October 26, 2010

The weekend in Paris :)

I am so unbelievably slow at writing these things... I need to make it part of my routine or something :)  So, more than two full weeks after going to Paris I'll finally write about it :P

First things first... I meant to book the bus tickets for Saturday morning but on Friday night, about 3 hrs before my friend Anastasia and I were supposed to be on the bus, we realized that I had booked the wrong itinerary - one that we'd looked at (cost the same price) but had kinda decided against and rushed off.  In the end, I think I preferred it, but it was a bit of a panicked rush to get ready! :P

Well, we made it to the bus on time and amazingly the travel time was less than expected too - only 3.5 hours!  It even passed relatively quickly while Anastasia and I played multiple games including eye-spy, 20 questions, name that capital and countries by letter, before resorting to actually chatting, listening to music and on my part - knitting!  I guess my time on buses with children this summer has taken its effect and I can't sit still and be mature (not that I could do that before).

When we did get to Paris... it was 11:30ish and we were tired, but especially hungry and in need of a washroom.  I think our excitement won out though as we headed down a street in a sorta directed way.  We walked for a while until we finally encountered a street sign that let us know where we were and where we needed to go!  So we set out - determined to walk our way to Becky's place (which should have only been a 45 min walk).  Of course in the end we managed to make a wrong turn (or a dozen) and, out of need, made a pit stop at a restaurant to have our first taste of french food and drink! :P  Well... we shared hummus while Anastasia had cheap wine and I had coffee (i somehow managed to order decaf.  which was prob a good idea as it was then pushing midnight).  After that, we managed to get on track with directions and make it to where we could rest our feet for the next 2 nights!  Becky was still up and we chatted about plans, the bus etc etc.  Then, Anastasia and I made up the couch and mattress and settled down to not sleep because we were of course way too excited!  I think we finally drifted off around 2:00am :P.

The next morning we were up bright and early!  Then out the door to do the most walking in one day that I think i've ever done (and that's saying a lot...)!  We started off close by with a daily market - wandering through to see if we wanted to buy our dinner right off - but decided we should probably listen to our rumbling stomachs and find a place to breakfast first!  We went to a cute café and had expresso (which is what it seems to be called in France, not espresso) and savory treats - cheese and veggies on different types of bread.  But we couldn't sit and linger too long, we had an abundance of sights and places to see and be!  So, off we went to the first one on the list.  But first... to figure out the Parisian metro :P

Le Montmartre is an area in the north of Paris (where they had a wine festival that weekend) - so that was our first destination.  We got to test out many different types of reds, whites and rosés as well as a selection of fruit and dessert wines.  Most of them were very yummy :) and it was definitely a nice change from all of the beer in Belgium.  We also checked out the area a bit - the Sacré Coeur - and admired the music and dancing that accompanied the festival.  There were lots of stands displaying sausages, cheeses, and many other delights, but I managed not to buy anything.  I got a couple free candies and Becky and I tried our luck at a little quiz on the champagne area of France (which was in french of course) and had very specific questions about dates and things.  Somehow we managed to get 50% right!  Also there, were a variety of dressed up men and woman in very pretty costumes but unfortunately creepy gold masks.  Ah well... life can't be perfect can it? :P  While we were in the area, we figured that we should stop by the gigantic cemetery too.  Anastasia searched out the tomb of the famous Dalida and we took a few pics after the tour group that we had momentarily joined had moved along on its way.  It was neat to see all of the beautifully decorated graves - so much more extravagant than what we have back home.

Some other things that we happened across in our wanderings were a wall d'amour - with LOVE written in all languages imaginable on it :), a bench in a lovely wooded road with a heart shaped post it note saying "You are beautiful" and a statue of a man walking out of the wall which we have no clue about the story behind.  More metro-ing, and more walking later, we were at the Moulin Rouge to take some photos and then off again to view l'avenue des Champs-Élysées and l'Arc de Triomphe!  Many pics were taken, but we didn't stop very long to really find out much about the monuments.  After all this, it was getting kinda late and we hadn't had lunch or supper... so it was time to search out food!  We ended up looking lost and having a very helpful stranger drag us into a health food store to chat to us for a very long time in both english and french about the restaurants in the area.  He ended up saying that there were no vegetarian places nearby so we ended up going to a pizza place for me that we saw up the road.  And guess what?  It was fully vegetarian :P.  So I got my pizza there and Anastasia and Becky went to a durum place where they could get something a bit more meaty.

I think we'd tired Becky out a bit - it doesn't sound like much, but we'd pretty much been all over Paris already.  So we decided we'd pick up dessert and eat it at the place we were staying.  I had a yummy flan and tea and then Anastasia and I got the crazy idea into our heads to walk to the Eiffel tower (a 1.5 hr walk if you knew where you were going).  So we left the place at 22:00 ...  and got to the Eiffel tower 3 hrs later.  The destination was kinda disappointing but as they say, the journey is the important part.  And what a journey it was!

The most obvious route to walk (and definitely the prettiest) was along la Seine...  so that's what we took.  It was amazing.  So pretty to see the stars shining in the water and the architecture in the background along the way.  Just before le notre dame de paris, we stumbled across some squares near the water that were crowded with people dancing and different styles of music.  We stopped to watch at the first one - with some folksy styling provided by an accordion and a guitar and ended up joining in on the fun!  Ah, it was great!  We so were not wearing the clothes to dance and we'd been walking all day... but it was the perfect addition to a trip to Paris.  It all ended with a group dance which we learned on the go - and chatted with all of our various partners in French.  We stayed there longer than we should have - until the last dance was over and the music was fading out.  I think we have to go back just for the dancing and atmosphere!  Then we picked up and continued our walk along la Seine.  Out of the blue, I heard my name and was sorta attacked from behind...  it was one of my friends from UBC who I had studied french with.  Of all the nights and rivers in Paris we just happened to be there at the same time!  So we stopped once again - this time to chat and plan other possible trips for the future!  We listened to an amazing singer who came up and joined in (or rather took over) a tune that had been stirring, only to wander off again down the path.  Then we decided that it really was getting late and we should continue on our route to la Tour Eiffel.  Somehow we completely missed le musée du Louvre which was on the other bank of the river.  But that's just another reason to go back to Paris - right? :D

We finally managed to catch one of the last night buses home after seeing the tower and settled down very quickly to sleep after such a long day of activity!  The next morning, was had a wonderful pre-brunch of crèpes at another market!  Then we wandered through the aisles and secured ourselves some 'dead mice' aka wild dried figs.  They were actually quite pleasant - and we haven't been able to find any in Brussels, thought the search hasn't yet been called off.  For actual lunch, I had cheese cake and expresso, but their version of cheese cake is quite different.  It was pretty egg-y and fluffy and not that sweet.  Becky had some chocolate creation and Anastasia had an eclair.  There wasn't even have a washroom :P (which is one of the more important reasons you usually go sit and eat in a café here).  Then we moved on to explore randomly for a bit and window shop.  I tried on a couple dresses - nothing quite right, but Anastasia found a pair of boots!  Yay.  And then we need to head off on the metro to find our way to the bus station.  Wow - that day seemed to go by really fast.

The bus ride back was nice... with it actually being light out, we could see the French countryside!  We passed some pretty neat graffiti, lots of fields and some windmills!!!  I think I also finally got some well deserved sleep :)  And then we were back home in Brussels - I guess it takes you going away to realize that you have started to call it "home".

October 11, 2010

The last 3 weeks... month? (Original post Oct.4)

Sorry that I haven't updated you guys at all... I have had things to do you know :P
Well... now it's time to think back over that time and let you in on what I've been up to!

First week I was pretty lonely. I hung out with my landord (Sabine) and her son (Boris) the first couple days. On the first Saturday, Sabine and I explored a bit and she showed me where she buys her yarn. So I got enough for a couple projects and now have a new scarf, toque and mittens and am working on legwarmers! Besides the shopping, we explored the city and downtown... the palais du roi, le forêt, la grand place and mannequin piste. It was such blur. We went to all of the sites that tourists go to and some more obscure places all in the span of one afternoon and I took pictures and tried to record it all so I could go back and visit later on! We walked for over 5 hours in the end and did a round tour - visiting her sister at the market where she sells the clay whistles that her husband makes. Then on Monday, Boris and I went to see the university and the supermarket :P. Now I can get to both with a blindfold on and my hands tied behind my back! (Which is important when you have class at 8am and leave before the sun is up and the brain is on!) Then, they both left - one for vacation and the other to move into his own place (out of the room that I am now occupying!) so I was left to my own devices... much of which was attempting to get used to the time change and then completely messing it up again after a couple days lonely brooding and the discovery of my new best friend; Skype! Yeah, I still miss you guys - but luckily my days are a little fuller for the time being :) and can't talk to you in the middle of my night which is your day anymore...

The second week here I finally made a friend! Well... sorta reconnected with an old one. Anastasia! (she goes to UBC and we met once at a prep session for go global) After we met up, we were inseperable :P Not only were we both from Vancouver and some of the only native English speakers around, we also didn't really know anyone else our gender and age in the country! It was very nice to complete together - one task a day - the things we needed to get done. First, a bus pass for me! The next day a bank account for Nastia. The next an attempt at one for me. Then on to shopping for more essentials. Everything closes so early (and we wake up so late :P) that by the time you get anywhere it's time for things to close up. The latest the supermarket is open is 8:00 - and that's the big one. Most shops close at 6:00 and only the very expensive "Night Shops" are open on Sundays at all. Oh, and the markets too (which are only on during the weekend). So, next thing Anastasia and I know, we're hunting down a carpet together! We snabbed an awesome deal somewhere downtown that we'll probably never stumble over again as we were wandering and not quite but nearly lost at the time. We then has to haul it back to Anastasia's house of course, so through the city, onto the metro, hanging out on the tram and then dragged down the street went the rug only to find itself getting trampled on! It looks so nice and homey sitting there in Nastia's living room - after we tried like ten different arrangements of the furniture and itself that is! Ohhh.. and the corn on the cob that they were selling just down the block from the carpet stall was way too tempting as well - we both had an ear! And that's only the first market we've been to - we found pillows yesterday which also made a long journey before finding a comfy spot on our respective beds. More market trips in order you think?

Let's see; what else has happened here? Most days before classes started I spent either attempting to get tasks done or just deciding to wander around and see where I ended up. I stumbled across many things that I would have wanted to look up and search out later on anyway. A cute little knitting shop that will provide my with the wool for my next big project - a sweater for Robin. Tea in the window of a shop, reminding me that I really need to buy some! A nice sweater that's the perfect weight to keep me warm but not sweating. Finally, a shop that had a travel mug! (Apparently people just don't take things with them here and actually take time to drink their beverage wherever they are before they leave for the day. But me? Why wake up 5 mins earlier so I can drink my tea before I leave the house? Are you crazy...? I'd much rather carry it with me). In the end - I found everything that I needed and maybe a couple added bonuses too.

Then, just before classes started I decided it might be a good idea to figure out the campus! Sure, it's not UBC (it's about a 5 min walk walk from one end to the other) but it's almost as complicated a labyrinth! It's full of pretty buildings just like the rest of the country - so old and historical :P. However, the numbering system of said buildings is quizzical at best. It seems as though the organizers randomly went through the alphabet and ended up with the letters A to S on the doors in no particular pattern! Oh, and then there are the "R" buildings, which don't necessarily exist on the map of campus we were given. They sit on periphery, just off campus, and are accompanied by a number (ex/ R42) which eventually helps them make a bit more sense than all the other alphabetical ones (once you're told what the R means that is). Also, we have pidgins! It was very exciting to see these familiar birds following me the first few days looking for a meal... they're not quite as tame or numerous as the ones at UBC though. Ah, an interesting tidbit: In the arts and philo building (my 'main' building) there's a door with this sign on it "ceci n'est plus un porte". I found it hilarious as the translation is "this is no longer a door" ; apparently it's having an identity crisis...

I guess this leads me to the start of classes. As I think I've mentioned before - this country is so slow moving! Conversely to home, where we rush around to meet deadlines, I feel that they are so relaxed here that they would actually enjoy sitting there watching paint dry. For the 'normal' students... the schedule is all arranged including the choice of said elective at this time and place or the said other elective at that time and place. They decide what they are going to study and are given a course load that corresponds, where they study with a relatively small group of people that are doing the same thing. Us though, the "étudiants INcoming" (exchange students - or - erasmus ... who are actually quite numerous considering the small student population at the uni) are left to our own devices. The intro meetings for many of the faculties are actually not held until days or weeks after the start of classes. I was lucky with philo et lettres. I got my meeting the Friday before classes started, so I had all weekend to prepare :P And now - it's been two weeks and I still haven't battened down the hatches and sworn into a definite schedule with set classes. I hopefully will get that all sorted soon! I really need to know which homework I need to do and which I can ignore :). As of now I've just completed none of it!

I am however certain (or fairly) that I'm in a 60hr french course that will get me 5ECTS (european version of credits). After being tested and being put in a group called 'trop fort', searching out the meeting place to find out what we were supposed to do with said news - and then being told to go to a completely different place to actually get my answer, i believe i was placed in a class - which was originally not the assumption at all. They could probably make their instructions clearer if they didn't try to organize at all. Now all we have to figure out is where the class is actually going to be held! No worries... it doesn't start until Tuesday (tomorrow) morning - i think... ;P

And now for a couple of fun things that are completely random and maybe a little strange:

I've started a sort of collection of street signs! I found "rue de laines" , "rue de canada" , "rue de henri marichal" and "rue de fritz toussaint" and currently have pictures of them all! The first is the street of wool! The second is sorta self explanatory. The third is the street on which i currently reside. The fourth is one I've walked down many times and I believe is translated as "something - all saint" but makes my thing of coughing fries :P because the verb for cough in french is 'tousser' and fritz is a fry place in vancouver! :P Okay... I told you this was random and strange.

I found guarana! It’s something I haven’t had since I was 12 and in Brazil... I never scoped it out in Canada but wasn't expecting to come across it in Europe... at a yummy 'moroccan' place in Belgium for that matter! The food was also good, but finding the guarana was a real bonus! Also, Anastasia and I found out a couple important things about dining out in Belgium that day. 1. There is no tax. If your meal costs 5€49 then it costs 5€49 ... and 2. Tips don’t exist. Not only do they completely not expect them, they don’t know what they are :P We had to explain it to the guy at the restaurant and he was flattered but didn’t know what to do with it. He ended up putting it in a little donation box he had for some charity :)

Some other food that I’ve tried here and completely enjoyed is stuffed pizza @ the metro (the main bus/tram/train etc station :P). It’s quite yummy and not badly priced. Also, a sorta falafel wrap that I had at some random ‘snack’ downtown. It’s kinda confusing.... any place that serves food but isn’t really sit-down or ‘full’ meal service is called a ‘Snack’ – they may serve pizza, waffles or durum or any other random variety. They’re usually quite cheap and satisfying :P. We also have McDonalds and Pizza Hut which I haven’t gone to – plus some randoms which seem to be chains... Quick (a fast food place exactly like McDs) and Hector’s Chicken – neither of which I’ve ventured into. Of course I’ve also tried a billion varieties of the countries famous waffles and even some Belgian fries, chocolate and beer. I’ve decided that I still don’t like beer! Though I must admit that the Kreik (cherry beer) and the raspberry beer actually weren’t that bad. :) The cheese on the other hand is extremely yummy – there's not really any cheddar, but so many french creamy cheeses... brie, camembert and double crème, oh my!

An interesting tidbit about Brussels is the Carfree Day. It’s every 2nd Sunday of the month I believe and quite a success. Only taxes and busses run and the streets are filled with pedestrians and bicyclers and a couple of other wheeled but engineless varieties of transport. It was neat to walk by and have a hoard of bicyclers pass you on the road. Apparently if you pay an exorbitant fee you can drive your car around... but not many were seen and with so many ppl in the road it’s almost silly to even try to drive without plowing them down.

To those of you who are worried that I’ve been letting some things go, don’t worry! I’ve been tapping and jazz dancing my troubles away! I’ve secured tap classes at ‘fred academy’ which are quite entertaining, challenging and just downright enjoyable, as well as modern jazz at the uni (with other classes soon to join when my school schedule is sorted). Not much to say really, but it is so nice to have dance! Speaking of, I must touch on my one attempt to “go out” dancing. Anastasia and I went the Club de la Nostalgie, which was kind of a let down. The music was pleasant (if at an annoyingly loud level like all clubs) but, you full of smokers - inside on the dancefloor. :( I ended up having to shower multiple times to get the smell out of my hair and toughed it out only for an hour or so before I had to leave and to avoid the risk of death by smoke inhalation :P Luckily there was no cover charge! Just an enforced and mandatory coat check... Plus, it led us to find the yummy falafel place that I mentioned earlier!

Oooo... and, I bought Brussels sprouts! In Brussels! How cool is that? :D

I think that's about it for now! I have finally confirmed a couple of classes that i want to stay in... and guess who the lucky person is that has homework? ...yeah, it's me!

First few days (original post Sept.8)

Alors, Je suis arrivée!

My flight(s) were long and not uneventful.  For those who haven't heard, my departure was delayed an hour and a bit because of a loading problem with the luggage onto our plane and previous ones.  Thus, after many assurances that they could make up the time and land pretty much on schedule, we landed an hour late and I missed my connecting flight to Brussels :( .   I was re-booked without a problem at Heathrow for 1:50 flight rather than 12:35 (which is of course 8 hrs ahead of Vancouver time).  I then waited to see which gate i would need to head to - which was posted on the boards about an hour before my departure :D.  In the mean time I payed for internet at the airport and managed to get the phone number of my landlord - who was to pick me up from Brussels International, send her an email and give everyone a very quick update on my travels... before my computer totally ran out of power :P

And so...  I caught the 40 minute flight to Brussels, which seemed very short after 10 hrs on a plane!  But figuring out how to bus to my place?  Really not going to happen when it's about 5:00 am, you've gotten 1.5 hrs of sleep and you can't do it in your own language.  My poor landlord ♥ Sabine had come to the airport and waited almost an hour before despairing and returning to her abode to find my email about the missed connection.  But there were positives of the experience.  I learned how to use a payphone in Brussels (with a credit card!) and took my first taxi outside of Québec :).

It was a very quick drive (I'm convinced the driver sped the whole way :P) but it was also quite pleasant for conversation and a huge plus that i probably saved a bunch of euros!

And then, j'étais chez moi!  Sabine and her son Boris were very welcoming and we ate dinner together after i unpacked, explored a bit and signed my forms!  I now have a home for the next 10 months and am awaiting the flatmates' arrival to see how much i'll be staying at the abode ;P jk jk

Oh, I guess I could give a bit of info on those guys.  The boys are named Boris et Luis.  Apparently they are both 18 and are studying engineering at ULB.  That's about all I know for now except that Boris speaks very little English and I'm not sure if Luis speaks any at all.

On to school matters for a bit.  I'll be studying at l'Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) for the year, taking courses in French and Spanish.  The system is very different from the one at UBC and some would even say that it is "disorganized" ...  One thing that I find cool is that you attend whichever courses you want - as many as you want for a couple weeks and then decide which ones are interesting to you and thus you want to take.  Then, you fill in a form (on paper!) and submit it to the offices.  Also, their sports card is 40€ and with that I can do all their classes all year! Anything that I want... which includes: modern jazz, tango, salsa, stretching, yoga, oriental dance, etc. etc. :D

I'm still getting used to people not understanding English here :S. Plus, the second language is flemish... so those that learn another language learn néerlandais.  And that is something that I really need to work on :P.  So far all I know is that if a word has straat on the end it means it's a street.  So I live on Henri Marichal St.

I didn't venture out much yesterday or today. Jetlag is still prominent in my life and my sleeping schedule is as wacked as it's ever been :P.  I did go out on my own today though... 5 minutes up the street to the grocery store :P.  I now have a ten ride bus pass! Yay! (and food too)  Tomorrow it will be over to the university to get my student card and other stuff done and then on to downtown and city hall to register my temporary residence and get an identity card.  Other things I'm considering pretty important are opening a bank account and getting a cellphone and plan.  Along with non-essentials like buying clothes and yarn!

Oh, just to give an idea of where I live... it's a 20 min walk from my house to the University and a 30 min bus in the other direction to downtown!  Not too bad - especially now that I can take busses.  Mayhaps I can get a permanent bus pass with the uni!  The address is Rue Henri Marichal, 43, 1050 Bruxelles in case you are interested.

Last details for the future as it now stands...  I'm not planning on returning to Vancouver for Christmas - it's just too expensive.  But I am planning on hopping over to England for a visit.  Other than that my plans for travel are very vague.  I really want to go to Venice and pretty much everywhere else, so I'm looking forward to meeting some ppl who will accompany me :D.  Hopefully very often on the weekends!
That's all for now folks.  Enjoy!

March 24, 2010

Cuarto y final cuarto de “Cien años”

Está parte me hace pensar en el necesito interminable de sobrevivir – es una de las calidades instintivas de los seres humanos. Hasta después de muchos años de lluvia e aislamiento de las familias, encuentran maneras de sobrevivir – cada persona su propia. En cierto modo, el tiempo pasa, pero también, nada cambia en absoluto. Es, de nuevo, el circula de violencia y de la vida. En capitulo 16 es como una reformación del pueblo de Macondo – con sus costumbres viejos y una falta de comunicación con el mundo exterior – su pequeño pueblo. Se da un paso hacia atrás desde el punto de vista del resto del mundo, pero Macondo ha siempre funcionado bien sin la intromisión de otros. Están separados en la ‘soledad’ pero esto es como prefieren la vida.

Me interesa como el narrativo centra en cada personaje, de uno en uno, analizando sus pensamientos y sentimientos personales en profundidad. Se de una nueva perspectiva de la historia y podemos continuar el argumento, sin interrupción, aunque los personajes cambian con el paso del tiempo. Por ejemplo, Fernanda, que ha estado presente en el libro por muchos capítulos, recibe por fin se toca a ella de estar en el lugar destacado (capítulo 18). Estaba en periferia pero los otros personajes eran más importantes; ahora, con solo dos personajes, el foco es en ella y tenemos la oportunidad de experimentar su punto de vista.

De la misma forma, hay un foco en Aureliano Buendía y José Arcadio. Me interesa como establecen vínculos afectivos cuando viven juntos por primera vez después de muchos años seperados. Se muestra como los lazos familiares funcionen para unir personas incluso si no los conocían mucho antes – solo porque están miembros del misma familia. También, pienso que está conexión entre los dos vuelve al titulo de libro y el tema de la soledad. Es una manera, no de escaparse de la soledad, pero de compartir un poco ese sentido con un otro ser humano. Casi el opuesto del cita de John Donne “No man is an island”, cada personaje en este libro es una isla de soledad con muy poco éxito en obteniendo la compañía verdadera.

Con el paso del tiempo, la historia se desvanece poco a poco y se hace leyendas – pues las leyendas se hacen cuentas vagos y con bastante tiempo, la historia desperece casi completamente. Sin una fuente de la historia, las personas olvidan y los hechos importantes delegan en puntos inútiles. Es triste como este ocurre, pero esto es la vida – y pase en “Cien años”. En general, me gusta mucho el fin de libro. No me gusta intentar adivinar que va a pasar en los libros porque me gusta esperar al fin para ser sorprendida – pero si había adivinado, pienso que no podía prever esta fin :D. De todo, me gusta el estilo del libro, el tiempo fluido que da una realidad como un sueño al argumento ... entonces pienso que me gusta el ‘realismo mágico’ por lo menos en este libro, y por supuesto lo entiendo más ahora!

March 22, 2010

Tercer cuarto de “Cien años”

Se ve con claridad el paso de tiempo en el libro; los niños se hacen adultos y tienen sus propios niños (por ejemplo Aureliano Segundo y José Arcadio Segundo). Y con el paso de tiempo viene nuevos invenciones y avances tecnológicos como el tren. “El inocente tren amarillo que tantas incertidumbres y evidencias, y tantos halagos y desaventuras, y tantos cambios, calamidades y nostalgias había de llevar a Macondo.” (p 334) Para mi, el ferrocarril tiene un gran significado porque es un gran parte de la historia canadiense. Me hace pensar en el sueño de “mar al mar” y la conexión del país (por un parte a través de la información). La importancia en mi opinión es la construcción del ferrocarril entonces es un poco decepcionante que el libro no tiene está información pero aquí la situación es muy diferente que en Canadá. El ferrocarril no da la felicidad ni las invenciones que vienen al pueblo.

Los habitantes de Macondo no comprenden muchas de las invenciones - hasta el cine, que era rechazado para los habitantes. “El alcalde, a instancias de don Bruno Crespi, explicó mediante un bando, que el cine era una máquina de ilusión que no merecía los desbordamientos pasionales del público. Ante la desalentadora explicación, muchos estimaron que habían sido víctimas de un nuevo y aparatoso asunto de gitanos, de modo que optaron por no volver a cine, considerando que ya tenían bastante con sus propias penas para llorar por fingidas desventuras de seres imaginarios.” (p 335) Es un poco triste que no podemos tener está simplicidad en nuestras vidas. El pueblo, hoy en día, pone mucho en las vidas de otros – las estrellas, la moda, los personajes en su programa de televisión favorito etc. Prefieren escapar de la vida cotidiana y los problemas y prestar más atención a divertirse. Tal vez el problema es que no hay consecuencias...

Hay aquí la permanencia de la violencia como hemos discutido en clase, el mundo que va ser violento para siempre. Es interesante que después de un punto el lector se hace – no acostumbrado pero ilusionado de más violencia. Es un circulo, no solo de la violencia pero de la vida y del amor o actos sexuales y incestuosos. “Lo mismo que Aureliano – exclamó Úrsula –. Es como si el mundo estuviera dando vueltas.” (p 413) Al mismo de tiempo, los viejos ya existen y sustituyen de ellos en sus papeles tradicionales. Los jóvenes empiecen a ignorarlos y ellos creen su propia realidad de sueños y memorias donde pueden recluirse en soledad. Soledad – uno de los grandes temas del libro por supuesto :P

Finalmente, quiero hacer un comentario del capitulo 13 en particular. Me encanta como empiece de atar cabos sueltos, muchos de que estaba considerado y intentando de encontrar los significados. De todo, me interese como Úrsula – a través de su pérdida de vista – ha adquirido cierta perspicacia de las personas alrededor de ella con sus otros sentidos. La misma cosa está pasando con mi abuelo. Comienza a perder su vista pero se ve como depende más en su sentido de oído. Es afortunado que hoy en día tenemos muchos modos avances de medicina – pero también que mi abuelo tiene una familia y esposa quienes preocuparse mucho por él.

March 21, 2010

Segundo cuarto de "Cien años"

Como discutimos en clase, la obra se hace más y más violenta. La guerra y su efecto es visible en el Pueblo de “ MacOndo ” por la primera vez. Un pueblo quién era acostumbrado de ser independiente, no afectado por el resto del mundo, era sacudido por la presencia del ejercito, etc. Por Arcadio en particular el efecto es muy grande. Él pensaba que podía ignorar la advertencia de Coronel Aureliano Buendía y continuar sus intentos de luchar contra los conservadores aunque el Coronel le dijo que no tenía la posibilidad de ganar. Para mi, es interesante que, al final de la vida, toda la vida pasa ante los ojos... como la vez cuando Coronel Aureliano Buendía era enfrente de la pelotón. Con tanta claridad vemos las cosas con una nueva perspectiva que no experimenta en el resto de la vida. En este momento su punto de vista estaba completamente cambiado. “Pensaba en gente sin sentimentalismos, en severo ajuste de cuentas con la vida, empezado a comprender cuánto quería en realidad a las personas que más había odiado." p 220

Hay otro ejemplo del falta de comunicación en este periodo de tiempo. Hoy en día, da por sentado los modos de comunicación como el Internet o los teléfonos o hasta una sistema de correo fiable y casi instantáneo también. Pero en el pasado, el pasaje de información era muy lento y al final el mensaje podía ser cambiado de lo original – como en el caso del Coronel Aureliano Buendía y su paradero. Es interesante como estas leyendas y historias eran considerado como la realidad – pero con cada nuevo telegrama la historia era diferente. “ ...un telegrama múltiple que casi le dio alance al interior, anunciaba otra rebelión en los llanos del sur. Así empezo la leyenda de la ubicuidad del coronel Aureliano Buendía. Informaciones similtáneas y contradictorias lo declaraban victorioso en Villanueva, derrotado en Guacamayal, deborado por los indios Molitones, muerto en una aldea de la ciénaga y otra vez sublevado en Urumita." p 232

Simular a muchos libros, hay, por o menos, dos temas internacionales en está obra – el amor y la guerra. Aquí es “el amor no recompensado” después de “amor no recompensado”. Tantos relaciones que terminen en traición o el muerte prematuro. No comprendo por qué las mujeres en el libro reaccionan contra los pretendientes como así. Muchas veces están interesado en una relación, pero al final dicen que trabajará nunca y se niegan a casarse con él por años y años hasta que están si tristes y desperadas y ya resisten. Es bastante de volver loco a alguien. Es como nadie puede ser feliz – quiero que es de todo una descripción pesimista de la vida!

Finalmente, quiero discutir un poco los efectos a largo plazo de la guerra. Está guerra, como muchas otras dura si largo tiempo que a un punto los luchadores no recuerdan por qué están luchando. Como discutimos en clase, la guerra se hace más y más desorganizada y ellos empiezan luchar solo porque es un costumbre – no porque hay unos derechos humanos para defender o algo importante como esto. Muchos se aburro y pierden la pasión con que empezaron la lucha. Un buen ejemplo de esto es el Colonel Gerineldo Marquez “Poco a poco, sin embargo, y a medida que la guerra se iba intensificando y extendiendo, su imagen se fue borrando en un universo de irrealidad. Los puntos y rayas de su voz eran más remotos e inciertos, y se unían y combinaban para formar palabras que paulatinamente fueron perdiendo todo sentido [y] terminó por perder todo contacto con la guerra." p 266 Es como así, cuando los héroes acumulan el poder, pierden la razón por lo qué estaban conmemorado en la primera lugar.

March 14, 2010

Primero cuarto de "Cien años de soledad"

Es mi favorito obra hasta ahora de los libros que hemos leído en clase... pero todavía no es el tipo de libro que leo en mi propio tiempo. De todos modos, me gusta como se amplia mis horizontes :P. El único cosa que no me gusta es todos los nombres simulares es un poco confuso – pero pienso que esto es el con muchas familias antiguas.

Después de la clase cuando hablamos de los referencias o similitudes con otros textos o obras que hemos visto o leído, me pensé a los alusiones a la Biblia. Es casi el opuesto del historia de Moses cuando el llevó a los discípulos al tierra prometida. Cuando José Arcadio Buendia y su esposa Ursula han salidos para encontrar un nuevo sitio para su pueblo. Está tierra no era prometido y al fin tuvieron parar antes de encontrar el sitio ideal cerca del mar.

No hemos hablado de esto... pero es interesente, para mi, de apuntar que el capitulo dos es cronológicamente antes del capitulo uno. Primero, pensaba que era una nueva cuenta – como en “Leyendas” – pero después de leer un poco más, me dio cuenta de que era una continuación de un tipo de los recuerdos de Aureliano Buendía - aunque no podía recordar todas estas cosas porque ya no era nacido. Pero es su historia.

Antes de estudiar español, estudiaba las ciencias... y debido a esto, me gusta mucho todos los invenciones y estudios de José Arcadio Buendia – el alquimia y el mágico de su mundo cuando no sabían como funcionaba los las máquinas. Me recuerda a mi hermano, quién ha desmontado todo que podía cuando era joven... y muchas veces no podía montarlo de nuevo. Pero tuvo (y ya tiene) una curiosidad intensa como José Arcadio y podía convencer a muchos personas que sabía de que hablaba incluso si no tenía ninguna idea :P. De otra parte, me interese como José Arcadio Buendia piense que todos las cosas naturales – como el hielo – son algo mágico y que para los cosas mágicas él da una explicación normal. Ni se inmutó cuando Melquiades curó el pueblo de la insomnio con su liquido. Es como era natural para él y entonces no tenía que explicarlo...

January 17, 2010

Segunda Mitad de "Leyendas de Guatemala"

Pues, quiero decir que me gusta más el segundo parte de la lectura. No sé si el vocabulario es más fácil entender o si solo me acostumbré leer este texto, pero era más agradable leer para mi :D.

Me gusta la forma diferente de dialogo y que es como una obra! Creo que el ritmo, con muchos frases cortas, es más rápido y ayuda en la fluidez con que los lectores leen el texto. La disputa entre los dos personajes al comienzo me recuerda a mi hermano y yo cuando estábamos niños. Pero aquí, hay un juego de poder. Un patrón quién tiene todo el poder y su subordinado quién tiene quizás más inteligencia y quién es un 'espina en su costado'. Tal vez represente un aviso o su conciencia.

Me relaciona con Guacamayo - me hace impaciente tener un evolución en la historia. Los imagines están claro y se puede verlos en su mente fácilmente, pero prefiero una historia con mucha acción en lugar de tantos símbolos y tanto sentido profundo dentro cada frase. No estoy habituado leer libros de genero 'realismo mágico'.

Muchos símbolos!!! Hay los sonidos también. La onomatopeya es evidente un poco al comienzo pero con el desarrollo hay más y más uso de sonido para transportar el mensaje. En muchos casos, no estoy seguro del sentido dentro ellos... Además, hay los colores; los nombres de los leyendas (o cortinas). Es como no se puede ver nada como sentido literal ... siempre hay un valor más profundo.

Creo que hay tal vez demasiados personajes. Es difícil tener claros distinciones entre ellos porque no hay mucha introducción. Especialmente con estos cuentos cortos, es interesante tener tantos personajes y tanta poca acción. Quizás sea mejor verlos actuado como obras de teatro en vez de leerlos. Leer una obra es interesante pero algo falta. Creo que se debe ver la obra para ver las matices que están presente.

Me gusta más que nada la idea del paso de tiempo con la repetición de “de la mañana a la tarde, de la tarde a la noche, de la noche a la mañana, de la mañana a la tarde...” Es como el circulo de tiempo, siempre existente. Esta imagen presagia los segundos y terceras cuentas de todos colores (amarilla, roja y negra). Lo que no comprendo muy bien es el final con los tres terceras cortinas. No comprendo porqué están como eso; mucha repetición, sonidos y palabras extraños. ¿Porqué hay tanta diferencia entre ellos y los primeros y segundas?

January 10, 2010

La primera mitad de "Leyendas de Guatemala"

Primero, ¡Wow! Qué bueno pero difícil texto para empezar el curso. :D

Apunté que hay mucha descripción y menos atención a los eventos y acciones que ocurren en los cuentos. Así es, es un poco difícil entender todo que pasa. Pero, creo que es común en textos antiguos tener mucha descripción, por ejemplo en “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”. No he leído otros textos hispánicos hasta ahora, por lo tanto no puedo comparar este texto a otra literatura hispánica del mismo o diferente época. Pero, hay muchas temas globales que este texto tiene en común con textos ingleses y otros. Temas de amor, riqueza, naturaleza, mitos de origen, fantasmas, religión y costumbres/rituales, guerra etc. Pues, eso es lo que cree un buena historia, ¿no? Algo en que los lectores pueden relacionar.

Me interesé también la forma en que Asturias escribe el texto. Como los transiciones a una parte a otro pueden ocurrir sin mucha conexión, como por mucha parte la descripción y acciones son como un sueño – lo que hemos discutido en clase. Además, como Asturias use la repetición para enfatizar los puntos más importantes que quiere comunicar.

Todavía, no comprendo por completo el genero de “realismo mágico”, pero con este texto estoy comenzando comprenderlo más y más. Es interesante ver donde los géneros se unen o mezclan – cuando se hace difícil distinguir en que categoría pondría un texto :). El uso de palabras poéticas y expresiones figuras que están numerosos en el texto – especialmente para la descripción, da un nivel de interés al texto, pero como he dicho antes, el texto se hace difícil a entender de vez en cuando con tanta lengua figurativa y con tantos personajes.

Ahora, quiero saber más de la historia verdadero de Guatemala para compararla con los leyendas...

Por último, estoy emocionado leer la otra mitad del texto y relacionar todo el texto con los otros que vamos a leer en clase y con suerte muchos más.

January 04, 2010

SPAN 365 - Introducción

¡Hola todos!

Feliz año nuevo. Espero que será un buen año para todos.

Me llamo Tracy y es mi tercer año aqui a UBC. Tomo clases de frances y español y a la larga querría hacerme profesora de secundaria. He vivido toda mi vida en esta ciudad marvillosa de Vancouver, pero querría tener la ocasión de hablar estas dos lenguas que estudio con hablantes nativos. Por lo tanto, me gustaría estudiar en el extranjero el año proximo o viajar un poco despues de egresar de la Universidad. Despues de eso ... quien sabe que pasara.