25 January 2020

Don’t cry over spilt milk: An idiom for many languages

A discussion in my Danish class this week led to an interesting observation: several (European) languages have the expression: it’s no use crying over spilt milk. We were asked to explain what the phrase “græd ikke over spilt mælk” might mean. The teacher-directed the question to an Italian lady in our class who couldn’t explain it in […]

21 December 2019

Resolutions + Random Things

In this last post before Christmas we have a variety of things and so, well, let’s get to it. 2020 Resolutions As a new year approaches, it’s often time to talk about resolutions. They’re not for everyone, but I find it’s a nice opportunity to pause and reflect on where you’d like to be channeling […]

7 December 2019

Can you hear the lyrics to songs?: How your brain interprets sounds

Project Making Friends in Denmark took another step forward this week as I went for beers with a couple of Danes and ended up chatting, drinking and playing dice (common in Danish bars it seems) for several hours. One topic we got onto was music. I introduced them to Desert Island Discs which got us talking about what eight […]

23 November 2019

What are the next things to seem outdated?

Over lunch this week my cousin and I got chatting about things from fairly recent history which now seem archaic. The example he gave was someone being in Las Vegas and finding people smoking indoors in the casinos. Smoking indoors was banned in the UK in 2007, and (whilst I wasn’t spending that much time in pubs […]

12 October 2019

Scandi furniture + Kenyan flowers

Yesterday afternoon I made a trip to IKEA. I was hoping that being in Scandinavia would make it some utopian, joyful experience but alas it was very similar to the normal IKEA experiences people have: stressful, disorientating, and resulting in the same fatigue you get from walking around a museum. To reconcile myself I sought […]

7 September 2019

Exploding French Apples: A week in the south of France thinking about pomegranates

This week I’ve been in the south of France with my girlfriend and her family. Coincidentally, we’re staying in the same town (Cavaliere-sur-mer) that my Mum came to on a school foreign exchange  ̶o̶v̶e̶r̶ ̶f̶o̶r̶t̶y̶  just a few years ago. Time has been spent doing usual beach-related activities, eating tomatoes, and deciding which Olympic event we […]

6 July 2019

Dictionaries as propaganda: The Swaziland Department for Definitions reduces social unrest

I had an interesting conversation this week which highlighted the practical impact of something that, on the surface, seems quite trivial: the official definition of “activist”. Over dinner, the guy next to me (from Eswatini, but living in Nairobi) explained the situation. Brief overview of Eswatini (previously Swaziland) It’s a small landlocked country in Southern Africa. […]

29 June 2019

Why turning 30 doesn’t need to be that significant

I was chatting this week with my friend who is becoming apprehensive at the prospect of turning 30.  We got onto how the significance only really comes about because we live in a world where things come in tens (i.e. the decimal system). Now, of course, “age is just a number”, however, the basis for thirty (or rather, […]

11 May 2019

Individualistic vs group hobbies

This week I’ve been having various coffees/ catch-ups with friends dotted around London. One topic that’s come up a few times is whether people have a hobby done in groups. A hobby is a bit of an amorphous concept, but we generally settled on some sort of non-routine activity whose primary function is a pleasure. […]

6 April 2019

$30 million: How would you spend it to make the world a better place?

I won the lottery! Alas, no.  I did, however, have a good dinner conversation which was the basis of a job interview question my friend was preparing for.  The premise is that Bill Gates (or other philanthropists) gives you $30 million with the remit to make the world a better place. What would you spend it on? […]