- Typical Spanish... Famous people that you never knew had Spanish origins
- Featured City... Cádiz (La Fiesta del Carmen)
- Famous Person... Matilde Asensi
- Spanish Recipe... Arroz con Costra (Rice dish from Alicante)
- Popular saying... “Third time’s a charm”
- Vocabulary... The Family (from your second cousin to your son-in-laws parents)
- Word of the month... Authentic
- Notices... The Advantages of Camping – Benefits of a Unique Vacation Experience
Famous people that you never knew had Spanish origins
You’ve seen them on the TV, in magazines and in films. They’re successful artists… but did you know that they are also half Spanish?
- Rita Hayworth: The legendary Gilda, sex symbol of the 40s and 50s, whose real name is Margarita Cansino, was the daughter of a Sevillian dancer who immigrated to the USA. Next time you see a picture of Rita performing a one-glove striptease, remember that this mysterious and seductive woman has Spanish blood running through her veins!
- Martin Sheen: The patriarch of the family of actors (including one well-known free spirit) has a very Iberian name: Ramón Antonio Gerardo Estévez. His family was from Galicia, more specifically, Pontevedra. The actor, who is very proud of his Spanish roots, has fond memories of the paellas that his parents used to make when he was a child.
- Jean Reno: One of France’s toughest tough-guys is Juan Moreno y Herrera-Jiménez. His parents are from Andalucía. If you listen to him speak Spanish you will notice that not only does he speak it flawlessly... but he speaks with an accent from Cadiz! He was officially honored as an adoptive son of the city which he loves so deeply.
- Louis de Funes: The surname of the famous French comic is actually "de Funes de Galarza". His father was a Sevillian lawyer of noble origins and his mother was a humble Galician. Their families opposed their romantic connection so the couple ended up fleeing to Paris. And so, the best French comedy was born from the purest romance.
- Geri Halliwell: The most British of all the Spice Girls (or at least the one that was wearing the Union Jack dress) had grandparents from Aragon, Spain. She loved talking about her Spanish background and more than once tried speaking in Castilian to Spanish news reporters.
- Daniel Brühl: Some people think that there are no two European cultures more different than Spanish and German. But if the result of the union of both could create more people like the handsome actor Daniel Brühl (whose father is German and mother is Spanish) then the saying that “opposites attract” has some very interesting results.
- Alfred Molina: The respected English actor, able to interpret both literary classics and blockbusters is the son of a Spaniard exiled during the Civil War. Curiously, in Spain, there is another important series of actors and artists surnamed "Molina", although they are not related to Alfred.
- Helena Bonham Carter: Surprising huh? This lady specializes in playing well-to-do English ladies. For example, she won a BAFTA for portraying the Queen Mother in the 2010 movie, “The King’s Speech”. Helena herself is the daughter of a Spanish psychotherapist. Could this be the reason why she plays all her characters with such strong emotion?
Good actors, explosive divas, great humorists, lords and ladies of the interpretation… even though they’re not first generation Spanish, they still embody Spain’s passion of the arts.
Cádiz (La Fiesta del Carmen)
The majority of Spanish coastal cities have been home to fisherman for centuries, so it is not surprising that the feast of the Virgen Del Carmen, patron saint of sailors, has a special place in the calendar in the provinces of Cadiz.
For many households, the Virgen Del Carmen has a special purpose: to bless and calm the waters so that the fish are plentiful throughout the year.
It is a very beautiful but unknown tradition that takes place in the sea. Yes, you have read correctly – it takes place in the sea! The costaleros (people that carry the religious images during processions) walk into the water carrying the statues above their heads; then sailors decorate their boats and come to pick up the long line of participants honking their horns all the while.
This is the central event during several days’ worth of celebrations that take place in the brightly colored streets of Cadiz. Other events involve concerts, horseback riding and culinary arts. La Fiesta del Carmen is a summer celebration in which religion and entertainment come together.
Matilde Asensi (our Spanish celebrity of the month) was born in Alicante in 1962. From a young age she expressed a desire to pursue a career in writing, soaking up new culture whenever possible to help broaden her mind.
Matilde’s vocation led her to study journalism in Barcelona and, after completing her studies, she worked for Radio Alicante, National Radio Spain, and newspapers such as “La Verdad de Murcia” and “Information de Alicante”.
Like many budding authors eager to write fiction, journalist work was more of a burden than a help due to the amount of time it took up. In a risky but calculated decision, Matilde obtained the position as administrator as part of the Valencian Health Service: the flexible work schedule allowed her to dedicate more time to her true passion, writing.
In her spare time, Matilde wrote a book that would become her first best seller, “El Salon de Ambar”. Matilde was 37 years old when she began a successful career in the field of historical fiction with works such as “Iacobus” and “El Último Catón”. Sadly, there was some controversy regarding plagiarism with her novel entitled, “El Origen Perdido”. Since 2007, Matilde has dedicated all of her time to a series featuring the protagonist Catalina Solís, better known as “Martín Ojo de Plata”.
Some young authors may identify with Matilde and her work, seeing her as a source of inspiration, while others may feel a little envious of what she has achieved in her life so far. Matilde Asensi has worked and persevered to become one of those privileged people who can use their imagination to make money.
Arroz con Costra (Rice dish from Alicante)
If you like Spanish rice but you’re a little tired of paella; then you may be interested to read the following recipe. “Arroz con Costra”, a rice dish baked in the oven, is traditionally eaten in Alicante, especially in the city of Elche where many restaurants consider it to be their specialty dish.
Whether you’re an expert paella-maker or a novice in the kitchen, this particular recipe should cause you no problems at all. You will need: rice, saffron, red sausage, white sausage, black pudding, tomato, garlic and eggs.
First of all, you need to fry the sausages in a pan with a little oil. Then, remove the sausages from the pan and put them to one side. Use the same pan to fry the tomatoes until they start to fall apart. Then, add water, rice and the saffron (to give the dish that nice yellow color). Season the mixture to taste and then toss in the fried sausages. Allow the flavors to soak into the rice during 10-15 minutes. HINT: the texture of this dish should be a little “soup-like” so if necessary, add a small amount of boiling water.
The next step is what differentiates this dish from regular paella: break the eggs into a separate container, whisk them gently and pour them over the rice mixture (no need to be scared!) Now, pre-heat your oven to 220ºC and bake the rice dish in the oven for around 10 to 15 minutes until it turns a golden-brown color.
This is a particularly nice recipe. It’s quite unusual so it’s ideal if you’re having friends over for dinner and you want to impress them with something new and exciting!
"A la tercera va la vencida" (Third time’s a charm)
This must be one of the commonest Spanish phrases. People may say this in a variety of different contexts, for example, when applying for jobs, when doing home improvements or when trying to prepare a difficult dish in the kitchen.
What this phrase is actually saying is that for something to be done right, you have to try it at least three times. It may be said that normally, if the speaker is not successful on the third time of trying (to do whatever they are trying to do) then they will give up. In this way, the third time is usually the final time.
Is it true then that three is a magic number? A number that enables people to do things that they have previously been unsuccessful at doing? No. The explanation is far more interesting than that and leads us to an explanation to do with the mighty Roman legions.
The heavy infantry of the republican era was divided into three lines that were differentiated by the seniority of the soldiers: the first line was occupied by inexperienced soldiers or the “hastati”, the second line was made up of a group known as “principes” that were slightly more experienced than the soldiers in the first line, and the third line comprised the oldest, most highly-skilled soldiers, known as the “triarii”. As you can imagine, the fate of most battles was decided by the actions of the men in the third and final line. Hence, the saying came about that if something doesn’t happen on the third time then it’s not going to happen at all!
However, there are some historians who disagree with this backstory and propose another one of their own: according to the Sixteenth Century Penal System, a criminal should be sentenced to death following his/her third offense. In this way, since the Spanish word “vencida” means “expire” or “come to an end”, it may be said that your third crime represents the end of your life...
You can choose the explanation which you like the best as both explanations are interesting in their own way! What seems strange to us is that there isn’t a third explanation as according to this saying, that would surely be the correct one?!
The Family (from your second cousin to your son-in-laws parents)
Spanish people are very family-orientated. For example, they like to eat together, spend their holidays together and have discussions over coffee together. For this reason, we think that it would be a good idea to cast light on some family-related Spanish terms…
- Bisabuelo: this is the father of your grandfather or your great-grandfather. In this way, you are the great-grandchild of your “bisabuelo”.
- Consuegro: if you have a daughter who is married then you are the “consuegro” to the parents of her husband.
- Cuñados:If you have a wife who has a sister, then that is your “cuñada”.
- Nuera: purely and simply your son’s wife.
- Primo segundo: this is the son or daughter of your parents’ cousins.
- Tatarabuelo: this term is used to describe the grandfather of your grandfather (or your great-great-grandfather).
- Tío abuelo: your grandfather’s brother or the uncle of your mother or father.
- Yerno: the opposite of a Nuera (your daughter’s husband).
It may seem like this list goes on and on but we didn’t want to leave anybody out… after all, family means no one gets left behind or forgotten
It’s more than likely that, during a conversation with Spaniards, you will be confused to hear a sentence such as the following: “me cae muy bien Pedro, es un tipo auténtico” (“I really like Pedro, he is an authentic guy”). “What on earth does that mean?”, I hear you say. Does it mean that Pedro has a life that is somehow more real, more tangible than other human beings? Does he have some sort of certificate that proves that he is a real person?
No of course he doesn’t! What it actually means is that Pedro is an honest sort of person with high-principles. It’s strange because this is just one of the meanings provided by the Royal Spanish Academy although the word is hardly ever used outside of a colloquial context.
The Spanish word “auténtico” can also be used to describe a person that is “genuine”. It is interesting that Spanish people think that a genuine person is more “real” than a non-genuine person. Similarly, English speakers often refer to non-genuine people as “fake”.
A few days ago, our camps in Barcelona, Madrid, Marbella, Salamanca, Granada, Seville and Valencia opened their doors for the first time this year. Everybody – teachers, assistants and students alike – are all ready for the best summer ever!
Every year thousands of students pass through the classrooms of our camps, participating in various workshops. Our excellent facilities enable youngsters to partake in a whole host of different sports and for the more outdoorsy types who want to discover something new; there are some excellent hikes to me made in the surrounding areas. With more than twenty years worth of experience, our staff members are more than qualified to take care of every detail of you summer camp experience.
Our goal is that Spanish and international students will learn through having fun and cooperating with each other. The classes incorporate various activities including outdoor sports and indoor games to keep students on their toes. When they return home, they will have learned a new language – or at least improved their level – without realizing it!
For these and many other reasons, we can proudly say that many of our students return year after year. Witnessing the change in their ability between when they arrive at the beginning of the summer and when they leave at the end is hugely rewarding for us. We're continually updating and improving our program so that we can safely say to our returning customers that the course will be bigger and better than it was last year. So a big warm welcome to all our new students and all our returning students that are already a part of our family – we look forward to having you back!
We work hard all year long to make sure that our summer course is more educational, more fun and more memorable than the last!