Candlelit evening

I’m catching up on e-mails and came across an e-mail alert for the latest Mach Was challenge – this time it’s to do something with candles. Yeah, I know I won’t be able to think of anything original before the deadline tomorrow and then I looked around me in the living room and it’s filled with candles this evening. Our first real ‘candle evening’ this fall/winter as we watch soccer on TV (well, my daughter and Mr Esther mostly).

I took a few pictures that are not so clear but give an impression of how it is here right now: candles in front of the TV, candles on our coffee table and candles in front of our fireplace (with fire dying down)…

… a candle in our miniature Porta Nigra (replica of Roman gate in Trier)…

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…a candle in front of a picture of my kids and the candle I burn most often that is in front of a picture of my dad…

So yeah, this is a little impression of a candlelit evening in the Esther household. I think this is the quickest Mach Was post I have ever written. 😉

Let’s go fly a kite

So, I have no inspiration whatsoever to do anything with kites for the newest Mach Was challenge. I briefly thought about posting about the book The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, a book I absolutely loved when I read it a long time ago but it was a painful book to read as well. I have never been able to watch the movie of the same name, because I already found the book so painful and didn’t want to put myself through that in film. Now I see that Nell has written about the book for this challenge and Herba has written about the movie for this challenge. That lets me off the hook which is good in a way, because it’s been so long since I have read the book, I’m not sure I could have written anything sensible about it.

The only other kite thing I could think of is the kite flying in Mary Poppins! There is reference to kite flying a few times in the movie, if I recall correctly, but especially the end scene springs to mind when they sing that catchy tune.

That in turn reminds me of a scene in the movie Saving Mr Banks. The movie is about the author of Mary Poppins, P.L. Travers (played by the excellent Emma Thompson), going to Hollywood where Disney is working on making the movie and can only do so with the approval of Travers. She is not happy with the Hollywood treatment of her story, and never quite will be, but she does thaw somewhat when she hears the kite song played in rehearsals for the first time.

Apparently when the Saving Mr Banks movie was released there was also a little “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” flashmob singalong in Leicester Square.

I haven’t seen Mary Poppins Returns yet (this post is now a reminder that I maybe should) but apparently she returns in that movie bringing along the kite that the Banks family had flown!

Yep, I now have the kite song firmly planted in my head, probably for the rest of my Sunday. It’s always good to be smiling on a Sunday, isn’t it? I think I’m off for a little walk in the beautiful autumn woods this afternoon, for as long as my dizziness will let me. Without a kite, though, as it would only get caught in the trees.  Have a beautiful Sunday!

The downside to being bilingual…

The Mach Was challenge this time around is to do something with languages. I love the topic but have not had time to get around to doing anything about it yet. And now the deadline is here, and all I can think of is this post I wrote some 4 years ago about being bilingual Dutch and English. Some would say I’m trilingual because I’m quite fluent in German as well, but my German has deteriorated over the years so I just call myself ‘virtually trilingual’ now.

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Anyway, I realize it’s cheap to just repost something old but I was just starting out wth blogging when I wrote that and most people who come here now will not have read this before. Also, every word I wrote then still holds true today, right up to that writing project that I mention and still haven’t started! Reposting this is a great reminder of that project I had thought up then and I think this may now finally motivate me to take some time to interview my mother before I can’t anymore. I should at least start somewhere so I won’t have regrets later.

Happy reading, if you choose to do so!

The Book of Esther

… or almost trilingual, is that you don’t speak or write any one language perfectly!

I am Dutch, my first language was Dutch but, as I lived abroad during my childhood, I went to an English school starting at the age of 4. I’m not sure if I was already speaking English by then or whether I learned it when I was there. All I know is that my whole life I remember always being able to speak Dutch and English. The first language I could read and write in was English. We spoke Dutch at home and although I did get some Dutch lessons as a child it wasn’t until I was 16 and moved to The Netherlands that I actually started writing and reading Dutch on any regular basis.

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When I was 10 we moved to Germany. My older brothers and sisters continued their education…

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Rachid Taha : افعل شيئا

The newest Mach Was theme is to do someting with your favourite summer song. I don’t think I have a singular favourite summer song, I like very many songs, so I had no idea where to start. Then today I was in my car and I was playing the song Ya Rayah by an Algerian-French singer called Rachid Taha. It had been a while since I had last listened to it but I did today, it made me happy, and the song feels like summer to me:

So, I’m turnig this into my Mach Was theme, which is now about a few Rachid Taha songs that I enjoy, By the way, the title of this post contains the words “Do something” in Arabic, (according to Google Translate, in any case). 🙂

Like a lot of music I discover, I first discovered this song in a movie, some 7 or 8 years ago. I first heard it in this scene in this Simon Baker movie called Something New:

I really like that movie, by the way. It’s about a black woman falling for a white guy, trailer is here, but this post is about music and not movies, so I’m moving on.

I don’t listen to a lot of Arab music, but this one just caught me, I loved it. I’m thinking it’s got something to do with spending my childhood in Israel, something about it just sounded familiar and happy and sunny to me. I could just imagine this playing out loud from a car in sunny Jerusalem. To me this is a perfect summer song.

I went on to listen to more music by Rachid Taha and for at least one summer played it a lot in the car, until Mr Esther and the kids could tolerate it no more. The music is somewhat repetitive, some songs are quite long and it’s a bit like Arab music meets pop, dance and rock music. I have no idea what the songs are about, but here are a few more of Taha’s songs that I really like:

In this following song called Habina, the middle part of this song slows down (at just before 4 minutes) and sounds like a prayer chant:

One of my absolute faves of his is this one, which is basically trance music:

And this is him performing Barra Barra live. I am just now seeing that this song was apparently also used in the movie Black Hawk Down (I’ve never watched that movie). The lyrics have a bleak meaning, I see, which is I guess fitting for such a movie.

And some more songs:

Apparently Taha died last year (I didn’t know that, read it on Wikipedia). May he rest in peace!

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Thank you for the (summer) music, Rachid!

Glück

I’m just in time for the latest ‘Mach Was’ (‘Do Something’) challenge. The theme of the challenge this time around is “Glück”,  which translates to “luck” or “happiness”.  What to do with Glück, I thought, and then I let myself be inspired by all the joy and love in Hugh Jackman’s show. So, for me, for this challenge, I interpret Glück as what makes me most joyful in life, what I love most. You’d think when you read this blog that what makes me happy is fangirling and, while that is very true, what makes me happiest of all is without a doubt my family.

To me happiness is meeting Mr Esther and becoming a couple

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Mr Esther & I, one week into our relationship

…. and marrying him on our 7.5 year anniversary

Happiness is becoming a mother after the birth of my son in the summer of 2001…

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… and our first holiday together to France when he was 2 months old…

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Happiness is my daughter being born at the end of 2003…

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… and the first picture of me as a mother of two when my daughter was one day young..

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… and of us as a family of 4 when she was two days old…

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Happiness is still loving my family and them being the most important thing in my life, even now that the kids are growing up…

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Happiness is also my family I grew up with: my parents and my siblings…

… and the many memories I share with them, like a family trip I once described for another Mach Was challenge.

Last but not least, happiness is our two cats, they too are very much a part of our family. Here they are in pictures taken last week with a flower crown and a flower necklace, made by my son’s lovely girlfirend from little wildflowers growing in our garden…

It may be sappy but yes, I am lucky to have this happiness in my life and it’s nice to be reminded of that with this challenge. 🙂