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I wrote a note a few weeks ago in Spanish without the help of an online translator as a challenge to myself but also as a review of my stay¬†in Spain. I talked of friends,teachers and people I have met during my travels and the lessons I have learnt. Later I posted it on Facebook and tagged all the people in my class. I got good comments so I am posting it here ūüôā

Cosas que he aprendido en Alcal√°

Vine a Espa√Īa con el objetivo de mejorar mi espa√Īol, hacerme amigos espa√Īoles y viajar mucho. Puedo decir que si, lo he hecho m√°s o menos pero lo que encontr√© aqu√≠ en Alcal√° de Henares fue mucho m√°s que esto.

Si alguien me hubiera dicho que cuando llegar√© ser√≠a en una clase lleno de chinos no le creer√≠a pero es la verdad.¬† No estoy diciendo que es malo pero era raro los primeros d√≠as para m√≠.¬†¬† Ahora estoy a gusto con esto, tengo algunas amigas maravillosas. Como resulta, he aprendido mucho sobre este pa√≠s; su comida, sus ciudades, su cultura y puedo decir algunos frases en chino .Pero mi conocimiento de la cultura oriental no se queda solamente en China, adem√°s de esto s√© tambi√©n algunas palabras en Coreano y Japon√©s. Y puedo decir que tengo una hermana Coreana porque la llama afectuosamente ‚Äėunni‚Äô que significa hermana.

Algunos d√≠as pasado fui a Zaragoza con mi amiga Elizabeth y nos encontremos con una chica china y yo la dec√≠a que ten√≠a muchos chinos en mi clase y por eso puedo decir algunas palabras ella dijo ‚Äė¬ŅAh s√≠? ¬ŅC√≥mo..ni hao?‚Äô ¬†¬†Yo contest√© ¬†que este frase era sencillo, entonces Elisabeth y yo dijimos en chino el refr√°n ‚Äėcuando hablo del rey de Roma, por la puerta asoma‚Äô Ella se qued√≥ boca abierta y llam√≥ a sus compa√Īeras para escucharnos. Aquel ma√Īana recibimos muchos halagas de esas chicas. Seg√ļn ellas tenemos muy bien acento¬† .Claro que tenemos un buen acento ¬Ņc√≥mo qu√© no? si tenemos m√°s de veinte profesores.

Durante nuestro viaje encontremos con muchas personas de otros pa√≠ses tambi√©n; una pareja de Italia que eran tan amables, otra pareja de Brasil que fue sorprendido cuando di ‚Äėobrigado‚Äô despu√©s de que tomaron una foto para nosotras y les cuente√≥ que ten√≠amos en nuestra residencia un brasile√Īo.

Uno de los recuerdos que nunca voy a olvidar fue en la clase en Alcalingua con mi profesora Visi. Est√°bamos estudiando los tiempos del subjuntivo y los pasados. Cualquier estudiante que ha estudiado espa√Īol sabe que esta lecci√≥n es dif√≠cil. Visi a veces cuando no entendimos nos dec√≠amos de traducirlo en nuestro idioma. Un d√≠a durante la lecci√≥n de este maldito subjuntivo nos dijo de venir delante de la clase y escribir en la pizarra ‚ÄėCharlabamos‚Äô en nuestros idiomas respectivas. En espa√Īol, esta palabra es suficiente para saber si es singular o plural y que tiempo del pasado. En las otras lenguas era otra cosa. Al final, la pizarra se qued√≥ llena de largas frases en Ingles, Twi, Chino, Coreano, Kurdo y Japon√©s.

Con esa experiencia realizamos  que las lenguas son realmente diferentes y ser capaces de tender la mano a alguien uno tiene que entender de donde viene.

Todos estos casos demuestran c√≥mo es imprescindible ¬†aprender del otro. ¬†A veces cuando mi profesores o me preguntaba sobre mi pa√≠s y respond√≠a ellos ten√≠an una cara de grande sorpresa.¬† Me imagino que ellos ten√≠an algunas ideas de √Āfrica y nuestras culturas y estoy contenta que he hecho un poco para ense√Īarles¬† algunas cosas sobre Ghana.

Ahora, me falta algunas d√≠as para volver a mi pa√≠s y pienso que he logrado algunos de mis deseos que ten√≠a antes de venir. Lo de tener mucho amigos espa√Īoles‚Ķes un poco complicado ¬†pero tengo una profesora en¬† m√≠ residencia que nos da clase de oral gratuitos!¬† Se dice que la calidad es ¬†mejor que la cantidad ¬Ņno?

P.S  I happened to be on one of my favourite blogs, and guess what he wrote about? The same ideas I wrote in my post, about identity, stereotypes and perception. Left a link below, check him out!

http://http://africaphotographer.blogspot.com.es/2013/05/who-i-am-is-who-i-am-identity-and.html

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Cosas raras que he encontrado durante mi viaje.

Fui a Zaragoza, Barcelona y San Sebastian la semana pasada durante el puente y fue estupenda!! Vi la Sagrada Familia, Camp Nou,Plaza del Pillar, El aquario y para terminar mi amigas y yo hicimos un paseo en barco. !Fue increible!

Pero quiero contaros algunas cosas raras o graciosos que encontramos durante el viaje. Espero que os guste..

En un restaurante en Barcelona vimos esto en la puerta del ba√Īo

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En Zaragoza vimos un menu muy raro de un restaurante ūüôā

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En San Sebastian vimos una tienda con un nombre muy original…

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Je voir la vie en rose.

Hace dos semanas antes yo ten√≠a una afritrona muy especial en mi cuarto; mi Madre. Ella vin√≥ por dos semanas y fueron dos semanas divertidas.¬Ņ Porque? Tenia dinero, comi mucho y adem√°s fuimos a Paris.¬° La cuidad de amor!

Fui mi primera vez all√≠, ten√≠a ganas de ver Le Tour Eiffel, Les Champs Elysee y Le Louvre. Entoces fuimos a estos lugares pero no pudimos entrar en el museo Louvre porque habia como quinientos personas en una fila que esperaba para entrar. Paris estaba llena de turistas, habia mucha gente en los lugares historicos. Lo peor era que hacia much√≠simo frio all√≠ que en Espa√Īa.

To find a hotel I used budget places and I kept searching for cheap flights.Thank God, where we stayed was just fine because we were in the middle of Paris. It was called Rue de la Republique a few minutes from all the famous places. All along the streets were shops and just below our hotel was a chinese restaurant. J’adore Paris!

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Fin de semana en Gand√≠a

Fu√≠ a Gand√≠a una cuidad cerca del mar en la comunidad de Valencia. La cuidad es hermosa y era calma pero hac√≠a tanto fr√≠o alli. ¬ŅCog√≠ un gripe fatal! Went with my church to a Youth Conference, and I got the worst cold of my life. I am not exaggerating here.. I even thought I had malaria. The symptoms were similar to what I felt when I had malaria. I had a cough,cold, fever,¬† headache and lost my taste buds..oh and I forgot an annoying sore throat. So sorry, if I did not take enough photos.

A whole lot of stuff happened there good, bad and ugly. No quiero hablar del pasado..like my friend Christina said just take the best from every situation. Thank God I shared a room with her, I would have gone beserk otherwise. I loved the concert of Esparanza y vida a Christian band from Espa√Īa and the message George Wood gave to the youth and the workshop I participated in. Also, I am happy I made friends with Juan a guy from church who met me in the train station when we were leaving to Gand√≠a and came back with me in the same bus and made sure I got a bus back home late in the night before he left for his house. There are still gentlemen around girls ūüôā

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¬°Mi primero carnaval!

El sabado fui a mi primero Carnaval con dos amigas y ha sido genial. Mi profesora me ha dicho que¬† carnaval viene de dos palabras “carne” y “vale” . Es porque en tiempos pasado¬† los catolicos hac√≠an¬† una fiesta antes de hacer el ayuno de Pascua. Y durante este tiempo ellos no podian comer carne o beber alcohol¬† y hacer fiestas. Entonces mi amiga Viviana que es Coreana me invit√≥ con Coral una otre chica de China a Madrid para ver el desfile y los fuegos artificiales. Fuimos tambien al Retiro antes del desfile. ¬° El dia fue genial!

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My inspiration for this month :)

I have been inspired this month by African people like me who are making a difference and enjoying themselves as they are doing that. The first time I heard about Chimamanda Adichie it was through a magazine editorial that described her life story and her sucess as an author. Her most famous book is ‘Purple Hibiscus’ which I have not yet read but will be reading soon as soon as I get a copy. What I love about her is that she is a young African woman, she expresses herself so eloquently in english and she represents the new African generation; young people who are learned and who are creating a different image of Africa to the world.

Another great guy that is inspirational is Chef  Marcus Samuelsson. He is of Ethiopian descent but was adopted by Swedish parents. He explains how all those experiences shape his dishes and how every stumbling block was a blessing in disguise. His warmth, smile and even his dressingg style is contagious. He has gone from cooking in Michellin restaurants to cooking with Michelle Obama. How great is that?

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Highlights of Enero :)

Este mes ha sido interesante para mi, aprendi nuevas cosas encontr√© nuevo amigos y mi espa√Īol ha mejorado. I met with my Dominican friends for a friends birthday, my friends and I were invited to a chinese dinner. !La comida era riquis√≠mo!

DSC016452013-01-31 21.15.51DSC01648 Cumplea√Īos de Claudia.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Pendientes y llaveros de filmo

comida china2013-01-26 07.00.55 My attieké!

Ahora estoy estudiando como hacer pulseras,pendientes y anillos de filmo en un taller de manualidades que mi iglesia organiza.

 

Zwarte Piet or Black Pete.

As usuall I was glancing through African blogs and sites and I fell on this article. It deals with a Dutch tradition which is similar to Santa Claus and the elf but their version is Santa and a black slave which is called Zwarte Piet who acts dumb.¬† In December Santa Claus parades with black Pete on the streets and this tradition is still ongoing. What I find strange about it is the fact that they continue to use white people and paint them black. I don¬īt¬† think black people are rare in Holland considering the fact that a lot of Africans live there nowadays. But, anyways if I was a black living there I wouldn¬īt want to act in a such a degrading way. This was a comment made by a black living in Holland called Linda after she read the article.

I’m a black Dutch and I find the Sinterklaas & Zwarte Piet celebration offensive to black people. When I was a kid growing up in a all whites village and all whites school, I celebrated Sinterklaas just like any other child. I didn’t got it why zwarte piet was always playing the joker. It made people laugh. When I got older I thought about it and stopped celebrating it all together. Everybody I spoke to told me, it wasn’t racist because the Zwarte Piet climbs into the chimney to distribute the gifts to the kids so when he gets out, he is all black. But then I asked: what about his hair and lips then? Why is his hair afro and his lips red, like they portrayed it during slavery? I was told I was “too sensitive”. At work I was considered as not being part of the team. At one job they even asked me if I wanted to goaround clients dressed like Zwarte Piet. Obviously I refused.

We live in a society in which the majority of white people, even those who are not racist, see black people as being stupid, dumb, and lazy. In my career I encountered several clients who were hiring and told me they were only looking for”Autochtonen” (real Dutch people), and one client even specifically said: “if you don’t get what I mean, I want people with blonde hair and blue eyes” (my name is Linda and I sound as Dutch as I can be on the phone, so this client thought I was white). Being a black recruiter at that time was quite difficult, because I knew with the majority of clients would only hire white Dutch people. So whenever a Dutch young guy came to register, we were all fighting over him. This also proof the case for every company I worked, I was usually the only black person, if it’s international, I would see maybe two others if I was lucky.

They way white people think about black people has been going on for centuries. Black is considered to be the opposite of white, so everything that is bad is addressed to black people, unless we are good in music, sports and dance. Even in the media if an “allochtoon” does something bad, they will say, the Dutch of Suriname/Moroccan origin… As a black professional, you know that you have to work ten times harder and swallow all crappy so called ‘funny’ comments, than your fellow white colleague. If there is a promotion,9 out of the 10 times it will go to your white colleague, who pretends to be working and behaving well only if the boss is around, and with a 9-5 mentality.

Seeing this I am really greatful I came to learn in Spain and not some of those countries. I am not saying though that Spain is racism free cause that would not be true. I have experienced the; switched my place in the bus cause your black scene, hold my bag my tightly cause your black scene or a cashier checking and rechecking the 50 euro note you gave cause you are black. But it is not frequent and there is a vibrant African and Latino community here. The Spanish too have a Christmas tradition called ‘Los reyes Magos’ it is the three kings from the orient who came to visit baby Jesus in the manger. It is celebrated on the 6th of January with the kings walking around the streets giving children candy and rewarding them with gifts if they were good the previous year. My spanish teacher told my class that when he was small he used to act the part of the black king and thus had to paint himself black and whenever he started sweating his paint ran down his face. But, nowadays there was no need of doing that since you could easily get a black person to play the role. I didn¬īt find that racist or anything but rather funny because it was not degrading to me. I rather thought of it as black Santa Claus. lol. I like the fact that the children are lucky to have three Santa Clauses one caucasian,one black one arabian. What better example of social integration?

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¬°Feliz a√Īo nuevo!

Mi navidad fue diferente de todo lo que he pasado en mi vida poque estuvi aqui en Espa√Īa sin mi familia. Hacia mucho frio aqui y por colmo no podia comer la comida de mi madre. ¬°Que pena!

Although this Christmas season was not the best, I am greatful I got to spend time with my friends. My friends and I went to Zaragoza to visit a couple of other friends and I ice skated for the first time in my life! We came back to a prepared dinner made by our chinese ‘friend chef’ Barry and on the 29th we celebrated Yvonne¬īs birthday(I baked my first chocolate cake). So although I miss family, Ghanaian hot sun, spicy ghanaian dishes etc.. I have a lot to be thankful for.

Here are some pictures chronicling my Christmas holidays!

high on christmas cheer!

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ice skating!

ice skating!

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Our chinese chef :)

Our chinese chef ūüôā

my chocolate faux pas

my chocolate cake faux pas

¬°Que tenga un a√Īo de felicidad y prosperidad! This year is another chance to do things you have never tried so this year I didn’t write New year resolutions. I have to complete the ones I started in 2012.. Happy New Year!!

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Lisboa!!

I just came back from Lisboa a few days ago!! My body was aching, and my feet were a little sore from all the walking and sitting in the bus for hours. But, the country is soo beautiful that the positives outweigh the negatives. I came back wondering why I had chosen to learn Spanish and not Portuguese.¬† I wouldn¬īt mind living in Lisboa.

Here are some pictures:

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Obrigado! That is the only word I learnt in Portugal ūüė¶

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