an essay on childhood kitchens, ordering Parisian hot chocolates and failed match-making attempts

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cottonbro on Pexels

Running into my childhood kitchen symbolised future happiness. Before my grandma could catch me, my small hands had already pulled out her collection of pots and pans, arranged them in the most artistic way a three year old can fathom and began clanging one against another. Whilst I kept working on being the next Ringo Starr, my grandmother would make magic with her hands kneading and mixing and baking until her secret formulas resulted in ‘doce de arroz’ or bolinhos de chuva or bolo de chocolate. Until this day Grandma’s cooking evoke a sense of childhood nostalgia, like the scent…

Dating your mother and eating cars.

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Here’s a truth, no one can deny,

I make a shit ton of language mistakes.

Way too many for my own comfort. And dignity. And enough to write an article.

Yeah, none of this is made up. But don’t look down at me with your ‘never make a mistake’ brain. I’m trying.

1. I Ate A Car

We were discussing transport and travelling in Japanese class. Trying to understand how to use verbs of transportation. I raise my hand and say

So, to get somewhere by car, you say 車を食べました (Kuruma o tabemashita).

The class descended into laughter. …

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Jean M. Samedi on Pixels

There is no way around it.

Humans are lazy beings. We like creating shortcuts. It’s why you know microwavable, food is so popular.

And it’s also why searches like:

How to learn Russian/Chinese/French ___(insert other language) in a month is popular.

And whilst reaching a B2/C1 level in a month is either impossible or insanely difficult at least (I don’t know maybe someone out there did it), there are easy ways to go about learning a language.

That you can go about every day.

1. Comment On Instagram

Or Facebook/Goodreads/Pinterest etc.

As long as it’s in your target language.


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Oleg Magni on Pexels

Oh, Britan.

Known as the land of Her Majesty, for its beautiful countryside, diverse accents and non-stop rain.

There’s just something quirky about you Britain. And there are some habits the rest of the world don’t understand.

1. Apologising For Everything

Apologising in Britain is so natural, we all do it without thinking.

The average UK resident apologises eight times a day, often-times, for things that aren’t their fault. Like having their foot stepped on.

2. Talking About the Weather

As someone who is, gifted at small task, as a snail is at learning Confucian Proverbs, this is one I…

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Ah, Portugal.

There’s just something about you: the beaches, the food, the people.

I can’t seem to find it anywhere else. And that is why sometimes, I wanna hop on a plane and go back.

1.The Flirtatious Not Flirtatious Culture

“Get the free coffee for me?” my mother said, handing me her ticket. We had been dining out in a restaurant situated at the plaza, the place packed with people having a midnight stroll (an actual midnight stroll).

I got out of my seat, walking over towards the bar.

“My mother’s free coffee,” I hand in the ticket.

The barista…

this article is making me risk my income, my voice on Medium and losing friends as a consequence

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Nancy Bourque Pexels

I never wanted to write this article.

Seriously, I never wanted to write this article. And even now, I’m wondering whether writing this was worth it.

I’m Nyse. I like writing about language learning, cultures and literature. I’m also a libertarian who often agrees with the right and sometimes agrees with the left.

For most of my life, I kept it at that. Sure, I spoke about politics in debating society. But I did not let it affect my friendships.

You could be a republican, an anarchist, communist, heck you could Not Give a Shit about politics and I wouldn’t…

whoever knows what a grog blossom is say aye

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1. Facetious

Pronounced “fah-see-shuss”, to describe when someone doesn’t take a situation seriously, which ironically is very serious indeed.

2. Crapulous

‘To feel ill after eating or drinking too much’, which pretty much describes how I live my life. Basically British student life (the drinking part).

3. Grog-Blossom

The rosy red hue of an alcoholic’s nose.

4. Growlery

Created by Charles Dickens, it means “a place where you can retreat from the world when you’re in bad mood.”

“Sit down, my dear,” said Mr Jarndyce. “This, you must know, is the growlery. When I am out of humour, I come and growl here.” — Charles Dickens, Bleak House

5. Cockalorum

Before you try and save the world, stop tilting it towards hell.

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Thiago Matos on Pexels

Growing up politics, was always at the table.

For most of us, politics was always at the table, or if not, somewhere around it. Picture me, except fourteen years old, a bunch of other fourteen-year-olds, with school shirts that scratched at our necks (and made us look like we had no neck), and an English lit paper in our hands, having a fleshy after school conversation.

People are so oppressed.

Other nods, then talk of revolution, capitalism vs socialism, politicians etc.

Looking back at it now, we had no idea what we were discussing. …

when you can’t travel.

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Alex Powell on Pexels

Travelling right now is not that easy.

It can be damn right impossible for a lot of us. (if you’re reading this after, it’s 2020, there’s a pandemic and we have to wear mouth masks and social distance which is sad because it means less hugs).

And if you love language learning, you probably love travelling.

I mean, is there a better way to immerse yourself in a culture?

Well, no. But since most of us are stuck at home, anyway, here are a few ways to get yourself immersed in a language, without leaving the comfort of your sofa…

Nyse Vicente

Languages and Culture Writer. Fiction featured on PS Journal, Anak Sastra and Short Fiction Break amongst other publications. Believer. Real-life Dreamer.

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