Friday, June 29, 2007

End of Times

The thing I most dislike is aproaching, which is just the end of a special period. It's june already. I have nearly finished my exams and classes have been over for a week. What I didn't expect was to be so sad to stop teaching myself and having to say goodbye to my students. After one academic year with them, we just started to share a special bond... I was teaching at two different places. Once a week 3 hours at the International Translation School and another 3 hours at Shandong University.

The first one gathered students who's level wasn't high enough to go to uni, at least as far as the entry exam was concerned. I had 34 of them in my class, and although they were not always as attentive as a teacher could wish, they had these little details that made me like them. For example, Victor once would send me a message with looked something like this...

<')))>< ><)))'>
Nurture these little fishes in ur cellphone
and they´ll bring you a lot of happiness

A fish in Chinese is called
鱼 (yü), which actually sounds the same as the character 余, meaning surplus, extra. Chinese in fact eat fish and way too much food on New Year´s eve meaning "年年有余" (nian nian you yü), let each year have leftovers, have a surplus...

The Shandong University (Shanda in short) students were a lot more active in class, the conversation would go from future expectations, politics, hapiness to love and not merely be about shopping, going to the hairdresser or football. Although... Veronica´s dream was one of Italian football and Blanca decided to study Spanish because of -or should I say thanks to- Raúl!! @_@ Three of my students -Gabriela, Isa and Daniel- had the opportunity to study in Logroño, in the famous wine province of La Rioja, Spain from octobre to march. Their higher level of Spanish was a big incentive for their classmates to improve even faster. Whereas for me, it was great to finally be able to share experiences with Chinese that had gone to the same process as me, only just in the other geographical direction. They're vision of Spain was different for each one of them: Daniel liked it and would like to go back; Isa valued the experience but realized she loves her country more and Gabriela...well...she came back with a Spanish boyfriend! ;-)

This poem by Pablo Neruda I dedicated to all my students as a farewell...

Bueno... ahí terminó lo que te traía: mi
poesía, para tí, para este día, para esta
tarde, para esta noche y te la dejo para
mañana. No sé si te dejará pensativa ésta
poesía que anda por todas partes: Saca
tierra, lluvia, frutos y tierra, lluvia,
frutos, luchas, esperanzas.... Te las dejo.
Son para tí. Y ahora me voy: hasta mañana,
hasta siempre, amigo, amiga, compañero,

You can listen to it by Neruda´s own voice...

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Baby Party

If right now someone would ask who I think are the richest one-year-olds in the world, I would strongly think of South-Korean ones...

Why? Well, reaching your first anniversary date is a whole achieval according to Koreans. Therefore, the first birthday of a baby has to be celebrated not like any other birthday but as something big. How big? Well, let's say it looks nearly as big as a wedding ceremony!

My friend's brother's son, Jinho, just turned one (or actually two in Korea coz they start counting as soon as you are conceived...) . As we were invited to his birthday party, I expected to go to their home. Yet I was a little surprised when arriving at the district Conference & Wedding Centre. The 1st floor was destined for engaged couples while the 2nd floor was fully dedicated to babies. It had a rich central buffet and 4 big rooms for 4 different baby parties. Each of the rooms was cheesely decorated with tons of pink and soft-blue balloons and had an altar with the birthday king/queen's portraits - in truly expensive framed pictures, albums, posters,... - all that done specially for that day. Korean babes are actually real fashion models!

The ceremony starts when everybody had a bite and a drink, but maybe more when the parents estimate the room is full enough. A professional entertainer opens the show with loud music - happy birthday to you, happy birth~~~~~ - and other funny things - or at least so it seemed. Then the baby is presented a basket full of objects, like a microphone, a ball, a pen, a paper bill, a toothbrush, a calculator, etc. With a big drrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr - just imagine a drum sound - he/she has to pick up one the items that will tell the baby's future.... And what will Jinho become later? A DENTIST!!!

Now all this might not give you a clue on why I would think that day Jinho might also have been one of the reachest babes in the world, does it? The thing is he gets many, many, many 10.000 W bills and, most important, GOLDEN RINGS. Real cute small baby 21 k golden rings! So he really ends up like a king on a throne with hands full of gold...

Pitty those pictures are taken in a studio on a later stage @_@