What is this blog all about?

The main purpose of this blog is to give an overview of the things I do, in my everyday life, in order to improve my English. Since I am a very lazy person, I mostly read, and watch movies, and do things which make it possible for me to improve my vocabulary, my grammar and my accent without getting bored... So this blog is going to be about the books I read, the movies I watch, and some other things which I find relevant (or not)...

I hope you'll like it! Don't hesitate to leave comments if you have any suggestions concerning what I should write about!!

samedi 26 juin 2010

What it's for, or what it's about...

I’ve been working reader! Real-working! A mission! Cool and interesting!

I met another one of those guys. Did I ever tell you about the volunteer interpreter guy from Copenhaguen? I think not. He was a volunteer interpreter. From Spain. Very tall, lean, handsome, with the whitest set of teeth and the nicest, brightest smile I’ve ever seen. Cultivated and funny, and he could play the guitar and sing. And then someone said he had trained as a doctor. I’m pretty sure the man’s hobby was saving kittens from fires. Made me want to go back to bed.
Well I met another one of those, yesterday. Same kind. Organic farmer, sporty, looked like a hippie, taller version of Edouard Baer (if you are not French, you might not know, but I do. And it’s a good thing, to look like Edouard Baer in my book). Then he said he was also into music. Then he said he had worked with orphans in the Himalayas. I hesitated, and then I grunted and decided I found them both annoying. Do you think it’s a healthy reaction?

Anyway. Over the course of the week, I found out one more thing to tell to my imaginary group of students about being an interpreter (yes. I’ve got followers in my head. They follow me around and say “yes master, you are wise”. In fact they are mostly a little group of Claires from the future, whom I tell that I am very stupid now, and they’d better improve before their turn comes. It is a little less self-important than it might seem).

Where was I? Oh yeah. One of the things I tell my imaginary group of students about being an interpreter, is that you need to be able to stand alone in the middle of a big, empty hall, and look like you’re OK with it and you belong there and you need no help at all. I believe this to be an impossible task.

This is one of the parts of my jobs that I like a little less: arriving at the venue with no idea what to do, who anybody is, where you need to go, and generally what to do with your arms, that are so bloody long, and your mouth, which you suddenly realized is a little frowny, but then you smile, and then you feel stupid, and then you bite your lips, and you look stupid and affected, and then you start frowning again. Sometimes, I try reading, but read what?

The best is when you have something related to the theme of the conference, (not a book, because you don’t want to look like you don’t care, not your vocabulary list, because you don’t want to look like you don’t already know it all by heart). Like maybe an article about the eating habits of penguins if you are going to a Linux conference. Loosely related. Knowing all the while that no one gives a damn what you read, I’m aware of that fact. But I can’t help it. And my little group of followers are still running around in my head, waiting to be impressed by my amazing skills.

In any case, followers or no, when I am sitting alone in an uncomfortable leather chair that is much too close to the ground, studying my shoes and making bets with myself on the number of places where my feet are going to hurt when I take them off tonight, I often wish I just were home. Home sounds nice, at 7.30, when you are alone and embarrassed. So here is a list of things that make me feel like home.

1. Knitwear and jam. Not both together, of course. My mother used to knit (she stopped now, somehow), and all my pullovers when I was a kid smelled like the hospital, because she had knitted them there (my mother’s a nurse). Now I’m the only person in the world who actually likes the smell of hospitals. As for jam, jam makes me feel like home for exactly the same reason. My mother makes jam. It is like a fever, a passion, an industrial endeavor, call it what you like, but it causes my home to smell like hot orange juice or strawberry very late at night. Somehow, jam only works if you make it very late at night. I keep annoying my mother about making crazy sorts of jam and letting the whole fruit in them instead of mashing them up, but the truth is, whatever the shape and form, it’s always nice to have your home smell like jam when you go to bed.
2. Talking about knitwear, that old dark blue pullover which is one of the rare items in my closet that are actually too big for me. Never felt cold in that pullover, and it probably has to do with the fact that it was worn both by my sister and my father. Who could feel cold in a pullover like this? It’s thick and itchy, and it’s got a nice, night color. It weighs about 5 kilos. It is immortal. It is the father of all pullovers. And it still looks new.

3. De Palmas’s “Marcher dans le sable.” Reminds me of when I was in high school in a weird, good old times kind of way. It’s not particularly happy, either, but somehow to me, it will always taste of summer, laughs, running around in fountains and sun.

4. The Star Wars movies. After watching them 678 times each, (probably a little more for episode 6, I guess) they still totally work. (Do I need to specify that I only like episodes 4 to 6? I hardly think I do…) I know the dialogues pretty much by heart, but only in French, because I was too young to read the subtitles when the rage was full on…

5. The Indian restaurant where I helped out when I was at the university. I still go there regularly, and even when I just think about it, it makes me feel like home. I went to a street festival the other day, and there was a stand with Indian cuisine, and it smelled like the restaurant, and I wanted to teleport. I did not, and I still had a great evening, but you get the idea.

I’m leaving Germany next week, and going back home for a while. Well, I’ll be off to Brussels soon, even though the European tests of death are postponed till April next year (Can I swear on the Internet? I believe I cannot. I shall refrain. I already said Arsch last time…), so I won’t stay home very long, but still. Bye bye Stuttgart, live long and prosper etc. Maybe I’ll tell you about homecoming, and leaving places where you settled for a while next time, if I find 5 interesting things to say!

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