Monthly Archives: June 2016

9.6 Tenth meeting

So because I had estimated my schedule badly, I arrived 25 minutes late to the meeting and had to leave bit early. Well besides that, this meeting was at Tiia’s place again and we talked about stuff like how to say “Are you going to see that movie” and stuff. Basically, same as usual, this wasn’t exactly the dramatic “Oh, the tenth and possibly the final meeting!” type of stuff. It was nice to see people from group again and I’ll probably see them passing by at Tamk at least.

I should probably have some kind of epic and beautiful “Final post” speech here, but I’m not really good at that sort of stuff. And I already tried that reflecting thing in last post, so… Yeah, not sure what to say. I didn’t manage to improve my Russian much, but it was fun to recap it and these meetings were fun. So good time was had and that is enough for me.

EPISODE 10: Last meeting. Dual citizenship.

That was the last meeting. At this meeting the main point was to find out what are all the things that we have in common despite of the language. One of the main reasons to make this EOTO was to clarify things about the independence of Cataluña, to understand why do Catalonians want it and why Spain doesn’t.

After hours of talking we found something that we already knew, our cultures are not that different as they want us to think. We all love food, we all love sun and actually here in Finland far from our homes we find our similarities more accentuated than our differences. After all we are Spanish, we are smiley, dark haired, brown eyed, foodlovers, Spaniards. Maybe Catalonians are a bit more polite, a bit more refined because they are our natural borderline with all Europe, so they can be seen as a bit more Europeans, but they are still Spanish.

It’s been quite worrying, how we discovered that in Madrid the independence issue has been transmitted in a different point of view. While we were talking about what we know of the political issues different ideas came to our minds. Pablo helped me to understand their position and I tried to explain ours. At this point what we ended thinking was what kind of solution would we need.

“Jóvenes, haced política, porque si no la política se hará sin vosotros” (Antonio Machado).

“Young men, make politics, because if not, politics will be made without you”(Antonio Machado).

It’s quite amazing how a few days talking and listening to a friend as if he was a teacher made learn fast and easy thousands of things at the same time that we became closer friends. This is a new approach not only in the education dimension but also in the personal dimension.

EPISODE 9: Chulapo VS Hereu 

Spain has always been a catholic country and all of our most important regional parties are related with the religion, saints and virgins. Parties are an important part of our culture, so that we decided to choose one from Cataluña and one from Madrid to get deep inside of them and train ourselves in the tradition of our cities.

Well, this is the biggest discovery I’ve made in this course. Do you remember what I’ve said about all the regional parties going around religion? Cataluña regional party doesn’t. Their regional party is about the Catalonian nation. The 11th of September in the morning they go to the Arc de Triomf where you can buy things related to their culture. In the afternoon they go to a demonstration to reclaim their independence and in the night they have outdoors free concerts and parties sponsored by Estrella Damm.

Hereus from Catalunya.

When it was my turn to explain my regional party, San Isidro, I realized that I was a bit lost about what were the typical things to do. We all know about the concerts and the parties of San Isidro but we were not really into the traditional stuff, so teaching Pablo about it made me research a bit and realize that I need to pay more attention to my own tradition before knowing other’s.

Chulapos from Madrid the day of Saint Isidro

EPISODE 8: Back to our childhood!

This time we met at my place, the plan was to order some pizzas, make some popcorns and stay all night long watching cartoons of our childhood. Irene and Rosalia came with us and we all had a lot of fun. Animated cartoons, fantastic stories, beautiful drawings are influencing our today work in terms of design and scripts that’s why we considered it a topic to include in our meetings. When we put together our childhood TV series, we realized that 3 of the most important were the same in Cataluña and in Madrid, but with a tiny big difference, his TV series were dubbed in Catalan.

Anyways, even if Doraemon, spoken in catalan or in French at this age what you wanted to see was just colors and funny cartoons but watching them that night we realized that this cartoons had a different meaning from a mature(?) point of view. Pablo showed me one of the most influential TV show in Catalan, it was such influential that nowadays nobody sings the happy birthday in Cataluña, they sing the theme song of this TV show!

Popcorns and pizzas apart, that night was full of laughs and memories. New perspectives appeared in our minds thanks to our maturity(?) and the discussions about the cartoons.

P.S.: Pablo can say whatever he wants, but Shin Chan opening is better in Spanish than in Catalan

EPISODE 7:  Language Battle – ROUND 3

The time had came, the day was here, the final exam, the doomsday,our last chance to show what we’ve learnt about our cities. When I arrived to Pablo’s room he was studying (bookworm…) but then I felt guilty and I started to study too. When we were ready we called two of our friends and the goal was to pretend to be locals using all what we’ve learnt during the sessions. Let’s say that maybe we’d needed a few more sessions but the global results were quite funny and good.

Pablo called one of my best friends, Sanchez, as a good researcher he asked everything I’ve told him in the other sessions. Maybe he was not researching… maybe he asked everything because he didn’t trust me… Anyways he tried to acquire the Madrilian attitude but it was really funny how he pretend to shout and pronounce.

They spent all the afternoon talking, and when they finished talking, it was night so when we called his friend Irene, she was… well let’s say that she was a bit tipsy. She started talking as fast as she can and laughing all the time, that was the funniest and nonsense conversation I’ve ever had. Pablo made his best to not try to laugh about all the things that I was saying and all the things that Irene tried to say, and he helped me with a few expressions. This was by far the funniest session.

I’ll finish with an interview to a Madrilian girl who was asked to try to speak catalan using the shortening algorithm.

EPISODE 6: You, your legs and the city.

This day we met in a cafe called “Arthouse Cinema Niagara”. We were ready to spend the whole afternoon talking about our city. Where can you see modern art, the most beautiful museums, the most iconic and historical buildings, where to eat with your friends or where to have dinner with a girl. The last topics were easy, (the dinner one was easier for me 😏) but when we started talking about the historical buildings… well we knew that they were important and that they were there, but why?. Shame on us.

But with a little of help of Mr. Google and a map, we found out all the history of our city. This session was a clear win-win, while we were trying to find all the information about our cities to teach it to the other one we discovered new things about our own city and feeling closer to it.

Google satellite taking pictures for Google Maps.

One of the things that I’m more proud about this session is that I’ve created some kind of interest inside Pablo. I’ve been 4 times in Barcelona, as I have friends there. So I’ve visited most of the touristic places with them and with my parents, but Pablo has never been in Madrid, because as he said “it’s not that interesting”, but after a long chat, a few pictures and some stories, I convinced Pablo to come to Madrid. After this session we became such an experts in Barcelona and Madrid, that we could walk along their streets with the eyes closed.

After this session I realized how much I was missing Madrid, its streets, the loudy and crowded streets, the sun… but at the same time Erasmus was finishing, one year of friendship and freedom was reaching the end. What a bittersweet feeling.

EPISODE 5: Viva la noche!

EPISODE 5: Viva la noche!

There are two things that come immediately to a foreigner mind when you say the word Spain. Football and Party. As we didn’t know much about football we decided to talk about party and nightlife. At the beginning we just showed each other a few clubs, where are them and what can you expect of them. But, suddenly when we started to talk about our favourite places memories came to our minds. Epic stories about how friends danced over the tables of a bar, how Sánchez was flirting with the hottest girl that night or just the conversations that we had about how tasty is the Mahou/Estrella Damm invaded our Each One Teach One session.

After an hour of epic stories we find out that there are two kinds of parties and of course different options in each group. So that we made a list of the most important places depending on the kind of party you want to have:

Catalonia (Barcelona)
Mainstream places: Port olimpic (OPIUM) + Razzmataz
Alternative places: Pubs in Gracia (a neighborhood) + Fabrica moritz.

Mainstream places: Tartufo + Serrano 41
Alternative places: Pubs in Malasaña + Matadero de Madrid

In both of the cities the party is quite the same. The most popular places are big discos where music is louder than your mother’s shout when you have to tidy up your room and the alternative places are always related with some kind of artsy and hipster ambiance. But what we realized is that the main point wasn’t the place, it is the people.

Learn where are the best places in Barcelona was easy, and teaching Pablo where are the most hipster places was easier than stealing a lollipop to a baby. It seems that Pablo, as a hipster himself, has a special talent to find this places.


EPISODE 4: Language Battle – ROUND 2

It’s usually said that the “language is alive”, it means that it’s constantly changing and the popular expressions are the ones that are in constant change. Spanish has one of the richest compilation of popular expressions. I bet that I can have a meaningful conversation with a friend using only popular expressions.

Of course the most expressions you use from a part of Spain, the most from this part you are, so to become truly spies in Cataluña or in Madrid we needed to extend our expressions dictionary. Here there are the most used expressions in Catalunya that Pablo taught me:

  1. A tort i a dret: It’s used when you are doing something without direction or planning.
  2. Deu n’hi do: It means something like “WOW!”. It’s an expression used as a positive amazement.
  3. Fer el cor fort: It means, make the heart strong. It’s used when you want to say to someone that he has to be strong in difficult moments and confront the problems with optimism.
  4. Entre poc i massa: It means, not that much and not that less. It’s used when someone is overreacting about something.
  5. Fer nosa: It means disturb someone.
  6. Beure oli: It’s used when someone has failed doing something. In english it’s said, drop a clanger.
  7. Som-hi: That’s an easy one. It means let’s go!
  8. Ja n’hi ha prou: The literal translation is “ther hs been enough! STOP!”. In Finnish there is another word, TARPEEKSI!
  9. Suar la cansalada: It means “to sweat the big drop”. It’s used when someone is in a trouble or in a difficult situation.
  10. Ser un somiatruites: To be a dreamer (like John Lennon).
“Som-hi a agafar unes pizzes”

When Pablo read my list the first thing he thought was that our expressions are used to overreact and to magnify everything. But he is a liar, “me la está liando”, and he is the worst person ever, “tiene mucha jeta”. Well… maybe I’m overreacting a bit now, he is not such a bad person.

Transmitting this expressions without a context was a bit difficult, as they get most of their meaning depending on what are you talking about or the emphasis in the pronunciation. Teaching how to speak Madrilian it’s been quite funny, but it was funnier trying to speak catalan, they are more quiet and more melodic while they are talking and I’m completely the opposite, I’m always shouting and laughing out loud. Anyways, patience and enthusiasm for teaching and learning were present so it wasn’t at all a big deal.

EPISODE 3: Let’s go for a bit of “cerveceo”

There’s something that Spaniards like more than the sun, a beer under the sun. And this afternoon there was sun in Finland (YES THERE WAS SUN) and we felt a bit thirsty, so we had everything we needed to enjoy a cold, fresh, golden and foamy “cerveza”.

Of course this meeting was the perfect opportunity to compare two of the most famous beers in Spain, Estrella Damm and Mahou. At this point I had to gave to Pablo a piece of my heart, I had to give him one of my last cans of Mahou… anyways, he filled this empty place with one of his Estrella Damm.

Talking about this beers and what we use to do while we drink them, we realized that this two beers have one thing more in common apart from the color and the barley, this beers are the banners of two of the biggest cultures in Spain. Both are the definition of our cultures, and that’s what they transmitted really successfully via their ads.

You should have seen Pablo’s face while he was speaking about Estrella Damm. His eyes reflected all what he felt in Mataró with his friends, each song that they listened at the music fest while they were drinking a Estrella, each minute under the sun in the beach, each dinner in a terrace, each joke and each laugh he has shared with his friends, those that we were sharing that afternoon, and those that will come. Friends that’s the key piece.

This is Pablo thinking about Estrella Damm and his friends.

We can’t forget the Mahou! We don’t have beach and sea but we have thousands of bars, and this time I’m not overreacting, I swear that the Madrilian culture is the bar culture. And wherever you go in Madrid you should order a beer, but not any beer, a Mahou, as my father does and my grandfather did. Mahou represents this tiny things that should never change, like you mother’s “tortilla de patata” recipe, or the afterwork beer with you best friends.

Okay at this point I have to finish with my reflection, I’m crying out loud missing my friends and my mom’s tortilla.

EPISODE 2: My grandma cooks better than yours

Nowadays being a chef is trendy in Spain. Wherever you go there’s people talking about where he has eaten or about the Michelin Stars of certain restaurant. This is not strange, Spain is one of the best places to eat. Thanks to it’s geographical position and his climate condition, we have products from the mountain, from the sea, from the orchard, from the forest… thousands of products with thousands of different elaborations makes the Spanish gastronomy one of richest in the world.

For this session I invited Pablo to my place to eat “cocido”, but not any “cocido”, my grandma’s “cocido”. The “cocido” is one of the most typical, plate for the winter in Madrid, made with different processed meats from the pork, such as “chorizo”, “morcilla” and “jamon serrano”, we also use potatoes, carrots and chickpeas. As you see is quite a caloric meal but it’s warm and really tasty. So once we got all the ingredients it was time to cook my grandma’s recipe. It seemed easy… seemed… but in spite of all the work the meal was a success.

Starter: Clara + patatas bravas (aioli)
First: esqueixada/empedrat
Second: bacalao con samfaina
Desert: miel y requesón
After Desert: Cava

Starter: escalivada
First: fricandó
Second: calçots
Desert: crema Catalana
After Desert: moscatel + carquiñolis

As I’ve already been three times in Barcelona, I’ve tried most of the typical Catalan plates, one of my favourites was proposed by Pablo in his summer menu, the “calçots”, a kind of onion cooked in a grill. Fresh food and a sea-mountain mixtures are typical in the Catalonian gastronomy thanks to its proximity to the Mediterranean sea and the Pyrenees.

I must confess that finding a typical Madrilian menu was harder than finding a catalonian one. That upset me, and made me thought about why could it be possible. Probably it’s because Madrid is the place where all the cultures in Spain are joined because it is the capital, that’s why probably we’ve lost a bit of our identity.