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2020.02.23 02:56 mialbowy Hidden aunty bath

Putting aside Lady Ashford’s peculiarity at the tea party, I check with my parents for days I can have Trissy over and then send her an overnight letter with the options.
That doesn’t take up my whole evening, so I spend time working on the design for Iris’s dress. By now, I’ve settled on the cream fabric, liking how purple shows up on it. She’s a very vibrant person and her dress should reflect that. While I don’t have anything set in stone just yet, I have a few different iris patterns I’ve practised on handkerchiefs and I think I’ll use one or more of them.
Tuesday brings me back into my usual routine, but there’s no walk with Cyril around the garden. However, I end up taking a walk after breakfast and lunch anyway, missing my friends. Missing all those little moments we spent together.
Trissy’s reply comes with the evening post, so I pass on which date works best for her to my parents. I mean, it’s just going to be the two of us, no need to arrange anything grand, but they’d like to greet her and make sure our hospitality meets the necessary standard. An inescapable aspect of being nobility.
The visit itself will be Sunday brunch, and I have called it a flower viewing rather than a tea party. That’s a bit unusual, but I like the sound of it better and I think it will put her at ease, make it seem like we’re doing something—there’s a lot of pressure to talk if it’s just the two of us at a table, you know? Besides, especially with art classes starting next term, I’m enjoying the practice. (My letter didn’t say anything about watercolour painting, but she doesn’t have to join in if she doesn’t want to.)
Over the rest of the week, Violet visits a couple of times to accompany me. One event is at another duke’s townhouse and then my mother has her older brother (Uncle Philip) over—his wife will be Clarice’s sponsor for her debut.
A trip to Jemima’s townhouse then completes the visiting-my-friends set. While her father is only a baron, they have close ties to the Count of Hythe and, like all areas along the southern coast, the town of Hythe is a prospering place. The townhouse actually belongs to the count, but Jemima’s family are staying in it at this time for whatever reason (I’m just a guest, no need to tell me everything).
Her parents are wonderfully lovely, easy to tell where she gets her chattiness after speaking once with her mother. I’m the first to arrive today, so she keeps Jemima and I company while we wait for the others, and she, well, knows how to stall for time.
“Oh I met Jem’s father at a rugby match,” she says, her voice wistful. (I make a note of “Jem”.) “Although he usually played, that day he had to sit out for a cramp. Only, every few minutes he forgot entirely, jumping up to cheer on his teammates and either gasping in pain or outright falling over when his leg reminded him.”
She pauses there, lightly chuckling behind one hand and wiping the corner of her eye with the other.
“I found myself closely watching him for the rest of the match, torn between laughter and sympathy, until I finally gave in and asked my brother to inquire his name. Of course, my parents had all sorts of objections—him being two years my junior, his status as merely a baron, that he actively played such a barbaric sport after leaving school—yet, well, I had already proven myself as something of a lame duck, so it was only a matter of time that they accepted the engagement.”
A maid interrupts to announce another arrival. Lady Hythe (technically Lady Saltwood) and Jemima leave to go greet them. Alone, I have some time to reflect over what Lady Hythe told me.
It’s… a rather touching story and every sentence reveals so much. I mean, she’s certainly beautiful for her age, so I can’t imagine how she had trouble finding a suitor when she was younger. And she glossed over the problems that age, status, and even hobbies can be when trying to marry, but they surely were the cause of many arguments with her parents.
And I would like to think of it as love overcoming all odds, but… isn’t it terribly sad that such a small gap could have prevented the marriage? What does two years matter? What real difference is there between the quality of life for (the wife of) a baron and a duke? How is him playing rugby important?
Well, the answer is that the parents don’t want others to think less of them because of who their daughter married. Imagine stopping your daughter marrying someone she loves because other people might make a snide comment or two. Just… terribly sad.
Approaching footsteps bring me out of my thoughts, and Jemima reappears, now with Belle rather than her mother. We make a bit of small talk between us, not long before Violet and then Helena arrive, beginning the tea party. Something nice to drink and eat, good company, fun conversations—we know what we’re doing. I mean, it’s nothing unusual, but it’s nice. By the end, I really do feel like I’ve learned a little more about my friends and so grown a little closer to them.
Back home, I spend the evening collecting my thoughts and ideas for Iris’s dress. After Trissy comes tomorrow, I’ll make the final design, getting started on the dress on Monday.
I wake up early (well, Liv wakes me up early) the next morning. There’s not enough time to prepare everything between breakfast and brunch, so I dress up nicely before breakfast. With what Trissy and I spoke about at Lady Ashford’s, I feel somewhat pressured to look stunning today, fashionable and beautiful. Rather than pearls, I coordinate around silver. I braid my silvery highlights into a strip and use the hair clip from Evan to keep it in place, similar to Violet’s signature look, while I have the rest of my hair up (hair pins hidden away), and a silver and flowery hair comb there for decoration. I go with a simple chain necklace and light bracelet (both in silver) for jewellery. (I’m still a bit young for anything fancy.)
Although silver goes best with black, I chose a dark blue dress. It’s another good combination and I feel like it complements my eyes and braid better. I mean, they are actually pale blue, just appear silver because they’re shiny.
“Oh you do look nice,” my mother says when I enter the drawing room. I think she and Clarice have been praising me so much recently to encourage me to dress up more. You know, they did seem worried I had no interest in fashion.
I feign modesty, and then chat with her until breakfast is ready.
After the meal, I arrange for tea and biscuits to be brought out later, and I go check the garden for a good spot, Liv following behind me with a blanket. Sweet peas in pastel colours make for a great watercolour, and the peonies are rather vibrant at the moment, the geraniums as well. I’m really spoiled for choice.
The garden is loosely organised around the central pond, all paths converging there, and the pond itself would make a wonderful painting. Around it are the lowest flowerbeds, the heights gradually increasing as you go outwards, the corners of the garden where trees are and along the edges are tall border plants (like the irises). There’s some lawn here and there between flowerbeds, and I find a spot near the pond that gives a good view of the spring flowers in bloom. Liv places the blanket as a marker; another servant will bring out a sun shade later.
I spend the rest of my preparation time inspecting the paper and paints and paintbrushes, making sure it’s all in good shape and specifically choosing colours that match the scene from the viewing spot.
A little after nine, a maid announces the arrival of a carriage. I quickly make my way to the front hall. While I’m sure my parents would like to meet Trissy, I specifically asked them to just greet her, not wanting to scare her. A duke is rather intimidating, even for the children of another duke. For a similar reason, I suggested that Clarice and Joshua don’t need to greet her. The fewer unfamiliar faces, the better, right?
In the minute or so it takes Trissy to alight and walk to the front door, Liv checks me over. All this fussing over my appearance, it really makes me feel like I’m actually nobility, not just taking part in a long-winded game of Victorian role-play.
A knock echoes.
My parents emerge from the parlour as the butler opens the door, thus begins the ritual. Thankfully, my parents follow my request, a most simple exchange of greetings made before they excuse themselves. Sort of to my surprise, Trissy handles herself well through it. Yes, she’s shy, but she’s also nobility. Her governess and finishing school weren’t just for show.
“Well then, shall we?” I ask her.
It’s barely noticeable, but her posture slackens and her eyes open wider. A softer appearance. Speaking of, she rather took my words to heart the other day, today sporting a rather bright purple dress (the colour like an amethyst) to go with her pearl hair clip (no ribbons, her hair loose but for her fringe tucked neatly to the side). A blend of mature and youthful, reminding me of a little girl dressing up like her mother. I don’t mean that in a bad way, though, very much a look that suits her. Neither childish nor adult.
“Yes,” she says brightly.
As her earlier words to my parents were entirely scripted, I wasn’t comfortable making a judgement on her mood from them, but this one word reassures me that she’s happy to be here. I give her a smile and then start leading us, the short walk to the garden hard to mess up.
Along the way, I say, “You look beautiful today.”
I don’t glance over, but I can hear her blush in the timid way she says, “Th-thank you…. You look beautiful too.”
The sun still a little stuck behind the townhouse, we walk out into shade. Lightly dressed as we are, it’s a little chilly, but the sunshine quickly warms me up once we go past the patio. “How do you like our garden?” I ask.
She responds more easily this time. “Oh I do like it, very colourful. My parents have mostly lawn.”
Since my family has the ballroom, we don’t particularly need space outside for large events. (I mean, the building is so wide, our patio is rather spacious anyway.) For more middling families, a garden is a more reasonable alternative. But even that is expensive, land costs high here, so the lower end of upper-class families may not even have a garden.
We have a little more small talk on the way to the spot. Once there, I invite her to sit and ask her if she would like to paint as we chat. She’s reluctant at first, but, seeing me start, she agrees and joins in. While I never mention Lady Ashford, I do ask about Lady Wye and learn some of Trissy’s past—the three girls rather close because their parents are old friends and live near each other, often visiting. And as I thought, Trissy and Lady Wye went to a more local finishing school than Queen Anne’s. It was during that time that, separated from one friend and in a different class from the other, she started wanting to change.
“It must sound so silly, but that little time between classes, sitting alone as everyone else happily talked, I… felt so lonely,” she says, her voice echoing the vulnerability she felt.
I’ve made a point of continuing my painting, not looking at her this whole time, so I can only imagine the bittersweet expression she shows. Speaking honestly, I say, “I know loneliness isn’t silly.”
There’s no need to compare past traumas, only sympathise or empathise. We’re all walking our own paths.
We move on to brighter topics next, and eventually tea and snacks come, our painting pausing while we eat. Nothing really happens. I don’t do anything unreasonable nor eccentric, just talk and paint. While I know it’s Trissy’s choice to associate with whoever she wants, I don’t want to strain her relationship with Lady Ashford, so I act the proper lady.
Still, when it comes time for her to leave, I send her off with a tub of ice cream, telling her, “This is only for my friends to eat, so you can’t share any with Lady Ashford, okay?”
She giggles, but nods her head. “What of Lady Wye?”
I think for a moment, and then nod. “If you wish to, you may; however, I shan’t send her any if she asks me, so it would probably be best not to let her taste it lest she become addicted.”
Trissy giggles again. So cute, bless her. “Okay.”
I’d like to send her off with a hug, or pat her head, but I make do with sandwiching her one hand between both of mine. “Take care,” I say.
She might not fit into my circle of friends, or stand out as much as Lottie and Gwen, or Iris, but I still cherish her. A precious friend. I might not have many opportunities to get closer to her, or even speak with her, yet I hope to find a place in my heart for her, and hope she finds a place in her heart for me.
At the least, I will remember this morning fondly.
After Trissy leaves, I don’t spend too long thinking about her. I tend to overthink things anyway, so I make an effort to switch to dress-designing mode and head up to my room, looking over the various ideas I’ve gathered for Iris’s dress the last week. Lunch interrupts me after an hour, but then I have the whole afternoon to work.
Although I’ve also spent a lot of time looking at my dresses (and Clarice’s and my mother’s), the general designs I see aren’t really suitable. I mean, I’m making a single-fabric dress, not layering different fabrics or adding frills or lace. Not to mention that our dresses usually have printed patterns rather than embroidered ones. What little embroidery there is is like what I did for Gwen’s dress, a repeating pattern near the bottom of the dress, sometimes a similar pattern at the end of the sleeves or around the neckline.
That’s influenced by our dresses mostly being formal wear. Seamstresses are plentiful while high-quality printed fabrics are limited, mixing fabrics making designs more complicated—shows of wealth more than actual fashion.
For a good hour at least, I struggle trying to find an elegant solution to what the design should be. What I want is something like Gwen’s that says a lot with few stitches. However, my mind gradually accepts the ambitiousness I see in Iris, and it suddenly clicks that I don’t have to limit my design. I mean, I technically have a year and a few months to finish it.
That new perspective sees the dress outline on my page go from something mostly blank to something stained in graphite. That then leads me to experimenting with negative space—using the edge of the irises to make outlines of another shape. It’s difficult, far more artistic than anything I’ve done before, but I have hours to work on it, carefully arranging the irises to leave behind snowdrops.
By suppertime, I’m completely absorbed in my work; Liv actually enters my room and takes away my pencil, seemingly not pleased about being ignored. Ever since that trip with Gwen, she has acted a bit more boldly, really starting to fall into the role of a lady’s maid. (Well, she’s still just a regular maid who attends to me for the moment, but that will change when I finish school.)
My mind continues to be busy through the meal. However, I pay attention to the schedule for next week, glad to hear it’s mostly empty. Clarice will debut Saturday (while I return to school on Friday), so this is something of a rest week for her.
After the meal, I make a request for a length of fabric. The only problem I have with my design is that the snowdrops would come out cream coloured, so I’d like a pure white fabric instead, but I can’t use anything expensive. Thus, I have a very specific requirement for the weave and material. My mother doesn’t object, so it will be ordered or bought or whatever in the next couple of days.
I spend all of Monday scaling up my design to a proper dress pattern, grinding away at the obstacles through sheer force of will. Tuesday, I do the same in the morning, but, a little before lunchtime, Liv tells me a guest has arrived.
It’s a bit confusing—I can’t remember anything going on until the evening—but I stop and neaten myself up before following her downstairs. Rather than the entrance hall, she leads me to the drawing room. I stop before the doorway when I hear a familiar voice inside.
“… is about correct. She has a rather unique insight when it comes to mathematics, so her help gave me the opportunity to improve as much as I did on the exams,” Violet says.
A light clap sounds—I guess my mother (as she speaks next). “Oh that is good to hear. You should be very proud of yourself, I know I am. It seems like just last year you and Nora would giggle over a kiss in a book, trying on Clara’s old dresses, yet you have both now grown into such fine young women. Ah, it really makes an old lady feel her age.”
“What are you saying? You’re still young, and you look as beautiful as ever,” Violet says, somewhat hurried; I can imagine my mother put on a hurt expression as she fishes for compliments.
“Then won’t you call me aunty like Cyril does? I have been presented as the Duchess of Kent so much recently and it makes me feel oh so old,” my mother says, almost a whine.
There’s a few seconds of silence, and then Violet quietly says, “Aunty Leena.”
I smile to myself. As shameless as my mother is being (I wonder where I got it from?), I’m glad to hear the two of them getting on well. I want Violet to have every bit of happiness and love she can, you know?
But it won’t do to eavesdrop all day. Stepping around the corner, I ask, “Mother, are you teasing my friend?”
Already embarrassed, Violet’s head drops down and she covers her face, likely realising I heard her say that.
Meanwhile, my mother shows no remorse. “Of course not. However, what of you? I do not recall teaching my children to listen in on private conversations.”
“Father taught us that,” I say with a smile, coming to sit next to Violet.
My mother laughs at my reply, always weak to her children’s witty remarks. “I was just saying to Violet,” she says, recounting the beginning of the conversation I’d missed a bit of—a general talk about exam results. I guessed as much.
The three of us chat, my mother using the opportunity to ask about the many things I glossed over in my letters now there’s a witness to keep me honest. That includes a mildly uncomfortable amount of questions about Evan. (I’ll never tell anyone he bought me a hair clip, afraid my mother or Clara would find out.)
Over lunch, my mother reveals why she invited Violet over so early today (the event she’s accompanying me only in the evening), which is to suggest we travel back to school together. I’m pleasantly surprised and have no issue with it myself, and I’m glad to see Violet trying to stifle a happy smile when I look over, failing to maintain her aloof expression. She agrees to it and will ask her parents if it’s acceptable when she next can.
After the meal, I bring her to see my design work. It’s a messy pile of papers, loosely organised by memory, but the only important pages are the latest ones (which are on top). My artistic skills are still rather poor on the whole, but I am generally improving and this intense yet patient focus on the same design lets me draw beyond my skill.
“Well, I am not really one for art, but this does have a nice aesthetic,” she says, her tone measured. “Is this a dress for the exhibit, or for you?”
“It’s for a friend—Iris. You know the café? She’s the owner’s daughter and she waitresses there as well, so you probably saw her. Ah, she has purple highlights and eyes like you, but a bit lighter. Very pretty.”
A second passes, and then Violet says, “Oh.”
My thoughts collapse, that single word catching my attention. A little dejected-sounding. I look over at her, see her hands a little tense, her eyes a little vacant. All those little things add up to a seed of worry in my heart. I quickly go over what I said, only to come up empty.
Unless… is she jealous? Did she think I was saying Iris is prettier than her, or is it what she told me last time, part of her afraid I’ll replace her with someone else? Is it that I’m making Iris a dress? I mean, I’d happily make Violet one too—I’d even make her one first—but I don’t think she’d want to wear it and I wouldn’t want her to wear it just because I made it, if that makes sense.
Ugh, didn’t we promise to tell each other how we feel just to avoid these tangled messes of negative emotions? Or rather, since we promised that, I should give her the space to think about it and then she’ll talk to me if it’s a problem. Yes, that’s it.
Although I come to that conclusion, one thought lingers: I would like to make something for Violet. It can’t be a dress, but I’d like it to be more special than a handkerchief. A thought for later.
Whether or not her feeling was fleeting, she quickly recovers. Well, it’s not like she lost her composure to begin with, those slight differences barely noticeable even to me who knows her so well. But I still move the conversation on.
“Oh, I haven’t had the time to show you before, but this is the painting Gwen did when we visited the palace gardens,” I say, dragging Violet over to my bed. Somewhat hidden in the corner, difficult to see unless you’re on my bed or the other side of it, I had the watercolour piece hung up. A splodgy mess of colours, the flowers mostly intuited by the arrangement of thin green lines with circles of a bright colour above them; the distant palace a somewhat rectangular and uneven outline (hard to paint the white building on white paper), and the maze a smear of green along the bottom.
I observe Violet’s reaction, and she’s really trying hard to not look unimpressed. “It’s very… vibrant,” she says.
I giggle, tempted to poke her cheek seeing her face so serious. “There’s no need to strain yourself,” I say, settling with a pat on her arm. “It’s hard to describe, but I hope you one day know what it feels like to love a child. She’s so happy to see me, and we have such fun doing the most mundane things, and she accepts all my attention and affection. I just want to spoil her.”
Violet listens to me, but gives no reply, her gaze now unfocused as if staring beyond the painting.
I leave her to her thoughts for a bit longer, and then say, “It’s probably different if it’s your own children, so, when the time comes, you can be my children’s favourite aunt, okay? You can come visit and bring toys and sweets and make them call you Aunty Violet, and they’ll shower you with hugs and kisses and tug your hand to show you their favourite things, complain to you about how I made them have a bath or eat Brussels sprouts, beg you to play games or read books with them.”
My speech quickly got away from me, whatever words came to mind leaving my lips; however, I really did mean what I said. That day I described is still many years away, but I want her to still to be a part of my life then, and I would love for her to be part of my children’s family. (Blood and marriage is overrated, she can be an aunty if she wants to.)
This time, I leave the silence for her to break, and she takes a good minute or two to think before she does. “Okay.”
I wouldn’t think one word could make me so happy, but here I am, grinning like a madwoman. Finally, I have a reason to find a husband. Ah, don’t worry, I’m just joking. Who needs a husband when there’s children who need to be adopted? Putting my silly thoughts aside, she seems to look at Gwen’s painting with a newly-found appreciation. I wonder if she’s having indulgent thoughts as well?
We don’t have much more free time before we have to start getting ready, but I use the time well, showing her some of my better paintings from the last few weeks, and I sort of ask-tell her to show me something next time. She mumbles about how she doesn’t have the time for hobbies, but I bully her into a promise to write a poem. “Maybe you could send it to Cyril as well, see what he thinks of it?” I say.
She properly scowls at me, pouting, only making me more amused by such a childish display from her. “Nora,” she says, drawing my name out into a whine.
“That’s your goal, then: write a poem you’re proud enough to show him. You’re so capable and have over a year, so you can do it, right?” I ask, tilting my head.
She clicks her tongue, turning away from me with crossed arms. Funny how some things stay the same even after all these years.
After a fun evening with Violet at the event, she goes home. Back to the usual routine for me. Calisthenics before evening tea and in the morning, replying to letters from Florence and Ellen (the three times a day postal service here has really sped up how much I can talk with them), walks in the garden, helping Joshua finish off the last of his homework.
An aside, despite him being younger than when us ladies started schooling, he has a lot more homework than we ever did—maths exercises, basic writing assignments, and reading too. I’m glad I didn’t have to bother with all of it, but it’s another small thing that builds up to the discrepancy between ladies and lords.
The fabric I asked for arrives as well. A beautiful white blend of cotton and flax in a satin weave, smooth and shimmering. It’s maybe a bit flashy, but noticeably not silk, and the feel isn’t pure cotton, so it shouldn’t be seen as extravagant. Probably cost a few shillings rather than the one or so I paid for my other dress fabrics, but let’s not worry over every detail. The important part is that the snowdrops in the negative space will look incredible.
For the time being, I keep working on making a proper pattern before I start any cutting. It’s not the end of the world if I mess up and start again, but I like approaching this stuff seriously, you know?
Nothing unexpected happens on my last days home. No surprise visitors or visits, or strange letters. I just draw and then pack, making sure Pinky Promise is nice and snug, bringing along the sketchbook with my drawings of Gwen and some of the watercolour paintings I’ve done—my best one of the irises and the one I did with Trissy. My room in the dormitory could use some colour.
Then it’s Friday morning and we busily prepare everything. Although it’s a bit early to return to school, the traffic in the city tomorrow will be dreadful (the Queen’s Ball one of the biggest events of the season); Sunday won’t be much better with all the children leaving for school.
I would normally leave after breakfast, but I am going to have an early lunch and then leave today since Violet is accompanying me. We’ll give her time to get here and move luggage over. So I walk around the gardens and admire the flowers for my last morning, Clarice joining me for a little chat. I wish her good luck for her debut, and she wishes me good luck in finding a suitor so I don’t have to bother with debuting; I can’t really rebuke her. Violet arrives around half past ten, and she and I have a light lunch while her things are moved over.
We set off by eleven o’clock, the bells sounding as we trundle down the maze of streets, a comfortable silence between us. With how much we’ve been together this holiday, there’s not much for us to say. I’m happy just to drift between watching the scenery and reading a book, now and then watch Violet scribble something in her notebook, letting time pass.
Of course, peace can only last so long. About an hour in, she looks up at me, and I notice her movement and look over, seeing a pensive expression on her face.
“You… have done your homework, yes?” she says, equal parts unsure and hopeful.
“Oh don’t worry about that—I have the whole weekend,” I say, smiling.
Her eyes narrow, lips press tight into thin lines, wrinkles popping up in the middle of her forehead. Not the right answer, huh?
Ignoring me entirely, she turns to Liv and says to her, “At the next stop, please allow me to retrieve something from her luggage.”
“Yes, mistress,” Liv says.
Since when does Violet (or her family) pay your wages, Liv? Traitor.
True to her word, Violet alights when we stop to let the horses drink, and Liv helps her open up my main suitcase. I followed them to watch, and so enjoy the scene of Violet being confronted by my underwear at that point.
“Do you mind? There are men around,” I loudly whisper.
Violet quickly closes it, her ears burning red as her foundation keeps her cheeks to a mild pink. She turns to me and quietly asks, “Where are your books for class?”
“I left them at school to inconvenience you in case you tried to make me do my homework,” I honestly reply, still smiling sweetly.
In her own fit of honesty, Violet harshly asks me, “Are you a child?”
“Yes—for another year or three, depending on the definition,” I say.
She desperately tries not to, but she can’t stop the snort of laughter from forcing its way out her nose. Covering her face, she turns away from me, and she mutters, “Please put the suitcase back.”
I thought I might have “won” after getting her to laugh, but she ignores me from then onwards. Really ignores me. I’m not the kind of person who would force her to acknowledge me by stealing her notebook out her hand or anything like that, but I do sing a nursery rhyme about the cliffs of Dover every ten minutes or so. Lady Dover is probably annoyed, but she doesn’t show it. Still, it amuses me, keeping me busy until we reach Tuton and my attention turns to looking out for Lottie and Gwen (unlikely as it may be). I don’t see them this time.
Up at the school, Liv helps me down and Violet’s maid helps her down, and we’re greeted by maids and manservants from the school to help us back to our rooms. Before we go, I ask Liv to give my sister a letter I left on my desk tomorrow morning. (A few words of encouragement.)
Violet doesn’t say a word to me on the walk to our dormitory, and I wonder how long she’ll ignore me for. Our other friends aren’t returning until Sunday, so it’ll be lonely for both of us if she’s stubborn….
It turns out I didn’t need to worry, a knock sounding on my door not long after I finish unpacking (or rather, finishing directing a maid as she unpacks my clothes). Smiling to myself, I ask, “Who is it?”
“Lady Dover,” Violet replies, her tone rather proper.
“You may enter,” I say, copying her accent.
The door clicks and opens, and she steps inside wearing her uniform. What a model student. Other than that, she’s brushed her hair into a neat ponytail (of course, still with her signature hairband braid), and it looks like she might have washed her face and reapplied a light makeup. Even for her who is hardly interested in prettying herself, she knows the importance of presenting herself and is able to (without help from a maid) at least present herself in a clean manner. It’s a refreshing look for her, very relaxed and casual, giving off a uni-student-focused-on-her-studies image.
That image is more correct than I initially thought as she says, “Let’s get started on your homework.”
“How about a teddy bear’s picnic?” I ask, leaning over to nab Pinky from her place by my pillow. “Won’t it be cute? We can sit them together and make up a conversation. That reminds me, have you named the teddy I gave you? If not, what about Pointy Promise? I thought they could be sisters, so I wanted another finger name, but Ringy, Middly, and Thumby didn’t sound too good. If you hate Pointy, though, Thumbelina might do.”
In response to my spouted nonsense, Violet just stands there with an unimpressed look on her face, one hand on her hip. “Do you hate me?” she asks.
I frown, pouting at her. “That’s not fair,” I mumble, faking a sniffle.
“Then why are you trying to make me hate you? Just, just do your bloody homework, okay?” she says, her frustration slipping out.
I gasp, covering my mouth. “I can’t believe you swore at me!”
Her posture slumps, broken into resignation. “Nora, please,” she says, begging.
I sigh, and then gently nod. “Okay, I’ll do my homework, but I really do want to know if you’ve named the teddy already.”
She bites her lip, avoiding my gaze. How interesting. Quietly, she says, “If you want to name it, you can—since I named Pinky.”
“But what do you call her now? You have a name for her, don’t you?” I ask, leaning closer in case her voice becomes even softer.
“…ie,” she mutters.
“Sorry, I didn’t hear,” I say.
She swallows, her head turning a little more away from me. “Ellie. I call her Ellie,” she says.
It takes me a moment to properly understand, hard to process such quiet words, and then I burst into a smile. So she cuddles “Ellie” every night before bed, huh? I’m touched.
“She’ll have to be Ellie Promise from now on, then. And Pinky’s middle name will be Violet. Or maybe Pinky is just a nickname because she likes to blush,” I say, slowly losing focus.
“Fine. Can you do your homework now?” Violet says, not losing her focus.
I giggle, bringing up Pinky to cover my mouth. “Sure. I’ll get it done quick so we can have a teddy bear’s picnic,” I say.
For some reason, that answer only makes Violet huff. “Don’t rush it, do it properly—we are hardly running out of time.”
I happily stand up and move to my desk, Pinky sitting on my lap. Violet didn’t reject the idea. My mischief for the day thoroughly managed, I be obedient and get out my books, steadily work through the homework we were assigned. Unlike Joshua, we aren’t given much to do over the holidays. At my age, we’re expected to be more involved in our households, so it wouldn’t do to burden us during the busy social season. It’s also that only a few of our classes are carrying over. History, geography, English literature and writing. I think maths will switch from geometry to something new, but we’ll continue with algebra. Contract law is being replaced by fine art. French lessons will shift to a Romance languages focus, teaching basic manners in Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese. Maybe other subjects will change as well, I don’t know yet.
We arrived around half past one, and I work until dinner with Violet lying on my bed reading. I change into my uniform in the bathroom, and then we go eat, few other students here to join us in the dining hall.
She’s having something like a chicken salad, dry chunks of “tofu” made edible by wet lettuce and tomatoes, flavoured by a drizzle of Caesar salad dressing (I don’t think the author knew it was a recent invention, not named after the Roman Caesar). When I see it, I’m again reminded of her aversion to calories. I’ve not had a good opportunity to talk to her about nutrition, maids often floating around at the townhouse and I usually only remember at meals, but there should be a chance after dinner today.
Of course, I still make sure to request an extra dessert for her.
Looking at me with one eyebrow lowered, she asks, “Really?”
“You’ll like it,” I say.
She’s too polite to leave it uneaten, but she makes me move half of it to my bowl.
Although we didn’t say anything, she follows me to my room, returning to her position on my bed and picking up her book. I sit on my chair, thinking about how to talk to her about her diet.
After a few minutes, she asks, “Is something wrong?”
Ah. I’ve just been staring blankly, haven’t I? Didn’t take her long to notice….
I guess I should be straightforward—she’s clever and sensible, no need to dance around it. “How are you feeling about your weight recently?”
Her expression becomes complicated, her mildly worried look replaced by a slight frown, pursed lips, thoughts hidden behind her eyes. Not upset, I think. “Well, talking with you did help somewhat, but I still….”
“… feel insecure,” I think, finishing her sentence in my head. Taking a measured breath, I steady my mind. “If you don’t want to try, or don’t believe me, that’s fine; however, I think you have trouble putting on weight because of what you eat.”
That marks the beginning of my modern lecture on calories, and Violet is thankfully receptive to it. Still, even if it is for different reasons than what’s normal, talking about food with my friend late into the night is rather fun.
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2019.01.27 16:29 Fuschia_123 AITA for trying to help my pregnant best mate?

Okay, so this is probably going to be quite a long post, and it's my first - so I'm sorry if I'm not doing it right!
TW - abortion, mental health, domestic violence, pregnancy.
This story involves six people; Me, my ex best friend - who I'll call "Claire", her 'baby daddy' - who I'll call "Pete", my SO, Claire's sister, and Pete's sister. These aren't their real names.
So, Claire and I have been best friends for almost eight years - we met at university and INSTANTLY hit it off, we both had extremely shitty (and eerily similar) childhoods and teen years and our moving to London for uni was an escape for both of us. It was one of those friendships which feel more like a familial connection - something I'd never experienced before and which was life changing for both of us. It was also one of those rare (in my experience) female friendships which don't involve any competition or one upmanship - we both saw each other at our worst moments, were genuinely happy for the others success, we'd chat whilst one of us was in the bath, talk about our poops, send eachother pictures of our ingrowing hairs - it was magical and without inhibition and exactly what we both needed and wanted and had been missing all our lives.
We lived together for a year and spent a lot of time together when we didn't. We talked almost daily. We saw each other through breakups, through drunken bad decisions - she saw me through a violent relationship; I saw her through finding her long lost family, hearing that her father had possibly committed a horrible crime, held her hand through an abortion aftermath on my bathroom floor... I loved her, and I still do, despite everything that's happened.
So, four years ago, Claire (who has chronic fatigue) was in a really shitty place with her mental health - she'd left her cheating boyfriend, but things hadn't really been going great for her since we graduated and she spent most of her time in bed in our shared flat, with me looking after her (she looked after me too - I have CPTSD - it was an equal thing). She'd recently made contact with her mother's sister in Australia, and one thing led to another and eventually the auntie invited her to move there. It was a big, emotional, difficult thing but she felt that it'd be a fresh start and possibly the answer to her problems. We talked long and hard about it and I encouraged her to do it - I wanted her to be happy even though I'd miss my mate.
So, Claire moved to Aus and I moved in with my partner at the time. Claire and I kept in touch with letters, text and Skype and although it wasn't the same we still had eachother. Her life took an upwards turn - a good job, a nice family for the first time in her life, a mother figure, the beautiful weather did wonders for her CF and she didn't relapse for the whole time she was there. I was so happy for her. After two years, my relationship had ended and I'd met my current partner and we were living together here in London. Claire hadn't been able to get sponsored for Australian citizenship and renew her visa and in the end she decided to move back to London with basically nothing - so I moved her into our house so she could get her shit together, find a place, get a job etc.
Over the next six months or so once she moved out of ours, we moved her and all her stuff (she's a bit of an 'accumulator') from flat share to flat share. In the end we moved her four times - not a problem in the slightest, but yeah. It was a lot. During this time she also got pregnant by a guy she was seeing (who was lovely and treated her as she deserved to be treated, but was too boring for her and "not good in bed" - she consistently dates assholes, I get why, it's a self worth thing.) - she decided to get an abortion without telling the father, which I had some reservations about but it's her choice, her body, and not my place to critique once she'd made her choice.
I don't drive, and my SO couldn't get time off work, so another friend of ours took her to the clinic, but long story short this friend is flaky and left her alone. Cue my and my SOs panicked attendance and subsequent taking her back home to ours where the whole gory expulsion took place - something went wrong, she lost consciousness at one point - basically the whole thing was a traumatic, bloody nightmare and one she ended up kind of regretting. She said that if she ever conceived again she'd keep the baby.
Then, one morning only about three months later, she called me unusually early. I knew what it was before she spoke. She was pregnant again. She'd been sleeping with a guy she'd once dated, but broken it off with as he was incredibly immature for a guy in his thirties - this time it was just hook ups. For some reason (probably alcohol related) they'd not used a condom and there it was - a positive test. She asked me what the fuck she was going to do, and I said we'd do it together. She said she couldn't go through an abortion again, and that this time it felt different - she didn't feel like there was an alien inside her, but a living tiny human. I reassured her that it would be okay - she'd be a great mum - I'd be there - we could DO THIS THING. It wasn't a problem, it was a child.
She told Pete, and he promised to be supportive - he was excited, he'd always wanted to be a dad one day - something he reiterated to the point that Claire and I felt that he'd kinda wanted this, she started recalling him saying things about her "child bearing hips" and so on. Pretty creepy. But hey, he promised to support her financially and emotionally so I was happy about this, as was she.
Time passed, and Pete didn't stay true to his word. He said he felt too "uncomfortable" keeping her company when she was having a tough time. He gave her £100... but that was it... in six months. He didn't want to go to anti-natal classes. He didn't want to attend a new fathers group. He did, however, promise to buy her a flat. So off they went to view the first flat - a kinda crappy one bed place above a takeaway shop. It turned out that Pete had zero idea about the cost of things - he'd never been a responsible adult, his mum paid for him and bailed him out and he even had a secret box of debts and bills and fines hidden under his bed. His business was fraudulent, his business partner was skimming the account to buy drugs, it was basically a shit show. Claire was hurt and furious, I was shocked and furious, Pete was stropping like the man child he is and Claire's belly was growing bigger by the week.
Obviously I stepped in. We took her shopping and I paid for pretty much everything. All the kit. The whole New Baby Package. I own a small business, but I'm by no means well off - but Claire was basically my sister and her baby was part of my family - that's just what you do. My lovely SO also put in a LOT of money, although they were only friends via me. We moved her into a new flat - a top floor nightmare of stairs but the best option for her at the time, directly across the road from the local hospital's maternity wing. I mention the money not because it's a big deal, but because of what happens later.
So she's now almost eight months pregnant, and Pete informs her that he's thinking of buying a fucking WEED FARM in fucking ZIMBABWE. Does she want to come with so he can see his kid?! Does she fuck... this is it. I see the beginning of the end. She's about to tell this piece of shit to shove his weed farm up his anus. Claire, my SO and I talk at length, we advise her to see herself as a single parent (my SO has a child himself), she agrees. We're all on the same page. I say that it'd be good if before he fucks off, Pete pays back my SO some of the money we've spent on his child. Claire AGREES.
A couple of weeks pass, and Claire and I are having a three hour phonecall about the impending birth and the utter cuntishness of Pete. She's righteously angry and I make the analogy of Pete wanting a kid like a kid wants a puppy - he wants the baby, but none of the work or poop or sleepless nights. We're both laughing at the nightmare of it all and I've probably never felt closer to her. She says she might name the kid my second name if they're a girl. It's a deep bonding moment.
The next day, over PM, I say that we could try to get some of the money out of Pete. She agrees. I say that she has enough on her plate, and maybe my SO and Pete could have a chat "man to man, father to father" as it were. She doesn't reply. For hours. As I said before, I've got PTSD and I am a ball of stress 99% of the time and my anxiety likes to tell me that everyone is pissed at me when they're likely not. I message saying that I'm sorry if that's a bad plan. She comes back saying "No, it's fine I'm just working. I love you.".
Over the next 24 hours she's silent. Total radio silence. I ask her if she's okay and try to call - she's heavily pregnant I'm concerned. She then unleashes a barrage of anger. "HOW DARE YOU INTERFERE IN MY LIFE AND MY PREGNANCY, HOW DARE YOU SUGGEST THAT YOUR PARTNER TALK TO PETE, IT'S NOT YOUR PLACE!!" - I'm paraphrasing, but that's the gist. I'm gobsmacked and start apologising and explaining that I didn't want to interfere, just help take some of the burden off her shoulders. She's not having ANY of it and eventually tells me that she just needs some space.
I'm so upset. It's horrible. I don't understand what she thinks I was going to do - I have literally never given her any reason to think that I'm the kind of person to just wade in to someone's life or business and do shit without consent or permission. The space she needs turns in to a week. I drop messages periodically (I used to message every morning throughout the pregnancy) just saying "Hope you're okay today", or "Thinking of you, hope you're alright", just positive things so she knows I'm not mad.
Eventually the silence gets the better of me and I send a long message, explaining myself, stating that I thought we were on the same page and that what I said was the same kinda thing we'd said on the phone the day before, that Pete didn't deserve another chance in my opinion but that it's her choice - always her choice - and that I love her. She's my best friend, she's in a rubbish situation and I want to do EVERYTHING and ANYTHING I can to help - I want to make this as easy as I can on her and I wish I had more cash, but I don't, and Pete bloody owes her some of that promised support!
She replies with a cold, one line message.
"You'll be repaid."
My heart hits my guts. It's like a different person. I understand that her body is a hormonal WAR ZONE but this is something else.
She makes our flaky friend from before the host of her baby shower. She ignores my messages and calls. I'm completely heart broken - it's the first breakup I've ever gone through without Claire and it's our breakup. It's out of the blue. We've never argued before. A month goes by. Nothing. I fall into a really bad depression and have a total mental health relapse with all the trimmings. I message her and ask her if we can talk, I'm struggling and this is SO HARD.
My SO recieves two messages - one from Claire's sister (who I've met twice) and one from Pete's sister (who I've never met). They make shaming comments about my mental state, suggesting I need help, and threaten to call the police if I ever contact Claire again. She'd told them portions of my personal info, given them SO's number, and couldnt even explain to me what I did that made her so mad that she didn't want to be my friend anymore....
It's been three months since this happened and I'm slowly getting over it, but this has been the worst thing to happen in a long time and I'm still confused as to what I actually did that warranted this. I blocked Claire on all social media and deleted her number. It broke my heart. I heard that she had her baby and they're both happy and healthy so that's amazing. I don't think I'll ever stop loving her, but this took such a toll on me that I don't think I could trust her again if she ever did get in touch.
I do want to know though - am I missing something? Am I the asshole?
TL:DR: my sister-like best mate of 8 years broke up with me and got a stranger to threaten me with legal action when I agreed with her about her dick of a 'baby daddy' and offered to try and help.
submitted by Fuschia_123 to AmItheAsshole [link] [comments]

2018.09.18 11:59 A108_net Hidden aunty bath

September 16, 2018 at 07:49AM https://www.a108.net/blogs/entry/24944-the-greatest-negative/ The Greatest Negative ← Radha 22.09.2012 Swami B.G. Narasingha (The following is an excerpt from a lecture by Shrila Narasingha Maharaja at Govindaji Gardens on 28th August 2009 on the occasion of Shri Radhastami and the Vyasa Puja celebration of Shrila Narasingha Maharaja) The Upadesamrta with the illuminations of Shrila Shridhara Maharaja has been printed and this is a very befitting day for this book to come out. The front cover has a picture of Rupa Gosvami's samadhi, and on the back there is a picture of Radha-kunda. Rupa Gosvami and Radha-kunda – these things are deeply connected from the plane of Krsna consciousness in Goloka Vrndavana. Mahaprabhu considered Radha-kunda to be non-different from Radharani. So the question may arise, how should we deal with Radha-kunda? The answer is – the same way we would deal with Radharani. How would you deal with Radharani in the temple? How are we dealing with Radharani? If you are a pujari you have some dealings with Radharani. Then, the rest of us – what dealings do we have with Radharani? The answer is pretty obvious – through Shri Guru and the Vaisnavas. These are paramount to our dealings with Radharani. Radha and Krsna are present in the form of the Deity. There we have the opportunity to perform personal service – dressing, bathing, offering food, flower garlands, scented oils etc. But they stand very still and sometimes they do not change their look. But we should not think that it is idol worship. Idol worship means where there is no life. Nowadays in modern Hinduism, even temple pujaris have become accustomed to call the Deity ‘the idol’. They'll happily tell you which ‘idol’ they are worshiping at the temple. The very definition of the word ‘idol’ means a form of a god, but it is lifeless. No life is there. The sri-murti, the Deity, is never lifeless. It is always full of life – Krsna life. Otherwise it is not a murti. It is only a statue. Then it might be considered to be an idol. When does a Deity become an idol? Can a Deity become an idol? Yes it can. When those who worship the Deity fail to respect the devotees, then at that point Deity worship becomes idol worship. This means that Krsna is no longer present and that poor fellow is simply worshiping a lifeless statue. Abhirama Thakura was an associate of Lord Nityananda. Sometimes he would go to a temple to take darsana and when he would prostrate himself before the deity, if Krsna was not there, then the deity would just explode into pieces and fall on the floor. It was a serious thing if Abhirama Thakura was coming to your temple for darsana! Now why would that happen? Because people sometimes keep a statue of Krsna for the sake of collecting money from innocent people who have no discrimination about who is a Vaisnava, what is a proper Deity etc. They are simply roaming and searching for Krsna blindfolded. Why did the deity break? Was it Abhirama Thakura’s power? No – it was Krsna’s power! Krsna's potency could not tolerate a pure devotee bowing down before a lifeless statue, even of Krsna. Once, Abhirama Thakura offered his obeisances to the sons of Nityananda Prabhu and they had all died except for Vircandra Gosvami. If Abhirama Thakura offered obeisance and that person was not actually a Vaisnava then they would die. Generally, false Vaisnavas avoided Abhirama Thakura. If the news came that Abhirama Thakura had come to the village for some purpose, all the false Vaisnavas would leave to visit their aunty in some other place! One day Abhirama Thakura was coming to Puri to have darsana of Mahaprabhu. At that time there was also a young boy named Gopala-Guru. During Mahaprabhu’s time Gopala was a young boy, but later he grew up and was the leader of many Vaisnavas. On this occasion he found himself between Mahaprabhu, who was in His room and Abhirama Thakura who was coming down the hallway. Gopala was so frightened that he turned around, ran back and jumped onto Mahaprabhu's lap, wrapping his arms around Mahaprabhu's neck. He understood that he would be safe there, because if Abhirama Thakura offered obeisance in that direction, Mahaprabhu would protect him. He thought of himself as not being a real Vaisnava. That type of thinking is only found in a true Vaisnava. To think of ones self as the least qualified is the actual qualification of the most qualified. But we can't artificially do that. The tendency is there that once we hear that the most qualified are the ones that feel the most unqualified then we start saying, “No, I'm not qualified prabhu!” But just get a hold of yourself! You are trying to imitate the highest devotee. You can't just say, "I'm not qualified!" Words without meaning and without feeling are best not spoken. What is our path to become a real Vaisnava? Not in the sense of becoming the highest Vaisnava – no one should think like that. But we do aspire to become a real Vaisnava. Why did we join Krsna consciousness? It is not unfair or improper to aspire to become pure. Otherwise why are we here? We aspire not just to become devotees of Krsna, but we aspire to become pure devotees of Krsna. We do not aspire to become mixed devotees. What do we aspire for? We know that only pure devotion pleases Krsna, so we aspire for pure devotion. At the beginning of his Upadesamrta, Rupa Gosvami sets down a simple path of self-control. The first thing that we have to control is our mouth. The mouth does two things: it eats and it speaks. Its habit is to eat dirty and nasty things, and to speak dirty and nasty things. What nasty things do people eat? That is pretty obvious if you go down to the market. We generally think that dirty things means dead animals. But, there is a big vegetable section at the market – that is also a dirty thing. Anything that is not offered to Krsna is considered to be a nasty or dirty thing. In Bhagavad-gita Krsna says that, “If you eat vegetables which are not offered to Me, then you are eating sin.” Devotees are always cautious to offer their food to Krsna first in their house and especially in their temple or asrama. Sometimes, in the course of life's duties and journey a devotee may have to eat outside, in someone else's house or sometimes in a restaurant while traveling. But a devotee doesn't like to eat in a restaurant. If someone says there will be prasadam in a half an hour; then he doesn't say, "Hey, why don't we go to the Pizza Hut tonight instead!" This is what happens amongst the non-devotees. It happens all over the world all the time. Restaurants are huge in big cities. People skip cooking and go to a restaurant. We never skip prasadam in a favour of eating in a restaurant! Of course, someone may go and eat in a Govinda's Restaurant, but even then, it is better you take prasadam in a temple and stay away from the Govinda's Restaurant also. In the beginning, Govinda's Restaurant was off limits to the devotees. Prabhupada never allowed devotees to go to Govinda's Restaurant. When there is a temple prasadam why you want to go to the restaurant? Therefore it is said that devotees do not like to eat in restaurants, but sometimes they may have to. There lies the ultimate principle – always remember Krsna and never forget Him. In any circumstance outside of the ideal circumstance, we remember Krsna and mentally offer everything to Him. But in the temple we can bring that remembrance into shopping, cooking, cleaning etc. for Krsna. But outside, it takes a little bit more to keep that in focus. The first thing that Rupa Gosvami outlines in Upadesamrta is self-control, and the first aspect of self-control is in relation to what you eat and what you speak. You must train yourself to take krsna-prasadam and train yourself to speak about Krsna, to chant Krsna's Names and that also mean to speak with Krsna's devotees. That generally means speaking about Krsna. So self-control begins with controlling our speech and our eating, then Rupa Gosvami explains about controlling the other senses. Through eleven simple verses he takes us all the way to the highest conceptions within the service of Radharani in Vraja. It is not that we will always be on level one, but we should definitely concern ourselves with level one if we want to get to level two. Once we are at level two it's only nine more stages till the eleventh stage and things become very sweet even before that. But if we do not follow that, then we won't even get to level two, nor to the third step, the fourth step and so on. Why we are observing my appearance day today? Actually I came late from Mexico, so Giri Maharaja and Madhava Maharaja thought it was a good idea to observe it on Radhastami because ultimately our guru represents the service of Krsna, and the service of Krsna is the domain of Radharani. She is Bhakti-devi, therefore our guru represents Shrimati Radharani. Although the ultimate representation of guru is that he represents Shrimati Radharani, still, we are not to deal with him in that exact way. Similarly we know that as Rupa-manjari, Rupa Gosvami is one of the closest associates of Radharani in the spiritual world. But we are not to deal with him as Rupa-manjari – we are to deal with him as Rupa Gosvami. The other side is there and that is waiting in eternity. If you can't deal with him properly on this side as a Gosvami, then how will you deal with him on that side as a manjari? That is not possible. You first have to deal with the saints here on this side properly – not skip over that and just try to imagine you have a connection far, far away in the land of Goloka Vrndavana. Once, during the time before we had emails, somebody wrote me a long letter. It was handwritten on graph paper with all these little squares and I thought, "This is madness. Did this come from a lunatic asylum?" It didn't – it came from a godsister. The first few pages she was asking about meditation – “Can this meditation on Prabhupada be performed?” The first part of the meditation was that Prabhupada has come from his morning walk and into the temple. We hand him some flowers and he sits on a Vyasasana and we offer him garlands. Then, at a certain point, it changed. His dhoti shifted to another color and all of the sudden he was being meditated on as being a gopi or a manjari. It went on and on with all of these types of things. I wrote back and said, “Up to this page it is fine because you really used to offer Prabhupada a flower and you really did used to give him a flower garland and you really did wash his feet etc. All these things really happened and you can meditate on that if you want. That is called smaranam. But everything else after that is a total speculation. It never happened. You are taking this into a realm where you have no assurance whatsoever. You should simply understand that our gurudeva has an intimate connection with Radharani and is Her representative here. It's very similar with Krsna also. When Shrila Shridhara Maharaja was asked something about krsna-lila he laughed and said, “That is for the next life, that is rather a dreamy thing." We are to concern ourselves with sankirtana and Mahaprabhu. Service to Mahaprabhu is more important and there is no service of Mahaprabhu without serving the devotees. It is said that rather than trying to approach Krsna and Radharani directly, you just approach the service of Mahaprabhu. Accept the service of Mahaprabhu and worship Mahaprabhu's lotus feet and one fine day you'll wake up and you will find that you are fully absorbed in the service of Radha-Govinda. You don't even have to make a separate endeavor. This is a great secret within Gaudiya Vaisavism. Everything comes to the devotee who fully surrenders at Mahaprabhu's lotus feet. But, if you simply try to surrender directly to Krsna, you will have problems. That is the most difficult thing to do. Even if you succeed it is not complete. Then Krsna Himself says, “Now that you have done that, you have to go to this department.” He is not the ultimate department. But when you come to Mahaprabhu, you are dealing with the ultimate department - that is called audarya. Audarya is a notch above madhurya. Audarya means madhurya with magnanimity. Krsna-lila is called madhurya-lila – the sweetest. But Mahaprabhu's lila is called audarya-lila and audarya means the sweetest rasa with magnanimity. Magnanimity is something we all need. We need that magnanimity because we are very, very small. We do not have such a capacity to serve Krsna without magnanimity. Magnanimity means divine grace, with Krsna's divine grace. Can you go to the sun to warm yourself? No – the sun comes to us. We cannot go to the sun, but Krsna can come to us. This is given in physics – the possibility of the positive and the negative. Krsna is the positive and we are to act like the negative and the positive will be attracted towards us. Otherwise we cannot reach the positive. The greatest negative it is said to be Radharani. She is the greatest negative and Krsna is totally attracted to Radharani. The reason that Krsna left the rasa-dance was to search for Radharani. There were millions of gopis dancing with Krsna and one of them was Radharani. Suddenly She disappeared and Krsna immediately lost interest in the rasa-dance. It was all dry. He had no more focus, millions of gopis were dancing there but Krsna lost His focus because Radharani was gone. We are always told that just as the hand serves the body and as a servant serves the master, we are a part of Krsna and we are meant to please Krsna. But after reading this pastime I suddenly realized, "If millions of gopis could not please Krsna, then what chance do any of us have? How can you, or I, or any of us directly please Krsna when millions of gopis together could not please Him? That is a fact. Therefore, we must please Krsna's dearmost, and the dearmost of Krsna is Radharani. Thus, in Gaudiya Vaisnavism, we are devotees of Radharani first, and second we are devotees of Krsna – but we don’t advertise this to the public. One big Shri Vaisnava pandita came here once. During our discussion I said, "Buddha is also a part of dasavatara.” The six Shri Vaisnavas who were with him said, "No, no, no! Not Buddha, not Buddha." But the pandita said, "No, actually Svamiji is right. Buddha is actually in dasavatara. The other six Vaisnavas were deeply shocked. He explained that, "No, we say like that generally because we are fighting Buddhism, but actually Buddha is in the dasavatara." I told him that I saw Buddha carved on a wall with the other dasavatara in an ancient hoysala temple. Generally you will never see Buddha amongst the dasavatara in South India – they'll put Hayagriva instead. Then that pandita told those gentlemen, "These people are suddha Saktas.” The six people that were with him were also shocked about this, "They are not Vaisnavas?" They were surprised because it is the Smartas who are Saktas – at least in Bengal. They worship Devi, Kali and various other saktis and they study their tantras etc Then the pandita explained, “No, they are suddha Saktas because foremost they are devotees of Krsna's consort - Radha." He was a man who had done a deep study of Gaudiya Vaisnavism. Now we are Gaudiya Vaisnavas – should we be like the Shri Vaisnavas who didn’t know that Buddha is actually included in the dasavatara? In other words, should we be the kind of Gaudiya Vaisnava who doesn't understand the depth of Gaudiya Vaisnavism? About ten years ago, one of our devotees went to some village for a special program on Sivaratri. When he came back and I asked him, “How was your program?" He said: “They were worshiping Siva and I told them how in Vrndavana Siva becomes Gopesvara." I told him that, “You don't go out and tell the common people how Siva became a gopi in Vrndavana. You don’t understand. Those are secrets and these things stay on this side. Once you go out our gate you need only one book in your hand – Bhagavad-gita. That's it.” Look what Shrila Prabhupada did for the world with Bhagavad-gita. Scholars lined up during his time to give appreciation for the Bhagavad-gita. The world is suffering due to lack of knowledge of how to live in this world and why are we in this world? They are not suffering due to a lack of deep knowledge concerning the other world. That does not concern them - it doesn't concern most of us! We are to explain the knowledge that we are not this body, how all living entities are servants of Krsna, and how the Holy Name is non-different than Krsna. Actually we say that the Maha-mantra is non-different than Krsna, but half of the Maha-mantra is the name of Radharani also. We should know that we are dealing not only with Krsna, but with Radha-Krsna. But when we go into the world to preach, we leave Radharani in the background. We do not come to the front with Radharani. When he narrated the Shrimad Bhagavatam, Sukadeva Gosvami wasn't just sitting with a bunch of village drunkards. He was sitting there with many rsis and sages and Maharaja Pariksit himself. He kept the Name of Radharani in the background. Even when it came to that part of the Bhagavatam when he could have introduced Radharani, he hesitated to tell these people about those secrets. He told it in a peculiar, hidden way. He never directly told the Name of Radha even once in Shrimad Bhagavatam. It’s not there. They were many great rsis there, but who were they? Many of them were Brahmavadis and yogis with mystic powers and all types of philosophers. But none of these things qualify one for vraja-bhakti. He did not want to do them any harm. If the highest thing goes to those who are not qualified, it will not do them more harm than good. It is like bee-pollen. In western countries farmers harvest pollen from the bees and it's very high in vitamins. You can buy this and it is very tasty, but if you take too much of it, you will get diarrhea. It is a good thing, but too much of a good thing can make you sick. That is common with anything – milk is also good, but drink too much and it'll give you loose motion. So this high, high topic does not look good in the small ears of the common people. Or, as Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura used to say: "This high topic does not look good in your small mouth." Concern yourself with the necessity of your present status. Do not try to go beyond. You have to go step by step. Upadesamrta takes us step by step and Shrila Shridhara Maharaja’s illuminations are very wonderful and very assuring. We must go step by step and with much caution as we approach the ultimate goal.
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2018.06.18 01:01 ArtisanalPretzels Hidden aunty bath

A Pretzel is a type of baked bread product made from dough most commonly shaped into a twisted knot. Pretzels originated in Europe, possibly among monks in the Early Middle Ages. The traditional pretzel shape is a distinctive nonsymmetrical form, with the ends of a long strip of dough intertwined and then twisted back into itself in a certain way . In the 2010s, pretzels come in a range of different shapes. Salt is the most common seasoning for pretzels, complementing the washing soda or lye treatment that gives pretzels their traditional skin and flavor through the Maillard reaction; other seasonings include various cheeses, sugars, chocolate, glazes, seeds, or nuts. There are several varieties of pretzels, including soft pretzels, which must be eaten shortly after preparation, and hard-baked pretzels, which have a long shelf life. Worldwide pretzels worth a billion dollars are sold annually. History There are numerous unreliable accounts regarding the origin of pretzels, as well as the origin of the name; most assume that they have Christian backgrounds and were invented by European monks. However, there is no known historical evidence to verify this claim. Another source locates the invention in a monastery in southern France. The looped pretzel may also be related to a Greek ring bread, derived from communion bread used in monasteries a thousand years ago. In Germany, there are stories that pretzels were the invention of desperate bakers held hostage by local dignitaries. Meyers Konversations-Lexikon from 1905 suspects the origin of pretzels in a ban of heathen baking traditions, such as in the form of a sun cross, at the Synod of Estinnes in the year 743. The pretzel may have emerged as a substitute. The German name "Brezel" may derive also from Latin bracellus, or bracchiola . The pretzel has been in use as an emblem of bakers and formerly their guilds in southern German areas since at least the 12th century. Pretzels made with a simple recipe using only flour and water could be eaten during Lent when Christians were forbidden to eat eggs, lard, or dairy products such as milk and butter. As time passed, pretzels became associated with both Lent and Easter. Pretzels were hidden on Easter morning just as eggs are hidden today, and are particularly associated with Lent, fasting, and prayers before Easter. Like the holes in the hubs of round Swedish flat bread, the loops in pretzels may have served a practical purpose: bakers could hang them on sticks, for instance, projecting upwards from a central column, as shown in a painting by Job Berckheyde from around 1681. Emblem of the Baker's Guild Geography Upper-German-speaking regions Pretzel baking has most firmly taken root in the region of Franconia and adjoining Upper German-speaking areas, and pretzels have been an integral part of German baking traditions for centuries. Lye pretzels are popular in southern Germany, Alsace, Austria, and German-speaking Switzerland as a variety of bread, a side dish or a snack, and come in many local varieties. Almost every region and even city has its own way of baking them. Examples for pretzel names in various Upper-German dialects are Breze, Brezn, Bretzel, Brezzl, Brezgen, Bretzga, Bretzet, Bretschl, Kringel, Silserli, and Sülzerli. Baked for consumption on the same day, they are sold in every bakery and in special booths or stands in downtown streets. Often, they are sliced horizontally, buttered, and sold as Butterbrezel, or come with slices of cold meats or cheese. Sesame, poppy, sunflower, pumpkin, or caraway seeds, melted cheese, and bacon bits are other popular toppings. Some bakeries offer pretzels made of different flours, such as whole wheat, rye or spelt. In Bavaria, lye pretzels accompany a main dish, such as Weisswurst sausage. The same dough and baking procedure with lye and salt is used to make other kinds of "lye pastry" : lye rolls, buns, croissants, and even loaves . The pretzel shape is used for a variety of sweet pastries made of different types of dough with a variety of toppings . Around Christmas, they can be made of soft gingerbread with chocolate coating. In southern Germany and adjoining German-speaking areas, pretzels have retained their original religious meanings and are still used in various traditions and festivals. In some areas, on January 1, people give each other lightly sweetened yeast pretzels for good luck and good fortune. These "New-Years pretzels" are made in different sizes and can have a width of and more. Sometimes children visit their godparents to fetch their New Years pretzel. On May 1, love-struck boys used to paint a pretzel on the doors of the adored. On the other hand, an upside-down pretzel would have been a sign of disgrace. Especially Catholic areas, such as Austria, Bavaria, or some parts of Swabia, the "Palm pretzel" is made for Palm Sunday celebrations. Sizes can range from 30 cm up to 1 m and they can weigh up to 2.5 kg . An old tradition on Palm Sunday dating back to 1533 is the outdoor pretzel market in the Hungerbrunnen Valley near Heldenfingen. In the Rhineland region, sweet pretzels are made with pudding-filled loops . On Laetare Sunday in Luxembourg, the fourth Sunday in Lent, there is a festival called "Pretzel Sunday". Boys give their girlfriends pretzels or cakes in pretzel form. The size symbolizes how much he likes her. In return, if a girl wants to increase his attention, she will give him a decorated egg on Easter. The pretzel custom is reversed on Pretzel Sunday during leap years. This custom also still exists in some areas of the Swabian Alb. On the same occasion in Rhenish Hesse and the Palatinate, people have parades carrying big pretzels mounted on colourful decorated poles. The cultural importance of the pretzel for Burg is expressed by a monument in honour of the pretzel bakers, and by an 18-km hiking trail nearby called "Pretzel Hiking Trail". A variety typical for Upper Franconia is the "anise pretzel". The town of Weidenberg celebrates the "Pretzel weeks" during the carnival season when anise flavored pretzels are served with special dishes such as cooked meat with horseradish or roast. In the city of Lübeck, the 500-year-old guild of boatmen on the Stecknitz Canal call their annual meetings in January Kringelhöge . The elaborate affair, with about 200 participants, is celebrated as a breakfast with beer and includes Mass in the Lübeck Cathedral and a presentation of songs by a children's choir. In earlier times, the children were very poor, coming from an orphanage, and each received a Kringel as a reward. Hence, the name "Pretzelfun" was adopted, because this gift was considered a highlight. Today, the children come from schools, but they still get the pretzels. The city of Osnabrück celebrates the anniversary of the Peace of Westphalia and organizes an annual hobby horse race for grade-four children. On finishing the race, they are presented with a sweet pretzel. In Heraldry, the city seal of Nörten dates from around 1550 and depicts two facing lions holding a pretzel at the center. The lye pretzel is the theme for a number of festivals in Germany. The city of Speyer prides itself to be the "pretzel town", and around the second weekend of July, from Friday to Tuesday, it holds an annual funfair and festival called "Brezelfest", which is the largest beer festival in the Upper Rhine region, and attracts around 300,000 visitors. The festival includes a parade with over 100 bands, floats, and clubs participating from the whole region, and 22,000 pretzels are thrown among the crowds. On the market square of Speyer, there is a fountain with a statue of a boy selling pretzels. The pretzel booths on the main street are permanently installed and were specially designed when the whole downtown area was redone for the 2000th anniversary. One-day pretzel fests and markets in other German towns are in Kirchhellen, a borough of Bottrop, or in Kornwestheim. In 2003 and 2004, "Peace Pretzels" were baked for a UNICEF charity event and other charity purposes in Munich. Instead of the typical pretzel loop, they were made in the similar shape of a peace symbol. United States In the late 18th century, southern German and Swiss German immigrants introduced the pretzel to North America. The immigrants became known as the Pennsylvania Dutch, and in time, many handmade pretzel bakeries populated the central Pennsylvania countryside, and the pretzel's popularity spread. In the 20th century, soft pretzels became popular in other regions of the United States. Cities like Philadelphia, Chicago, and New York became renowned for their soft pretzels. The key to success was the introduction of the new mass production methods of the industrialized age, which increased the availability and quantity, and the opening up of multiple points of distribution at schools, convenience and grocery stores, and entertainment venues such as movie theaters, arenas, concert halls, and sport stadiums. Prior to that, street vendors used to sell pretzels on street corners in wooden glass-enclosed cases. Pennsylvania In particular, the S-shaped soft pretzel, often served with brown mustard, became iconic in Philadelphia and was established as a part of Philadelphia's cuisine for snacking at school, work, or home, and considered by most to be a quick meal. The average Philadelphian today consumes about twelve times as many pretzels as the national average. Pennsylvania is the center of American pretzel production for both the hard-crispy and the soft-bread types of pretzels. Southeastern Pennsylvania, with its large population of German background, is considered the birthplace of the American pretzel industry, and many pretzel bakers are still located in the area. Pennsylvania produces 80% of the nation's pretzels. The annual United States pretzel industry is worth over $550 million. The average American consumes about of pretzels per year. The privately run "Pretzel Museum" opened in Philadelphia in 1993. Philly Pretzel Factory stores offer a free pretzel to each customer on this day. Hard pretzels originated in the United States, where, in 1850, the Sturgis bakery in Lititz, Pennsylvania, became the first commercial hard pretzel bakery. Snack food hard pretzels were shaped as sticks, loops, braids, letters or little pretzels; they have become a popular snack in many countries around the world. A thicker variety of sticks can be thick; in the U. S. these are called Bavarian pretzels. Unlike the soft pretzels, these were durable when kept in an airtight environment and marketable in a variety of convenience stores. Large-scale production began in the first half of the 1900s, more so during 1930 to 1950. A prime example was in 1949, when highly innovative American Machine and Foundry Co., of New York City, developed the "pretzel bender": a new automatic crispy-styled baked pretzel-twisting machine that rolled and tied them at the rate of 50 a minute—more than twice as fast as skilled hand twisters could make them—and conveyed them through the baking and salting process. In Europe, snack-food pretzels are usually sprinkled with salt, but also with sesame seed, poppy seed, or cheese. In the U.S., they come in many varieties of flavors and coatings, such as yogurt, chocolate, strawberry, mustard, cheese and others, and chocolate-covered hard pretzels are popular around Christmas time and given as gifts. The variety of shapes and sizes became contest of imagination in the marketing of the pretzels taste. During the 1900s, people in Philadelphia would use the small slender pretzel stick as a common accompaniment to ice cream or would crumble pretzels as a topping. This combination of cold sweet and salty taste was very popular for many years. Eventually, this led to the development of an ice cream cone tasting like a pretzel. More recently Mars, Incorporated manufactures M&M's with a small spherical pretzel covered in milk chocolate and candy coated in all of the standard M&Ms colors, called "Pretzel M&M's". Soft pretzels are frequently sold in shopping malls, with notable chains including Auntie Anne's and PretzelmakePretzel Time. Pennsylvania milestones 1800s: Southern German and Swiss German immigrants who became known as the Pennsylvania Dutch introduced soft shaped pretzels with different shapes and pretzel bakery businesses. 1861: Sturgis Pretzel House in Lititz, Pennsylvania becomes the first commercial hard pretzel bakery in the United States. 1889: The Anderson Pretzel Factory in Lancaster, Pennsylvania is founded. Today, it calls itself the world's largest, producing 65 tons of hard pretzels daily. 1935: The Reading Pretzel Machinery Company in Reading, Pennsylvania introduced the first automatic hard pretzel twisting machine. established the first Billerbeck Bakery which was known for selling German style pretzels to compliment the large number of breweries that existed in Freeport during this time. Prohibition eventually shut down the breweries which led to the decline of pretzel sales in Freeport, but the city never lost its pretzel pride. For more than 100 years, Freeport has been known as "Pretzel City, USA." Their high school athletic mascot is the Pretzel and the football stadium has been appropriately named "Pretzel Field." In 2003, local citizens launched Freeport's first Pretzel Festival which is a large community event where residents get together to celebrate the city's pretzel history. Contestants are chosen to be crowned Pretzel Prince and Princess and a festival mascot by the name of "Pretzel Bill" dresses as a 6-foot tall walking talking pretzel who hands out pretzels from floats and takes photos with the local festival goers. Other countries Although not as popular as among German speakers and Americans, the looped pretzel is known in other European countries and in other countries around the world. In the Czech Republic, the pretzel is known as preclík, in Finland as viipurinrinkeli, in Slovakia, it is called praclík. The Spanish, French call it bretzel, the Italian brezel, the Dutch favor sweet variants called krakeling, Norwegian and Danish call it a kringle, and the Swedish call it kringla. In Polish it is precel, in Hungarian and Croatian it is perec, and in Serbian it is pereca. images, and other phenomena. Although historically, the pretzel has influenced culture, it has recently been heavily influenced by mass media. Landscape architecture and sculpture memorialized the strong identity that the City of Philadelphia had with pretzel cuisine of local bakers and popularity in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Recreation Department renamed in 2004 a facility formerly identified as Manayunk Park, located on the 4300 block of Silverwood Street as "Pretzel Park." The re-designed park includes pretzel-like looped pathways and a public art statue in the shape of a pretzel sculpted by Warren C. Holzman. Municipal government adopts pretzel logo as trademark by the City of Freeport, Illinois, also known as "Pretzel City USA". Dance steps developed in swing dancing became the "pretzel dance move", which dates back to the 1920s. Furniture Design inspired Pretzel Chair designed in 1952 by George Nelson. Amusement ride of the Pretzel Loop design in Roller coaster elements maximizes the g-forces on riders, increasing the "thrill element" of riding a roller coaster. On a pretzel loop, riders are upside down at the beginning, and on their backs and going backwards at the bottom. Fashion inspired sling bikini is a pretzel bathing suit design emerged in the early 1990s, as a new fashion product of Spandex. It is a bikini variant, haltered maillot that crisscrosses the front and fastens to the waistline. With the advent of the 1990s fabric known as Lycra, these bikinis first emerged and became most popular on the beaches of Europe, including Saint Tropez, Marbella, Mykonos, and Ibiza. Ecosystem ecology The "SolVin-Pretzel" because of its shape was the name given to the inflatable United Nations Global Canopy Programme's light weight research platform which is placed on top of the canopy of rainforests to study the ecology below. A circulating internet video shows a press conference of US president George W. Bush from January 2002, in which he recalls choking on a pretzel: "When you're eating pretzels, chew before you swallow. Listen to your mother."
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2018.01.23 22:07 Andrew13112001 First Time Watching Anohana: Episodes 1-11

Hey guys. I've seen posts like these done in the Gravity Falls and Steven Universe subreddits in the past, and almost 2 years ago, I started my own. I've since done posts for Yugioh Duel Monsters, Yugioh GX, Yugioh 5Ds, Code Geass, Gurren Lagann, Madoka Magica, Re:Zero, and Erased. Now I'm doing Anohana.
Episode 1
Is that his sister?
No, I don't think so. But she does seem to live with him.
I saw the description for this last year. From what I remember, someone from their friend group is dead. Is it this silver haired girl? Only MC seems to see her.
Assuming Menma is some kind of ghost, how can she gather flowers?
Someone else must be using the hideout now.
No wait, it's one of his former friends.
Episode 2
This guy actually believes him...
"I went through all that trouble to give that to you" Yeah, crossing one street.
Honma Meiko, is that Menma's real name? That means Menma is a nickname (Menma Honma) in the same way Okarin and Mayushi were nicknames for Okabe and Mayuri respectively, in Steins;Gate.
Why did she take a bath? She's a freaking ghost!
Love and Berry, and Ushiking, are those also a reference to something?
Dojimon's gotta be Digimon, right?
I guess they didn't feel like drawing the character being somewhere else in Nokemon's Hoenn, so they just copy pasted the image from Jintan's screen earlier in the episode, onto her screen. Also, thaaaat's not PokeNokemon Gold. That's either Ruby, Sapphire or Emerald.
"That's dangerous!" Well what's the worst that can happen? She dies?
Episode 3
I wonder, did he really start seeing Menma as well, or is his mind playing tricks on him, since he knows Menma's ghost is around?
These 2 girls are assholes.
Couldn't Menma prove her existence to the other friends? She took a bath, and right now she was playing Nokemon, so she can clearly touch stuff. All she needs to do is get a paper and a pen, and the friends will see a floating pen writing on a floating paper, and she could write that she is Menma.
Does Poppo live in the hideout?
How could Menma have even grown? Can ghosts do that?
So they have a hole in the floor where they put their feet when eating at the table. Errr, interesting..... design, I suppose.
So then Jintan's the only one who brought food.
Nevermind, so did Poppo.
Episode 4
Apparently, Anaru's VA is also Fuyuppe's, and Shinsuke's, from Inazuma Eleven and Inazuma Eleven Go respectively. I didn't even know Fuyuppe and Shinsuke had the same VA. She also looks like she'll be voicing a character in Inazuma Eleven Ares, but I'm not sure which one that is, I don't recognize the name, since the only characters I currently know the name of is MC's (Asuto), and the characters that return from the original series.
I'm calling out Yukiatsu on his bullshit. Going by Menma's reaction, she never said that, and she's right next to him right now, and he's not reacting. Altough Poppo also saw Menma, yet she didn't leave Jintan's house, so I'm not sure.
Why isn't Jintan reacting to this, telling them what Menma really is saying? It's not like they'd believe he's gone mad, considering they took Yukiatsu's word for it just now.
Ok, good, he is doing something.
Menma, paper, pen, now! You can settle this.
"You're pitful" says the guy who also claims to have seen Menma.
The ghost who probabily doesn't even need sleep ended up taking the bed away from Jintan.
Let's see your Menma, then, Yukiatsu.
"It's too dangerous to go alone" Take this.
Oh for crying out loud, that's freaking Yukiatsu! Poppo must've seen him last episode.
Episode 5
I think this is the first time they started an episode with the opening, not having a scene beforehand.
In the opening, while everyone else imagines their younger selves playing, Yukiatsu sees ONLY Menma.
So does everyone think it's their fault? So far only Tsuruko and Poppo didn't blame themselves. Jintan blames himself for saying "Who'd like this-....?", Anaru blames her for being the one to ask if Jintan loves Menma, which is what caused Jintan to say the above. But why does Yukiatsu say it's his fault?
Even with that flashback, I don't quite see how it's Yukiatsu's fault. Unless he's going with the Butterfly Effect (him stopping her causes her to waste a couple minutes, that if she hadn't, she may not have tripped and died).
Does everyone just have the same hairpin? Yukiatsu has one on the Menma wig, but Tsuruko also has one.
The tilt Menma made when she was outside and Jintan came reminded me a lot of "Betelgeuse Romanee Conti DESU!"
Jintan should just apologize to Menma before it's too late. Her being here is a supernatural phenomenon. She could dissapear just as randomly as she appeared.
"One Piece is on tonight" They can say One Piece in this show, but not "Pokemon"?
I saw this show going towards Jintana and Anaru. If Yukiatsu's gonna like her now, I can foresee problems.
Random Poppo scene is random.
I'm not sure if Poppo is a really good friend, or an idiot, for believing that Menma really is there.
In the ending, when the background changes behind the 3 main girls, the music stops for a second, and I always think my video froze.
Episode 6
Yeah, how come Jintan's mother didn't come back as a ghost? If Menma came back to get Jintan to go to school, why didn't his mother?
Why were last episode's events ANARU's fault? She didn't do anything.
Old man? I mean, we were never told that guy's age (I just assumed he was also someone from the class, or at least the same school), but he was most definitely not an "old man".
Ok, what even is this lesson? How does "I" represent anger?
What is she writing? Going by Jintan's reaction, it doesn't seem to be notes. I'm surprised they didn't sub them, in that case.
He said "wears glasses" twice.
"Come to school, Jintan" he finally comes, and she drags him outside the classroom
"I'm sure your mom is worried sick, too" I mean... They left school during the first hour. From what her mom knows, she's still at school.
"I can't believe everyone's here!" Well she clearly hasn't met all of Menma's friends from back then.
"There have been suspicious people around here recently" I think I know who he's refering to.
Despite me being netraul on Tsurumi and Yukiatsu, they're the only ones thinking logically about this. Because this is an anime, and because we actualy do see Menma as well, of course we believe Jintan. But if it were to happen in real life, people's reactions would be more like Tsurumi's and Yukiatsu's (well, no cosplaying as a dead person, but you get what I mean).
The fact that they post-poned the reading of the diary makes me think that Poppo is going to lose it somehow.
Episode 7
Poppo changed the most since his childhood, physically. Menma the least (she's just sliiiiightly taller). If we only count those alive, then Yukiatsu changed the least. Everyone's got some different hairstyle now, except him.
Watch the dairy be empty. She could've received it like a day before she died.
Ok, it's not. That would have been anticlimatic.
"Ouch..." Can ghosts feel pain?
Did Yukiatsu not go to school either? I can understand why Anaru wouldn't, but Yukiatsu?
Tsurumi didn't either.
Oh, right, I forgot Anaru has a job.
This should be interesting. They'll have to go to Menma's house again.
Did Menma's mother just call her "Onee-chan"??
Episode 8
Do they all call each other's moms "Auntie"? Menma called Jintan's mom that, and now Anaru calls Menma's mom that.
Menma was right telling Jintan they shouldn't have visited her mother.
For Christ's sake, Jintan, get Menma to write something in front of them. It takes me a bit out of this, since the solution to make his friends believe Jintan is so easy, but he isn't doing it.
Patrasche? It feels weird hearing this, and not referring to a ground dragon.
Aaand now she finds out they visited her house again.
Finally Menma realizes that her being able to touch stuff as a ghost can be used to her advantages. Writing would still work better, but it's a start.
Thank you, Menma! It would've greatly annoyed me if the show ended with neither Menma nor Jintan realizing how painfully obvious the solution is.
Episode 9
And why didn't you do this earlier?
Forgive for... what?
Where are they? It looks like the place Tsurumi and Yukiatsu are, in the opening.
I don't think the fireworks is what Menma's wish is, though.
The guy making the fireworks must think Jintan's insane. He's essentially talking to no one.
They... aren't leading us towards Anaru-Yukiatsu... right?
Woah, Yukiatsu's VA is the same as Suzaku's and..... Tentomon's?!?!? I can kinda hear Suzaku, but I still remember Tentomon's voice, and it doesn't sound similar at all. I guess Digimon Adventure is old enough for the VA's voice to be different now, but Digimon Tri is ongoing, and Tentomon's voice is the same as it has always been.
Anohana literally means "That flower". I wonder if that'll become relevant. Maybe Menma got distracted by a flower and fell? I mean... anticlimatic, but it'd fit with Menma's character.
Why is he so surprised Menma's not at his house? He JUST parted ways with her, leaving her at Poppo's.
"Aren't you already dead?" Well, yeah, but she said she doesn't want YOU to die, not herself.
Is the carp a ghost as well?
Episode 10
The wish definitely isn't the fireworks. They supposedly will launch them tonight, and I doubt we'll spend 3 episodes all in this day. (Then again, Yugioh Duel Monsters DID have an entire 40 episode arc all within like.... what, a week?)
Why did Tsurumi have to end that phone call with a cliffhanger?
And of course, everyone conveniently happends to be exactly where they stayed that day. Even if we assume Yukiatsu, Tsurumi and Anaru had talked with each other about this before coming, Jintan, Menma and Poppo wouldn't have known.
Wait.... Is Menma's wish for Jintan to be honest, which he wasn't that day?
Well, Menma's still around, so I guess not.
They suspiciously focused on that flower.
Why would it disturb the neighborhood later, but not now?
Yukiatsu, the guy who just a minute ago stopped Poppo from mentioning Menma in front of her brother, now shouts "Is she still here?!".
Episode 11
Wait this is the last episode?!?!? I thought there were 12 of them.
Menma's getting weaker! Then the wish was for them to make up?
I get everyone's hidden intentions, but what was Poppo's?
But what are they going to do? They'd have to get everything with the fireworks ready all over again, and even that is only assuming that the fireworks really is her wish.
"W-with mom?" I KNEW his mother was going to be important somehow (beyond giving Jintan extra suffering). They kept showing Menma paying respects for her.
He can't see her anymore either?! But she's still there.
"Are you done hiding?" Does "Mou ikkai" also mean that? I haven't finished Haikyuu, but if there's one thing I learned from it is the repeated use of "Mou ikkai" for "One more time".
They can all see her now!
Are they really saying all that, and we just see them as kids, or is it Menma imagining them like that?
I knew this would happen, it was obvious since the beginning. Doesn't it make it any less sad.
Oh yeah, I forgot, how did the hairpin end up at Tsurumi? Did she find it after Yukiatsu threw it away? Her looks a lot more damaged than the one Yukiatsu has, so Yukiatsu's must be a newer one.
I still don't get what the deal with the flower was. It was non-existent for the entirety of the anime, and only became important when Jintan was speaking at the very end. And why could Menma only write in her diary?
And does this mean there are other ghosts walking around? I mean... surely Menma wasn't the only person who died with an unfulfilled promise. So are there other ghosts around? If not, why is Menma?
I know there's a movie, but I heard it's mostly a recap, but there are some new scenes. Is it worth watching?
submitted by Andrew13112001 to anime [link] [comments]

2017.03.18 10:28 FatDragoninthePRC Bath hidden aunty

It’s hard to get a good connection here in the village, so I hope this update makes it to you all. If you missed it, you can catch up with what’s going on here.
As I tried, with only modest success, to communicate in the comments yesterday, we had a typical guests-are-coming baijiu lunch yesterday, it happens at least once every time we come to visit. Baijiu is China’s premiere form of hard liquor. The word, usually translated as “white wine”, is used to describe just about any form of domestically distilled spirits. The baijiu my father-in-law serves is locally distilled in a nearby village and he typically fills the jug about halfway with goji berries, so it’s actually a sort of orange-brown color and a lot more palatable than most baijiu, which is horrid stuff. Oh, and it’s also somewhere north of 50% alcohol. I’m lucky if I get through a baijiu lunch drinking less than three small plastic cups of the stuff. I wasn’t lucky yesterday.
I don’t remember going upstairs after lunch. I don’t even remember posting the comment I made on the last post. At some point, however, I started dreaming.
It was the same dream I described yesterday, but it as if I was dreaming on a loop. Maybe you know what I mean: sometimes when you’re exhausted or under greater-than-usual stress, you’ll dream a dream that keeps bringing you to the edge of waking, but not quite, and when you go back under, you dream it again. The first time it happened to me was the end of summer camp one year as an early teenager: I kept saying goodbye to the girl I had a crush on over and over and over. It happened again when I was working at a salmon cannery in Alaska, only this time I was actually sitting up in bed and going through the motions of my work as I went through this cyclical, half-waking dream that they had moved my work station into my bunk room. The last time I can recall before yesterday was climbing Yellow Mountain (the one in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) with some friends; we stayed at a hotel on top of the mountain and I dreamed endlessly that I was falling off of the sheer cliffs and pulling up into flight before I hit the mountain. If you’ve ever experienced this kind of repeated dreaming, you know how disturbing it can be to be stuck in an endless loop, punctuated every couple minutes by a dawning perception that none of this is real, and then fading back into the dream again and again.
So yesterday afternoon I was lying in bed drunk as I’ve ever been, half-sleeping and continuously dreaming the nightmare that I’m being dressed for a funeral by my Chinese countryside in-laws, who keep telling me in English not to look at the picture beside the coffin. Finally, I was called back to reality by the voice of my wife and my baby son’s gurgles. She had lain him on the bed next to me and was telling me to wake up. I managed a disoriented grunt of consent and started to sit up to convince her that I was coming to. That satisfied her and she took the baby back downstairs.
I fell back on the bed for a moment before mustering the energy to sit up fully. I picked up my phone to check the time. 5:14 PM. Shit. As I pointed out yesterday, it seems that every morning when I wake from this dream, it’s 5:14 AM, and here I have the dream during the day for the first time and my wife wakes me up at 5:14 PM.
I looked up from my phone screen as the minute clicked over to 5:15 and was surprised to see my wife’s niece and nephew, her oldest sister’s kids, standing side by side and smiling at me.
“Don’t look at the picture,” said the older brother Wuyi, and his little sister Guoguo smiled a big, goofy grin. In startled Chinese, I asked, “What did you say?” Wuyi responded, “Auntie says come downstairs. It’s almost dinnertime.”
I stared at him for a moment, trying to figure out if he was messing with me or not. Wuyi is 13 years old and has studied a little English at school. I wondered if maybe my wife had told him about the dream and decided to enlist his help to play a practical joke on me. He rolled his eyes, “Anyway, I told you.” He turned around and walked back to the stairs, four-year-old sister merrily in tow.
When I got myself together enough to go downstairs myself, my wife was feeding the baby. I asked her if she had told her nephew about my recurring dream and she gave me an odd look before denying it. I told her what I had heard her mother say before lunch and her nephew just moments ago, and she told me I was just imagining things. It’s hard to deny the possibility.
Just before dinner, my wife’s middle sister arrived with her husband and her 18-month old son. Wuyi and Guoguo, her eldest sister’s kids, are fairly civilized since they live in the nearby tier-88 city, but Zhirui is a countryside dirt-bug born and raised. He’s like that kid from the Peanuts cartoons: a dust cloud seems to follow him wherever he goes and his face is covered in a thin layer of grime within ten minutes of any attempts from his mother to bathe him or wash his face.
After I greeted them, I walked around back to the latrine to clear some of the baijiu out of my system. I heard something behind me as I got around the corner of the house and I turned around to see Zhirui’s grimy face. He was standing about ten feet behind me, motionless and staring. I tried to ask him what he wanted and tell him to go back to his mommy, but he just kept standing there. I turned around to walk the rest of the way to the latrine and I immediately heard a small voice behind me. “Don’t look at the picture.” I whirled around to see Zhirui standing, still in the same position as before, with no indication that he had made a noise, much less said anything. To be clear, I’ve never heard Zhirui say anything, and when he does start to speak, it’s going to be the unintelligible local dialect that he hears at home every day.
I was thoroughly freaked out hearing what had to be, but couldn’t possibly be my wife’s non-vocal 18 month old nephew saying the words I’ve been most afraid to hear in a situation where there was no way it could have been anyone else speaking. What was I supposed to do, though? Interrogate an 18 month old child who doesn’t speak? I told him once again, a bit more forcefully, to go back to his mommy, then turned around and went to the latrine. I’m not ashamed to admit that I didn’t actually go in the latrine: it’s dark in there even in the daytime and the roof is too low for me so my hair always brushes against the cobwebs unless I bend way down. I was in no state to deal with that so I went around back and pissed on the back wall, social niceties be damned.
When I went back to the front of the house, I pulled my wife aside. Her sister who had just arrived was holding and cooing at our son, so it was a rare opportunity to have a moment to talk with her alone. I told her that I’ve been hearing her family speaking to me just like in my dream, and that I’m not in a good place right now because of it. I’ve had anxiety issues in the recent past and I really don’t want to deal with that now that we have an infant son, so I told her I thought it might be best if we go home. I won’t go into too much detail about how that discussion went, but since this is our first time bringing our son to visit her family home, and since my concerns are based on a dream and some things I’ve heard people saying when nobody else was around and I was half-drunk, I didn’t get my way.
We sat down to dinner a few moments later. After a baijiu lunch, dinner tends to be a lighter meal consisting mostly of leftovers from lunch and a distinct lack of baijiu. Dinner went normally, and through an evening of the standard family catching-up and playing with the kids that goes on every time we go back, everything seemed normal. At bedtime, I went up to the bedroom where I had slept off my lunch and found Wuyi sleeping on one side of the bed. This is a weird custom in their village that my wife and I always try to fight, but never successfully. For some reason, the grown daughters in their family never sleep in the same room as their husbands when they’re home. We hoped they would relax this now that we’ve got a child, but that discussion ended as quickly as it began. Because there are so many people in the house, we’ve got to share beds, and since I’m the “fun uncle”, largely on the merit of being foreign, Wuyi always prefers to share my bed when this happens.
I laid down on the empty side of the bed, read for a while, and then turned off the light and went to sleep.
Again, I dreamed the dream. One by one and two by two, these family members with whom I had just shared dinner and conversation, were dressing me for a funeral, telling me, “Don’t look at the picture.” Only this time, when the voices of the growing mob of family surrounding me usually fade into sounds from the waking world, they kept saying, “Don’t look at the picture. Don’t look at the picture. Don’t look at the picture.”
I woke up. The sky outside was dark. I realized that in spite of waking up, I was still hearing those same words. “Don’t look at the picture. Don’t look at the picture. Don’t look at the picture.” Wuyi was lying on his side, facing away from me, asleep, saying it over and over again. “Don’t look at the picture. Don’t look at the picture. Don’t look at the picture.” I shrank back in fear when I realized this, and slapped a hand against the wall behind me, searching for a light switch. I felt like they must be pressing in on me from all sides like in the dream, but I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the sleeping boy in the bed next to me, whispering those words over and over again.
Finally I hit the light switch and the room lit up. Wuyi stopped speaking and started to stir, and I took the opportunity to quickly look around me. Nobody was there, just me and Wuyi in the bed and white walls all around. Wuyi sat up and looked at me, still half-asleep. The last thing I want is to explain this dream and what I’m hearing to my wife’s entire family, so I told him to go back to sleep and turned off the light, back pressed up against the headrest of the bed so nothing or nobody could sneak up on me.
I grabbed my phone to turn on the flashlight. 5:14 AM. Of course. I got my clothes on, left the room quietly, and followed my phone’s flashlight downstairs and outside to my car. I sat in the backseat with the dome light on until morning came. I honestly tried to sleep, but it wasn’t happening. I stayed in the car while the household woke up and everybody went in and out, washing faces, brushing teeth, and getting ready to face another day.
I was still in the car an hour later when my wife came and opened the door, less than gently, looking ultimately peeved. They’d gone to wake me up and realized I wasn’t upstairs. They’d been looking everywhere for me and she was really worried after the way I’d been acting.
“The way I’ve been acting?” I yelled back. “Your nephew woke me up last night at five in the morning, saying, ‘Don’t look at the picture,’ over and over again. In fact, it seems like everyone in this house has said that to me at some point in the last 24 hours! If this is some kind of sick joke, I’m done with it. It’s not funny.”
My wife looked ready to explode, but she swallowed it and said, “Breakfast is on the table,” before slamming the door and storming off.
Everyone’s been walking on eggshells around me since then. My wife and I have had a couple curt exchanges when we pass the baby back and forth, but we clearly need to resolve this and we’re both too proud and still too fired up to be the first one to apologize, so the resentment is just simmering right now. We made it through most of the day without anything odd happening and I was starting to feel like maybe everything has been in my imagination. Until just a few minutes ago, that is.
I had just passed off the baby to my wife and I was sitting on one of the low wooden chairs twiddling my thumbs and wishing for something to do, when my eye was drawn by something I hadn’t noticed before. On a table by the side of the room, there’s a new picture frame. Big, maybe 45x30cm. In it is a photograph I took of my wife holding our baby boy on the day he was born.
I’m going to go apologize to my wife and tell her I love her.
My wife and I made up after I made this post and went to apologize to her, but something still seemed off about her behavior. I took the baby for a while to let her rest and thought about what's been happening when something hit me: 5:14 . . . 514 . . . wu yao si, wo yao si. In Chinese shorthand, numbers can represent words. 5 often represents wo, or "I". 1 is yao, or "want". 4 is si, or "die".
"I want to die."
A dream of a funeral.
A picture of my wife.
"Don't look at the picture."
It's my wife's funeral.
"I want to die."
"I want to die."
"I want to die."
We just had a baby. Before the birth, my wife and I talked about post partum depression. She laughed off the very idea: she is a strong woman and only weak women suffer from PPD. This baby was everything we ever wanted.
The first couple days after the birth, she was strangely morose. She said it was just the physical strain of the birth mixed with lack of sleep. She was more upbeat after a couple days so I believed her. She's been the best mother since then, energetically taking care of our boy and always learning and growing as a mother. No joke, pregnant friends come to visit and observe her mothering to pick up tips for when their own children are born.
But sometimes when she's tired or lets down her guard, she doesn't seem so well put-together. Sometimes the cracks show, if only for a moment, when she thinks nobody's watching.
We sat in the car, the only place we have any privacy in her village, and I asked her how she was doing. She said she was fine. I told her about 514 and she got a queasy look on her face, but insisted she was fine.
I didn't let it go. I told her that she and our son were the only two people in my world and that I lived for them. I told her that he and I would be lost without her. I broke down telling her this because it was true, and I had never realized how true it was. She broke down too.
She told me, both of us sobbing, how she had felt empty ever since giving birth, how nothing felt right to her anymore. She has the reputation for being perfect in everything she does: as a teacher, as a wife, as a mother. For almost three months, she has been going through the motions of perfection, and doing so flawlessly, but the whole time she has felt numb. She admitted that sometimes when I'm at work she puts the baby down to sleep and just stands on the balcony of our 24th floor apartment looking down and thinking how easy it would be to climb over the railing and let go.
We talked for hours while I held our sleeping baby in the back seat of our car. There were a lot of tears. There were a lot of hard truths. We promised never to keep something like this from one another in the future. We made plans for helping her heal. I'll be taking a week off from work to be with her and the baby after we get back, and I've been talking to my friend who is a mental health counselor in Shanghai to get his advice.
Last night we told the in-laws to stuff their idiotic rules. We slept together in the upstairs bedroom with our son in a crib next to the bed. We fell asleep in each other's arms.
I had another dream. It was the picnic where I proposed to my wife, but our son was with us. I woke up to his happy gurgling as she fed him. I looked at my phone. 5:20 AM.
520 is shorthand for "I love you."
I think we're going to be all right.
submitted by FatDragoninthePRC to nosleep [link] [comments]