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About Me:

My name is Olivia and I am a senior at Butler University. I spend most of my time in Lilly Hall as a BFA Dance Performance major. When not in rehearsal or ballet class, I write papers for my English Literature second major. In my super-abundant, never-lacking, this-is-highly-sarcastic spare time, I attempt to cook in my apartment kitchen, watch Youtube videos of ballet, knit sweaters that never seem to come to an end, and read books both silly and serious. If I could take any class at Butler just for kicks, I'd go for DiffyQ.

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Posts Tagged “Welsh”

Une erreur

I need six hours of intermediate-advanced French so I can get my second major in English Literature, and I finished off the first three hours this past Wednesday when I completed our final exam. I am currently doing an independent study with another Butler French professor, and with that done I will graduate for real in August… which means I still get to walk in May Commencement. Oh, scheduling

Though my written final was on Wednesday, I took the oral portion on Monday with a partner. It’s not that bad. My French is very spotty, because I studied it for five years in middle/high school. That’s a pretty long time, but then I went another five years without speaking it. Again, that’s a pretty long time.

The point is, I remember a lot, and most of the grammar points that we covered, I had learned in the distant past. However, since it was a matter of recall… and I am no languages genius… I still struggled with certain things. Such as the phrase “free time.”

As I was playacting a skit with my partner, something typical about interviewing the other person for an apartment, I tried to ask what my partner did in his spare time. “Qu’est-ce que vous aimez faire dans votre amser sbâr?”

A beat. A pause. A quizzical look. Why was what I’d said wrong? It was, somehow, I knew. My teacher prompted, “votre temps libres?”

Yes, that was the French phrase for “free time,” one I hadn’t used that often.

Oh. It dawned on me. Welsh. “Amser sbâr” was Welsh for “free time.” I was speaking the wrong language! I hadn’t studied Welsh for two years, hadn’t thought about it really for months. Yet that phrase “amser sbâr” had been used often in the beginning of the Welsh course I followed, so it was apparently the “free time” that popped into my head first.

And then things got even more surreal when my French teacher said to me, in French, “That’s Welsh, isn’t it?” And then she said, “Beth dych chi’n hoffi wneud yn eich amser sbar?”

That’s perfect Welsh for, “What do you like to do in your spare time?” which I what I’d been trying to ask in French.

Mind. Blown.

France and Wales playing rugby. Also, a great metaphor for my addled brain.

When Not Writing Papers

You might notice I have quite a few posts have the tag “papers” attached. I’m taking a break from the latest one to write this blog post. That’s called procrastination, and college teaches young adults to do this with gusto.

Anyway, I do more than just write papers (and dance). I’m typing this in part to convince myself. After BSI ended, I started an independent study with an English professor that will let me finish my second major without staying longer than eight semesters or going over credit hours (like last semester). But I don’t write papers all the time. I don’t. Instead I:

  • Play card games, mahjong games, and Bananagrams with my family. Sometimes at the pool.
  • Swim a bunch of laps after being lazy for a while. Usually at the pool.
  • Dance. Sometimes in the pool.
  • Get all worked up and sucked into media frenzies. (Like with the debt ceiling, which in retrospect looks more like drama and less like crisis.) (Still, I want a job.) (Seriously, is anyone hiring?)
  • Play the piano.
  • Read easy-to-understand magazines — NOT scholarly articles. (Though I did love Hildegard Tristram’s “Near-Sameness in Early Insular Metrics.” It contained Welsh mutations as a matter of obvious fact. I swooned in a completely geeked-out fashion.)
  • Restart my duties as president of the Butler Catholic Community. New students — look for us at Block Party, which is a huge conglomeration of tables where every club imaginable tries to trade your email address for free gear!

I’ve been working, in one way or another, all summer, so it’s hard to believe I’ll be back at Butler in three short weeks. Classes start Wednesday, August 24 — I’ll see you there! If you should happen to find me in the midst of festivities, please don’t hesitate to ask questions about any and everything Butler/college/ballet/English/knitting/Welsh/rabbits/cooking failures/etc!

I took this with my point-and-shoot. This should give some indication of the beauty of Butler's campus in the fall.

The above photo should also be rather large, if anyone has been looking for Butler-themed images to use as wallpaper for a computer screen. I can share. Just click on the picture for a larger size.

Summer at Butler: What I Learned

  • The “so hard to say goodbye” in “She Will Be Loved” by Maroon 5 can use a I V IV V I chord progression.
  • Fish tacos in Chicago make an excellent snack.
  • Welsh eisteddfodau: Grown men dress in bardic robes for the ceremony which declares the winner of the traditional-form, Welsh-language poetry competition. There is a sword involved, and the whole crowd shouts “Peace!” in Welsh.
  • Pianos are expensive.
  • BSI projects can be wicked cool: YouTube Preview Image
  • Both Howards End and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog are more entertaining than A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.
  • If you leave your bike overnight at the IMA, the snack fairy leaves you a fruit bar.
  • Don’t use the recipe on the side of the cornmeal container to make cornbread, because it doesn’t taste very good. On the other hand, add a bit of coco powder to pancake batter, then some bananas to make chocolate banana pancakes. Heavenly.
  • Guerilla knitting happens.

    I saw this tree when I visited Downer's Grove during my epic trip to Chicago.

  • English publications generally don’t like papers over twenty-five pages.
  • Some species of sour cherries are self-compatible.
  • The GRE is a) necessary for grad school; b) expensive; c) changing and half price if taken this August or September; or d) all of the above.
  • Biking up hills is much easier when one’s bike is not stuck on the lowest gear.
  • Jude the Obscure is the most depressing book in the English language, and, as Jasper Fforde recommends, one should read it backwards if there is to be any chance of a happy ending.
  • G-protein receptors. They exist. You have them almost everywhere in your body.
  • ISIS stands for “Image subtraction, image subtraction.”
  • Straws aren’t so bad after all.
  • Euchre isn’t so complicated after all.
  • Don’t put potato peels down the kitchen garbage disposal. You’ll only clog the sink and render the dishwasher unusable for almost a week.

All the small things

Loads of little things have been happening. And I promise there will be neither weather nor cooking/baking represented in this post.

1. I was in an advertisement in Dance Magazine with some other students from the Dance Department. (Come to Midwinter!)

The piece depicted is Professor Cynthia Pratt’s work “1st of 3 in 17,” which is set to Mozart and very cool, in my opinion.

2. My Interlibrary loan books came. So much Welshness! Butler students have access to the extremely cool WorldCat Union database that lets you search for books worldwide. So many libraries! So many books! I get really excited!

3. Midwinter Studio Dress is this Saturday. I have no photos to show you… I suppose you will simply have to watch a performance February 25 or 26 at 8 pm in Clowes Memorial Hall.

4. In pas de deux class on Wednesday, my dance professor lifted me above his head. Never having done a Bluebird lift before, I listened to his explanation. Then, without completely understanding the process, I was balanced on his shoulder, suddenly much, much taller than normal. Just a day the life, etcetera etcetera.

It just surprised me, since I did not at the time realize quite how I had gotten there.

Butler Summer Institute

Quite a while back, at the beginning of fall semester, I met with my Irish Lit professor to discuss topics for the long paper I was going to write. I initially suggested a comparison of Dylan Thomas’ Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog and James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Both works are written in English by authors who have strong ties to particular nations that have their own languages: Thomas is Welsh and Joyce is Irish.

Here are the two texts I want to compare. Both narrators also write in English, since the works are semi-autobiographical. I want to examine the presentation of the Welsh and Irish languages in the two works and connect this presentation to the authors’ English-language writing. I hope to argue that Thomas and Joyce continue to participate in the Celtic literary heritage–especially as modern bards–though they write in English.

The class for which I first proposed this project was Contemporary Irish Literature, but I really am interested in Ireland’s neighbor across the Irish Sea–Wales. I’ve been learning Welsh on my own since I was a senior in high school. Dw i ddim yn gallu saraid Cymraeg, ond dw i’n mynd trio wneud e!

My professor liked my idea, but neither Young Dog nor Young Man was on the reading list for the class. She suggested that I apply to Butler Summer Institute. I then wrote my long essay on the subjectivity of national identity and the conflicting sources of such that lead to nationalist-inspired violence in Brian Friel’s play Translations. Now it’s February, and I’m ready to turn in my proposal for the Young Dog/Young Man project.

Butler Summer Institute is a nine-week session during the summer that allows students to pursue independent research projects with a faculty mentor. I think two-thirds of the projects are from the sciences–something about the way the program is funded–but scholars from all disciplines are welcome. This type of project is extremely attractive for several reasons:

  • I can research whatever truly interests me without worrying about fitting it into a class syllabus. Comparative literary studies!! WALES!! WELSH!!
  • I can work closely with my Irish Lit professor. She’s the perfect mentor for a project like this: Her specialties include transnational literature and multilingual texts, postcolonial studies, and comparative literature.
  • I’ll produce a longer writing sample–something I’ll need should I apply to graduate school after what I hope is a career in a dance company.
  • On that note, I’ll practice writing a literary analysis longer than twenty-four pages.
  • I get to do the comparative literature thing.
  • I can surrender to my total love of all things Welsh. During the research for the partial bibliography I’m including in my application, I kept getting distracted: I just had to read part of “The Social Identity of Welsh Learners,” even though it will not be included in my final project. Oooo, the other one I had tremendous difficulty putting down was “Near-Sameness in Early Insular Metrics: Oral Ancestry and Aesthetic Potential.” This article WILL figure into my final project. So excited. (Early Insular Metrics = early poetry of the Insular Celtic languages, which include Welsh and Irish Gaelic).
  • I’ll receive free housing for the duration of the session, plus a stipend. This will definitely help defray the cost of summer school–and the cost of not being able to hold a job during the summer.

I’m nervous about this mainly because I do not know whether my application will be rejected because I have to take a course during the last three weeks of the BSI session if I am to get my secondary English major. Well, we shall see. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

I broke Fall Break

When I was a freshman, I referred to Fall Break as “Reading Break.” That’s what it’s listed as in Butler’s academic calendar, after all. (Actually, it’s Fall Reading Break, but whatevs.) Naturally, I assumed students stayed on campus and used the Thursday and Friday without classes to catch up on their schoolwork.

Yeah, right.

I spent the long weekend in the extremely quiet girls’ dorm, Schwitzer, most of my classmates having driven–or even flown–home to see their families. My weekend was not completely unproductive, however. I reorganized my side of the dorm room. I painted my fingernails and started to read the Four Branches of the Mabinogi (part of a collection of Middle-Welsh myths… in translation, obviously.). When everyone returned to campus Sunday afternoon, I was one of the few who wasn’t scrabbling to finish homework.

Still, the dining service hours were greatly reduced, and I’d never lived away from home for so long before, and I was very glad my parents were coming to see me during Parents’ Weekend. Except Parents’ Weekend was filled with rehearsals for The Nutcracker. You can see that my freshman year breaks were not very well coordinated.

When I was a sophomore, I went home for Fall Break, and my parents gave Parents’ Weekend a pass. This was a much better arrangement for an out-of-state dance major.

This year presented a unique situation, however. I use “unique” as euphemistically as I can, by the way. Stay tuned for updates. Sneak peak:

Studying on a bench!

Prosiect is Welsh for “project”

There are many projects currently revolving around Olivia-world. Things I am doing:

  1. Student Choreography. Like mad.
  2. Dance history project. We are reconstructing and presenting a Renaissance dance from Thoinot Arbeau’s Orchesographie. Here’s the dance we are researching, though Irwin Library’s copy isn’t in French. It was all I could trouver.
  3. A circle and a sweater. I am slowly knitting these two objects. If I continue at my current rate of three rows a week on the sweater and half a round a week on the circle, I’ll be done by the time I graduate from Butler! Go me!

    Some of the lace in my lace circle

  4. Notice that learning Welsh is not included in the list. I admit that sometimes I listen to Learn Welsh podcasts while I work out, but even that has been recently replaced by my ceaseless work on Student Choreography. It’s Art Pepper for me all the way, man.
  5. Papers. I need to start writing my big research paper for my Irish Literature class. ASAP.
  6. Cooking. Yesterday I made Caribbean Black Beans from my Moosewood cookbook. Basically, you heat beans in a pan with some herbs, some onion, and a bit of orange juice. Pretty good.