Starstruck

Nature. We hardly pay attention to it, yet it’s still there, relentlessly, unapologetically beautiful and blazing and bright. 
I think nature as a concept is very attractive to a lot of people. We like the pretty flowers, the idea of wide open green fields or groves of tall fir trees, dappled deer peeping shyly out from behind the moss-covered trunks. Rose petals, birdsong, softness, music. All associated with the idea of nature. The word itself is immediately evocative of whimsical little tableus worthy of any tumblr user’s blog. 

But, in loving the idealistic version of nature, we dye it with our own expectations and when it doesn’t live up to our idea of this perfect dream fantasy world, we stop appreciating it and look for another spot that does live up to our fantasies.

But nature is more than that. Nature is more than moss and flowers and idyll and butterflies. Nature is soil. Nature is warmth. Nature is the smell of humidity in our nostrils when we breathe in on a particularly warm summer night. Nature is the gentle breeze, but it is also the hurricane. Nature is gentle, foaming waves breaking on the shore, but it is also the tsunami. 
Nature is venomous snakes, blind mole rats, funnel-web spiders and gulper eels. Nature is all the animals we glossed over in school because they were too ugly to hold our interest for long. 

How captivated we can be by beauty, and yet, how blind we can become to all of its facets when we only focus on one.

0109

2017-01-08

Anyone else on Duolingo?

Right now I’m concentrating on Russian, and I’ll probably move on to French after about a few more months when I’m more familiar with Russian. I wanna learn Polish and Ukrainian as well (can you tell I have a thing for Slavic languages), hopefully moving on to Dutch at some point in time as I learn German in school. It would be interesting to attempt Hebrew, but we’ll see. currently speak fluent English, as well as semi-fluent Chinese (my Mother Tongue).

I find that, to use Duolingo (it’s an app as well by the way!), basic knowledge of grammar (things like conjugations, gender of nouns, adjective endings etc.) really helps maximise your learning experience. I definitely recommend learning a little grammar before using duolingo. Also, for languages that have a different alphabet to the language you’re familiar with (e.g. Russian which uses the Cryllic alphabet), you should learn to pronounce/read it first.

I really recommend this for language enthusiasts, because it provides not only resources to practise and learn new languages, it also means you have a community of fellow learners who can help you with any difficulties. It’s just nice to have company when you’re trying something new, y’know?

#randomupdatebecauseican

0051 // names

I used to write a lot (occasionally still do) and one of my favourite parts of it was picking out names for all my characters. Twelve-year-old me spent hours scrolling through articles with titles like “Nature Baby Names” or “Top Ten Unique Names to Give Your Child”. I still love names, and thought I would just put a few of my favourite names here. Side note: these are all names I would conceivably give my children, so there aren’t many names that are too hard to pronounce/too high-fantasy or wattpad-fanfictiony sounding.

Boys

I’m starting with boys’ names because- to me- they’re a little boring and limited compared to girls’ names. It’s like how when you eat your dinner and you eat the vegetables first to get them over and done with, and save the mashed potatoes for last.

  1. Nicholas
    Origin: Greek
    Meaning: 
    Victory of the people
    Why I like it: It sounds vaguely Russian.
  2. Alexander
    Origin: Greek
    Meaning: Defender of the people
    Why I like it: Can be shortened to Alex, and I like how Germans pronounce it.
  3. David
    Origin: Hebrew
    Meaning: Beloved
    Why I like it: I think it would be an honour to carry the name.
  4. Rhys
    Origin: Welsh
    Meaning: Ardour
    Why I like it: It just sounds really nice.
  5. Kade
    Origin: American
    Meaning: This one has a pretty weird meaning- “stout person”.
    Why I like it: It sounds so friendly and chill. Kade is the guy everyone wants to hang out with after school.

Girls

  1. Zosia
    Origin: Polish
    Meaning: Dimunitive of Zofia, meaning “wisdom”
    Why I like it: The main female character in the book “Sophie’s Choice” (William Styron) is called Zosia by her family, and I love the book and the sound of the name.
  2. Sorrel
    Origin: Germanic
    Meaning: Brown, chestnut
    Why I like it: This also came from a book (“A Dark Dividing”, Sarah Rayne). The mother wasn’t sure what to name one of her twins, and was thinking of “Violet” but decided she didn’t want a weak, shy name, so she thought of the plant wood sorrel and named her child after that instead. It’s a nice-sounding name, and it’s also really suggestive of the English countryside and good, strong earth to me.
  3. Nika
    Origin: Persian/Green
    Meaning: Good/Victory
    Why I like it: It’s a Russian name.
  4. Eira
    Origin: Welsh
    Meaning: Stemmed from Norse goddess Eir, means “snow”.
    Why I like itIt sounds really light and fresh.
  5. Cassia
    Origin: Greek
    Meaning: Cinnamon
    Why I like it: Sounds and looks really pretty.
  6. Mica
    Origin: Latin
    Meaning: Old friend
    Why I like it: Long-standing favourite.
  7. Cari
    Origin: Turkish
    Meaning: Flows like water
    Why I like it: Sounds nice.

Unisex

  1. Kai
    Origin: Hawaiian
    Meaning: Ocean
    Why I like itI really love the sea, so the meaning obviously draws me in, and it’s also just really simple and easy to say and remember. Kai.
  2. Fox
    Origin: English
    Meaning: …well, fox, I suppose
    Why I like it: Realistically speaking, I probably wouldn’t name my kid Fox (think of the teasing) but I just really like the name. I would legitimately name myself Fox.