SLICES OF REALITY
I have always believed in the benefits of sports, but sometimes, practising activities outdoors might be more dangerous than staying at home watching a good film. A friend of mine, whose name is Mónica, is really fond of roller-skating, and one day, as usual, she decided to go for a walk on her skates along Parayas bicycle lane. It was a nice summer day and Mónica enjoyed her free time as ever, until the time of going back home arrived. I haven’t told you before, but as you all probably know, you need a car to get into the airport area. Monica’s car was an old red Nissan Micra, it hasn’t got air conditioning or central locking either, but it was her first car, the one which gave her the opportunity to be more independent and free, but this is a different story… It was late in the evening and she was determined to go back home for dinner, but she made a terrible mistake, since she closed the car door leaving all her belongings inside. And there she was, without her car keys, without her wallet, without her cell, still wearing her skates and what is worse with no one who could help her in sight! She didn’t know what to do so she just sat down to wait for something to happen!! After waiting for the longest half hour in her life, a group of people went by and lent her a mobile phone, but she hadn’t run out of bad luck yet and nobody answered the phone at her house. Fortunately, those nice people didn’t mind lending her a hand and they gave her a lift to Santander, when at last her mum was at home and could take her back again to pick up her Micra. She could eventually eat something for dinner and went to bed after a long and difficult day!!
WHAT LOVE IS About 12 years ago, I was studying in high school, and we made a trip to Paris. It was the typical end-of-the-year trip that included a never-ending bus journey in which we got lost at least 4 times. One of my classmates was a little blonde girl. We only had one subject in common, and we did not really know each other that much, but we happened to have rooms in the same corridor, and that meant that we had breakfast together, we were in the same group for the daytrips, and we gathered in the same “unofficial” meeting room at night. We crossed sights the first night, spoke to each other for a while on the second, and became almost inseparable by the third. On the fifth day, we had a little cruiser across the river. There in Paris, sailing through the Sena, side by side with her, for the very first time, I felt something I could not explain. Something you cannot understand until the moment you feel it. Maybe… We sat together on the bus to return to Santander, and we had a long conversation about the things we liked, what we disliked, life… When we were about a hundred miles away from Santander, we made a bet about the time we were going to arrive. She was right, so she looked at me and said “you owe me something now”. I would like to say that I kissed her right there and then. I would like to write how we fell in love, and the great times we lived together. But the only premise of this project is to tell a true story and, unfortunately, that was not the case. The day after our arrival was the beginning of the Easter holidays, and by the time we saw each other again, the magic was gone. Paris, France. The city of love. Or, at least, the city where I learned what love is.
ISTAMBUL IN BRIEF, by Elena Gil Arce We were lost in a poor old neighbourhood of Istambul city. The streets and the buildings were like there used to be in Spain in the sixties, without traffic jams or cars. The silence let us listen to some mothers from the balconies calling out their children who played freely on the pavement or to see them coming back from the grocery, carrying bags with plenty of food. We had been visiting the Chora Christian church, now a museum, which conserved marvellous mosaics and beautiful frescoes and, a bit bewitched by the surprising images and the golden atmosphere of the place, we started walking witouth having looked up the city map or choosing a direction. It was at noon and I hadn´t taken off the shawl I was wearing on my head during the visits to religious places because it was also a help to avoid the annoying sun. Our next planned visit was an ancient mosque which, on the guide, was described as a meeting centre for the fundamentalists, quite inadvisable for tourists. But we were already wandering around the area, so we didn´t care about the recommendations. Suddenly, on a corner of a square, we saw about ten young men, standing there, tall and dark, and they stopped talking the moment we came into sight. We felt a bit embarrased, it wasn´t a tourist point and we could only hear the sound of our shoes tapping on the paving stone. When we approached, one of them, smailing, said in English: - Welcome! And all the rest shouted with one voice: - Welcome, welcome! We managed to mumble: - Thanks, bye. But we didn´t dare to ask them the right direction, so we went over several more blocks and we found a group of children playing football. Two of them took a pair of bikes and they said they knew the famous mosque and waved us to follow them. After a while, they showed us the imposing edifice. And they waited with an anxious expression on their faces. We started to argue about what to do, how to behave properly. How to be grateful for their help? Should we give them some money? But maybe this behaviour could lead them to get used to easy tourist tips. Maybe it was not correct to give money to children from countries poorer than ours. After a short but intense discussion, we agreed in inviting them to a pair of icecreams. They knew a lot about Spanish footballers, they were strong and talkative and charming. And they were learning English at school. They weren´t poor people at all. They ate them greedily but they were still waiting for something more. We said good bye and we came into the mosque. I still remember their dissapointed faces. Maybe they started that day to hate tourists.
Ten days meditation, ten days incubation
I took the flight from Wellington to Sydney and in the transit area I decided to continue to Bangkok as I had a stand-by ticket. I don’t really remember why I went to this ten-day Buddhist meditation course in the south of Thailand. Guess some backpackers told me about it and I thought it would be a good introduction to yoga. Well there I was, doing everyday yoga at sunrise, walking meditation, sitting meditation, not allowed to talk, no cigarettes etc. and sleeping on straw mats. In the afternoon we had the possibility to go into the hot pools in the forest, this was great. This experience is getting more and more important the older I get, but there was another incident that really left a mark on me. After aprox. 6 days people started to get very ill and we had no information what it could be. I thought if it is something serious maybe I should leave. I did, one day before the end, which was a pity as I could not talk or exchange my experiences with the others (aprox. 50 people from different countries). In Bangkok I stayed a few days having a good time and meeting people from this 5-month trip. Then without any specific reason I left back home. During the flight I thought about a phrase from the monks “…open your heart to the mosquitoes”! We really had to resist many bites from mosquitoes especially during meditation. I arrived in Frankfurt at 6 a. m. and all my friends were there to welcome me. Then I went to my sister’s house to see all my family. I will never forget that moment (aprox. 10 a. m.)! After having seen all my beloved people I set down on the couch and suddenly I felt very strange and I checked my temperature which was increasing unstoppably. Nearly 40-degrees-fever! I thought ok dengue fever. I knew there is no special treatment for it. So I stayed a few days in bed. This time I don’t remember much, guess I was in a kind of delirium. My family then took me to the hospital as I was also very weak and thin and had strange marks all over my body. To be honest I’m still not sure if it was a good idea as in the hospital they drugged me up on medicine as I had no evidence of antibodies. Lying next to the malaria patients and treated as something strange I stayed there a few days and met a lot of doctors. Finally, yes it was dengue fever and I needed a few months to recover completely. Since then this illness is in my medical record and I’m convinced that my mental energy managed to make the symptoms appear just when I arrived home.
Namesake He was born on the tenth of February of the year of our lord nineteen hundred in a small town of Northern Spain called Renedo de PiĂŠlagos. I met him on the 29th of July, 1980. He was eighty years old when I was born and he had still sixteen to go. His parents were JosĂŠ and Micaela and he had 5 brothers, all male. His father was a worker in a textile company and later on he himself became a tailor. He was a tailor all his life. I remember going to his shop, which at the end did not even have a commercial license anymore, but he did not know it and kept on working until he died. Also, everyday, he would buy the newspaper, the daily bread and he would spend at least an hour going from bar to bar before lunch time, having some white wine with his old friends. He also smoke Celtas until he died. Never took an aspirin, though. It has always been amazing to think about everything that happen during his life: a dictatorship, a monarchy, a republic, WWI, the crash of 1929, a civil war, a post-war Spain, another dictatorship, WWII, Vietnam War, The Revolution in Cuba, The Cold War, Democratic and Monarchic Spain, The fall of the Berlin Wall, The end of the Soviet Union, Barcelona 92â€Śand he missed my 18th birthday. It was the oldest person I have ever met in live and later on he became just an old black and white picture in the chest of drawers of our living room, just a past figure, just a reminder of the passing of generations, only an old memory. But during his lifetime he was much more than that to me. He was a reference of time, a symbol of survival, a moral lesson of how to live life as a present, not as a yoke. There is a picture of me and him that I love. I must be around five. He is holding me, and I am grabbing his old and pending ear lobe as if it were a toy. When looking at the picture I feel as if when I was holding that lobe he was sending me all his energy to carry on with my life in the future and be able to work until the end of times and live life at its full. I almost forgot, he was my great-grandfather and his name was Guillermo. I like my first name.
BASQUE COUNTRY : COME AND TELL EVERYONE It happened in the summer of 1996. My friend Esther came from Madrid to spend with me the long weekend in the middle of August.We had planned a three-day trip along the Basque coastline. Our first day was turning out better than we expected. It was a sunny day and we were delighted with the splendid views of the sea and the beautiful fisherman´s villages on the coast. After lunchtime we arrived at Laga Beach and we decided to take a rest lying in the sun for a while. But when we got in –less than one year old- Esther´s car it wouldn´t start and a big pool of liquid was underneath it. The tow truck towed the car away to the closest garage that would open on the following day and then left us several kilometers away, in the next town, Markina. So we ended up in a charmless and gloomy village of inland Biscay, with no rooms available in its only guesthouse. At first we tried to make fun of the situation but as it was getting dark and there were less and less people in the streets we felt really worried about the idea of sleeping rough. So we had to do something! Then, I stopped the first passers-by, a young couple with their son, and asked them if there was a Civil Guard station in the village. I thought if there was one we could spend the night at least indoors. They looked puzzled , given we had asked such a taboo question , so I explained to them what had happened. After that they started talking to each other in Euskera and then she offered to put us up for the night. They lived in and old house with many big rooms, shabbily furnished, facing a building that used to be a prison.We learned that the man’s father had been the last jailer in the village. He and his family had lived in the house. It turned out that we stayed in the village house for the jailers which was not very different from what I asked for. The couple were extremely nice with us.He even gave us a lift to the garage the next morning and finally we had our car repaired and we carried on with our plans , but in the afternoon ,when we went back to the car park in the beach of Zarautz we found a hand-written note on the windscreen that said:”Be careful,your car has an oil leak”. This time Esther managed to start the engine and we set off on our way back. She left me in Bilbao and without stopping the engine , just in case, she succeeded in arriving in Madrid some hours later.
The car had to be repaired because of a severe breakdown. Esther promised not to go back to the Basque Country. I think she has stuck to it. Although it´s been many years since that happened,when we see each other, we very often remenber this slice of our lives and also remember that in those days there was a campaign to encourage people to visit the Basque Country which had the motto: “Pais Vasco: ven y cuentalo”. By Inés
We were terrified and we didn't stop
I dance in a Dance and Theater Company
running till we arrived at the hotel. We
were really scared!
“Dantea”, set up in Maliaño. I have danced all my life; I can't remember if there was a
Another time, when we were in Equatorial
time when I hadn't danced. It is a fantastic
Guinea, we were on a bus, but not on a
lifestyle, but unfortunately, it is not enough
bus like those that we have in Spain; it was
to live on. So I have to work as a Primary
a very, very old one. We were crossing
School teacher, which is fantastic too.
I have traveled to several countries with
organization wanted to show us a small
the Dance Company. We have danced in
town where the native population lived,
Italy, Germany, Latvia, Ecuador, Equatorial
when a man appeared in the middle of the
Guinea, Romania and China, and of
Once, when we were dancing in
road (although it wasn't a real road, just a
course, in Spain.
Palermo, Italy, we had just finished our
I can’t remember how many times I have
performance, and we were walking in
machete. He began to talk to the bus
performed on a stage. May be five
the street, when we noticed that very
driver and he got on the bus. We were
hundred times… this is the first time that I
near from where we were, somebody
frightened; we didn't know what was going
think about it.
was shooting at somebody else. At first,
on. That strange man looked for a seat
When you are at backstage, ready to start
we thought that it couldn’t be true, but
and traveled with us till we arrived at the
the performance, you feel a bit special. You
some moments later we decided to run,
town. Some minutes later, the bus driver
are going to show each member of the
because there were too many people
told us that he was working in the jungle
audience the work that you have been
shouting. Three minutes later, police
and that the big machete was used to cut
preparing for many years, which is very
cars appeared and rushed on the road.
the big plants. He just wanted us to take
important to you.
But he was carrying a big
DOES GOD PLAY DICE?
Don’t you have the idea that sometimes our lives are full of coincidences and that things happen for any reason? When was the last time you said: “You must be joking or no way”? Well then, I know a person, an average sort of girl in many ways, whose life is based on this theory, although she does not like to admit it! The first time I saw her, it was in a youth hostel in London two years ago. I was preparing my dinner, while she was eating soup. I just arrived after speaking English for hours and I wanted to chat in my own language, so when I realised that she was Spanish I started to talk to her. (1st coincidence) I just met that girl so I did not make a big deal of it, but her reaction was strange when I said that I was from Reinosa and where I was working. Step by step, we became close friends, so one day she confessed the reason of her reaction in the kitchen: She had applied for the job where I was working (2nd coincidence) and…in the same period! (3rd coincidence) and besides three years before, she had been living in Santander and she had a friend in Matamorosa. After telling me how she looked like, I realized she was my father’s cousin daughter! (4th coincidence)
Although we worked for different organizations, curiously both of our jobs depended on the Spanish Embassy (5th coincidence) and we started our contracts and finished them at the same time! (6th coincidence) Last Easter, we decided to prepare a trip together with a group of friends that we had in common. At the beginning, we wanted to go around central of Europe but finally we rejected the idea: not enough days and too many places to visit… so in a last attempt we thought of Sweden…lucky us, we got cheap airplane tickets! (7th coincidence) I could see my friend totally enthusiastic enjoying Stockholm and I asked her if she would be capable to live there. “I would not mind it. It is a nice place.” It was her answer. And do you know where she is living now?? Yes, incredible, isn’t it? (8th coincidence) Nowadays, we get in touch and we keep playing this game of coincidences. We used to say that our friendship is by chance!
“MAMÁ” CARMEN Some years ago I went on a trip with some
part of a grid, oriented according to the direction
supposed. She was very happy to have the
of the main winds in order to allow them to blow
chance to speak Spanish with us.
along the streets. She had travelled all around the world with
friends and met a woman who told us one of the latest slices of her own life. We couldn´t talk too
Confidence between the inhabitants of
her husband who had died many years before.
much with her although she was from Madrid
these islands is very important because the main
They hadn´t had children and she only inherited
because of her illness, but she didn´t seem sad or
door of each house must always remain open to
from him several debts. She had started working as
let the breeze inside. The air gets out through the
a civil servant when she was over her fifties and
determination and strength and I´ve remembered
roof as if they were a chimeny not used for fire, but
had visited the island for the first time some years
her several times when I get stuck.
before with a friend.
I suppose everyone has to solve their
Buildings are slender and grow very close
A degenerative illness had left her in a
problems in their own way and as best as they can,
to one another in order to give and receive shade
wheelchair and she was losing the capacity of
but what was surprising for me about her was her
from its neighbours. At the top they all have a
movement, talking and breathing very quickly. Her
covered terrace where people can sleep in the
Spanish retirement pension didn´t allow her to hire
a person who should had been taking care of her
crowded sky surrounded by the wind that comes
in our country, and she didn´t want to live in a
from the sea at night.
residence for the elderly. That was why when she
She had been living on an amazing island very far Madrid in all senses, it really looks like one
air, while watching
Knew the consequences of her illness, she moved
of those invisible cities that Italo Calvino described. People move from one village to another riding
When one of the inhabitants of the island
donkeys or sailing in a kind of ancient boats. Light is
knew that we came from Spain, he made a big
harmful and every night when the electricity
effort and told us that there was an old lady that
engines stopped working everyone was on the
had been living on those islands for some years.
She had decided to live in these islands not
She was ill, but we could meet her every morning
because she didn´t have family or friends -those
at the square -there was only one-.
days a nephew and her husband where visiting
to the island and built a house. She was supporting a whole family who lived with her.
her- it was just because she wanted to rule her life Coral it´s all over and everything is built
Although we weren´t sure that we had
and enjoy it as much as she could till the end and
with thick walls of this ocean stone. As the weather
understood him well, we followed his instructions
also because she didn´t want to become a burden
is very hot and humid the inhabitants of the island
and arrived at a place where the street got wider
for her own family.
use the breeze of the sea to cool their inside
and where some trees grew. Under a palm tree,
homes. The houses are regullary placed and are
there was a lady that didn´t look as old as we had
Everybody called her “Mamá” Carmen.
PARTY ON, by María Pérez The story I want to share with you is set many years ago, when I was just a teenager, on a school trip to the South of Spain. I undertook my studies in a Catholic school, with very strict and tough rules and teachers (most of them priests). I wasn’t a very good student, so I was grounded most of the time and couldn’t go out with my friends. I mention this because I want you to see that I didn’t have many chances back then to go wild and reckless on a wild and reckless party. So, on the last night of the trip, some of my course mates and me decided to play our last card and have a party in our hotel room. Since the teachers were not going to give us permission for such a terrible gathering, we decided to wait long enough for them to be asleep so we could party on without any problems. But of course: last day of the trip, many days walking up and down and visiting loads of places in Andalucia, we were pretty knackered. So, I had an idea: we’ll take it on turns. Some of us will go to sleep while the rest is kept awake, and after an hour we’ll switch places. We also set a time in which people would come from their rooms to ours (I shared my room with another two classmates) and the party would then be started!! Everyone thought it was a great idea and I chose to go to sleep on the first shift. Next thing I know, it’s the morning of the following day and the hotel room was, let’s say, a bit untidy. “What happened??!”, I asked. “Did anybody come?”. “Why didn’t you wake me? My roommates told me they tried to wake me but weren’t successful. Apparently, I was sound asleep. I was so cross! I had missed the party! They told it wasn’t that good, really. Just a couple of people dropped by and that was it. In any case, there was nothing I could do then, since we had to finish packing to get on the bus back home. We came back to our life here, in our Catholic education, strict and tough, without parties. Some time later someone brought the pictures from the trip (back then, there weren’t digital cameras, so by the time we saw the pictures the feeling of the trip was long gone). We remembered all the nice places we had visited, Seville, Granada, Malaga, and we also remembered the nice things we had done, like the last night party. Because, there WAS a party, and a big one!! I saw pictures of my hotel room packed with all my class mates, having the time of their lives!! In some pictures I saw myself, sleeping in the bed right in the middle of the room. People all around me having fun. And there was me: sound asleep on a wild and reckless party.
DOUBLE IDENTITY or how to be a man while still being a woman
Some years ago I was taken seriously ill. Once in hospital, after the usual procedure- E.R. and so on-, I was finally put to bed in a ward, where I could have a little rest. At around eight that evening, dinner was served, and a friend of mine who had been keeping me company, left. I was dozy when at about half past eleven a nurse came in. − “What would you like to have?”- She asked me. − “I'm fine, thank you. I've already had dinner, and I just want to get some sleep”- said I − “But you know that being a diabetic; you need to have a little snack before midnight”. She was by my bed and taking a good look at me. - “A diabetic? I'm not anything of that sort!” I must confess that I was quite confused. - “But of course you are a diabetic. No doubt about it, I've just checked it” It was pretty clear that she was getting annoyed; she did not like to be answered back. I was puzzled; nobody had ever told me so. In a weak voice, as I was exhausted and shocked, I managed to tell her that I had never heard such a thing in my life. - “The point is that you are, and that's why you are to have a snack now”- her tone was firm. Realizing how pointless it would be to go on arguing with her, I gave in. - “Come on! It's not so bad. You can choose whether you prefer an orange or a yogur”- her voice was far more cheerful. - “A yogurt would be nice, thanks.” - said I, thinking it would be less messy. - “That's a sensible thing to do!. I'll fetch you one”. She was broadly smiling by then. As she was leaving, she stopped, turned round and stared at me. I started to worry again, wondering what could be next. After what it seemed a lifetime, she muttered with a deep sigh: − “Listen, I think you may be right after all; perhaps you are not a diabetic”. She paused for a moment and continued, grim-faced: − “You know? The funny thing is that I've kept thinking all the time that you were Fernando...” − “???!!!”
ASH WEDNESDAY We used to call her “the witch”. We would look at her appearing at regular intervals through the windows of the 4th floor of the old building overlooking the park. We used to wonder why she did that. She had that air about her which made her both scary and intriguing in our eyes. Count to ten, there she is. The first time I saw her, naïve as I was, I believed she was a real witch. Why on earth would she keep on walking around the room, just stopping now and then for a quick peep of the park and the street? I was instantly scared. Then some of the boys started messing with her. Just innocent jokes, waving to see her reply, pretending to know her. I could never do such a thing. Something I could not name kept me from it. Then that day she stopped being a witch. One of the boys played one of the regular jokes. He just asked: “What day is it today?”. She replied, “Today is Ash Wednesday”. She had one of those soft smiles grannies have in my town. She seemed just so calm, so happy, so quiet. She instantly lost that halo of magic I had previously perceived. In exchange she gained something. She became so fragile, so human, so intimate... I never knew her name or who she was. I never knew who her relatives where, whether she had any sons or daughters, any grandsons or granddaughters I could have known. For years I forgot about her. Just today, due to these strange mechanisms of the mind I was reminded of her. My girlfriend and I were quietly sitting, waiting for the bus. She suddenly said, “Hey, Pablo, what’s that old lady doing in the balcony?” It’s funny how totally unrelated events are connected in our minds. The old woman in Santander took me back to the old woman in Mieres. Very recently I read about how the greatest moments of our life may only be remembered, and then relived, four or five times in our lifetime. That means we should really delight upon them, as they may never come back again. This moment hasn’t definitely been one of the greatest in my life, but it has really made me think about happy times. Nevertheless, there’s this strange feeling about me today. The meaning of it I cannot grasp but it smells of rain and fallen leaves and of something, whatever it is, that has been lost, for good.
Pablo Barrio González
Last Wednesday, when we read in class the text ‘Subtotals’ by Gregory Burnham I found that it was a funny, ironic and interesting way of telling a story. I discovered that you can give a lot of information or an ironical slant and keep the attention of the reader by using such a simple and repetitive scheme of sentences. So I decided to mix the Paul Auster project with Gregory Burnham’ style and write what I have titled MY LIFE IN SLICES: Number of mobile phones I’ve lived with: 5. Lost: 2. Dead: 1 Number of songs loaded in my computer: 11.528. Number of sisters: 1. Brothers: 0. Number of sisters and brothers that I would have liked to have: 4. Number of children: 0. Number of trees planted: 6. Books written: 0. Number of times that I have asked myself: What have I done with… whatever?: 117. Number of hours wasted looking for a document eaten by my computer: 77. Number of times that I have ended up reading on the Internet about something that it has nothing to do with the subject I was looking for: 785. Number of kilos that I have gained this winter: 4. Kilometres driven in my whole life: 226.891. Number of countries visited: 25. Meters of shelves with magazines, books, brochures and guides about travelling: 12. Number of times I have left my glasses forgotten on the table in a restaurant: 41. Number of times that I have recovered them: 41. Pairs of glasses definitively lost: 1. Number of times I have washed my car on my own and with my hands: 1. Times I really fell in love: 1 Times I have been in hospital (not for having fallen in love). 1 Number of times that my right knee needed stitches: 3 Number of cigarettes smoked: 0. Number of different sports practised along my life: 4. Number of sports seriously practised: 0. Meters that I can swim before thinking that it makes no sense go from a side to another of the swimming pool. 1000. Number of hours in my life that I consider a waste of time (apart from those dedicated to look for documents eaten by the computer): 0. Number of friends that I keep from school time: 3. Number of boys in my classes at school: 0. Number of important people in my life who live abroad: 2. Single close friends: 3. Married close friends: 12. Number of photos shot with a camera: 59.349. Pictures made without a camera: 2.315. Number of cameras I have owned: 6. Number of childhood home telephone 942 228004 Number of wrong decisions that have marked the rest of my life: 1. Number of days in a year that I get to forget it: 80. Number of times that I have felt like a weirdo from the beginning of the year: 31. Number of times that I have congratulated myself for been a weirdo from the beginning of the year: 31. Number of slaps received that I can’t forget: 1. Number of people I met whose complicity was impossible to find (having looked for it): 13.
Number of statements made in this text after having worked out the real and exact number: 19
Ich möchte mit der Kommandant sprechen, A slice of my life Last April 15th, I read a piece of news that said “From now on, United Airlines passengers with extra-wide bodies will have to pay for an extra seat” That reminded me that I have some experience in the matter. On July 14 th 1999 we were flying from Frankfurt to Dallas, Texas. As a teacher, my wife was participating in a post-to-post exchange with an American teacher. We woke up really early that morning, went to Bilbao Airport and took the first flight to Frankfurt. A few minutes before taking off I was wondering how lucky we were. The plane was absolutely full, complete, and the only free seat was the one on my left. My wife was on my right. Ten seats in each row and lots of rows, up to more or less 300 seat the whole plane. Suddenly I saw an enormous African-American dragging his feet in the narrow aisle. Of course his seat was beside mine. He sat down and while half of his body fitted in the seat the other half was shared between the aisle and me. As a reaction I bent over my wife and after flying for a few minutes she told me that it was absolutely impossible to remain in that position for eleven hours, so she called the hostess who explained to us that the plane was full, complete, even the business seats. After a few minutes I stood up and walked along the aisle looking for the chief flight attendant, who happened to be the same person who had talked with my wife. She insisted the plane was full and didn’t have any solution. I had a look at the business area while she was preparing something and I realized there were more than two free seats, so I asked her to invite the African-American to move to the business area. She told me it was impossible because that would mean looking down on him. Once there I told her my wife and I could move to the business seats and she refused for a while. Finally I shouted in German, -we were flying with Lufthansa-, Ich möchte mit der Kommandant sprechen, the only sentence I could build with my poor knowledge of German but it was enough. Fortunately she answered to me in English, she went into the crew cabin and a few minutes later she agreed to move us to business class. When we flew over Amsterdam, less than one hour after leaving Frankfurt, my wife and I were drinking some expensive French wine with a luxurious snack. That was the beginning …
Some years ago I went on holiday with my youngest sons to Portugal and the south of Spain. When we arrived in Sevilla, after having spent a week in different places in Portugal, we noticed with great surprise (because we didn’t use to travel in style), our hotel was a 5 star-hotel, really luxurious. When we got to our room, it was enormous and it had a double-bed for each of us. The first thing my three-year-old son Pablo noticed was the TV was speaking in Spanish. Then he exclaimed: “What a luxurious Hotel, they even have a Spanish Television”. In spite of the very hot temperatures, we enjoyed the city for two days. The best moment was when we were visiting the Cathedral. There we were shown all the treasures, I mean there was a room full of religious ceremony dresses, the great Organ, and finally a room where plenty of “goblets” were displayed in cabinets all around. We are a very sporty family. Their granddad won lots of silver cups when sailing, their uncle even more, by far, and their eldest brother and sister had already won some trophies in tennis and sailing. Pablo as I told before was only three and had won no trophy yet, so when he discovered all those impressive goblets he couldn’t help saying: WOW!! WHAT A LOT OF CUPS JESUS WON!!! You know, Pablo didn’t know Jesus was such a great “champion” People around us were freaking out….and laughing.
SLICES OF LIFE A CHRISTMAS NIGHT
20th December 2007. It´s a sunny morning of winter. I am driving to work. I think Christmas is coming. I feel generous. I decided to celebrate Christmas dinner at home and invite some relatives who might be alone otherwise. There will be twelve of us. When I arrive home I start to phone: My two cousins: we wil be there, thank you My sister and husband: count us in. But, could my sister in law come with us ? I wilL bring the cake. My niece: Oh aunty, could my boyfriend come with me? I´ll be soon to help you. My mother in law: OK. My neighbour and her husband: I´m very grateful to you. With my two sons there we´ll be fourteen of us. I´ll have to add a small table. 21st December I write the menu. 22nd December I go shopping 23rd December I prepare part of the menu. 24th December I get up at eight. All the morning in the kitchen. In the evening, I am still in the kitchen. My sister phones me: I haven´t got any cake and my sister in law will not go with us.We are thirteen. Nobody is at home. I have to take off my apron and look for a pastry shop. My neighbour phones: I´m very sorry but my daugther arrives tonight. We can´t make it. Now,we are eleven. I take the small table out. 9:30 My husband lays the table. I keep on preparing the snaks. 10:00 My niece arrives with no boyfriend and very serious. We are ten. The rest of the people arrive too.
Description of the dinner: My niece doesnÂ´t say a word. My sister and husband argue all the time about the absence of his sister. My mother- in- law repeats once and again she is not hungry. While we are eating Christmas cake my sons are looking the clock every single minute. As soon as we have finished the cake, people start to go out. My husband and I stay in the kitchen until three oÂ´clock
20th December 2008 I receive four phone messages with the folowing text: We will be pleased to celebrate Christmas with you again. 24th December I answer with the folowing phone message: We will also be pleased to celebrate this day together. We are waiting for you. We are in Madeira Island. Lisboa hotel.