Textbooks – Spanish Schools Are Not Free

August 19, 2015 By: erik Category: Complaining, Parenting, Spain, USA

First grade Spanish text books.This September, my six-year-old daughter will embark upon her academic journey as a student; she’s starting first grade. When I was an elementary school student in the United States, I remember going to school on the first day, and finding each desk with a stack of books on it. Almost always, each book was old and worn, and part of the fun of the first day of school was to open the front cover to sign your name on the list of previous students who had been assigned that book. Sometimes you even knew the previous one-year-older kid who had had that book before you.
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Boating In The Bay – A Daunting Tale of a Family Marooned

May 11, 2015 By: erik Category: Family, Photos, Spain, Travel

Boating Sunday - SantoñaI’ve lived here by the beautiful estuary, delta, tidal basin and beach that is the triangle of Colindres, Santoña and Laredo for a full decade. Two features dominate the landscape: the long wispy finger of a sandy peninsula that makes up Laredo’s world-class Playa Salvé, and Mount Buciero, the rocky mountain that protects all three from the brutal waves of the Cantabrian sea. In the ten years I have been here in this fishing village, I have never once been on a boat. All of that changed yesterday.
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Smoking in Bars in Spain

April 08, 2015 By: erik Category: Complaining, Photos, Spain, Travel

Smoking ManI first set foot in Spain in January 2001, and visited off and on before becoming a permanent resident in June 2005. [Wow, that’s a decade!] Due to the structure of the human brain, my memories of that time can be easily triggered by smell. Since Spaniards primarily socialize in bars, many of those memories are linked with the pungent odor of tobacco smoke, which was thick in the atmosphere of all Spanish bars during those years.
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El Ratoncito Pérez – The Spanish Tooth Fairy

March 18, 2015 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Parenting, Spain

Ratoncito PérezOn a previous post, I mentioned a list of parenting vocabulary that I had never had the occasion to learn in Spanish until becoming a parent. When my daughter, Nora, was about two, either through some cartoon or a stuffed animal, she and her Spanish grandparents began talking about el Ratoncito Pérez, and every time Nora saw anything resembling a mouse, she would exclaim that name. At the time, I had no idea what that name meant.
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Saturday at Parque de la Magdalena

March 12, 2015 By: erik Category: Offspring, Photos, Spain, Travel

SantanderThis past weekend, we spent Saturday afternoon in Santander, specifically on the peninsula that makes up the Parque de la Magdalena, which I consider the item at the very top of the “must see” list for Santander tourism. It was the first sunny day in a long time, and everybody was out there enjoying it. If you like high cliff-side views of the sea – and who doesn’t? – then you’ll love the Parque de la Magdalena; it is simply breathtaking.
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The Turbo Roundabout – Just What Spain Needs

January 21, 2015 By: erik Category: Complaining, Fighting Stupidity, Photos, Spain

Turbo RoundaboutToday I saw this article in the local newspaper, which informed me of this Dutch invention of what is called the “turbo roundabout”. This is followup post from my previous rant about how Spaniards Don’t Understand Roundabouts. The turbo roundabout is pure genius, as it eliminates most of the problems that Spaniards have in roundabout situations, forcing the correct behavior. The way the turbo roundabout works is how I think all roundabouts should be used (see previous rant for details on my views).
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Tarkarí – The Best Restaurant in Colindres

December 08, 2014 By: erik Category: Colindres, Food, Photos, Spain, Travel

TarKaríDue to a lucky bit of childlessness this weekend, my wife and I were finally able to try the best restaurant in town, which opened less than a year ago, I think. It’s a place called Tarkarí. The name comes from an Indian curry, the chef is Venezuelan, but the food is Italian, although perhaps the chef might prefer the word “fusion”. The logo proclaims “gastroart”, and the logo looks like it was drawn by my one year old son; how delightfully pretentious! The chef explained to me that the vegetable curry called tarkari was introduced to the Caribbean during British occupation, eventually made its way from the islands to Venezuela, and somewhere along the way baby goat was added to make the, now typical, Venezuelan dish called tarkarí de chivo. Perhaps it’s this cultural culinary fusion that lead the chef to name his restaurant after it. Plus, it’s a pretty cool word.
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Karpin Abentura – Basque Mountain Zoo and Dinosaur Park

December 06, 2014 By: erik Category: Offspring, Photos, Spain, Travel, Videos

Dinosaur FootEver since my daughter’s preschool class took a field trip there two years ago, Karpin Abentura has been on our list of places to take the kids for a day. A couple Sundays ago we finally pulled the trigger and went there. It was a lot closer than we thought, only a thirty minute drive away, straight up into the mountains. It’s just across the border in the Vizcaya, in the Basque Country.
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Spanish Ham Mites: Entomology and Jamón Ibérico

December 05, 2014 By: erik Category: Food, Scary, Science, Spain

Yesterday, with the entire family – the children were forbidden for solstice myth reasons – digging around in our storage room to find the missing Christmas tree legs, we ended up finding another leg that we’d bought this past summer, a leg of Iberian Ham, or jamón ibérico. We sliced off a few slices for dinner last night.

This morning, I glanced at the ham and noticed some little white dots on the open meat. Upon closer inspection, I realized that they were moving. Ugh.
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Merry Kitschmas!

December 04, 2014 By: erik Category: Photos, Spain

Cindy Lou WhoLast January, when we were packing up our plastic Christmas tree, something went wrong. I vaguely recall that all three feet of the tree didn’t get stored with the rest of the tree. Ever since, at least one of the feet has been bouncing around our house, getting played with by a child and found by an adult. So when I went to get the Christmas tree and set it up for Xmas 2014, I discovered that none of the feet were in the box. We only have the one that has been in the living room all year long. Little Cindy Lou Hoo is not amused. After an extensive, but ultimately unfruitful search, today I went out to scout possible replacement trees; this one has lasted us almost a decade.
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