Anything's Possible! – Website created by Michael Sloane, Alexia's big brother.

Archive for April, 2011

Interview with Insight Radio

This is an Interview Alexia did with Insight Radio about her recent trip to Brussels.

The Sea of Space – A Poem (Age 9)

The sea mirrors me,
Said the sea of tranquillity.
It could almost flow through space,
And merge with the moon and stars,
But what it could merge with best,
Is the mystery of the stars.

Oh the sea,
It’s so blue,
It is the most beautiful place,
Made just for me and you.

I wish I could embrace space.
It’s so amazingly quiet,
Except for the sound of meteorites as they crash around the tail,
Of planet Earth and many more,
Once or twice,
Hitting our floor.

The waves tinkle gently across the shore,
Soothing babies and adults alike,
And their friend,
La playa del or.
She sweeps us into her great world,
The world of water,
Has just unfurled.

Space is full of moons and stars,
And other things,
Maybe unseen by us.
The never ending blackness of space,
Has sucked me into its embrace.

The smell of the waves enchants me,
It’s so salty good,
If we were allowed to go and live in it,
Well I don’t know about you,
But I certainly would.

Space has a texture,
Although unknown,
I know it from somewhere,
I know it because it’s my home.
It feels like bits of dust and rock,
Only pleasanter,
And much more like an ice burg.

The taste of the sea is so salty,
It’s saltier than it’s smell,
But I still like it,
As the sea sweeps around her throne.

Oh the taste of space,
It’s got a sense that’s so dangerous,
But more than anything else,
It’s mysterious.
It tastes of great emptiness,
And ringing bell-like silence.

Oh the sea is so smooth,
Oh and so inspiring,
It glides through my fingers and stays there forever,
And I am happy ever after.

The Sunset and the Dawn – A Poem (Age 9)

The sun sinks low,
It lies down so
The moon can take its place
And give light to the human race.

The colours are red and orange and gold,
They spread as the sunset begins to unfold.

It’s so quiet,
It’s so silent
So the bells of the sunset
Are even more pleasant.

The sky is now a deep midnight blue,
Which holds the bond between night and you.

Oh, Goddess of the sunset,
Oh, God of ages passed,
Come together as the sunset
Begins to get very vast.

Now the sun begins to rise
And presses the moon back down,
Removing any dark frown
From angry people’s faces.
Dawn is here,
So let us sing some praises.

The pink and gold are dazzling,
They fill the sky above,
The dawn is the time to show true love.

Oh, Goddess of the dawn,
Oh, God of the sun,
Come together as the dawn
Fills us with praising song.

Radio 5 Live Interview

The interview begins about 55 minutes after the start of the program.

My Brussels Experience – Alexia Sloane

My Brussels experience

As a result of my wining the Young Achiever Award last October, I was asked what prize I wanted. It had always been my dream to go to Brussels to shadow an interpreter because my greatest ambition is to be an interpreter myself one day. Not only was I granted this amazing wish but I also had the amazing opportunity to meet 2 blind interpreters, Sabine and Nicky, the former Spanish and French and the latter British, as well as a Spanish basque interpreter called Arantxa Erro, a French interpreter named Agnes Butin, the Head of Training for Interpreters, Alison Graves and the Deputy Head of Cabinet of the President of the European Parliament. I also had the great privilege to meet Mrs Rita Silva who is the Director of DG INTE who organised the details of my day at the Parliament and also Mr. Sturdy, who is the MEP who made all of this possible for me. All these incredible people were so kind, patient and approachable that I had no reason at all to feel nervous. Somehow I felt as if I had always known them!
Amazingly, at the end of my day at the Parliament, the Deputy Head of Cabinet of the President of the European Parliament presented me with a magnificent medal with the semi-circle of the room where parliament meets and which also features the interpreting booths on one side, and a replica of a sculpture that can be found in the European Parliament. I was put to the test of interpreting a conference about food labeling and how radio activity may be found in Japanese food. For this, I worked with Alison, the Head of Training for Intepreters and we had a great time working as a team. I was not aware though that the press was standing behind my back on several occasions recording my sentences! I was wearing the interpreting headphones and concentrating on the task in hand which made me unaware of their presence. There were occasions when I did not know some of the words needed to do the job but on the whole, I managed to produce a few sentences here and there. I just loved the atmosphere in the small booth where we were, surrounded by many languages coming out of the interpreting console. The seat was extremely comfortable, the room soundproof and air conditioned and there was a computer screen on the table showing who the Member of the Parliament speaking during the session was. I loved every minute and second of this and could have stayed there for many more hours.
My meetings with the different interpreters was a great source of inspiration. I just loved listening to them telling me about the training they had to do before becoming interpreters and about the details of what their job entails. The fact that they were there sitting in front of me and talking to me when they were so busy themselves made me feel very special.
I must mention the extraordinary room which had been arranged for us to go back to to rest throughout the day. This was a protocol room where only high powered politicians and royals were allowed! None of the people I met in there that day had ever been in that room before.
My parents and I travelled on the Eurostar and the trip was only two hours long from London. We were put up in the Renaissance hotel as hosts of Mr Robert Sturdy, MEP.
The hotel itself was incredibly beautiful and impressive. It had a swimming-pool, a Sauna, a Jacuzzi and a Lounge Club, where we could go for tasty snacks and meals throughout the day. We had a junior suite for a room! What an incredible treat!
Our suite overlooked the parliament, which was very inspiring.
It was a dream come true, and, perhaps one day, I could return. This time not for fun, but for business! To think that the interpreting booth could one day become my second home fills me with a delight beyond any other.
Brussels is an amazing place,
So much so that just in case
I stain my face
With tears of misery and regret
At having to leave it,
I have been invited back at any time
Which I will never be able to forget.

Brussels – By Richard Sloane (father)

Last year my 10-year-old blind daughter, Alexia, won an award as Cambridge Young Achiever of the Year and, since she has always wanted to be an interpreter, she chose for her prize a trip to Brussels where she could shadow an interpreter for a day. That’s the background to our trip.
After a smooth, uneventful journey, we booked into our hotel, a magnificent one and all paid for by the European Parliament.
The next day was extremely busy. We started by meeting quite a few interpreters, all lovely people, and also the Head of Training for all the interpreting in Brussels who was to show Alexia around. We also met our MEP, Robert Sturdy, who had actually set up the trip.
Then we all trooped off to an environmental committee meeting where Alexia was to try her hand at interpreting. While she was doing that with the Head of Training, I was sitting in a dummy booth listening to the debate. We caught the end of one on food labeling and packaging in Europe and the beginning of another on restrictions to be imposed on the importation of Japanese foodstuffs after the nuclear accident, both of which were fascinating. One thing which interested me was seeing a baby asleep on a Member’s shoulder while he was actually speaking. I was told later that he was a Swedish MEP who was out to make the point about how Swedish fathers have to look after their children no matter where.
Later in the day, after a lot more meetings and interviews with the Press, we met the Deputy Head of Cabinet of the President of the European Parliment in his huge office overlooking Brussels who presented a fantastic medal to Alexia, which is normally reserved only for visiting Heads of State.
When we arrived back in England we were told that the story had been broadcast on ITN news the previous night and we realized that the journalists who had been following Alexia around all day had done a quick turnaround job. We later managed to find it through a link we were sent. She has since been in the national Press.
It was a wonderful experience for all of us but especially for Alexia, who is now more determined than ever to become an interpreter. If you consider children under the age of 14 are never normally even allowed into the Parliament building, it puts into perspective how astounding the whole day was for her. We were treated like royalty from start to finish from start to finish and what surprised me the most was the fact that so many important people had given up their very limited time to accompany us throughout the day.

Here is a link to the local news broadcast about the trip. Unfortunately I think this is only viewable in Britain.

Just found this link for Alexia from the Daily Mail. They got most of their facts wrong as usual!

Here are some cute pictures of Alexia “interpreting”!

Richard Sloane

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