Tag Archives: Romanian

The happiest girl in the world

On Thursday we went to the wonderful Glasgow Film Theatre (GFT) to see a new Romanian film, “The Happiest Girl in the World”. There’s a review of the film from the Guardian here. There was also an (English) article on a Romanian TV station blog about the burgeoning Romanian film industry, the blog itself doesn’t appear to exist any more but the article still appears to be cached, here.

I’m not sure that HD is that convinced about the Romanian film renaissance (I’ve dragged him along to several films now!) – but I for one am really appreciating it. Apart from anything else it means I have an hour or two when I can listen to the language as it’s spoken properly (as opposed to reading it myself, when it sounds like Romanian with an English accent in my head). I was pleased that I was able to follow a lot of the film with minimal reliance on the subtitles, and when the subtitles appeared before the dialogue I could guess what was going to be said reasonably well.

The film itself was fun, I enjoyed it, though I’m not sure I’d quite describe it as a comedy. It reminded me a lot of Mike Leigh/Ken Loach type films, where although you could probably say they were comedies it’s more the kind of comedy where you smile because you know it’s so true to life rather than because it’s funny haha. Certainly when they were filming the advert (over and over again) it reminded me of lots of adverts I’ve seen on Romanian TV over the years, where they get the winner to read out a script, flash their prize and promote the product. And the basic premise – 16 year old Delia’s parents wanting to sell her prize so they could get the money and no longer have to struggle – certainly struck me as very true to life.

So, if you get the chance I’d say it was worth seeing. Other Romanian films I’ve seen include “12:08 East of Bucharest” (quite why it’s called that in English when the Romanian title actually translates as “Was it or wasn’t it?” I don’t know) – this did make me laugh; “4 Months 3 Weeks 2 days” (about a girl seeking an illegal abortion during the Ceausescu years – harrowing but scarily true to life); and “The Death of Mr Lazarescu” – again touted as a black comedy, but I’d say the operative word was definitely black. All well worth seeing, in my view. A couple of others I’ve not seen yet but which come highly recommended are “California Dreamin'” (I have this on DVD, just not ever got round to it, must rectify that soon) and “Tales from the Golden Age” (produced by “4,3,2”‘s director Cristian Mungiu) which got rave reviews on Radio 4.

I think I’ve written before about how I find watching films quite stressful. Maybe it’s because these are Romanian so I’m curious and know the culture and a lot of the background stuff already I can cope with them more than many. Whatever, I think they’re worth a view if you get the chance.

In other news, we’re off to Solas for the day tomorrow (Surfing and Tractor Girl amongst others are already there for the whole weekend so am looking forward to catching up with them). There’s no way we’re going to make it to Greenbelt this year sadly, far too near to my thesis deadline, but this will be nice to get a little taste of it a bit closer to home anyway.

Pointless anxiety

I do occasionally* have a tendency to be anxious about things that really don’t merit me using up such a large amount of emotional energy. My teaching is one such thing – now that my teaching day is officially Tuesday, I found both last week (the first tutorials of the new academic year) and this week that on Monday evening and (especially) Tuesday morning I felt physically sick, anxious, and really wanted to be ill enough that I could phone in sick. Isn’t that awful? It’s the strangest thing – I never used to be like this, whereas I remember my sister at school often getting stomach aches on the first day of term, and one of my godsons sometimes experienced a similar thing on Sunday nights knowing that he had to go to school the next day. When I was young it didn’t bother me at all, but now I’m a little bit older** it gets me every week. I know it’s irrational, but today I felt so anxious on the bus in to uni, almost a sense of dread, it was horrible, and not helped by the fact that (probably due to the anxiety) I hardly slept at all last night. And it was all so pointless – the tutorials all went really well, much better than last year, and I felt much more like I had a handle on the topics (whereas last year I was totally winging it).

In other news, after all the tutorials I then met up with my Romanian teacher for my first proper Romanian lesson since I was away in Romania in the summer. It was great! I have been really aware that now that I’m no longer in an environment where I have to think and speak in a different language it would be really easy to lose all the language I learnt there, not to mention losing the confidence to speak, but we ended up talking pretty much solidly in Romanian for an hour and a half, and she couldn’t believe the difference from last year, when she knew I understood lots but I simply wasn’t confident enough to speak very much. I got such a buzz, and I’m so pleased that I can still do it, I haven’t forgotten it all and I can even joke convincingly (I think she particularly enjoyed my confession of a mistake I made when I was staying in Cluj with the host family – I was trying to describe a strawberry pudding I’d eaten and liked, but temporarily forgot the word for strawberry, just remembering that it started with c, so I just used the first foodstuff beginning with c that came into my head hoping I’d guessed right. After the laughter had subsided I realised that onion dessert probably wasn’t what I was intending to rhapsodize about).

* well, OK, maybe a bit more than that!
** well, OK, maybe a lot older!

And in other news …

… flights to Moldova have been reserved. I’m not to pay for them till I reach the airport though, so there’s lots of time for things to go wrong 🙂 Oh well. A Romanian airport adventure will be fun I’m sure. I also read an email sent me in Romanian today, with no need for a dictionary, and replied only resorting to the dictionary once. I’m rather chuffed with myself actually.

As a reward for finishing my essay (whenever that glorious day comes, hopefully tomorrow but I’m not holding my breath), I shall then book accommodation for the exciting holiday bits of my trip. I’ll save the scary contact-making till next week when I’m not stressed out about the essay. I’m getting excited about this now – July is going to be a veritable culture-fest! I shall reveal all (oo-er) nearer the time.

Blowing my own trumpet

Forgive the blatant self-praise here, but I’m rather pleased with myself.

Yesterday I took a look at a Romanian medical site that I check pretty regularly for topical medical news which may be useful for my research, as well as for the language practice. Up popped a user survey – in Romanian – and I thought I’d have a go. I managed to understand and complete it all, without dictionary, so I’m now very proud of myself (and so far I haven’t received any spam, so that’s good!).

Mind you, if it had been Russian that would have been a very different story!

3rd language

ferijen is right, I am indeed learning three languages (Romanian, Russian and Glaswegian). Mostly I’m getting by just fine with the 1st and 3rd (let’s not talk about the second – an hour and a half of genitive singular today, argh). My favourite aspect of Glaswegian though has to be whenever I hear kids in the street or on the bus, particularly toddlers – listening to them using the broadest accent imaginable is the cutest thing!

Weird language quirk of the week: I discovered that I have been saying the word for ‘forty’ in Romanian incorrectly for the last 11 years. I used to have it right, but then when I lived in Romania when I was English teaching I went into a local shop to get some worksheets photocopied (the school didn’t have anything as sophisticated as a photocopier), and when I asked for 40 copies the woman looked at me like I’d just asked to meet the Queen or photocopy my bottom or something. She got me to write down the number I wanted, and then told me what I should have said. So I’ve been using that word ever since, but then used it in my Romanian lesson this week and my teacher looked blankly at me and corrected me to the word I had used in the first place. The woman in the shop is probably still laughing at me now.

In other news I had the great (not) news that I have to mark Level 1 essays. When I took on this position they had only told me about facilitating the tutorials, and then when I got here last month they mentioned something in passing about marking ‘some’ of the essays (remember, this is in a subject that I’ve never studied before and have no prior academic knowledge of). Today I discovered I get the whole bloody lot – that is, around 90-odd essays twice a year. The first lot are due in at the end of this term, and have to be marked by mid-January. So I’m going to have a really great Christmas and New Year. Gah. Just what I need at the same time as moving house.

My blog entries are going through a bit of a moany stage I think. That’s not good. So as a bit of light relief, when I get home I shall have to regale you instead with my thoughts having just finished “What the Bible really teaches: a challenge for Fundamentalists”. It’s got me spending way too much time contemplating universalism and morality and all that sort of stuff as well as some of the more and less helpful aspects of my early church experience (that is, experience of church in my early Christian days, not my experience of the Early Church – I’m not quite that old). Or maybe I’ll watch Wallace and Gromit or play Pass the Pigs instead.

All of this is just procrastination really though. I’m still plucking up the courage to make an appointment at the hairdressers. Can you imagine – I get stressed out when my hair’s being cut by a stylist I know well and know is good, what on earth am I going to be like with a total stranger? I think I’d sooner go to the dentist.

Wiblog entry for 20/10/2005

I can feel a whiny self-indulgent post coming on – it’s been brewing for a while 😀 Unfortunately, although the alarm didn’t go off till 7.30 this morning (luxury!) I’m still feeling a bit dribbly and incoherent and sleep-deprived, so I’ll wait till I’ve caught up on sleep before I embarrass myself. I’ll probably think better of it when I’m not so knackered.

So instead, I shall declare that I had a gym induction this morning, with a very very cute instructor (though he was a bit skinny, oh well nobody’s perfect). So things aren’t all bad.

Yesterday’s Romanian lesson was excellent. We had started last week working through a book that my teacher had which, to be honest, was a bit too easy but which I thought would be good for me to get back into the swing of things. However, I put the wrong stuff in my bag yesterday morning (well it was too early – my eyes weren’t fully open) and so didn’t have the right material with me, so instead we did a lot more conversation and I think she was surprised by how much I understood. We ended up conversing about everything from my tutorials to the new flat to buying bookshelves from a well-known Swedish furniture store. And for next time we shall start digging out articles from “Romania Libera” on health so that we can have some topical conversation about stuff that will be relevant for my PhD. So I’m feeling good about that.

I have another tutorial in a few minutes. I’m starting to get a bit bored with them already. This is not good, seeing as I have to do them 5 times a week for the next 4 years! Maybe I shall have to start hiding whoopie cushions in the classroom or suchlike, to make them a bit more entertaining.

How do you say …?

Ian is madly learning Arabic, but whilst I can’t match that in levels of difficulty, in the last 17 hours I have had instruction in not one but two very different languages, Romanian and Russian, so there will probably be similar levels of confusion (at any rate, I’d be confused if I was just learning Arabic, I don’t know about Ian!). Romanian was OK, it was mainly revision of what I already know, so we won’t start getting too complicated for a few weeks, and the only downer is that my class is a little way out of Glasgow so it’s a bit of a rush to catch the train in time after my lecture and then I don’t get back into the city till about 9pm so don’t get home till about 10. Which wouldn’t be so bad, except that last night we had Weather and I got drenched, and also starting this week I have to get up at 0-dark-00 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to go to Russian. The classes actually started a couple of weeks ago but I couldn’t commit myself to them till I knew my tutoring timetable – I do have a tutorial that clashes with one of the lessons, but they have agreed that I will just turn up to the first hour of the Tuesday class and do some extra homework to make sure I don’t fall behind (like that’s going to be enough!). I was really thankful for those few Russian evening classes I did this time last year – even though I couldn’t keep up with them because of full-time work, the fact that I had half a clue about some of the alphabet meant that I wasn’t a total disaster today with the two guys (also beginners) who had a two-week headstart on me.

Weird language quirk of the week: in Romanian, the word for “beard” is a feminine noun, and the word for “breast” is a masculine noun.

Emotional roller-coaster

So, that flat that I was getting so worked up about this morning – soooo this morning, dahling. I decided in the end not to go for the survey – but I saw the fixed price one this afternoon and will go for that one instead. Feeling surprisingly OK about it, but expect me to be an utter drama queen about it by tomorrow morning 🙂

In other news, the car failed its MOT today. No surprise there. It only failed on a couple of smallish things though, which was a surprise. Last year it failed on so much I spent as much on repairs as I had on buying it in the first place. It’s getting fixed at the end of the week. Hooray!

In other other news, I met my new Romanian teacher today, who is very nice indeed and we start lessons next Monday. I still haven’t got round to arranging Russian lessons – OK I confess, I am procrastinating a little bit about that.

I’ve been to a couple of lectures now of the Level 1 class I’ll be tutoring. So far it doesn’t look too scary, except that there’s an awful lot of them! Eek.