Category Archives: School

How does sunlight sound?

The sunlight tiptoed in my bedroom, crawling silently in the dark like a cat approaching its prey. Gently, silently making its way to my bed, caressing my face and whispering in my ears, calling my name. ‘A little bit more,’ I implored turning my back. But it did not want to listen, it did not care, it kept going crescendo brighter, making a warm crackling sound on the floor, its loud colour invading my space, knocking on the walls, jumping on the sheets like a capricious child. ‘For the last time I beg you to let me sleep! Just five minutes more, that’s all I am asking for!’ and I hid my face into the pillow. But now the roaring noise was getting louder, producing sharp disharmonious combinations of yellow and white tones, exploding like a military band in my ears, blowing through the windows like a storm: it was unstoppable, it was everywhere! The deafening sunlight had a message to deliver and was determined to make me listen. I could not ignore its voice anymore, it was time for me to surrender, wake up and get ready because today was the day and there was nothing I could do about it!

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This text is one of my assignments from creative writing class that I wanted to share with you. We were asked to write a paragraph using synaesthetic metaphors. The idea was to create new ways of expression by creating cross-sensory experiences where you can for example hear colours, smell sounds, see music, feel the texture of light and so on… By mixing the different senses you can layer your story and come up with a unique and original piece. In order to warm up our creativity, we were given a list of questions and we had to pick one of them and work on it using synaesthetic metaphors… I was inspired by “How does sunlight sound?” and I built a short story starting from this question. I must say I was pretty impressed with the result because it worked really good and I was really proud and happy about what I came up with! I think this technique helps to describe a scene in a original way and it helps creating a real universe by using lively images so people can truly feel the atmosphere! I hope you have enjoyed this story and I hope it will intrigue you so you want to know more 😉 Please do not hesitate to leave me a comment: Did this text tickle your imagination and if that so why do you think the main character does not want to get up? I am curious to know because it is always interesting to hear about different ideas and then we can compare with what I had in mind when I wrote that piece… Come on, don’t be shy, I am sure it will be fun!

Soupe à l’oignon au bleu d’Auvergne – Onion soup with blue cheese

“A classic and comforting recipe from the French countryside that will please your palate during winter, especially after an outdoor walk in the biting cold.”

Ingredients:

 For 4 people:

 • 400 g onions

 • 2 liters of chicken stock

 • 70 g unsalted butter

 • 150 g of Bleu d’Auvergne (blue cheese)

 • 4 slices of country bread

 • Salt

 • Coarse salt

 • Ground black pepper

Method:

 • Peel and chop the onions.

 • Melt the butter in a large saucepan add the onions and gently brown over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spatula.

 • Then add the chicken stock, seasoned with a pinch of coarse salt.

 • Stir and bring to a boil and allow to simmer about 1 hour over low heat. Stir from time to time during cooking.

 • Meanwhile mash the Bleu d’Auvergne (blue cheese) in a bowl with a fork until you obtain a creamy texture.

 • Lightly toast the slices of country bread and while still warm, spread the cheese on the top of them.

• Once the soup is cooked, remove half of the volume of onions with a skimmer or a slotted spoon. Let the mixture cool down and put it in the blender to obtain an onion puree.

 • Then put the onion puree back into the saucepan, mix, adjust seasoning to taste adding salt and pepper and mix well again.

Presentation: 

Serve this traditional dish in preheated soup plates. Place the toasted bread spread with bleu d’Auvergne on the side ready to be immersed in the soup.

Top tip:

A little trick to avoid ” crying ” while mincing onions: use a sharp knife! Actually a bad knife crushes the pulp of onion instead of slicing it – it spreads a fine mist of onion juice in the air followed by a river of tears!

If you can’t find Bleu d’Auvergne, you can use a local blue cheese as well, in that case choose a creamy and flavourful one.

Bon appétit 🙂

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Kellie, who is the North Adelaide Community Centre coordinator, asked me to take part to a good cause by writing a recipe from France. The idea was to create a “City Community – favourite soup recipes” book in order to raise money for the Welcome Centre of South Australia – http://www.welcometoaustralia.org.au/ – so they can replace a trailer which was recently stolen from them! The goal was to obtain a collection of recipes that reflect a little bit about our family and heritage. I really liked the initiative and I was happy I could help! I chose to translate this recipe into English because I originally come from Auvergne and I liked the idea that  “Bleu d’Auvergne” (a typical blue cheese from this region) was part of this comforting dish. My favourites French cheese are: Bleu d’Auvergne, Fourme d’Ambert (another blue cheese), Cantal, Saint-Nectaire, Salers and Gaperon – all made in Auvergne haha! Luckily some of them can be found at the Adelaide Central Market which is good when I am missing French cheese.

An angel to watch over me

I was seven years old when my mother passed away. I don’t remember much about her but to me she was a loving woman who rarely raised her voice with anger at my sisters or myself. She was also an excellent cook and despite the little money we had, there was always a lovely smell in the kitchen. I remember her beautiful hair piled on her head and her long black skirt under which I would hide when an unannounced visitor would knock at the door of our home. Unfortunately, she died very young at the age of 32. I remember the day well, for it was the first time I’d been confronted with death. My sister woke me up early in the morning saying that mum had pushed on Heaven’s door, but I could not understand. I knew mum was sick. She had asthma and could not breathe properly ; she needed to rest and it was not easy to find a doctor in the countryside at that time. But I was just a kid and all I could wonder was how she managed to get up out of bed and open a door since she was so weak and where had she gone?! My sister brought me to Mum’s room to kiss her goodbye.   Lights had been covered and, despite the lilies, there was a strange smell floating in the air. Mum was lying still and cold on her bed, her hands folded on her chest. She was different and so pale. She looked like a wax doll with her long hair by her shoulders and her eyes closed. My sister whispered to me that Mum’s new home was in Heaven now and that her soul had been set free. Now she could overhear not only what we were saying but also what we were thinking, so we had to behave and make her proud so she would always love us.

From this moment, surprisingly I was not afraid! I knew mum would always look after me and eventually protect me because she was an angel now and her spirit would always be around. I could talk to her about my life, pray to her and ask for help if I needed it, which I did quite often. I guess this thought has empowered me and helped me to go through life, which has not always been easy but she has never let me down. I survived a devastating house fire without a single scratch, I was captured by the Germans during World War 2 and by some miracle I managed to escape. I have reached 96 years of age and have never been sick in my whole existence.

But today is the saddest day of my life and I need her more than ever to help me get through this painful time. I am praying to her to welcome my son, her grandson, whom I am mourning, into her home.

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This sad story is one of my assignments from creative writing class that I wanted to share with you. We were asked to look at old pictures we owned and to write a short story up to 500 words about loss from the perspective of a person we had chosen. The idea was that the loss had occurred when the person was a child and we had to tell what happened and how it had impacted our character’s life. We were also asked to write in the first person subject past tense as it was a recollection and many years had passed since the tragedy had occurred  We had to show what the child had learnt through this experience that stayed with him to adulthood. I must say it was a difficult exercise since generally I prefer to write about fun things and loss is not really my favorite genre. It was also a bit overwhelming for me since I decided to base my story on a true family life chapter. Actually I chose my grandfather who lost his mother when he was only a child and I became his voice for the duration of this assignment. On one hand it made me sad and a bit depressed to write about these past memories, I mean I can only imagine how hard it must have been painful for him. But in the other hand I am glad I could transcribe as a tribute stories I have  been  told a  couple of times by my grandfather. His mother, my grand-grandmother, was a beautiful woman who sadly died very young from asthma and I am grateful she is a caring and loving angel watching over my grandfather in sadness and happiness helping him to go though life giving him hope and bravery.

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My grandfather’s mother who died at 32

Speak, cook, love

Tuesdays rhyme for me with English class and cooking! Actually there is an original free English conversation class at the North Adelaide Community Centre hosted by the talented and hilarious Malcolm. The theme of this class is: World cuisine. People from all continents attend to this joyful English class, there are no homeworks, no grades but only one rule: each participant is invited to share about his culture and his country through cooking. In my opinion it is a very interesting concept and a good way to practise English while learning about other customs and fooding. Malcolm puts everybody at ease, he is a very encouraging teacher and he has a lot of humour so everybody, even beginners, has an opportunity to speak! There are very interesting stories to hear about and it is like traveling the world! So many foreign countries are represented: China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Spain, Iran, France, Italy, Croatia, Chili, Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela… it is wonderful to be surrounded by all these different accents and good vibes. I have met really amazing friends thanks to this class and it has made a huge difference in my experience here for sure!

IMG_1153Once a month or so, thanks to Malcolm and our amazing coordinator Kellie our English class takes place in the community centre kitchen. We cook all together traditional dishes from our respective countries but also sometimes Australian meal (like Anzac biscuits) and learn about the story behind. Malcolm says that it is a good exercice for us to put our English into context with real life practice: reading recipes in English, understanding the vocabulary, solving problems together, connecting with each other, joining forces… The results is always incredible, so many different ingredients, colours and flavours: the world in a plate! We have a lot of fun as you can see by yourself in the following short video. If you start watching at 1:14, you will see our teacher Malcolm being interviewed about this wonderful class and if you pay attention you will see me as well with my friends at the North Adelaide Community Centre kitchen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ip0LqXRDRpg

 

IMG_0469But the fun does not stop here, because after the cooking we can taste all these lovely dishes and share with the community centre guests. Again it is another opportunity to meet locals, mingle, express our opinions and please our palate with worldwide food. I am glad we have also the opportunity to taste Australian traditional dishes: pavlova, lamington, anzac biscuits… because we don’t have those in our countries and the point is to learn more about Australian culture because this is where our ❤ is at the moment. So come and join us at the North Adelaide Community Centre, you will love cooking and speaking English for sure!

North Adelaide Community Centre

176 Tynte Street

North Adelaide SA 5006

Tel :(08) 8203 7990

Red

She stopped the car at the red light. She looked briefly into the rearview mirror and she noticed her eyes were still red from crying.  The roses were lying next to her on the front seat. She was wondering who was sending the flowers; probably somebody who wanted to feel good about it! Each damn year on Valentine’s day it was the same old scenario: a beautiful deep red bouquet would be delivered to her work place without a card or a message. In a way it felt good that somebody cared about her, but at the same time it hurt so much because it also reminded her of the passion and love she once had, which had been tragically and irremediably taken away from her.

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This text is one of my assignments from creative writing class. Rather than starting to write from an idea, I was encouraged to start with a word that would act as a trigger for writing. The idea is to explore the sounds and meanings of words, to get new ideas and perspectives. I was asked to write only a paragraph (short story) using the trigger word: RED by sound or by meaning… it was up to me! I must say it was interesting because I never proceeded this way before… generally ideas or images drive my creativity! So it was interesting to start from a simple word as “red” and build a story around it! I am happy with the result because I managed to create a story in just 100 words! What I really enjoyed about this exercice is the fact that at the beginning I had no idea where my story would go… I just knew I would use “valentine’s day”, “roses”, “traffic light”, “passion” because they are deeply associated to the red colour but my story really took life under my pen with the words I was using one line at a time, growing like a deep velvet rose on the heart of my white page filling it with its warm colour! 

With or without you…

One of my first assignments in creative writing class was to write about an object without letting the readers know what the object is until the end of the story. I was also asked to add some dialogue to my text and to keep it up to 300 words. It was a challenging exercice but it was also very interesting. I had fun working on that piece and I thought it could be a nice idea to share my text with you… so try to guess what is my object before the end of my story 😉 and let me know what you thought about it!

With or without you…

His adjusted wide and round eyes were following me. His long and curved arms trying to surround me. I could perceive his soft cold touch on my face as he was bending over my ears.

‘Hey, look at me! Am I that transparent!?’ he whispered.

‘Leave me alone! I don’t like what I see; when I am looking in the mirror I don’t recognize myself anymore. You have turned me into something I don’t like! I don’t want you!’

‘Can’t you see beyond the end of your nose?! We are a perfect fit! Deep inside, you know you need me! I am making a huge difference… without me you are confused and lost and without you I am worth nothing!’

‘I don’t need you! To me you are just an accessory! Go back to your confined place with your black suit and fancy tattoos! I hate you!’

When I entered the cafe, I was so angry I nearly missed a step and bumped into a young man. The waitress asked me what I wanted to order. I spotted the board menu hanging… it could have been Chinese!

The waitress stared at me waiting for my answer… painfully, I realised that I had been lying to myself: I desperately needed it!

I reached the unloved black pair of glasses in my crumpled bag so I could see now: cascade of words, cakes appearing on the counter, intensity of colours, faces around me and the expression of surprise in my fiance’s eyes! He had been standing here, witnessing the whole scene and I had not noticed! Only he could see through me!

He said, ‘Even with your glasses on, I think you still look pretty!’

Fifty shades of Grey book critique

Fifty shades of grey E.L. James 2011 528 p. 100 million sale

Erotic romance novel written by British author E.L. James. The story traces the unconventional relationship between the naive college graduate, Anastasia Steele and the mysterious business magnate, Christian Grey.

The reader becomes the voyeur of this singular initiatory journey featuring elements of sexual practices involving bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism and masochism. The author uses this taboo universe to explore basic themes such as: How far would you go for love, can love change someone, opposites’ attract.

E.L. James is placing her characters in uncomfortable situations: struggling with their emotions, fighting and finally compromising. The interest of the story lies on the conflict of sentiments between the two central characters. Besides all of their differences and deviances, they share a universal feeling: LOVE. That feeling cements their relationship and helps them to grow together and to explore new shades of their physical and emotional boundaries as the story progresses.

It could be a tale of love that triumphs over the odds. Unfortunately the characters are not believable and dialogues are dull. The author’s style is colourless and the plot is blindingly obvious.

Fifty shades of grey, despite all the leather and spanking, is pretty harmless!

 

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This text is one of my assignments from creative writing class. I was asked to write a book critique in 200 words. I have picked “50 shades of Grey” first because I read it not so long ago (so I remember it quite well) and also because this assignment was scheduled in February at the exact time when the “steamy” film inspired from this book was released and everybody was talking about it for Valentine’s day… so I thought it could be interesting and fun to write my critique about it!