Life and Culture (51)
Next week Pere and Lorena are coming to tell us about “The Way of Saint James”.
There must be a number of reasons to walk the Camino since thousands of people do it every year. What is the main reason for these new pilgrims to do such a thing?
Maybe these people need a time out of their busy life, or they want to meet new people. It is a good way to get fit and of course it is a challenge. Is it still possible that someone does it for religious beliefs?
Pere has been doing bits of the Camino for four years now. One week every year. He has already arrived once at Santiago de Compostela, but he’s still walking the Camino along different paths. Lorena, his partner, is from Asturias but she’s been living in Lleida for more than ten years. Lorena is working for a USA company and we wait for them to tell us about El camino. See you next Wednesday 26th, 10 PM.
It was wonderful to listen to Maria’s tale of survival abroad, with hot-tempered Paki bosses, but also some more understanding superiors like the one who taught her there were no fighting rooms in Zara department stores. He eventually congratulated Maria on her progress! This young girl’s courage and determination are admirable: she is not easily intimidated, is she? And we all agreed hers was the model to follow: learning English in a real environment, even if you may be a little short of cash at times, is the key to success.
Hey, the group is gathering momentum: we told a couple of jokes!!
This week we are speaking about dreams. Maria Real Capell had a dream. She wanted to get a job in London from scratch and she got it. Maria, a graduate in Pharmacy from the University of Barcelona, is going to talk about her experience. Is it easy to find a job in London? Is it easier for our young people to get a job abroad than here in Catalonia? What did she do to achieve her goal? How many of you know somebody who has spent a few months doing the dishes in a “Paki” restaurant in London in order to learn how to speak English? Is that the way?
Not only did we discuss the ills of dictatorship or the drawbacks of democracy, but we also talked about personalities like Pérez Jiménez or Oscar de León, and traditional recipes such as arepas or pabellón criollo. Then, we were told about the magnificence of Venezuelan natural landscapes by René (and Assum, who has been there too!) Now, how do lamas, baboons (?), Bielorússia or Albania fit into the previous discussion is a little more complicated to explain. If you did not come, you missed our participants telling you about all that. Thank you Frank, Eduard and Maria for your valuable and humourous contributions: we had a very good time!!
Next Thursday we are going to talk about customs and culture. We like to know about different countries and René Jiménez is going to tell us about Venezuela. René was born in London and moved to Venezuela at the age of thirteen with his family. Later they moved again to Catalonia where he’s been teaching English for many years now.
From the UK to Venezuela can be an interesting topic to discuss. Is the Venezuelan cultural heritage so different from the European one? Is it true that you are more likely to be murdered in Venezuela than in other countries? What about religion, food, family, mixture of cultures, etc?
Rene will help us to discover a new point of view about it. See you all next Thursday at 10:00h at the swimming pool.
Yesterday, as you can see in the picture, about twenty people came to listen to Marina Lee’s talk. Marina spoke clearly, choosing her words carefully, clarifying difficulties for us, with a very fluent speech full of knowledge and good sense. Thanks to her interesting talk, we could realize how people, especially women, have changed their mind about the process of pregnancy, labour and delivery throughout different periods in history. Marina says she feels like having her children in a natural way, without anaesthesia, but in a hospital. We were happy to see our session had attracted other expecting parents! Others had the chance to babysit for a little while, and learn some insect vocabulary instead. Finally, we discussed about education methods or how parents behave in front of children.
Again here is a little glossary of some words used during the session:
Wean / Weaning
Dummy / Pacifier
Have you ever heard words like midwife, epidural, amniocentesis, caesarean, doula, Lamaze method, breastfeeding, diaper, crib or stroller? You probably have but not in English. Our neighbour Marina, an agronomist, is working in her doctoral thesis studying risks from transgenic vegetables. But this won’t be the subject of our next meeting. The topic for next Thursday will be pregnancy and childbirth since she’s expecting and she feels like talking about this.
Is it strictly required for women to take lessons to increase their confidence in their ability to give birth? Is it true that women’s senses become so acute? Is it pregnant sex a wonderful thing? What is the father’s role or what should it be? Do you agree with Estivill’s method?
I hope it will be a very interesting topic to discuss next Thursday. See you next Thursday 6rd August at the swimming pool if it doesn’t rain.
It was a wonderful evening with our first guest, Judith Munsó, who had a lot to say about life in the Scottish Highlands. She is an experienced language teacher (German, French and Spanish,...wow!) well on her way to become truly Scottish: "It is not that cold, really", we heard her say!! We could see this brave woman has really settled down and feels very much at home among friendly Scottish people. Lovely little Lydia is not to be forgotten, so well behaved and patient -for over an hour!- as she looked at her mother in surprise: It is Catalan in Scotland, now English in Menarguens! Who can understand these grown ups! (my own thoughts). Jordi Casals deserves a special mention for bringing a nice touch to the closing part of the session, in which he asked Judith to read a well-known poem by Robert Burns (from a compilation of European poetry translated by Marius Torres). Wasn't it a little present to be able to hear Burns with the proper Scottish accent?
Judith, thank you for your vivid account of life on the Isles!
My heart's in the Highlands
My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart's in the Highlands a-chasing the deer -
Chasing the wild deer, and following the roe;
My heart's in the Highlands, wherever I go.
Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North
The birth-place of Valour, the country of Worth;
Wherever I wander, wherever I rove,
The hills of the Highlands for ever I love.
Farewell to the mountains high covered with snow;
Farewell to the Straths and green valleys below;
Farewell to the forests and wild-hanging woods;
Farewell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods.
My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here;
My heart's in the Highlands a-chasing the deer;
Chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe,
My heart's in the Highlands wherever I go
El meu cor és als Highlands
El meu cor és als Highlands, el meu cor no és ací,
el meu cor és als Highlands, cérvols a perseguir;
caçant cérvols salvatges i daines -per això,
el meu cor és als Highlands, vaig allà on vagi jo.
Adéu-siau els Highlands, adéu-siau el Nord,
on sigui que jo vagi, on em dugui la sort,
la contrada dels nobles, el bressol del valor,
les muntanyes dels Highlands són sempre el meu amor.
Adéu-siau muntanyes ben cobertes de neu,
adéu penyes, valls tendres que als seus peus verdegen,
adéu-siau arbredes i boscúries penjants,
adéu torrents i salts d'aigua remorejants.
El meu cor és els Highlands, el meu cor no és ací,
El meu cor és als Highlands, cérvols a perseguir;
caçant cérvols salvatges i daines -per això,
el meu cor és als Highlands, vagi allà on vagi jo.
Next Thursday we’ll have a special guest. Judith Munsó, who’s living in Scotland at the moment, is having her holidays here in Menàrguens. We want to take advantage of this and we have invited her to talk in our next meeting. We are very happy that she has accepted the challenge.
As far as I know, Judith is living in Scotland, she has a beautiful daughter, and she teaches Spanish and other matters to Scottish people to make a living.
Judith is going to speak about the differences and similarities between life in Scotland vs life in Catalonia. Today, due to the political situation in our countries, we think that Scotland and Catalonia are very close, but the fact is that we come from very different cultures.
We are looking forward to hearing about Judith’s experience.
See all of you next Thursday.