so I thought.

Driving class was an absolute chore today – mainly because I’m still aching all over. My neck is still especially sore, which meant that checking my blind spots was nothing short of torture.

Fortunately, I had friends to look forward to after class. Seeing lovely people such as my dearest D, Shaz, Evie, SH, WL, Miss J, Mdm A and Mdm M reminded me just how lucky I was while I was holding my full-time job. Mdm A and Mdm M even managed to make our Very Serious Conversation enjoyable, though their combined loveliness didn’t make my decision-making process any easier.

Mdm M in particular (I love calling my boss that. Makes her sound like a top secret service agent.) just seemed to know exactly where I am, and where I hope to be heading without me even having to say a word.

I still have a couple of days and a handful of hours to go before I make up my mind, so I thought I’ll write this for Mdm M, who thinks a ‘What’s in your bag?’ post is in order.

“Look at the colour of her bag! Says so much about her state of mind right now!”

Brolly ‘cos I keep getting caught in the rain when I go for my driving classes.

A fan ‘cos I’m a secret Geisha-Ninja.

Sunblock ‘cos… well… have you ever met a tanned geisha? 

(Rather, fan and sunblock thanks to my many afternoon rehearsals.)

Elastic band, discontinued lipbalm =(, girl stuff (!!! Tee. Hee.), driving booklet, organiser, favourite pencil, mirror, eyedrops.
Ancient iPod, wallet and coin pouch, plaster, hydration, theory books that I am giving away.
Ninja-warming cape.
Dream Country reflection book, favourite pen, inspiration – Jeanette Winterson.