Clannad – “An Mhaighdean Mhara” (The Mermaid).

   Hiya people! 🙂 

   Today I have for you a beautiful and sad traditional Irish song, which I believe I first heard sung by Órla Fallon, whose version is also lovely. This song is about a mother of two children – Maire and Padraig, or Mary and Patrick in English – who was a mermaid or apparently in some versions she is a selkie, and who really longed for the sea, but her cloak that she put on to shapeshift into a mermaid was hidden somewhere. One day, her children discovered it near the sea, and then their mother swam away. I got the translation from here

   It seems that you have faded away and abandoned the love of life
The snow is spread about at the mouth of the sea
Your yellow flowing hair and little gentle mouth
We give you Mary Chinidh to swim forever in the Erne
My dear mother, said blonde Mary
By the edge of the shore and the mouth of the sea
A mermaid is my noble mother
We give you Mary Chinidh to swim forever in the Erne
I am tired and will be forever
My fair Mary and my blond Patrick
On top of the waves and by the mouth of the sea
We give you Mary Chinidh to swim forever in the Erne
The night is dark and the wind is high
The Plough can be seen high in the sky
But on top of the waves and by the mouth of the sea
We give you Mary Chinidh to swim forever in the Erne

Question of the day.

   How are you really? 

   My answer: 

   Pretty neutral I’d say. Okay overall. Didn’t get much good sleep as for some odd reason I had really annoying  tinnitus that wouldn’t go away pretty much until morning and it kept waking me up and was really frustrating. This is definitely not something that would be a regular thing for me so I got a bit worried and wondered whether it’s going to stay like this for longer-term, but it’s fully gone now so seems like it must have been just quite random. And I was really cold all night on top of that and couldn’t warm myself even with the hot water bottle, so I’m sure you know what it’s like to sleep when you’re cold meanwhile. But despite little sleep I don’t really feel sleepy or anything so I don’t really have a problem with it. 

   Also I’m still feeling a little bit excited about what my Mum and I did recently. I think I have mentioned to you that my Mum was thinking about possibly buying herself an Apple Watch, because now that she has an iPhone she often gets a bit nervous when she goes running or cycling and when someone calls or texts her, ‘cause she has to take the phone out and she’s worried that one day she’ll drop it and it’ll break, and I guess it must be just a little cumbersome replying to someone while cycling. Plus, she couldn’t find a good enough app for herself on iPhone for tracking kilometres that wouldn’t at the same time ooze with gentle toxicity and try to get her into the rivalling mode, yelling at her to share her «achievements» with friends or to break her records or whatever shit like that, when she just wants to do what she wants and when she wants and simply record the details of her sport activities for herself, she doesn’t do training for the sake of training or losing weight or stuff like that, just ‘cause she likes it. Initially I tried to discourage her from that because I didn’t think that Apple Watch would be much better in that department, it seemed to me, and still does in a way, that perhaps it’s even pushier with that sort of mentality, but Mum said that if it did all the other things well, she can ignore all the bs she doesn’t need like calories. And the more she thought about it the more she liked the idea, saying how Apple Watches look nice and things like that. It took her some time to make up her mind whether it would actually be as useful for her as she thinks, because she’s known for making impulsive decisions on the spur of a moment, and how hers should look, so she would look on Apple Store quite frequently and try to design it for herself so that it would fit her style and be a little different. She changed her mind a lot in the process, sometimes saying she actually doesn’t need it and while it could be fun, it’s not really necessary so why waste the money, and then she would say that actually why not buy something unnecessary for oneself once in a while as she doesn’t do that very often, since she’s on benefits and spends most of her money on Sofi and the only Apple Watch she was considering was the new SE 2 as she couldn’t afford anything more than that anyway. And finally last Saturday she made up her mind and stormed into my room saying that she needs to be delivered from constant thinking about it and make the decision once and for all before her mind changes again. 😀 Problem was that she didn’t have enough money on her card at that very moment so asked me if I could buy her the watch and then she’d give me the money back when she got them. So I gave her my phone so that she could choose the right looking Apple Watch, and as she was choosing everything, suddenly a wild thought popped into my mind, and I was all like: «Y’know what? Let’s make a deal! I’ll buy an Apple Watch for you and you’ll buy an Apple Watch for me, when you get the money». That wasn’t really as impulsive an idea as it may seem, I was already thinking a bit about whether Apple Watch might be useful at all for me in any way when Mum was dealing with her dilemma. Last month, I happened to have learned something about myself, or rather about something being a possibility, which I won’t be sharing just yet on here because I don’t have all the info yet ‘cause I’m still in the process of finding out and so I don’t want to prematurely raise any unnecessary emotions or tension or something, but I promise that if I’ll find out that it’s something more than just a possibility, I’ll update y’all on it. But anyway, finding that out made me think that, actually, perhaps an Apple Watch would be useful for me as well indeed. Maybe not as much as for my Mum, and not in the same way because I’m a semi-hermit so my phone generally doesn’t need to worry about being dropped somewhere outside and even when I go somewhere I very rarely take it with me, but it could still be useful if the possibility turns out to be reality, and even if not, I wanted to give it a try regardless. 

   And my Mum was happy with the deal. In fact, she was probably even happier than me. She’s a real chicken with technology so I think it made her feel better that I’ll have an Apple Watch too so I’ll be able to help her out make sense of it because she assumed that I would learn it faster. I think the thing isn’t about fast learning but about me being more inclined to actually sit and read about it, rather than blindly and chaotically try to do something without knowing anything about how to go about it which is how my Mum handles her devices and then it’s all like: «Hmmm, let’s guess what’s broken in the process”. In this situation, Mum really wanted our Apple Watches to arrive together, which was enough of a motivator that she decided on the spot to go transfer the change that she had to her card and then placed the order for my Apple Watch. Aren’t we just crazy people in this house? We got the same ones except my Mum’s is obviously larger, since I have mini hands, and hers is starlight with a red silicone band, whereas mine is silver with a slate blue braided loop band. 

   Our Apple Watches arrived together indeed on Tuesday. When my Mum went to get them from the delivery guy, she later told me that he said (as if Mum didn’t realise) that one package is addressed to «Some Bib-Bi-Bibiel Bibielz) and couldn’t restrain himself from saying that it sounds like an interesting name. Well thanks, it made my day. Yeah, I am a bit ironical, in case you’re wondering. But also I like when people say the word Bibiel out loud so for once I regret that I wasn’t there to hear it. I use Bibiel Bibielz as my Apple ID name ‘cause you obviously use Apple ID in all kinds of situations and I don’t always want some random peeps to know my full name, and don’t bother changing it just because I order something. Perhaps it’s further evidence of craziness. 😀 

   Anyway, we’re pretty happy with our Apple Watches, except I’m super mad at myself because I told my Mum to get herself an Apple Watch with cellular since it made sense if she’s going to use it when running, but I didn’t even think about checking previously whether our carrier even supports it. It seemed like an obvious thing to me that, since Apple Watches have been around for quite a while, duh they must be supported by carriers, right? Except ours does not support Apple Watch. So yeah, that was a fun discovery to make at the beginning for sure. My Mum claims it doesn’t matter ‘cause she has her phone with herself all the time anyway but I think it still sucks big time. But overall our Apple Watches are cool. I still find it kind of amusing that we both have Apple Watches, I never thought that either of us could be that kind of person lol. My Mum even sleeps with hers, but to me it still feels kind of off and I’m skeptical whether it’s actually comfortable. But I think I’ll try to do that at least once in a while ‘cause I’m curious about the sleep phases stuff. I wish it was possible to use apps like Voice Dream Reader or Audible without headphones on it, then perhaps Apple Watch could become a viable alternative for my PlexTalk at night and then it would be a very solid argument for me to get used to sleeping with it. I still hope that Apple will make my dream come true in the future. 

   How about your real feelings? 🙂 

Rachel Newton – “Poor Lost Babe”.

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Today I want to share with you a song performed by the Scottish harpist and singer Rachel Newton, several of whose songs I’ve already shared on here. It comes from her 2016 album called Here’s My Heart, Come Take it, and is written from the perspective of a mother. 

Enya – “So I Could Find My Way”.

   Hiya people! 🙂 

   For today, I’d like to share with you yet another song by Enya, from her most recent album Dark Sky Island. This emotional song, as Enya herself said in an interview, is dedicated to Nicky Ryan’s (who is Enya’s manager and producer) late mother, Mona. 

Gwilym Bowen Rhys – “Deio Bach” (Little Deio).

   YAYYY hey all you lovely people! 😁🎊 

   It’s very happy times in Bibielland right now, because Gwilym Bowen Rhys – one of my faza people – has released a new album, the second one in his series of Detholiad o Hen Faledi (Selection of Old Ballads)! Something like this is always a huge event in Bibielland, not only simply because it’s a new album so most people who are into someone’s music would be naturally thrilled in such situation, but also because with my other faza people, I haven’t been quite as lucky in terms of their new albums. My first faza peep has been Enya, and she is very well-known for working for years on any new release, sometimes it takes so long that people start wondering whether she’ll actually release anything new. And so at the time when she was my dominant faza, I didn’t get to enjoy any new release from her, it was only after my faza on her has faded into the background that she released Dark Sky Island. Then there was Declan, who at the time of my dominant faza on him was studying and had a long break from his musical activity. And then there was Cornelis, who has left this world even before I came on it, so even though what he has left has always seemed to me like one huge, endlessly fertile well of creativity because he has recorded and written so extremely much, and then there are all the live recordings and lots of other things, and I kept stumbling upon something new to me all the time and even still do sometimes, there was obviously no hope for anything that would be actually, objectively new. So until Gwilym, the experience of my dominant faza peep releasing something new was unknown to me, and that’s why I feel absolutely spoilt by Gwilym. 😀 Especially when he released Detholiad O Hen Faledi I in July of 2018, and then Arenig in May 2019, so there wasn’t even a whole year between the two albums. I was as thrilled as if a young child would have been if she learned that she could have two big birthday parties in one year. 😀 We did have to wait for this new album nearly three years, I’m sure at least in some part due to Covid, but that makes it even more exciting. 

   I don’t know how these things work or whether perhaps I’ve missed something, but from what I’ve heard he has actually released it on March 1 (so Dydd Gwyll Dewi, or st. David’s Day in English, in case you don’t know st. David is a patron saint of Wales), except it seemed like it was still only available to preorder, until march 8 when I got an email that it’s available now. One of the best presents I could think of for myself for International Women’s Day, haha! I suppose if I really wanted I could have listened to it earlier directly from Bandcamp’s website, but I have to have the right conditions when listening to albums of my faza peeps for the first time so that I can absorb it thoroughly. Even on the day when I got it, I was waiting until the evening so that I could give it the first thorough listen in complete peace and once I did, needless to say, I enjoyed it very much, though a few more thorough listens are still due. I was already familiar with two of the songs featured on this album, as I’ve heard him singing them live on several occasions, but was looking forward to hearing the album versions nonetheless. 

   Moreover, last night, something made me tune into BBC Radio Cymru, which I hadn’t listened to in quite a while, and what was my surprise to hear Gwilym Bowen Rhys live! 🙂 I didn’t even know that it was going to happen, as I didn’t even go on Twitter yesterday, which is the only social mediumm I use, if lurking passes as using, and where I follow both Gwilym and BBC Radio Cymru. I don’t know how much of it I could have missed as I joined in at 8:30 UK time, but even if I missed something, I could still enjoy half an hour of Gwilym performing mostly songs from his debut album O Groth Y Ddaear (From THe Earth’s Womb) together with his frequent collaborators – Patrick Rimes on fiddle and Gwen Màiri Yorke on harp. – I was a bit surprised that he was singing only songs from his debut album, but it turned out that the reason for this concert was the 40th anniversary of a Welsh traditional record label called Fflach, with whom he released that particular album. After having been spoilt so much, it was only natural that I’ve ended up having a small faza peak, even though Gwilym is no longer my dominant faza peep. In fact, I’m actually surprised that I’m only having a small peak, I guess after so much exciting stuff my brain should be skyrocketing. But any peak, even the smallest is always welcome. 

   ANyways, enough of me, let’s get to this new album and the song from it that I want to share with you all. As I’ve already said and as its name implies, Detholiad o Hen Faledi II is the second album in the Detholiad o Hen Faledi series, compiling old, often nearly forgotten Welsh ballads, in minimalistic arrangements, in most cases either accompanied only by guitar or sung a capella. Like its predecessor, it was produced by Aled Wyn Hughes (known for example from the band Cowbois Rhos Botwnnog) at Stiwdio Sain and released by Erwydd Records, a branch of Sbrigyn Ymborth. 

   So far I feel like my favourite tune from this album is the closing one, called Deio Bach, or Little Deio in English, which is also one of the two tunes that I’ve heard him perform before. I also decided to pick this one for this post because the album is not yet available on any streaming services or anything like that, so unfortunately I can’t share the album version of any of the songs with you, but this particular song can be found on YouTube in several live versions. The first time I heard it was on BBC Radio Cymru in a programme hosted by Lisa Gwilym, where she talked with Gwil about his upcoming performance at one of the Folk on Foot Festivals online, where he was also going to sing this song. I had the great pleasure of listening to that Festival as well. 

   I am not at all easily moved to tears, as in by something that is beautiful, even though sometimes I’d like it to be the case because I think it could be quite cathartic when I do find something emotionally moving. Yet, when hearing Gwilym perform this song at Folk on Foot, I found myself very dangerously close to tears when listening in particular to the last verse, even though my understanding of the lyrics was a bit patchy. I still find this song and the mother’s sorrow and hiraeth in it incredibly moving. 

   From what I’ve heard and understood, Gwilym first heard this song performed by Cowbois Rhos Botwnnog to a different melody (that is a beautiful interpretation as well and I might share it with y’all some other time, who knows) and then some time later found a version sung by an acclaimed late soprano singer called madam Megan Telini, and he sings it to the same melody as she did. The song was written by John Jones of Llangollen, from the perspective of a mother whose son – Deio (my best guess is that it must be yet another variation on Dafydd/David) – has emigrated to America. 

   The translation you can find below, as always in case of Gwilym’s songs that I share on my blog, comes from Gwilym’s website. 

  I raised a little and dear boy
on my bosom with great pains.
Deio, you are that boy,
I wonder where you are now.
often you are on my mind,
dear boy, are you healthy?
If it isn’t too much to ask,
send a letter little Deio.

tough is my piece of bread,
yes, tough and scarce,
whilst my child, I do hope
is with his bread of white wheat.
My dear boy, whilst you are by your table
without sickness or weakness,
if it isn’t too much to ask,
remember about your mother’s poor fare.

If you can’t come over,
If you can’t assist me in any way,
I dare to ask you one thing,
maybe you will give me that -
I’m not asking for a grave stone,
this is too much, despite the longing farewell,
just shed a tear in my memory,
only a tear little Deio.

Highasakite – “Mother”.

Hiya people! 🙂 

   Today I have a brand new single for you from this great, indie pop/rock band from Norway. I really like their music, I really like the vocalist and lyricist Ingrid Helene Håvik. I’ve already shared one song from them years ago, called “Five Million Miles”. I saw this song in my Release Radar on Spotify this past week and I liked it right away. It’s really catchy so it got really stuck in my brain after listening to it just once. Most often, I don’t consider this a very good quality in a song, but there are exceptions, and, well, like I said, I do like this one. I think mostly because, while being catchy, at the same time it’s also quite raw. I believe this single is the first one from their upcoming album of the same title or that’s what I’ve heard, so if that’s the case I’m really looking forward to it. 

How I think other people would describe me.

I thought I’d do some journaling prompt-based post, and I chose the following prompt from Hannah Braime’s The Year Of You:

How do you think other people would describe you if asked?

Before I get into the actual topic, I’d like to brag about the fact that last week I got my MacBook Air, and that’s what I’m writing to you from currently, and this is my first post from it. I wrote in one of the recent coffee shares that I’d been thinking about getting one, but planned it for some more or less distant future. Well, to keep it short, let’s just say that all sorts of different circumstances contributed to me making the purchase a lot earlier than I thought. Now, in the space of… wait a minute, how long have I had my iPhone for?… not even two years… so, in the space of less than two years I’ve acquired a total of THREE Apple products!… :O Me! 😀 Who would have thought… But, as you can surely imagine, I’m still learning and still mostly relying on my Windows computer. I’m not rushing with it really. A lot of things in the Mac world still feel super weird or totally mysterious to me. I don’t know what the end result will be and I also have to take into account the possibility that I end up not getting used to it quite as well as I hope I will and will not be able to rely on it as my primary computer, I know a handful of blind people for whom it hasn’t really worked out that well, and that was the main reason why I originally planned to wait with the purchase. But I’m going to give myself even as much as half a year to see how I get into it. I’ll let you know if I can finish this post successfully from here or if I’ll switch to Windows midway. Now, let’s get to the oh so self-centred topic of this post.

I wrote on the same prompt in my personal diary a couple months ago and said there that I think it’s quite interesting that it seems that various people would probably describe me in ways that would differ from each other quite a lot. I know (well, at least to some degree) what the reasons behind that are, but I can’t help wondering if part of it could perhaps be due to me being somehow two-faced or just not genuine at all. I think it’s really hard to say as there are many aspects involved in this. Before I thought about  writing a post on this, I decided to actually talk to my Mum about it, mostly because, despite she is one of the people I’m closest with, if not *the* closest to me, I had trouble thinking of the things she could say to describe me, so I thought I’d simply ask her about it and, quite as I expected, received a full report in response that didn’t include only my Mum’s own view of me but also she mentioned that she thought I would probably get a different description of myself depending on whom I’d ask. 😀

Mostly though, I think someone who doesn’t know me very well would usually describe me as shy, quiet (I absolutely hate when someone calls me “quiet”, you should spend a freaking minute in my brain if you think I am 😀 ). Many of those people seem to think I’m not particularly smart and rather plain and uninteresting and don’t really have an idea about much of anything because I don’t have a lot to say, or that I’m very apathetic because I don’t seem to react to anything very much and don’t seem to have any deeper feelings. When I sometimes do spontaneously and usually more or less accidentally reveal something about myself to them that they don’t know, or if someone else does, they’re usually quite shocked.

Then there are also people who don’t know me well who think I am very outgoing, talkative, eloquent, smart and humourous, ‘Ive even heard  stuff like charismatic. That’s usually when such an individual met me one-on-one which situation I often find easier to interact with people in, plus probably in a setting that I was comfortable with, like, dunno, talking about Misha, and when I’m generally doing quite well socially, which sometimes seems to be rather random I guess. We’ve had quite a handful of such situations where I’d talk with someone and then later they’d be raving about me to someone in my family how delightfully outgoing I am and my family would be like: “What?!” 😀 Or such person would then see me in a different situation, where there are perhaps more people or which is more challenging socially for me for some reason, and they’d see the version of me that I mentioned earlier, and they’d be like: “Ohhh, what’s wrong with Bibiel?” Unfortunately I can’t always control that. Like, as some of you might remember, I had an autism evaluation some three years ago. That was the second one I had in my life, because I had one earlier at school as a kid, but back then the circumstances were rather yucky, I wasn’t really informed about things properly and I really didn’t want having that diagnosis so I did all I could to avoid being classified as autistic, whereas that second time I was open to it being a possibility and thought that if it was indeed the case, having a diagnosis could help me a bit, if only with explaining some things to people, and my Mum was pretty much sure that I actually must be autistic. Except when I came to that evaluating place, my “delightfully outgoing” persona kicked in, despite I was actually feeling terribly anxious, and they decided that I am most definitely not autistic at all. 😀 While I decided to keep it that way, because I figured they’re the experts so they should know, after all, if I really had it, they should be able to tell it anyway I guess, and I wouldn’t want to go through yet another evaluation, we sometimes wonder if they’d say the same thing if they could see me in some real life situations.

Then there are peeps who simply think I am an icy, indifferent person, and I guess they tend to get the impression  I’m very nerdy or something., or that’s what I’ve been told When I was a teen I’ve heard that some people are intimidated by my iciness/unfeeling-ness, which idea I actually liked, haha, though that totally wasn’t the reason why I acted this way. I now try to do that less, more for my own sake than other people’s, but around people I feel very insecure around it is really difficult not to, after getting my brain used to handling situations this way.

But let’s talk about people who actually know me somewhat more, that is my family.

My Dad, I’m actually very curious how he would describe me if someone asked him, but I wouldn’t ask him that myself as he’s not the type of person my Mum is and would surely find something like this difficult and pressuring rather than fun. But I think he would say something like that I’m funny, know a lot of weird things, like where random people’s surnames might come from (for some reason he often asks me that sort of thing like when he hears some weird surname on the TV he’ll ask me where it comes from, and I will often not know because I feel a lot more competent when it comes to given names’ etymology rather than surnames,  but sometimes I do know or can at least try to guess something and he finds that interesting and always wants to know how I know that sort of thing). He’d probably also say that I’m weird, but not because I am actually weird, rather because there’s a lot of things that my Dad considers weird or downright crazy. For example, extensive use of one’s imagination without an actual need for it like creating something practically useful, or talking to yourself (that’s mental, after all), or talking to a cat as if he were a human, or saying that you’re “reading” a book, even though you’re listening to it. Actually, his phrase for this kind of weirdness is that someone “has films”, which is odd, because in real Polish language “to have films” means to have hallucinations, after drugs usually, but for my Dad it means to have weird, unreasonable behaviours. My Mum constantly “has films” too. Because my Dad is the kind of person for whom something is usually only real when it’s visible, he would also probably say something like that I lead a VERY BORING life, because I have no real, important job, and the one that I do have is only because he graciously agreed to provide it for me despite it wasn’t necessary for him. Furthermore, I never go out, except in absolutely essential situations, I have no real life friends and spend most of my time doing things that he considers meaningless and mundane, like writing some freaking blog posts, when he doesn’t even know wth exactly a blog post is, and I’m not even making any money on it like all them influencers that Sofi follows do online. He thinks the same about my Mum’s life, though of course for different reasons, but he fails to recognise that what makes our lives truly fascinating for ourselves is our inner lives. He’d likely also say that I’m a good listener, because I try to be that for him, even though he’s one of the more difficult people to listen to for longer periods of time, because he finds it hard to put his thoughts into words. But I’ve always got a feeling that there are a lot of things that he’d like to talk about to someone, particularly about his past, to share his memories and stuff like that, but in our family no one seems very interested in that. Neither do I find it extremely interesting, but I believe everyone should have an opportunity to share such things if they feel such a need, so I do try to show a genuine interest in what he has to say, most of the time anyway, and I’ve spent countless hours listening to the stories of his rather colourless, childhood and teenage years, his time in the army (which I actually think must have been rather traumatising for him) and the times when he worked at waterworks (or at least I hope that’s the English word, I don’t have a handy translator app on here yet as I do on the PC), which he now looks back at very fondly and probably idealises that time a whole lot simply because it happened when he was young, and he now has a much better life situation, at least from an outsider perspective.

Like I said, I had a problem coming up what my Mum would say, so I asked her, and she said that I am “of above average intelligence”, which I could actually have predicted because that’s what she always says, even though I’ve never had any kind of IQ test done (it seems to be quite tricky with blind people). She said that it’s very interesting to talk to me because I seem to know something about almost everything and have a lot of interesting ideas. We both do, actually. We could start a business selling our ideas to people, lol. She thinks I have a very extensive vocabulary and am a good storyteller, which actually surprised me because while I certainly do have a large vocabulary and can go on and on and on about things I really love,I  never thought I was actually a good storyteller when speaking. She also said that I am a good listener and have a good sense of humor and that she doesn’t understand why I don’t reveal these qualities of mine to people more and wondered if it is because I feel superior towards people. I really don’t understand it when people interpret things this way, when someone is introverted/shy/socially phobic/whatever else similar people will instantly assume that you must consider yourself superior. It used to really distress me because it just couldn’t be further from the truth. She thinks I could achieve a lot in life, but to do that I’d have to do people, and I can’t do people so my chances are greatly diminished. I Donn’t really know if that’s true, that I could achieve something big sometimes I think so too, other times absolutely not, but regardless, I think it’s the case with a lot of people who could otherwise achieve a lot of great things in their lives if not something that is getting in the way because the world doesn’t work like they do. As for myself, I don’t even know what so great that could be that I could achieve, people or no people, which probably complicates things even more. And let’s not forget that I also cannot do math. 😀 She also thinks that I’m difficult to get along with, which is absolutely true, and that I am a hopeless case of a pessimist, which, imho, is not. I certainly am a pessimist and one who is very proud of it because positivity is awfully overrated, but my pessimism is not hopeless, it’s just defensive. I don’t like the kind of pessimism that makes people grumpy and always discontented with everything. I do my best to enjoy life and all that it gives me, while being a pessimist at the same time. It’s like, optimists see the glass half full, pessimists see it half empty, and Bibiels expect to be dealt an empty glass, and then when they get half a glass, Bibiels go “Yayyyy! There’s actually water in it!” 😀

I don’t really know what Olek would say about me because as it is, we hardly talk. Sometimes though, when we’re the only people who happen to eat dinner at the same time or something like that, he’ll talk to me about stuff that’s going on for him and, unlike with my Dad, I am genuinely interested and don’t have to make it seem so, so I do hope he considers me a good listener. I often think that he must think I’m extremely weird and that he generally doesn’t really like me but I have no actual evidence for that. He seems to think that I’m something like a grammar guru because he often asks me if something’s grammatically correct or something like that. And I’m pretty sure he also likes my sense of humour.

Sofi thinks I’m different than most of my peers, that I’m crazy, in a positive way, because we do a lot of crazy stuff together, that I often make her laugh, that I’m kind of childish, that I’m medieval because I’d rather people send me things via email than Snapchat (I don’t even have such a thing as Snapchat in case you’re wondering), and because I listen to “ancient” music and don’t know what her slangy words mean unless they’re from English, but even then I sometimes don’t because kids here sometimes use English words differently than what they actually mean in English. She also thinks that I should get some treatment because of the amount of languages I want to learn, but I’m not sure if she’d mention that if she had to describe me.

My poor, Fillyjonk grandma would probably say that I’m a poor, blind girl… and I’m not really sure what else she’d say, and if she would be able to specify why exactly I am poor, but that’s the adjective she often uses in reference to me. Perhaps she’d also say that I used to sing as a little child, but now I no longer do at all, because that’s where she seems to be stuck at a lot of the time. My grandma is a perfectly clear-minded, educated woman, but she just can’t seems to get past some ideas she has about me and I find any communication with her extremely difficult for that reason so I can’t even challenge that somehow. My Mum tried too, because for her it’s more of a problem than for me. Then again, I myself am not hugely motivated to change her view, it’s not like I live with her and like what she thinks matters hugely.

My grandad would probably say that, well, I’m an X-ray, that’s how he often jokingly calls me because he thinks I have a good people instinct. He often says that I am “like him” so he’d probably say that too. He’d more than likely say that I am smart, because this is something he values in people. He wouldn’t say one even slightly negative thing about me because he never does, I don’t think he’d say anything critical to me or about me even if I decided I want to kill someone, so it’s great that he’s my grandad, rather than my father and that it wasn’t him who brought me up. Other than that, I don’t really know. I have a really strong bond with him and he has always stood by me even when no one else has, and we understand each other really well, but actually a lot of time we’ve spent together has been mostly in silence, because we seem to get along best this way, so I don’t really know what he’d say.

And my gran would probably say something like that I am not like all the other blind people she’s heard of because I don’t travel by bus on my own and don’t do music.

So yeah, I think that’s it. In case you’re curious, yes I’m still on the Mac, yay for me! That’s the power of defensive pessimism for you: I thought I’d maybe do two paragraphs and then get frustrated and won’t know how to do something and switch to the PC, that it’ll be good if I’ll even manage to find my way on the rather chaotic WordPress website with the weird VoiceOver navigation so that I can at least  start writing, but I’ve made it with barely any problems at all.

Okay, now over to you: how do you think people would describe you?? Be it people from your family or any other people? Is it consistent with how you see yourself? 🙂

Sigrid Moldestad – “Eg Vil Vere Her” (I Want To Be Here).

And for today, I’d like to share with you a Norwegian folk song. I’ve shared quite a lot of Norwegian music on this blog, even before I’ve started kinda sorta learning Norwegian this year, but I feel it’s mostly been pop, and not so much folk. Sigrid Moldestad is one of the most recogniseable and awarded contemporary folk artists in her home country as it seems, and she blends folk music with more modern influences. Aside from being a singer, she is also a violinist and aside from playing your typical violin, she also plays Hardanger/Harding fiddle, which is a national instrument of Norway. She originates from Breim (I still haven’t really wrapped my brain around the geography of Norway but I believe it’s somewhere in the west) and she sings in nynorsk. I chose to share with you a song from her 2017 album Vere Her (Being Here). Something in it kind of spoke to me when I first heard it and understood more or less what it’s about, even though this song is a song about motherhood and I am not a mother. In this song, Sigrid ponders what it will be like when her daughter reaches adulthood, and how she, as a mother, can still be withh her, despite her child will be out of the nest and it may not be possible for her mother to always be close in a physical way. It spoke to me because sometimes when I think about motherhood, and being a mother in general, it seems to me like it must be extremely hard for mothers to let their children go when the time comes, despite having cared for them, bonded and being very close to them for many years. I think if I were a mother, I would find it really difficult to move on, so despite I am not and most likely will never be, I believe I understand her perspective in a way.

I tried to translate these lyrics, and I (sort of) did, despite having a lot of doubts, because I don’t really feel very confident yet when it comes to nynorsk and had to look up loads of words. This is by no means a reliable or complete translation, some bits may be totally incorrect or look kind of weird, but I thought I’d share it anyway, to give you a glimpse of what it’s about, and to give myself a bit of a challenge. Maybe someone who has a better idea about nynorsk/Norwegian in general will see this and help me fix it and I’ll learn something new, or I’ll look back at it in a year or two and be able to fix it myself.

 

I want to be here

I want to be here for long

So I can see how it goes

I want to follow you

I want to hold your hand

So that you find your way, my dear child

But life is not like that

We never get to wholely see

How it goes

How it goes

So I’m saying this now

I want to be a wind

That blows on your cheek

And a feather you find

[think? ] what you will be like

when you get old

Will you need me then, when you’ll have grey hair

We are light at night

Where you are, there I am

When the new path comes [?], you will become a great-grandmother

But life is not like that

We never get to wholely see

How it goes

How it goes

So I’m saying this now

I want to be a wind

That blows on your cheek

And a feather you find

No days shall come back

Everything is here and now

We breathe life and [stare? Believe? ] in a little [hope?]

That everything isn’t sleep and then it’s over [???]

But that there are other promises

So you (hear???) me

When you need me

And I sing for you

Then I shall send down a feather

Then I will cherish you as before

Because maybe life is like that

That we always get to see

How it goes

How it goes

Because sometimes I go and see

A feather that I find

Get a kiss from a wind

That blows on my cheek

Because maybe life is like that

That we always get to see

How it goes

How it goes

Because sometimes I go and see

A feather that I find

Get a kiss from a wind

That blows on my cheek

Question of the day.

What is your earliest childhood memory?

My answer:

My earliest memory is from when I was two years old, which some people find strange or impossible, claiming that you can only have real memories from the age of 3, but I believe that when they’re strong and emotionally intense memories, you can remember things that happened earlier, plus I guess everyone is a bit different and it must depend a lot on an individual. Anyway, my earliest memory is about when Olek was born. My Dad and me went to visit Mum in the hospital, and the first thing I remember from that was when we were in the lift and I was a little bit scared of the sensation of it moving. I still avoid lifts if only it’s possible and reasonable, even escalators, because they make me feel dizzy and floaty in an awful way and mess with my vestibular system though I’m pretty sure it was a lot worse when I was younger. Then we went to the room where my Mum was and I remember that she was really weak or something and kind of wasn’t herself really, actually at the time I think I thought she was really sleepy. My Mum had a C-section so she certainly could still be groggy after that. Olek wasn’t in there. Mum let me feel her tummy and I remember it really shocked me and made me feel quite awful. I don’t really remember or know now what exactly was going on with her, was it her stitches that she showed me and my brain exaggerated that, or something else, but I quite clearly remember a HUGE needle sticking out of her tummy and the thing overall looked quite raw and not quite like what I expected I think. And I got ann idea into my head, quite a logical one for a kid I guess, that it was my baby brother who was to blame for that. I must have said it out loud because I remember my Dad laughing and saying what a monster Olek must be. I felt really sorry for Mum. Then I don’t remember anything else, but later on I often thought that this first impression of Olek that I got, before even actually meeting him, could have influenced my later attitude towards him and I felt guilty because of that and still sort of do, though these days this is not the sole reason for why I feel a sense of guilt in relation to him, but that’s a whole different topic. Anyway, when we were little kids, I was really nasty for him. I don’t really remember that very clearly but my parents say I could just come over to him all of a sudden and start frantically bang him with something over the head or bite him really badly, or I wouldn’t let him play with my toys and generally rejected him all the time. I do remember having a kind of feeling of aversion or something towards him and like I didn’t really like him, and that I was very fickle with him. Sometimes I played together with him and we had a lot of fun, but other times I wouldn’t let him play with me. We shared the same bedroom (actually at the time our whole family had just one, huge, open area that we slept in) and sometimes I would initiate some play, because I was rarely sleepy when I should be and as a toddler always got a huge energy shot towards the evenings and it was the best time for playing for me, and he happily joined in with that, or we just talked and laughed like crazy because everything’s always most hilarious when it’s time to sleep. And then in the middle of that I’d suddenly just turn my back on him for no apparent reason and play by myself or start doing something else that I wouldn’t include him in and I acted like I was cross with him or something. Or we’d be talking and suddenly I’d start acting royally haughty and like I was deadly bored and be like: “I don’t wanna talk to you”. Or if he tried to talk to me but I didn’t feel like it, I’d also say something like that, no matter how much the poor kid would try to get my attention. Thinking back to that, I am actually a bit surprised that he wasn’t similarly nasty to me in return, as kids usually are. He’d still make efforts to be able to play with me no matter how jerky I was with him, and no matter how often I’d keep rejecting him he’d continue to try to connect with me and was always very protective of me as a kid, it looked as if my attitude wasn’t even affecting him at all. Sure he liked a bit of sibling rivalry, and would be mischievous sometimes and piss me off totally deliberately, but he was mischievous with everyone so it wasn’t anything specifically directed at me, and I think a lot of kids, if they were treated like that by an older sibling, would at some point just shrug and let go, or start acting the same as their sibling.

How about your earliest memory? 🙂

Anúna – “Fill, Fill a Rún” (Return, Return).

Hey people! 🙂

Today I’d like to share with you a piece performed by the very famous Irish choir ensemble called Anúna. Anúna are very versatile when it comes to the kinds of music they perform – from traditional Irish music to classical or medieval pieces to original works. – Over the years, Anúna has had lots of members, from Ireland and abroad. The ensemble has been founded by Michael McGlyn, who also composes original music for them. I really love Anúna for their diversity and the atmosphere of their music. In this particular piece, we can hear Eabha McMahon as the soloist. Eabha is a sean nós singer and currently one of the members of Celtic Woman, but she spent many years as part of Anúna and joined them when she was only 15, making her the youngest member of this choral ensemble. I really like her soulful vocals in this traditional song.

This song is said to be written by a mother of a former Catholic priest (Father O’Donnell, or O’Domhnaill in Irish) who became a Protestant minister. It expresses her deep sadness due to his apostasy and her desire to return to the Catholic faith. I’ve found a translation of it

here.

Return, return, my dear.

Return my dear, and don’t leave me

Return to me, my darling and my dear

And you will see the glory if you return

I walked near and far

I was born in Mota Ghrainn Oige

And I have seen no wonder yet to

compare with Father O’Donnell becoming a minister

Return, return, my dear,

Return my dear, and don’t leave me

Return to me, my darling and my dear

And you will see the glory if you return

You renounced Peter and Paul

For the sake of gold and silver;

You renounced the Queen of Glory

And you began wearing the coat of the minister

Return, return, my dear,

Return my dear, and don’t leave me

If you return today or ever

Return in the order that you were trained in

Ten Things of Thankful.

I thought it’s time to do some gratitude list post, as I haven’t done it in a while. As usual with such posts, I’m linking up with

Ten Things of Thankful (TToT).

  1.    That my immediate family are more or less healthy again. We had a wave of Covid going  through our house in the last couple of weeks and we suspect we all might have been sick with it, to a varying degree. My parents certainly were, and it was them who were particularly badly ill. I was especially worried about my Mum, who has episodic asthma, and has been in the midst of an episode when it hit her, so she had really awful cough, but was also generally quite unwell with awful muscle pains and stuff. Thankfully, my Dad is completely well now and back to work, and my Mum is a lot better. She still can’t feel smells or tastes and has worse cough than her usual asthma cough, but other than that she says she’s feeling well and it shows. I’m really glad this is over, as it was quite depressing having a mini hospital at home, and like I said quite worrying at times.
        1. Good sleep last night. My sleep has been very up and down lately, and yesterday I had quite an awful anxiety day. It took me ages to settle down to sleep and I was really scared to fall asleep, but when I eventually did fall asleep I got solid ten hours of it and didn’t even wake up all the time as is usual when I’m having bad anxiety.
  2. Mum’s help. I’ve been having a lot of stuff to do this week – some Christmas shopping, writing and sending cards to people, some banking stuff etc. – and my Mum helped me with it all, which I am the more grateful for given that she’s still recovering. I’ve got a HUUUUGE collection of English-language cards that my Mum stocked up on for me years ago so that I can send them to people abroad, as I only send cards to people abroad at this point. That card collection is also something I’m grateful for, so that I don’t have to worry every single year whether I’ll be able to find the right cards for people in the shops but just pick something from my overflowing box. 😀 Christmas shopping is also so much easier for me with my Mum because I’m terrible with money and stuff like that, even when shopping online. Not to mention banking. 😀
  3. Lots of snow. We’ve been having a lot of snow since the end of November. Well, not like A LOT, but surprisingly much for this time, we usually don’t get proper, fluffy snow that would stay around for a longer time until about Christmas. And this early snow has been very fluffy so you can make snowballs and snowmen and whatever you want from it. We’d been in quarantine and now Sofi’s school has their classes online because a few teachers are sick, so Sofi’s really happy with the snow and we both play in it together with Jocky, and Jack Frost haha. It also means that I can wear my comfy fluffy overalls in the evenings that my Mum’s made for me for Christmas a few years ago, and it’s the season for tea with ginger and other amazing things like that. Tomorrow, provided that Sofi won’t lose interest, we’re going to make gingerbreads.
  4. Misha. I am grateful for Misha’s existence each and every day, even though today I haven’t even seen him yet because in the morning he played with Sofi and now no one knows where he’s sleeping.
  5. Tasting Christmas food. My Mum’s made a start to making all our traditional Christmas dishes, but because her sense of taste is non-functioning at the moment, it’s been quite challenging for her. Thus, Sofi and I kindly offered our help with the gustatory part. It was mostly meant to be for our current benefit – so that we get to taste all the Christmas food before Christmas actually comes – but now I’m really glad we thought about this because otherwise some of the dishes would be really quite insipid haha. I mean, Mum said she seasoned everything but it must’ve been some truly minuscule amounts. I really hope Mum’s senses go back to normal until Christmas so she can actually enjoy Christmas food.
  6. Medication. I’m grateful for having pain killers, as well as my migraine and anxiety medicines available. I had a migraine on Monday, which was pretty shitty, but I’m sure it would be even shittier if I didn’t have the migraine meds. And like I said I also had quite high anxiety yesterday. I’m absolutely used to dealing with anxiety with no meds, as that’s what I did for most of my life until I got my diagnoses, and I still try to take my PRN med only when things get really bad because it’s Xanax (except it has a different name here) so it’s highly addictive. It only takes the edge off it most of the time, but that’s still a very welcome difference and I’m extremely grateful for that, as at least it helps me to focus on and see other things in life beyond my little Bibiel brain bubble.
  7. My little Bluetooth speaker. Well, I’ve had it for over a year now and I’ve always loved it, but the reason why I mention it in this gratitude list specifically is that recently, for some mysterious reasons, it had stopped working for me. Basically, this speaker always gets a little freaky when I get a phone call, like it doesn’t know what to do about it. Sometimes its volume will go all the way up and it will play the ringer sound at the same time when my phone’s already playing it (best way to be woken up at night, and wake up everyone else), or it’ll turn off and never turn back on or anything when I finish the call. Sometimes when I answer the call I’ll hear it through the speaker, other times through the phone. So overall it’s just very unpredictable in how it behaves with phone calls and I don’t really know why, but normally I don’t care much because I don’t talk to people on the phone much. And earlier this week, I was listening to music when Sofi called me, and I heard a very weird popping sound from the speaker and then it turned off. I talked with Sofi, and wanted to turn the speaker back on when we finished the call, but it just made that popping sound again and wouldn’t play despite it looked like it was on. I tried to reset it but again it would only pop when I turned it off and on, and nothing beyond that, despite several trials, literally nothing I came up with seemed to help. I was really disappointed because it’s a really good speaker and I’ve been really happy with it so far. It has a smooth, bedroom-y sound, which is what I was looking for because I mostly wanted a speaker that I could listen to music from at night, but at the same time, unlike most speakers specifically branded as bedroom speakers, it sounds very clear even at relatively low volumes, and very neat when you turn it up as well. Also everyone says that it fits my room aesthetically for some reason. And my Mum always says she envies me it, which I totally understand, haha. And it’s from B&O which are known to make good devices overall so I wouldn’t have expected that this speaker would have such a short life or be so prone to serious malfunction, especially given its price, and I also have headphones from B&O so I was wondering if I should also prepare for their time to come soon. I was planning to get in touch with B&O somehow, but in the meantime my speaker was totally useless. Then yesterday I tried to turn it on once again, and, surprise! it worked! I’ve no idea what was wrong with it but now it works completely fine. I even got Sofi to call me again while I had it connected to my phone and it didn’t freak out. I’m really glad to have a functioning speaker again, and now I appreciate it even more that I don’t have to rely on the iPhone’s built-in and rather unfriendly-sounding speaker all the time. 😀
  8. That we have the possibility to attend traditional Latin Mass every week. I recently wrote about our discovering and kind of “conversion” to traditional Catholicism, and you can read about that here.  I am also grateful for all the resources that help me develop my faith and for all the grace that God gives me to make it possible for me to do so.
  9. My language-learning progress. This week has been rather low-key in this department, but I’ve been listening to a lot of Norwegian podcasts and have become a lot more confident when it comes to my listening skills in this language. I have also learnt some interesting new Welsh words. Fun fact for y’all: there’s such a word in the Welsh language as clusfeinio (klis-VAY-nee-aw in the North or klees-VAY-nee-aw in the South though I’m never quite sure how to represent Welsh sounds in English phonetically) which means to listen attentively, as well as to eavesdrop. I think it’s cool that there’s a language in this world that has a special word for the particularly attentive kind of eavesdropping, as this is something I do a lot. People-watching, blind edition.

What are your thankfuls this week? 🙂

Delyth Evans – “Gymnopedie III”.

Hey people! 🙂

Recently I shared with you one of the Gnossiennes composed by Eric Satie and played on the harp by Floraleda Sacchi, and today I’d like to share another, and I guess more commonly known, composition by Eric Satie – the last of his Gymnopedies. – Gymnopedies are three pieces of music that Satie composed for piano, all very melancholic pieces (the first is meant to be played painfully, the second sadly, and the third – the one we’ll listen to today – gravely) and I’ve heard quite a few different harp performances of them and I really like how they sound played on the harp. The name of these pieces comes from some ancient Greek festivity called gymnopaedia, during which young men were dancing naked/unarmed. I have a little bit of a personal connection with Gymnopedies because when I was in nursery, there was a documentary that was being filmed about our nursery (for the blind) and how we lived in there. Then all of our parents got a copy of this film. I now know that my Mum hated that film, but she watched it a lot anyways especially when I was away at school and then she always ended up crying. Once I grew up a bit I never liked watching it either or people mentioning it, something about it is very depressing to me though I’m pretty sure it’s just in my brain and all sorts of memories coming up rather than the documentary itself being objectively depressing. Anyways, gymnopedies were in the soundtrack of this film. I actually don’t remember now if it was all of the Gymnopedies or just one, and if one then which one, because I haven’t watched that in ages nor has my Mum, but I am sure that there was at least one Gymnopedie. I guess Gymnopedies are a sort of go-to soundtrack for all things that are meant to be tear-jerking because I’ve heard them used a lot in this way. This is actually a bit of a pity, because they’re great pieces of music, and while they’re melancholic, it’s not in a tear-jerking, maudlin way. But despite my Mum hated that film, she really liked this music and wanted to know what it is, and finally when she found out she bought some music album where Gymnopedies were included, I don’t know who played them. And she still really likes them despite they sometimes make her think about the times when I was at school and how it made her sad that I couldn’t be at home with my family. And that’s why, when it comes to me, what I primarily associate Gymnopedies and what they make me think of when I hear them is my Mum, rather than the time when I was in nursery, which I’m so glad about, because otherwise they’d probably be totally spoilt for me, and as it is, I really love them. Especially, like I said, played on harp. This third, grave Gymnopedie in A minor is played by the already well-known harpist on this blog, Delyth Evans (currently Jenkins) from Wales.

Question of the day (30th November).

I am learning…

My answer:

…these days, I’m learning a lot about what is currently generally known as traditionalist Catholicism, that is basically Catholicism pre Vatican Council II and Holy Mass before that Council, which is also known as Tridentine Mass or traditional Mass and I guess a couple other terms exist in English but I don’t remember that now. As you might or might not recall, my Mum and I used to attend the Tridentine Mass for quite some time, I’m not sure when it all started, maybe a year or two ago…? We loved it and I think we always had some kind of subconscious desire or need or I’m not sure how to call it, to go back to the tradition, to what’s actually true. But in the beginning our main motivation to go to the Tridentine Mass was just emotional – that it was so much deeper, more beautiful, very moving for my Mum, so atmospheric, and for me it was interesting that it was in Latin. – I recently thought that back then I didn’t even have much of an idea as for why exactly this Mass is still celebrated, I thought it was mostly the sentimental value, that people just like it more for this depth it has, that it’s just the matter of liking it more or something. I heard about people who put so much effort into it that they go exclusively to traditional Mass and reject most things post Vatican II, and while I admired that in a way, I thought it was kind of unnecessarily hardcore. My Mum had a traditional missal or whatever it’s called in English, which she always took with her to that Mass, and some other traditionalist books from a Polish publishing house that publishes only this type of content. She sometimes read them to me and Sofi but generally, good Catholic ebooks (at least in Polish, and I much prefer consuming Catholic content in Polish rather than English) are not very widely available, and even if I had some books it wouldn’t be quite doable for me to use my Braille-Sense in church comfortably, and printing that in Braille would be really expensive, so I had nothing, which didn’t help my understanding of this Mass. My Mum was confused by a lot of things, and I was twice as much. I did understand more of Latin than my Mum did, though, and it was slightly less challenging for me, because I know a few more IndoEuropean languages, and particularly English which of course shares a ton of vocabulary with Latin. Also my grandad knows a lot of Latin and taught me a lot of words as a kid, which I always liked and absorbed willingly, and I have an interest in names, and a lot of names with European origins (about which I know more than about names from other cultures) come from Latin words. I also read the entire Dictionary of the Foreign Words and Phrases when I was ten after my Achilles tendon surgery when I was in casts for six weeks and had not much to do. All that helps me to understand a lot of single words, or at least suspect more or less what they might mean, so I can sometimes figure out more or less the overall meaning of what is said. Also I learned some basic prayers by heart quite quickly. Then as time went by we went to Tridentine Mass less and less, because it was difficult logistically, it was only in one church that we knew of in our area, only once on Sunday and once on a week day, and in the afternoon which we weren’t used to as we usually went to Mass early in the morning and it felt kind of “lousy” waiting with it until the afternoon and planning everything else major for the day was difficult. Besides, Dad and Sofi still went to the “normal” Mass, and so did Olek except he never went with us so we didn’t have to adjust to him or anything. And my Mum felt it was kind of odd that we didn’t go to the church together, and Dad always wants to do everything together with Mum so he was sulking every time we went to the Tridentine Mass, but he never wanted to go with us. Sofi went once but, being younger and less aware of things than she is now, she was extremely bored and frustrated, not understanding a word from it aside from the reading, Gospel and homily, not knowing what was going on, when to do what etc. and it was really long for her. So eventually, we stopped going altogether, despite still having, or feeling like we had, a strong affinity with the traditionalist movement and my Mum really longed for the Tridentine Mass and felt that the new Mass was lacking in reverence for God compared with the traditional Mass and it pained her, and reverent is something that a Mass should definitely be. I felt it too, but I didn’t actually see things that happen at either Mass, being blind, so it wasn’t quite the same as for her, even though I saw that lack of reverence and focusing primarily on humans rather than God in other aspects and things. Then, I think it was October, my Mum started to dig deeper in all things traditionalist, reading, listening to and watching traditionalist Catholic resources, and sharing a lot of that knowledge with us all. I found that very fascinating, for lack of a more fitting word, so I listened eagerly and then followed down that rabbit hole myself. It all felt like a very slow, gradual process, but now when I think back to those first weeks of this it seems like a lot happened so suddenly. Then after some time Sofi followed too. She has a very keen interest in all this and asks a lot of questions but has a hard time finding information for herself, even when we provide her with resources, because she isn’t the most patient and struggles with lengthy reading or listening to someone talking for ages because there are no images that you could just look at and learn the gist of it in five minutes, so it’s a frustrating process for her, but she is also learning a lot. We are not only learning about the Mass, all the differences between it and the new Mass, but also other aspects of traditionalist Catholicism. I am just writing about it in short because it’s very complex and kind of tricky to write about and if I wanted to do it in detail I’d have to write a whole essay, and also because most of my active readers are not Catholic as far as I know, but there has been so much going on for us in this area lately. Now, ever since like the end of October-beginning of November, Mum, Sofi and myself attend only the Latin Mass, and if for some reason we are unable to do so when it’s a holiday, we attend it in spirit, and to help us with that we listen to a traditional Mass online, rather than go to the new mass. That may seem very weird or hardcore to Catholics who go to the new Mass, as it once seemed to me, and we had a lot of doubts initially, but that’s what we think is the best thing to do. Although despite our previous logistical difficulties with attending traditional Mass, currently, it’s not so much a problem. We actually consider ourselves super lucky because we’ve found out that, in addition to the church where we used to go for this Mass, there are also two chapels in our area which celebrate it regularly, and a few other churches which do it on a less regular basis or which are a bit further away but still close enough that we can go there if need be. That’s a luxury compared with some other regions and I’m so happy about that. Like, one time we went to the chapel, there were people from a town that is some two and a half hour’s drive away! :O As for books, yes, I still often feel totally clueless when I go to Mass, because like I said it’s not very doable for me to have a book to refer to during the service, but I am learning that, unlike it works with the new Mass, it’s not my role to understand everything, say all those Latin prayers and know what’s going on. That’s the priest’s role, and even he cannot understand everything, and that’s what we have faith for. Who, after all, even in their mother tongue, understands things like, for example, what Holy Trinity means? My role is to pray as ardently as I can, offer up everything I have, and praise God. Sure it’s our duty to deepen our faith by learning and trying to understand, but it’s okay not to understand everything and also I’m sure that over time I’ll become less clueless, I am already becoming less and less clueless, or so it seems to my little Bibiel brains and so I’m hoping. However, the situation in the book department is still much better than what I expected it to be based on my previous experiences. My Mum has been drilling the holes in the brains of people from that traditionalist Catholic publishing house that they should make ebooks, even that they should audiodescribe the traditional Latin Mass for the blind (yeah, my Mum always dreams big) but so far there are no ebooks that they offer. Yet, I’ve managed to find a deliciously old (19th century) Polish book that my Mum also has from somewhere, a book about Mass, all its part, what everything means, how to listen to it/take part in it, all the rituals and what they look like etc. etc. etc. It’s a small book and it’s not a missal or anything like that, it’s just the very basics and clearly written for simple people in a simple language, but I’ve found it very helpful to read before Mass at home. It made me think of one thing (well, it made me think of lots of things lol but one specific that I want to mention), because a few times it mentioned people who were illiterate and only then I fully realised that, after all, years ago, a lot of people couldn’t read and were in a similar situation to me, and I wondered how they prayed during Mass. I asked around and did a bit of research and turns out a lot of people prayed rosary. That reminded me of an elderly lady I once came across in church at new Mass, she was sitting behind me and I could overhear that she was praying the rosary, whispering rather loudly. I found that weird, and thought it was quite ignorant to pray the rosary while attending a Mass. Now that’s what I often do myself and I think one fits with the other perfectly well. Or I try to meditate on Jesus’ crucifixion. Then I also found out that there is a website which has all sorts of articles on traditional Catholicism, but also you can download missal as an ebook from there. So now I have my own missal as well so I can read readings and Gospel and everything before each Mass. Unfortunately, my Dad only went with Mum and Sofi once, when I was sick recently and couldn’t go with them. Afterwards, when Mum asked him about his impressions, he said he felt as if he was at a Mass in a completely different country and didn’t seem to like that feeling. He no longer expresses that he’d like to go with us and says things like “your church” so he clearly doesn’t feel a part of it. I guess it’s that little bit too far out of his comfort zone but maybe as time passes it will become easier for him. But we don’t press him, as that’s not likely to help. Olek is very interested when Mum talks to him about it but so far hasn’t been on a traditional Mass.

So yeah, that’s something that I’ve been learning a lot about lately. We laugh with Mum that it feels a bit as if we were newly converted or something. 😀 We also still feel a strong connection with this rite emotionally, I think it sort of resonates with our personalities much more than all the new stuff and I could list so many reasons. One recent example could be that we were once talking about how cool it is that it’s a sort of default thing for women to wear a head scarf or something similar at a traditional Mass. I initially thought it was a little odd that it’s almost like a requirement and couldn’t understand why such a thing would be so important, but now I really like it and so does Mum. You’re kind of veiled from people and you’re more anonymous, people don’t stare at you, and as my Mum says, you can cry if you want and no one will even notice, and my Mum cries a lot in church because she’s sensitive like that and easily moved. I often make weird facial expressions and not always know about it, or I do even when I know, so I like that for this reason too. And it’s generally just cool, though Sofi still says she feels like a Russian granny when she has to cover her head in church. 😀 Basically what I want to say I guess is that it’s more introvert-friendly in a way than things like charismatic movements and the like that have developed after Vatican II. I remember back when I was at the boarding school, there was a time when our boarding school group staff would often invite people from different religious groups/communities/movements within the Church that existed and they would tell us about those communities and encouraged us to join in and I’d frequently hear that it’s so good to belong to some group like that because then you are a member of the Church more fully or something along those lines. None of those communities resonated with me, they all felt like there’s so much socialising above all else and totally not my thing, so I sometimes wondered whether that makes me a bad Christian. I am happy that it doesn’t really work like I’d been told.

What is it that you are learning? 🙂

Question of the day.

What is one thing that your parents taught you, that later turned to be totally wrong?

My answer:

For me it’s generally so that it’s my Mum who is more of an authority for me than my Dad, and our views on a lot of things are generallyy very similar, which is extremely fortunate since we live together and do a lot of things together so it would be tricky if we were clashing a lot more, and it’s not as smooth for a lot of other families I know, but also when I want to talk to her about something that I don’t agree with her on or confront her about something she’ll be able to have an open-minded discussion, and she’s also not the type of person who would insist on always being right and never was, she is capable of saying things like “I’m sorry, I really thought it was like this but now I know it’s not”, or we’ll simply accept that we’re on totally different pages about something and move on. My Dad, meanwhile, is more of an authoritarian type, rather than authoritative, he has generally a problem with admitting anything wrong on his part in any relationship, so he always insists on being right, but because like I said I’ve always seen my Mum as more of an authority, and Dad wasn’t involved so much in our upbringing and was more the breadwinner, even if he did tell me things that I was supposed to somehow learn or believe in, I would usually take it with a wee grain of salt from quite early on, because Mum was always more right, and sometimes what they were saying was right down contradictory. 😀 It’s not that I didn’t take my Dad seriously, I do for example consider him my go-to expert in geography or the history of WWII, he was just simply a bit less of a role model for me. I remember that my Dad would often say very generalised, stereotypical things about people, from a very narrow point of view. For example, I can vaguely recall asking him about what does a philosopher do exactly, and he said something like that nothing really, philosophers just think all the time, about things that don’t need that much thinking anyway. I think I found it interesting that someone would do nothing but think all the time and about meaningless things and consider it a valid job, so I guess I must have been asking some more questions or something, anyway what I can recall very clearly is that at some point he said that a philosopher is someone with whom it’s really difficult to communicate. I don’t think I know any philosophers, but whenever I think about it now as an adult I find it funny, where did he even get that from? I’m pretty sure it can’t be the case or even if it often might be, it certainly isn’t the fact that someone is a philosopher that makes them difficult to communicate with, or maybe it’s just difficult for the other side to communicate with them because they have a different way of thinking. Anyway, things like these, my Dad has a lot of such assumptions. Often, when you’ll talk to him calmly without trying to impose your point of view, and try to get him to think on his own, he can see beyond them, but some are really deeply ingrained, and yes, that has a harmful potential, because stereotypes can be very harmful, but usually the main reason why I think it’s such a pity is because it makes his thinking quite inflexible, and his view of people must be rather uninteresting, while I think that people, as much as they are a pain to socialise with and totally regardless whether I like them or not, are interesting as such in their diversity and complexity.

How about you? 🙂

Declan Galbraith – “An Angel”.

Hiya people! 🙂

Thought I’d share another piece from Declan Galbraith’s second album – Thank You – released in 2006, when he was 14. Currently (or at least in 2018, that was the last time I heard anything substantial about him) he makes his music under the stage name of Child of Mind, and writes his own songs, however back then, he mostly did covers of classic pop or rock songs, and this one is I believe one of his more well-known covers.

Originally, An Angel was a song of The Kelly Family (an European-American band which enjoyed quite a lot of popularity in the 90’s) and was written by Paddy Kelly for his late mother, Barbara, who passed away early from cancer if I remember correctly, and I think it’s not the only song he wrote for her. I don’t know a whole lot about The Kelly Family but since Declan is one of my faza subjects, and since he has covered more than one of The Kelly Family’s song and liked their music, I used to listen to them a bit because I like to know what my fazas like to listen to. Anyway, while The Kellys have some quite cool songs, I think Declan’s covers are a lot better, and so is the case with this one.

Blue Cafe – “Reflection”.

Hey people! 🙂

It’s Mother’s Day here in Poland, so I thought I’d share a song that both my Mum and I like. It’s actually my Mum’s favourite song as of late. I completely didn’t associate this kind of music with her, but she likes this song, and when I heard it for the first time, I started to like it too. Generally our tastes aren’t incredibly similar.

Blue Cafe is a Polish band which I used to really hate, and am still not a huge fan of at all. They used to have a really awful vocalist, now they have a different one who at least can sing, but this song of theirs is one of the very few that I like and it always makes me think of Mum.

Question of the day.

Who in your life knows you best?

My answer:

I think I have to say my Mum. She knows a lot about me and I can be open with her about a lot of things. It’s not like we understand each other without words or anything like that, and she often says that it’s hard to figure me out because I “hide things” which is true, but still, she’s quite good at figuring me out. 😀

Who is it for you? 🙂

Martha Wainwright – “Proserpina”.

Hi guys! 🙂

This is a very special song for me. I discovered it thanks to Spotify some 2 years ago and it spoke to me very strongly immediately. It’s because I feel a strong connection to Proserpina/Persephone from Roman/Greek mythology. I feel a connection to her because her story, of her being forced to live in Hades for half a year, and half a year with her mother, reminded me in a lot of ways about my own situation when I was at the boarding school and away from my family most of the time. I heard this story during a Polish lesson and I immediately felt a bond with Persephone and her mother. Especially that I’ve always been interested in myths, legends and fairytales. This connection has lasted and a couple years later, when I was still at school, I suddenly got a spurt of creativity at night – as it often happened back then because I felt the most free to let my thoughts and feelings out through writing at night – and I wrote a short story about Proserpina on my Braille-Sense, and called it just that, “Proserpina”, I think Proserpina sounds better than Persephone. I wrote this story because I thought that it’s a shame that the myth seems to focus so much on what Ceres/Demeter felt, I mean it is very good and I feel for her very deeply, but we can actually only imagine what Proserpina must have felt while her mother was trying to find her and losing her mind from grief and despair. And it was one of the few short stories that I didn’t delete just after writing, as I usually do, but I’ve also never read it to anyone. I was maybe 14 or something at the time but looking back at it I think it was really fairly decent, compared with my other writings that I remember from that time, which make you wonder whether you should laugh or cry, so cringey they are. 😀

So, while I’d never listened to Martha Wainwright’s music before, Spotify can sometimes have that weird intuition and suggest you something that is reall spot on for you and you wonder how it happened if you don’t really listen to similar stuff a lot. Well, Martha Wainwright is definitely folksy but I have only a very vague idea about Canadian folk scene. I am not a big fan of her, I mean I don’t dislike her or anything, I guess I just feel neutral, but this song has always been very special for me since I know it, I love both the topic of it and the lyrics, as well as how it sounds. So here it is, I hope you like it too, and maybe it will speak to someone else as well, whether in a similar or a completely different way as me. I think the story of Ceres and Proserpina is also very relatable for families affected by child loss. Regarding Martha Wainwright herself, she comes from a very musical family, her mother is another folk singer Kate MCGarrigle from Kate & Anna MCGarrigle duo, and there are a lot of other musicians and artists in her family as well.

Question of the day.

How big is your family, immediate and extended? Is one parent’s side of the family bigger than the other?

   My answer:

   I guess my family is pretty big, even my immediate family, for today’s standards. Apparently, families with just 3 children or more are officially recognised as “big” in Poland, and we have something called Big Family Card, which entitles members of big families to discounts on public transport or cultural institutions tickets and such. There is my Dad, Mum, me, my brother Olek and my sis Zofijka, and our cat Misha and dog Jocky, but they must cope somehow without Big Family Cards as they don’t travel at all so I guess that’s why they didn’t get them. As for my extended family, well my Dad has four siblings, and my Mum has three, and only one of my uncles on Dad’s side doesn’t have children, all the rest of their siblings do, so in total, on both my parents’ sides, only their siblings’ children/grandchildren, I have… let’s do some counting, it might take a while……… 23 cousins, if I’m thinking right, 27 if you count their spouses since they’re colloquially called cousins too. I think though that my Dad’s family is bigger overall, as his parents have both had many siblings, my gran had like 10 I guess. Or maybe I just have that impression that there is so many of my Dad’s relatives because I don’t know them quite as well as my Mum’s family. I lived with my Mum’s family for most of my life so naturally I’ve seen lots of her aunts and uncles and cousins and all visiting, if not us, then my grandparents, at least so that I know who’s who in theory, but if I’d meet my Dad’s cousin on the street, I don’t think I’d even recognise them, let alone know what their name is or what exactly is the familial relationship between us or what they do for living. My Dad knows all of them though and where they live and what they do, and all the complex affinities. They tend to have kinda unobvious nicknames that they go by, which adds to the confusion, I mean usually Polish nicknames from names are very obvious, but in my Dad’s extended family’s case, their real full names are often quite different from what they’re called, they have a talent for making up very harshly sounding diminutives and spoiling names that are quite pretty in their original full forms. 😀 I guess in a way this must be a Kashubian thing, as my Dad is Kashubian. Somehow though, I have an impression that while my Dad’s side is bigger, it consists largely of middle-aged to elderly people, unlike my Mum’s side where there are weddings and births happening relatively frequently all the time and there are children of all ages. But still, despite being smaller, my Mum’s family is big, quite interesting and spread all over the country, and a little bit abroad. 

   How about your family? 🙂

Question of the day.

Here’s another childhood/family related question I have for you.

Were you closer to one of your parents than another? Has it changed in your adulthood?

My answer:

It was differently at different times. I had a long time as a kid when I was closer to my Dad. He was, and still is, though not to such a degree as in the past, getting along with me the best of all of his children, which, as I later learned, was largely due to the fact that I was blind. I hated it so now I’m no more as close to him personally because I find it a weird reason to favour one of your children more than the rest because she’s blind and not at home most of the time. 😀 But before I found out that little piece of info, and especially when I was a little child, we used to spend a lot of time together, he even played with me, went to the beach just with me, we had quite a lot of things to talk about and were almost on the same wavelength. My Mum was more neurotic at that time, and while I definitely loved her, I wasn’t as much into being around her as she was easily irritated and not as fun to talk to. Then things somehow changed, and that thing I learned did influence it too, and our relationship with Dad became somewhat distant and still is a bit. But I think even without that thing about my blindness, it’s really hard to interact with my Dad, he is a good person, but has a really difficult character, gets incredibly suspicious easily and is very hypersensitive and now it’s him who is way more irritable than Mum, you just have to tiptoe around him, never criticise and always do what he wants if you want things to stay calm, so sometimes it’s better to not interact at all for a while. My relationship with my Mum has deepened a lot since my adolescence but especially in the last 5 years since I got out of the boarding school and we’ve both opened up a lot to each other and, well, are just spending more time with each other now when it is possible. We are in a lot of ways like friends, or in any case best listeners for each other haha, even if we don’t really understand each other in all things. And we always have stuff to talk about. I don’t know if something with me has been going on or if my Dad’s bad traits and annoying habits have worsened over the last year or so but recently our relationship has been really suffering, at least from my point of view. I feel really annoyed by him most of the time, he just pisses me off, so I prefer to avoid him sometimes in order not to let my irritation show too much. I frequently catch myself feeling relief when he’s going to work for a few days, or looking forward to him leaving for longer, and then I feel like a monster for feeling so, because it doesn’t seem to have any particularly strong reason other than he gets on my nerves, sometimes just with his presence.

How about you and your parents? 🙂