It’s been a little while since I have written a post in this series, so I thought it was about time that I updated my current Freya Chooses… list. This is a blog post series that I write from time to time, when the mood strikes, which is dedicated to the various things/places/media/people who have given my life some special value over the last month, given me happiness in whatever small and yet important way or that have improved my life so much that I would recommend them to my readers to try out too. I personally love taking inspiration from the things that my friends recommend to me or tell me they have been enjoying, so I hope this blog post gives you some ideas too!
This month I discovered the world of online courses through Coursera. With participating universities from all over the world, there are online courses available in a huge variety of different subjects, including philosophy, music, creative writing, business management, science, data science etc. etc. There are so many to choose from, aaaaaaand it’s all totally free! From browsing through the website, I found that most courses were about 10 weeks long, with a time commitment of about 5-8 hours per week. I decided to enroll in a course called Modern and Contemporary American Poetry, hosted by the University of Philadelphia, and I am absolutely loving it! Each week we study new and different poems, reading them ourselves, listening to recording clips of the poets reciting them, watching video discussions about the poems between teachers and students and taking part in live webcasts, which I find particularly interesting because you get to interact live and meet (virtually) people from all over the world, all interested in the same things as you! You may have noticed that my last blog post was a close reading on a poem by Emily Dickinson – read it here – and this was actually my first writing assignment as part of my course. If there is something that you are interested in but never had the time or the chance to study, I really recommend checking Coursera out and seeing what they have to offer.
All my friends know that I LOVE my planner. For whatever reason, I have not been able to transition to Google Calendars or any form of online planner… it just doesn’t work for me. There’s something about the physical act of writing things down, deciding where to place them, organising my weeks, months and years that helps to clear my head and put order into my brain. In my planner I don’t just write down my commitments; I make to do lists, I take note of personal daily and weekly goals, I organise upcoming trips and things to remember and I plan exactly when I am going to get nasty jobs done. Once it’s in my planner, it’s out of my mind and I can let it go and relax. This month I got a new, beautiful, golden yellow Moleskine and I think it is absolutely perfect. I recommend it because it’s big enough to write everything comfortably, but small enough to carry everywhere with you. And because it is so gorgeous to look at, it doesn’t fill you with dread when you see it. My Moleskine has definitely given my life value so I really had to include it in this post!
There have been so many podcasts that I have been enjoying this month – I will be doing a blog post soon about my favourite ones so keep an eye out for that if podcasts are something that you are interested in. But Shit Town is definitely the one that has most stuck with me. Produced by the same people as Serial and This American Life, Shit Town is basically a story about a town and its inhabitants in rural Alabama. As we listen, the podcasts twists and turns, and the original story set out at the beginning, which focuses on a mysterious murder and possible police cover-up, ends up uncovering a different, much deeper story of one man in particular and his identity within this town. It’s totally gripping and haunting, but at its core are issues that are extremely relevant today and people who are truly fascinating.
In connection with my interest in podcasts, walking has become a real feature in my life! I walk absolutely everywhere, everyday, and I can get totally lost in the story that I am listening to as I walk around in different parts of the city. I wanted to include this hobby in this Freya Chooses… episode because with the approaching autumn season, walks are incredibly beautiful just now. I know that everyone is busy and tired and we all have places that we just want to get to as fast as possible, but perhaps try to find one journey that you can make in your week where you can substitute a walk in and I am sure you will feel the benefits almost instantly.
One Extra Addition…
Just had to slip (no pun intended) this extra item in here because… I love my slippers!! They bring me happiness and comfort and are especially nice to put on after a long walk.