Archives for category: Costa Tropical

Auf dem Pferderücken quer durch Europa:
Die Geschichte einer ungewöhnlichen Frau anhand einer abenteuerlichen Reise.

Dagmar mit ihrem Pferd

Vom mediterranen Andalusien, durch das weinreiche französische Languedoc, ins folkloristische Oberbayern, bis Tirol. Wir begleiten eine Frau, deren Lebensgeschichte für drei reichen würde, auf ihrem 3000 km langen Ritt zurück nach Deutschland und erleben mit ihr, wovon tausende träumen und was nur wenige sich wagen: Zeit mit sich selbst zu verbringen. So könnten unsere Vorfahren vor 500 Jahren gereist sein, langsam und ohne die Sicherheit jemals ans Ziel zu gelangen. Was wird sie erleben? Was erwartet sie im Norden? Wie weit wird sie kommen? Kann dieser lange Ritt die intensive Sehnsucht eines Traumes erfüllen?

Der lange Ritt zurück ist unser derzeitiges Dokuprojekt. Es kam ganz plötzlich auf. An meinen Geburtstag erzählte Dagmar mir, sie würde nach Deutschland reiten. Alleine mit zwei Pferden und einem Hund. Da war nichts überhebliches an ihr, kein sich an die Brust klopfen, nur eine stille Entschlossenheit, ein bisschen Wehmut und ein abenteuerliches Funkeln in ihren blauen Augen.

Ich bin ein wenig neidisch, aber ich weiß auch, dass ich noch nicht soweit bin. Dafür habe ich die einmalige Gelegenheit, diesen langsamen, unsicheren und aufregenden Weg zu filmen und Dagmar zu helfen, 3000 km, vielleicht auch noch mehr mit ihren Pferden zurückzulegen. Morgen abend filmen wir die letzten Teile für unseren Teaser und dann geht die Reise auch schon bald los.

Avanti galoppi.


Our young bands in La Herradura need instruments and rehearsal space. But how to pay for it?
Marjolein and Stephen are organising the fund-raising event on Sunday, 13th of Feb. in the Restaurant Pena Parda. Come and join us!

Expertmanagement is giving you the chance to get rid of some toys, books, kitchen ware, clothes and other items in your household that you are not using anymore. Come and donate them for a good cause!

Everybody else, come along, have a drink and enjoy the music!

See you there!

You bring it, we sell it!

When Yarah was born, it was clear she would be bilingual. I am German and my husband is British. It was somehow inevitable, but I also really loved the idea. I can still remember how I loathed those kids in the English class who had spent a year in the US and were fluent! How I wanted to be fluent in a foreign language, too!

Now I am (as you see), through a bit of work though, and it is clear that I would want my daughters to get the full Monty. And how else should they be able to talk to their English grand parents and cousins? They would be raised speaking German and English. That settled we moved to Spain.

The first year and a half was easy; Yarah spoke German to me and learnt English from her Dad. Steve worked a lot and Little One understood English but wouldn’t speak it. In the Crèche, Yarah started off being quiet (as is her nature) and taking it all in. Then from one day to the next, she started talking Spanish – trilingual.

English? German? Spanish? GO!

English? German? Spanish? GO!

Through school we met a lot of families whose children spoke two or three in some cases even four languages. It is evident that some children find it easier to pick up languages than others. You might feel this has genetic reasons or that it ‘s socially acquired, but I would just like to share four tips with you that come from my experience in a multilingual environment.

My four top tips:

(1) Give your kid a firm association with your chosen language: When Yarah was little she didn’t know she was speaking different languages. We referred to English as “how daddy talks”, and that was fine. She associated a person with a language. Also, it was quite clear that we would speak German at home and Spanish in school. I also talked Spanish when I was there to pick her up. Note: I spoke “foreign” to the teachers, other children or mothers, but German to her.

(2) Stick to your language: So German and Spanish went ahead well, but her English suffered. Daddy would talk to her in English and she would answer in German. Is this not so sweet? Daddy didn’t have the heart to insist her to speak back in his own language. Often having fun time or delivering a message seemed more important than the language itself. Result: understanding fine, speaking zilch.

I think this is the first hurdle, the point at which you have to start putting some effort in – the earlier the better. Take it as a compliment: your offspring is clever, when she finds the easiest way to get her message to you. I, too, was tempted to give in when our second daughter, Annik, one day started talking to me in Spanish. This is our task: to stick to our language and insist as much as we can to get a response in our own language. Make it fun to talk, let her make mistakes, but don’t understand any other language she speaks.

There is only one place where parents are required to talk foreign to their kids and that is when talking about homework. I found this quite scary in the beginning but I tried and I must say I grew with the experience. And I learn a lot of stuff! This has two interesting side effects, too. One, you set an example for your kids: it’s normal to swap languages. And two, they get the chance to correct you! And man, don’t they love it, in particular when you are rowing?

(3) Find or create language environments: Learning in school or at home, speaking two or three language does require a certain effort. You must make this learning fun and natural; else your children are more likely to stop speaking it. Yarah enjoyed the luxury of having friends of all sorts of nationalities in her school. So, one afternoon she’d have a German-speaking friend round, the next an English speaker and then a Spanish neighbour.

As the English was not part of the daily family life for the children we started the English dinner, that is at the dinner table the lingua franca now is… English!

(4) Make it normal to speak two languages: Later, when they can speak two languages, most children go through a phase of wanting to be “normal”. They find it embarrassing when they have to talk “foreign” with their parents especially in front of their friends. They just stop speaking it.

My friend had to take her children back to Germany because of this. When they still resisted speaking German, she threatened them to stay in Germany as long as it would take them to speak German. Suddenly, the children started speaking their mother tongue, albeit with a thick Andalusian accent.

Well, I am aware that for me this is still a challenge to come. I try to make my daughters see the positive sides of speaking more than one language and also point out how common it is to speak different languages. Apart from almost all immigrant children – in Germany Turks and in the UK Indian and Chinese – who are bilingual there are various countries with more than one official language, like Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, but also numerous Countries in Africa and South America and China, just to name a few.

Now you know it all! This is possibly the longest blog post I’ve ever written. That shows you just how passionate I am about it. Children are little learning machines, they pick up everything they like effortlessly, help them just a little and you create a wealth of knowledge within them.

It’s worth it. Don’t you think?

Here is another interesting article about bilingual children:

“You’re sitting on a potential gift.”

(Thanks Mark)

A day in Orgiva. The weather gods had forecast rain and cold 14°C, but the sun shines and it is warm. I jump off my friends big red friendly car and fall right into the open arms of José.

We sit down and have a coffee. José is a painter from Mexico and is especially interested in the native Mexican “autóctono” symbols, myths, art and traditions. After two years of University he decided that academic painting was just not his thing and returned to his root, the Nayarit soil. He spent three years living with Aztec tribes Cora and Huichol and absorbed everything about their way of life.

His ever-returning theme is germination. Germination in all its meanings with all its vital colours. José’s drawings just radiate with pink, orange, purple and all shades of fertility. His colours are rich, the shapes simple. There is no deep intellectual truth hidden in them you just feel the pictures. Just feel.

As a child he was fascinated by he colours of the crop and he fertility of the earth. He knew he wanted to work with this. But how? One day, he was a still a young boy, the train passed through his village. It was the early sixties and hippies had just begun to travel Mexico. And on the very last car sat one of them. He must have been an artist, and when the train passed, a bunch of loose drawings flew off the train and twirled freely trough the air. The train passed, grew smaller and smaller, the wind died down, the papers came swinging to the ground, one by one. José picked one up. It was -he didn’t know the name then- some psychedelic drawing and it rather impressed him. “That’s what I am going to do.” He said with the paper in his hand, “I am going to be a painter!”

And now he IS a painter, sitting in front of me in a café in Orgiva, on a warm (almost) spring day, smiling and full of life. He is a special man and he is an expert. I am happy to have found him. And although I may not have an immediate idea how to help him in his mission, we both agree we want to work together.

La Herradura is beautiful. A tiny bay on the green-blue Mediterranean coast. Everybody who comes to visit me says, “It’s really beautiful!” So you pack your bags and you move to the Granada coast, buy a house and look for work. Alas, there is none. What to do, what to do? Go and set up a business. Licenses? Facturas? Seguridad Social? IVA? How does it work? Who should I ask? Didn’t know it would be so different!

La Herradura does not only look different, clocks go differently, customs are different, people are different. I personally get a real hysteric fit when I think of this old guy who has a garage to rent and thinks because you’re from the North, you are a stupid millionaire. His garage is a plain piece of brickwork, painted white. You’ve got to put everything in to make it an office: the windows, doors, toilets, floor… everything! He still asks 500€ per month for 20 m² floorspace in a village. “Eh, and you can’t take things with you or get refund when you leave!” says he. So I go “Well, if I make your shed a shop, can I have it for 100 € less for the first year?” – “Ah no-o-o!” he waves his index finger like a windscreen wiper in front of my nose, ” this is not how we do business in Spain!”. Me thinks, this is not doing business at all!

A garagy sort of business…

Now, this man is just one example of many on this earth who I don’t consider very clever and who I don’t want to do business with. And the good news is, I don’t have to. There are numerous experts available on the Coast who have a more familiar sense of business, be they Spanish, British, German, Dutch, Scandinavian or other. In fact, I believe we have a really great international community here and I am happy to introduce you to the very person you need.

This is my job.

What is your’s?