Sergi Colom Mas
Yesterday we learned about Chile from Alexis but he was not the only one who was born in that country. Surprisingly, Edu was born in Chile too, and they moved to Spain in 1973. Alexis left his country at the age of fourteen and he told us some interesting things about the Chilean lifestyle. According to Alexis, Chileans like “modern culture” from countries like the States, Germany or France and they are quite influenced by these cultures. But, he also talked about Chile’s ancient Mapuches, the native inhabitants before Spanish colonization. Their language, Mapudungun is almost extinct but it still remains in quite a lot of last names and expressions. We had no time to discuss about literature, politics or natural disasters.
Next week Alexis is going tell us something about his country, Chile. He’s 22 years old and he’s lived in Balaguer for almost eight years now. He likes programming computers, a profession which is very demanded in countries like the UK and Ireland.
He’s going to tell us about different parts of Chile and variations of its culture from one region to another, making comparisons between Catalan and Chilean society.
Alexis wants us to learn about mapuches, the old culture that populated Chile before the Spanish colonization. Mapudungun is the language of mapuches. Our guest is descendant of this tribe since his last name is Huenchuan and he’s going to teach some Mapudungun vocabulary.
Finally we’ll discuss about natural disasters that recently have happened in Chile and how they affect society and culture.
See you next Wednesday 30th September.
Yesterday was our 10th session. Carla Minguet told us about her experience working abroad as a scientist. She wanted us to realise that a normal person, like her, and doing things enthusiastic and professionally could achieve important goals in life.
We had a conversation that I can qualify of debate since the discussion was introduced in three blocks and everybody wanted to participate actively.
In the first one Carla told us her feelings when she started working in Glasgow and shared with us some funny anecdotes and misunderstandings.
In the second block we spoke about the subject of her research. Looking for agricultural solutions to fight against the hunger in the world is a tough work and it was difficult to reach an agreement between different opinions.
And finally the education runs into a very hot debate between attendants specially teachers, who had also different opinions and points of view above the matter.
Summarizing it was a very interesting meeting which left several matters we should discuss in the near future.
Next week we will count on the presence of Carla Minguet Parramona.
Carla was born in Barbens, however she moved to Menàrguens when she was 15 years old. Enthusiastic of life sciences and travelling she is now living in Glasgow finishing her PhD in molecular biology. During her PhD she has been involved in an international project between the USA and the UK with the aim of finding agricultural solutions to fight against hunger. Moreover she got a postdoctoral position to continue her research in the University of Glasgow. Carla is going to talk to us about her experience on studying abroad and she will give us her point of view about the scientific world she had the opportunity to know.
See you next Wednesday, 23th.
Yesterday we talked with Neil Kinsella about World War II. He started telling us a story about his grandfather who was a fireman but left his job to became a paratrooper during the war. A lot of soldiers and civil people were killed during the War but Neil’s grandfather surprisingly survived. But as we don’t know how neither when we’ll die, he died in a hospital bed when he fell asleep while he was smoking a cigarette and the mattress caught fire. The fire killed the fireman who survived the WW2.
We had new attendants like Ramon and Teresa who make the group more diverse and interesting. We talked a little bit about differences between WW2 and our Civil War, nothing to do between them. And finally we had a typical discussion about the ownership of the bridge over the river Segre when it flows near Menàrguens and Térmens.
Next Thursday, 17th September we are going to talk about history. We will count on the presence of Neil Kinsella who’s been living in Lleida for more than fifteen years now but he’s from Manchester (UK).
Neil will tell us about his grandfather, who had an interesting life and death. His ancestor was a paratrooper in World War II, one of the most important events in the last century for Britons.
We will enjoy to listen to the story from an ordinary person’s point of view since we are used to learning History from books, which usually tell us an official government version.
Last Wednesday we discussed about music. Since we didn’t have a specialist in the subject, we started the session with a theory that could explain why we like music. The theory is we like music because we are used to listening to it. In addition, we like a specific kind of music more than another one when we can anticipate easily where the song is heading. This is possible because a lot of songs have the same background rhythm and harmony variations and they only change melodies.
No one agreed with this theory and people mostly said that we like music just because it makes us feel good. Others pointed out that music is closely connected with movement so it makes us feel like dancing.
We finally played a couple of songs with our guitars, Lluc -the famous member of the rock band 13 July- and this writer, and took advantage of this to learn some words about music, such as chord, note, score, scale, etc.
Music is as ancient as humanity. Musical instruments have been found in prehistoric sites. But I think no one knows for sure what function it serves and why everybody likes it.
Here, in the video below, there is a physical explanation about the effects of music in our brain, but is this the only one reason why we like music? We can discuss about it next Wednesday. Think about your favourite song and why you like it so much.
Yesterday, even though our guest failed, we talked about food. We learned from Antoni what a “vegan”is. Essentially a “vegan” is a vegetarian who doesn’t eat any animal products. We also learned from Frank that there is a vitamin, B12, which is not possible to find in vegetables so vegetarians must be careful about that because B12 is a very important vitamin for our brain.
Eating in a correct way is the most important thing to be healthy. There are too many theories and diets to be healthy but not all of them are good for everybody. In addition, we should realize that looking healthy doesn't always mean being healthy. Most people agreed we should eat less meat and fish and more fruit, vegetables and whole grain cereal. And in my opinion doing physical exercise is the second most important thing to do although Edu doesn’t agree.
Finally we learned from Laia that Thai food is very tasty and she didn’t have problems with food during her trip to Thailand. By the way, the day her housekeeper cooked ants for the main course, she wasn’t hungry and she didn’t try that special dish.
Next Wednesday we are going to talk about nutrition and health. Laura Rubió is 29 years old and works as a Dietitian-Nutritionist in the research group of Nutrition, Lipids and Cardiovascular Diseases Research Group in Universitat Rovira i Virgili (Reus). She did her PhD in Universitat the Lleida, and performed part of her research in The Netherlands. The topic of her research is the role of specific foods and nutrients of the Mediterranean Diet, such as virgin olive oil, in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, which are the primary cause of deaths in developed countries.
We all know that The Mediterranean Diet is a way of eating based on the traditional foods and drinks of the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea and that it is considered to be a healthy dietary pattern. But, has science proven the effectiveness of the Mediterranean Diet? Which foods does the Mediterranean Diet include? What does not include? Is it enough to choose de right foods or it is rather a lifestyle? How often do you eat alone and how often with friends or family? Do you think that becoming a vegetarian is also a healthy option? In your opinion, what would be the solution to solve the serious problem of obesity and overweight in childhood?
We will discuss all together these and other nutritional issues under the scientific point of view of Laura. She also will give us the basic nutritional recommendations that we should never forget not only to maintain a normal weight but also to have an optimal health and prevent illnesses.