Culo inquieto

Ya han pasado dos años desde que llegamos a California tras un paréntesis de otro año viviendo y trabajando en Madrid. El blog sigue su curso, esta vez más centrado en este "life'changing event" que nos está pasando. Y como siempre (o casi)el blog sigue llegando...¡¡¡EN ESPAÑOL!!! Sumamos y seguimos, y añadimos un nuevo miembro a nuestra familia: Sarita Do-Fernández.

lunes, 28 de noviembre de 2005

Thanksgiving in Madrid

It was Thursday, and it was freezing. Nothing was inviting about this Thanksgiving: almost the end of the week, no vacation, and threfore, we were tired. The freezing wind that made us cover all fromhead to toe. And the certainty there was no turkey to be found anywhere near. Nevertheless, we went out to "celebrate" in our own special way. Almost anything makes a good excuse for us to go out and eat!
And so, we ended up in the "American Dreams" restaurant, where we had everything except for American food - whatever that is, if that concept aside from turkey, hamburguers and chicken pot pie exists.
We had grilled chicken and meat fajitas, Tex-Mex appetizers, Coronita and brownie (ok, I'll give you the brownie as American food). Yup, that was our Thanksgiving dinner.
What was even more surprising than finding ourselves there dining, was to find two other couples of Americans. And what do you know... they were from Santa Clara! One of the guys turned around and asked me if WE were American, to which I said "I am not, but HE (vinh) is".
Not too much of a conversation started there, just a plain Thanksgiving greeting left at that.

I am still surprised in a way that whenever Vinh runs into Americans, he does not feel the same eagerness to talk to them as I do when I run into Spaniards abroad. But it surprises me just in a way, as I said, because I can also see why he does not feel compelled to talk and bond. Americans are so different from him... Vinh is American just by passport, by upbringing and some customs (like watching NBA games and liking Twinkies). But that is pretty much it.
As we over-heard them talking, there was something about them that made them so... white... and so... American.I don't know, it is unfair to label, I know. I have met some (a few) nice A-me-ri-cans, but for the most part, I feel I have very little in common with them.

So that was our Thanksgiving, with no turkey, but with incidental American company at an American restaurant in the heart of a sierra town in the middle of Madrid, Europe. Could it have been any stranger of a Thanksgiving?

miércoles, 9 de noviembre de 2005

I miss some holidays I became familiar with while living in California, but that are not necessarily American. In November, they celebrate "El Dia de Los Muertos", or what is the same, "The Day of the Dead". I think Latin American people picked a very cool way to honor their ancestors, their "deads". They depict them in happy ways, like this surfer dude. Death is just a part of life, and surrounding it by negativeness, sadness and solemnity is not a very nice way to celebrate the lives of those who died, and also lived. If life is better than death, then we should make a colourful holiday.

In Spain it is all the opposite: also in November, people just go to the cemetry and usually cry in front of the tombstones. I'd much rather have all the flowers, the food fests... It is ironic how in Spain, a place typically known for how lively people are, has such a way of remembering those who were alive.

Lessons in Love... to Yourself - Teaching

Emotional well-being should be a concern to all of us, but particularly for teachers. This is so because we are role models, we are shaping lives and personalities, and this is one big responsibility. I think that to be successful, what is key is to maintain a positive attitude about what we do. This is particularly hard at times because we tend to overwhelm ourselves by thinking of all the things that go wrong, our big concerns, and things we have no control over but we wish we had: the disfunctional family one kid lives with, the learning disability someone else has... while we tend to give less importance to the things we are capable of and good at, how we can improve the life of both students and tend to their needs. Like in a vicious circle, too much negative thinking can make us less effective teachers. And even if it's good to be aware of our shortcomings, it is not so to obsess over them. We should try to focus more of our efforts and attention on the things we can actually do.

We could apply all this to our life in general, teachers or not. Maybe that way problems would still be problems but we could have more control on how much they affect us. We can be proactive and think positively about what we are going to do about it; or we can just let problems bring us down. As Confucious stated (more or less) "If the problem has no solution, why worry? - and if it does have a solution, why worry?

For teachers it's particularly crucial because further beyond from instructing, we spend most of our time modeling and interacting with our students. By these interactions and this exposure to our ways, we influence a great deal of things: how to go about conflicts, attitude towards work challenges... We have the power to inject the students with self confidence and encourage positive thinking.

All in all, we as teachers need to be emotionally caring and well-balanced individuals, and who can enjoy the challenge of shaping emotionally well-balanced people.

martes, 1 de noviembre de 2005

Have you ever been in that shady area that lies right between awareness and bliss, consciousness and drunkness? Two nights ago I was sweetly caressed by alcohol's soft touch.
My feet seemed to glide and slide on the slippery, rainy, bumpety sidewalks of the city. On my imagination, the blue scarf around my neck flew like a flag on a pole as I danced out of one bar and into the next one. Tapas here and there, some good Rioja, even sweeter Ribera de Duero, to end up with Riveiro on those white clay cups. Sipping, dreaming, laughing, melting... thanking the over crowed places, the bumping of people on my, their background conversations in a language that nurtures my thinking, sometimes drawn into so much English that pains me.
Everything was a mixture of tear-supression because I will only have this for as long as I live here, which is not much; laughter; wine; food; MADRID.