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Posts Tagged ‘childhood’

Happy Friday!

This past week, we’ve been experiencing record heat here in France, and it doesn’t appear to be getting any cooler any time sooner. As someone who has been raised on having air-conditioning readily available in every house and establishment, I’m experiencing a bit of difficulty adjusting to a life where having air-conditioning is a rarity. Apartments don’t have it, and every few homes do. Here in the Haute-Savoie region, only about two months of the year are very hot. The rest are rainy, dry, and cooler. I bought a fan to circulate air in our apartment, and it’s a life-saver. My skin is naturally oily, which is annoying. I put on foundation every day in an effort to reduce having a constantly shiny face, but I also find myself constantly wiping my face with a paper towel. Hopefully I’ll get used to this soon. On the bright side of all of this unbearable heat, it’s not as humid as back in Saint Louis. A dry heat is much preferable.

A few days ago, we went to Amphion to see where mon ange grew up. It’s a lovely little suburb that’s nice, quiet, and peaceful. We visited his father’s old house and left his scooter there to go walking around the neighborhood and beyond. As we walked, he told me little stories about all the trouble he would get into with the neighborhood boys. It appears my fiancé had a bit of a bad boy reputation. Don’t worry, though. He shaped up to be quite a fine citizen.

From his old house, you can actually walk to several beaches at the edge of Lac Léman. It’s absolutely beautiful there! The water is so blue and clear! There were a lot of people sunbathing, reading, swimming, playing, and having fun. It made me want to jump into the water too. Walking along the path and observing everyone was fun. It’s interesting to hear all the French being spoken. Once I even picked up what sounded like British English being spoken by a visiting tourist. It’s strange hearing English here. I’m getting so accustomed to French being the primary language. Sometimes I actually struggle to find English words! Fortunately, C has a few friends that do speak English that I can keep up my mother tongue. I have a strong suspicion that when I return to the U.S. after these three months I will have a bit of an accent. When I spend a lot of time surrounded by a foreign language or dialect, I’m like a chameleon, mimicking the accent. We’ll have to wait and see.

We spent yesterday re-designing the layout of our apartment. Now it’s looking much better. There’s a bit more open space to move around. Our cats felt a bit disoriented having all of their old places to hang out taken away, but they appear to be adjusting well. They’ve found some new places to hide and lay around.

Tomorrow is the 4th of July, also known as U.S.A.’s Independence Day. To celebrate, we’re organizing a little party and BBQ at a park by the lake where we can cook burgers, play music, swim, and have fun. It’s also a good way for me to meet new friends. I’m looking forward to it!

And now it’s time for me to get on with my day and do something productive. It’s already almost 4pm here, so I’m not sure how productive we’ll actually be today. I think it’ll be a lazy day in an effort to stay cool.

Have a good weekend!

Bisous!

La vie est belle

La vie est belle

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(I wrote this in May 2007 for my Honors Literature & Composition class during my junior year of high school.)

No one can avoid the world of imagination. It can draw an unsuspecting person into its endless possibilities in the blink of an eye. Some seek it out as an escape from a dreary, monotonous lifestyle. Others wish to find new ways to entertain themselves. Everyone has played the fascinating game of “let’s pretend” at some point during his or her life. With the help of a creative imagination, a small patch of woods near a neighborhood can become an enchanted kingdom or a grandparent’s closet can be a cave to explore with undiscovered treasures and the possibilities of dangerous beasts. Creativity and imagination are priceless gifts that add color to life. Visualizing while reading breathes magic into the words on the pages and causes the action to appear, plunging the reader headfirst into what happens. There is no age limit to imagination; everyone is blessed with it. When analyzing the film entitled Finding Neverland from different angles such as literary and cinematic aspects, it can be proven that this film, with its celebration of friendship and imagination, will withstand the progression of time and remain a classic for generations to come.

Set in London of 1903, Finding Neverland begins with the introduction of the writer and playwright James Barrie. As of late, his works are losing appreciation from his audiences, and the owner of the theatre at which Mr. Barrie puts on his plays is anxious for a new play that will be a success and reap bountiful proceeds. On the home front, his relationship with his wife is deteriorating, as is her faith in him. Barrie seeks out relaxation and inspiration at a nearby park. One day, he meets a family of four young boys playing, their mother, Sylvia Llewellyn Davies, keeping a watchful eye over all of them. Upon spending time with them, James Barrie becomes very fond of the family and begins to spend more and more of his time with them, telling them stories and allowing their imaginations to take flight into worlds of pirates, cowboys and Indians, and many other fun scenarios. He becomes very attached to Sylvia and confides in her all of his insecurities. Together, they provide a steadfast support to one another. Throughout the time spent with the family, Mr. Barrie takes particular interest in the middle child, Peter, who is bitter towards Barrie and accuses him of attempting to take his late father’s place in the family. James Barrie only shows support and care for them all, using the delightful adventures of the boys as inspiration for his new play, in which he politely asks Peter for the use of his name for the main character. Disaster strikes as Sylvia is found to be terminally ill. She refuses to be hospitalized and is set on spending her remaining time with her sons. When she is unable to attend the opening night of James’ new play called Peter Pan, he brings the entire performance to her home and finally shows her the magical heaven of Neverland that she had been so anxious to see.

This priceless and imaginative story is based on reality and is a classic for all ages to experience. Symbolism is important and emphasized throughout. The separate and closed doors between James Barrie and his wife stand for how their marriage is being closed off and growing apart. The powerful scene in which Peter destroys his makeshift theatre symbolizes his loss of hope and trust in adulthood. Sylvia re-pasted Peter’s book of self-written stories and adventures because she wished for him to continue on being imaginative after her death. Themes prevalent throughout the film are many wonderful messages including the ever important: don’t grow up too fast. Also a strong theme is one which states that an open heart and imagination can help take the pain away from troubles or illness. Spending the remainder of her time with her sons and Mr. Barrie helped Sylvia transcend her terrible condition and find the beauty of a vivid imagination. This film truly helps put the faith back into people’s lives and should be considered timeless throughout the ages.

The acting portrayal and cinematic aspects enhanced the film, making the storyline all the more wonderful. Johnny Depp’s interpretation of James Barrie was inspiring and highly believable. His facial expressions truly helped viewers see his inner-child and playfulness. It was interesting how Mr. Barrie seemed more uncomfortable and ill at ease around adults whereas, around children, he brought out his true colors and love of life’s adventures and magical possibilities. His voice was very effective when carrying out the emotional intensity of scenes, especially when he confided in Sylvia of the time when his older brother died and he himself so desperately vied for his mother’s attention and fondness. It was also then that he introduced Sylvia to the world of Neverland. The low tones and soft lilt of his subtle Scottish accent brought special life to his character. An extremely difficult scene to act out must have been when Peter Davies, played by Freddie Highmore, destroyed his theatre and vented his anger over how every adult was deceiving him, causing him to lose his faith and trust in adulthood.

Camera angles and music selections were also priceless assets in creating this timeless film. The scenery of the park, fields, country cottage, and Neverland were absolutely breathtaking along with the chosen views from the audience’s standpoint. At Peter Pan’s opening night, the soaring of the camera demonstrated Peter’s realization and enjoyment of the play. Visual effects such as the scene on the pirate ship and the circus helped enhance Barrie’s imagination and creativity. After the scene in which Sylvia was exploring Neverland, there was a fade-out that showed the end of her life. Also, the end of the film had a fade to white to demonstrate the bright hope and future to come. Furthermore, the music helped enhance the mood and would crescendo with excitement. A boy’s choir sang throughout, promoting childlike innocence and playfulness. It helped the viewer be transported into the magical world of James Barrie’s imagination. At times, there was no music playing in the background to place emphasis rather on dialogue and movement than an orchestra. Every aspect of this film was a treasure to cinema, enabling this movie to be a beloved classic for years to come.

The doors to the world of imagination are never closed. They are always open and ready for a visit at any time. Creativity should never be hindered or oppressed, for in creativity there is character and growth. Individuality is shaped and molded by a healthy imagination. Keep faith strong and always keep the child inside alive.

 

finding neverland

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