Tag Archives: spanish

Total Eclipse of the Moon

bloodmoonTomorrow, during the veryveryvery early morning hours, I think around 1.10 AM GMT, a celestial event will take place, that, apparently, has not occurred since 1982 and won’t happen again until 2033. In our sky there’ll be a total lunar eclipse AND supermoon.

Coincidently, when googling total lunar eclipse I came across this fitting song, which is based on Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Sun (bring on the 80s!!!)

I think I might as well stick to the 80’s in order to stay awake to get that glimpse of this rare phenomenon when the moon is at its shortest distance from the Earth and as a result appears much larger and brighter than usual. Yes, why not, I shall be having one of my karaoke nights 🙂 and one song that will definitely feature tonight on my sing-along list is Hijo de la Luna by the Spanish 80’s pop group Mecano.

The song tells the beautiful and sad story of the moon (la luna = feminine), who wishes for a son. The song’s English translation is, as a whole, provided below.

Mecano hijo de la luna





Foolish is he who doesn’t understand
Tells a legend
That a female gypsy
Conjured up the moon until dawn
Crying she asked
At the break of dawn
To marry a gyspy man

“You’ll have your man, dark skin,”
Spoke the full moon from the sky
“But in exchange I want
The first son
That you’ll have with him
Because whoever sacrifices their son
To not be alone
Would likely not love him very much.”

Moon, you want to be a mother
And you can’t find a love
That can make you a woman
Tell me silver moon
What do you intend to do
With a child of flesh?
Son of the moon.

From a cinnamon skinned father a child was born
White like as the back of an ermine
With grey eyes
Instead of olive
An albino boy of the moon
“Damn his appearance!
This is a non-gypsy man’s child
And I won’t stand for it!”


The gypsy man, believing himself to be dishonoured
Went to his wife, a knife in hand
“Who’s this child?
You fooled me well!”
And then he mortally wounded her.
Then he went to the hill
With the child in his arms
And he abandoned him there.


And in the nights when there’s a full moon
It will probably be because the child is in a good mood
And if the child cries
The moon will wane
To make him a cradle
And if the child cries
The moon will wane
To make him a cradle

Taken from http://lyricstranslate.com/en/hijo-de-la-luna-son-moon.html-3#songtranslation#ixzz3mwXJFtfQ


Spanish karaoke night – ResistirĂ© (DĂșo DinĂĄmico)

So I watched a bit of the 29th Goya Awards ceremony last night. I thought that I would get a nice summary of which film to add to my ‘to watch’ list, because I hadn’t really followed Spanish Cinema last year. But my ingenious plan didn’t work out. As soon as the ceremony’s opening – a medley of songs performed by actors and singers – had finished with the song ‘ResistirĂ©’,  a song that I hadn’t heard for ages, the last time probably when I watched Pedro Almodovar’s 1990 dark romantic comedy ¥Átame!, my evening had turned into a spontaneous Spanish-songs-of-the-80s-and-90s-karaoke evening. Yes, I filled my lungs with air and sang along but only after I had looked for this and other song(s)/lyrics on the net silently thanking people who’d go through the time-consuming work transcribing and uploading them.

Anyway, that song was one of the first Spanish songs I’d ever listened to attentively and repetitively, some 12-or-so years ago. It was during a language class that we Spanish language learners who’d just (!) began to learn about one of the many uses of the subjunctive (ah you wonderful Spanish grammar) were asked to pick out all subjunctive words we could hear or think we were hearing. So, our language instructor would play us that song again and again and again.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did then and yesterday! (The version below is not the original but one I particularly like; you can find the original version by following the link English translation below)

If you don’t know (much) Spanish and like to know what the song is all about, here’s a great website – Foreign Language Music. There you’ll find links to the song, an English translation , an extensive vocabulary list and grammar explanations.


Holiday and Harvest Time in Spain

Sitting comfortably on my sofa with a freshly brewed coffee in my favourite mug, I was reminiscing about my latest holiday in Spain…

…6 weeks ago today I arrived in Medina de Rioseco after a 2 night stay in Santander. This beautiful Cantabrian city located on the north coast of Spain welcomed me with glorious sunshine and perfect temperatures. So, I could happily start my desperately needed holiday.

Straight from airport to Santander El Sadinero

I explored the historic centre of Santander, strolled along the long promenade, feasted on good food which was washed down with cold beer. I also joined hundreds of people in their walks up and down the fine golden sandy shores of El Sardinero 1 and 2 (partly to burn off some of the excess calories). El Sardinero 1 and 2 are two long (combined total of 1,300 metres) and wide (80 metres) beaches and therefore great for exercising.

Joining hundreds in their walk along El Sardinero beach during morning hours.

Joining hundreds in their walk along El Sardinero beach during morning hours.

Then it was time to travel to Medina de Rioseco for a fortnight of peace and quiet. To escape the rising temperatures (35-38 celsius) I would rent a canoe and paddle along the calm and cool waters of the Canal de Castile.

This is where I forget my daily grind

This is where I forget my daily grind

And apart from reading some books and finishing my final essay of this year (yes, I am halfway through my MA!!!) most of my days were filled with walks or cycle routes along the canal and surrounding countryside. Or I’d just ramble with Lassie or Estrella (or both) alongside some barley, wheat and sunflower fields of Belmonte de Campos, …

walking in belmonte along the fields with estrella and lassie

… and get a ride in a harvester!! One of the many highlights of this year’s summer holiday in Spain. Usually I would miss the harvest period due to other commitments. So it was great to stand next to Prisciliano, who was in the driver’s seat. An experienced and ardent agriculturist ‘Pristi’ has been working the land for more than 60 years. He was the perfect ‘guide’ for my first harvester ride as he transmitted his lifelong passion for the land and you could sense how much fun he is still having working it.

Here comes the red beauty:

harvest machine

harvest machine

Prisciliano enjoying every minute of the harvest.

Prisciliano enjoying every minute of the harvest.

Faithful Estrella chose to walk along our harvester (and kept an eye on us) instead of staying behind with other family members, who waited next to some tractors and trailers. Estrella was overjoyed after we stepped down some 15 minutes later.


Languages in Primary Schools – German an essential skill

Started reading lots and lots about bi- and multingualism, community and classroom languages in preparation of my course essay (will look at how language and power influences the construction of a learner’s identity). Although I teach mostly adults I’ll focus on language use in primary schools, comparing what’s happening in Austria with the UK .

Anyway, whilst googling like a madwoman  if you ever were in the same boat as I, that is having the feeling that despite having stacks and stacks of carefully selected books (many of which were recommended by your tutor ESPECIALLY for your particular essay) piled up on the desk or like in my case on the dining table…ahm…and another pile next to your bed (as if you could read them all, really) you still think that there is that one article or book out there, the one that is perfect for your essay, you might understand or even feel sympathy for my 2 hours mad-googling-action  I came across the following article (The Independent, June 2012)  about language teaching in UK’s primary schools.

The reports finding, that of German being rated as a real  important language skill to have (after French, Spanish and Mandarin) REALLY surprised me. Hence the reason for this post.  

‘Ministers have suggested a range of languages that should be taught, including Mandarin, Latin and Greek as well as French, German and Spanish.

The plans, to be unveiled by the Education Secretary Michael Gove, coincide with a report from Britain’s bosses published today which warns that the UK has “the worst language proficiency in Europe”.

The report, based on a survey of more than 500 companies by the CBI and Pearson, says one in four employers rate Mandarin as an essential skill for today’s youngsters – placing it fourth behind German (50 per cent), French (49 per cent) and Spanish (37 per cent).’

If you like, you can read the full article here.

M Vida Loca

Here’s a link to the interactive online drama Mi Vida Loca (British Academy Television Craft Awards, Winner 2009 Interactive Innovation), where my dear friend Esther had a part (episodes 7-12). Some of the scences were shot in Medina de Rioseco, with real Spanish students and real people.

Mi Vida Loca is great for Spanish beginners who like to complete a first course in 12 weeks, but I think it’s also great for “false” beginners, elemntary and lower intermediary levels. Actually, I know of Spanish native speakers, who love this programme and of Spanish language teachers (secondary and adult education), who use it in their class.

Hope you enjoy it, too.

Mi Vida Loca

La flor de mi secreto

Having seen many Almodovar movies I couldn’t resist the temptation to watch “La flor de mi secreto” on a big screen during the Spanish Film Festival. Previously, probably about 12 years ago, I watched the movie on video on my small TV. Then I just started learning Spanish, then I watched the whole film without subtitles, and missed a lot. A lot, if not all, of the fantastic dialogues.

On a Tuesday evening 12 years later – equipped with more Spanish – I  sat inside the cinema at the French (!) Institut. This time I could follow all the dialogue…but not because my Spanish had improved that much, but because of the English subtitles, and gosh, did I enjoy that evening!

“La flor de mi secreto” was introduced by the wonderful Marisa Paredes, (winner of 3 x Best Actress) who would also join the audience after the screening for a short 30 min Q&A session.

At the end of a wonderful evening I concluded that it is hard to believe that Almodovar’s „La flor de mi secreto“ is already 18 years old…for me this tragic comedy is fresh and colourful and after having watched all of Almodovar’s movies I got surprised after realising that the black novel (plot: a young mother’s  daughter kills her husband because he tried to rape her, the corps ends up in a fridge) in the movie has the same plot as Almodovar’s “Volver”!!

Before falling asleep that night, I tried to decide which one of the many scenes is to be my favourite one. But I couldn’t. I loved the movie from start to finish. However, I did select the following 3 scenes that particularly stuck to my mind.

1. When the junkie tries to take off Leocadida (Leo’s) boots – you can just about see that one boot comes off but is quickly pushed back on :-).

2. When Leo visits her sister’s (Rosa) small apartment, which she shares with her husband and mother. Look out at how Rosa dresses and has her hair done.

3. After a great artistic performance of Leo’s household help and her son (Joaquin Cortes) we see Rose again dressed up to the occasion and having come straight from the hairdresser, fantastic scene!!

Scence “en casa de Rosa”

8th London Spanish Film Festival

My Spanish is a bit rusty after having spent some weeks in Austria during the summer break, which was great  as I could communicate in my mother tongue 24/7. At the end of my stay I even thought my German had improved – I am of course referring to street German rather than to the German you find in course books.

Anyway, it is now high time to invest a bit of TLC to my slowly retreating Spanish skills and what better way, than by going to see a Spanish movie.

Check out the program of the 8th London Spanish Film Festival, which will take place at Cine Lumiere, South Kensington, from 28th September- 10th October 2012. Some screenings also take place at International House, Instituto Cervantes.

This is a unique opportunity to view recent Spanish films, most of them are in fact UK premiers and there is something for everyone: engaging thriller, comedies, dramas, action movies, documentaries and shorts. Also, many of the films will be presented by their director and actors!!

I am looking forward to the “Acting Almodovar” series (at Cine Lumiere), in particular to the on-stage conversation with Marisa Paredes and Antonia San Juan with Prof. Maria Delgado on Monday 1st October, 6.30 and the Q&A with Marisa Paredes after the screening of La Flor de mi Secreto on Tuesday, 2nd October, 8.30 pm