Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fifth Word: Companion

Companion: c.1300, from O.Fr. compagnon "fellow, mate, friend, partner" (12c.), from L.L. companionem (nom. companio), lit. "bread fellow, messmate," from L. com- "with" (see com-) +panis "bread." Found first in 6c. Frankish Lex Salica, and probably a translation of a Germanic word (cf. Gothic gahlaiba "messmate," from hlaib "loaf of bread"). 

Perhaps fittingly, Alex makes delicious cheese scones and we frequently eat them together. I guess he makes a good "companion." Hardy-har. 

This past Saturday was Alex's and my first anniversary. We celebrated our companionship by sleeping in late, going to the farmer's market near our flat, eating a yummy Italian lunch and going to the National Gallery for the Impressionist Gardens exhibit. While standing in line for tickets a women was leaving with her family and asked Alex and me if we wanted two free tickets that she had! We told her it was our anniversary so it was a great gift. We saved 20 pounds! The exhibit was nice but crowded since it was the last weekend it was showing. Saturday night we went to The Grain Store restaurant, courtesy of my family, for delicious food and wine. I got venison saddle and Alex got rump and shoulder of lamb. 

Sunday, we took a morning train up to Inverness, about a 4 hour ride north. The fall colors were beautiful! The train passed through valleys and gorges with a river running beside for most of the trip. The further north we got, the more barren the land became. Scotland had been clear-cut for timber earlier in its history and because of the short days and eroded soil regrowth was basically non-existent. The bleak and barren landscape was beautiful in a sad sort of way. 

Inverness was not what I expected. I expected a metropolis sort of city...much more commercialized and modern (don't know why I thought this). Inverness was a charming little town with a great river running through. We took pleasant walks along the banks with the fall-colored trees guiding us on. We missed the bus to Loch Ness but Inverness was cute enough to occupy our day. It was wonderful just being outside and feeling fall. 

As this post's theme is "companion," I'd  like to give a special shout-out to my sister, Sarah, who has found her companion in life, Mike. Congrats on your engagement!

Say What?

gorgeous: used to describe tasty food. So far, I haven't heard it used to describe anything other than food.

Pictures from this week:

Friday, October 8, 2010

Fourth Word: Meander

Meander: 1570s (n.) "confusion, intricacies," from L. meander, from Gk. Maiandros, name of a river in Phrygia, noted for its winding course. The verb meaning "to flow in a winding course" (of rivers) is attested from 1610s

A beautiful day, no classes, and several bus routes to the coast made for an intriguing adventure today. I can't say it was "successful," but we went somewhere we've never been. Leith is a port city on the Firth of Forth easily seen from any of the tall hills or monuments in Edinburgh. It's only about a 25 minute bus ride but might not be worth the fare. Evidently, Alex and I walked the wrong direction after getting off the bus. The water was pretty but it was only a busy road and some row houses. Not much to see. We walked along the water for a while until we decided to just get on another bus in the other direction. We walked a bit around Leith when we finally got into town but it wasn't that great so we left and took a bus to Calton Hill. We had fabulous sunny views of Arthur's Seat and the Salisbury Crags from Calton Hill. We also got a splash of fall color from the trees as we climbed to the top.

Apart from that little adventure, classes have occupied my time. They're really nothing to write home about, but here I am doing it anyways. I guess my intro classes feel like intro classes (really basic stuff...unless you count Semantics, which is pretty much logic and equations (and confusion!) all the time)). I am enjoying Middle English and Reading Old English very much. I have at least one translation per night, and it's cool to actually be able to read (somewhat) this ancient form of English. Other than that, I don't have any homework. To be honest, I don't feel like I'm getting my money's worth yet, but I suppose we do need to get everyone on the same page before all the specialized classes.

I am increasingly interested in Phonology (the study of speech sounds in a language) and perhaps using that to a historical end. After taking Old English though, I don't think I could handle morphology (which had been my other interest. It's the study of word formation, kinda...like endings and inflections of nouns and verbs...ugh).

Alex has been working a few "trial shifts" at some restaurants nearby and will, hopefully, be deciding on a job this week. He also has an audition for RENT tomorrow...I'll let you know how that goes. Alright, I've decided to add a portion to my blog called "Say What?" dedicated to a particular silly thing the Brits/Scots say that is totally weird/different to us (no offense!).These will be examples we've actually heard used.

Say What?

Bob's your uncle (sometimes elaborately Robert's your father's brother) is a commonly used expression mainly in Britain, Ireland and Commonwealth nations. Typically, someone says it to conclude a set of simple instructions to mean, "and there you have it," or "you're all set." For example, "To make a ham sandwich, just put a piece of ham between two slices of buttered bread, and Bob's your uncle." (-wikipedia)

Week 3 Pictures: