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Canadian Thanksgiving?

Writing for the Matador Network on my memories of Canadian Thanksgiving and what it meant then and what it means now.


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Medieval Tests

Writing in the local paper. Local Issues with a global take. I never translate literally and the editor trims at will to make it fit. Here's my version, then theirs.


After having lived here for more than a decade, I still catch myself looking up in wonder as the last rays of the setting sun hit the Torre de la Yerba in the Plaza. The layers of history present as I walk under the Arco de la Estrella send my imagination reeling only to suddenly be brought back to the present when I see groups of tourists taking selfies under it. That mix of tradition, history and modernity, that ability to meld the past with the present is one of this region’s biggest resources. What I can’t understand though is when some things remain firmly mired in the past, frozen in time like the face of the Amazona that cries out from the facade of the Obispado.

These past weeks, thousands of brave opositores have been struggling through an exam process that perfectly fits in with the 16th century palaces that…

Vino (or Viñu as it is known locally) in the Sierra de Gata

A place close to my heart, just north of here where the scorched summer earth becomes green once again. Cool water runs off the sierra and where the wines are meant to enjoyed, not examined. Writing in Roads and Kingdoms about a toast to an old friend.

Seeing Sounds in Macmillan's Academy Day in Madrid

WOMAD or WOPAP?

Writing in the local paper. Local Issues with a global take. I never translate literally and the editor trims at will to make it fit. Here's my version, then theirs.

I’ve been fortunate enough to play at some of the most famous festivals around the world. From Vancouver to New York, I have seen the stage from the other side and even returned on a few occasions and have been able to appreciate the transformative effect these festivals can have on cities. It would be difficult to image New Orleans without Jazzfest or Chicago without the Blues festival, popular festivals that have become so intertwined with the lives of the cities that it would be impossible to think of one without the other. The music may only last a week but its echo reverberates year round. Could the same be said of WOMAD? True, the festival has brought Caceres to the attention of some around the world but my question is what has it brought back to Caceres in return? Where are the partnerships and initiatives with…

A Master Doesn't Necessarily Make you a Master

Writing in the local paper. Local Issues with a global take. I never translate literally and the editor trims at will to make it fit. Here's my version, then theirs.

One of the first questions I ask my students when I start a new course is often one of the most difficult for them to answer. And no, it’s not like a former boss of mine once told me, “The first day of class I look for the most difficult grammar point and then really let them have it.” No, my first question is much more straightforward, yet perhaps even more challenging to answer...that is if the student is being honest with me and more importantly, with themselves. Quite simply I ask them, “Why are you here?” Some go into automatic mode and reply like robots, “because English is very important for my future.” Others with perhaps a bit more experience koranically recite, “because I need it to communicate with clients from abroad.” Then there are those who are brutally sincere and say point blank, “I need the piece of p…