I am grateful for Flanders Fields. Tonight I went for a walk with my best friend Jolien and what started off to be a little stroll in the park behind our backyard, turned out to be walk for about an hour through the beautiful Fields that surround our neighborhoods. We had great conversations about forgiveness, relationships – especially long distance ones – and our future. Just two best friends enjoying time together against a gorgeous setting. I was so glad I had brought my camera, because nature decided to give us one of their best shows, as if we were being treated as a thank you for us spending time just wandering through those glorious Fields. We decided we are both lucky to have grown up where we did and to have been surrounded by all the beauty and joy of our environment. And every time I get to be at home for a while, those Flanders Fields just feel like a gift. One I will treasure forever, deep in my young smiling heart. And even though me experiencing those wonderful Flanders Fields have no obvious connection with World War One, there is just no way to disconnect it from each other. So with this I would like to bring tribute, yet again, to this beautiful contribution of Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae:
- In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
- We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
- Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
I am grateful for My Thesis for many reasons. First and foremost I am grateful that I got to write my thesis. I’m not just talking about the fact that I got to write this thesis in the line or the field of my study or whatever. But the fact that I had the opportunity to write it. Again, not only that I am able to write it, for which I am thankful as well, but that I was in the right place to create something like this. Just the fact that I was born in Belgium, a country where education is highly accessible, but even more that I was born into the family where education was encouraged. I am so thankful for that. I am grateful for all the support I have gotten through this long journey. Friends, family, mentors… I have received so much help from so many good people. My eternal gratitude goes to all of them. But I am also grateful for the subject of my thesis. For the fact that I got to do research on a topic that I felt so passionate about for such long time. I have honestly thought of doing a Phd more than just once. I would just feel so blessed to be doing research, writing and teaching as an education to a job that eventually includes all of those aspects as well. My thesis has made me realize so much about myself. Through all those hard times and those nights of cursing this heavy quest, I am so happy and so proud to have had such outcome. Therefore, from the bottom of my heart I just wanted to say: thank you for everything and everyone who has been connected to My Thesis. It was a great victory, but an even more instructive and enriching journey.
I am grateful for the gorgeous Italian language. It is, without any doubt, the most beautiful language of this world. I love the flow of it, the color, the images, the sentence structure, the vocabulary, the feeling, the passion. The question with this blog however was: how do I take a picture of a language? So I decided to post an image of an excerpt of La Divina Commedia by Dante Alighieri. I think it’s a masterpiece of world literature and it portrays how Italian lends itself to art. It was the prime reason why I went on to study Italian together with English and German. For me, those are the big art languages. Literature, music, opera. It all started there. If you look at the influence of Italian – almost immediately derived from Latin – and all the amazing authors it brought to the world: Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarca,… It’s just so incredible and beautiful. And even though there might be many suiting examples of the Italian langue, I decided to use one of my very own favorite ones. Thank you to the beauty of Italian, thank you to all wonderful artists still creating works with it, thank you to all those outstanding authors who have used it before, thank you to everyone who puts the effort and time into learning it. And let me end this post by one of my favorite Italian phrases, which can also be found on the picture above, straight from Dante’s Divina Commedia:
Lasciate ogni speranza voi ch’entrate.
I am grateful for Audiobooks. They are an amazing invention. There is nothing like holding an actual book in your hands, feeling the pages as you leaf through them – that is also why I’m not the biggest fan of Ebooks – but still an audiobook has something. It’s a completely different feeling, an experience. It’s fascinating to sit or lay down and just look around, stare or even close your eyes while hearing the story being read to you. It’s as if going back into time to where people would actually read books to you. Why doesn’t that happen anymore? Why do we feel like reading books should only happen to children? I think it’s a wonderful and beautiful moment to share with someone. I’ve done it several times over the past few years and I am planning to make it habit. And for now, I’m just happy and grateful to have an audiobook, recorded by a pleasant voice, which I can listen to whenever I don’t have the option of actually holding the book. Thank you so much, Audiobooks, for bringing me a new dimension, new possibilities, new joy.
I am so grateful for Oscar Wilde’s novel ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’. It is one of my very favorite books and it’s probably the one I read most. Not only because I think it’s brilliant, but also because I did research on it for almost three years, as I wrote my thesis about it. There is so much I could say about it, but I’d rather use this space to provide you with an excerpt from it. I’m very grateful for this one – I thank thee, my dearest Oscar – and I hope other people enjoyed or will enjoy reading it too. And so behold, from Chapter 8 out of ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’, a passage to relish in:
It often happens that the real tragedies of life occur in such an inartistic manner that they hurt us by their crude violence, their absolute incoherence, their absurd want of meaning, their entire lack of style. They affect us just as vulgarity affects us. They give us an impression of sheer brute force, and we revolt against that. Sometimes, however, a tragedy that possesses artistic elements of beauty crosses our lives. If these elements of beauty are real, the whole thing simply appeals to our sense of dramatic effect. Suddenly we find that we are no longer the actors, but the spectators of the play. Or rather we are both. We watch ourselves, and the mere wonder of the spectacle enthralls us.