Friday afternoon silliness!

This really made me giggle
This really made me giggle!

Friday afternoon, winding down for the weekend when I come across this..

…IN THE OFFICE!!

Consequently I sat there trying to snuffle quietly to myself

but the more I watched the funnier it became!

Would it be cruelty to animals if I tried this on my cats tonight!!

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The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul – Deborah Rodriguez

This book has been likened to the work of Khaled Hosseini but I have to strongly disagree.  The only similarity is that both books are set in Kabul.

Rodriguez‘s work is shallow and frothy (as much as a book set in Kabul can be), the characters are shallow and 2D.  You don’t get a feel for them at all.  I had no vision of what Sunny was like, I just couldn’t picture her. I found that I wasn’t invested in the characters at all. 

There is a point in the book when something bad happens to one of the main characters and I just thought ‘0h’.  I didn’t really care.  The whole scene lacked depth, well the whole book did really.

If you take this is a standalone book, it isn’t terrible.  It isn’t going to be one of those memorable classics but it’s okay if you want something light and simple BUT, and this is a big but (much like mine really!), for this book to be compared to Khaled Hosseini’s work is an absolute travesty!!

No, no no!!!!

As I said at the beginning of this post, the only thing they have in common is that the books are set in Kabul.

Hosseini’s work has a richness of flavour, a depth that makes you feel as though you are there.  You can almost smell the exotic aromas from the market, see those boys chasing through the streets with their kites, feel the pain of those women.  There are parts of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns that hurt me even now to think about.  I was as invested in those characters as if they were my own family.  I hurt with the main characters when they hurt, felt a sense of trepidation when  knew something bad was going to happen…you get the picture…

Yes, I confess I am a fangirl.  In fact these books may be some of my favourite ever written.  That aside though, Hosseini’s and Rodriguez’s work are streets apart.

The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul is great if you are looking for something quick and easy to read but if you are looking for something with a bit more depth, something to really get under the skin of Afghanistan and to really get a feel for the place, the people and the culture, Hosseini wins hands down every time.

Musings of a Mature Student

Assignment deadline approaching and a desk full of  all the materials I need.....
Assignment deadline approaching and a desk full of all the materials I need…..

Okay gang, this is going to be a bit different from my usual posts.  Today I’m going to talk about the challenges (for me) of being a mature student.

I’m 35 and currently studying with the Open University.  I’ve found that distance learning really works for me because I can do it in my own time and I’m not tied to any tutorials, lectures or timetables.  There are deadlines and there is a set amount of reading and in some cases, audio or visual work, to adhere to. but I can pretty much dance to my own tune. If I want to be studying at 3am, I can be studying at 3am!

That said, I do really miss the tutorials and the interaction for other students.  Interacting via the online forum just isn’t the same.  I’m old school.  I like a bit of face-to-face interaction.  You can’t beat sitting in the coffee shop after the lecture loudly debating the lecture topic that you’ve just had.  That for me is bliss (especially if it is accompanied by a hot chocolate)!  Yes, I probably am an education geek.  I love to learn and I love the academic environment.

I came to Open University after trying to go to ‘conventional’ university part-time in the evening.  3 evenings a week to be precise…..on top of full-time work!  Looking back, that was madness!  Some people manage it and I applaud them, I sincerely do.  I have no idea how they do it though.  I’ve never been so tired as I was those few years that I studied in the evenings and worked full-time too.  Everything suffered and nothing got the best of me, least of all me!

First I tried law.  I successfully passed the first year.  How?  I ask myself.  The amount of reading was immense and even now I find myself thinking of case law and the summing up of judgements and I can’t suppress a groan.  I started the second year but quickly differed for a year.  3 evenings a week, full-time work, trying to get quality time with hubby and unsuccessfully trying to maintain a social life was hell on earth and the love for tutorials and lectures was turning to hate.  Sometimes I think of that time nostalgically.  ‘How nice it would be to have a law degree’ I muse, then I think of what it would have taken and the struggle to get to that degree and I’m glad I didn’t continue down that path.

I switched to psychology and rediscovered a love for the social sciences.  Now I could have completed that degree but not in this way so I withdrew from university and gave the Open University a shot.

Vega keeping me company (and sane!) whilst I study
Vega keeping me company (and sane!) whilst I study

The good thing is that I’ve been able to transfer over some of my credits from my years of conventional university.  However, I miss that learning environment.  My current module, ‘Discovering the Social Sciences’, has a tutorial option on a monthly basis.  I go along as I find it invaluable with regard to the monthly assignments that you have to complete and it is nice to engage with the other students…even if there are only 2 others that attend!

There is no doubt that there are challenges for non-mature students too but I can’t comment on those because I’ve not experience life as a conventional student.  I have, however decided, that should I win the lottery I’m going to divide my time between travelling and being a perpetual student…

100 Days of Happiness – Day 7

I’ve lost my way a bit…

I’m not sure where I’m up to with happy days so I’m going to share yesterday’s happy moment and label it ‘Day 7’

My multi-coloured Dalek
My multi-coloured Dalek

Those of you who read me regularly will remember Donald…my multi-coloured Dalek!…

Here he is in all his kilned glory!

Doesn’t he look bright?

Doesn’t he look handsome??

He is going to have pride of place on my desk

My friend picked him up from the shop and brought him round last night when she came for coffee!

Donald, you are my happy moment, day 7!