Happy 4th of July everybody!! (And for all of you American readers, Happy Independence Day! But, the rest of you can still have a happy day, if you’d like!)
So, I am pretty well into 3 different books right now, but not quite finished them, and most likely I will do longer reviews on all of them, so I was trying to think of what to share today – since I don’t want to give you too much of a preview!!
So, I decided to give you a little quiz on American literature. I googled “The Great American Book,” and found a Wikipedia page that listed novels that have been termed “The Great American Novel”. So . . . readers, I want to see how many of the great American novels you have read. Leave a comment below to let me know how many!! Also, let me know if you think there are any missing from the list!!
Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner
U.S.A. trilogy by John Dos Passo
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
J R by William Gaddis
Little, Big by John Crowley
Blood Meridian or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
Mason & Dixon by Thomas Pynchon
Underworld by Don DeLillo
Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
I have actually only read 2 of these, and I haven’t heard of most of them!! I guess I need to get reading!! What about you?
Rock cliffs rising up. Bright sun shining down. Incredible green encasing us. A fantasy world. A world where the only traveling companions are lazy old cows, elderly flies, and scared frogs. Where the dirt paths wind up and down, and up and down. Where the midday call to prayer rings out loud and clear across the valley between the mountain peaks. Where a wrong turn leads you to a comical collection of old people hanging out their windows and relaxing on the deck, no doubt drinking tea and talking about the good old days. Old people with lisps and exaggerated speech, with excitement in their eyes that someone so foreign could get lost on their road. A world with no noises to interrupt the thoughts, and the midday sweat of hard work running down your face.
Are you imagining yet? Keep walking, it’s a long hike, but it’s so close, and way more than worth it! The ground finally levels out, but is still just crawling with green vegetation. Follow the sound of the water, there it is. The old bridge. The bridge that was made of trees that must have lived before Turkey itself was a country! It’s obvious by the swaying and mangled way the boards lie that others have used this multiple times, but that thought does not entirely put you at ease as you look down at the happily churning blue-green water below and feel the wind carry you left and right in a tremulous rhythm above the rocks. Step by step, don’t hold onto the rails too tightly, because a heavy bird might be the end of them, much less your adrenaline filled, tired, and sweaty hands. Cross carefully! It’d be a shame to end here, you haven’t yet met the frogs or touched the cool swirling water. Once you’ve made it, approach the water. Sink your toes into the muck as it gobbles up your feet and argues with you about giving them back. Watch the frogs dive in to sound the alarm that invaders have arrived. The pool is no longer in solitude!
The water is cold, breath-taking, but refreshing after the long walk, and the hot sun. Get in, feel the rush of the current pulling you. Be careful not to twist your ankle in the bigger rocks. Look around. See the mountains towering high all around you, the beauty of the color of the water rushing past you, the lush green filling up all of the space that is not rock, water, or sky. Notice that there is not the sight, nor sound, of another human anywhere. This pool is yours for these few short hours, and you do not have to share with anyone.
Rejoice in the beauty of the Creator, and joy of love together. Relish the adventure of life. This was Monday afternoon in our Black Sea trip this last week. What an amazing memory . . . I am so thankful!
Let me know a favorite getaway or a favorite anniversary memory in the comments below! Hope you enjoyed a little snippet of our time away!
I love all of my students. They are hilarious. But, this was one of my top stories from the week. (I’m using pseudonyms to protect . . . all of us.)
We were filming clips of each student saying “I love you, Mommy. Happy Mother’s Day!” (in Turkish.) Once they finished saying that, they were supposed to blow a kiss. Most of the kids got it down pretty well. Then, it was Brady’s turn. He got up, repeated after my assistant perfectly, and blew a beautiful kiss. But that was practice. Then, the girl started the camera, and the assistant cued Brady, and we got . . . “huh?”
We giggled, and tried to explain again that he should repeat “I love you, Mommy. Happy Mother’s Day!” He practiced again, perfectly. Blew the kiss. Started the camera . . . “huh?”
Okay, Brady, when the camera makes the beep, you are going to say “I love you, Mommy. Happy Mother’s Day!” Okay. Beep. “Huh?”
By this time, the rest of the classroom was laughing pretty hard, because honestly, it was just funny. I think there may have been one more “huh?” take before we got a good one.
But what topped it all was that today, the moms came to school. The kids gave them gifts. The kids were all supposed to say “I love you, Mommy. Happy Mother’s Day!”
Brady walks over to his mom, looks at the assistant, she prompts him, and he says, “huh?”
Okay, I know that I failed in my November attempt to blog about something that I was thankful for every day. So . . . part of me doesn’t want to commit to blogging every day until Christmas, but I watch youtube a lot, and there are a lot of people vlogging every day until Christmas, so it made me really want to try. Plus . . . I am only about 6 projects away from my semester break! Wahoo!!
So, not all of these posts will be necessarily Christmas related, but some of them will be. I realize that I missed December 1st, please forgive me. But, I blogged yesterday, and now here we go . . .
So, this morning Jeremy and I decided to practice some Turkish after reading Ephesians together, and we bought a children’s story book last year, but never had much success working through it. Well, we pulled it out this morning and read a story together with the help of our dictionary. It was encouraging to see the improvement from last year! Here’s a summary of the story, The Lion’s Palace:
Once there was a country full of happy animals with a lion king. Well, the lion had a son who wasn’t all that great, he was rather proud and boastful. When the lion king died, the young lion became king. He wanted to be the greatest king in the world, and he called the best “pure-brained” architects from other countries and had them come and build him a new palace. He wanted the palace to be better than any other palace in the world. After one year, the palace was finished and kings from all the other countries came to see it. Eventually, however, they got tired of looking at the palace and went back to their countries. Then, the young king’s country began to become poor because the lion had used all of the treasury on luxuries for himself. The people were not happy anymore. Then, the king’s wife (or daughter – there was some confusion on that) got sick. The lion king was very sad, and he called for anyone in the country who could help him to come and he would give them 1,000 varieties of gifts as a reward. An old camel in the desert heard of the problem and came to heal the princess/wife. He made her some mixed lamb stew with vegetables with herbs and gave her the medicine. This helped the princess/wife recover. The king wanted to give the camel gifts, but the camel told him that he didn’t want gifts, rather he wanted the lion king to be humble and just as his father was. The king realized his mistake and changed. He no longer boasted, but rather became humble and ruled like his father had before him.
So, it was a great story. But, I have to say that there were a few things that must have gotten lost in translation. For example, we got confused when the kings came to see the palace and were walking around eating a variety of lamb stew with mixed vegetables. That just seemed a bit specific. The whole princess/wife thing threw us off for a bit. But, I think the winner of the whole story was when we found out that the princess was sick and had become a semi-solid molasses of boiled juice of grapes. No wonder there was a big reward!
On the technical side of things, I’ve recently heard some workshops on how translation can be extremely beneficial for language learning. So . . . perhaps you’ll be encountering some more interesting stories like this. But, I do promise that every day of my Christmas Countdown will not be language learning related!
Til tomorrow . . . some Christmas music for you . . . (this song always makes me think of my little sister, because this song is playing in the scene when Tim Allen and his son go to Denny’s for dinner on Christmas Eve and we used to watch that EVERY year!)