Monday, April 4, 2011


10. Wondering how I can casually insert my new favourite word, ad libitum, into a conversation. I have always known that its abbreviation, ad lib, as an adverb means "spoken or performed without previous preparation;" but I only find out today that ad libitum, in Latin, means "according to pleasure." Most academics who have to give conference talks would tell you that these two meanings are not quite the same, but for now, I am trusting Oxford Dictionary. "Ad libitum," it just rolls off the tongue. I imagine my next conversation:
     "How are you?"
     "I am doing ad libitum."
or, maybe, 
     "Have you heard about Yemen's recent protests?"
     "Yes, yes. Clearly the whole situation is not going ad libitum."
or, even,
     "Did you see the new Mac vs PC advertisement?"
     "No, I haven't, but do you know what else also starts with ad?"

11. Feeling guilty, because as I watch Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a former Finance Minister of Nigeria, talking about aid versus trade, all I can think of is, "Wow, you are the first Nigerian I am aware of who is not trying to retrieve 20 kgs of gold from a safe and asking me for my bank details."

12. "First. You cut." Mario presses the knife vertically around the plum. "Then. You twist." He twists the right half, magically separating the plum into two at its core. Keeping the half still connected to the core, Mario continues matter-of-factly. "Then. You cut.", he halves the half. "Then. You twist."

Watching this minimalist demonstration, I am slightly embarrassed at my uncultured just-bite-into-it approach. As I start to practice the cutty-twisty method on my half-eaten plum, Mario waved his hand dismissively, "It's too late." And so I wait. At the cafeteria, for each lunch you can get two plums. When it is time for my second plum, I cut. That part is easy. Feeling proud of my quick learning, I try to pull the two halves in opposite directions. Mario, Luigi and Princess Peach chimed in, "Twist. Twist. You have to twist!".

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