Seven Quick Takes: Volume 30

March 28, Feast of St. John Capistrano, confessor.

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-- 2 --

We've been ill with colds over the last few days, so I spent most of my time in bed watching Avatar: the Last Airbender on my dad's Netflix.  Much like my Firefly revelation, I can say heartily "I get it now!"  It's warm, breathing characters make the show.  Without them, Avatar would be just another fantasy world with all the good guys uniting to defeat the one really evil overlord, but it's the characters' development and personal struggles that kept me from clicking away to watch Portlandia.  The fact that they've managed to do all this while not complicating is a real strength, I think.  It would have been so easy to misconstrue "simple" with "shallow."  Somewhat reminds me of Ender's Game in that way.  It's easy to understand and follow the deep emotional and moral questions without dumbing them down.

The only thing I just couldn't get into is the same thing that made cast down The Golden Compass in the first chapter.  Reincarnation isn't in itself something I can't accept for the sake of story; it's the I'm-more-than-one-person-at-a-time thing.  If you're not familiar with Avatar, the main character Aang is a reincarnated being similar to the Dali Llama.  But when they present his past lives as other selves--as opposed to times when he lived other than in his present lifetime (think Tolkien's elves or "the sending back" of Gandalf in tLotR)--my Thomistic sense of philosophy rejects it with all my being.

Despite that, look for a 10 Reasons You Should Watch Avatar: the Last Airbender post in the future.

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I'm brushing up on my Welsh with a Welsh starter course, and I'm pleased with how much I've retained.  I never learned it like I wanted to when I was here before.  The free course offered at the university conflicted with my one and only weekly lecture.  And then I was elbow-deep in my studies (and a romance!).  It will be good for me in the future to speak conversational Welsh when looking for work.

The Welsh language is one of the reasons I wanted to study in Wales.  It's beautiful, lyrical, and not as hard as Irish.  And while it's phonetic, the spelling is intimidating and lovely.  Words like llyfr (book), cynnwys (contnets), and wyddor (alphabet).

Hint: the y and w are actually vowels.

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I've never heard a child eat so expressively.  With each bite or sip, Afon growls and "mmmmmmmmmm!" from the very depth of his little being.  It's the cutest.

We took him to visit a playgroup yesterday.  It's like a preschool, though it starts with two-year-olds, and then they move on to the actual preschool, which they call nursery school.  It's almost fully funded, and with my experience working at a childcare center I could see that they were very well run.  We signed him up for two days a week, for the social interaction.  They are also trained there in speech therapy and working with children who have disabilities, so I think this is a good choice, though it makes my homeschooling-wannabe self a little nervous.  They were already talking about him going on to "nursery school" in the September term.  Now as I'm typing this, I think I ought to look up some homeschooling groups in the area.

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There were a handful of things I prepped myself for before moving across the Atlantic, some good some not so good.  Things like:

  • the cashiers at the stores sit down and aren't required to help you pack your groceries
  • you bring your own grocery bags or get charged for each they provide for you (granted, they're much sturdier than the flimsy, see-through bags Walmart offers)
  • the electrical sockets themselves have an on-off switch
  • people ask "Do you drive?" instead of "What kind of car do you drive?"
  • Worcester sauce tastes good in everything; this is an indisputable, scientific fact
  • flowers are a part of daily life, not just for special occasions; if they don't have them in pots or planted in the yards, the shopping carts have built-in holders for affordable bouquets of flowers--and people do use them
  • curtains are functional--75% or more of the population use closing curtains rather than blinds
  • there are two taps (faucets) at each sink, one for hot water and one for cold; there's no way too get luke-warm unless you mix them
  • there are duplexes everywhere, aka semi-detached home; even the name suggests that the norm is to have houses smack up against one another
  • the doctor is seen in his actual office, rather than moving around to patients in consultation rooms
  • Mother's Day is this Sunday, not in May
  • and, of course, the left side of the road, fish-and-chips, metric system, yadda yadda, etc.

Hm.  I'm beginning to see the formation of a master "You Know You're in Wales When" list.

-- 6 --

I'm finally happy with my title banner picture thing-y on the top left side (for now).  As I've mentioned previously, I'm the worst kind of perfectionist, so this is kind of a big deal.  And um, just in case you were wondering when the look of this blog was finally going to settle down (for now).

-- 7 --

The bedroom window is open to let the cold freshen the the room, and Afon and I have a game of bed-making calling our names (he lies under the covers and I throw the duvet up-and-down, up-and-down, like a parachute).  Thank you to everyone who have sustained us with your prayers and intercession throughout this tedious transition.  It's feeling more and more like home everyday, and I'm so happy to be at home with my baby.  I've got more energy now to play with him and attend to him than I ever had when I was working and worrying about paying the bills.  God is good.

Take a moment to add me to your Google+ circles (bottom left side bar) if you keep with that kind of thing, and visit other Seven Quick Takes at Conversion Diary.  Have a lovely weekend!



  1. transitions take time...give it time and yes, it is going to be good; I am so glad you are there; God is good to us! So glad for all the good things; and that there are things you are already making work of, like learning the local language, etc... :) I am still getting used to things here and I've lived here for over 1.5 years now... it takes time, or at least for me it did! :)

    1. Is Canada more like the UK than the United States?

    2. Canada is halfway between Europe and the US culturally... where I moved to, New Jersey, is very different than where I was in Ottawa. I had months of culture shock, getting used to things. It's easier now and I plan on being here in NJ for a good while... I am loving it more here... but I still love to visit Ottawa and wish it was easier to go more than I do (which is 1 or 2 times a year)... but I still email with many and many us pray for each other... Canada is very British in many ways and very much a commonwealth country; much of what the US does is either abhorrent or at best puzzling to many Canadians, esp. the ones who live in cities, which is most of them... but not all... but our real home is heaven and God is so good to me and truly places me in new places in His mercy and love....

  2. I'd love a You Know You're in Wales when post... or ongoing posts! Let me live vicariously through you!!!! :)

    1. Would you? Oh, good, thanks for letting me know, Bonnie! c:

    2. Oh me too! Me too! And here's a vote for a description in parens of how to pronounce any welsh word that you use in a post. And BTW, your new header is really nice!

  3. I love learning about your adventures in Wales!!

    Oh, and my middle child was a hummer when he ate, too. So, so cute!

    Love your new banner!!

    1. Thankyou, it's good to know other people like it as well, though I don't know what I'd do if someone ever said, "I don't like it." Probably keep it as it is, but still. c;

  4. I'm so glad things are going well! I dream of visiting Wales and learning Welsh someday.

    I found a lovely new (to me) blog that I thought you would very much enjoy as well: (or Google Natalie Creates).

    I love the new banner as well!

    1. How about a Welsh co-op where we raise sheep and spin our own yarn? :D

      *gasp* I love that blog! A woodstove!!!

  5. I hated, hated, hated, simply HATED when the cashiers started to pack my stuff in America. I always had a reusable bag, and I knew how I wanted things to be packed, because I have a system of packing and unpacking.

    Blinds are expensive. Curtains can change with the season. :)

    Metric is so simple! All my years in the USA (I lived about 5 years there, if not more) I never really got used to Imperial. I mean I could guesstimate distances and weights with a 15% error margin, but every time it came to temperatures I had to use my fingers or a piece of paper to figure out what the temperature really was. :D

    The two taps are annoying, and I'm Irish and grew up with them! If I ever move back, I'm taking my plumbing from here. :)

    Yes, that looks like a π.

    1. So funny! I guess it all depends on what you're used to. Metric is simple, but I have no idea what it means when they give the temperature in Celsius. And it takes me a while to gain my bearing when I need to pack my own groceries. I feel really uncomfortable, like I'm holding up the line! And the cashiers are just sitting there waiting for me to get out of the way so they can carry on with the other customers. :c

      I much prefer curtains, and you're right, they can change with the season, yay!

  6. Why won't your blog show comments already left, just the number of comments, when using an iPad?

    1. I did something to show or allow Google+ comments, and they all disappeared! What a bother. Fixed it now, though. At least, I can see them--can you?

  7. Fascinating!! I'd love more posts about Wales, too!

    In Japan we bag our own groceries, but there's a special counter for that beyond the cashier line, so we don't have to hold up the line. It took me a while to get used to the metric system, but now I have a better feel for the weather in Celsius than Fahrenheit, and I am clueless about what a proper average weight for my children would be in pounds! It's weird that I feel more awkward about things in my own country after living here so long.


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