The Harry Potter Book Tag

Everyone’s going wild because of Harry Potter again, and the world is as it should be! Potter and books, this tag is made for me!

I tagged myself. Thanks, me!

Important rule: You can’t use any of the HP books in the answer. (But who cares, eh?)

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A BOOK YOU FOUND THE THEME INTERESTING, BUT WOULD LIKE TO REWRITE.

On The Other Side by Carrie Hope Fletcher. The story, at least in the beginning, is set in an appartment building that serves as the waiting room for all the souls that aren’t ready to pass through their doors to heaven. Beautiful idea, beautiful cover, beautiful writer – unfortunately the writing style just really isn’t for me.

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THE FIRST BOOK IN A SERIES THAT GOT YOU HOOKED.

How can I answer this truthfully and not say Harry Potter? My dad read the books to me and my brother when we were very young; unless you count Where’s Waldo, we literally didn’t care about any sort of series before that.

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A BOOK YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE RIGHT NOW.

The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon. I am really anxious to find out what’s going to happen to Paige, and how dare you end a book on SUCH a cliffhanger and then wait two years to give me the sequel!

If you don’t know who Samantha Shannon is, then you need to read The Bone Season RIGHT NOW!

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A KILLER BOOK. BOTH SENSES. TAKE IT AS YOU LIKE.

Fools Rush In by Bill Carter. Both senses. In this gem Bill Carter shares his story of when he went to Bosnia during the war in the 1990ies where he helped distribute food and other goods and wound up filming the documentary Miss Sarajevo. I promise, this will change your life.

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A BOOK THAT YOU FOUND REALLY CONFUSING.

Hades by Alexandra Adornetto. Maybe more disturbing than confusing. All those characters not knowing what they want and being all dramatic… ergh. Gave me a headache.

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YOUR SPIRIT ANIMAL BOOK.

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. I can’t read this without picturing New-Zealandese landscapes, and it always makes me feel a bit nostalgic. That aside, the story discusses questions that I’ve always found challenging and worth thinking about. I am not kidding, I read the first book when I was ten and decided to go save the world and marry Legolas (you only throw that stupid ring into a fire, job done! Easy.) To this day I find encouragement in the idea that the smallest person can change the outcome of things. Most of what I’m doing now was at some point inspired by Sir Tolkien.

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A DARK AND TWISTED BOOK.

Of Love and Shadows by Isabel Allende. That book feels especially dark and twisted because it tells the truth. The story is set in Chile during Pinochet’s dictatorship. A young journalist discovers the mass grave of brutally murdered civilians. She spends a disturbing amount of time in that grave.

Definitely a book worth reading. Also, pro tip: Get the tissues ready!

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A BOOK THAT SURPRISED YOU IN A GREAT WAY BECAUSE IT REVEALS TO BE MORE THAN IT SEEMS.

Flat-Out Love by Jessica Parks. I assumed this would be a mere YA novel with the self-loathing teenage girl and the angsty, blond heart throb, but it turned out to be quite the opposite! Samantha and I ended up discussing this book in our book club of two more than once. (Samantha’s just this human who is obsessed with books as well)

I tag everyone who wants to do this tag! I’ll look forward to reading your answers!

Lots of love from the roots of my heart!
xxx

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Something to do with Kindness

A few days ago I watched a video by Carrie Hope Fletcher in which she describes her experiences at stage door. Given the recent events I felt that it would be wrong not to talk about this.

Carrie is an actress and is currently performing in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. In the video she talks about all the abuse that she has been given when leaving the theatre through stage door – from people physically harming her to enthusiastic fans taking away her things –, and the abuse she has been sent via social media upon not appearing at stage door at all.

The situation we currently live in appears to be one where abuse is not such a horrendous word any more, because it has become an everyday phenomenon. It has not even been two weeks since a man walked into a gay night club in Orlando and shot fifty people dead. It’s been eight months since a hundred and thirty people were killed in Paris. Three months ago more than thirty people died in a terror attack in Brussels. Two weeks ago Christina Grimmie was shot by a madman with a gun. And this is just concentrating on incidents happening in the western hemisphere.

I realise that none of these things are linked in any direct way to what Carrie Fletcher is going through. But somehow I also don’t think that there is no connection at all. I doubt that any oft he people waiting for her outside the theatre were or are members of Islamic terrorist organisations. But what I do believe is that the people who join IS or Boko Haram or who go off hurting and killing others on their own accord, those people once waited outside theatres and concert halls to meet their idols too. Those are the same people who would try and kiss someone against their will, who shout angrily when things don’t go their way – those people once could not bear to be rejected.

I’m saying this because I know that members of terrorist groups are not all African or Turks, they are Swiss, German, French and Dutch. They are people who grew up in the same surroundings we did, but who did not feel accepted, who were hurt and did not belong anywhere. And if that’s how you feel all the time, then why not punish your idol for not turning up (when she did all the other nights for all those other people). If that’s how you feel, then why not pull her hair, just to feel it – what harm will it do to you? If you’re a homosexual moslem and were never allowed to feel what you really feel, why not take that anger out on those who live the life you could have had. Your life is hardly a life, so why not destroy theirs?

There is never a reason not to be civil.

Please let that sink in. Even the stinkiest little twit deserves to be treated as a person. Bullies are usually bullied by somebody else, and the only way to break the circle is by being civil. People who shut out others shut themselves in. People who make others feel weak don’t feel strong enough. We will make the world infinitely better if we open our hearts and allow for life to come in. If we just believe to be good enough. There is never a reason not to be civil.

I went to see Les Misérables in London last August. We had some time after the show, so we went outside to stand in line at stage door. Carrie didn’t come out, and that was fine. All I wanted to do was thank her for being an inspiration. I just wanted to tell her that sometimes it is her that makes me want to finish what I started. I didn’t really care about autographs or photographs, and when she didn’t come, Inga and I went out for a drink.

What I want to say is this: Sometimes things don’t go according to plan and sometimes we are disappointed and angry – but so long as we allow that energy to flow through us we are standing only one step away from where a young man with a gun is standing. So smile. Have a drink. Watch Tangled. Hug your mum. Believe that you are good enough.

There is never a reason not to be civil.

Lots of love from the roots of my heart!
xxx

Top Tips for Exam Season

I. have. No. Time. To. Blog.
I don’t. The time is 00:20 hours, and I have just given up studying for tonight. Anyone else feeling those exams drawing closer and threatening to suffocate you? Can you already smell the failure? You have ended up on my blog, and if you’re still reading it probably means two things: 1.) you have exams coming up preeetty soon, and 2.) you haven’t really figured out how this studying thing works, or else you’d be off a blog that has a unicorn in the header image. Just saying.

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Everyone revises for exams differently, and I highly doubt that uniquely following my lead will help you pass your finals. But the way I see it, it really helps to try out new techniques every now and again. So I’ve provided a little list of things that help me revise and actually do get me through. Just pick what you find helpful and create your own study environment!

Get dressed!
I have the tendency to stay in my PJs for entire weekends. It’s comfy but I never get much done unless you count going through an entire series of Doctor Who on Netflix an achievement. So try not to feel like a slob and put something on that you haven’t slept in recently. If you’re anything like me, you’ll go for the most comfortable thing your wardrobe has to offer, like a fresh set of pajamas. You can even leave out the bra, but dress up a little.

Eat Eat Eat!
Last month I did a sugar detox and it made me realise how very often I just leave out a meal and have a chocolate bar instead. Don’t do that while preparing for exams. Even if you’re behind schedule, take your time to have a proper breakfast. You need energy to stay focused, and studying with an empty stomach sucks.

Clean your room!
Having dirty laundry lying around on the floor and empty yoghurt cups stacking on my desk destracts me very much from studying. It’s just not a comfortable environment to work in, so before you get started clean up your mess. It also gives you a feeling of having achieved something already and that’s a motivating starter!

Have no unfinished business
What I mean is, before you get started check your social media one last time. Text your crush, post an emoticon in that group chat, go through your Instagram feed… whatever it takes to be up to date. Then turn off your notifications! Nothing groundbreaking is going to happen in the next two hours, and Facebook and co will only distract you. I missed two calls from my boss yesterday, and I assume he called because he wanted me to take more shifts over the summer. This seems fairly important, but he will understand.

But social media aside, also remember to feed your pets, pay your bills and let the cleaning lady in before you start. It’s those small chores that will distract you later when you get stuck somewhere.

Don’t let the sun come in
It’s almost summer, and that means that it’s sunny outside and warm and if you’re living next to a camping place, like me, you might be hearing lots of cheerful voices and that annoyingly feel-good latino music. And it makes you want to be out there and live! Well, you can’t. Here’s what I do: I shut the blinds to get the sun out. I then turn on the soundtrack of the 5th series from Doctor Who and pretend I’m working on a master plan to save the world. Alternatively you can also use 007-background music or whatever else catches your fancy. Believe me, it feels so good!

Believe in the magic of colours
If stationary excites you like it excites me (a helluva lot!) then buy some new, shiny sharpies and use them! I waste a lot of time drawing graphs and highlighting words very carefully, and I realise that a lot of this time could be invested otherwise – but I need that. I like my notes to not only look tidy but also pretty. Colours supposedly help your memory, so go all the way!

Don’t force yourself
Last weekend was supposed to include hours and hours of revision; but fate had it that I should wake up with a headache and sore throat that saturday morning. I ended up spending three days pretty much asleep. My health is more important than any exam! That’s your mantra! Even if you’re not sick with the flu, remember that you are allowed to take breaks. If you’re really stuck, don’t go on Youtube or Tumblr, take a conscious break – go for a walk, take a nap, even watch an episode from The Big Bang Theory; anything to relax your brain!

 Plan ahead
To-Do lists really help keeping track of what you want to and can achieve in a day. Make sure you know what you need to be prepared for, then decide what you want to study for just today!

 Decide what to study for
Ah yes, if you are anything like me you are lagging behind. I have to say, though, that I have not been massively procrastinating fort he past 3 months; but having two jobs and planning to write a theatre play and having filled my curriculum to the brim with courses, I just never had the time to get anything done properly. There is no way I will score exceedingly high points in any of the exams to come, but hope is not lost. If you find yourself in a similar situation, pick a number of subjects to really focus on and leave out the rest. That way you’ll feel more confident during the actual exam as well; better to know a few things well than know a little bit about everything.

Summarise!
Don’t just read something and go, «Yup! Got it!» Chances are, you didn’t get it. Writing things down helps your memory and makes you sort out the important facts.

You will be fine, I’m sure! Because the primary thing to remember ist hat failing an exam is not failing life! Let me tell you a little story:

Fifteen-Year-Old Me was very worried about getting into a really good high school. But because Fifteen-Year-Old Me had been to three different secondary schools within the same year, there was no way she would achieve the grades to get in. So Fifteen-Year-Old Me did another year with the bullies and hateful teachers in that silly old secondary school and decided again to try for this high school she wanted to go to. Fifteen-Year-Old Me was pretty smart, I think in retrospect, because this time ’round she made it. But instead of starting that school right that summer, Fifteen-Year-Old Me went on exchange to New Zealand, something she would not have been able to do otherwise. The friends I found I am still in touch with today. I learned English which comes like a first language to me today and has opened so many doors for me; heck, it made that blog possible in the first place! I did eventually go to that high school I’d applied for, just when a new history teacher started, who made me want to study the subject. It was the same summer Anna started her career there, as did many other lovely faces that I might not have otherwise noticed.

I failed an exam, but I won at life!

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Good luck to anyone who has exams over the next couple of months! I hope this offers a bit of help and guidance.

Lots of love from the revision pit!
xxx

Last But Not Least: Day Fifteen

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I’m wearing a T-shirt that says Buy Me Some Peanuts And Crackerjacks. We’re walking along the moat and we find the ruins of a cathedral. I think I like ruined cathedrals much better because you can actually see the sky, and maybe god sits up there in the clouds or maybe he doesn’t, but the sky is so big and vast and full of wonder that it makes me feel tiny and giddy with joy to be alive. We’re dancing tot he music on the street. We find a bookshop. We have lunch in the backyard of a tiny café. Our laughter is still ringing in my ears. I finally buy my own peanuts. And ice cream. I’m sure heaven is paced with ice cream.

(Quote: J.R.R. Tolkien)

My Weird Obsession With Dinosaurs

It’s confession time! I don’t know why I have the urge to talk about this now, but I think I need to come clean at some point anyway: I have a weird obsession with dionsaurs. *awkward background chirping*
To be fair, who doesn’t! Dinosaurs are awesome – they are real life dragons, they are massive, and evolution turned them into FRIGGIN’ CUTE LIL BIRDS! Way to go, T-Rex!

My love for dinosaurs derives from the children’s movie series The Land Before Time – whose hero Littlefoot was as much a rolemodel to me as Snow White or Aladdin (I thought he was a babe!). Every toy dinosaur I owned was essentially called Littlefoot because Littlefoot is not only bloody cute, he’s also very loyal and wise and good with the advice. I mean…

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Please bare with me on this post, I feel like it’s 99% a virtual word vomit.

I think it’s fairly alright for a child to obsess over things – I did, after all, discuss at length the beauty of Eragon’s hair with a twelve-year old recently. But I can’t deny that I have a slight tendency to go over the top. I pretty much forced my friends to visit the dinosaur museum in Switzerland when I was sixteen and made them take all sorts of ridiculous photographs  of me posing with the fossils. I’m pretty sure they’re still hating me for this.

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But, it’s just – there are so many great movies about dinosaurs! Growing up, every other movie was a dinosaur movie: The Land Before Time, Dinosaur, Dinotopia, Dawn oft he Dinosaurs, One of our Dinosaurs is Missing – and it is totally legitimate to watch The Good Dinosaur while waxing your legs! I AM THE EQUIVALENT OF ROSS GELLER, DON’T JUDGE ME! I’m just not as smart. My knowledge about dinosaurs ends with the distinction between T-Rex and the rest of ’em.

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I have a dinosaur sticker on my glasses and I just ordered an inflatable dinosaur to take swimming with me in the summer, and that’s a little insane, and that’s okay. I bet you have a weird obsession, something that makes your heart beat faster and that gets you excited. We should all be excited more often, it makes for a happier place.

Also, if history repeats itself, then I am SO getting a dinosaur!

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Lots of love from the roots of my heart!
xxx

Last But Not Least: Day Fourteen

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The dragons are everywhere, scattered across town. They don’t look anything like the mythical creatures in the stories that I love so much, Eragon or Harry Potter. But I love them anyway. They just stand there, amidst tourists and busy shoppers, and the sun makes them glimmer and glitter in an almost unrealistic way.

It feels a bit like magic; everything is old and beautiful, and every other shop window seems to be full of books. We sit down on the foot of a dragon wearing a deerstalker, and we listen to the music of a violinist playing and swirling, and he reminds me a bit of a shooting star.

(Quote: Terry Pratchett)

Last But Not Least: Day Thirteen

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Everything is a little out of place here. The shops, the advertisements, the tourists, me. The streets probably haven’t changed since the middle ages, and it startles me to think that some things still remain after everything that has happened. You would think the world should have gone up in smoke by now, but there are ancient buildings that some architect came up with eight hundred years ago, and no one has ever dared touch them. I don’t think we are quite capable of not caring about art and beauty, and maybe that’s why we can never be fully destroyed. Because there will always be that one street that stays, unnoticed maybe, but filled to the brim with memories and heart.

(Quote: Maggie Stiefvater)

Meet: Anna

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Anna in three words: Reliable, Funny, Thoughtful
Anna’s dream dinner party guests: The Queen, Matt Bellamy, J.K. Rowling
Anna’s favourite post: 10 Years of Lovely Letters
Anna reads: Top with Cinnamon

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Hello lovey-dovey folks! ’tis I, Noemi, and I am so excited to introduce you to one of my favourite bloggers, Anna! Some of you already met her when we were doing Blogmas together; so of course I could not resist and asked her for an interview. She did a really good job, as you’ll see, so pop over to her Blog and say hi.

Anna and I met in High School seven years ago where we were friendly but not friends. We had, however, the same two best friends, and they decided to leave us in the gutter and go on exchange. You can see where this is going, right? Around that time I had just discovered my love for James Blunt and when I found out he was doing a concert in Switzerland I wanted to go so bad! Alas, my best friend was busy partying in the US – BUT ANNA WASN’T! She agreed to go, and I in turn wound up going to a Hurts concert with her. Actually, she’s dragged me to at least three – but thus, our friendship was born. Heart warming, isn’t it?

Anna’s blog is called Tiny Trinket and it launched in 2014. It contains the bits and bobs of everyday life, thoughts and inspirations that haunt every twenty-year old, cat loving journalism student. She loves writing without having any reason to do so; and when you study something as fancy as JOURNALISM AND ORGANISATIONAL COMMUNICATION you are probably given LOADS of reasons to write, and I bet they’re not all as entertaining as observations of people at the gym or tellings of easter adventures at chocolate factories! On her little internet niche Anna is free to ramble, and she loves it!

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Anna, apart from writing beautifully, is an amazing baker. In fact, I’ve already hired her to make the cake at my wedding (who needs a husband when there’s cake, right?). Back in High School we only had two classes together, and I remember those wednesday mornings in history, when she’d present me golden cupcakes and raspberry slices. She really made me love history classes! In the future Anna would love to post more recipes, and when she does I’ll volunteer to be the test eater and review them!

If Anna had the entire world’s attention for just one minute she would tell people to stop fighting over economic interests or religion. Afterwards she’d blush to a tomato sort of red because the entire world is watching her, and then she’d blush even more because she’s blushing, and then… well, you get the picture! Anna is all for the world being a brighter place, which is why she would love for Harry Potter to come to life. He fights for a good cause, doesn’t he! (although The Independent did call him a «whiny sprog whose main achievement is not dying» … lol… what?)

Every summer Anna goes somewhere new with the friends she met when doing equestrian vaulting (that’s right, she can do friggin’ stunts while being on a horse!). Some of her favourite memories derive from these travels; for example that one time in Prague when they came out of a club at five in the morning and it was raining so hard they had to take off their shoes, and they ran through the Old Town back to the hostel, laughing all the way. Another time the girls were backpacking in Ireland and had an AMAZING meal in Letterfrack. Anna just remembers being so, so hungry after an entire day of cycling, and that pasta tasted, in John Green’s words, «like God Himself cooked heaven into a series of five dishes»!

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Anna’s just this really sweet person, wrapped up in smiles and bubbliness and all things pretty. She is the personification of a tiny trinket! And she can throw around smart expressions like no one – I asked her what her favourite word was, and it’s «Endoplasmic Reticulum». Try and bring that up in a conversation!

I love Anna and I love her blog, and you, too, should go give her some L-O-V-E! (and now I’ve got One Direction stuck in my head – «well if it was me/I wooouuuld!»)

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Lots of love from the roots of my heart!
xxx

Sexy Books: The White Goddess by Simon Gough

Just read: The White Goddess: An Encounter by Simon Gough

 Just to be clear, when I say «Just read» I really mean that I read this book over a period of seven months. Does this tell you enough?

I bought it at Blackwell’s in Oxford last summer, and if you don’t know Blackwell’s, it’s a gigantic book store and they had the BRILLIANT idea of offering their customers blind dates with books. They wrap the books up and write a little something about them on the paper, and you choose one that sounds appealing to you. That way you don’t judge the books by its cover. They also don’t give you the blurb but really just tell you why it is awesome. So I put total faith in the booksellers and ended up with Simon Goughs memoir.

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«When 10-year-old Simon Gough went to Majorca in 1953 he thought he had landed in paradise. Far from the misery of his English boarding school and his parent’s divorce, he fell in love – with the tiny village of Deya, with his wild cousin Juan and most of all with his beloved ”Grand-Uncle” Robert Graves.

When he returned in 1960, paradise had been overrun by beatniks and marijuana – and Simon liked it all the more. But soon he fell for the enchanting Margot Callas, Robert Graves’ muse. He found himself entangled in a web of lies and deceit and playing a game whose rules he didn’t understand. The repercussions would haunt him for the rest of his life.

The White Goddess: An Encounter is a mesmerising tale of sex, lies and divided loyalties. Set between the magic of a bohemian Majorca and the horror of Franco’s Madrid, it is a haunting evocation of a lost time and place, dominated by the extraordinary power of Robert Graves, one of the 20th century’s greatest writers.»

There were some very intriguing things about this book. First of all, it’s really a memoir but it is written in the style of a novel. It’s very captivating at first and fort he first 162 pages it’s impossible to put down. That is because the first part of the book (162 pages) describes Simon’s childhood when he visited his uncle in Majorca. It all feels very surreal and insane and beautiful. It takes you right to Spain and makes you crave the ocean and paella and crazy relatives. (and I don’t even like paella all that much. But after reading this I can’t stop thinking about it!)

The only thing wrong with the book is that the author didn’t finish the book there. Oh no, seven years later he’s back, an angst ridden teenager, filled to the brim with hormones and uncontrollable lust. AND OF COURSE HE FALLS IN LOVE! Oh, and not just with any girl, nope! His heart’s desire is his grand-uncle’s twenty-four year old lover! Feel disgusted yet?

As you can probably guess, Margot (the girl’s name) and Simon have a somewhat complicated relationship. They each start living in Madrid and they hang out from time to time, and whenever they don’t he turns into Bella Swan. You know, Spain was under dictatorship at the time, you’d think there were more things to worry about. Nah, Simon only cares about why Margot will not comply to his clinginess.

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It just got way too much for me and I had to pick up something else to read. I mean, seriously, at one point he rips a corpse’s head off and gives it to Margot as a symbol of his undying love for her. What… WHY?! Is this a guy thing? – Boys, never ever under any circumstances give me a human head! I’ll go out with you for chocolates, I swear!
Why I kept reading I’ll never know.

This incident aside, the most disturbing part for me, was the end. See, now I’m torn between bringing on the spoilers and letting people find out for themselves. I’ll cut it short: Margot runs off, Simon gets in a fight with his uncle, the end. ALL THAT DRAMA AND HE DOESN’T EVEN GET THE GIRL! Damn it, Simon!

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I have been holding all that in for quite some time, believe me! On the plus side, there are some characters that made it worth my time. For instance, Beryl, Simon’s aunt. She’s just so down to earth and sweet and kind, and geez, that woman is patient! She doesn’t mind the least that her husband is having an affair with this young bimbo. He calls Margot his «Muse» and she totally goes along with it. And then there’s also Stella, some girl who spends her holidays in Majorca, and she said what I kept thinking the entire time: «It’s better than moping around like a love-sick idiot,» she retorted. «You’re quite a pair, you and Robert, both pining after the same woman – sorry –goddess–!» Oooh, burnn!

Well, I think Simon should have gone after Stella. The two or three times she appeared she seemed very cool and grounded, and, man, I wish there was a book about her instead!

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I need to stop now because I could rant on forever and ever, and then I’d miss my lecture, and then I would not know enough about the exciting world of Slavic philology.

Have a good rest of the week everybody!
Lots of love from the roots of my heart,
xxx

The header image has nothing to do with the book. I just like Sangria (and it’s Spanish, that counts, right?)

Last But Not Least: Day Twelve

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My goal has been to write at least one sentence a day, and so far I have always written more than just the one, but I keep thinking that maybe one sentence might have said it all; yet, if I let this sentence stand alone, it is not going to help me remember Cambridge very well. When did my diary become a place of endless rambling? I’ve got Inga for that. Not to self: this is the reason you don’t travel alone!

Three days ago I was being poetic, today my brain is vomitting all over the place.

It’s really pretty here (wow, what a precise description!), and I had a Nutella/Marshmallow crêpe, and the guy selling it to me flirted a little bit which, in turn, made me feel pretty. And every person I see on the street might be part of the Brainy Elite. They must have the sort of brains who can keep their shit together.

I should probably talk to Inga now and stop rambling to myself. #SOCIALISE