Once upon a time

March 27, 2017

Something called my attention while watching the news during last week, as they were reporting on the observance of some International Days. These are days designated by the United Nations in order to promote awareness and action on special topics such as International Day of happiness 20 March; International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, International Day of Forest, World Poetry Day and World Down Syndrome Day on 21 March; and World Water Day on 22 March.

However, I have chosen to observe World Storytelling day on 20 March as a way to pay tribute to my grandmother who was always ready to regale us with a tale if we asked her. She would recite poems or folk tales as well as relate events set in my little village that had reached the status of legends.

I have good memories of those moments when I listened to her and ended up learning those stories by heart. The same scene would repeat itself years later, but this time the protagonists were my sons and me. Very rarely did I recite poems to them. On the contrary, I used to pick up some illustrated book from the shelves and read it aloud till they fell asleep. And like every small children, they enjoyed listening to the same narration again and again.

I would tell fantastic, amazing, epic or moral tales with my hoarse voice which, according to my students, is perfect to gently go to the land of dreams. Sometimes I have dreamt of being a storyteller capable of arousing emotions and leading my audience into a magical world, by letting my imagination run wild. Nowadays this would be easier because, as reported in the news, there are courses to learn how to become a storyteller.

Did you have a grandmother who told you fairy or folk tales, keeping alive oral tradition? Or, do you like regaling friends with magical, funny, witty or even hair-raising stories?

Junk Mail

March 20, 2017

I am delighted when I enter my building and check my mailbox, always expecting to find some postcard or letter. However, most of the time this expectation turns into deception; or even disappointment, because the only thing I find is the mailbox full of junk mail.

Nowadays, not even banks send letters. Arguing that it is better for the environment, they have succeeded in getting people to use online banking. Notwithstanding this, it seems that that reason is not valid for junk mail, since piles of leaflets, booklets or pamphlets are delivered every day and fill our mailboxes: pizza and drinks offers, builders or child minders advertising  their services, department stores sales,  catalogues before Christmas time, special sales on Father´s or Mother´s Day, just to name a few.

But, what do you do with all these papers? I resign myself and pick them up and put them into a paper bag before being recycled.

In the UK, it is normal to find a  “no junk mail” sticker in mailboxes, which is not so common in Spain. In some buildings, there is a special box for the delivery person to leave the junk mail, but they ignore it.

In this regard, I have recently decided to show a similar message in my mailbox, and having heard about the Robinson List, I have joined it too. My question is still whether the junk mail delivery man will know that I am on the list.

I wish I didn´t find my mailbox full of junk mail ever again. Rather, I would like to find a romantic letter; with a declaration of love written in a beautiful calligraphy and a wonderful paper. I am sure more postcards will come from all around the world, which will allow me to admire hidden places, stunning buildings, and exotics landscapes, and, what is more, they will bring me news from my dearest friends.

Therefore, let´s fill mailboxes with romantic messages, greetings, “I miss you” notes, views of remote paradises, coloured and decorated letters, birthday cards or special invitations….



March 13, 2017

This week I lacked inspiration, therefore I was trying to come across a topic from the list I have when I found my mailbox full of junk mail. I was tempted by this topic, but in the end, writing about gifts appealed to me more because I have received some of them lately.

What are gifts? Are they given to show thankfulness, appreciation, gratitude, or as a social routine? They are little of everything, aren´t they?

I would say that there are some standard times when we give presents: at Christmas; Father´s Day or Mother´s Day; birthday or Saint’s Days; weddings and other religious events; on anniversaries; and perhaps when someone achieves a remarkable professional milestone…

In addition, we can talk about the present itself; about those that are given through a sense of obligation; or we can comment on who gives the present and who receives it and their different impressions.

There are presents that are useful, such as clothes or something to use at home; others are a surprise either because it wasn´t expected at that moment or from that person. Some gifts leave you astounded, without knowing what to do, because they are wonderful or, what is worse, they are awful. There are gifts that hide some messages from the person who gives it to you.

Like anyone, I have received all kind of gifts, and if I have been surprised, with all likelihood my face has showed it, it is something I cannot hide. However, fortunately most of them have surprised me pleasantly, although I must confess that once I changed the gift because it was more than I could accept. Now I don´t do it anymore, better I give thanks for every present given to me. For me, it is never a compromise to give a present, I do it when I want and how I want. Notwithstanding this, some presents I have given have been given back to me.

From my point of view, there are some gifts that are a safe bet such as trips and books. The first ones are enjoyed by the person who gives them, and the second ones let my imagination run wild. It is books that I retain instead of giving them away after reading them. I am delighted when they have a beautiful message.

Last Christmas a viral video made us agree that the best present is to share time, so today I finish this post by thanking you for the time you spent reading this blog.