Wednesday, 18 June 2014

A final overview

If in doubt, you should always go for number three,
As no other number of concentric circles you will ever see.
As Burton and Speke made their way to the hidden source
We discovered Bhutan in the early stages of the course.
You may tell incredible stories until you have a sore throat
But you won't be remembered for that if you've fucked a goat.
Unbelievable as it may seem I swear it is truth,
Not until maturity did we learn how to read a book.
November brought paradigms, what an intriguing word!
In no fewer than five ways it will make your mind work.
We took advantage of the Thai chi class to relax
After blog entries, phrasal verbs, and all that stuff.
Mandela would have rewarded us with a radiant beam
For having spent the whole Christmas reading about him.
When dealing with the law we came across Atticus Finch,
Feared by ruthless racists for never yielding an inch.
The poet, the job hunter, the chef, we played them all
And we were even encouraged to support an NGO.
Had Philip the Second attended the C1,
His brain would have developed new ruts.
Neuroplasticity would have helped to avert
Our greatest failure, the triumph of Good Queen Beth.
To end with, there's one last thing I wouldn't like to omit,
Which is the passion and devotion that you transmit.

Thank you.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

The C1 experience

An intense year, this is the idea that prevails when trying to assess the academic course that is about to conclude. Intensity may involve, and actually does involve both positive and negative aspects; obviously, intensity requires commitment, and keeping one's nose to the grindstone is not the best recipe for a harmonious family life. However, hard work and personal improvement go hand in hand, somehow being compensated the increased levels of stress with a more than gratifying feeling of realisation.
As for the methodology followed during the course, as far as I am concerned, it has been remarkably enriching, aiming at personal development as well as linguistic improvement, that is, not restricting the process to a mere utilitarian approach but widening the scope to a holistic development. As a matter of fact, I wouldn't mind at all (as an obvious example of understatement) getting involved in such a process on a permanent basis, although I would slow down the pace just a little bit and I would also do away with those artificial and annoying tests if it was up to me.
True enough, there is an incongruity between the dynamics of the course and the assessment. A more specific approach would have dealt just with certain topics and related vocabulary, grammar structures and test-oriented exercises, which would have prepared us more specifically for the exam, but we would also have lost a lot in the way. Thus, by no means would I have preferred an approach that would have differed from the one we have actually followed.
I could go on providing details about how the topics brought up during the year have remarkably contributed to my own personal development, but unfortunately enough my time is limited, rather, I will just restate that I have been deeply and positively influenced during the course of the year by the C1 experience.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014


A pyramid in the middle of the naked dessert, like in ancient Egypt, hints at the meticulousness within. At the foot of this triangular protuberance, on both sides, two ponds lay carving their way down in the soil, more interested in inner affairs than mundane ones. On the northern shoreline of the ponds, two symmetric thin lines of pitch black undergrowth thrive, leaning submissively all as one. 
Should the traveller dare head further northwards, misled by the apparent quietness of the landscape left behind, they would be warned by the long creases which cross the rather broad barren of the tumultuous nature of what is to come, a wild forest of jet black wires that flourish in anarchy, as if each one was endowed with own will, trying to be different from each other. This wilderness on the surface mirrors nothing but the bustling activity in the core buried deep underground. 
As the climate plays a role shaping the landscape, the impact of environmental factors can also be spotted on this particular scenery, like the increasingly abundant pearl white wires which seem to have been drained of life through the sheer exhaustion brought about by the ruthless demands of this thing called life.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Discovering the poem inside you

Broadly speaking, I found the event very stimulating. Even though I was feeling quite nervous for having to recite, I managed to focus my attention, almost all the time, on what was happening around me. Thus, I was able to appreciate the beauty of the poems themselves (I was particularly moved by the poems in the "on death" section, at which point I had to make an effort to hold back my tears) and the exquisite pronunciation and intonation that showed the reciters (assimilating the sounds was as if savouring a delicious delicacy). 
And what could I say about the initial song? I felt that those sound waves, so beautifully produced, reached my very soul making it tremble. Not less suggestive were the musical interludes, which also caressed my heart and soul but in a different fashion; it was like being gently massaged through different techniques. 
As for the introductory speeches, apart from the fact that I wish they had been in English, which was obviously out of the question, they were very illustrative and educative (they set an exceptional example of the art of rhetoric so frequently brought up in class, with quotations, jokes, anecdotes, stories, etc.). 
All in all, as far as I am concerned the event was a not entirely unexpected source of sheer pleasure.

Sunday, 30 March 2014


Here is some interesting stuff that may be profitable now that we are immersed in the health topic: some viruses spread by these little and misunderstood friends of us.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Review: The Sailor-Boy's Tale

"The Sailor-Boy's Tale" is a short story written by the renowned Danish author Isak Dinesen. The beginning of the story is set in a barque sailing the Mediterranean Sea and then it is moved to a small village on the coast of Norway. It narrates the story of a sailor-boy, who evolves from boy to man due to both the passing of time and the experiences he goes through. The plot presents, as main topics, the urgency of love and how well-meant behavior is rewarded; and they are presented in a semi-realistic, semi-magical world. The magical touch is provided by two elements, the first obvious, the second more subtle. The presence of the Lapps, a population endowed with supernatural powers, is the first one, and the boy's perception of the world and how emotions appear out of nowhere with an unbelievable intensity is the other.
The story is well worth a reading. It is ingenious, sometimes tender, others brutal. It successfully captures the innocence of youth and distribute it in measured doses along the story. Try as you may, you will not find any significant flaw. What is more, if you love reading you are bound to be gripped by this compelling narration. 

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

A poem

So daring you are bound to seem
To eyes that the world have seen
No tiredness can be greater than yours
With such a flock of crowns before

Little have you ever bothered to discern
Trivialities such as a foreign concern
Should you ever resist the urging desire
Of having it all yesterday, that I will admire

You are said to bend the laws of nature with skill
Who else could turn into child or adult at will?
But not even you will manage to escape
From what you ridicule in others, your own fate

However imperfect you may seem
Not few people are bound to sin
Envy drives them when they claim
Oh my lord, If only I were a teen again!

To begin with I should apologize for daring to publish these lines. As you may suspect I am not familiar with poetry, not to mention English poetry. This unfamiliarity stems from respect, not from contempt. That is, I have never devoted to poetry the time that it deserves to get familiar with. 

Anyway, I will continue to clarify the meaning of the poem: It speaks about youth, about how some adults, in spite of finding quite annoying young people sometimes, would give anything to be again like those whom they critizice so hard.

First verse. As the Spanish saying goes: how daring is ignorance. And who can better appreciate the lack of knowledge than an experienced and wise person? Adults are supposed to be wiser, or at least more experienced than youngsters, who are perceived as daring.
The second part refers to the action of despising. Sometimes teens are said to look down on people, to be unable to value their qualities. Thus, when you are literally looking down on people the most visible part of their body is the crown, which when seen repeatedly must be very tiring indeed.

Second verse. It reflects the lack of empathy that is said to be characteristic of teenagers. A foreign concern is something that worries another person.
The last half of the verse makes reference to impatience, the incapability to wait, the urge to possess everything immediately.

Third verse. It depicts the fact that, depending on the circumstances, teens are willing to be treated as kids or as adults.
As for the second part, it describes how teens sometimes mock adults with cruelty ignoring the fact that those things they find ridicule will probably characterize them in the future.

Fourth verse. Here it is made clear how adults, in spite of regarding teenagers as pretty imperfect, envy them, which could be considered as a sin, and would jump at the opportunity of becoming young again if the opportunity presented itself.