Archive for the ‘Things Happen’ Category

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Books. Rosa Parks: My Story (edited)

August 31, 2013

rosaparksmystoryIn our next 2013-14 school year one of my Reading proposals (in state-run adult language learning) will be this autobiography by Rosa Parks, the US American Civil Rights activist. I hope you can relate this to the 15M movement and all the (pragmatic, meaning nonreligious) nonviolent struggle happening today in the world. I have created three webpages on talkingpeople.net for this book.

  1. The first one includes links to the other two and a listening activity, where you will hear Rosa Parks’s voice, and find a little thought about nonviolence and violence, among other things. I should include links to a few places and some videos, and I will. Check the homepage out.
  2. Then I have selected some excerpts so students get a feel of the English used in the book, and the stories told in it! But I have also written an introduction aimed at helping students notice things they might miss. Please, let me know what you think. As you know, I’m very much into dialog and critical thinking! 🙂 Check out the excerpts.
  3. The third webpage is a Glossary of Legal Terms in Context: English/Spanish. Check the Glossary out.  I have to say I have just brainstormed a bit for the other Glossary I would like to include (see page 1), which is one on social/nonviolent struggle, perhaps even beyond the historic events depicted in this book.

Anyway, here are the links. Hope it’s useful and enjoyable!

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What she says about bridges!!

June 28, 2013

(edited by me… can’t ask her for permission!
I LOVE THIS POEM, so I’ve fixed it a bit in shape because it seems it was taken from a notebook and it’s not clear she wrote it in verses or in which verses — I LOVE IT BECAUSE… see how it connects (bridges) Death then to Life?? Amazing!!!)

Oh damn I wish that I were
dead — absolutely nonexistent –
gone away from here — from
everywhere but how would I…
There is always bridges
— the Brooklyn bridge
– no not the Brooklyn Bridge because
I love that bridge
(everything is beautiful from there
and the air is so clean)
Walking it seems peaceful there even
with all those cars going crazy underneath.
So
it would have to be some other bridge
an ugly one with no view — except
I like in particular all bridges
— there’s some-thing about them and besides
I’ve never seen an ugly bridge

600full-marilyn-monroe

Marilyn Monroe

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Free!

June 27, 2013

I can’t believe it — Exam Month is over and we’ve survived! Furthermore, my work for public education in Madrid is over for good!

Today I thanked my adorable colleagues for a wonderful year. And now…

I can’t believe I’m going to start a new kind of life!

I hope you all manage to join the protest in defence of public education, because teachers, students and the whole system are being severely harmed by all the changes/policies we’ve been undergoing in these last years.

In any case, never forget speaking a language is far more than getting a certificate/passing a test! Don’t buy exams! Don’t comply with the Shrinked Head Slave Mind!

bearebelBe a rebel – LOVE what you do!

My best wishes for all!

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What Turkey Reminds Us about Tear Gas

June 9, 2013

/tíer gas/

http://wagingnonviolence.org/feature/what-turkey-should-remind-us-about-tear-gas/

TV: http://youtu.be/o3_jyLp5FK0

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Epilogue to Thinking of loved ones, life & death

June 4, 2013

Some days ago I wrote I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t know the people I love, in this post, and some people I love have reacted — disagreeing! My partner. He agrees we never know anyone, even ourselves, in some ways, but in relative terms he believes I know him! An old student of mine. She wrote to say she was surprised about me saying that because in her view I was one of the most receptive people she knew. She was often surprised in class at what things I knew about them!

So I’ve been mulling over this. Consequently, tonight I had a dream. My dream reminds me of a childhood chain of events: when I was a little girl, and because I was a girl and not a boy (I’m sure this would not have happened to me if I had been a boy, I mean), I used to inform my mother of who was a good person and who would hurt her. My mother was very generous and people used to use and abuse her in all kinds of ways (though she never saw it this way), so I was always trying to prevent this from happening. As it usually turned out, I was right with people — it’s really easy to detect love and kindness, or material interest in people’s approach to you, really, in my view. The irrational, illogical and unconsciously patriarchal conclusion (unconscious because my mum was a protofeminist) was that I was a witch, I could guess!, it was magic! — instead of “She can gather info and put it together and give it a useful interpretation!” The interpretation was not that I was especially intelligent or receptive in something. (Actually, the other trait of my intelligence, having a very developed imagination, was also distorted at school, of course: in boys it could be a sign of intelligence, in girls it was dangerous, always.)

Because I was a little girl “She’s a witch” was meant to be funny, but in the same way I knew that little girls have to be very careful when going on adventures on their own (I don’t mean careful about wolves, for instance, but about men and even boys), I knew that being “a witch” was a poisonous “gift”. I hated my mum saying that, especially because the focus would shift to ME and she would certainly ignore my advice. But now I can explain it: girls, little women, have been considered non-un-anti-intelligent for centuries in patriarchal societies, so if they were, it was something evil, really. Actually all patriarchal dogmas say women are inferior to men, lazy, evil, and that is why men have to control women. It’s very recent men have become real parents, fathers, and men and women have started to believe in human rights. And it’s very painful to realize how we, the species, have been able to believe that women were inferior for such a long time. This is just our beginning towards this kind of justice, of course. I mean, it’s still few of us women who can lead the kind of life I’m leading: chosing, deciding for myself, getting respect from people.

Anyway, going back to my topic. There’s something else I remembered. As a teenager I remember not wanting to look at portraits because I felt — in this adolescent radicality that later on makes us laugh in wonderment — I would learn intimate stuff about that person, when the fact was that that person was not wanting to tell me about it. 😀 Weird! But it seems somewhere in me, in that complex road to self-repression, I knew that if I contemplated the world I could find out stuff. As a teenager, I was still a girl, so this was no valuable trait I should work on. The result was that I spent my teenage in my own world, a non-stop daydreaming experience, isolated from people, not understanding anyone, not being understood by anyone, a total-exposure to the adolescent stage.

And after all that, I left my mum’s home, and started becoming my own person. It’s taken me over 30 years to realize that my problem was not that I was “a witch”, “had too much imagination”, “was in my own world”, and the things that teachers concluded when I was in primary, that I was a bit mentally retarded. My problem was that I was a girl in a patriarchal world, that is hostile and worse still, doesn’t allow people to see how hostile it is to the human beings who are born with a vagina. Hostile to their intelligences (the mind-heart), not only to their bodies. When I was thirty lots I realized far from being little intelligent, I was intelligent above the average. At least, I was someone who decided to use and develop her intelligence, which makes your intelligece richer, of course! But here — it’s now that I’m 50 I realize perhaps I had this complex, the complex of not knowing the people you love!

So — I have just realized that perhaps the feeling I didn’t know the people I loved came from a kind of trauma… ! 😀 Perhaps I’m just as able as anyone to know the people I love!! 😀

Wow! Can we really say we know ourselves?! 😉 Not as something definite, for sure. If your mind is open, you keep learning, if you keep learning, you keep evolving, changing…

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Moving out, flying away!

April 28, 2013

Interinas Sin FronterasThis weekend I’ve spent all the time my back allowed me to going through papers, to see if I could throw away some, and organize them nicely for moving out next July! I’ve spent some precious time leafing through all the paperwork adults have to do in life. As some of you know, it took me 10 years to get my post as a civil servant, and two different Teachers’ State Examinations: first I tried to become a secondary teacher, and took exams every two years, passed them (except one, once) and never got the reward! Finally, I tried my luck at adult language education, where I managed to get my position as a civil servant. 15 years in all, from 1996 to 2013, in Madrid (the Autonomous Community). In this time I worked in 24 or 27 secondary schools as a substitute teacher, and then at EOI — where the employment situation used to be better — in 4 different schools. How many papers you get to pile up when you’ve been a teacher in the public system for 15 years! And how they varied, depending on who was in office! Kind of sci-fi. I’ve also found my passports, including my US American passports! And the paperwork involved in burying my mum, too. How time flies! I’ve trashed no more than 3 kilos of paper, and stuff has fitted into fewer boxes! So far, just in this house (I have a room in a house I share in Madrid, too, where I have more stuff!! eek!!), I have 7 big boxes full of paper: activities I have designed for my lessons!!! Can you believe it?, meaning, I’m not counting books, DVDs/CDs, realia (a have two boxes of that!), or boxes with textbooks and resource books. One of those boxes is called “My own language school,” which is something that could happen if the public system in the south of Spain is undergoing the same hardship and injustice.

The sticker is one some of us (“interinas”) secondary teachers who were substitute teachers made! Interinas Sin Fronteras (ISF, subs teachers without frontiers). It’s based on a cartoon by Nicole Hollander, the cartoonist I have on the Talking People Like Page, “That woman must be on drugs” (1981). I have linked the pic to her site.

Andalucía, do welcome us! We’re two adorable teachers, committed to the building of a fairer, happier world! (Demented laughter)

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About EOI & Cambridge language exams in Madrid (Autonomous Community)

April 27, 2013

The EOI Intermedio exam is equivalent to the Cambridge PET exam. They’re both testing a B1 (CEFR) level exam. Scenario in June: If you failed your exams at EOI after having followed the school learning year and after having used a B2 level textbook, the problem is obviously the EOI exam, so you might want to try taking the equivalent Cambridge exam if you NEED the certificate. Some people in class have taken it recently and passed it! 🙂
The EOI Avanzado exam is equivalent to the Cambridge FCE exam. They’re both testing a B2 (CEFR) level. Scenario in June: If you failed your exams at EOI after having followed the school learning year and after having used a C1!! level textbook, the problem is obviously the EOI exam, so you might want to try taking the equivalent Cambridge exam if you NEED the certificate. I mean, don’t quit!

Why am I saying this? Because since 2009 EOI legislation and rules are upsetting all the system, presumably because the political intention is to close down EOI schools, to profit private language teaching schools. Certificate Exams have been targeted, of course: the four tests used to be evaluated individually and you had to get a 60% of correct answers to pass each. If you did pass the four, you got your certificate. If you failed one, or two… you could take the test of that part again in September. Considering the complete tests in June last two days, this was a relief, and fair. Nowadays failing one part in June involves having to take the four parts again in September. However, the new regulations impose, against all informed criteria, a very negative thing: The percentage of correct answers you need to have in each individual part is the same, a 60%, not less (not a 30 or 40%, which would be understandable, to make sure the person had a mininum skill in each of the 4 skills), which means examinees are subject to a DOUBLE evaluation system which no educational body ever requires or imposes. Let me illustrate with a typical case: Say you have a total of 78/100, a 78%. Well, if you have a 14/25 in one of the four parts, instead of a 15/25 (the 60%), which is the pass mark, you will fail even if your total is between 60 and 99/100!! Consequently, you’ll have to take the complete exam in September!!! Does that 1 point out of 100 mean the person has not achieved the tested level? No way. We could even consider a 10 point margin. Some schools do not publish the marks people get in their Written Part (Reading, Listening, Writing Tests) just in case they can avoid these cases: the case where the person has one 14/25 or two, or one 13/25, and could get a good mark in the Speaking Test, provided, of course the total is above the 60%. Because flunking people in this case would pose an ethical problem, and in terms of respecting the law, this measure can be defended, for very obviously they wouldn’t be giving a certificate to someone who does not deserve it.

The question is, How can a student feel when after learning he or she can’t pass an exam which is even under his or her actual level considering Intermedio 2, Avanzado 2 students use higher level textbooks because a B2 can be achieved in 4 years and 6 is far too many? Why don’t the authorities improve this situation? It’d be enough to ask for a min. 30% in each one of the four parts and a 60% in the four together. Well, informed analyses point to the fact that free adult language education in Spain is bound to extinction. Spain is the only EC country offering this amazing service, so for the past 10 years, politicians have been meddling with the law to prepare things for future privatization. A clear event hinting as this is that EOI language teachers are not called EOI language teachers anymore in recent legislation, but just “language teachers”. The idea is that when EOI close, if the authorities manage it, they’ll transfer these civil servants in secondary schools.

EOI = Escuela Oficial de Idiomas, State-run Adult Language Education in Spain

CAMBRIDGE EXAMINATION CENTRES IN COMUNIDAD DE MADRID

*ECUS Educational Development
*International House Madrid
British Council Madrid
Cambridge Schools Centre Madrid
Centro de Idiomas Universidad Carlos III  sólo estudiantes
Centro Superior de Idiomas Modernos Universidad Complutense sólo estudiantes
CESMA Business School

2013 DATES for EXAMS given by the BRITISH COUNCIL in MADRID: For PET (B1), for FCE (B2), for CAE (C1). Remember other places above also give them, and that you can also take online exams.

NOTICE that TAKING those EXAMS COSTS between 200-300 euros, approx., and that nowadays, what used to be free language course at EOIs cost 300 euros.

REMEMBER SOMETHING IMPORTANT FOR ANY TEST TAKEN ANYWHERE: You cannot bring your phone or any other electronic devices to your desk in the exam. Your centre will tell you where to put them during the exam.

At the end of each paper (e.g. the Writing paper, the Reading paper, etc.), the invigilator will tell you to stop writing. You must stop immediately.

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Lesson Plans! Getting ready for an orgasmic end of course!

April 19, 2013

Hiya! Just now I updated the Pages here for Avanzado, Intermedio, Learn2Learn and Topics, but I might’ve forgotten to link some posts. You can post them there if you like!

We have next week and two days of the following week to finish UNIT 6, OK? Select what you are most interested in! We won’t be able to do it all in class. I will also pick some exercises. freebooksThen, there’s a holiday (May 1, 2) and when we’re back it’ll be May 6 and 7. We’ll use these lessons to finish up UNIT 6 and raffle the books we have in class, because… May 7 is World Book Day, a very special date!! You are all welcome to bring books (in English) to give away! Reading is like travel(l)ing and like space voyaging! In Avanzado 2 we’ll take our Practice C1 Test in May 8 and 9. We’ll do the listening in the second part of the lesson so that people who are always late can get the chance to do those, but we need to take the break a bit earlier.

Over THIS WEEKEND you could try to do the unit writing assignment and practice speaking on the topics we worked on. And then if you love English and want to do some more, do all you think we’ll probably skip in class of UNIT 6! We’ll only have two weeks for unit 7!!bearebelCome on! Cheer up! Enjoy your English! You’re LEARNING something complex and amazing! Have a pleasurable weekend! Hurray for orgasms! 😀

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About dashes, hyphenation and capitalization

March 22, 2013

Here are the notes I wrote in 2011, related to what we were talking about today in Avanzado 2!

http://www.talkingpeople.net/tp/skills/writing/noteswriting/capitalizhyphendash.htm

Rubén, yummy cramberry cake! 😀 Scroll down a bit and read about the Installation I wrote on you! See if you like it.

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Two more interesting articles — and have a nice weekend!

March 16, 2013

No, you’re not entitled to your opinion

The exclusionary language of inclusion

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How to be a feminist man

March 16, 2013

Posted: 16 March 2012  – Source

Recently a man friend asked me if I thought he was being a feminist in his behaviour, and if not, how he could improve. That conversation led to me writing this post. My ideas below are all indebted to conversations with feminists, including those at Feminist Action Cambridge. There are so many more we could add.

A note on gendered language. I use ‘men’ and ‘women’ here to refer to the cultural categories of gender, and not the biological categories of sex. By saying ‘men’ I do not mean biologically-born male people, but people who call themselves men and act as men in the world. This works for my use of the word ‘women’ too, and I explicitly include trans women under the umbrella term ‘women’. If my trans sisters and comrades can help me make this blog post less cis-centric in any way – please do.

Also, this list is pretty specific to the groups of people I know, many of whom are activists and/or academics, single or multipartnered and normally childless people, often queer, sadly mostly white and mostly middle-class. So the list needs extending and diversifying.

I would like to date feminist men. I would like to live with them and work with them and stand by their side in political struggle. I haven’t met that many feminist men, and neither of the men I have had relationships with has described himself as a feminist. They were hot but being feminists would have made them hotter. I also date women and gender-queer people, and I can’t remember ever dating a woman or a gender-queer person who has not been explicitly and actively a feminist before, during and after our relationship. This is, obviously, mind-blowingly hot.

A friend suggested that calling feminist men ‘hot’ was itself a patriarchal statement, because even if feminist men were not hot the moral imperative to be feminist would remain. I think the friend might also have been worried that my using categories of ‘hot’ or ‘not hot’ remains within the bounds of a normative discourse of ‘sexiness’ that feeds straight back into patriarchal practises. I both agree, and still find feminist men hot. They are counter-patriarchally hot.

How to be a feminist man:

1. starting the struggle

– we live in a patriarchy. Patriarchy and capitalism are close friends and it is important to fight both. The first step to being a feminist man is to fight patriarchy in your community and in your own behaviour. Because fighting the patriarchy is a high-energy struggle, this has to be an explicit goal and an ongoing priority.

– fighting capitalism will help here, but it is not enough. Therefore: feminist men should recognise that far left politics do not make them default feminists. Far left politics are a basic condition for hotness – but excluding feminism from these politics leads directly to manarchism. Feminist men avoid manarchism.

– I take it as given that feminist men are outspoken pro-choice activists, that they believe survivors of sexual violence, that they don’t even know any rape jokes let alone tell them. Feminist men are aware of feminist history and believe in the urgency of revolution.

2.  sex and relationships

– the personal is political. If you are not sure what this means, read ANY feminist book or blog and you will know. To be a feminist man, make your relationships a site of political struggle. Do not be an activist on the streets and a patriarch in the emotional world of your relationships.

– be good at consent. Be interested in consent and aware of how it works. I recommend reading this article. Consent is complicated and, as the writer of that article argues, it might only be possible to have more consensual sex, rather than fully consensual sex, under patriarchy. Be aware of this and check consent anyway, as often as you and your partners need and want to. In the words of a legendary Cambridge feminist activist, consent is sexy. Ask your partners how they like to do consent.

– if you have a penis and/or penetrative sex, be open to mutual penetration. This can be a radical feminist stance which asserts the potential for violence in all acts of sexual penetration. It can also be a queer feminist stance, asserting the shared vulnerability and jubilant changeability of all bodies. Both are hot.

3. feminist redistribution and the politics of care

– if you are a non-monogamous feminist man, be aware that patriarchy puts you in a position of power over your partners and metamours. Different kinds of power can come into play here, including economic power; if you are a man who works, you are likely to earn more than your women partners and metamours and so be able to afford different kinds of dates or properties. If this is the case, share your money as well as your bed. There are other power problems, such as the distribution of emotional labour in relationships (see my next point). I’m not sure how we non-monogamous feminists can solve the power problem without full-scale revolution, but being aware of it will help for now. I’ve found feminist men to be amazing metamours. Being a feminist man will make you better at polyamory and other kinds of consensual non-monogamy, and it will be hot.

– for this point I am indebted to of one of the members of FAC who told us that when she is upset she turns to feminist men friends to care for her, because she believes that women have done enough work in this area already. Under patriarchy, the large proportion of emotional work is carried out by women. Feminist men should actively address this. So to be a feminist man, seek out emotional labour tasks. Request them: ask the feminists around you how you can take care of them and support them in their struggles and their lives. Follow their lead enthusiastically. When you have found the emotional labour tasks that need doing, take them on at compensatory levels in relation to their uneven distribution under patriarchy. This is a Marxist-feminist analysis of emotional labour. I find it incredibly hot.

comrades, this is about redistribution. If you want children, do the childcare. When our loved ones are dying, do the palliative care. Take on these responsibilities and lead on them with the support of your partners and communities. Activists would call this bottom-lining. Feminist men bottom-line care.

– this is also about simple economic redistribution: feminist men demand to be paid at the same level as or less than their women colleagues.

4. doing your feminism and (not) talking about it

– know what mansplaining is and be allergic to it. If you think that you risk mansplaining then privilege women and trans people’s voices and expertise over your own. This is especially important in capitalist workplaces. Also at activist meetings and in theoretical discussions. And feminist potlucks. Mansplaining is the opposite of hot. Ask more questions and listen to the answers.

– as a feminist said to me this week, feminist men should not make a big deal about how you are both a man and a feminist as if other feminists are supposed to be impressed by that. Especially not if you are trying to get a feminist to have sex with you. That is mactivism. Instead, if you are a feminist, do your feminism. If you are an anti-objectification feminist, describe your objection to sexist images and remove them. If you are a queer feminist, campaign beside your trans sisters and comrades in their struggle for recognition and safety in our world. If you are a socialist feminist who feels solidarity with sex workers, do work that supports sex workers and their struggles. Just do it. There’s so much feminism that needs doing.

– be aware of your privilege and of the different positions and backgrounds of others. Feminist men should be ‘intersectional’ feminists, meaning that they support and fight for black, differently-abled, working class and queer feminisms among others. This is selfless feminism for men. It is hot.

Finally,

– found a men’s feminist group. Feminist men understand the need for women’s-only spaces, and they build their own groups where they educate one another in being feminist men, and train themselves up to stand beside their sisters in our struggle. You will be our allies.

Maybe if you do all of these things then other hot feminists, women or men, will want to have sex and conversations and do the revolution with you. Good luck comrades, and fuck the patriarchy.

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Convocatoria Noviolencia 15M Sol

March 13, 2013

If people can attend this meeting, I’d love to know about their impressions!

Encuentro de grupos y personas sobre NOVIOLENCIA Y TRANSFORMACIÓN SOCIAL. Segunda reunión.

Domingo 17 de marzo. 18 horas. Csoa Raíces. Calle Mesón de Paredes nº 15. Metro: Tirso de Molina.

La sugerencia para el orden del día de esta segunda reunión es analizar las propuestas que se sugirieron en la anterior reunión.

  • Realizar una campaña con todos los grupos posibles sobre objeción fiscal como forma de lucha política. Coordinarnos y generalizar esta forma de lucha. (Propuesta colaborativa: http://titanpad.com/1ZcMmYWXiK)
  • Guía práctica TRANSFORMACIÓN SOCIAL MEDIANTE LOS IMPUESTOS. (Propuesta colaborativa:http://titanpad.com/ULsalMNKTF)
  • Formar una plataforma con páginas en FaceBook y Twitter. Se sugiere el nombre ALTERNATIVA NOVIOLENTA.
  • Se propone un taller sobre machismo y violencia. El mejor antídoto contra el nacismo es el feminismo.
  • Recogida de firmas entre personas de la cultura apoyando un manifiesto para que la constitución prescinda del ejército como instrumento de la defensa nacional. (Propuesta colaborativa: http://titanpad.com/A5Ozs7LLce)
  • Realizar una campaña coordinada con otros grupos contra los Gastos Militares.
  • Trabajar contra la criminalización de la protesta.
  • Trabajar la autogestión.
  • Taller de comunicación noviolenta.
  • Apoyar consultas ciudadanas incluyendo las consultas digitales por internet.

Aquí está el acta del pasada reunión: http://titanpad.com/X5l0PFTMlh

Contacta con nosotras en noviolencia15msol@gmail.com
Actas de nuestras reuniones: http://actasmadrid.tomalaplaza.net/?cat=342
FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Noviolencia15msol/118537784958307, Twitter: #noviolencia15ms, N-1: https://n-1.cc/pg/groups/1408214/noviolencia-15m-sol/, Blog: http://www.noviolencia15msol.blogspot.com.es

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Quvenzhane Wallis

March 2, 2013

give your daughters difficult names. give your daughters names that command the full use of tongue. my name makes you want to tell me the truth. my name doesn’t allow me to trust anyone that cannot pronounce it right. – Warsan Shire

http://www.shakesville.com/2013/03/on-quvenzhane-wallis.html

http://www.crunkfeministcollective.com/2013/02/24/a-love-letter-to-quvenzhane-wallis/

http://poetry.newgreyhair.com/post/41290110631/in-preparation-for-war-warsan-shire

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Dear Green Light, Red Light Group!

February 26, 2013

Today, the Avanzado 2 Martes group felt like a community!

yummyinmytummyÁngeles baked a cake for us all! I couldn’t believe my eyes! And then — it smelled just like a cake I used to have in my childhood! That’s a lovely experience, too, right? — experiencing a childhood smell! And well, we shared it at the end of the lesson, which included lots of (gastronomic) pleasure for us all, and Ana, Manuel and Alberto taking pictures of the group! Ángeles, I hope I can make enough money when I set up my little language school, to be able to have you as a guest teacher! You could conduct a cooking workshop in English!! My partner is enjoying the cake now! He says thanks!

Josemaría came back from Portugal. Hopefully, he’ll tell us a bit about this amazing country and its very civilized people! (And it was I who got the pressie! 😀 )

Oh, and Rubén wondered why should anyone want to quit being a civil servant, right? For me, being a teacher in public education was my life ambition and when I got the position in 2006 it was Happiness for me! Now I could work forever in my dream job! Yes!, although my life tries to follow the anarchist ideal of freedom and solidarity, I actually concluded that the best job for me was public education, because this system was paid by us all when we pay our taxes (people should pay their taxes and demand the rich paid more, because it’s them the problem! Why the hell do they need to amass such fortunes!! They are responsible for the crisis! Such demented egotism!! We’re a species on a planet, forgoodnesssake! Use your intelligence!!), and it included academic freedom, and it was free and for all, for every person who wanted to learn! But policies (against public education) continue to burden teachers with pointless / destructive issues: cutbacks in their academic freedom — it seems the authorities are following the model in the USA in non-university education — to turn them into tools voicing textbooks, increasing pointless paperwork and not allowing teachers anymore to do all the work they did in their own homes, making them do that in the schools, were we don’t have our materials and equipment, and certainly not enough hours!, and subjecting adult learners and teachers to a series of pointless exams (nowhere to be seen in quality adult education), following the worst possible interpretation of what evaluation is. (We used to be free to evaluate during the course, this is, to give feedback on skills, and we used to organize OPs for that, for instance, and nice activities like that.) Or perhaps the reason is simply that I’m tired of trying to give my best as a teacher and this costing me even more time and effort.

And well, we spent the lesson with people practicing the monologs on The Elderly, and The Beauty Myth, and then coming to the Exam Area to get my feedback. People were really good. I bet that if you found more time for your English, you would manage to reach a C1 or Advanced level in General English!

Next day it’ll be more on monologs and also practicing the interaction on The Economic Crisis and Volunteering, for next week performances.

Remember you need to send me an email with “av 2 martes mon” on the subject line, so I can send you the recording. And then, when you record it again at home, for a final improved version, remember to send it to me with “doublechecking” in the content box, so we make sure you can use it in May to gain confidence for your final Speaking Test. Create a folder called “monologs” so you can keep your final monologs! You could do something like that with your final Writings, too, so you have a selection of well-written samples of different kinds of texts.

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What to do. Issues worrying more and more people

February 26, 2013

Employment and housing have always worried people in Spain.

Housing has worried them to obsession, this is true — this explains why people in Spain do not follow the Western European trend of not buying a house. Grandparents own houses, their children had that priority and now their children in turn are beginning to wonder — should we or should we not get into a mortgage to buy a house? That’s the question.

Unemployment has led numerous families to depend on their hard-working finally-retired elderly — and please understand the term in the most progressist way, for families in Spain have widened to include more kinds of people who are willing to share their living together — without using the traditional notions of patriarchal systems, e.g. wife battering — psychological, sexual and/or physical assault by a man to “his” property and slave, the Wife — and the neglect of children, in the kindest scenario.

Society in Spain is much better than it was, more diverse than ever, more eager to take part in the construction of democracy, but we have to keep the spirits high — resilience is something we should keep in scope, but most importantly, I think, it is to keep strong our “alegría“, the ability to feel cheerful, vitally happy, in spite of hardship.

And in case it helps, in my view, we can survive all kinds of situations. I’d like to pose the idea that we have imagination and we are capable of solidarity and that life is about struggle, but this doesn’t mean it’s a Valley of Tears — it can be fucking cheerful, too! At least we should try our hardest to live as if life was joyful — we’ve got enough imagination for that, and well, imagining things is a way of creating things. Our spirits, what we call our “ánimo” are crucial for moments of hardship. We all know that. So we should take good care of our “ánimo” and support people around who help in doing that, keeping a vital spirit high, cheerful. This is the main battle! Because when your spirits sink, you lose your strength and energy…

Then, in case it can broaden the picture — I’ve never known the situation where you “always have the same job” or “the same house,” though it is true that in the 1980s, when I left my mum’s house, whenever I needed money I was able to find a job. Actually, I still remember that the flat I shared with two other students cost 24.000 pesetas a month and that I earned 90.000 pesetas a month — and I thought it was outrageous I should have to “waste” 8.000 pesetas a month in housing, when housing was a Constitutional right! 😀 In the 1990s, before I became a civil servant / public teacher, I was sharing a 65.000 and later 70.000 pesetas flat and still earning 100.000 pesetas! Back to my attempt of broadening the picture, I know I’ve always not followed the general plan that seems to have prevailed in the Spanish society for decades: after surviving the education system you get a job, marry and buy a house. !!! 0_0 !!! I’ve never found any sense for me, for my particular Self, in that! And although I’m about to be 50, I still wonder why that program is so popular! 😀 Anyway, life has more models, more potential, whichever options you actually pick. And choosing doesn’t mean, should never mean a life sentence. I mean, just look at Nature — it’s full of all kinds of variations, of combinations. Life plays all the games, like the CIA! 😀

About jobs, I’ve changed jobs all my life, always looking for something better (something I did not feel I was being strangled by — I’m rather sensitive to the joys of freedom), always eager to learn from any kind of work experience. About housing, I’ve always shared a flat/apartment, because I’ve never had enough money to rent a house on my own, far less to buy it! Actually, when everybody around me seemed to be possessed by the Buying a House Fever, I was always wondering how on earth could they manage it. But then — I’m not good with banks. I was more of the kind that would put away the little money saved in a sock under the mattress. I’m not proud of this, of course. I understand the need of banks. But there MUST be a better world of banks, too. Anyway, back to my story, for many years, I did not know if I was going to gather enough money to pay my rent. I lived on a daily basis. And I did survive. We survive all kinds of things. And something the worst thing is being eaten up by one’s own fears, not real life. I’ve even been a homeless at some point in my life, when things went very wrong. And I survived. I’m not saying this is an ideal situation, of course. I’m just saying life is not easy, it’s about working really hard, but also that it’s not all about money. We need much more than money, starting with our own ability to be able to relate with cheerfulness and kindness to others, because this is connected to how kind and cheerful a home we’ll give our struggle. Also, I just mean to say that not knowing if you’re going to be able to pay your rent is not different from what happens to people who get into mortgages. In both cases you can end up homeless. However, it is cheaper to rent, and safer, and you’re freer, too. And you do not have to involve others in your payments (your collaterals), because if you don’t pay they can actually lose their own house! (Thank goodness people are protesting this, the evictions.) And what’s wrong with sharing a house? If we are poor, we are poor. Being poor doesn’t mean not having options.

Well, gotta go to bed now. If you’re feeling down, because of unemployment or housing, try to be strong, psychologically strong, appreciate the good things around you, other people, make the most of what you can actually enjoy, and do tons of good constructive thinking. Our intelligence is much more intelligent than we think! Think, get informed, talk it over with people you love, think so more, sleep on it, but like a fucking merry peaceling!!! 😀

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Feb 23: Marea Ciudadana! (People flooding the streets!)

February 23, 2013

Edited for updating: 23,19:33

23F represented till today the date of the (failed) coup d’État we had in Spain just after 3 years of Democracy after the dictator’s death.

Today, 23F means to us it’s PEOPLE RECLAIMING DEMOCRACY.

In Spain, demonstrations happening in recent years have been called “mareas”, “tides (of people)” and have had people wearing different colors: green for education, white for healthcare, black wore by civil servants defending a service to society vs total support to private enterprises, orange to protect social servicesviolet for LGBTI and feminist movements (cutbacks in social advancements of this sort, including the right to have a abortion — it’s funny, even if violet appears on the news, they don’t mention the color! Ugh!), and yellow to defend true Justice… Recently, this has also included people attending places where people were going to be evicted from their homes, so… red to stop evictions. (They actually collected 1.5 million signatures which forces the Spanish Parliament to consider their proposal to solve this horrible problem.)

Reclaim democracy!

Saturday demonstrations in Madrid (Spain) in defence of public services (healthcare, education, justice), fighting for a truly participatory democracy, social and environmental justice (inc. civil disobedience against evictions!), and for transparency & honesty in economy and politics (no cutbacks! wrong debtors!):

23feb4 departure points — meet there and start march at 16:30h to Neptuno:

  • #23F Salida ruta Sol – Neptuno
  • #23F Salida ruta Colón – Neptuno
  • #23F Salida ruta Embajadores – Neptuno
  • #23F Puente Vallecas – Neptuno
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Dear all! Thanks for reading!

February 21, 2013

I’d like to thank your visits! It’s encouraging that the work we do in this little blog is helpful! I think some of my students are finally checking it out too, which is good news too! 😀

So here’s a little present. I’m trying to learn to paint, though I’ve got far too much on, with paid and unpaid work, and dealing with my own life! But well, I managed to finish my second gouache piece (kind of childish-looking, right?) and donated it to mujerpalabra.net, because on that site we share postcards we do to fill the world with good ideas! The idea in this postcard below is (translated from Spanish): “Venus Blues 21st.c: So you believe women have human rights but you don’t feel the need to develop a feminist intelligence? (Sad war, so sad.)”
I coined the phrase “feminist intelligence” to add to Cynthia Enloe’s phrase “feminist curiosity” and contribute in this way to try and make people aware that we need feminist curiosity and intelligence to uproot the sexism we’ve all been brought up in century after century and liberate ourselves from this very heavy and violent and distorting patriarchal gender system, that defines what a man and what a woman are in war-like binomies!, committing the crime of limiting our (people’s) human potential.

venusfeminista1

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On Ainhoa’s question

February 15, 2013

Sorry! I almost forgot: Ainhoa asked about the difference between “complex” and “complicated.” The feeling is that “complicated” is something complex that makes you feel it might not be “solved” or it might not turn out well. “Complex” is like a scientific term: it just indicates something is not simple.

That’s why a Facebook option in relationships is: Complicated.

If we lived in the world I’d construct, it would be “Wonderfully complex!” 🙂

Back to language issues, the best option is always to gather sentences where native speaker use it. In this way, you develop a deeper and more intuitive understanding plus you get some extra practice that will help stop translating from Spanish and learn from language by natives! ♥

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Intro to Feminism (in Spanish) & More for Curious Happy Creatures!

February 14, 2013

feminism-is-the-radical-notion-that-women-are-people-cheris-kramarae-and-paula-treichlerAfter our celebration of One Billion Rising, and our discussions, I would like to recommend a book in Spanish which I read last year. It includes some of the Herstory we’ve always been denied: the History of the women, particularly of the women /wímin/ that opened the way for what is today known as Feminism. Of women who worked for women’s human rights — risking their lives, most of the times; actually, French “revolutionaries” guillotined the women who demanded the Declaration of Men’s Rights included women, because it didn’t, in spite of the fact that there were philosophers supporting them like Mary Wollstonecraft, and many more! (Well, Wollstonecraft was English, but she moved to Paris at the time, to support the French Revolution.) It also makes a good present/gift. It’s “Introducción al feminismo,” by Nuria Varela. And on this webpage in her website, she has some posts tackling some of the issues she includes in “Introducción…”, in case you want to read a bit before getting a copy!: Feminismo para tod@s.

Yesterday I also recommended Eulàlia Lledó Cunill‘s books on language, from a feminist linguist’s perspective. If you love language, if you are aware of the amazing power of language to affect reality, I particularly recommend you read feminist analyses of language. At Mujer Palabra, guess: we have a lot of resources on the importance and the power of language! Here are our postcards!

Last, a book debunking neurosexism, to clear the way for healthy notions coming from neuroscience, that will enlighten you if you haven’t grasped so far how deeply the gender roles condition our choices. Cordelia Fine, Delusions of Gender. In Spanish (great gift, too): Cuestión de sexos.

  • floresdestructivasMost people have never missed women in the books they read — “he” being enough to represent the species, and the “she” experience being too unimportant to deserve books or even a name.
    (Bansky’s graffiti on romantic love.)
  • I know most people have never wondered why the only books about women we read /red/ were written by men.
  • Fortunately, in the 1990s in Madrid, we finally managed to have quite a few women being published. However, we’re far behind books by women if we compare our case to the USA or Britain.
  • Women have to find their voice, word their thoughts and experiences, and ANY human being should be curious about listening to, reading what they say. Why is there so little curiosity? Why is it so common people immediately feel threatened when women do so? (Patriarchy, as a system, is a terrible idea. Analyzing the construction of the patriarchal gender roles is liberating for all, and much more consistent with the notion of human rights!)
  • I committed to reading women writers in 1989, when I found Feminism in the society that surrounded me — I was living in London at the time. And I was appalled: how could it be that I hadn’t realized women had no voice, no authority as thinkers and artists in my mind-world?! How could it be that I hadn’t missed listening to women thinkers and artists and activists? I felt so ashamed, and so angry! I realized how very destructive the weapon of OMISSION is. My proposal is you commit to reading at least a book a year by a woman. And please, saying “a woman” is just saying, a human being who has been denied the right to study and get involved in public life and all because she has been categorized in culture as inferior, psychologically, intellectually, emotionally, spirituality. There are all kinds of women-persons, but they all share having been considered the dark / evil side of the gender coin.
  • The 20th centuries are beginning to change that (though, if you read the book, you will see how we said this same thing centuries ago!), and we women are voicing our thoughts and experiences in public. We should. It matters. It’s a matter of great importance. Because we have not been allowed to have a voice in culture — we have just been allowed to transmit patriarchal culture. That was the closest we were of any connection to an intellectual life.

I think it would be worth listening to women, too.

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We can stop rape! Spread the word!

February 13, 2013

men-can-stop-rape

On Feb 13 & 14 we’ll be part of a global day of action against violence against women, organized by V-Day and V-Girls. In class (at a state-run adult language education, an EOI in Spanish), we won’t be physically dancing, but we will be playing the amazing music of our minds together thinking hard to solve the rape problem — we’ll be brainstorming to put together a list of things each of us, and we as people who care, can do to prevent rape. We will also celebrate the chance of being able to listen to girls’ voices: we’ll read stories voicing girls’ realities (we have 13 classroom copies to share).

Every student is welcome to present V-Day, One Billion Rising (the action) or any of these very useful materials! (We also welcome paper copies, as we can’t afford to make many copies.)

Please, don’t look the other way. You can lead by example. Together, we can change the world, to make it a kinder, juster place! Hurray for solidarity!! We’ll stop evictions and we’ll stop rape!

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Principles and Ideals (dedicated to Laura)

February 7, 2013

(edited the 2nd par. on principles and the ending)

Principles are straight-jackets. They make us hard, inflexible, they blind us, they lead us to intolerance. Patriarchal societies have been dragged to self-destruction by principles. Sacred principles — two words that combine really well. I hear the word and my hairs stand on end! It’s one of the most scary words I know! Principles condemn! That’s their job! They teach self-hatred and consequently hatred to all.

Ideals are like guiding stars. You do your best. You know life is complex. You analyze, discuss, negociate. They do not make us blind. We can see what is going on around us, and try to behave in the best possible way. (For the case of individual anarchists like myself, following the beautiful ideal of freedom and solidarity.) Ideals make our mind more complex, and therefore help us to grow. Because we understand that life and living is not a black and white movie, with goodies and badies. We can study a problem (people with ideals tend to be critical thinkers), describe it, but we’re always mentally on the move and paying attention to context, because — precisely — anything can happen. And we have to learn to live together without imposing things. And we have to learn to be free without denying other people their freedom. And this is no easy task.

Principles strangle creativity, critical thinking, love, life, freedom. How many Men-of-Principles do we know of, from History books, Politics, Religion-of-course, with their sacred wars in the name of some sacred principle? How many people-of-principles have been cruel and murderous to how many many people? (when society despises certain people, I mean, like women who were abused and got pregnant and on top of that were suspected from being “bitches” and marginalized. How many women in villages and towns in Spain committed suicide, literally speaking, or by means of becoming alcoholics and “lunatics”? Just because “people” despised them, and the most terrifying thing is why they despised them: because the principle was a decent woman is never subject to abuse and is always willing to become a mother.)

reach-for-the-moonA man with a principle will come up with “The end justifies the means.”

Ideals can never make you cruel. They’re about rational empathy, the highest form of intelligence, and therefore one detested by the patriarchal system. Ideals make love grow. I mean love, not “romantic love” (the fairy tale told to keep women locked up and obedient and not free and choosing their lifestyles and relationships). A love of living, relating, being there, growing, learning…

We need more people with ideals! Why should we want tot reach for a knife when we can reach out for the moon?

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If you are out of work, here’s something you could consider…

February 5, 2013

pbi30yearsIn the 1980s I volunteered with PBI, Peace Brigades International (don’t mix it up with Peace Corps in the USA — this group was created within the framework of LIW with a double aim: neutralize potencial social activists in the USA sending them abroad on “solidarity” projects, and using these people, their well-intentioned work abroad in the framework of LIW, this is, for true purposes that had little to do with what volunteers thought they were doing). Here’s their website in Spain: http://www.pbi-ee.org. I was with PBI-Guatemala, a little with PBI-El Salvador (we held a nonviolence training there) and after that, PBI-Nicaragua (this last one, a research project). In PBI-Guatemala we offered nonviolent escorting to people threatened by the death squads (relatives of the disappeared, trade unionists, peasants), we were international (nonviolent) observers, too (but without weapons, unarmed, unlike the UN Blue Berets — the funny / strange thing is people only notice people fight when they carry weapons, and so a lot of people fighting nonviolently are not perceived as people fighting! 0_0), in events like demonstrations and lock-in’s in factories, or the like, and sometimes we gave workshops on conflict resolution. I spent a year in Central America and learned about Low Intensity Warfare, and above all, about how people fought through nonviolence. Actually, people in countries at war value nonviolent direct action and work by pacifists further more than people in countries with democracies — places where if you protest, you are not shot or kidnapped and tortured. PBI has projects in several places, and I’m not following their work now, but I suppose there’ll be different projects. They only work where they are requested to work, meaning they don’t just go somewhere and work — they wish to have people’s request. You might find a project that suits you! Who knows! Well, I’m writing this basically because PBI is holding a meeting in Donostia on February 16, in case you want to find out about it. Here’s an area which is new. Thanks to feminism! Making women’s intelligences, courage, generosity and work visible in a patriarchal social system everywhere that has denied them their very human nature through terror and for centuries!!

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Next week: Feb 13, 14 – Taking a break to open a space!

February 5, 2013

iamrisingA teacher (public/state-run adult language education) kindly scanned the stories we will read in class on Feb 13 and 14, because we will be rising to strive for a better world, without all that “invisible” violence against women. People who have the book or the script “I am an emotional creature” are welcome to bring it to class. The cut-n-paste work here comes from copies of the book. I will take 15 classroom copies (you cannot keep them, because I’ll be using them with the 4 groups) so that two people can share one, in case people don’t have their own copies. It’s 10 pages in all (5 sheets of paper if they’re printed on both sides).

EC1 + EC2 + EC3 + EC4 + EC5 + EC6 + EC7 + EC8 + EC9 + EC10

It seems Val, an English teacher who was a student of mine years ago, will visit the Intermedio 2 group on the 14th I think, to present One Billion Rising. This means we might have a guest speaker who won’t be charging anything for her contribution!

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Should governments legalize all drugs?

February 5, 2013

humantraffickingHere’s a site where you can post your reasoned opinion and read people’s reasoned opinions!
http://www.debate.org/opinions/should-governments-legalize-all-drugs

Article: 10 reasons to legalize all drugs

We should consider the wider picture of what making some substances illegal brings about… Human trafficking or slavery and zillions of similar crimes against the most vulnerable, or just analyze who is imprisoned and who aren’t and should…

By the way, why is it legal to work from 16 on, but people can only vote once they are 18?

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Ay mi mare!!! Fixed! (On Speaking of Pets)

February 4, 2013

News! I just fixed it all: AVANZADO 2 MONDAY STUDENTS, SORRY FOR MIXING UP THE AUDIOS AND WORKSHEETS. NOW YOU CAN DO THE SPEAKING OF PETS EXERCISE: BOTH LISTEN TO IT AND PRINT IT SO YOU START AGAIN! http://www.talkingpeople.net/tp/ra/avanzado2/february.htm

Avanzado 2 Tuesdays, tomorrow you’ll get the paper copy, so ignore this message today! 🙂

About an hour before fixing things: Dear all, Rushed home, just got here, sat to do the listening again and… it’s all wrong!!! This audio is not for the Worksheet I gave you!!! No wonder we couldn’t work it out! It was not that it was difficult. It’s true I have designed stuff at a C1 level. This, however, was simply a mix-up! So I’m going to try to find the correct episodes… Sorry for that. Thank god I did the task as you did it, instead of reading out results! It would’ve been a traumatic experience! So — don’t discard the Skeleton of Meaning technique, please! I suppose it worked perfectly well in the second listening task, right?

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On how to listen…

January 27, 2013

Sharing a quote a cyberfriend posted on Fb:

“I’ve got a challenging assignment for you… I am inviting you to cultivate a special kind of receptivity — a rigorously innocent openness to experience that will allow you to be penetrated by life’s beauty with sublime intensity. To understand the exact nature of this receptivity, study Abraham Maslow’s definition of real listening: to listen ‘without presupposing, classifying, improving, controverting, evaluating, approving or disapproving, without dueling what is being said, without rehearsing the rebuttal in advance, without free-associating to portions of what is being said so that succeeding portions are not heard at all.'” (Rob Breszny – I’m not into Astrology but this cyberfriend of mine is! Anyway, Breszny’s reflection here is a very good. I also use / got to the idea “innocent openness”! It’s amazing! I bet many more people will, then!)
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Rolemodels – people who did quite well (it seems) loving each other!

January 25, 2013

roberplantmaureen

One of the most important steps we humans gave in the 20th century was finally understand that freedom is necessary if we want to learn to love. Historically, marriage has never been about love. And in a way, in the 20th century it started being about love. But there was more: we could also love truly without being married, because love is about emotion and respectful relationships, loving relationships, and not about anything else. From this point of view it’s much easier to understand that if love ends because both people stop being in love, it’s as sad as if you lose a friend. It’s sad, but this doesn’t mean that the past was false, or that the future needs to be all about suffering. There are a lot of lovely people on Earth! Most importantly, life is not about falling in love with some One. Life is full of people and your Self is full too, of potential, and we can do all kinds of things in life. In love-sex relationships, it seems to be good to specialize, if we like (as good as if we don’t because we don’t want to!), because we still have a lot to learn about relating to ourselves and to others in loving ways. Step by step! 😀 But, I mean, love is about love. And life is about living. And we can share emotions, adventures, conversations, etc. without “being in love.” We should widen up the scope, really! 😀 Because some people spend their whole life wanting to have a partner, forgetting about love. We’re trained to ignore love. But this has been a great beginning, the 20th century!

People whose sense of freedom has not been crushed by Industry, in spite of the dramatic fact that their work, artistic work, opened a new road money-makers would populate! Robert Plant and Maureen, his partner… together from 1968 to 1983

roberplant

bacallbogartbacallbogart3Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart… together from 1945 to 1957 (when he died)

jodiefosterandpartner

Jodie Foster Cydney Bernard… together from 1993 to 2008 or 2013? (As you can see, it’s harder to find more private photos of homosexual relationships, because they still have to be really careful, to protect their love, and their lives.)

Who knows about more people who loved other people nicely? (I mean, famous people!)

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Announcement – experiencing smells! (and another bit on Marilyn and death)

January 23, 2013

As you’re learning stuff about the senses, I’ll bring Chanel 5 and Coco Chanel tomorrow to class, in case you want to see/SMELL what they are like! I’ll have those in class on Thursday too, for the other two groups. If you are interested, remind me of that!

article-marilyn-monroe4There’s a very famous quote by Marilyn Monroe: She was asked “What do you wear in bed?” and she replied “Why, Chanel number 5, of course!” I was burning curious about this. Believe me! (Curiosity did not kill the cat – curiosity took her to interesting places!) So when I passed my Oposición (public/state teachers’ competitive exams), I bought Chanel number 5 to give it a try! It’s a very sweet smell, and I related it then to older women. But it’s a very mysterious smell when you wear it. Well, I also bought the eau de perfume because it was what my mother wore. She kind of identified with Marilyn Monroe. And I think she might’ve been right. The thing was that my mother died, and death is like this: at the beginning you can’t believe it. As time passes by you can’t bear it. Till you learn to create a room deep inside, that you can visit when you are ready. Every now and then, you really feel like visiting it. And it’s got nothing to do with religious beliefs, in my own view. It’s about remembering people you loved.

Considering death is a taboo subject in consumerist societies I should really set up a language school where I could also give workshops — especially to non-believers like myself — on How to Deal with the Death of Our Loved Ones.

Marilyn also said something which is really poetic, I mean, with the wild power of poetry: “Only parts of us will ever touch parts of others.”

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Join in!

January 18, 2013

Hey,

martha-graham-satyric-festival-song-1986300-dpi-1

I’m part of the revolution of people who will WALK OUT, DANCE, RISE UP (and us LEARN, DISCUSS, DEVICE) and DEMAND an end to violence against women and girls on 2.14.13. (We’ll also do it on the 13th Feb so that the other two groups that come to class get the chance of taking part in this.)

ONE BILLION RISING is a global call to human beings across the planet to gather in their communities to dance and demand an end to violence against women and girls. Will you join me? Sign up here: http://onebillionrising.org/ (sign this letter and post it on fb, whatever), or pinpoint and EVENT in their map of the world (ours is the only event happening in our town, so far! Check it out here: http://www.onebillionrising.org/page/event/search_simple ).

Still today, the United Nations states that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped [BY A MAN OR MORE, THIS POINT MATTERS! How can we address the problem if we keep pretending the aggressor is not there? 😦 ] during her lifetime — that’s more than one billion women and girls alive today. V-Day, the global movement to end violence against women and girls, refuses to watch as more than one billion women experience violence.

ONE BILLION RISING is a promise that on February 14th, 2013, we will ensure that millions of women and men rise up around the world to say, “ENOUGH. The violence ends NOW.” http://onebillionrising.org/

Thank you!

(The pic is Martha Graham, not connected to this event, except for the wild dancing!)

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Money matters! (and a dedication to Alberto) :)

January 8, 2013

Today in Avanzado 2 we dealt with a video on money matters. People who have done unit 3 will have felt confident with this kind of vocabulary, for there is great vocabulary work in the unit on this, including a Vocabulary Bank. Come on, everybody! Catch up this week! Come on!!

I learned about microcredits when I was working at EOI Goya. There was an amazing OP on India, and here is Encarna’s piece on this precise topic! Click on the link she included (Nobel Prize) to watch a video. http://www.talkingpeople.net/tp/world/countries/india/india07_microcredits.html

Btw, Alberto told me that my posts are too long! More people believe so, and I’m glad this came up. But I tell you, dear people, I won’t be deterred! 😀 😀 The spirit goes on and on and on…! 😀 (click on the previous link to listen You Can’t Kill the Spirit! – No podrás con mi ánimo, to do a free translation, “spirit”, ánimo. This is a song that was also sung at Greenham!) So I’m dedicating this one to you, people who think I should write less, right? Why should I? (empiric question, meaning Please tell me, if you like. I wonder why) I know your intentions are good, but you see, the Internet is the only space which welcomes us all! I’m not making anybody read me, I’m not taking away anything from anyone. I can write away, freely, and I do so! I write for you students, but I also write for anyone who’s interested. And I love the Net for allowing us to communicate and share in this way! It’s a nonviolent r-evolution and I love it. I believe we should learn to share and learn to be lifelong learners of everything. This is what happens when people are empowered — they might think they have things to share! 😀 😉 😛 And I do, I certainly do! 🙂 So just get organized if you are interested! When we’re really busy we can still find time (never enough) to do the things we love or believe in. But if you haven’t got much time to spare I think it’s better to use it listening to the textbook audios and podcasts than reading me! 🙂 Just find ways to use your English every day, OK? Learning a language takes zillions of time but it also opens the world to us!

Anyway, remembering the OP on India and how much I learned that day. It was amazing. There were so many team members that they amounted to half the people in class that day. They each prepared a different aspect on India, they brought spices and sandalwood and slides! I think I told some group of mine this story: on the day of this OP, we were all so engrossed watching the slide show they put together that we forgot about time. As we were in silence and in the dark, the school janitor thought we had left and closed the school!!! People were so adorable! They were organizing our survival till the following Monday (it was Friday, 9PM!) But heroically, I rushed down the stairs (from a third floor) and shouted my guts out and banged the doors and well, hahahah, the janitor realized what was happening! 😀 We had a laugh!

Sweet dreams, bay bees! 🙂

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Business, cancer and kindness

December 30, 2012

rareteacohttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-20761886

(What have I been doing all afternoon and evening?! Yes! Designing exam exercises! Haven’t I got anything else to do in life?! 😀 )

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