Category: social media


Ok, let’s cut the chase. I get to the point right now. Medias in res.

In Spain, we have two major problems.

The two biggest internal affairs right now are as follows:

1.) There is the ongoing fight in the Spanish parliament about whether or not Catalonia should have a referendum for the possible Independence of Catalonia. This is one major concern right now. You cannot open the web, without being aware of tons of articles, or not, but as a foreigner you tend to get lost easily. So what’s up with that?

There are two sides, as always. The one side wants the referendum. The other one does not. The reason for why Catalonia should have their referendum is pretty clear. Two weeks after the 11th of September, which was the celebration for Independence Day, broadcasted around the globe a couple of hundreds of millions times with the historically long “Via Catalana” a human chain by hundreds of thousands of people, and above all, peaceful, without any type of violence. The other side, however, says no… Ok, so let’s ask why…

I could speculate and speculate but the main reason is and always has been the money… Barcelona and the Catalonian region have a functioning economy, much to the chagrin of the NO sayers in Madrid. USA Today even called Catalonia the milk cow that’s being milked every so often when the funds in Madrid are empty. The cow seems to be tired of being milked so often. Ok. This in itself may explain for the obvious NO from Madrid as they do need the money. But let’s go one step further, let’s ask an underlying question. Why is there so much hatred that goes with the whole question…? There is such an underlying hate element in the Spanish society that sometimes even frightens me.

Best example was this poor Valencian guy who was imprisoned for talking to the police (in a normal traffic control) in Catalan, one of two official languages of the Catalonian region. The thing is: He was neither drunk nor drugged. And yet, he was taken away, he was arrested and put before a judge: For speaking his mother tongue. No, we haven’t taken a time machine. This is not 1939. This is 2013. This has some strange taste to it. There are a lot of historic “ghosts”, evanescent moments of hatred and repression that still work the same way as 75 years ago. All this is embedded on a very emotional level. Luckily, the poor chap, got some media coverage and via change.org and with the help of the social networks, the man was freed and his prison sentence of six months for speaking to the police in Valencian was revoked. But does it need to get that far??? I mean, come on, really. The whole incident seemed so warped that I had to include it even though it seems like a slight affair.

We are faced with the dark side of history. Spain had a dictatorship up until 1975 and the violation of civil rights, the pain and suffering, the cruelties, the passion, the fear and the repression so many people had to deal with, it is still alive. It is still inside most families. Some of them remember who someone close to them was charged politically, was taken away, and imprisoned or even executed. Spain is a free country. It is democratic. Is it?

Yes. On the whole it is. Spain is even liberal when you think of places like Marbella or Ibiza… But then again, is this actually the real Spain, or is it just what people think Spain is??? So what do I know??? You might argue, but you are not even Spanish, or have a Catalonian husband or whatever, but I see what I see. And each day, I get a better impression about what happens. Ever since I started to learn Catalan and finally prick up my ears.

The thing is there will not be any kind of mutual understanding and a non-hatred fuelled relationship between Spain and Catalonia, unless Spain simply lets go and leaves Catalonians be who they are, and let them go their chosen way. It might not be what Madrid, what the Spanish royal family, or what Rajoy would want for Spain, but still, they have a right to decide. We live in a democratic state (at least that’s what they say), so let them have it their way. Let them please vote.

We in Europe have so many states with two, with three or even with four languages. Think Belgium, Switzerland, parts of Germany, think Sicily, think Crete, think Malta. The more attractive a region is, less chances you have of there being only spoken one language. Chances are that a couple of nations already tried to invade it, and chances are that this happened. I am sorry if this is a bit juvenile but I always think of Asterix and Obelix when I think about invasion.

Reise-asterix-karte-DW-Reise-Reguengo

 

You might think that the people in Madrid may be the Romans trying to force the Catalans to give up their language and cultural identity. But Madrid and a couple of politic agitators just see it just the opposite way. They see the Catalans as the agitators, or the traitors of the Spanish crown. There are some ultra-right wing people who deliberately disturbed the celebration of the “Onze de setembre” (September 11th), the Catalonian Independence Day. Funnily enough, justice was very lenient here, and they got away with a ridiculously low amount of 300€ while they smashed up things, menaced people, were hooded, entered a government building and were clearly not there in a pacific mission.

 

mateu_mossos

 

mateu_informe_policial

 

Justice is a funny thing. This is something that startles me. How on earth can they get away with that? And how can the politicians in Madrid believe that their behavior was tolerable when they behave like that, that one might call a screaming injustice. Justice must have had a pretty bad day to sentence one man to 6 months of prison for speaking his mother tongue, and for fining another for an act of sheer and utter violence & some slight terroristic tendencies with a slight slap on the wrist.

Ok, I now. I am guiri. I should shut up. What do I know anyway?

Being a foreigner in Spain, not knowing any Catalan, and just about able to speak a few sentences in Spanish, I came here to the island of Ibiza in 2007, in December. I was not aware of all these underlying conflicts when I first came here. I tried to find my way around this place. I was busy getting my kids into kindergarten and into school. I had to work. And I had to take care of the kids on my own, as my husband was still 1 and a half years in Germany while I already lived here. I was quite alone, kept to myself, but in a still quite male dominated society I was treated like a “soltera” and somehow, people suspected I was. I did not know what to think about it but I was too busy to care.

So many of my friends in Germany shook their heads in despair when they heard where I was going and they asked me “Why on earth are you going there?” (rough translation: this pool of sinners, of depravity, hedonism and sex, drugs and rock’n’roll). I just laughed it off. And hey, now, almost six years later, I still live here. I feel integrated. My husband came down to Spain one and half years later than us because it was more difficult than we thought. Exit personal history.

But one thing really still startles me, especially now that I understand Catalan and speak it fairly well. Why on earth, do my friends who dared me, who induced me, who told me to learn Catalan… Why do they now back down when we are talking about the Catalan Way, the question of Independence??? Why are they the ones I never see when there is some event for the Independence? Why don’t they react when I post something on facebook??? Even though in private, they are fervent defenders of their home, their island, the right to speak their language and their right to vote. What’s up with that?

On the 8th of September, Ibiza also had a small human chain. The press said that there were 300 people. I can safely say that there were little more than 160 people, maybe 200 in the end. So: What’s up with that?

cadenahumana

 

However, now we come to the second problem, or to the second internal affair, that Spain has to deal with.

2.) The plan and its implementation of the TIL – integrative trilingual language system. This is a brain child of Jose Ramon Bauzà who somehow now seems like a Little Napoleon as he tries to push forward with this seemingly progressive system. So what does the TIL include: Basically it means a reduction of the Catalan and a high increase of the English language, that instead of 50% Catalan and 50% Spanish, the children get their classes in 30% in Catalan, 30% in Spanish and 30% in English.

catalan_not_spanish

Don’t get me wrong. I love English. And for me, it would probably be a piece of cake, but then again… Think about how well or in some cases how not so well the outcome might be. Do they have decent teachers, do they have decent funds to invest in this Project. No. E.g, the school of Sant Miquel (a small village in the north of Ibiza) had placed up a huge bed-throw at the Wall of their school advertising tyhat the Balearic government still owed them a sum of 19,000€. And that is only one school. How so? How are they going to pay for the extra teachers… ??? How are they going to pay for the extra tuition??? For the extra books??? Hahahaha… Ladies and gentlemen. This will be solved Ibiza style, or Mallorca style. That is so easy, if your name is Jose Ramon Bauzà. Basically the answer is you are not getting any of this. Yes, You heard me.

No extra teachers.

No tuition paid.

No funds for books.

No funds for even paying old debts that concerned parents, the school itself or the state.

How on earth can this be a good basis for such a Project that – if it were well planned and well put into practice – not such an idiot thing. However, we are faced with empty wallets, resigned teachers, teachers who fear being menaced by disciplinary punishments and so on. The spirit of the generalissimo is still very much present. That present that the press today showed that Madrid does not want to change the name of Franco because of linguistic reasons. It is scary to see the adoration of a dictator who would have thrived in the amount of fear and repression that is subconsciously planted in the souls of so many, many Spaniards, as well as Catalonians.

And even if the TIL had come out as a proper plan, it would still be an attack against the Catalan language.

Let’s talk about how well are the Balearic Government free to decide what they are doing. There are many, many jokes in the net and one can see on television who is in charge. It is clearly Bauzà himself. Getting rid of a third of his parliament and claiming it was to show respect and the need to cut costs, was a nice excuse to get rid of his opposing forces within his own party. Bauzà has a nice little streak of a mini dictator in him. He may look like an ageing model or a car salesperson but in fact he is very strategic in what he does. Plus he thrives in the power he was given.

timthumb

Back to topic. No… I don’t know either. It is scary and it is such a preposterous idea. I am a strong activist for any type of increment of language and literature in school. But the way this is done is just… so, so, excuse me, it is so wrong… We have heard about the proposed system change right before the summer break and even then teachers were saying no. Little did we know back then. Now it is the second week of school and the teachers are still on strike, twitter is full of hashtags that show the support they are getting from so many different places, from so many different people.

So, I hope you know now about what’s going on in Spain and more specifically on the Balearics.

Why did I mix these topics together and added some streaks of personal history to it, even though they only on the surface have something to do with each other?

I would think that there is a deep underlying structure. If Wert called for the fact “españolizar” hispanize the children of Catalonia, then this is actually quite fascistic if not downright fascist.

If speaking Valencian is a crime, and smashing up a government building and disturbing an official act (given you’re rightwing!!!) is a small thing easily forgiven and does fall under the jurisdiction.

If a TV show (on IB3, the local TV station of the Balearics, government funded… ) about the TIL only shows:

– a group of six, all men (not one woman!)

– the majority were lawyers and not education experts

– one teacher, whose forte certainly was not to speak in public

– and without a decent distribution of the time allowed for each side (the defenders of TIL had 7 minutes, the ones against it 2 minutes!!!)

There is slight feeling, that this whole program could have been government sponsored and PP-program aligned. It is just so wrong the way they do a supposedly political program on TV. It was just so previsible.

Personally, I could not believe that there was not one person who was rhetorically able to speak up and up for the challenge.

Conclusion:

In effect, I wrote this blog post here, mainly because I was getting tired of being asked all over the same questions.

What is the TIL?

Why are you so in favor of the Catalonian Independence?

Why are you so Pro-Catalan?

Why are you against the TIL?

nacionalisme-espanyol-1

Mainly, I hope to have clarified this issue with the above text. I am a language lover, I do not think that TIL is actually oriented in real life and will promote “fracaso escolar” more than anything else.

My obvious tendency towards the Catalonian Independence derives from the fact that I among other subjects (I majored in languages), I studied history and I think that the free state of the Catalonian people is necessary. Historically it can easily be derived that Catalonia is a state. I could go deeper into history but this would go to far. Also from the point of view that being a repressed nation, the Catalonians deserve to decide for themselves. Psychologically it can be argued as well, when the amount of suffering has been big enough for them that their will for independence outweighs the fear of being defeated. The Catalonians need to try it, I feel also Catalonian, I am one of them, and I wish them, I wish us the best of luck, and I think that Spain would be wise to let them go. Unless they want to have a century long hate relationship with even worse cases of linguistic recriminations and also crimes in the name of the Spanish state which presides everything.

First of all, I know, Catalonia is different, but Ibiza is also different. We work so much with tourism on a daily basis that the idea of reinforcing English in the school system is not the worst idea, but again… The way this is done, is what makes it turn out to be a total disaster or a plan that should be planned and scheduled properly in order to be successful. Please do not implement TIL. It is not worth the trouble it will surely cause. And try to prevent it for the sake of your children!

samarettaverd

So, where do I tie the knot?

Language and culture is like two peas in a pod. They belong together. If you take away the language from a person, in the sense that you make it a crime to speak that language, you steal part of his culture and basically you victimize him.

0001espaaindignados

Invaders have often done this. The Romans did this. The Greeks did this. The Spaniards did this. No big deal. But this here is the 21st century. I wish for mankind to be as far evolved that they see that you cannot suppress culture and language for a long time. It will stir things up. It will make people rebel.

Those in charge in Madrid, and also our little Napoleon of the Balears, Ramon Bauzà, would be well advised if he saw that denying people to speak their own mother tongue is a crime. It is a direct reference to the military dictatorship of Franco. And to be honest, this in itself gives me the creeps.

mossos_franco

What gives me the creeps even more is that there was a report that they want to reprimand people who speak on facebook, twitter or any online media about things that could cause a public disorder. This is also a step away from a democratic system. Be warned. And be alert that Spain and also the Balearics do not move back in time. This would be fatal.

o-JAQUE-AL-REY-facebook

I seriously apologize that I could not post the homage to T.S. Eliot whose birthday it is today. But I will take the opportunity to thank you.

Advertisements

Ok, no cuddling this time. No time for that. Straight full sex. Or said in other words: medias in res. I’ve really had it this week. Maybe, it’s the lunar constellation, maybe it’s fate, maybe it’s kismet, karma, call it whatever you like, but I’ve had so many weird experiences and no-go situations this week that I’ve seriously had it when thinking about the time I’m losing due to the negligence and poor behaviour of other people’s behaviour. My pain threshold has been pushed and scraped past or also being plainly crossed many times.

rude-loser-195

 

I won’t go into details because this is personal, but fact is when you can’t keep an appointment for whichever reason (whether you did not like the appointment in the first place, whether you thought otherwise, whether the moon was in a bad constellation for you, maybe your chakra was out of tune, your cat was sick, or you were sick, or the whole idea was sick) it basically does not matter. What matters is you inform people when you are not coming. It is simple as that: this is basic. If on the other hand, you don’t find informing someone who came to see you helpful, so this other person does not know that you have no intention of seeing them, it is common knowledge this is basically downright rude behaviour and, basically, even by today’s low standards absolutely inacceptable unless you willingly want to annoy someone (in which case, bravo, this is way to go). Maybe I am naive, maybe I am still believing in Santa Claus, it does not matter. I basically tend to believe people what they say. This does make me vulnerable, and maybe I am an easy prey too for some people. I can see the downside in this behaviour of mine clearly. So maybe it was about time that I got shaken up a bit to make it clear that this time around, I need to adjust my asshole threshold level a bit… But on second thoughts, I really don’t want that. Yes. I am a sensitive person and I seriously want to stay that way. I don’t want to adjust myself to make myself less sensitive because some other people aren’t sensitive enough.

psychology

 

Don’t get me wrong. This is not an ego trip. This post is so not about me, this is basically about how society is changing and why I find it difficult dealing with some of its worst outcomes. This is about the way in which so many people have morphed in terms of behaviour. It is so sad. It is seriously breaking my heart. I don’t like what I see. But beware that you don’t criticize this. Otherwise you are the weirdo forever and ever.

I might be a weirdo to some. Still… I am pretty clear on this one. Society is what people consent to make it. In other words, society is the product of all our commonground behaviour. And if this rude, insensitive, and pretty much asshole like behaviour is cementing itself as being acceptable then we don’t need to make any moral claims to the future… That will be a redundancy. This is the 101 of human behaviour. And it is slowly but surely getting lost.

shrug-300x186

 

Everyone who I told this story, basically just shrugged and asked me “what do you want?”… “People are like this today.” No, I am sorry, they are most certainly not like that. I deny the possibility and I also resist the temptation of verifying it. The people I chose to deal with are my circle and in my circle I demand a certain standard, and the most basic understanding to me is that if you cannot make an appointnment, you at least pick up a phone and cancel. This is like the 101 your mum or your dad ought to have told you when you were little. And if not, hey, it’s still time to learn.

I am so sick of this shit. In Ibiza standards do tend to get lowered by the watering down of boundaries, by the mixing of different cultures and different standards.

So, I am going to tell you guys which kind of behaviour is really totally unacceptable:

1) not cancelling an appointment, and basically being a “no-show” – highly penalised in my book, I am dead serious. There are thousands of ways: phone, email, facebook, whatsapp, twitter (or even excusing oneself through a third person, even though this is pretty iffy… but at least it’s something)

2) being extremely late and not excusing oneself. I am not talking about the socalled academic 15 minutes. I am talking about serious time here.

3) not answering one’s emails – also not really courteous, respectful or nice… can be excused in some cases, but basically is neither welcome nor promising either.

4) Being closed-minded. Being hard of hearing in a metaphorical sense. Be a good listener – it does make such a big difference as people generally don’t want to listen anymore. They just want to tell things. The most challenging thing today seems to be to have an open ear for someone. I try it every day. And believe me, it is so rewarding. Whenever I do it, I feel I am being me, I learn sometimes something from doing it, and I get one step closer to being the kind of human being I aspire to be.

5) saying please and thank you in general… I feel terrible even having to write this down. But there are so many cases each and every day where I feel inclined to slap some people’s faces… and it just seems so normal to be impolite that you feel weird even being polite. And this is just soooo wrong… to me, this would go without saying that of course, you need to say thank you but there seems to be a tendency that some people might find this acceptable. I personally find this kind of thank you is very important as a motivation factor and therefore and also out of sheer courtesy ought to be said. However, society as well as their benchmarks are changing.

6) To be honest, truthful and still be polite, this seems to be today a contradiction in terms as it is. Either people slap you in the face verbally or they suck up to you. But you rarely get a moment of truth which is even made sweeter by someone who is actually capable of serving you some truth in a polite and understandable form. This is such a dying species. Please don’t become extinct. It is so important to have true friends who will tell you things, important things and still be able to remain your friends because they might do it in such a way that you can actually learn from each other. This is something I totally miss these days. There are hardly any people around who combine both properties.

7) Be moderate. People tend to brag about themselves so much. Where is moderation and modesty gone? I sometimes don’t believe the exaggerations I tend to hear. Basically, this means that you need to reduce everything you hear by someone from outside your circles by a certain ratio. This is truly exhausting. Actually, you could even say… that lying is becoming trendy.

8) Being helpful. This is again a dying species in mankind. DO not always think first in the good someone else can do for you. Think first and foremost in the relation that you might be having with any given person. See the person. Do not see them directly as a competitor, as an enemy, as someone who might steal your show. This actually is so annoying.

9) Be respectful. I know there are a lot of moments when I lose my temper and I might also not be overly respectful to some people and I feel ashamed for it. But the mainstream of today’s world seems to be – the less respectful you are, the farther you get. This is bullshit. Try learning, try studying, try outsmarting people. That’s the way to go. And don’t think you’re better than someone else. First of all, it is all relative. Secondly, respect your fellow men. And thirdly, does it really matter?

10) Be kind. Kindness is something I am really missing big time in the new century. Kindness used to be all around. And the past 12 or thirteen years or so I have the feeling that kindness is often mistaken for weakness. As if kind people could not be strong… Or that tough people need to be unkind and therefore they show their real tough nature. This is so wrong. That’s again skindeep.

11) Don’t judge people. Who are you to judge someone else?

12) Don’t insult or write flame-mails to people. I am serious. This is the worst. Things are somewhat seriously getting out of hand. It went that far that I did not want to open my email account but I can only say. There are lessons to be learnt here. I don’t know which ones yet.

I am so not a preacher. And I don’t want to be one either. But I needed to vent in this case. And be sure, I know, I am so not in the position to preach anyone either. I do a lot of wrong things my end, believe me. But, at least, I am aware of it and I try to mend, I try to become better, someone nice and someone I would truly love to meet. If this were the maxim, if this were the bottom line, then we all could not go wrong. If we all became just a little the people we ourselves would love to meet in the street, at the school meeting, in the press conference, in the board meeting, at the music concert, at the gas station.

Little changes. If everyone does their bit, we all might get along better, and this little could go a long way.

 

 

I would really love to get feedback on this one here. How do you feel about the way that society is changing slowly into?

This is going to be a tough one.

I wanted to be blogging a couple of days ago while passing my days on the couch, getting better from the flu which I got immediately after coming back from my Scotland trip. But it did not happen like that. It is a universally accepted truth and acknowledged fact that life is difficult at times. I was stressing. I had all reasons to do so. Now, I am trying to make ends meet, trying to get things back on track. So, in order to keep my promises incurred by previous statements, this blog post will be different inasmuch I will have to subdivide it into four blog parts. It does not work for me otherwise and I need to get stuff done so basically, that’s why the title is a bit confusing. Since time is moving forward this would be a good idea to get a clear desk.

These topics are all different ones but that’s simply a makeshift solution.

slavery

1. Freedom and slavery – I know it is a big title. Triggered through some talks with friends and acquaintances I recently had, I wanted to shortly discuss this topic. Of course, the two items in questions are diametrically opposite and the existence of the one would be impossible without the other. So what is there that could be interesting enough as to put it into a blog thread?

It is a very known dichotomy that often gets in the way. Freedom is something we all aspire whereas slavery is something we mean to free ourselves from. Have we achieved this goal so far?

I don’t want to sound dogmatic but I think that nowadays people have made themselves slaves to so many things, concepts, fellowmen, without even noticing that it is precisely that what is happening, this subconscious thing that we (the species man) are undermined in our natural way of being a free spirit and therefore, we lose touch with our essential necessities. The subjugation of spirit and the abandonment of freedom narcotizes us and it soothes our desire for experience in many weird ways, that brings us far away from who we are …What is it that we gain from falling prey to these surrogate gods, come on, what is it exactly? What is it that we gain by being slave to wage, slave to love, slave to success, slave to image, slave to food, slave to drugs, slave to whatever it is that we subjugate our lives to…

I know this is kind of provocative and I can almost hear people say “no, way, I am super free”, and “what a lot of bollocks”… I decide what I do and not the company that has the biggest marketing budget or the brand that my neighbour buys and I feel envious because of it. Let me tell you this. It is all very human and it basically happens to everyone. I won’t except myself from being a slave from time to time, but what I do about this, is that I try to become aware into which traps I am falling and thus trying to avoid these traps for the future.

Let me give you a brief overview:

robinson-crusoe

This may sound like I am some kind of female Robinson Crusoe but I am really not. It just strikes me that in spite of having achieved so much technological pioneering as a species, most people today are not really free in what they achieve in their lifetime, feel extremely pressurized time wise and therefore unhappy and stressed. And why is that? Because we (as a species) are very prone to be sidetracked. That is the bottom line. It is true. And here we can easily see that we, Homo sapiens sapiens, are not so far away from the Australopithecus.

Wanna hear an example?

Let’s start with the slavery/freedom pitfall of KEEPING UP. I have two children, aged 11 and almost (a week) 8 now, both girls. I constantly hear them mention tech things their classmates have, the modern amenities let’s call it: Nintendo DS, mobile phones, tablets, laptops and what not. Of course, every parent knows exactly what I am talking about. I get sick and tired of this. Call me old-fashioned if you like, but I think it is such a contagious and stupid thing to “keep up with the Jones” and so not needed, neither by me as a mother, nor by my kids. No-one is actually considering of whether kids are old enough to use, and to treasure these things, to maintain them properly and whether, let’s draw a line in the sand here, whether they in fact NEED all these tech-age gadgets.

I know, some of my readers will now smile because they know that I tend to be one of the first ones to KNOW about technological advance and will be the first one to READ UP ON STUFF like that, but the difference is. I am old enough to differentiate between a leap in technology and decide whether it is worth my while or just skip it. Kids often don’t have the means to differentiate between an important and not so important thing. That’s why we, the parents, need to be very good in our understanding and be wise. What do my children learn when I tell them, “No, honey, I won’t buy you a Nintendo DS. First of all, it is money we don’t have. But secondly, and this argument really cuts the cheese here, you don’t need it. It is techno trash. (which it is) Get out. Take the dog and have a walk out there in nature.” Ok. This probably will work another four years if I am lucky, maybe five, but some day in the not so far away future my kids will ask me to give them the money to buy this and that. What am I supposed to do?

I guess it is a good thing that parents don’t get 12 or 13 year-olds straight away, but that we start out with the beginner’s model, the baby. Only shits its pants, cries, feeds and sleeps, sometimes burps and vomits. After the first four weeks, a smile is the reward for having completed the first level safely. But that’s basically it. Right. Let’s not get sidetracked here. Back to topic.

My main point is that we need to start early with educating the right kind of choices in our children. We are the ones who they look up to, we are the ones who hopefully make them aware that they in fact will see with their very own class-mates that the Nintendo DS or whatever fad it might be is a thing for eight weeks or maybe twelve and afterwards, the novelty wears off, it will be another gadget sitting there, polluting the planet with no significant help in terms of education or well-being.

Another slavery pitfall? What about being permanent available in BEING ONLINE 24/7? I used to be in favor of this. I admit it. I thought I would miss so much if I hadn’t been online one day. I thought that internet and all the social networks I had, the newsletters, the new mail I minute by minute I received was really important. But slowly but surely, I noticed that this was not such a good, not such a healthy way, it just was not right for me because it basically used to eat up so many hours of my working day that I felt the need to find a better way of handling computer time. I needed to do computer time, but also decided that I would limit my online time, control this behaviour until it fitted in with my working, personal and also social life. I was rewarded. My life now feels more real. More like myself anyway. I won’t ban the social networks, I just want to avoid falling into the pitfall of being online each and every minute of my day. Let’s face it.

Social networks are the reality of present day, we need to accept it, whether we like it or not. It would be stupid to ignore it and there is still room for improvement, room and imaginative ways that we can form this amorphous mass. Learn to use it as a tool. Like a chimpanzee will use a wooden branch to get his bananas off the tree. Yes. That is what it is.

We come to the next topic where slavery/freedom can occur: SHOPPING/HAVING INSTEAD OF BEING

What about the constant need for new cars, new tv sets, the newest fad gadget that will clutter so many households all over the planet until one day we will even find this gadget watered down even in a favela of Rio de Janeiro… See what I mean? How can it be that today it is all so immensely concerned with owning things, it is also about the consumption of the right products, the right food, the right clothes, and not about key traits like beauty, truth, knowledge and wisdom anymore?

Ok, don’t get wrong. I am not some sort of TV preacher, I don’t sing gospels, I am not even religious although I try to believe in God (I am agnostic basically, but I would wish there was a god), and I have done a fair share of stupidities in my time, but it strikes me (especially now after having come back from a trip that lasted almost one whole month) that everyone is mostly around with one or two shopping bags, and neither one really goes to the city anymore to see friends, to meet up, to share a laugh, to see a theatre play, play some sports or do something just for fun’s sake, but mostly people go out to buy stuff these days. Or they are out on business. What a strange and sad life that our so-called reality imposes on us. The main motivation seems to be “keeping up with the Joneses”. And that is so sad. Sant Miquel (the tiny village where I live) is in a pretty rural area. But even so, kids start using nintendo DS, they run around with a tablet pc and I keep asking myself why on earth these kids would do with these gadgets. I am not starting on the merchandising that follows every tv series like Hannah Montana, Angry Birds or whatever. Maybe, my thinking is a wee bit too orthodox here, but I read a couple of years ago this book “Affluenza – the All-Consuming Epidemic” by John de Graaf and I must say, there is so much in this book that comes to haunt me when I open my eyes. I used to be one of them. The people who are deeply unhappy. Who have a job, a good and proper income, but when it came to feeling my life, I know I had to change. So I did. I threw all precautions overboard and started out the adventure Ibiza. Well, it was not an adventure as such, we knew the island fairly well but basically that was an objective we had for 13 years and see the way so many people are oriented to consume, to buy stuff they don’t need, to impress people they don’t even like… Come to think of it.

To me, I found that my life became less painful and less of a drag when I rearranged my priorities and became more aware of what it is I am effectively doing:

Consume less – less air condition, less aerosols, less food you will throw away anyway, less petrol. Avoid to always cool down a room full throttle, rather try to create a draft. Summer is summer. Why use an aerosol, try to get the product with a pump spray instead. Think what you need, eat it, consume it but not excessively so you need to throw away only a minimum. Don’t make too many unnecessary trips with the car. Walk instead. It is helpful in so many ways, it helps reduce stress, it brings you back in touch with nature and it helps your health in general because it is a free cardio.

Help reduce garbage – don’t have everything double packaged, wrapped and re-use stuff. I am quite sensitive with this issue cause I used to work for a company in recycling and I think people should think so much more about the necessity of packaging and use things that have less and re-usable packaging. We only have one world, one planet. Let’s try to keep it in habitable shape for our kids and grandchildren and generations to come.

garbage

Downshift your working hours – I have been trying to that lately. I have been glued to the screen so many months in the past 12 months that I seriously felt the need to really take a break. I have bought the book the “4-Hour Work Week” by Timothy Ferriss and I haven’t got round to read it but I am so interested in the argument that goes with it. I will keep you posted on this one.

ferriss

Spend at least time each and every day and say something nice to a friend, partner or a child / children. – this is a karma option. Do what you want others to do to you. I wish I would remember that one every day. I am absorbed so many times that I really need to work on that one.

All in all, I would like to finish this mini article (hahaha, this much for avoiding clutter) with the idea that freedom and slavery is a pair. One of them is yin and the other is yang. Try to integrate both of them to get the best results. We are all slaves in one way or the other. Sometimes, we are free but we chose the way of making us unfree, because we e.g, fall for the wrong type of friend, get contracted by a company that might exploit us, or we submit ourselves to a treatment that we don’t really need. One thing I learnt in the past is that the best remedy for a growing sense of slavery is to step back and take a look at the greater picture. If you see that something is kind of lopsided, imbalanced, then get rid of it. I am not even speaking of good or bad here, I am merely speaking of balance. When something is making you feel uneasy, then it is sure as hell time for a change. Whether it is material or immaterial.

For some people, this might be a really difficult exercise. But you decide to whom and to what you bind yourself, each and every day. The most important thing is to evaluate options safely and make the right decisions, based on facts and on feeling

womens day

2. women’s day – Each and every year, this day reminds me that we ought to have overcome women’s day. My main message here is I really think that this day stinks. It really should not be there at all. But if truth be told: man is perfect in celebrating the oppressed gender. And yes, I believe that women are still oppressed in many ways.

What bugged me a little though was that my loving and wonderful husband actually told me that these days it should be the other way around and that women had the long end of the stick. I don’t quite agree here. But that’s stuff for another blog post I guess. 😉

scotland

3. Scotland – wonderful country. We started out our journey in Edinburgh. We were a little outside in Linlithgow and were in a sweet little cottage. Weather was ok, it snowed a little and my little daughter was amazed to see snow for the very first time in her life, she is almost 8 now! The amount of snow was quite scarce, yet they still tried to build a snowman, but that seems so implanted genetically. So which sites did we visit? We went to see Edinburgh castle, we also went to see the Writer’s Museum, National Gallery of Edinburgh and a couple of smaller museums. I must say that I very much liked the Writer’s Museum and also the National Gallery. Edinburgh Castle of course is a must and we were even lucky enough to be there on the day that was dedicated to Elisabeth II. (I cannot remember what was the occasion) but they had a super long parade, plus salute with many cannon-shot during the usual 12:00h hour. That day, we were really frozen to the marrow as it was extremely chilly and very windy. It felt like well below zero degrees. So used to Ibiza sun, that was quite some different climate to experience.

Writer’s museum is dedicated to Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson. It is quite small but very lively and shows many interesting exhibits.

Edinburgh National Museum of Scotland  is also very recommended, especially for families with kids. There are so many things that kids can do in this museum, it is a bit like the Deutsches Museum in Munich for anyone who knows this museum. It has historic traits but also is very much linked to the present day. It is an absolute treat and there is no way to get bored in this museum.

The National Gallery is also wonderful and shows the most beautiful pieces of art. An absolute must-see.

The other museums are nice like the People’s museum or the museum of childhood but they are maybe not as important if you are there with a limited schedule.

Check this site here for more information on Edinburgh museums: http://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/

After one week in and around Edinburgh, we travelled up north to Inverness. Here we were again a bit outside and on a farmhouse cottage. For the kids, this was fantastic cause they could see highland cattle grazing right at our doorstep, the thickly clad Scottish sheep, and other farm animals. Inverness was not as exciting, but it was still a very nice town to visit. Also here, we tried to make as much as we could of our time.

Stirling Castle, Urquhart Castle, Elgin Cathedral and Fort William were also visited by us.

If you are a family and plan to visit Scotland, try to get the Explorer Pass issued by Historic Scotland. You can get it for different either 3, 5 or 7 days depending on the length of your stay. You will receive many benefits and it is very much worth your while. Also visit at least one distillery. We did so at Glen Moray and had a wonderful time there. The guide was very competent and friendly.

The only downside of visiting Scotland in winter was of course the weather. It was pretty cold, but we were in fact quite lucky in terms of rain and snow.

The last week, we spent on the isle of Skye, after visiting Eilean Donan Castle (the castle featured in the “Highlander” movie). The weather on Skye was sensational. It actually reminded me a bit of Ibiza as the skies were wiped clean and the sun came out, and it felt like spring in fact. Even though it was cold, the air was beautiful and it was super sunny. Skye is surely one of the best kept secrets about Scotland. Portree is the biggest town on the island. We visited it twice as there is not so much to see in the winter. There is a big port, a couple of tourist shops and some restaurants and fish and chips shops.

The wonderful walks we did while on Skye are the thing I will cherish for a very long time after coming back. We really packed backpacks and took a flask of tea, some chocolate for strength and went up to the Old Man of Storr, the Kilt Rock and its waterfall (an absolute amazing view!!!)

kilt_rock_skye_scotland_0845

and the summit walk of Quiraing. There is still so much more we would have done but our Scotland journey basically ended here and, after driving from Skye again back to Edinburgh by car and taking the train to London, which was very beautiful because you have a nice impression of where you are going and the landscapes are also really breathtaking.

In London, we had another three days before boarding our flight back to Ibiza. All in all, we had 25 days on the road. This is apart from the Australia trip we did back in 1998 the longest journey that we as a couple / a family took.

Obviously, this being a holiday of one of a kind, I am very happy that we all came back safe and sane. It  always is a good sign when at the end of a holiday you start to wish for your own bed and for your usual surroundings. I really had the feeling that we had a very special time in Scotland and in London.

london

London has always been one of my favorite cities but I must admit I had not seen it in quite a while and so it felt a bit like “la-la-land” it just did not seem real enough. It is a bit like falling into Disney world commercial. Too many tv screens all around. There are things where you ask yourself, what for??? Like the Starbucks coffee shops at every damn corner, there are tv screens on every garbage bin in Westminster which I found pretty monstrous. Who on earth needs that? It is so silly.

Well, but on the upside, we managed to visit the Tower of London which to us historians is quite a milestone. I had been visiting the Tower in the early nineties already while in Dublin. The Tower I saw in 2013 had nothing to do with the Tower I saw in 1992. The way in which it is presented is totally amazing and really quite pedagogical. Absolute thumbs up, even though also here, the prices are pretty hefty. For a family ticket, you fork out 55 British pounds. Plus the little guide-book and that is 60 quid without the eating and the drinking which you will need since the Tower is a thing where you can virtually spend a whole day or the best part of a day. But it is definitely worth it.

London is still the most expensive city I know. It is too damn expensive.

Summarizing, this journey has been amazing and wonderful plus I think and I hope that my children will remember all the beautiful things for ever and ever.

PS: Why didn’t I post in between? Because I simply was not online. First of all, it was unintentional as wi-fi was so hard to come by and my provider is quite costly to roam in UK, so after fraying a couple of days, I decided against it. I wanted to focus on the journey and not on the fact that internet is basically everywhere nowadays. On one day, I think the 6th of February, I was shortly online, but other than that, I really and truly disconnected the whole month of February. I came down and learnt to unwind. I don’t need to be online each and every day anymore. Some days I feel more like going online than others. I know that the internet today is a necessity but again here, the question of finding the right kind of dosage, is crucial and also a question of awareness.

PPS: I won’t promise to upload pictures. If I get around to do it, I will do it. If not, don’t be sad. Scotland is worth the trouble, even in winter. And London, even though it is getting closer to become a local branch of Disneyworld is a unique capital with many facets and a very bubbly character.

I know what you’re gonna think. Exhibitions and especially openings can be pretty boring. Now you’re gonna think. Right, so now you tell me that yours was different. Yes, ours was different. We had people from all over the place. There were Belgians, Australians, Lithuanians, Catalans, Germans, Argentinians, French people, Spaniards, and other nations I have no knowledge about. To me, being an extrovert human being, and possibly also someone who only gears up when I can listen and speak to three or better four languages at a time, it was just like a dream come true. The buzz, the vibe and getting a direct comment on what you do. That is so great. For some others, it might have been their personal nightmare. Ugh… So many different languages, too many people around. Yikes. Well, then quite obviously, openings of that kind are not cut out for you.

The lecture itself also went pretty well. No major hickups. I was excited but managed to keep a lid on things and present the poems well I was told. These are the things that people need to tell you afterwards. Mind you, I do think I could have done better if I hadn’t been nervous like hell and if I had had a chance to prepare that my lecture was filmed (a thing I had no knowledge about when I started the reading. After the first or second poem they were suddenly there right in the middle of it. But what can you do? 😉 ). If you think you’re good, that’s when start being bad. And I strive to be good. Well, sometimes, you have to do with so-so. But I won’t settle for that.

Anyway, that’s neither hither nor thither, so we had our opening night of our Dark Vila exhibition last Friday and, funnily enough, there was always the right number of people around. Not too many, not too few. Always kind of people coming and going. I know the exact number of people but I won’t debase myself and tell. No. I am too proud for that. This is my secret. The funny things is that there were people, mostly unknown to us since all of a sudden, most of our friends, were unfortunately not there due to car problems, flu, and other impediments. I guess opening nights can be tricky in that respect. But here and there, there were new faces, new opinions, and new takes.

I must say it was not what I had anticipated but it was even better instead, much better. It was very lively. So, we had people from the Consell (I was surprised again), the culture person in charge (surprised again), later on, IB3 popped around … in a moment when I had started reading out the poems aloud in three different languages. Speaking about perfect timing, it would have been great to know they were coming but they had left it open if they would or not, so it was again another element of surprise here 😉 and – to be quite honest – in a moment when I not really believed they would make it and cover such a small event. But they came and they did. We even got a mention in the Saturday noticies, preceded by a very funny teaser! I was amazed. A few moments later, I was sent the link of the small feature film. Brave new media world that has such people in it!

Dark Vila mostra una eivissa ben diferent – Click here to see the IB3 video

I am still walking a bit on air. It is a strange feel, a bit surreal. But a good one I guess.

We achieved something. Not everyone will see our exhibition but those who did all had a friendly comment for us, and I got new ideas, new perspectives and new little incentives for some future projects. That’s the beauty of it.

Oh, did I mention that Diario de Ibiza gave us a third of a whole page to anounce our DARK VILA exhibition which was very generous considering the fact that we are not really on the screen of anyone and considering we are flying well below the radar plus the fact that they had not seen the expo before writing their article? That was a vote of confidence I would say. 😉 That was one day prior to the opnening. I will scan it later on and try to insert it as well. Up until now, things have been really crazy. Right now, I want to step back and maybe fast forward to a different moment in time, but hey, no, I want to enjoy this. Like I enjoyed that evening, together with my husband Berno, my children and of course with Oliver Janssen who is the other half of this joint project and that took us five months to set up. Take a look at his blog too.

Come to see Dark Vila. It is really worth the long (?!) way to Sant José de sa Talaia on the white (and sometimes dark) isle of Ibiza. At least, judging from the comments we received so far.

PS:

I will try to get more media coverages here on this blog but I also need to get back on track with my Catalan learning chores, my translation work and the preparation of my first novel in catalan and finding the right people to walk that way with me. So bear with me please.

Here is the link to the exhibition https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/events/440385366024045/

When you look around in the world. Most of the people are concerned with the 9/11 celebration and remembrance services for the heroes in NYC. But, living in Spain, 9/11 gets outdone easily by this year’s “L’Onze de setembre” which is the National Day for all Catalans. I don’t want to go too deep into the history of the date but it goes back to the year 1714 when a lot of people died a heroic death, serving their country and dying for it.

The world of 2012 is undisputably quite different nowadays. First of all, today a lot of Catalans were in Barcelona celebrating the Catalonian National Day. This was a day of historical dimensions. There were 2 million people present in the Catalonian capitol Barcelona. A lot of them waving the red and yellow flag with the star. They showed their political opinion. And it was a demonstration that had no major hickups as far as I know.

Then, some of us need to follow a more mundane rhythm of life. Basically, you are far away. Back in the olden days, you would have yesterday’s paper to inform yourself. But hey, this is 21st century. You have all the comfort of sitting at home, watching television, using the social media such as facebook and twitter to receive the information of an event you would like to witness rather closely but cannot make it.

To be honest, I did feel quite close to the events. I read a lot of well written articles about how people right now. Of course, I am just someone who immigrated about five years ago, but I still feel I have a right to form a political opinion on what is evolving here before my very eyes. Even though it is quite clear that if I had had such a terrible urge to go, I would have gone there. I can safely say: Go on, Catalans. Try to push forward. It is worth a try. Go on, Catalans. Don’t submit yourself. And what I saw today was a sign that a lot of young and youngish Catalans are not prepared to tolerate too much shit we are being fed each and every day. They have been pushed that far that now the idea of separating from Spain altogether does not seem such a bad idea.

And you know what… After having done a fair bit of reading, I totally agree with them.

Visca Catalunya lliure.

%d bloggers like this: