Written by Dyami Millarson
May, which is my birthday month, was the best month of the entire year for the statistics of our blog until now. So I saw May as a wonderful birthday present. What I am happy to announce is that the statistics of May, although somewhat narrowly, have been surpassed in the last 24 hours of October. We are truly grateful to you all for reading and liking our articles; we owe this celebratory moment to all of you!
2019 is slowly drawing to a close, but we still want to make the most of the time we have left before 2020.
Our blogging plans are as follows:
- Ken Ho wishes to continue writing German articles on botanic topics.
- I want to collaborate with Ken Ho on Elfdalian articles.
- I want to publish a few Swedish and German articles myself.
- On our blog, I still wish to record my new experiences from late summer to the beginning of autumn.
- I hope to contact elderly last speakers of Hielepes & visit them.
- I hope we can start with learning Drèents (promised) or Stellingwarfs.
- I hope we can start learning Northern Goesharde Frisian or Halligen Frisian (both very urgent, I will probably commence with the former this month).
- We hope to add high-quality pictures to our blog. Both of us are trying to improve our photography skills.
- I intend to edit a few old articles of ours to solve some technical issues.
- I will help Giovanni with preparing materials for his monthly Italian articles about Schiermonnikoog.
- I will help Ken Ho with selecting Frisian books from his personal library for writing book reviews.
These are my planned upcoming articles:
- Gardening for the First Time on My Own, Inspired by The Martian: Aug-Oct
- Making Kimchi & Pad Thai for 1st Time in My Whole Life: Aug
- Searching & Processing Acorns for the 1st Time (Dutch, Elfdalian, English, Hielepes): Autumn Special, Oct
- Searching Chestnuts for 1st Time Since 2008: 27 Oct
- What Did I Do During My Last 7 Visits to Schiermonnikoog: 2018-2019
- Tasting Wild Apples During My 7th Visit to Schiermonnikoog: Sept
- A Latin Article on Our Method for the Salvation of Endangered Languages
- How Did the Flower Honey Taste That I Tried at the End of October? (Dutch)
- Myth: If It Is Not an Officially Recognised Language, It Is a Dialect (exclusive Dutch-language article)
It will be a lot of work to write these articles, because I want to do it well. It requires time and effort. So I hope my health does not fail me. However, our planning is flexible and if I cannot finish my work this month for some reason, I can postpone it to next month.
As there has been a demographic spike in Dutch visitors on our blog, we will try to adjust to that reality by publishing some more Dutch articles this month.
Our streak has been reset in October since we were experiencing technical difficulties. Now our WordPress accurately counts our streak days since 2018. We are very grateful to the WordPress technical staff for patiently assisting us on this issue. They did an excellent job behind the scenes.
We hope to welcome our 1500th follower this month. We will publish a special article to commemorate the moment we have reached the 1500 followers mark. Our growth this year has been exponential all thanks to our enthusiastic followers. It inspires all of us with hope to see so many humans, who come from all walks of life, united in altruism towards the world’s languages and cultures that are in dire need.
To all of you still wishing for a response to your comments (especially under my articles about Ad Astra and the link between reality and language): I hope you do not mind that I might respond later, maybe next month or next year, because I am not feeling well recently and considering I do not have much energy to spare due to illness, I just want to finish my posts according to plan.
This year I have been quite active because we were involved for half a year in making a house ready for being sold by renovating and cleaning it thoroughly (which I described in this Heligolandic article). It was heavy physical work. This resulted in some muscle growth for me, which is welcome because I have lost lots of muscles since undergoing surgery in 2013. After the house was finally sold on 7 August, I felt inspired after watching a movie on 11 August to start planting seeds and start gardening. We have no proper garden, because we live in an apartment near the city-centre of Leeuwarden. My father had already started a small garden on our balcony years prior, so that helped me realise it was definitely possible to grow many plants there. My main interest was in food-producing plants.
I will write about my gardening experience that started in late summer this year. I learned a lot from watching seed-growing (germination) and gardening videos as well as simply doing things myself and experimenting with various methods of seeding and growing. Since I had to carry lots of water every day, my body had some physical training (much of my day is usually spent in bed). After such physically demanding house-renovating and my gardening experience that soon followed, I hope to focus more on physical training during the winter.
I might try some sports this winter. However, as I will explain below the autumn picture, I want to avoid sports’ injuries at all costs. I will probably, if I should choose from the 10 most popular sports in the Netherlands, choose a sport like tennis because I want to do a sport with a lower chance of injuries which would set me back. I found last Wednesday that Smashing is the tennis school for the Northern Netherlands (i.e., Frisia, Groningen and Drenthe). Last Wednesday, I discovered online as well that sport schools in my city offer free first lessons and one offers another special deal: MyHealthClub offers a free day pass and FitForFree (alliterating name) offers a free day pass and free sporting until 1 January if you buy their 1- or 2-year membership. Buying anything does not seem attractive to me right now, because I do not know whether I can keep up the training. Furthermore, I am not usually the type to go to a sports school because I believe you can just train outside and face off with the elements (the sruggle between man and the elements is a theme of ancient heroic religions such as that of the Germanic peoples, including the Frisians).
However, I have been interested in making local contacts, so I might try a sports school and see whether it helps me stay motivated as well as help me meet some local people. For meeting people, I thought that I might also try some courses but I found on Wednesday night that language courses are way too expensive in my area, while I can study those languages practically for free. However, I discovers my local library organises various activities such as moderately priced philosophy lectures (last accessed today) and I do know there is a bimonthly language cafe event in my local library and I have already attended that event 2 times since this summer and I know it does attract an international audience, though I saw quite few locals, which is a bit of a shame, because I am also looking forward to meeting more locals and I wish to break out of my international bubble. I will definitely blog about my experiences.
As autumn sets in, the trees seen from our living room windows and balcony have started turning yellow. Last winters, particulary those in the periods 2017-2018 and 2018-2019, were particularly difficult – even dangerous – for my body, probably due to my body’s quick undercooling and my heart’s shock reaction to this. I want to be better-prepared this year than previous years, because I noticed my body’s vulnerability to the cold recently again. I genuinely like cold weather, so it is a shame that my body is not cold-resistant since the 2013 surgery, while I used to be very resistant to it prior to the surgery and I used to wear summer clothing in cold weather and enjoyed cold water showers in winter. As it is still autumn now, I wish to spend these weeks on winter preparation. To prepare for winter, I am already slowly going to start building up my winter routine of physical training. However, I cannot afford to get injuries. This is for two reasons: wounds/injuries do not heal well since the 2013 surgery and I definitely think sports injuries may have an adverse effect on longevity (see here for a multinational study on the link between longevity and injury). Moreover, I have very sensitive knees which I should be careful with during training, because serious knee problems run in the family and knee operations are unfortunately common in my family.
Before the surgery in 2013, I used to walk many kilometres every single day. It could be up to 20-30 kilometres per day. I spent many hours walking at a very fast pace. I hope to walk more this winter. The house renovation and gardening adventures this year – as well as our 3-part language project – brought big changes to my life, and these experiences strengthened me both mentally and physically. I feel inspired after such experiences this year, prompting me to be interested in trying new things, and I hope the inspiration that I felt this year will enable me to do more for our blog during the last 2 months of the year, especially with regards to answering all comments addressed to me last months.
This quote is one of the most important Latin to me personally because it always motivated me to be physically active and walk a lot whenever I had the opportunity: In corpore sānō mens sāna, a healthy mind (resides) in a healthy body. I have started with simple daily exercises on 31 October as demonstrated in this YouTube video (last accessed today). I hope that I can keep this up because my body’s stamina is not what it used to be, and so I need to start small. I believe strength is important. During physical exercise yesterday, I always recalled Muhammad Ali’s quote ‘I only start counting when it starts hurting’. I am trying to motivate my own mind with the right attitude, because, despite my current physical constraints, I aim to make the most of what I have, and I hope to build it up steadily and retain my strength this time. After all, I know strength is correlated with longevity (this is one of the topics I have been studying this year, as seen in this book review of mine; I wish to write more such reviews of aging-related books that I have been reading this year, but I doubt whether time permits, although I will obvious give it my best attempt). I read a recent study which rhymed longevity with hand grip strength. This told me all I needed to know.
To stimulate bloodflow in my facial area, I used to do facial exercise in the past by mimicking smiles a thousand times per day minimally. People use about 12 muscles or so to smile (see here and here for the science behind muscles used during smiles). I figured that if I mimick smiles as best I can and add a little bit of method-acting to the mixture to give myself a genuine feeling of happiness, it would not only train my facial muscles but also my heart. I did notice the benefits of this practice in the past, and so I hope to revive this old smiling exercise of mine after not doing this for at least 6 years. After all, I can combine this very well with other physical exercises that I am doing.
I have a weak back (probably due to inheritance because this appears to be a family ailment or ‘familiekwaal’ as we say in Dutch). This means that I have trouble sitting up straight as well as just sitting anywhere for any length of time. The only things I can do for a long time are walkomg and lying down, I cannot sit for just a few minutes due to the discomfort it causes me, nor can I stand still for too long. This may also explain why I could not sit down as a toddler and was very prone to moving a lot, which others described as being hyperactive. Since yesterday, I have been doing a simple exercise: I tried to sit up straight in lotus position (kleermakerzit in Dutch) for 20 seconds. I noticed this was a good way to challenge my body, and hopefully it strengthens my back just a little.
I had already noticed many years ago that I could not meditate in lotus position like people in Eastern religions do. As I have my own way of meditating by pondering things as I lie down or walk, I did never really feel the need for meditation. After all, I already lived my ideal ascetic and monastic-styled life; I have always been naturally drawn to strict celibacy and I felt the ideas of Brahmacharya were completely natural. In ancient polytheist religions, I have found examples of celibacy as well; it has always been a natural thing for humanity, because it makes the mind stronger to choose your own behaviour and not give in to instinctive behaviours too easy, even if they have been evolutionarily advantageous in the past. Humanity’s sexual instincts, in my view, are just as natural as humanity’s spontaneous preferences that lead to the practice of celibacy. Opposites are one and will always coexist, and such intricacy of opposites is what is included in the ancient Germanic conception of fate, as described by the likes of Bauschatz. Interestingly, Nietzsche also touched on non-duality in his works. In any case, my views on human celibacy and human sexuality are informed by ancient and historically based modern philosophy as well as historically recurring and modern spontaneous human behaviour. So neither do I deny fertility as valuable for humanity, nor do I deny the value of an ascetic lifestyle; they are not mutually exclusive. Why should a monk not be allowed to marry or have kids? In fact, if the lifestyle is so good for human learning and progress, why not pass it on to the next generation? Why deny new yet unborn souls such big opportunities in life?
My eyesight has been suffering recently, probably due to strain by using the phone at night in the dark when I cannot sleep or some other unknown cause. Either way, I will stop using the phone at night in the dark because it is probably not a healthy behaviour for my already vulnerable eyes. I have always been a proponent of doing eye exercises to keep the eye muscles healthy, but I have never consistently done such exercises (it is no easy task to build up a routine if you are me, because I want to do and achieve a lot of things simultaneously; killing two birds with one stone – a somewhat lurid figurative expression – is ideal for me). These months I have sometimes followed the exercises as explained in this YouTube video (last accessed today), but what I need to do is keeping it up for the duration of the entire winter. I do not subscribe to the same skepticism as found in the comments below the video, because, although obviously no miracle cure (do not do exercises if you are looking for cure-all or quick solution for all your, likely chronic, ailments), eye exercises and good eye habits do yield positive effects, even if these might not greatly noticeable. What happens internally in our bodies is not always visible externally, but what we need to do is try and influence the internal conditions and developments in a way that is favourable to our health and well-being. Like smiling exercises that I mentioned earlier, blinking is a good exercise. I try to blink regularly, especially when I stare at my phone for a prolonged period of time. It also helps to count the amount of times you can blink in the shower. Blink gently, however, and try not to strain. I think that as I will be focusing on microgreens and physical exercise (and will watch many videos about ot as well as read articles), there will be a lot of novelty. These two activities are, moreover, good distractions from using my phone during the coming dark days of winter, because I use my phone a lot for blogging and language-learning. So these novel activities will give my eyes some rest (and the good thing is that I will be doing eye exercises as well and I will be focusing on eye habits which is probably good for my eye health).
We bought a new cage for my bird recently and we put the bird in its new cage since yesterday. It took a little while for the bird to adjust to its new environment, but as it was moving around a lot, it seemed that it soon liked being in its new cage. My bird is a lucky bird, because I found it in the streets many years ago. I knew immediately it was a pet bird, because such birds do not occur in the wild here. It was severely weakened by lack of care and so I could catch it easily. I took it back home and took care of it since. I guess that as I took this bird back home and took good care of it for many years, it has been giving me luck as well! I just feel happy having somd living creature in our house. I would never really buy a pet anymore these days, but I appreciate that destiny gave me this pet to look after. It has cheered me up for many years now, and I hope the bird will live for many more while it is under our loving care.
When North Frisian books arrived from Germany yesterday, I felt like it was my birthday. I am gathering North Frisian books as a practical preparation of study materials for our future projects. One of the books was a German-Northern Goesharde Frisian dictionary (I have previously written an article on Goesharde Frisian). In a German article of mine which I wrote at the beginning of this year, I expressed my hope to learn Northern Goesharde Frisian (which is divided into Ockholm Frisian and Langenhorn Frisian) and Halligen Frisian: ‘Ich hoffe, Halligfriesisch und Nordergoeshardisch in diesem Jahr zu lernen, weil diese Sprachen stark gefährdet sind.‘ I also explained in another article of mine written in English why Halligen Frisian may be vital for language revival work: ‘Halligen Frisian may be used to aid the revival of Strand Frisian as it was spoken on Pellworm and Nordstrand and the revival of the late Wyk Frisian.’ When reading about the Swede Löfstedt, I read that Halligen Frisian and Goesharde Frisian are closely related; I hope to verify this claim with my own studies. If indeed correct, this might be useful for the revival process of extinct North Frisian tongues, which I talked about extensively in the last-mentioned article. While Halligen Frisian and Northern Goesharde Frisian are among the most endangered North Frisian languages, and consequently I should give this priority over learning Drèents or Stellingwarfs (Low Saxon languages), although I did express my intention/plan on Twitter to try to learn and promote Drèents this year (see here and here). So, as I hope to study the latter languages if time permits, I do also hope to learn the former two languages, for that is very urgent. There are only 2 months left and it would be quite a feat to learn 4 new languages in that time period. Of course, we can just give it a try and see how far we get before 1 January 2020. As I already have a Northern Goesharde Frisian dictionary, I think that I might start with that tonight.
So, all in all, I want to do normal physical exercises, smiling/facial exercises and eye exercises during this winter and in preparation for thid winter. I thought that might be best, because there is not much else to do (although blogging and language-learning are already standard items on my planning), because I will not be doing much gardening this winter. I say ‘not much,’ because I will still be gardening. My primary main focus this winter will be keeping alive my bigger plants rather than growing new ones, and my secondary main focus will be growing microgreens, which I hope to blog more about this winter. It is really just a big experiment for me. Last month, I bought some more microgreen seeds and I will try them out this month.
I want to make ‘exercise in moderation’ the theme for this winter, because moderation is the only sustainable model given that my energy is limited as a result of my 2013 intestine surgery. For instance, just 10 sit-ups is enough if I wish to do this exercise every single day. It is best not to be overzealous or too ambitious, because this might make it hard for me to keep up an exercise regimen (a word that I have never once used in my life until now). It is my instinctive desire to achieve a lot within a short time-span, but I need to unlearn this ‘impatience’, because my body is not anymore like it was before the operation and I need to take it slowly in order to make progress. In the past it might have worked to do 100 or more sit-ups per day, but that is not realistic right now considering my physical condition. Although high ambition is tempting for me, I must accept moderation for the time being. I should tell myself: If I do well, I might be able to do more ambitious stuff in the future. This is motivating to me because although I curreny need to bold back for the sake of sustainability for my body and mind, I want to have a future prospect where I might hold back less and can finally fulfill my own appetite for more. For me, it is easy to do too much but hard to do a little every time and make very slow progress. This attitude is driven by my acute awareness of the passage of time; I feel the clock is ticking and death, as no one knows when it comes, might always be lurking around the corner (I have faced and narrowly escaped death from young age too many times to be ignorant of this). So, although impatience may drive one to do great deeds and pursue a fast heroic lifestyle for the sake of helping and protecting others, patience is required for achieving sustainability (and regularity) in altruistic as well as self-improving pursuits.
I have a long-standing interest in review-writing and I feel the urge to write reviews already for quite some time because I think it is suitable for our purpose. I made concrete plans and promises in 2017 to write reviews of hoteks, restaurants and places I visited, but this has not yet come to fruition. While I have generally not fulfilled these plans and promises to this day, I feel compelled to seize every opportunity I get to write reviews. However, I must try to focus this month and although I would like to be, I am no octopus, for I cannot do everything at the same time. I might still write a few reviews during this autumn or winter, but it is also quite possible that I will write no new reviews at all. It depends, but I will definitely start doing it at some point and I am delighted whenever I start fulfilling one of my old promises.
I have already a few review ideas: I wish to review Paolo Coelho’s book The Alchemist and draw a link with the adventure of language learning and finding treasure and purpose in lesser-known languages (the theme of travelling off the beaten path), review Lego Racers I & II and tell based on my memories from many years ago that the second game (‘het tweede spel’ as I used to call it in Dutch) had more freedom of movement and the first game was more restrictive in that regard although I had a nostalgic feeling for it, or a waning sense of loyalty towards it, since the second game came out, review the game Future Cop LAPD and tell how it turned out many years later that my Italian best friend Giovanni used to play it in his youth as well, review Mr. Vinegar’s Apartment from Xi’an, China and point out the fact that it was an interesting coincidence that Mr. Vinegar had a special connection with Leeuwarden, Frisia, review Time Machine and point out the fact that the movie’s prediction about the rise of AI in the future turned out to be accurate and share our contemporary view as we are nearing 2030 where regular space travel and lunar bases might have become a reality, review the TV series Lost and recount how the engaging plots and themes in its imaginary world helped me with my post-surgery recovery by immersing me in its world and thus distracting me from my agonising pains, review llaollao and recount my first experience with it in Spain as well as my experiences in Hong Kong, review Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream and tell the fact that the crunchy monkey taste is probably the only taste that I like after the 2013 surgery due to the fact it is very soft and easily digestible for my stomach, review Hui Lau Shan from Hong Kong and recount how much I loved their delicious mango drinks and mango snacks on hot days in Hong Kong when we had been walking around for a while, and review Age of Empires & Age of Mythology and recount the fact that I used to play the former before staying in New Zealand from 2004 to 2005 and the latter while staying in NZ.
In fact, being the zealous and ambitious person I am, I hope to review many more books I have read, films I have seen, locations I have visited, hotels where I have stayed, restaurants where I have eaten, etc. While I think it is appropriate to write some reviews in English, it is my aim to write as many reviews as possible in minority languages, because that will add relevance to those languages. While reviews concern my history, I will also simply write recollections from my past in minority languages and I might someday even try keeping a diary (probably on this blog) in these languages. English reviews get many views, but we are not writing merely for the views, as we wish to help save endangered languages and cultures. We think writing reviews will give a boost to those languages as relevant data and unique views pertaining to contemporary items will be expressed in those languages. For me, a review is quite literally a review: I see experiences again before my mind’s eye and I relive everything very vividly. I view the past again in my mind in order to write a review. During review-writing, moreover, I hope to practise my vocabulary to describe culinary flavours, textures, etc. (see here, here and here for lists of descriptive adjectives). I am not so good at using colourful adjectives to describe things while adjectives are often inherently subjective, so this is a good exercise for me.
If time permits, I wish to focus on some issues that attract people to our blog as well and anticipate on any signs of a certain demand/trend online that brings people to our blog. For instance, basic housekeeping is popular on our blog (see our article on this topic) and we would do well to write more about it. When we write about this topic, it will be from our unique perspective of learning and saving minority languages as that is the kind of life – as well as practical philosophy – we are living. Unfortunately, many Google Search Results remain unknown to us, which means we have no idea what brings people to our blog and we are relying purely on our gut feeling for the most part to gauge what people want.
I want to try translating a German coursebook to Saterlandic/Heligolandic and a Swedish coursebook to Elfdalian to test my language skills before the end of this year. Although a three-part project focused on 3 minority languages, the intensive study of 6 languages was required, because German and Swedish, just as with Dutch during our projects in 2016 and 2018, proved to be indispensible for our language-learning goals of this year; German and Swedish gave us access to the 3 minority languages that we wanted to learn. Furthermore, the 6th language we have studied is one that we learned at the beginning of this year: Grunnegers. We thought Grunnegers, along with Eilauners and German, would be helpful for learning Saterlandic (and perhaps also Heligolandic, for North Frisian is said to have been derived from East Frisian, to which Saterlandic belongs). This proved to be correct and helped us see Saterlandic in context, particularly interesting were some patterns we noticed in the stem syllables of verbs, i.e. ablaut, for these patterns were (a)like in Eilauners and Grunnegers.
We are highly motivated because we believe in the charitable cause of saving languages. We derive zeal from the fact that our charity work inspires others with genuine anticipation, hope and positivity.
I want to use this opportunity to congratulate Ken Ho on achieving our previous month’s goal of publishing German articles in order to practise for our upcoming Saterlandic and Heligolandic language projects in Germany. He has been keeping the blog going while I had to retreat due to failing health since around June. Thanks to his efforts, we could maintain our streak and I could still publish some articles regularly to help him out as well. Our teamwork got us this far and we have kept up our regular production without interruption. We will keep doing our best in November and make sure you can enjoy a new article of ours every single day.
Since we noticed the first frost in late October, we decided to move some vulnerable plants inside and we left frost-hardy plants outside for the time being. We have an impromptu green corner in our house now. My father remarked it looks beautiful because the plants are healthy. I said that I agreed and that I had already seen online that even if you fill your entire house with plants, it may look quite beautiful. We do not have a house full of plants, but just a green corner that will delight me in the winter months. I have noticed that gardening has health benefits and plants give happiness.
With the sincere intention of bringing luck to our charitable initiative, I still want to express one last wish:
I hope to visit Schiermonnikoog 9 times in total this year, because I like that number. Moreover, I need to visit soon again because I am writing a biographic book about the elderly speakers of Eilauners. I need to make progress with that fast.