Thursday, November 29, 2012

Today's a Day for Just Reminiscing...

For those of you that follow my blog, you know I have been posting some old blog entries from my days in Spain six years ago.  To my new readers, Hello! And to all of you, here are a few last posts from my time in Madrid

Everyone Knows I'm In Over My Head...
Saturday, 7 October 2006
10.  One thing that I would import from the Spanish culture to my culture is sidewalk cafes.  As you walk through Moncloa, or any neighborhood in Spain, up and down every street, you'll pass sidewalk café after sidewalk café.  At first when I came to Spain, I thought they weren't a very friendly culture.  The more time I spend here though, the better I am able to observe and understand.  Today I had a quiet, humble meal at lunch time at one of these sidewalk cafes.  It was situated just on the outskirts of Parque del Oeste and Parque de las Montañas.  Today is Saturday, so all of the families were out together.  It's very common to see families.  Even youth-age kids and older 20s-30s, with their parents, enjoying a stroll through the park with their little dog, or enjoying a café con leche or a caña (draft).  Little kids run around like it's their back yard, usually parents in toll fifty yards or so behind them--lollygaggin and talking with other adults.  The beautiful thing about Spaniards not having a concept of private space, or the "bubble" that Americans are known for protecting, is that everyone shares the space.  No one is a stranger.  Many times you'll see someone stop and have a conversation with someone they don't know, because their dog has run up to that person's dog to play (they don't believe in leashes here).  It's really neat actually to see how the people pass their Saturday's away.  A peaceful afternoon using cafes and parks like living rooms.  The parks are full of people--an old couple sitting on a bench, the woman with her shoes off sitting backwards to soak in the sun while her husband reads her the newspaper; a group of girls stretched out on the bench with a towel laid out in front for those who don't fit on the bench, listening to their iPod, sharing snacks, reading a book; a man with his sketchpad; two boys kicking a soccer ball back and forth; a group of boys with their Coca-Cola and  rum (soon to be reprimanded by the policía--drinking in public is (sort of) illegal); a woman sitting by herself enjoying a cigarette.  The park is there at your disposal to relax and not rush in the new week.

Oh, Those Madrileños
Sunday, 22 October 2006
Okay, so definitely I was in this bar last night in Huertas (one of the really fun and interesting neighborhoods of Madrid) just chilling with some friends.  We had gone to Huertas to see some jazz at Populart, but all of the tables were reserved, so we decided to come back another night.  It took us forever after that to find a bar that had tables for us to sit at, that was cozy, not too full, not too much like a restaurant, not to dark, not too creepy . . . haha, anyways, we found one.  It was a cute little place with mostly older people, like 50s-60s and a few younger people like us and maybe one or two couples.  The waitress was really cute with dark spirals  covering her head--you know that hair that's so cute and curly it bounces up and down.  We just ordered and had a nice relaxed conversation about--well not much, just life in general and whatever else happened to pop into our heads.  We were pretty sleepy, so it was just kind of chill.  Shortly after we came in, the bartender--a tall, plump man with wiry hair, receding hairline a plump round nose, and wild eyes--changed the CD he was playing (some nice salsa music) to a mix of jazz and big band music.  So we sat and enjoyed some Frank Sinatra and other classics.  All of a sudden, the lights went out.  Thunder and rain began to boom through the speakers, then some  la-tee-tee-da-ta-tee-ta-tee-tee-do-dee-do . . . ."I'm siiiinging in the rain, just siiinging in the rain, what a glorious feeling I'm hAAppy again . . ."  There were lights flashing here and there like lightening--the works.  We LOST it!  We were laughing so hard--who would have thought, in a bar, in Madrid, they would re-inact singing in the rain!  Then, just when we thought it couldn't get any better, stranger, or funnier, the bartender man came dancing around through all the tables misting water above our heads with a spray bottle.  What a night.  What a story.  You just never know what these Madrileños are going to do next!
A view of Calle de las huertas
On the streets are written excerpts from poems and famous quotations.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Answering "How are you?" in Spanish

I hope you find this video helpful!  It is a continuation of QuickVid 01.11.05.  Please feel free to leave comments or questions below!  What other phrases would you like to know how to say in Spanish?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Video For You // Un video para ti

Hope you enjoy this new video and learn something new!  It covers basic introductions--learn how to say your name and ask "What is your name?" in Spanish.  To add to what's on the video, after meeting someone you can say "Mucho gusto."  (Nice to meet you.)  Or if, after meeting someone, they say "Mucho gusto," you can reply with "Igualmente" (Likewise).  Happy Thanksgiving a todos!!

mucho gusto (MOO-choh GOO-stoh) = nice to meet you (literally, "much pleasure," or "it's a pleasure")

igualmente (eeg-wall-MEN-tay) = likewise

Monday, November 19, 2012

Teaching Your Kids Spanish

I believe that teaching your children a foreign language offers them a fun and engaging experience that they will appreciate throughout their entire life, while also developing certain skill sets and brain functions that only foreign language learning can.  I also firmly believe that children and parents can—and should—learn foreign languages together!  Think about how learning something new with your child demonstrates to them that you value learning, that you are not afraid to try (and fail) at something new, and that you enjoy spending time with them and investing in their education.  Recently Eileen Mc Aree, author of 52 Weeks of Family Spanish, wrote an article “Tips for Teaching Your Child a Foreign Language” on one of my favorite blogs, I Can Teach My Child, go check it out! 

In January, we are starting a Mommy &Me (daytime) and Toda la familia (evening) class centered around the awesome book 52 Weeks of Family Spanish.  It will be a great time of learning, fun, and trying something new as a family!  If you would like to join in the fun, email to register!  

Friday, November 9, 2012

Spanish with Kids

The best way to learn and practice Spanish with children is through play!  Check out this video for some fun phrases to learn and say when building towers--and knocking them down.  That is currently my son's favorite activity as of late.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Learn How to Speak Spanish

I really believe that people can learn Spanish and start using it right away!  Just like children learning to speak, it may not come out in full paragraphs and have the scope of Shakespeare, but by learning a few simple phrases you can start using Spanish and building your foreign language confidence from the get-go!  Here is a quick video that explains how to say "Hello! How are you?" in Spanish.  You can start using this phrase today--even with English-speaking friends--either they will understand and answer you back, or you can teach them something new!  In my opinion a little Spanish goes a long way in bridging language barriers, cultural differences, and akward silences.  Happy Spanishing!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Monarch Butterflies

I am enthralled today by all of the YouTube videos I have been watching about monarch butterflies!  After I found out that they are a symbol of Day of the Dead celebrations I did a little research as to why.  Apparently they migrate to Mexico in the fall at the same time Day of the Dead celebrations are happening.  I think this is one of the most magnificent things of nature I have ever seen.  If I ever travel to Mexico, the town of Angangueo will be my first stop.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Day of the Dead

On the first of November, many Mexican and Latin American families celebrate the Day of the Deadhonoring deceased loved ones.  Here are a few Day of the Dead celebrations happening in Kansas City.  Check them out!

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Click the link above for more info!
Celebrate Day of the Dead at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art on November 4th, 1-4pm.  The event is FREE and family friendly.  Live music and dancing, art, and more! 
From their website... 
"View the Altar Installation | Friday, October 26, through Sunday, November 4

Dedicated to Carlos Fuentes and Chavela Vargas

View the installation, honoring author Carlos Fuentes and singer Chavela Vargas, created by international artist Betsabeי Romero and local artists. Write your own remembrance note in Kirkwood Hall and add it to the ribbon display. Please note: items left on the display will not be returned."
Click the link above for more info!
From their website...
"Dia de los Muertos Family Day at USKC
Saturday November 3, 10am – Noon | Admission Free, Space Limited Pre-registration encouraged
Arts and crafts and more will help kids and families celebrate the Mexican holiday of remembrance of those who have departed.
Every autumn Monarch Butterflies, which have summered up north in the United States and Canada, return to Mexico for the winter protection of the oyamel fir trees. The local inhabitants welcome back the returning butterflies, which they believe bear the spirits of their departed. The spirits to be honored during Los Dias de los Muertos.
Los Dias de los Muertos, the Days of the Dead, is a traditional Mexico holiday honoring the dead. It is celebrated every year at the same time as Halloween and the Christian holy days of All Saints Day and All Souls Day (November 1st and 2nd). Los Dias de los Muertos is not a sad time, but instead a time of remembering and rejoicing."