Posted in Poetry, Prose

Getting to Know You

Getting to know you
is an exercise in living
wanting to know more
than the surface reveals
more than the heart will tell

Getting to know
the mysteries about you
what you will, or won’t tell
the things, I need to find out
the things, I need to accept

Knowing, Understanding, Loving

Getting to know you
is just as much as getting to know
me
The things that you say, do, feel
are the same for me, but the differences
are the cause of the mystery between
you and I

Getting, Learning, Imagining

What would I reveal to you
my innermost fears, thoughts,
my dark side, and my light
things, that I am almost afraid to tell
myself
things, that I wouldn’t admit to, unless

Our many parts make us
complicated and unknown
the length of an entire lifetime
is still not enough to know
to feel, to experience, to revel
in the other person and their
many faces

Getting to know you
an unending experience

in love…..

Posted in Language, Learning

The Perils of Foreign Language

Years ago, I convinced myself that I would never learn a foreign language.

It started in Los Angeles in the 70s, when I in Junior High School, finally got a course in Spanish. It was a required subject, and we all jumped into it, waiting to learn, as it were. The down side of learning something so foreign as language, relies a lot on the subject matter, and how the teacher presents it. Her expectations as to pronunciation, were on the extreme side, at least that’s what I thought, and not very conducive to encouragement and praise.

Suffice to say, my first attempt at language was a dismal failure, which led me to believe that I would be unable to learn another language, ever! Those thoughts affected my choice of courses later on through my University years. I always steered away from that line of thinking, choosing other subjects to fulfill the amount of credits needed to move on.

Later on in the 70s I developed an interest in Botany. I set out to learn as many plant names as possible, but as it resembled learning a language, I took no precautions. I used a bit of time making flash cards with the name on one side, and the picture on the other. I had seen this technique used with students who were trying to remember the name of shrubs and trees while studying to be Landscapers. I’m afraid to say that my efforts in making those cards proved to be a waste of time, as I was able to remember both names, pictures and other related facts without really trying.

As with so many other hobbies, Botany soon became an obsession with me. I purchased countless books on the subject and delved into the Botanical naming process, its history and references to historical discovery in its relation to California. You see, I was surrounded by the Botany of California, which gave me ample possibilities to practice and learn.

My obsessions were not lost only on me, as I took a number of apprentices along the way. My sister and her daughters were the obvious choices, and later my now Wife fell into my learning whirlwind. It still hadn’t occurred to me that memory and learning were a strong side of my personality, which means that if I believed in myself back then, then learning foreign language would have found its true place in my life.

It finally came to a head, when my now Wife appeared on the scene being a nanny from Denmark. The thought of learning a foreign language finally appealed to me so much that I threw myself into it, like my other obsessions throughout time.

Learning you see has no limits especially when the time and other conditions are right.

I learned Danish within a year, with the main difference being that I had moved to Denmark and was surrounded by the language. My teachers and the people around me provided the necessary positive input that probably would have made all the difference, way back when in that Spanish Class in Los Angeles.

I didn’t stop with Danish, having to learn Spanish and German while at Business College. I also dabbled in Russian for a while, and am now toying  with the idea of speaking French.

I know that my age now plays a part in learning new things, as does the fact that I live in Denmark and not France. Enthusiasm and curiosity are the two driving factors that draw me into new subjects, and are the things that keep me coming back for more.

In 2014 I decided to re-learn German which made German my main topic during that year. I even have read all of the Harry Potter books in German, ending up having to order the last 3 books from Germany to complete this task. I use some of my leisure time watching German TV shows on the Internet, using German subtitles to help me with my understanding.

The perils, you see, are out there just waiting for us, when we finally take the plunge. I am still open to new ideas, but only accept them in regards to my age and life experience, which some might consider to be limiting in itself.

My goals are to continue learning, as long as I can. “What are your reasons for learning: German, French,…..?” are what others ask me from time to time. Do I really have to justify that with an answer?

I think not…..

Posted in Learning

Living in the square peg world of round salami

I was going to make a sandwich. Rye bread and salami. Easy right? Not really, as I found out. Salami is round, but rye bread is square, more rectangle shaped. The salami won’t fit to the bread. Form and Function. It just doesn’t work.

It’s a sandwich, not a work of Art. It fits. No, it does not. You must consider the form and function. If it were dark and light, you would need to consider its Chiaroscuro. Its what? Its Chiaroscuro. Lightness and darkness. It’s funny why I thought of that word.

I once took an evening course in Art Appreciation at a Junior College in Los Angeles. Our teacher was very inspiring. She spoke of Titian (Tee-schen) the Venetian (Venee-schen). I still remember how she pronounced his name, 40 years down the line. Then she spoke of Chiaroscuro, light and dark, darkness and lightness, and somehow, I remember that too, after so many years. She spoke of the difference between Naked and Nudity. Naked was “without clothes”, while Nude was “from the hands of God”. Hey, there is nothing dirty about the World of Art, it lies more in the individual interpretation, if you know what I mean?

My teacher suggested that we made sketches of her slides, then we could always refer to them before the final exam. We looked a lot at the symbolism in the early paintings, at the use of egg yolks in the paint, and…… then my memory begins to fade. Those were my strong memories of the class.

Oh yes, there were also spiky trees in the small park outside of the classroom. They were Kapok trees. Before synthetics were so common, the cotton-like fibers were used in life jackets. I thought it was interesting at the time and after researching the subject, I placed it into my long term memory. I guess so anyway.

We took a Field Trip to the Los Angeles Museum of Art, with her as our guide. She worked there as a docent, so she really knew her way around the place. She explained with her usual zest, the inner workings and meanings of the paintings. We even began to attract attention of other visitors, who began to tag along after us.

I developed a special relationship with Art after having that class. It might be that I’ve only remembered the highlights, but my teacher did inspire us and tempt us to learn more.

Have you ever heard this expression? “He was a square peg in a round world?” Well, that is where I got the title of my story from. I was just thinking about round salami and rectangular Danish rye bread at the time, but my blog began to take another form of something that I had forgotten, then remembered again.

Funny, how some of the things we’ve experienced, still reside somewhere in our subconscious memories. That particular college course, at that time, with those people, and those spiky Kapok Trees. It made some sort of lasting impression on me, otherwise I wouldn’t have bothered to remember it.

The question being, “What will you remember about this blog?”. Salami or Art Appreciation. Who is to say.

Hey, it’s your memory and not mine!