A Bilingual Baby

A Bilingual Baby

jueves, 30 de agosto de 2012

People Living in Barcelona: Gary Crighton


Gary Crighton is from Liverpool, England. He has a BA (Hons) in Fine Art Photography that he has wilfully ignored for many years. From 1994 to 2000 he lived in Dublin, Ireland, where he worked as an editor for a new media arts website and as a university researcher and lecturer for new media technologies (including digital photography). He has lived (warmly) in Barcelona since early 2000. When not sleeping, eating, watching films, listening to music, or reading, he works as a technical writer and localization coordinator for a rather large company. He isn't married and he owns no goldfish.

1. What’s the thing you like the most about Barcelona?

Probably the climate. Boring, I know, but having lived some thirty-three years or so of cold, wind, and rain, a little sunshine is most welcome in the twilight years of my youth. Of course, the food, location, culture, and history of the city play a big part (or so they say), but the big happy yellow sun in the sky is the glue that binds them all together!

2. And the thing you like the least?

Dealing directly with the tax office, the immigration office, or the Hacienda will invariably have me entertaining violent fantasies. I must have secretly plotted the untimely deaths of at least half of the civil servants in Barcelona (nothing personal you understand). Bureaucracy is a well-developed art form in many a country, but in Spain they’ve unquestionably taken it to another level (and added a large dose of attitude to the mix).

3. Do you miss anything from home?
Probably the only thing I really miss is the sense of humour. Spanish and Catalan humour is, um, different, and at times it’s fine (the dark genius of the yuletide caganer will never cease to inspire me), but there are days when I pine for a droll English wit.

4. Can you recommend an English film?

Let’s assume that by “English” you mean from the United Kingdom. A few arthouse suggestions might be Distant Voices, Still Lives and Of Time and the City, by Terence Davies, or Hunger, by Steve McQueen. These are hardly popcorn-scoffing, laugh-a-minute flicks, but they are breathtakingly cinematic. For more upbeat fare: The rise of Factory Records and the Madchester scene as told in 24 Hour Party People is a hoot, Dr. No is unbeatable, almost any "Carry On…” movie will leave you giggling like a pre-pubescent, Trainspotting (choose life) is the bee’s knees. For a Liverpool-Barcelona tie-in, Land and Freedom is well worth a gander…

5. Can you recommend an English book?

Indeed, what ho! The Jeeves and Wooster stories, by P.G. Wodehouse, are a fine way to while away the hours. Willing souls eager to learn the myriad imbroglios of a nice-but-not-so-bright English aristocrat (Wooster) and his too-clever-by-half butler (Jeeves) could do no better and may, in turn, discover what the well-dressed man wears. Ian Fleming’s original Bond books are unputdownable, Spike Milligan’s war memoirs will have you laughing so hard you’ll that you’ll (likely) pee your pants. And then there’s: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll), Winnie the Pooh (A.A. Milne), Peter Pan (J.M. Barrie) – rereading all of these as an (so-they-say) adult is a pleasure. The Harry Potter books aren’t bad, either…

6. Can you recommend an English music band?
I’m a man of a certain age (yes, that means old) and my taste reflects this – a few personal favourites might include: Echo and the Bunnymen, Joy Division, New Order, Brian Eno, David Sylvian, The Who, The Stone Roses, and the lulling boudoir misery of Nottingham band Tindersticks. I’m contractually obliged to mention The Beatles. Classical and classical crossover choices might by Micheal Nyman and Max Richter (who recently scored the excellent Israeli film, Waltz with Bashir). I have no idea what young people are listening to, but I’m sure it’s too loud.

7. What’s your favourite spot in Barcelona?
My bed? I suppose that’s a disqualification, but it is the honest answer! The second choice would be above Barcelona on Passeig de les Aigües, preferably on a bike (I’ll be damned if I’m dragging my bed up there).

8. Do you do something here that you couldn’t possibly do at home?

I stay warm, mostly. If I tried speaking Spanish at home they’d think I was a bit strange (but they think that here anyway). It’s not a case of “couldn’t possibly”, but Barcelona is a great location for escaping to the mountains – you can do that back home, but it’s not quite so easy and it will almost certainly rain. The sheep are equally cute on either side of the Bay of Biscay.

9. Is there anything you did back at home that you can’t possibly do now?

Yes, but it was highly immoral and I was much younger then.

10. Any tip for an English person wishing to settle down in Barna? And, any tip for a person from Barcelona wishing to visit England?

For those Barcelona-bound: don’t expect a walk in the park (other than in Ciutadella, of course). Barcelona is a great city to live in, but it’s a damn hard city to work in. It’s also increasingly expensive when taken with what people actually earn here. Plan well and bring lots and lots of money. When they leave the bottle of wine on the table at lunchtime – it is NOT obligatory to drink it all (even if it’s hard not to). For those Blighty-bound: take lots of warm clothes and a really good umbrella. Don’t cry with despair when you see how short the measures are for spirits.

Thank you for the interview, Gary!



martes, 28 de agosto de 2012

Barcelona is Sweet: Papa Bubble

If you happen to stroll near carrer Ample, in Barrio Gótico, don’t miss Papa Bubble. I love this candy shop. It is very original and, whether you have a sweet tooth or not, this tiny shop is worth seeing. Some of their creations may remind you of old-fashioned candies you were given as a child, while others are amazing modern sculptures made of sugar. They started making candy in Melbourne and then moved to Barcelona. Now, there are Papa Bubbles in Tokyo, Amsterdam, New York, Seoul, Lisbon and Taipei. First video: Papabubble Barcelona (in Spanish). Second video: Papabubble New York
(in English). Enjoy! [This is not a sponsored post, just something I like and recommend]

Si estás un día por el centro, en el Barrio Gótico, no te pierdas Papa Bubble. Esta tienda es muy original. Aunque no seas muy goloso, te sorprenderán sus creaciones. Sus propietarios empezaron a hacer caramelos en Melbourne y, posteriormente, se establecieron en Barcelona. Ahora, hay Papa Bubbles en Tokyo, Ámsterdam, Nueva York, Seúl, Lisboa y Taipei. Vídeo 1: Papabubble Barcelona (en español). Vídeo 2: Papabubble New York (en inglés). [Este post no está patrocinado. Os hablo de una tienda muy curiosa de Barcelona en la que hacen caramelos artesanales]


lunes, 27 de agosto de 2012

People Living in Barcelona: Claire Dijulio

Claire Dijulio was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. After completing her BA at Western Washington University with studies in Spanish language and literature, and obtaining her TESOL certification, she spent some time in Morelia, Mexico, teaching English to young adults. She is currently teaching English to children, teenagers and adults in Barcelona.

1. What’s the thing you like the most about Barcelona?
I love that the sun shines on an almost daily basis. I love sitting at the outdoor cafes and restaurants, exploring the unique neighborhoods, especially the Borne, Gòtic and Gràcia. I also love the easily accessible public transportation - foot, bicing, bus, metro, tram - you choose!

2. And the thing you like the least?It is a difficult realization and challenge to accept the lack of efficiency here... one example: 2 months waiting for internet connection and then strange charges that will take another who knows how long for a response. On another note, I am not a fan of the "embutidos". I've tried it; however it just isn't my cup of tea.

3. Do you miss anything from home?Of course! I have some of the greatest friends and a very dynamic family I miss. I miss my cozy bed! I miss playing on my soccer team, I miss my amazing yoga studio - haven't found one that compares yet. I also miss my favorite Thai and Japanese restaurants. I miss driving up to Bellingham, one of the best towns in the Pacific Northwest!

4. Can you recommend us an American film?Rent, it is a musical, but I love it! Grease is a classic.

5. Can you recommend us an American book? The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine M.D.

6. Can you recommend us an American music band? Pearl Jam of course! Very influential and straight from Seattle! They are great and still creating, entertaining and rocking out.

7. What’s your favourite spot in Barcelona?I always have a difficult time with "favorites". Park Güell is definitely top on the list! I love and hate the Boqueria - if it is packed with people (as it is many months out of the year with all of the tourists), I definitely avoid it. If not, I love mingling through the variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, sweets, spices, even the stinky fish and hanging meats.

8. Do you do something here that you couldn’t possibly do at home? Back home, I do not have the option of riding the train to work, a public bicycle system does not exist, I would not have the option of going to the beach in October and sunbathing, nor can I meet with friends in various plazas for a casual drink.

9. Is there anything you did back at home that you can’t possibly do now?Well, now that I have found brown sugar, I can bake some of my favorite goodies - banana bread and chocolate chip oatmeal cookies! ummmm. Food is always one of the main things that I miss from home, accessibility to all kinds of food, whenever and wherever. Grocery shopping on a Sunday is impossible here, and unfortunately it is my favorite do to get organized and run errands, and be productive - however not going to happen.

10. Any tip for an American wishing to visit or settle down in Barna? And, any tip for a person from Barcelona wishing to visit or settle down in the United States?
San Sebastian is a must! Meet the locals and enjoy a long lasting typical "comida". The Balearic Islands are always a high on the recommendation list as well touring around the city will definitely fulfill your continue spending time and absorbing the vibrant city.

The Pacific Northwest is beautiful, green, lively, relaxing and full of various ecosystems: Coast, Mountains, Islands, Lakes, Rivers, Cities, forests... and always some sorts of adventure available, delicious dining opportunity, theater or musical attraction and wonderful and open-minded people.

Thank you for the interview, Claire!

lunes, 20 de agosto de 2012

People Living in Barcelona: David Forbes


David Forbes, after completing a BSocSc in International Studies and Political Science at Birmingham University and working at the European Parliament in Luxembourg and Brussels, decided to settle down in Barcelona. It’s been seven years so far!

1. What’s the thing you like the most about Barcelona? You can go to a disco in jeans and trainers. It's just so much more laid back than in the UK. What else? The weather, eating late and all that. To be specific about Barcelona, I would say going to the
Boqueria and having gambas or navajas for lunch!

2. And the thing you like the least? Civil servants, people who think Barcelona is the centre of the universe, the Sardana (what is it for?)

3. Do you miss anything from home? Decent TV and parks with open green spaces. The beach is great but not so good for strolling, walking your dog, playing football, etc.

4. Can you recommend a Welsh film? Twin Town. Not because it's a masterpiece, but it's funny and describes my home town of Swansea and its inhabitants perfectly.

5. Can you recommend a Welsh book? Dylan Thomas and Under Milk Wood if you want a literary/comic insight into Swansea and Wales in general. A book I've enjoyed recently was a biography of Samuel Pepys by Claire Tomalin. He was a civil servant during the English Civil War in the 17th century. It might sound a little highbrow, but it's full of sex, dirt, scandal and violence and makes a very interesting period easy to understand.

6. Can you recommend a Welsh music band? My favourite welsh band is the Super Furry Animals. People say Gorky's Zygotic Mynci are good, with Welsh lyrics too.

7. What’s your favourite spot in Barcelona? There's too many. Probably the beach, Bogatell on a summer weekday evening with not many people around.

8. Do you do something here that you couldn’t possibly do at home? Walk everywhere I want. Eat pimientos del padrón!

9. Is there anything you did back at home that you can’t possibly do now? Play golf occasionally and not pay a month's salary for the pleasure.

10. Any tip for someone from Wales wishing to settle down in Barna? And, any tip for a person from Barcelona wishing to visit Wales? If you want to learn the language, don't live with other English speakers and don't teach English! Loads of other employers could give you a job even if it's only temporarily. As for barceloneses going to Swansea and you're homesick, go and see the football team. Half of them are your compatriots.

Thank you for the interview, David!

lunes, 13 de agosto de 2012

People Living in Barcelona: Michelle Frank


Michelle Frank is from Denver, Colorado, home of the great Rocky Mountains. She obtained her BA in Recreational Therapy for Incarcerated Youth from Western Washington University. She worked for sometime in a children’s home in Mindo, Ecuador, and with elementary school students in Micronesia. In Barcelona, she works as a substitute English teacher, babysitter and private tutor for elementary school students.

1. What’s the thing you like the most about Barcelona? I like how accessible the city is. How you can get anywhere by walking, biking or using public transportation. You can almost go anywhere, beach, mountains, grocery store, without a car.

2. And the thing you like the least? The lack of green space. There are the occasional parks and areas, but it's a bit of a distance (depending where you live of course) to get to a large green space large enough to take a nice run in and escape the city.

3. Do you miss anything from home? Good, cheap, Mexican food everywhere! Oh, and my family of course.

4. Can you recommend us an American film? Dazed and Confused. Juno. Wall-E. Reservoir Dogs. This is always a hard question.

5. Can you recommend us an American book?
A Confederacy of Dunces or A People’s History of the United States.

6. Can you recommend us an American music band? Tauntaun.

7. What’s your favourite spot in Barcelona? Gracia. I always just feel a bit more relaxed there and I can window-shop for ages. The plazas are comfortable to relax in and great for lazy Sundays.

8. Do you do something here that you couldn’t possibly do at home? At home I can't sit in a plaza and enjoy a drink and conversation in the sun with the great friends I have here in Barcelona. Truly this is what I would miss the most.

9. Is there anything you did back at home that you can’t possibly do now? At home, I could have a pick up soccer game in a large soccer field full of grass around the corner form my house.

10. Any tip for an American wishing to visit or settle down in Barcelona? And, any tip for a person from Barcelona wishing to visit or settle down in the United States? For people looking to come live in Barcelona, if you are looking to work, I would suggest you start looking and apply to places before you come. If you don't have your TESOL or TEFL, I would suggest getting it, there's a lot of competition for English teaching here and it can only help you even if teaching is not your plan. For people coming to the States, I would suggest the same about making contacts beforehand, but also if you are not looking to drive while you are there look into cities with good public transportation or smaller cities.

Thank you for the interview, Michelle!


sábado, 11 de agosto de 2012



[Foto: Agencia EFE]

Mi deporte preferido en los Juegos Olímpicos siempre ha sido la natación sincronizada. Esa mezcla de danza, natación y gimnasia me resulta fascinante. Yo, que después de una hora nadando estoy agotada, ni me imagino cuántas horas habrá que entrenar en la piscina para conseguir ser de las mejores del mundo en este deporte. Las actuaciones me han encantado (creo que se merecían más que una medalla de bronce), y el traje del equipo español ha sido una pasada, nunca he visto ninguno tan elegante. Aquí tenéis más información sobre el magnífico diseño de Dolores Cortés. ¡Enhorabuena a todas!

jueves, 9 de agosto de 2012



Carmen, del blog Carmen y amigos, ha organizado la Semana British, del 10 al 16 de septiembre. Me ha parecido una idea genial, así que me he apuntado. Ella hará una entrada por día sobre libros traducidos al castellano de autores británicos: De acuerdo, Jeeves, de P. G. Wodehouse; Westwood, de Stella Gibbons; La hija de Robert Poste, de Stella Gibbons; Reina Lucía, de E. F. Benson; El Mayor Pettigrew se enamora, de Helen Simonson y Sábado por la noche y domingo por la mañana, de Alan Sillitoe. Los blogs que participamos en la Semana British escribiremos entradas sobre cualquier cosa británica, desde historia, literatura o cultura a humor, música o cine. ¿Os apuntáis? ¡Tiene muy buena pinta!

domingo, 5 de agosto de 2012



Me encanta este póster y el buen rollo que transmite. Seguro que lo habréis visto un montón de veces. Aquí podéis ver el mismo mensaje contado en un vídeo. Sus creadores lo definen así: "The Holstee Manifesto is a call to action to live a life full of intention, creativity, passion, and community". Aquí, Mike, Dave y Fabian cuentan cómo empezó el proyecto. Aquí puedes contarles tú cómo has cambiado el rumbo de tu vida. THIS IS YOUR LIFE. DO WHAT YOU LOVE, AND DO IT OFTEN.

jueves, 2 de agosto de 2012

Artistas: Becky Larson, desde Hawai


Me encanta el mundo blogger porque se descubren personas y sitios que, de otra forma, no se encontrarían ni en cien años. Hace tiempo, estaba buscando en internet unos muñecos para un pastel de boda y di con el blog y la tienda Etsy de Becky. Sus muñecos me encantaron porque eran muy originales, estilosos y con un toque vintage. Empecé a leer su blog y, casualidades de la vida, Becky vivía en Hawai, uno de los sitios con los que siempre he soñado. Hace un tiempo, gané un sorteo que hizo y recibí dos flamencos preciosos. Becky me pareció supermaja y detallista, y le propuse entrevistarla para mi blog. Espero que os guste la entrevista.

I love blogging because I find people who show me places, books, films, things, thoughts. What's not to love? After searching the web for cute cake toppers for a wedding, I found Becky Kazana's etsy shop and love her products. I then started reading her blog and, what a coincidence, Becky lives in Hawai, one of the places I've always wanted to visit. I won one giveaway she organized. I received two fabulous flamingoes. She's really friendly so here's an interview. I hope you enjoy it! 

Where are you from? Were you born in Hawaii? I was born in California, but moved to Minnesota with my family when I was 10. It was a lovely place to grow up, but I knew I wanted to escape the cold winters.

What's your favourite food from Hawaii? My favorite food from Hawaii is poke. It's a raw seafood salad made with Hawaiian salt and seaweed. It's delicious! A close second would be lau lau pork. Spaniards would love it! A wild pig is roasted all day in an underground oven called an imu until it's falling apart and melts in your mouth.

What's your favourite drink from Hawaii? My favorite drink would have to be A Wicked Wahine from a wonderful Tiki Bar in Kona called Okolemaluna. It has tamarind in it to give it a lovely sweet/sour balance.

What's your favourite song from Hawaii? My favorite Hawaiian song is called Kona Moon by Hui Ohana. It's achingly beautiful and sounds just exactly like a midnight stroll on the beach. Everyone in Hawaii knows and loves Brudda Iz and his version of Wonderful World but there is so much more to Hawaiian music. I have a great Pandora station based on Hui Ohana and Gabby Pahanui. I totally recommend it.

What's your favourite book from Hawaii? My favorite Hawaiian book is Voyagers by artist Herb Kane. It tells the story of how the first Polynesians sailed across 2,000 miles of ocean to start a new life on the Hawaiian islands.

What's your favourite person from Hawaii? My favorite person from Hawaii is definitely President Barack Obama, who was born here!

What languages do you speak? I don't speak the Hawaiian language as I am a transplant from the mainland, but there are many people here who take great pride in keeping Hawaiian language alive and well, because it is in danger of dying out entirely in many places. This school is teaching the language to many new students. I spent a year living in China, so I speak some Mandarin as well, but sadly, I'm not fluent yet!

Have you ever been to Spain or Europe? I have been lucky enough to travel through Europe on four different trips. I haven't spent as much time in Spain as I would like, but I enjoyed a New Year's Eve in Barcelona one year and a week in Madrid. I can't wait to go back and taste some more of your delicious foods!
Here are a few fun common Hawaiian phrases that Becky has learned in her time in Hawaii: Aloha which means "love" but has come to be used as a greeting like Hello. Mahalo means thank you. Keiki means children. Ohana means family. Mahalo Nui Loa means thank you very much. Mauka means mountain. Makai means ocean. These are commonly used in giving directions. Kine means little and is commonly used as a place holder. Pau Hana means an after work drink. :)

Thank you for the interview, Becky!
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