Sweet Snapshot Sunday #6 – The Italian Edition

If you’ve ever been to Italy, you know there are temptations around every corner. All the restaurants and bistros look supremely inviting, and my friends and I had to resist stopping for a bite at each one. Of course, when it came to dessert… well, that’s a completely different story.

The one thing I wanted to try the most was a genuine, Italian tiramisu. And I did. Dragging our weary selves back from the Vatican and St Peter’s Basilica, we came upon a lovely restaurant called Il Falchetto where we sat out on the terrace and had our first Italian dinner and I had my first tiramisu. With a twist. Did you know tiramisu could come in pistachio? I didn’t either. And I fell in love.

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2016 in Reading

For the second year in a row, I was unable to complete my Goodreads Reading Challenge. Even though I’d lowered my goal instead of going higher – as is customary for me – I just did not have the time to get to all the books I wanted to read. I tried to do too much… way too much… that I barely left time for myself to sleep. And it still wasn’t enough.

Yet I kept adding to my TBR pile, going nuts with my bookstore “raids”. In fact, my bookcase has really filled up compared to last year. And become so much more beautiful, if  I do say so myself.

Still keeping up the colour synchronisation! And look at all those creatures that have found a home between the books. :D

Still keeping up the colour synchronisation! And look at all those creatures that have found a home between the books. 😀

Still, can’t go (further) into the new year without a wrap-up list! Continue reading

In Defence of 2016

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have probably heard some (or many) people complaining about the trainwreck that was 2016. Many famous people died, Brexit happened, Donald Trump got elected President, we’ve had a number of terrorist attacks and a coup in Turkey, etc. And yeah, sure, these are all bad things, but that doesn’t mean the year was any worse than any other.

2016

People forget that bad things happened in 2015, 2014 and every other year before that. Why, we’ve had a lot of famous people die before… Leonard Nimoy and Christopher Lee in 2015, and Robin Williams and Philip Seymour Hoffman in 2014. Plenty of terrorist attacks occurred… in fact, I feel that 2016 has been calmer on that front than 2015.

On a personal level, I had an uncle pass away in 2016… compared to an aunt and uncle in 2015. I know it’s not a nice comparison to make, but I’ll still take the year with the one less tragedy.

But a lot of good things happened this year too. People simply choose to forget them.

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The Most Beautiful Bookshop in the World

In October, I had the absolute pleasure of spending my birthday in Italy. We visited Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan, Como, Bellagio and Turin… and it was probably the best 11 days of my life, even though right now it almost feels like one beautiful dream.

Venice was my favourite. Words cannot describe how charming it is, from its water canals to its narrow cobblestone streets and old houses and gondolas… I was and still am absolutely in love. Our hotel was right on the Grand Canal, and we had the most amazing view from our balcony.

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The golden sunrise casting its rays on the rooftops and water.

We went off the “beaten path”, so to say. Though we explored the typical tourist sites like the Doge Palace and Piazza San Marco and most of the popular bridges, we found ourselves trudging through empty alleyways and stepping inside the loveliest shops, filled with carnival masks and calligraphy pens and inks and… sigh. Continue reading

What Translators Can and Can’t Do

posterfix-449x700I watched “Arrival” this weekend. For the uninitiated, it is a movie about aliens arriving on Earth and the world’s attempts at communicating with them. The main character, Louise Banks, is supposedly one of the best linguists in the world, a translator whose work has greatly helped the United States, and naturally she is recruited to translate the alien language. Whether I liked this movie or not is besides the point, what I want to address in this post is the portrayal of Loiuse.

While I’m absolutely thrilled that there’s a movie that paints us translators as the real MVPs (because let’s face it, we’re not the most exciting bunch around), and sheds light on the importance of languages… during run time, I was just thinking, “Um. That’s… not how translation works?” Now that some time has passed since I watched it, I think I can finally put my finger down on what was bothering me.

Translators can translate one language into the other, provided that they do know both languages before hand. 

Translators cannot translate a language that, until two days ago, had not existed and there is no record of it anywhere. They cannot be expected to translate anything that is given to them. They are not walking dictionaries, for goodness sake. I was absolutely baffled when the MC was approached with some voice recording and asked to translate it. Like… are you even for real?  Continue reading

Writing is dangerous. No, really – it is.

Last week, I woke up with an intense pain in my thumb and an overall numbness in my hand. To say I freaked out would be an understatement, especially since I was totally fine when I went to bed the previous night. In fact, I was more than fine; I was writing.

3417416_f520I had a new idea, a post-apocalyptic novel with flying islands and metal dragons and this really badass heroine. I was – and still am – super stoked about it… so stoked that I decided I must write it by hand. A fantasy novel, possibly a trilogy, fully written by hand… I must be insane, right? Bit of a background here, though: nine or ten years ago, I used to write everything by hand. I had notebooks upon notebooks filled with stories. Then I bought a laptop and it seemed more convenient to just type them in right away, from the comfort of my bed, no notebook balancing needed. I didn’t abandon my penmanship completely – I still brainstormed on paper, I still had some journals… but I was no longer writing for prolonged periods of time.

I think, in those years, my hand sorta forgot what it was like, writing full-blown novels, assuming it had completely passed on the baton to the tips of my fingers. So it was in for a rude awakening when I made it write 30+ pages in 3 days, and it retaliated by giving me my own rude awakening. Quite literally.  Continue reading

Happy International Chocolate Day!

It’s that time of the year again, the day when I kick my chocoholism up a notch and share mouth-watering pictures of my eating adventures with the lot of you. I’ve actually been so eagerly awaiting this day that I started celebrating a day early!

I went to a lovely little place called Cocoa Kitchen, which incorporates chocolate in all its dishes and drinks. Started off with a lemon mint drink sprinkled with cocoa nib, followed by butternut squash cocoa ravioli. And I mean cocoa ravioli. The pasta was actually made of chocolate and it was so weird and interesting and I’m 95% sure I liked it, haha.

Everything should have chocolate in it. Everything.

Everything should have chocolate in it. Everything.

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