April 2008 Archives

Of songs and stains

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I suffer from that terrible malediction that 99.99999% of the world suffers - you hear a snatch of a song and you're singing it for a week until it drives you completely batty and you'd be happy singing a few bars of Mmmm Bop rather than continuously singing the refrain of I Will Follow Him.

Amazingly, Sylvain doesn't.

He just doesn't get songs stuck in his head.

When he told me this, I felt like the sky had fallen. I've never met anyone before who doesn't get songs stuck in their head.

I often find myself staring at him, and ask, out of the blue, "how don't you get songs stuck in your head? That's just so weird". In the time I've known him, I've probably asked him at least 500 times. He usually just shrugs and tells me I'm the weird one.

Today, I had one of those moments in the car. I was humming something ridiculous to myself when I turned to him and said, "how come you don't get songs stuck in your head? I just don't understand!"

He shrugged to me and replied, "it's my superpower".

I thought on that. Superpowers are always exciting. And it really would make sense. After all, who doesn't get songs stuck in their head? Superpowers can really be the only explanation. "So what's mine?" I ask.

With barely a moments hesitation, he replied, "the ability to hurt yourself without doing anything at all". I nodded in agreement, and added, "or the ability to stain myself under any and all circumstances".

He tilted his head thoughtfully, "Oh yes. I think that this means you're can change colours. You know, from staining yourself. A chameleon, if you will."

I burst into laughter. And of course, a moment later, I burst into song, "Karma karma karma karma karma chameleon... You come and go... You come and go..."

"HOW CAN YOU NOT GET THIS STUCK IN YOUR HEAD????" I shout, then I look at him out of the corner of my eye. "Wouldn't it be cool if I could just touch you and absorb your superpower, just for a bit?"

He replied, quick as a flash, "no. My superpower is pure. Yours is dirty."

Whatever. I can see where my superpower could come in use, Mr Muffin Man.

Really, who doesn't get songs stuck in their head?

Of pestacles and pasketti

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Since late last year, I've been taking part in a theatre group. A rather informal group, made up of a bunch of different nationalities, fabulous accents and flamboyant personalities. I was initially hesitant to do it, but I'm glad I let myself be convinced.

When I was little, my sister and I grew up listening our mum sing. In the car. In the kitchen. At musical rehearsals. She definitely passed on to me her love of music. I love me a good musical (and I always enjoyed participating in them whenever I could), but I never pursued singing in any formal capacity, and certainly never thought I could sing very well. Sure, I knew that I could vaguely carry a tune in a bucket, but I never thought I was any good.

One night at my theatre group, the director proposed that, rather than just do a bunch of improvs and exercises every week, we could do a play. A "pestacle", if you will ("pestacle" is to "spectacle" as "pasketti" is to "spaghetti"). I was all for it, until the person writing the play said, "I need a singer, does anyone sing?"

Someone who shall remain nameless (and linkless, because I'm still slightly miffed at him about the whole thing) piped up, pointing at me, "she does!". Ten faces turned towards me, all lit up with enthusiasm. My spluttering claims to the contrary went unheard, and I spent the next month battling with the butterflies in my stomach every time the subject was brought up. I didn't think I could do it, and tried to come up with every excuse not to go through with it. I was a hair's breadth away from abandoning the whole troupe altogether. Learning lines is one thing (especially in French, which is a challenge in and of itself), but singing by myself, a capella, was another.

The day came when I had to sing in front of the group. Their smiling, encouraging faces made me want to pass out. I took a deep breath. My voice shook, but I managed to sing something that wasn't completely horrible. I sat down, and fumbled with my hands. I'd done it. And I could do it again.

As the weeks went by, the butterflies slowly subsided, and something just clicked - and I eventually realised that I was starting to wish that everyone else could just get their parts over and done with so I could stand up and sing. Drama queen, much?

I went away last weekend for a theatre workshop with the troupe. I spent the weekend laughing and swanning around and singing at the top of my voice and revelling in it. I'm don't have any illusions that I'm the next Nouvelle Star, but I am surprising myself and no one is keeling over clutching their ears when I sing - I can carry a tune in a bucket and that's all that counts for me. I've found a confidence in myself that I didn't know I had, something that started with the podcast and it's now blowing me away. it's about more than just singing by myself in front of people I don't know, but about finding my feet in this world - I'm so grateful for this opportunity to discover this part of myself.

The only problem that I've got now is that I accidentally let slip to my in-laws that I was doing this little thing. "For a laugh", I explained. But then I got a phone call from them a couple of weeks ago asking whether we'd worked out a date for this "pestacle".

Now - a couple of friends watching me make a fool of myself on stage is one thing - my in-laws is a-whole-nother ball game altogether.



Of coffee and canals

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On Tuesday, a friend sat across from me, his chin nestled in his hands, and asked eagerly, "So. Tell me all about Venice. Beginning to end. All the details. All of them."

I scrunched up my nose and pursed my lips (probably a most unattractive look, but which is my signature "thinking pose", according to Sylvain), but despite trying as hard as possible, I couldn't come up with any coherent sentences. Images in my head and in my heart, tumbled out in words that couldn't even begin to describe our few days away.

Sun.
Tshirts.
Water.
Boats.
Gelato.
Food. Oh the food...
Getting lost. Over and over again.
Tightest coffee ever.
More gelato.
Lots more gelato.
Magic.
A lovely little bubble of us.

We took photos the whole time (as we are wont to do), and it was really hard to pick just a few that are representative of our experience in Venice. I will surely put up more photos as time goes on, and will definitely be talking more about it on the podcast, but here is a glimpse into a most memorable few days away indeed...

Gondolas, rainbows...

Reflections

Pont Rialto

Gondolas, canals, what more could you want?

Love in Venice

us - the muffin man and the aussie lass

We were just so happy. I learned a number of things. That gesticulating madly does not an Italian make, but it does help you communicate when you don't have a clue how to speak the language. And that you can eat gelato at any time of the day. And that Venice is a magical place, where storm clouds can run over your head in 10 minutes, giving you the most amazing light for photographs, then leave you basking in glorious sunshine for the rest of the day. And we love each other more than ever.
Even if I did manage to twist my ankle...
But really, something like that is just to be expected when I'm doing anything more than just sitting in a padded room, actually...



A room with a heck of a view

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To us

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When Sylvain and I got married, we had three big celebrations in two different hemispheres, so we certainly made the most of it. But, somehow, running around seeing different people that year, we put off our official honeymoon.

So, here we are, packing for a few days away, and Venice it is. I think we can say that we're having a belated honeymoon - which falls well, since it's our five year wedding anniversary this weekend. Better late than never.

Five years into this adventure, and I'm still so excited to be married to the person I love with every fibre of my being. The person who makes me smile every day. Who sees things so differently to me and who constantly surprises me with his distinctive interpretations of the world. Whose silence calms me. Whose serenity anchors me. Who can make me burst into laughter with just one word, one look.

So, off we go to Venice. To explore a new city. To be together. To celebrate us.

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