Saturday, September 2, 2017

(Not So) Silly Reasons to Start Learning a New Language, Part 2

Last time I wrote about reasons why I chose French over Spanish, and this time, I'll continue the series(?) and talk about Swedish, Japanese, and Taiwanese.

One thing you might want to know before reading: my ultimate goal? Finnish. Don't ask. Read on.
Shush.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Silly Reasons (Not) to Start Learning a New Language, Part 1

Currently I'm learning French, Swedish, Japanese, and Taiwanese (or Hokkien, Minnan), which is really fun but energy-consuming. I ended up focussing on French and Swedish, because accessing their cultures is a lot harder than the latter two.

There was this time that I went to a Polyglot café in an attempt to practice my spoken French. It was tragic. I was mute most of the time because a) I couldn't understand 70% of what others were saying, b) I'm such an introvert, and c) I know too little French to participate in a conversation. But there was a question that I did understood, nonetheless failed to answer:
Pourquoi étudient-tu français?
I seriously didn't know what to say, which is not only awkward at the moment but also really embarrassing. (I mumbled something about watching YouTube videos but meh, when you barely have time to watch English videos alone, you won't even have the motivation find channels that suit your tastes.)

After I went home, I racked my brain to remember the reason why I started to learn French in the first place. (I may have kicked myself internally a few times in the process.) If I could choose again, I definitely would have chosen Spanish -- it is more widely spoken, and it's just such a beautiful language to listen to. (sorry, français, but you really don't sound that nice to me.) Anywho, I might as well share with you a few reasons my brain managed to salvage from the trenches of my horrendous memory, as to why I chose French in my young impressionable years:

1. Because I wanted to be a special snowflake
The first that came up was actually that I thought France is a country that sounds lovely and romantic, but certainly little me wouldn't go near the word romantic, so that was soon defenestrated. The memory of finding out Spanish being the second-most spoken language in the world came to mind. Wanting to be a hipster who does not speak a language that at least 472 million people are speaking, I chose French (which a the third-most spoken language on Earth. way to be a special snowflake.) But really, Melody? The whole point of learning a language is to be able to talk to more people in the world, jeez.

2. Because I couldn't roll my r's
I seriously thought that was going to be a problem back then. Turns out French has a sound that was harder for me to even imagine (the uvular r), plus a shit ton of ambiguous vowels and really unpredictable spelling.
Oh, and actually, you can still speak Spanish even if you don't know how to roll the r's (something I've learnt in the language acquisition course last summer.) The only thing that matters is to get your point across, and it's not like every r in a word is rolled anyway. (they're more flapped than rolled)

3. Because my mum used to learn French
Don't even ask me why this could be a reason. It just sort of made sense in that little brain of mine. A lot of sense, actually, because that was probably what inspired me to start learning a new language. On second thought, at least I could access my mum's learning materials and notes? (nope, I never found them.)

Later in my life, some less stupid reasons emerged: my high school only offered French and Japanese courses, thus I continued my petit voyage of French-learning; I then decided to learn a language from each major language family, and the place in the Romance language has already been occupied, which is blow to my Spanish-adoring ears, unfortunately for Spanish (and for me.) (I still love you though, français.)

So there you have it, la raison pour laquelle j'apprends le français. Now this whole post is waaay out of my French proficiency, so yay for me to be able to explain to that French guy next time (not)? 

I originally wanted to write the reasons for my learning Swedish, Japanese, and Taiwanese, but later realised that that would become too long of a blogpost. So keep your eyes peeled for part 2, if you are so inclined to be informed of my not-so-glorious language-learning causes.

What languages have you learnt other than your mother tongue? How did you choose the language? Do let me know in the doobleedoo comments! (I sound like a youtuber)
Also, yes, HIIIII I'M BACK!
(for an unguaranteed length of time, because i'm a procrastinating git.)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Sum of What I've Done in My Summers

Because I don't want to feel like I've wasted all of it. (I probably did anyway.)

This summer (2017)
  • Minor existential crises. (may or may not write more on that later)
  • More language learning (hopefully more in-depth): French, Swedish, Taiwanese (a.k.a. Hokkien or Minnan), tiny bit of Japanese (mostly on its phonology)
  • Calculus: because I did kind of crap last term, I hope to fill the gaps. Unsuccessful so far, as I haven't managed to keep myself from falling asleep when studying.
  • Applied Mathematics and General Physics: see above.
  • Baking: read and tried out a bunch of milk-and-gluten-free recipes (because of some alternative therapy my mum's making my little brother try); also found the perfect recipe for banana bread (not gf or vegan though)
  • Fitness: managed to train myself to run 5k without wanting to die before period came and killed my streak of running twice a week. (fine, I've also slacked off a bit.)
  • Work experience: none. Too late before remembering to find a job.
  • Driving lesson: none. Same reason as above.
  • Epic summer experience: none. Feel bad having to spend parents' money to have one.
  • Sleeping pattern: still not rectified. Writing this at 4:21 a.m.
  • Books read: none. Working on How to Lie with Statistics


List to be continued



Last summer (2016): uneventful but fun (mostly)
  • Graduated from high school.
  • Major existential crises
  • Tried out vlogging (uploaded one video before forgetting about it)
  • Obsessed over my first ever manga (and anime) with friends, and oh the great fun of it! (it's Haikyuu, FYI)
  • Went to a language acquisition course. Confusing but interesting.
  • Had fun with high school friends. 
  • Went to Lulin Observatory (finally!)
  • Got a volleyball and practiced alone every day.
  • Panicked over uni. (Still panicking.)

Summer 2015
  • Studied for uni entrance and moaned about it.

Summer 2014
  • Mostly prepared for trip to Australia (a mediocre Chinese-teaching project)

Summer 2013
  • Graduated from middle school.
  • Planned a trip to Finland and went there. (little me had such ambitions)

Summer 2012
  • Studied for high school and moaned about it.

Summer 2011
  • Cooked and took care of family. 
  • Suffered from a mental illness that I didn't know until months later.


Summer 2010
  • Graduated from primary school.
  • Started learning French, if you could call it that.
  • Started having walks around the city by myself.

Summer 2009? 2008?
  • Went to Mum's school (she worked there) with mum and little brother. Read and had fun.

Summer before
  • Forgot. Summer school, probably.




Monday, May 30, 2016

Cruel Beauty: I like a book that has a little malice within + UPDATE (I know, again)

Before we go into this review, there's something I'd like you to know (or you could just skip this and read the review, no pressure): It's been four months since I last posted something on this blog, and no, I'm not adopting a once-in-a-four-month blogging schedule.

I'll spare you my (hopefully-not-mid)-life crisis; in short, I'm sort of in a blogging slump, if that's possible. Being absent from the blogging world for too long seems to have this side effect. I'm not quitting blogging, but I want to take a break for a while and find out what I really want to do (I know, deep.) So yeah, just to let you know, I'm not dead yet, and I'll be back eventually. I know I haven't been commenting on other people's blogs for god knows how long, so thanks for coming and reading my blog nonetheless. I love you humans (and non-humans, if you feel excluded.)


This is a review that I wrote a while ago. Enjoy.

Title: Cruel Beauty
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Blurb: Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle—a shifting maze of magical rooms—enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

I'm Back: update, still in a bundle of nerves

wait, no. don't answer it. i know you all did.


I am delighted to announce that my blog is back into operation after nearly four months of hiatus. Gosh, I miss my blog.  A lot has happened during my hiatus, and you are about to be subjected to my recounting the past four months that probably won't make any sense, in a blogpost. Wish you good luck.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Some More Photographs

in which I decided that I am to busy to blog so I'll just put out some nice-looking photographs that'll hopefully grace your computer screens?

Ha ha no, just kidding. Hope you enjoy them anyway.

The first few are from a while ago when I was visiting my grandparents.
I'm actually pretty impressed that my phone camera is capable of shooting this. That berry was like 10 cintimertres in front of me.


This adorable thing. Just. Awww.

The photos below are from a vacation in summer. We went to the southern tip of Taiwan, where we went cycling for about 50 kilometres while the sun burnt us all and and left us looking like tomatoes for the next few days. But the landscape was breathtaking so it was kiiiinda worth it. Okay, okay, the trip was really amazing.


















I really hope you enjoyed these. Because...you know, winter is coming. You might not be able to see this kind of sun for while. Mwahahahaha.

Unless you live in the southern hemisphere. Then well, enjoy your summer.


Sunday, September 13, 2015

A Rant about Education

Comment 15th Aug, 2017: I have no idea why I took down this post. I have no idea of how this'll turn out on your feed either, but voila, a ranty post I wrote in my prime years in life last year of high school.
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(I probably churned out this post on a bad study day. Yeah, nice one, Mel.)

I appreciate our current education system. We have rather cheap tuition fee, we don't have to learn brainwashing patriotic shit anymore (okay maybe there's still some), and students have much more freedom than those thirty years ago (we can actually keep our long hair! and wear black socks! yay!) I appreciate all of these, and so much more.

But (of course there's a but. you know there will be one. or more. and there's going to be but's from people and but's from me. that's unintentionally taking a weird turn. mmmuuh back to the seriousness) there are also a lot of problems. Today I'm just going to rant about one, because, well scroll down and see. One is enough for me to babble on all night.