Indefinite Hiatus in the Land of Words.

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Of Tales & Dreams will be taking an indefinite hiatus as of today.

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I would like to thank all the bloggers and cyber friends I’ve managed to make, who have brought smiles to my face and inspiration to my heart in the short time I’ve been blogging on this platform (especially this lady RHAPSODYBOHÈME …my warrior princess of moonlight and other things- please check out her blog so that she may remind you that genuine kindness, beauty  and strength always exist somewhere in this world).

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May words and magic continue to weave their wonder around your worlds…till my spaceship returns for more fun, discovery and adventure. As my man of uber-coolness and imagination ,Neil Gaiman, would say : “Tales and adventures are the shadow truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes and forgotten.” Food for thought.

I leave you with this…it’s been on my mind incessantly…my favorite poem by Robert Frost entitled Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.

Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though;

He will not see me stopping here

To watch his woods fill up with snow.

 

My little horse must think it queer

To stop without a farmhouse near

Between the woods and frozen lake

The darkest evening of the year.

 

He gives his harness bells a shake

To ask if there is some mistake.

The only other sound’s the sweep

Of easy wind and downy flake.

 

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

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Happy reading bookworms xoxo

The Dream : A Short Story.

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Art via parasci

“Why are you driving my car?” I asked her. She just looked away forlornly and ever so morose. Her hands slipped in and out of the steering wheel. White, pale hands. She still clutched her rosary. I shivered. It looked exactly like mine. Blue-black hematite beads with Jesus’arms outstretched and Mother Mary holding tightly to her precious baby.

“You’re going the wrong way,” I said. She twisted her mouth into a gigantic o-shape and for a moment I felt the universe stop. I looked away from her. Her mouth twitched and she was lost in conversations with people I couldn’t see. Why couldn’t I see them?

“You CAN see them too,” she said, as if the secrets of my mind were now in her possession. “It’s a gift.”

Something about the way she lingered on that word ‘gift’ made me doubt her. Perhaps it was also the unease I felt at the sight of tiny droplets of blood, that started to run down the side of her mouth. I couldn’t look her in the eyes but something about her mouth. I was drawn to it.

“Did you remember to pray today,” she asked me solemnly. “Prayer is the anchor…don’t forget that…but they’ll tell you your soul is black and that there’s no hope…don’t listen. Too many voices. Here and there. There and here. Voices. Eyes. Pray. You mustn’t get lost.”

She started to tremble. The car started to swerve. Her hands moved through the steering wheel.

“Does he remember?” she asked me. “He promised.”

I felt a stab in my heart. I wanted to hug her tightly. But she’d just fall right through.

“He remembers.”

She smiled.

“You’re my second chance, little raven.” Her voice seemed choked. Gurgled. Dead.

For a second I thought her eyes became concrete and sparkled.

And she was gone.

I was alone in my car. Alone. But I could hear the voices. Wanting to be seen. Wanting to be heard. Wanting. Wanting. Voices. Eyes. Pray she said.

There was blood on my mouth. Blood she left when she kissed me.

I wasn’t alone anymore. I could see them all.

When Poets Steal a Piece of Your Heart.

You don’t believe my love, do you? You want me to prove that it’s true Well, I cannot bring down a star for you I cannot bring down Moon I cannot say it’s October when it’s actually June … I cannot make an elephant fly Or write your name in the clear, blue sky I […]

via Just To Prove My Love — Frank Solanki

Applying to Study Abroad: Tips, Taking Risks & Avoiding Those Pesky Red Bull Wings.

It’s February already and I think it would be a complete understatement if I told you that I’m in overdrive. Two months till the graduate exam ‘of death’, two months till my first scholarship application deadline. On the plus side, I’ll be back full time at university from next week and my dissertation supervisor is pretty badass with the knowledge. I’m keen for all the psychoanalytic critical theory she’s going to throw my way. Just in case you’ve been thinking I’m cool…

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 Right now my life can be summed up using Rory Gilmore:

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Reading…
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Reading…
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Existential crisis outbursts in the kitchen to my cat…
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Ignoring humans…
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Oh, did I mention the reading part???

To add to that, I’ve now wormed my way back on the Red Bull train (OK not wormed, I ran happily and jumped on it). It has always been my study drug of choice (and yes I’m aware of the increased heart palpitations, possible heart attack outcomes and heightened depression side effects). It does give me a great shower singathon boost though.

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Don’t judge me.

I think if you know you need caffeine boosts during your study sessions, then maybe stay away from the 355 ml cans. That never ends well. The 250 ml is passable (but it all depends on how much your body can sustain or how much you’re willing to put it through). I definitely would recommend you find a healthy alternative if the heavens that be permit you to. I’m open to suggestions…even though (for me) I’ve tried everything else with little or no success.

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OK, so we’re talking about studying abroad!  I sure as hells didn’t take into consideration the turmoil, outrage and violation of human rights that are currently sweeping through the world. My timing may be terribly wrong or perfectly fated (watch this space). So, instead of accepting obvious obstacles or thoughts on possible failure, I am going to call people’s attention to something they desperately need reminding of right now : if you don’t (at the very least) try to change your circumstances, then you’re pretty much wasting space on this beautiful earth of ours. Every breath we’re given is a chance to start again or make things better. If you’ve been standing still for too long, or your mind is a natural habitat for fear, then maybe it’s time to carve your way out of that. Carve, sculpt, paint, write -hell, dance – your way to a brighter future through hope, kindness (to others but also to yourself) and the power of dreaming.

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Are my cheer pom-poms visible here? That said, I attended an information seminar on Monday at the Durban National Science Museum. The seminar was held by Education USA, an advising service, that gears students toward study in the U.S. Susan Knowles, who works as an advisor for the center and as an education specialist for the U.S. Embassy in Durban, provided a comprehensive introduction to the procedure of applying and funding your study abroad. I was one of two graduate students in a sea of eager high schoolers, all planning their future education somewhere where potential has proven to outweigh circumstance. I left feeling rather exhilarated. I may have done a little Jess dance…

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The first step, if you’re considering international study, is to make a choice. Do you really, genuinely want to do this? Yes? Then you got this…

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After you’ve made that initial decision that you want to study abroad, do the necessary research. Which country? What universities? One of the mistakes I made was buying into the hype that only top ranking private institutions will satisfy my PhD needs. Since doing my homework, I’ve found some decent public universities (with pleasing rankings) that are doing exciting research in the field I wish to pursue. Ultimately, it’s the program and the mentors that should be the major appeal.

The institution you choose should reflect something of yourself too. Will you be happy there? If you’re applying for a graduate program, you can expect to be spending about 6 years at your chosen university (that’s not taking into account post-degree job opportunities that may be offered). Is the institution likely to give you that ‘I’m where I’m meant to be’ Disney feeling, or do you foresee yourself struggling and fading into the shadows of the nearest corridor?

One of the best parts about studying abroad is the opportunity for cultural diversity. Go somewhere where you can surround yourself with different cultures, different ideas, different languages. Life is too short to exist in a tiny little bubble. Remember, you’ll also have a chance to represent your own country. As an international student, you have the privilege to share tales from the place that birthed you, so that the world can clear up any preconceived notions or stereotypes they may be holding onto. The dismantling of stereotypes is essential given present predicaments found the world over.

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Wherever you choose to go make sure that it’s the right fit for you.

If funding is an issue, like it is for most of us when dealing with foreign currency, the internet is swelling with information about the latest scholarships, fellowships, grants and student exchange possibilities.

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Check out Scholarship-Positions.com for study options across the world.

Some of the things that you need to pay attention to when applying to universities or funding programs:

  1. Try to maintain good grades. Although, some universities look beyond academic aptitude for talent in other areas (like sport).
  2. If you’re applying to American universities: SAT, TOEFL (if English is not your first language) and GRE (for graduate students) are important required exams for entrance. Prepare for them and do your best.
  3. Try to have at least 3 letters of recommendation (by teachers, professors, people that have worked with you and can vouch for your sincerity and work ethic).
  4. Be honest and dedicate time to writing your personal statement (who you are, what you’ve done and why you want to pursue your studies overseas) and research objective (detailed essay on what you propose to study at a graduate level). If you’re passionate about your studies and choice, let that reflect in well thought out, grammatically correct essays.
  5. Have a sample of your academic writing ready. Pages required vary according to level of study and institution.
  6. Believe in yourself.There’s really no room for anything else!

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So that’s all the wisdom I have to share with you at this stage of my journey. Stay inspired!

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Delayed magic…

A post from a magical cyber friend who is as wise as moonbeams. Reminding me why I want to achieve my goals, and that beauty and kindness are the things we should hold onto when all seems lost.

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Have you heard people say that Christmas time is a magical time? Well the holidays have come and gone with nothing more than a distant memory. Until the other day….Just before discovering the wild mustangs that roam freely in the highlands above Reno, I was treated to a little magical holiday reminder. Driving up the windy road en route to Virginia City, a historical old fashioned western town that deserves an entire post of its own, the trip is just a short distance from Reno and is a scenic marvel. A few well placed pull outs offer great views of Mount Rose, the Sierra and the town lying at its feet. Covered in snow, I think it looks even more majestic and grand as usual and there is just something about this pure white blanket covering the landscape. Truly magical, but not necessary Christmas related.

What added to the Christmas…

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