England

For Kev and Rosie <3

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These guys rock! They might not have realized this, but they have been my idols for quite some time, now. I appreciate everything about them. I mean, where do I start? Their amazing bond? Their endless sacrifices for each other? Their belief in the power of love? Their defiance of all barriers possible?…Gosh, It’s all magical about them.

Oh, where are my manners! Please meet Rosana and Kevin. Rosana is an English teacher from Spain, and Kevin is a graphic guru from England. What’s special about them? They’re my friends. That should suffice to make them special. But wait, that’s not everything! In addition to having the exclusive privilege of having access to my close circle of friends, Rosana and Kevin are two wonderful souls that complete each other. In fact, I often think of them as the fish and fries of human relationships!

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I’ve known Rosana (aka Rosa or Rosie) for almost 7 years, now. I was still a college student when we first met, and she’s been my rock since then. Rosa and I have developed a great relationship based on honesty, mutual trust, total respect, and unconditional support. To be honest, I am the one who has benefited from this support system the most. The poor thing would always rush to rescue me whenever I put myself in stupid situations (which happens quite a lot!).

It’s true that sometimes we lose contact for periods that might extend to months, but each time we talk, the flow of communication seems smooth and natural. I think that’s a sign of true friendship. What is remarkable about her, though, is that she’s always there when it comes to saving my a**! She always takes out from her time to comfort me and suggest workable ideas that might help me get over whatever mess I was in. She’s a very good listener, too. I could talk to her for hours and she would stay there and listen supportively. I never felt that she was listening because she had to, but simply because she cared. And believe me, that’s the most satisfying feeling one can hope to get from another friend.

Enters Kevin. Kevin is a great guy with a great -wait for it- sense of HUMOR. YES, an English guy who can actually tell decent jokes! So, when Rosie told me about this “handsome English guy” for the first time, I liked him immediately! I don’t know why, but I felt like he was the real deal, and he didn’t let me down. Kev and Rosie have been together for more than three years now, and they’ve finally decided to take things to the next level. So yes, the big moment is here! Kev liked it and is putting a ring on it!

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Dear Kev and Rosie, although attending your wedding doesn’t seem to be possible now (I wanted to be the best man, though! 😦 ), I know that we’ll meet sooner than we think. Until then, remember to keep being the awesome couple you’ve been, and never forget the reasons that made you fall for each other, because that’s what will keep you moving on (that and me, of course! 😀 ).

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Reading Several Books At Once.

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STUCK!

“Stuck” is the word to use when all you can do to face your inability to cope with your several readings is goggle your eyes. Books of different shapes and languages are scattered around you, and they only accentuate your dilemmas about what to resume reading first. Is it this book in French by that very prominent sociologist, or is it this one in Arabic by this great Egyptian novelist, or maybe you should continue reading either one of those three English novels you started last week…

A Stuck Reader

Finally, you make up your mind and grab either one of those books. However, somehow, the words get blurry and the characters start jumping from one book into the other as if they were circus artists doing amazing confusing stunts! 

You might still want to focus. You’d probably start pondering about the merits of every book and author at hand for some minutes to make a final decision. But if you’re like me, you’d most probably just grab the remote and watch Mr. Bean, instead.

Is this really your idea of enjoying reading? If your answer is yes, then keep doing what you’re doing, and stop reading this post right now… NOW, I said. If your answer is no, then what follows might be helpful.

Hereafter are some pieces of advice you might want to consider:

                • Do not read several books at once:

Yes. I think that for people like myself, we just cannot commit to this kind of relationships. So my advice to you is to take it slow. One book at a time shall do you good.

What we need to understand is that we’re different, and so are our abilities. Reading several books at the same time is not a healthy practice for some people. Some others can do this but some others can’t. This doesn’t imply that my breed are stupid, or that people who can read many books at once are smarter, it just means that we have different skills and intelligences. So, don’t feel bad about it.

(What?… I heard that! And no, I’m not just comforting myself?)

After all, the only good thing about being able to read different books at once is that you can switch books if you get tired or bored. However, the cons of this practice outweigh this single advantage.

  • Do not mix languages:

If you’re going to read many books. Like, if you really really have to, make sure that they’re in the same language. Reading books in different languages at the same time is confusing, especially if you’re a fast reader in some language(s) but a slow reader in other language(s). You’ll make much more progress reading in the language(s) your fluent in, while you’d be lagging behind in the other language(s), which might stir some dissatisfaction and might, in some cases, lead to low self-esteem, depression and then, suicide. Just kidding, but you got the point!

  • Get time to read but don’t force yourself into it:

Make a schedule and try to stick to it. Choose the time of the day that fits you best and plan your readings accordingly. Some people prefer to read at nights, other people prefer to read upon waking up. Don’t forget to make use of your free time and weekends, too.

  • Prioritize:

Some things in life are more important than others, so are books. Start with the book which you have a strong and fresh desire to read, when you get tired of it, try the next book you’re looking forward to read. You should always have interest in what’s between your hands, otherwise, the reading experience would be ruined.

  •  “Prioritize” doesn’t mean ignore:

 If you leave a book for too long, you’d probably forget everything about it. Picking it up again would be kind of meaningless. Hence, if you feel that one of the books your reading isn’t as interesting as the others, leave it for another reading set, or just drop it altogether, but don’t feel compelled to finish it. This will only increase your anxiousness, and we don’t want that, do we? DO WE?

  • Use a timeline:

A notepad and a pencil would be very helpful. Track down the ideas, characters and events of the book. You can add your feelings, expectations and questions about the book. It’s also important to make sure to read your notes every time you want to resume reading, it’ll freshen up your memory and put you in the right mood for that particular reading.

  •  Read (a) whole chapter(s) every time:

Don’t stop in the middle of a chapter. If you do, you’d probably be lost when you resume reading. Think of this as watching a series, what would you rather do, stop watching at the end of the episode and wait for the new one, or stop in the middle of the current one?…There you go!

  • Real readers love challenges:

Eat you broccoli, finish your dish! If you start several books and don’t manage to complete anyone of them, the effect will be very counterproductive. So, go on and finish your books, at least some of them. The feeling is really satisfying, believe me. Remember that if you don’t, you’ll probably have a very low self-esteem, depression and might commit suicide. Just kidding again, but you got the point!

  • Join Goodreads.com

Goodreads is a great reading carrefour. People write reviews and send updates about their readings. You can set up an annual goal and work on achieving it. A little competition would never hurt.

This, dear bookworms, is what I can think of for the moment. I’m sure you can have many other ideas on how to accomplish this task. So, please feel free to share them in the comment section. 

Happy reading, everyone!

Book review: “The ABC Murders” by Agatha Christie

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Agatha Christie

Finally, I got the chance to read something by Agatha Christie, the Queen of mystery fiction. “The ABC Murders” is not a fascinating book, but it surely is a good detective story.

We are reading from Captain Arthur Hastings’ narrative. Upon the Captain’s return to England from his ranch in South America, he visits his old friend Hercule Poirot. Poirot is the great Belgian detective who helps the British police solve some of the biggest mysteries they happen to encounter.

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Poirot and his strikingly dull, but faithful, sidekick try to get to the bottom of some mysterious murders committed by a cold-blooded serial killer. The latter is a psychopath who tries to outsmart detective Hercule Poirot by revealing the place where his crimes will be committed.

The plot in the ABC Murders is genuinely sewed. The twists are very complicated, which makes them even more stimulating to the reader. However, unlike the serial killer in this story, I never try to outsmart the author in guessing the identity of the killer because I know my prediction will not be the correct one. Hence the frustration anxious readers might get as they read along.

Nevertheless, if you’re curious enough, you’ll keep perplexing your senses in a try to “help” Poirot and his sidekick, Captain Arthur Hastings to track down the serial killer and solve those complicated cases.

All in all, “The ABC Murders” is a good book, but not the kind of book that leaves you open-mouthed. You know who’s going to “win” even before you start reading, so basically, readers might only be interested  in the plot and its twists rather than the ending, which to me, leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

Class Photo

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Class Photo

With my students during the end of the school year party.