Where I come from, almost everyone speaks only the one language. Learning another language is like learning what happened at the Battle of Vinegar Hill or how mountains are formed. Something you try in school and maybe make some progress in the exam, but never really use in your life. People who know more than one language do exist, but so do talented people who can play musical instruments or get chosen for a sports team. They’re admired for such a gift, but most people don’t have that ability or even try to learn it.
I used to fall into this group, I could only speak English and didn’t see the need for any other language. Yet now I find myself using three different languages every day. Although I spend my leisure time reading and watching videos in English, I live in France and work for an Esperanto association. So, my free time is in English, my work is in Esperanto and everything else is in French. Continue reading “My Life In 3 Languages”
A few months ago I was working in an office and I got fed up. At first I was happy to get the job, as I had been looking for work for a while and these days it’s hard to find a job in Ireland (when talking with friends I don’t ask what job they have but if they have one). Plus the money was really good so I started off enthusiastic. But after a few weeks I was worn down and fed up. Part of it was specific to the job, I was in a backroom completely cut off from the rest of the company with only one other person to talk to. But the job itself was incredibly dull and monotonous. It was a brainless repetitive job that you could train a monkey to do. Worst of all, it was pointless. It didn’t serve any real purpose or do anything useful, it was essentially shuffling paper all day.
So I decided I needed to get out. I have the rest of my life for boring office jobs, so I can take a year or two out to travel before I get tied down with commitments. I wanted to do work that I actually cared about and that I felt was worthwhile. I was younger than the people I was working with, so I could take two years out and come back to the same place. So I thought, what the hell, why not travel, see other cultures, learn other languages, live in other countries? Continue reading “So I’ve Moved To Slovakia”
(This article was originally published in the University Observer. Rather than simply reprint it, I thought I’d publish my original draft before it was edited.)
The world is divided into thousands of different languages separated from each other, each with its own culture and nationality. Everyone who has been on holiday has felt that awkward moment when you try (and usually fail) to breach the language barrier with a local. We have probably all thought how much easier life would be if there was one language that we all could all speak together. But national pride gets in the way, the English won’t learn French and the French won’t learn English, and neither will learn German. What we need is a neutral language, one that doesn’t have a past of colonialism and oppression of native languages. There is a language and it’s called Esperanto. Continue reading “Esperanto: A Language For Everyone”
Prague is a fantastic city bursting with spectacular sights. It is a well known tourist destination and for a very good reason. It’s a great place to go sight-seeing or to relax with a pint of its excellent beer. There are so many amazing buildings that something that would be impressive in another city would get ignored in Prague. From the towering Churches of the Old Town to the majesty of the Royal Palace to the splendour of the Charles Bridge to the deep history of Communism, Prague truly is a sight to see.
Ljubljana is a charming city that often feels more like a small town. It is easy to settle into its many cosy streets or have enjoyable strolls along its river lined with impressive Austrian style buildings. It will entice you with its appealing and welcoming feel. Not far away is the jaw dropping splendour of Lake Bled, which is an absolute must for all travelling through Slovenia.
The Croatian coast is one of the most beautiful sights I’ve seen as is the attractive city of Split, with its promanandes along the waters edge. Hvar is a beautiful peaceful island where you just want to relax and let the world pass you by. As this was towards the end of my journey, I was rushing from place to place and only got a brief look at these wonderful places, so this is another photo post.
If I had the name one city my favourite on my trip it would be close but I’d say Dubrovnik. It is simply jaw-droopingly amazing. It’s so beautiful it’s no wonder the Old Town was named a UNESCO World Heritage site. However I was quite sick during my stay, probably due to the heat (it was around 35-7 degrees all day long), so this post will have less words and more photos.
Mostar is an absolutely stunning town that is definitely worth visiting. It has a glorious medieval feel, a captivating and enticing river of gorgeous colours and of course, its famous bridge, a massive stone construction whose destruction came to symbolise the war in Bosnia. Meticulously reconstructed, it is now one of the most popular tourist sights in the Balkans.
Although recently ravaged by war, Sarajevo has now recovered and is thriving. It’s a lively city that still retains a small town feel to it. From the bustling markets to the glistening river to the great views atop its surrounding hills, Sarajevo has a great atmosphere. However, the scars of war are still visible, with bullet ridden buildings and mortar craters on the footpaths. Sarajevo is a city embracing modernity yet hasn’t fully shaken off the ghosts of the past.
Belgrade is the gritty capital of Serbia. Its streets are lined with potholes and decaying apartments. If you like large Communist apartment blocks you’ll love Belgrade because they’re everywhere. However, in a strange way these add to the city’s charm. It’s a city with character. After all isn’t the point of travel to see different places? If you want prosperity stay at home. If you want an edgy, intriguing city brimming with history with history come to Belgrade. Continue reading “Belgrade: A City With Character”