Archive for January, 2011

German Cars Make People Speed

January 11, 2011 By: erik Category: England, Musings, Spain, USA

Autumn BenzIn the countries I’ve lived and driven in, I’ve noticed some differences between how people drive on the motorway (that’s like the “interstate” for you yanks). In England, people tend to drive with an unparalleled politeness. They will happily move over to let you pass, make room for you to merge in, or brake so you can change lanes ahead of them. Spaniards, on the other hand, are just as selfish as the Brits are selfless. In Spain, everyone assumes that you will also behave selfishly, so when you try to be polite to other drivers, they get confused or don’t trust that you’re really letting them merge. The Americans are somewhere in between.

Why Christmas Is No Longer Special

January 06, 2011 By: erik Category: Family, Parenting, Partying, Spain

thumbToday is Kings Day, the traditional gift giving day in Catholic Spain. For people who prefer Christmas to be more about Baby Jesus than the North Pole, it makes more sense to give gifts on Epiphany, when tradition says that the Wise Men allegedly gave gifts to Jesus.

This morning, my mother-in-law articulated a concern I’ve been feeling but had yet to put into words:

Elephants and Vocabulary

January 05, 2011 By: erik Category: Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Photoshop

Nora With ElephantsNora’s vocabulary continues to advance. She’s big into repeating whatever you say, particularly the last part, so if you say, “Do you want some yogurt?”, and she says, “Yogurt!”, that doesn’t necessarily qualify as an affirmative response. The problem is, however, that she’s not very good about open ended questions. “What do you want?” still isn’t likely to result in any meaningful communication, although if she’s been asking for something, she will repeat what she wants (hint: it’s usually a cookie).