I made churros with my mom today and it was hilarious. Making the batter was easy enough; it’s a lot like choux pastry – vigorous stirring, a lot of gloop, and finally, a smooth, yolky dough. But when we were trying to pipe the churros into the boiling oil, the piping bag burst and we started getting huge pieces of batter coming out ohey were turning out alright – golden brown, crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside – so we decided to go along with it, rolling them in cinnamon sugar and letting them cool. We also had chocolate sauce. My mom called them chu-WHOAs.
I went for a run again last night after a few weeks of a break (slacking) and it felt great. The moment I sped off, I felt optimistic and pumped, and it made me have a small epiphany that I might have been depressed and melancholy all along because I hadn’t been running and getting endorphins in my pipes. I was pretty heartened that my pace did not deteriorate despite the long gap.
It’s 4.30 a.m. now and I’ve just finished writing a French essay on conservation and environmental issues, and practiced writing out conversation scenarios in German for my oral exam. I should probably find a German speaker to practice with, or my oral exam itself will be the first time I actually speak the language. That was my experience with French – in November 2014 I took the DELF (Diplôme d’études en langue française) exam after studying French for a year and the speaking component was the first time I ever spoke it.
Indo-European languages are so much more comforting to work with. The underlying system and mechanism behind them have some sort of fundamental logic in common with English, being from the same large language family. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but some primordial, ancient machinery encoded in the grammar just makes it a little intuitive for me, since my first language is English. The fact that they’re written with the Latin alphabet is also a big help. (I won’t claim to be great at them, though. I have much to learn and I know it.)
On the other hand I still struggle with Chinese after about 14 years of exposure in school and despite living in a Chinese-majority country. I neglected it for most of my primary school years, and even now I just can’t seem to penetrate the fortified bastion that is Chinese grammar. Sure, I can discuss social issues at at least a superficial level and use some higher-level vocabulary, but I feel clumsy with my sentences and the people marking my exam paper will definitely see it. I’m persevering nonetheless. Yesterday I wrote 25 sentences using new vocabulary (while watching The Golden Girls with my family). We also watched an episode of Believer with Reza Aslan about the Charidim Jews in Israel.
I have a 36-hour shift coming up starting at 5pm tomorrow (it’s a Thursday), so I should probably get to bed. Nothing like a good night’s sleep starting at 4.45 in the morning!
P.S.: I also took a selfie that turned out good! That’s such a rare occasion that I thought I should note it here.