Saturday, November 28, 2009

Eskerrik Asko

There has been rivality between Spain and the Basque Country (Pais Vasco in Spanish) for ages now. I will not force myself to describe the situation, but it is true that some claim for Independence and others for Independence as well.
I have heard people in Madrid speaking in regards of the Basque Country as a place very hostile, difficult to live, depending on the area they say its ugly...So I have been very curious about it and joined my flatmate into an adventure to Bilbao.
As we went there, my first impression was it resembles Dublin to me. Very green, cold and wet. People carrying their umbrellas with them everywhere they go.
My second thought was.. this is such a silent place. I mean, for being the hometown of many terrorists, Its pretty quiet.
Their way of expressing their controversial ideas is by grafitti, signs hanging on their balconies...






This last picture is from a house meant for "eta" activities. We were very silent while crossing, and trying not to look a lot. Imitating the actions of others. Although people say this place is empty.



Another thing that caught our eyes, was this statue inside of a church which we have never seen before. A saint with a knife in his head. There were some other statues with this same style.

One of the last things we did when in Bilbao, was to go to the most recent Train Station. In there, there was a very pretty stained glass that explained the current situation of the Vasque people. In the very center just below the clock, the shield of the Spanish country. Which leads me to the contradiction of why do they have that, if they claim to be independent.




Despite all of that, to me, Bilbao is a pretty place with a very pretty coast and same people as anywhere. That could be more apprecciated if the weather was less rainy. People support their language, which is a good thing to me, because it keeps you closer to your roots. And we know in the end, that kids will always end up learning others, in order to be able to communicate with the rest of the world.

So when I hear a spanish saying how bad this country is, I dont think of the language as a justification.


Thursday, November 05, 2009

Coffee Break

When in my MBA a man by the name of Juan Aitor Lago (who happened to be one of the jury of my final project, and whom I believe as a very wise man), said that in order to succeed you needed to have some key things, out of which I can only recall 3: cash flow, presence and networking. I agree on that, and I truly believe that having money, having the appropriate appearance and knowing the right people can get you very far. Hopefully you, readers, will have them all. Though it is not my case.

A few weeks ago, in my office, they organized a conference by a "spanish" woman under the name of Pino Bethencourt. She is the writter of "El exito en seis cafes" or "Success in 6 coffees". I havent read the book and I didnt know the woman until that day, but according to the people that were in the conference, they say, she explained the importance of networking, how to well manage the contacts that you have during your life in order to obtain some mutual benefit.

My point of view.
It is true that you can loose a job because you did not show formal enough when interviewing with the manager of the department you applied to.
It is true that you can loose the opportunity of opening your own company because you did not have enough money.
It is true that you can loose a job opportunity because the person in charge was your colleague at the university and you did not get along.

So, those 3 things: cash flow, presence and networking are very important.

But I would like to focus on networking... 3 months at Madrid, and I managed to enter a global company because I knew someone from my hometown that was nice enough to enter my CV. Moved from one department to another, because someone knew of a vacancy and knew that I was looking for new challenges. Got hired 8 months ago, because someone knew my work and trusted me enough in order to recommend me.
Network is VERY important, it is something that one work each and everyday. It is the smile you give the other person, even in times when you dont mean it.. But it is there, and it can be the push you need to reach that something you have been dreaming of.

Networking is the cigarrette you smoke with your colleagues at 11, or the coffee you drink at 9, or the lunch you have at 14. It is chitchatting, a total vanal conversation, as well as a very deep conversation on how you hate mingling with everybody, or how you love working for your company, or how you hate the morning conversations when in the train to work.

But the MOST important thing is.. to be smart enough to understand all of this and to take action. Is it easy? Probably not, but I bet is worth it... It has been for me.



Saturday, October 03, 2009

Olympic Games 2016


After months and months of waiting, yesterday was announced the location for the 2016 Olympic Games.
I have never been fan of any sports (not saying that I have never done any), but this was some big news because Madrid was participating in the elimanatories along with Chicago, Rio de Janeiro and Tokio.
At the beginning I was not very excited, because they were just some games to be played. But then I realized that if Madrid had the headquarter for those games, maybe and only maybe, they would stop talking about the damn crisis.
The thing is that they did not win. New location is Rio de Janeiro.
That makes me very happy because its somewhere nearby my hometown. Brasil is currently a country with a very good economic situation. And they surely will have aswesome games.
We have heard the feedback of Madrid and Chicago. How bad they feel about loosing this. The population comments, and everything.
But what about Tokio? Have someone heard about them? No news, no word, nothing.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Is it racism? Is it knowledge?

Today, as any other regular and normal day, I wake up at 7 10 hurrying up to catch the train to work... Gave up waking up at 6 15, cause I end up leaving the office late.
Anyway...
As I locate myself in a place where I can stand without many people around me, I see a woman that is sitting right next to me reading the newspaper...
What is so curious about this newspaper she is reading?
Well, I find myself reading an article that had a Spanish map with some colors indicating some regions...
At the right side, a legend.... with numbers and different countries all around the world...
Yes...
It was a distribution of how immigrants are located across Spain, according to the different Autonomic Communities.

Is there really a benefit of doing this? Is this a simple new, just like the crisis is going up, or the A flu cases are increasing?
My opinion? NO, NEGATIVE..

In this occasion my country was not even mentioned... so I do not feel alluded.
But I really think this kind of articles make harder to avoid the racism that we all know exist in the develop countries with a high level of immigrants across their nations.

Or could someone please inform me of the benefit of publishing this type of lists?!


Sunday, May 31, 2009

So I keep reading...

If you are like me, maybe you were not someone that used to read frequently...
Let's say that since I used to have my car all I wanted to do was to get from one point to another...
BUT!
When you come to a country like Spain, you realize that people actually READ...
Read, not because they are forced to (like in high school...), but because they are really into reading..


Free newspapers are very common during the morning.. although public transportation is always full.. and it could get very uncomfortable for the ones beside you..
Anyway, not only newspapers are the favorite reading, you can also find some drama, love stories, suspense, ... depending on the bestseller of the moment...
The funny thing is that... everybody READS.. literally... i mean.. students, old people, metal people, "pijas" girls (in Spain, called to girls with a very fine sense of fashion), normal people... is a massive thing...


Now, I'm curious to know if this is a common thing all over Europe... Is this an international wave, that i happen to have not crossed before?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What about North America and the Caribbean?

If I tell you.... Did you know Mexico is in Central America? What would you say?
If I tell you... Do you know where South America start? What would you say?
If I tell you... Do you know where the Dominican Republic is? Is it in South America? What would you say?
...

You might think.. its just a simple question with a simple answer, dont you? The truth is that a lot of people that are living in Europe or United States are not aware of the country distribution among continents..
And since I have had people speaking in front of me saying whatever they think, I have thought it was a great idea to create a post with this valuable information...

Mexico.
With an extension of 2M Km2. Its not the generator of the porcine influenza (Spanish Source:http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gripe_porcina).
Geographic location according to continents... North America. (Spanish Source:http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%A9xico).

Dominican Republic.


Very different from Mexico, the Dominican Republic has 48.442 Km2. It shares island with Haiti (an independent country). Both are considered to be part of what some people call Caribbean.

Said that... please never EVER say... that either Mexico nor the Dominican Republic are in South America...
Not even to me nor to yourself...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Slow Movement...


When I first saw this phrase in a friend's facebook profile, I thought this was about promoting a healthier way of life through calmness, stressless' choices.
The fact that some people invest their time trying to find new ecologically sustainable ways of thinking, living and interacting in world community, is for me very interesting.
I have always questioned myself if there is the need for people to go around without having time to themselves, companion, education or without the need of progress.
This "Movement" combines Slow Travels, Food, Cities, Books, Schools, Living, Money... and encourage people to adopt personal sustainable development.
I strongly recommend you to take a look at this great web:
Slow Movement

Friday, March 13, 2009

Buscando Visa para un Sueño...

Juan Luis Guerra is a Dominican singer, very much known around the world because of his famous merengue's compositions. I can say that despite of all the years he has been working in this, he is like Madonna... always reinventing himself. Always with something new to bring up.
In this occasion, and although there is a friend of mine who says some of us believe Juan Luis Guerra is the only merengue singer alive, I will stick to my personal opinion, that this man can relate in many ways with the population.
Every time I have to go to the Spanish Consulate in order to obtain a specific visa (first one of study, now a working visa) is the worst thing that could happen to me, and this song always come to my mind.


I have had to ask for a Spanish visa 3 times in my life.
The first one was ok, because I didn't even go to the Consulate. An agency did all the work for me, and I am so grateful. It was for my 15th birthday, and my gift was a trip to Europe and Africa. Great trip ever.
The second one was BAD. I was supposted to obtain my visa in 3 weeks, but until the 4th I didn't received it. Excuses? Not even one. My passport was supposedly at Spain waiting for my study permission to be approved. Though I was already accepted by the University I was going to.
4 weeks in order to obtain a visa, and the Customer Service Agent that was at the Consulate only gave me but bad responses, nothing to calm one down.
The third one was the Worst. I already knew how the Consulate was working... and so I was prepared. I delivered my passport on Feb 16th, and called to its office two weeks after. My passport was done since Feb 20th, and Customer Service agents said that it was ok for me to pick it up from next morning on. And I said! Well too bad for them that didn't call me before to let me know, but anyways Im so picking my passport and leaving asap. Next thing I know, I was at the Consulate and they wouldn't give me my passport, cause the date I was supposted to pick it up was March 11th, and yet was the week previous to that one.
Im like WHAT?! My passport is damn ready, I called and they said it was Ok to pick it up.. But the agent there did not understood my urgency. She said she did not have a manager, wouldn't call anyone whom I could speak to, but her. Passports were locked in, and guess what?! No one had the key, according to this girl...
I called back to Customer Service phone line and they talked to me rudely, and said that I had to wait despite of what they had said the day before... and hung up on me...
Now, I might be crazy or stupid, but in my opinion the Spanish Consulate is not right...

The thing is that, just like me, there are many people dealing with these kind of situations every day, and no one would ever speak out loud to let know what's happening. Golpe de poder (People abusing of their power) just like Juan Luis Guerra says in its song "Buscando Visa para un Sueño", Qué más puedo hacer? (What else can I do?) since there are no options for us whatsoever.
This is an European Consulate located in the Caribbean, and I am not saying all Consulates work the same way. But being Spain such an important country to which lots of dominicans go abroad to, this issues should be solved soon. It should be an embarrasment to all spanish people when we let know how much trouble we have to deal with when trying to go to their country.
Proving we have enough money to go, a house to stay at, a good insurance, a medical certificate of good health only issued by 2 doctors that have an angreement with the Consulate, among other things... make this process unpleasant. But still, we have no options that to be submitted to them.

If you wish to hear this Juan Luis Guerra song,please go over you tube and find this link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PiC9TyiBoxI