International or other matters

Decluttering college notes … the final frontier!!

What to do with notes 

and essays you piled up but

have not reviewed much?


The last real stage of my decluttering is almost over.    If I ever decide to move I’ll have a very quick packing session … woo hoo!!  I was going through my college notes (I studied languages and my course included other modules as well) aiming to get rid of as much as possible as they take up way too much space and for what?  So,  I’ve been busy over the last few days, work or study aside, in another huge cull.  I successfully whittled my four years of Japanese down to one small box file though I have some extra notes from study I have since done myself or with a private tutor.  4 years into one small box is good work I think.  If only I could get my notes on the other two languages down to that amount.    I really should chuck it all out but some of it is really interesting to read on its own merits not just because I once had to for college, stuff on the cultural side of things relating to each language or country concerned.  Yes I can find it on the internet but all the same if I can cull it down to that size box for everything I think I’ll refer to it more if I do want to find out or read something.  Who wants to be looking at a computer or phone screen any more than necessary anyway?    It’s bad for you!!

Just as I was thinking when culling my photos ‘what was I thinking taking that!’ I came across a lot of essays I wrote when I was much younger and found myself laughing despite myself at what I wrote.   The stuff I wrote.  Honestly.   I got decent marks for a lot of them though and so I hesitate to throw them away. Certain tests where I achieved really good results also remain in there.   I was never the highest achieving student so I like to remind myself of my high points, even if, like the photos, they’re in the past.  I also have kept a few essays where I got not so good feedback, but not as much of course ; )

I think Marie Kondo and other ‘experts’ might tell me to go further and bin all of it, apart from those results that made me happy.    I’ll think about it.

Anyone else have decluttering woes or even joys to share?

International or other matters

Bonne courage Paris

Paris became a 

nightmare for Parisiens

and the world last night

It was absolutely shocking to hear what happened in Paris last night.   Different parts of Paris hit by IS terrorists and so many innocent people, French and foreign, killed or injured.    I have already seen headlines with people saying this won’t defeat them and will not stop people living their lives and that is good to hear but it must be very difficult for everyone to feel like this right now and it probably has not sunk in yet for many people.

One plus, which is hard to think about now, is it shows the friendly, helpful side of Paris which I experienced myself only a few months ago but this is on a larger scale.    People opening up their homes to strangers (using the porteouverte hashtag on twitter – great idea) and taxi drivers taking people free of charge from place to place when said taxi drivers were, and probably still are, afraid to drive anywhere themselves.    Locals being friendly and helpful anywhere can bring a smile to a visitor’s face.  It brought a smile to mine every day I was there.  It must be magnified at this time even if people naturally don’t feel like smiling.    Below is a grey scale picture of Place de la Bastille, close to one of the areas, Rue de Charonne, where some of the shootings were.

To anyone reading this, Japanese or French or anyone else, if you lost someone I am sorry for your loss.

Bonne courage Paris 



International or other matters

To have and to hoard until cull do us part…

A trip into the

travels of your past can free

your mind and cupboards

I have a bit more space now thanks to my decluttering drive over the last few days but I’m not finished yet (groan).

This weekend, I moved on to my photos.  Mostly my travel photos as I have more of them than any other category of photos.   In more recent years, all my photos – travel or otherwise – have gone straight from my digital camera or phone to my computer (all my Japan pictures for example but pictures from other places too) but I still had tons of photos -about 7 full albums – with copies elsewhere –  from about 7 or 8 years of pre-digital camera travel.    So I’ve had some work cutting the number of those down.    Most of them are bloody copies or places that look similar to other places, in the same country, or of things that are really of no relevance to me and weren’t at that time either (e.g. not being Buddhist why did I take sooo many photos of different temples, inside and out?  Many look the same).  I haven’t always marked the back of them or the photo album comment spaces with the name of the place.  I’ve got most of them culled and may do a bit more culling of the ‘finalists’ as I call the ones that escaped the main cull tomorrow (just to get it over with).

It has been a bit of a trip and a relaxing one at that looking at my old travel photos after so long so why fuss over minor details such as where exactly somewhere is as long as you know which country you were in (don’t laugh, countries in South East Asia for example have similar cultures and architecture, eg. temples, and so on, as do various places in Mediterranean Europe).   That’s why people shots are better than location shots as you might have a story of why you took that picture of yourself or your travel buddies at that particular spot and who you met in what place also helps you remember better.   I’m still amazed at how many shots I took of the same thing! Developing pictures could cost quite a bit. Not that most people have to worry about that any more but when I was taking these pictures I wish I had had someone looking over my shoulder saying ‘ok one maybe two’s enough of this, move on!’ or ‘Are you really going to be happy you took that picture? Think of the cost and the clutter!’.   I’m also regretting the invention of photo albums, not that anyone made me buy them. Photo albums are somewhat over-rated I think or for things like this at least.  Weddings? Sure if just a small one as most family members will send you digital copies anyway of their photos of your wedding.  Family shots? Of course, posed or not.  Probably small too as like the wedding situation, you can be sent pictures others have taken for you.  Otherwise, for an individual it takes time and effort and if you want to reorganise an album it’s a lot of hassle.  I have every single ‘finalist’ marked on the back now with place and year (or maybe a comment of some type) and might just put the whole load into plastic ring binder sheets and put them in a box somewhere.

Digital cameras but even more so smartphones are definitely a gift to the world in terms of photo taking in this regard wouldn’t you say?    On the other hand they can be used for evil as well.   People taking pictures of strangers and posting them on the web, fat-shaming them or skinny-shaming them or shaming them based on other aspects of their looks.   Teenagers bullying each other on social media posting certain photos using certain apps. I’m glad I’m not a teenager in this day and age but adults with nothing better to do with their lives can be just as cruel.