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More TV tips to perfect your Spanish from Anne Pinder

January 20th, 2022 by

Netflix, Spanish.  Some have subtitles. You can find these shows with Netflix search bar.

*Las Chicas del Cable.  A group of young women work as telephone operators in Madrid, from late 1920’s to late 1930’s. Love stories, politics, phone modernization (big implications for our “chicas”) and more. Very entertaining, though I didn’t like the last season as much as earlier seasons.   Great clothes, and it’s fun to see places in Madrid that you recognize in a different period setting. 

La Cocinera de Castamar.  Young woman takes over job as cook in a noble house near Madrid (easily recognizable as the palace in Boadilla del Monte).   The man of the house has a tragedy in his past, the cook has some big issues but is an astonishing cook.  Things happen.

La Catedral del Mar.  Based on a book by Ildefonso Falcones, this is about building Santa Maria del Mar church in 14th century Barcelona. It’s also a coming of age story for a poor young boy who helps build the church, and has some big adventures on the way to adulthood – and as an adult.  This is sort of like a Spanish Pillars of the Earth.

Baztan trilogy, three movies, in this order:  El guardián invisible; Legado en los huesos; Ofrenda a la tormenta.  Based on books of same names by Dolores Redondo.  Part pólice/detective, part scary supernatural, part return-home story.  Some nudity and sex.

Amazon Prime, Spanish

Another treasure trove for language learners.  If your Spanish is pretty good and you would like to know more about everyday life in Spain, check out Cuentame Como Pasó. This long-running series follows an everyday Spanish family from 1968 to 1992 (so far), key years in Spanish history.  

French, a quick note:  My Spanish is fluent, so I’m trying to recover my almost-forgotten French.  Graded readers were really helpful, after level C1 and following suggestion of someone in Pasajes bookstore I jumped to unsimplified but easy reading:  Harry Potter, figuring that an entertaining young adult book with a known story would be a good start (and yes, it is).   For TV series on Netflix I’ve watched Bonfire of Destiny and Lupin, both are good, especially Lupin.  Several other shows bookmarked for the future.

Gain fluency in Spanish in context by Anne Pinder

January 9th, 2022 by

So will you be working on your Spanish in 2022?  Language learning is not just memorizing grammar, mix it up a bit for more fun and probably faster progress.  

Graded readers are simplified books, sometimes simplified classics, sometimes specifically written for language learning. They’re usually graded by classic language levels A1 to C2, and usually if not always have audio, CD or downloadable from Internet.  Various publishers. Available at least at Pasajes bookstore (Calle Genova 3) and Casa del Libro (Gran Via 29 and other addresses).

Watching movies really can help, some people theorize that Spain is behind on language fluency because most movies are dubbed.  Here are some tips for series that are entertaining if skewed to period pieces pieces which are my favorite genre (sorry).  Depending on where you are or how you watch, some of these shows may not be available or might be available different ways (I think MInisterio del Tiempo was on Netflix in the USA), though all are available at present if watching in Spain.  If you cannot decide, my suggestion is to start with shows with a *   Another other option is to find a movie or series you like dubbed into Spanish and with subtitles.

RTVE Spanish TV.  Since these were created for Spaniards, probably no subtitles.

*Ministerio del Tiempo.  Time travel IS possible, and that means people going back in time can mess up the future (our present), intentionally or unintentionally, so the super-secret Time Ministry has a team of people to make sure that doesn’t happen.  This can get complicated, but it’s fun, and you learn some history and meet interesting people, like painter Diego Velázquez.  https://www.rtve.es/play/videos/el-ministerio-del-tiempo/

Aguila Roja. Gonzalo is a mild-mannered teacher in part of his life, superhero in another part of his life. His sidekick is the only person in on the secret, his son admires Aguila but thinks his dad is a coward.  Some love interest, some really evil bad guys, lots of adventures.  Historically fairly accurate, including King Felipe IV being a skirt-chaser, though the real Cardenal Mendoza is from another period and apparently was not as ambitious as the Cardenal in this series. Fair amount of violence (Aguila beats up at least one bad guy in every episode), some nudity or half-seen sex scenes. NOTE. This might not be available now, I was watching daily, stopped at a scary place and now looks like it will be hard to re-start, though the series may be available for purchase.)  https://www.rtve.es/television/aguila-roja/capitulos-completos/

La Señora.  Spain in the 1920’s, a young man and woman fall in love but it has to end because of social differences.  They never forgot each other, meet up again years later.  Just started watching this one, looks interesting.  https://www.rtve.es/play/videos/la-senora/senora-capitulo-1/1583859/

Tiempo entre Costuras. Based on book by Maria Dueñas, translated as A Time in Between or  The Seamstress (different titles in USA and UK); if you haven’t read it you should.  Great story of a young woman from Madrid just before the Civil War who ends up in Spanish Morocco and eventually back in Madrid.  Lots of things happen, can’t say more without spoiling the story.  I loved the book, watched part of the first episode and as sometimes happens, one of the characters was so different from my imagination that it put me off, so can’t recommend personally (yet), though people who have watched most or all say it’s really good  (I need to try again). https://www.atresplayer.com/antena3/series/el-tiempo-entre-costuras/    I think this is also on Amazon Prime.

Spotlight on Malin Garemo

September 9th, 2021 by

Originally from Sweden, we take a peek at the varied life of INC president: Malin Garemo, mother of 3, who despite having left school with no desire to continue further education, went on to acquire a PhD in Nutrition and has made a career out of it in Denmark, Abu Dhabi and now Madrid as well as trekking across deserts and mountains, cooking up a storm and devouring copious books.

You have made a career out of nutrition, what prompted you to study Nutrition at university?

I am fascinated by the power of food and its capacity to prevent, cause and heal diseases. Studying nutrition gave me a chance to learn more about the interaction between the body, the mind/brain and food, all equally important for our health.

Colourful food is healthy food

You are originally from near Malmo and in your 20s you moved to Denmark, are the two countries less similar than outsiders think?

On the surface Denmark and Sweden are very similar but the more I got to know the former the greater my appreciation of their differences became. Both the Swedes and the Danes are grounded, genuine and sensitive to the environment and once you have made a friend, that person can easily become a friend for life. When we left Denmark, I felt we´d really had an expat “living abroad” experience.

What did you learn about women´s and pediatric health when you set up a health consultancy in Denmark?

Loads! Women are powerful and the impact mothers have on their children’s life is immense and vice versa.  What we know from research today is that children who grow up with mothers who have a positive body image are happier with themselves, if a mother is doing sports it has a more positive impact on the children than if their fathers are doing sports. By empowering women we give children a better chance to thrive. For me it is a privilege to support and enable women and children to be their best.

Malin in action

After 9 years in Denmark how did you find life in Abu Dhabi?

Super interesting. The desert is beautiful and people are friendly, curious and generous. I was lucky enough to work at the university, teaching young women from a very different culture than my own. I think I learnt more from them than they did from me.

Malin heads for Paris

Do you have any stories about adapting to life here in Madrid after 9 years in Abu Dhabi?

Moving here I could only say Hola and Gracias. Getting help from my children (who knew some Spanish) to sort out the internet, deliveries etc was a pretty humbling experience. It really reminded me about the power of knowledge (and innovative speaking J).  I was very happy when I found INC- a tribe that understands my language.

Malin´s family improvise some dining tables before their furniture arrives in Madrid

As an expert in nutrition and holistic health, do you practise what you preach?

Well, yes to the point that my children once asked the host at a party why she was serving Coca Cola and then promptly informed all the children there that Coca Cola is a medicine that is only fit for consumption when you have a stomach bug at both ends!

On a bit more of a serious note, yes, I try. I am lucky to be surrounded by people that I admire and love. We eat with joy, I have been meditating for many years and I also move a lot in my daily life. All of those ingredients are important for a happy, and thus healthier life.

Summer life in Sweden

What research papers are you writing up for Zayed University in Abu Dhabi? Why did you choose that particular field?

Right now I are working on 3 projects all related to children: one focusing on infant feeding, one about pre-schoolers and their overall heath and finally young athletes, their performances, drivers and how they can be utilised as role models in their social circles.

As a specialist in paediatric nutrition I want to understand what is happening with kids when they are young in order to support them, and their mothers, to create healthier family units. Working with kids is fun-they are completely honest and that has always appealed to me.

Asia is a key member of the family

Not content with your PhD, why have you decided to study world history at Gothenburg University?

It is something I have wanted to do for a long time and coming here, the stars finally aligned-I have the time and Spain reminded me about how little I know about this country. The course is a way to help me learn more.

You are a keen hiker and traveller, across mountains and deserts – tell us about any interesting stories on your trips

Early on I got a taste for travelling and my kids came too since a very early age.  I remember once, on our way to the Philippines, carrying my youngest in a Babybjorn sling , while asking the boys to be patient and wait for our luggage. All of a sudden one vanished into thin air, until my eldest, then 6 years old, delightfully pointed him out “ Mummy, look, Wilhelm is whizzing around on the luggage belt”. Fortunately I managed to get him off the belt before he disappeared with the luggage… There have been times when I wished I was an octopus.  

Exploring Siem Reap, Cambodia

What other hobbies do you enjoy and how do they enrich your life?

Reading, puppy training, gardening, summer house DIY, running and doing nothing …Does that qualify as a hobby? I am very good at spending time with family and friends doing absolutely nothing!

Reading has always been a big part of my life. I am now a member of the INC area 1 Book Club, coordinated by Irlanda. We have read some great books and the meet ups afterwards are always equally stimulating. We are honestly having a real blast!

Crossing the desert between Al Ain and Abu Dhabi

I am keen hiker and one of the most memorable experiences was to cross the desert between Al Ain and Abu Dhabi together with 40 other women –walking 30-35 km a day in 40-55 degrees Celcius in the sun and no shade. Talk about girl power!

I have also been on a lot of hikes with the children and it is such a great way to hang out. You talk, you are silent, you are together and the pace is soothing, once you get into it. And of course, a nice picnic along the road is the big reward. I have also done some amazing hikes around Madrid and can’t wait to do more together with INC.

What´s next for Malin Garemo?

Short term I want to improve my Spanish, get back to running nutrition courses, and run a half marathon with my son. Long term I am dreaming about my own retreat place with hikes, meditation and nutritious food.

Malin never shies away from adventure

What do you hope to bring to INC under your presidency?

The success of INC is built on team spirit and enthusiasm for the club.  In my opinion the stability by long-term members is crucial, as is the inclusion and diversity. By always being equally welcoming and grateful to new members and their ideas INC remains dynamic as well. Isn’t that a great cocktail?

As the president I will always have a listening ear, an open mind and I will also back the team. I will strive to bring out the strengths in each of the board members to ensure that we can build continued success both by our traditions and also by incorporating new events that are relevant and interesting to our members.  I am utterly grateful for all the support offered by everyone. It means a whole lot when you embrace on a new journey.