Language Immersions

In case you’ve been wondering about the sudden sporadic nature the FrogBlog, I have been deep in the writing trenches, ploughing through the pages and falling utterly in love with the story and the characters, as I get inside their minds. But I am getting ahead of the story here… I wanted to tell you about the delightful afternoon I had today.

Apple Language
Not everyone will agree with me, but the convenience and advantage of being an entirely apple / Mac customer is the facility of setting up all your devices. The ease of synchronisation is unparalleled in any Windows or Linux equivalent. Case in point, my daughter sent me my old iPhone 6 that I had squirrelled away in my desk in Berlin. When my mobile phone provider upgraded me to an iPhone 11 last year, I decided to hang on to the iPhone 6 anyway, “just in case”. Well that moment arrived, and I found myself with two carriers and two SIM cards and because of the ridiculous security protocols of the banks in both Germany and Portugal, I am saddled with both for the meantime. It took me a while to sort out the passwords and the apps only because of my own senior moments, but I got there eventually, and everything is up and running smoothly.

Family Language
Then I jumped on a zoom call with one of my favourite persons in the world. As many of you know, I am an only child and many have been the times in my life when I wished I had a sibling or two to share some of life’s burdens. However, the universe has bestowed me with cousins and extended family that more than make up for the absence of brothers and sisters, and one of them is ERPL. Click HERE to read an earlier blog about him. Between his assignments and my penchant for moving further and further away from the Philippines, the magic of modern technology is the only way to keep in touch with family these days, especially when you have absolutely no idea when you will meet again. So it was food for the soul, catching up and sharing laughter and stories that bridge the gap of geographical distance.

Adventures with Portuguese
When groceries are delivered to my home and the delivery person arrives in one piece, it is a good day. Today was one of those days. First of all because I got just about everything I ordered, albeit it took three phone calls from their side to sort out the order. The first point of contention? (I had to bite my tongue not to laugh out loud at the person on the line) the cat food flavour. They ran out of seafood flavour, would my cats agree to mixed meat? Mind you, we are just talking about house brand dry food here, nothing fancy! So if Cherry had answered the phone she would have snorted that the food in question is just for the peasants outside, so they can deliver anything they jolly well have. The second call involved the absence of fresh shrimps. I had placed my order too late in the day (delivery is within two hours of placing the order online), so they apologised profusely for that. Third call centred around the size of the Coke Zero bottles. You have to hand it to them, better safe than sorry and the woman was incredibly sweet, although I had to figure out at first what the hell she was rambling on about with the substitutions. The fourth and final call was when she was on the way and, as expected, got confused and somewhat lost. So for the second time since I moved here, I gave directions over the phone in Portuguese. I’m feeling pretty proud of myself, especially this evening, because she was describing everything she was passing and every house, including the colours of the gates, and I had to navigate her. Me, navigate… keep in mind this is the Frog who reads maps upside down, or not at all. I have serious issues with Google Maps as it is, and here I am navigating over the phone in Portuguese when I can’t even use my hands to wave left or right. Nevertheless, we had a good chat while she unloaded the loot and laughed about people who leave their grocery shopping till three days before Christmas and complain there is no more flour, sugar or eggs.

Writer’s Frame of Mind
Going back to square one… the writing bug had definitely bitten me and I am having many déjà vu moments to the time when I wrote the first novel. I skip meals, lose sleep, and wake up at odd hours with another scene. This past weekend, for example, I forgot to have a proper meal and realised it only on Monday morning, wondering why I was so hungry!

My Furry Shadow
As I write this, my smart aleck cat is curled up next to the fire. She has learned very quickly that a fireplace is indeed the only place to be on such cold night. It is delightful to see her so peaceful and happy, now that she knows she has so many options around the house, and can hang around outdoors with restraint. Life is good, and I am blessed with beautiful souls in my life at the moment.

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