Kaj's Portfolio Weblog

diumenge, de novembre 21, 2004

Intervistes con catalanes

Teachers in school, as well here as in the Netherlands told me that Catalan are, in mayority, shy and a bit reserved. I have did not experience this. They are so open when you ask them questions. To me they´ve always responded in a very open manner. I can commence a conversation with these people whereever whenever so it seems. At least untill now. I interviewed four people. The first was my flatmate Jonathan. All the people I interviewed were born here in, or just in the outerskirts of Barcelona. Jonathan is 28 years old. His younger cousin felt strongly in favor of independency. Unfortunately, I did´t got through to him again, after the first time I talked with him. Jonathan feels Catalan, for Catalan is his first lenguage, but he feels more as a person of the world than that he does feel himself ´Catalan´. Therefor he doesn´t feel strong for independency either, unlike his younger cousin. He sees a could be economic advantage for Catalunya in being independent, but, he things that Catalunya ´cut of´ of Spain will only reinforce the focus on self, instead of looking out, into the rest of the world.
Monica, a 36 year old woman I met on Ramblas de Raval where she has a selling t-shirt stand, felt quite the same. She as well, felt more of the world in the first place. She was more in favor of the personal independency than that of Catalunya. She felt Catalan, for being born here. She said being Catalan for her, is ´una mierda´ because there is too much nacionalism. In her opinion that´s a reason why there is so little expension. She things that Barcelona is too focused on what there is to get for them, instead of looking more to what´s happening outside. The third person I interviewed, my upper-neighbour, awnsers the questions very similar. He aswell felt more of the world than being of Catalunya. I seem to have interviewed very alike persons. Maybe it´s just I step into communication with those people I feel drawn too and they have a likewise state of seeing things. I don´t know. For this reason I asked a boy from Sant Ignasi about his views, for I kew he was in favor of the independency. His name is Otger, he is 21 years old. When I compared the Catalans with ´Friesland´, a provence in the Neherlands where they speak another lenguage, he told me to take another point of view. He said, no look at it like this, that Germany would still be in power over the Netherlands, and more and more peole would just speak in German and Dutch was just something for local people. I never thought about it in that way. I was looking from the point of view of a foreigner, a ´giri´. Compared the situation to the Netherlands.. where Friesland is not claiming independency, why would they? I could grasp some of the feeling why Catalans would like independency.. I would like people adressing me in Dutch as well when I am in the Netherlands, instead of German because I speak it. But then again, I never mind speaking English in my country to foreigners. So is it a difference in feeling surpressed? A lack of widening view? I can feel both sides as partly true. (he remaining contradictions may paralel the truth.)

dissabte, de novembre 13, 2004

Expectations of Barcelona..

When I was still looking for he right study to commence,
I encountered my present school, which had the possibiliy to go to foreign countries in the third year.
That was one of the factors that made me choose my studies.
And now here I am, in my third year, in Barcelona Spain.
To me, going outside of my country is the ideal way to develop oneself, interculturally, personal growth, lenguages, aother learning climate, another climae and a different environment in which I could break away from old grown in patterns. First my plans were to go to Brussels.., but..
since I had taken up a Spanish course in my school and had met a group of Catalan students who came to my school in the Netherlands, my enthousiasm about Barcelona grew.
Then I saw the movie ´L´auberge Espanol´ and I really felt like I would miss out if I would not use the opportunity to go to Barcelona in the Autumn course, a sudy progtram our school offers.
So, the will was there, but I already had an appointment to go to Brussels..
As I read the text above my desk, I made my decision.

The text says:
¨Dreaming, one does not learn,
bu one can learn the guts to make them happen.¨

With this is called and made my arrangements to come to Barcelona.
After hearing stories from people who had been here, talked with the group of Catalan students, after I saw the movie.. I really had high expectations about Barcelona. I though it would be the place for my were I would finally free myself from some old patterns and come in o a current that would develop me as a person. I would suck in the experience. I ook a flight a week earlier than my fellow sudents and decided I myself wanted to find a room and commence my adventure. Maybe because I imagined this to be the place were I would finally spread my wings, it happened more easily. Sitting in the plane, just said goodbye to my father, I felt scared, but also very powerful. here I was, on my way to persue my legend, and my dream, for this time being.

In concrete assumptions, I thought about the climate, the warmer culture, the options to meet so many new people, the beauty of the city, the beauty of the women, etc. When I flew over Barcelona, it was much bigger than I thought. Ever since I am here, things are coming and going and within this maze of possibilities I think I am learning quite a few things. As I expected. Some life lessons I will take with me from this place. With that, and with the feeling, wih more feeling of confidence, I have fullfilled my expectation of growing here on a personal level. The climate was as warm, as I imagined, although I must say that the last days have been a little bit more cold than I prepared myself for. he people are nice and warm, alhough in subways, they look just as withdrawn as in the Netherlands. Something to do wih being sober in public spaces like trains and subways? Well, I guess some caracteristics of the people can be found in al sorts of palces were the culture is alike.
I do was a bit amazed by the international population in this city. The entire world seems o live in BArcelona, ofcourse, mainly from Spain, Caalunya and South America, but many, many countries are represented by inhabitants of this city. I should have known, but it is an aspect that I did not expect on forehand. I like it very much. Just in my street live Swedish, Catalan, Dutch, Pakistan, Indian, Maroccan, German, French, Guatemalan, Ecuadorian, Chilen, Argentinan, English, Australian, South African, etc, etc. people. Te entire world in nacionalities live in the same street, and in peace too!

I expected to fall in love with the ciy, and in many ways I have fallen, in love. There are many cool things, beautiful things, amazing things in Barcelona. For me it is a place of roads and people meeting, passing on, staying, living, learning, falling in love, and going on strong. A time I will never forget, and as expected, I just might prospone my leaving for some time.

dijous, de novembre 11, 2004

As being human, Dutch, a comment on the things happening in my country

Send an inspirationfire to the right person at the right time to say the right words at the right place for shedding light into the darkness, ignorance, surpass prejudice and fear, revive the bonding of people under the same roof, to show the humanity we posess in our being, which shows when people are in very long delayed trains together, when people are together in the same boat. The connections between people out of the ordinary that happen in situations where they unify in opinion and experience about what is happening.

A fire is burning in hearts of people, against wrong..
a flame in the belly can be found, against injustice
don´t stop caring or let yourselve be led into a extremely onesided point ofview
start caring about where we are going together.

That´s what I think.

passing by, hedonism and tourism in the city of Barcelona


After one and a half month in this city I have lived and experienced some of the life here.
I have touched a lot of possibilities. for me it is a city of just so many possibilities, I can hardly choose. everything I ever thought about as being a possible hobby I have found.
aikido, caoeira, singing classes, modern dance, djembe playing, climbing, running, writing poetry and practicing verses, etcetera. I see so many roads, it´s hard to remain focussed on one or two.
as a erasmus student I should study, party, sport, work, play, eat and sleep.. budgetted as well.
balance is always a keyword.

furthermore, you get to meet so many cool people here.. but as I will do too, many of them are passing by. I´m here for three and a half months, some for half a year, others just traveling here for a week, ten days.. I talked to my former housemate, who has lived here for eight months now. he says I haven´t even met half of his friends, for they already left for other places.

I too experience the temporal feature of contact in Barcelona among youngsters. On the one hand, that makes it quite exciting, on the other, right now I´m sad for I met a very nice person who left for other countries to explore. And it is not the first time. now, after one and a half month, four people I got to know are leaving, almost at the same time. You meet friends, fall in love, find a soulmate, and whoops.. there they are, leaving, as I will as well. It makes Barcelona both magical as something missing.

the city itself never sleeps, there are always options to go out to have a party, meet people,
it gives a lot of impulses which makes it hard for me to not be hedonistic. I think the city where a hedonistic mentality can be found, also attracts people looking for a hedonistic experience.
The form of tourism that is in this city, is not only people looking for architecture and culture.
Another form of tourism is present here, which in the long run, might not be actually beneficial for the city.

Tourism is an economic factor, but, tourists, backpackers that go for the cheapest parties, buy the cheapest booze to get drunk, pee al over the center and write grafitti on the walls, might not be the sort of tourism which supports the economy, or the city.

The gotic area for example is still made of ancient roman rock. If the grafitti or the pee doesn´t destroy the walls, maybe the biting means they clean the walls and the streets with will.

No ever could sell an ´eau de Barcelone´ for that would mean a smell of piss and cleaningwater..
i wonder why they do not have public toilets in this city.. either very classy, in a modernist mozaic style, construct many toilets which would be a site for sore eyes and people would go, proudly, in to pee, or a very simple construction, accessing the sewer by a sort of hatch, which closes once there is no more water pressure on it. just a hole in the street accessing the sewer with a big bucket to pee in. Easy build and not that expensive..

concluding I want to write down that this city is a great place for meeting people, although mainly for a certain period.. (either one of the two leaves quite soon.. so you can travel afterwards since you´ve met all these people. ;-)) There are so many impulses one can react one here, so many options, it is a big crossroad where you can find out what you really like, or get lost in the trees so you can no longer see where the forest is.
furthermore, Barcelona is aquainted with a form of tourism that might not be so beneficial for the city. Effects include peeing in the streets, smell, a lot of noise, grafitti, people and means needed to clean everything up. (you always see the BCNeta! team busy, but they will never ever be done working in this manner.) there are options one can think of to remedy these effects, either preventing (public toilets, legal free grafitti spots, attracting a different type of tourism more by doing more for those target groups. elderly people with pension are a nice target group.) as well as repressive means could be installed. (fines, cleaning work by sprayers or peeers.)
just some thoughts about BCN.