Today I found myself sitting in an outdoor terrasse of a pub in the centre of Antwerp. It is the same terrasse I had once already visited, just after arriving on my student exchange here. Like some 8 months ago, on the same place, today also I was reading a book. It happens that its topic suits the previous themes of this blog, which without my conscious planing turned out for the most part to be reflections on technology and its relation to our modern experience of the world. The book is called "Cyberspace Odyssee" and the chapter I read was about literature ondergoing digitalisation, with for example the question whether the traditional paper book will survive this technological "e-book revolution", about hypertext (with this act the text of this blog hast just became a hypertext) and other interesting e-things. However, my intention here is not to further polemize on this subject. For my purpose it is enough to have a notion in your mind that I was reading today about something I have been thinking myself about and what I had wrote on this very web-place, web-site, up to now.
More importanly, and here comes the thought which struck me today, and which led me to write about it: the book was writen in Dutch. Of course, this fact was not anything shocking for me. After all, my studies here are in Dutch, and I was preparing myself for it, I wanted it to be that way. What came as a "shock" was more the idea, the realization that last time I was sitting on that same place, I could clearly recall, I was doing some homework for my intensive Dutch course.
A much more exciting notion thus develops, namely that at one point in time, at the begining of my Erasmsus exchange, I sat there, struggling to fill in some quite basic things about Dutch grammar and vocabulary, and then at the next point, 8 months later, I read a regular book (as part of one university class, by the way) in Dutch, and I read it with no serious problems with understanding. For me it was an asthonishing thought, and not in the sense of some supreme (subjective) achievement on my part, but in the sense of an objective developement of an ability, of being able to see the world through the lense of another language in such a short time.
The beer I had this time was a different kind than the previous time. But it was still beer. That way the same me could at one point struggle learning Dutch, and at another point read in Dutch smoothly.
That's how life continues going its spiral way, always repeating itself circularly, and yet, always being changed, positioned at new heights, with fresh offer of life-goodies and new things to be discovered.
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Did you know our galaxy is a spiral?