Cakes

I LOOOVEEE cakes.

And I bet you do too.

Black Forest Cake

But one thing I’ve noticed is it’s not as easy to get cheap cakes here in Spain as it is in Canada. I mean, cheap cakes at the supermarket. If you want a really good cake here you have to go to the bakery and bakery cakes are expensive.

In Canada you could just go to the supermarket and pick up a ready made cake for maybe $2. And there would be a whole huge variety of cakes available. But here even if a large supermarket has cheap cakes they will maybe only have a couple of varieties. The rest are bakery cakes (also available at supermarkets but in a separate section) and they’re more expensive.

Then you just can’t compare the variety that they have in Canada with here. Of course in bakeries here you can get every sort of cake that your heart could desire. But like I said before, bakery cakes are expensive. In Canada you can get every kind of cheap, ready made cake you could possibly want at the supermarket: chocolate, strawberry, Black Forest, caramel……

Now — and I’m just speculating here — I was wondering why is it so hard to get good, cheap cakes round here? And my theory is that maybe it’s just simply because Spanish people don’t seem to have a tradition of eating cakes.

Yep. Might sound weird. But think that in poorer countries cakes aren’t all that easy to come by. (Which is why only Marie Antoinette could have cake but not her poverty-stricken, lowly subjects.)

So traditionally, here in Spain, cakes and pastries were reserved only for special occasions. Reason why all the festivities of the year have their own special pastries, like Roscón de Reyes for The Three Kings holiday or pestiños for All Saints Day.

Then as people got richer ordinary people could have cakes more often. But even so they still tend to reserve cake eating for things like birthdays or family get-togethers. I still have delicious memories of how, when I was still married, my ex (then hubby) would buy pastries every Sunday and we’d have pastries and tea with his family on Sundays.

But maybe in other cultures, like England or Canada, it was more common to eat cake every day. For example, as part of the daily tea.

Well not exactly a transcendental subject and I’m sure these aren’t exactly earth-shattering theories haha. Just one of the many small details where I notice the difference between Spanish and English cultures.

And now that I’ve got your attention, check out my previous post, Walking in the Rain. It’s got more about everyday life here in Spain, and lots of pics (wink, wink).

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Canada vs. US vs. Spain

3 flags3 flags3 flags + knot

I was just reading through expat blogs by Americans in Spain, and one of the things that most struck me, unbelievable though it might seem, was the differences between Americans and Canadians!

Now, you might find that a bit weird, considering that, you would expect, the differences between Spain and Canada should be far greater than those between the two North American countries which, when you come right down to it, still share a continent and have a common history and ancestry.

But I suppose perhaps I’ve just gotten used to the differences between Canada and Spain, since it has become quite customary to me to compare the two all the time. In fact, I’ve written another post in the past comparing life and customs in Canada vs. Spain.

The United States, on the other hand, is not a place I think about a whole lot. So it did strike me how different the United States really is from Canada.

Now, do take into account that perhaps my experiences might not be representative, and I’m sure another Canadian would probably have different views from me. I’m also not a “typical” Canadian (if there is such a thing).

I grew up in a small town in French Canada. The English language and culture that prevailed there were more British in many ways than American. So I think there are many things that I do that are more “British” than perhaps would happen with the average Canadian.

I write many, but not all, words the British way, and I use some British terms more than their American equivalent. And then there are some words that I use that are just, simply, Canadian, lol.

So I will write “realize” and “criticize”, but “favourite” and “colour”.

Now, having said that, it’s also true that that doesn’t make us “Brits” or British in any way. I don’t speak with a British accent. I’ve been told I don’t have an American accent either, however, but rather, an “unidentifiable” but fairly neutral one. Maybe, if anything, perhaps slightly “Scottish”, since there is a strong Scottish influence in Canada.

In fact once, in London, a wonderfully friendly gentleman told me he was sure I must be from Scotland, and he was flabbergasted when I told him I wasn’t. He said I had such a typical Scottish accent!

So now, these were the differences, in no particular order, that caught my attention the most.

Words

I will say torch and rubber, and I had no idea that in the States, rubber is a “bad” word hehe. But I also say pants, car trunk and running shoes (rather than trainers or tennis shoes). And in my particular part of the world, we would say patio, the same as in Spain, and métro rather than subway, tube or underground.

Place Names

I am used to places being called “Place” (as in Place Bonaventure, a place that really exists in Montreal), which is the equivalent of the Spanish plaza. It took me a long time to find out what English speaking people call a “Place” (ie. Square).

It didn’t make much sense to me when I found it out. As far as I could tell, although it’s true that some “places” (with silent “e”) are square, such as the Plaza Mayor in Madrid, as far as I could tell, most were round. So I really couldn’t fathom why they are called “squares” in English language areas of the world.

We also call very wide avenues “boulevards”. And as I mentioned before, we take the “métro” rather than the subway or underground.

Sovereignty and Imperialism

The great majority of Canadians enjoy being a monarchy and having Queen Elizabeth II as head of state. I dunno, we just do. We think it’s pretty cool, to have a queen and a royal family. It’s quaint and fun. What’s more, the British royal family have always been quite crazy about Canada and have always treated the country well.

Customs and Names

In Canada we hang out at the shopping centre rather than the mall. We can do our shopping at both a grocery store or a supermarket. A grocery store usually refers to a small food shop while supermarkets are very large.

Like Americans, we go to elementary school and high school. But after graduation, we don’t head off to a college but rather, to a university. A college, as far as I was ever able to discern, was a sort of élite school where children from wealthy families could attend for a year or so after high school but before entering university. In that sense, I suppose you could sort of refer to a college as a “preparatory school”.

Colleges were also vocational schools where you could study a “métier” or a trade, if you didn’t want to go to university or undertake academic studies.

What You Can Buy

Canadians always go crazy when we go to visit the United States and we walk into a store, like Walmart or a supermarket. It is like going to the Mecca! There are sooo many things to buy in the United States! Such a variety of brands and such a humungous number of goods is never available at a shop in Canada!

Now, it is true that there are some things that we have more of in Canada than in Spain. We have instant flavoured oatmeal and cream of wheat. We have more cookie flavours than in Spain.

But the cheese selection is really, really poor. Basically, from what I remember, about the only cheese you could buy was cottage cheese and the plastic-flavoured Kraft cheddar cheese cut into little square slices and wrapped in plastic.

In fact, there seemed to be a dearth of milk and dairy products in general in Canada. We only had one, maybe at the most two, brands of milk. You could get it in whole fat, semi and skimmed varieties. But there were only one or two brands.

I remember going to the supermarket for the first time in Spain. I nearly fell over when I beheld the gigantic range of choices in brands of milk. Puleva, Pascual, Covap, Asturiana…… Just the brands of milk you could buy in Spain occupied one entire aisle!

The same is true of yoghurts as well. In Canada, at least when I lived there, you had Sealtest, and that was it. True, there were many flavours you couldn’t find, like blueberry and raspberry, which were flavours that, until recently, seemed as foreign to Spanish people as Martian flavours.

But once again, the enormous number of brands of yoghurt available in Spain was overwhelming, to me.

In Canada, most people read about all the new products that come out in the US in magazines and drool over them. We count the years (yes, years) until they finally start getting imported to Canada.

And if we’re lucky and we live near the border, like I did, we get to take a road trip a couple of times a year to the US, where we bombard the stores and SNATCH UP aaalll those goodies that we just can’t find in Canada.

We’d drive back to the border with the car trunk loaded to the maximum. Usually the kind and understanding customs officers would just glance through our goods, which were probably enough to stock up a small shop, and wave us through with a sympathetic smile.

I remember when Carmex brand lip balm first came out in the States. A friend of mine who was a makeup artist dropped in to the south of the border and hoarded up a huge stash of little jars of Carmex, which she then doled out magnanimously among her friends back in Canada.

Canada doesn’t have its own car company either. They import all their cars, although several American companies, like Ford, do have factories in Canada, where they manufacture vehicles solely for use in this country.

So I was quite amazed when I arrived in Spain and discovered that Spain actually has its own car company, Seat.

The American Dream

As far as I’m aware, no such equivalent exists in Canada. If anything, perhaps the Canadian dream is to be able to emigrate to the United States haha!

How about you? If you are a Canadian, or an American who has ever visited Canada, or a Canadian or American living in Spain, what differences have you found?

Do leave me a comment if you’d like. I LURRVE receiving (positive, non-spammy) comments!

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Spain Vs. Canada

I’ve been sitting around noticing how expats often blog about the differences between life in their new country and life in their country of origin.

Spain and Canada

(I’ve also been noticing how widespread it seems that bloggers who have never left their own country just naturally assume that everything is going to be exactly the same in all the rest of the world as it is in their own country. I would LOVE to be able to inform them that not everyone around the world has access to The Vitamin Shoppe, and that we can’t all order online from US internet sellers, but anyways…… And those people who run blogs like that would never read this one……)

But anyways, so I thought I’d do something similar. Now, taking into account, however, that I’ve been living in Spain for so many years, it’s almost more like my own country than my real own country. But even so, there are several things that do jump out at me, so let’s go, on with the list:

* One of the very first things that struck me is how different ordinary, everyday objects can be. Door handles, toilet bowls, light switches and, of course, electrical outlets. In Canada everyone has round door handles. That’s just the way door handles are made there, I guess that’s how Canadians like it. Here, however, door handles are long. I actually like them better here, the round ones are always slipping out of your hands whereas here, you’ve got something you can really get a good grip on! (They also make great hooks for hanging stuff on.)

* In Canada, there’s only one way to flush a toilet bowl: using a little lever on the front of the tank that sticks out a little to one side. Here, on the contrary, there are so many different contraptions each with their own way of flushing. The first toilet bowl I ever saw here had nothing but a little ball on top of the tank. What in the world are you supposed to do with a little ball?? I tried spinning it around, pushing on it, edging it in one direction and another, all to no avail. At some point (probably when people were starting to wonder whether I had actually fainted or something in the bathroom) it occurred to me to pull on it! Wonder of wonders, it worked!

* The bidet. Does anyone reading this have a bidet? (I, of course, do not, seeing as I live in a minuscule, cramped one-bedroom-with-a-walk-in-closet-as-the-second-bedroom.) The first time I saw one I didn’t know what it was, or what you were supposed to do with it. Was it some sort of strange, low-level wash basin for little kids to wash their hands and faces in? Was it a weird sort of toilet bowl, maybe? In the end I myself ended up using it to wash things (like clothes) by hand, very useful for that sort of thing.

* Spain is very, very urban, compared to Canada. Even in a major city in Canada all sorts of wildlife prowl the streets: hares, chipmunks, racoons, skunks and even the occasional red fox, not to mention the ubiquitous squirrels of every colour. I expected to find bulls roaming free in the streets of Madrid at the very least, and yet it turned out to be one of the most urban, built-up, concrete-and-cement jungles I’ve ever encountered. You can travel for miles (well, several blocks anyways) without seeing one little piece of greenery. And animals? The only thing you will find is a pigeon.

* I suppose every expat in Spain must have noticed this but I will mention it anyways: the total (or almost total) lack of foreign goods and imported products (with the exception, of course, of electronics like computers, Nintendos, Wii’s……). The list of foods you can’t get here in Spain would be so long it would probably cover reams and reams of paper. You can’t get a lot of make-up either, unless you are really into mass-produced junk churned out by companies that test on animals like L’Oreal, or elitist little venues that charge a fortune for a tiny vial of something, like L’Occitane or La Mer. (Now, having said this, I still won’t deny that even so I would still LOVE to be able to get my hands on something from L’Occitane one day, just to try it out!) Now, I do realize that slowly all of this is changing. From what I’ve been reading, famous companies like BeneFIT and Nars finally seem to have made the discovery that Spain exists and that it actually has women, who use make-up. Hopefully more low-cost-but-good-quality US brands like ELF will one day follow suit, so that us “poor” women who don’t want to patronize animal testers can still afford to look good.

* Schools. Well, I don’t find schools a whole lot different here from in Canada. Sending kids to school is a tradition that dates back millennia, so I don’t suppose it is all that different now from one hundred years ago or from one continent to another. The curricula is also not that radical. Kids learn the basics everywhere, reading, writing and arithmetic. Throw in a bit of algebra and science. The one thing that has changed enormously, is the role of computers in the classroom – but that has to do with the times, not with the country.

* I find schools A LOT more secure here than in Canada. In Canada, anyone, like a maniac with a gun, can just wander into a school and when the kids leave, they just leave. Any creep can pick them up off the streets before their parents arrive. Here a teacher or monitor will personally hand the child over to the parent when s/he arrives, and not to anyone else. It can occasionally lead to paranoid moments, when for example a new teacher or monitor doesn’t know who you are, and refuses to hand your child to you because she doesn’t recognize you! And speaking of parents, in Canada most kids travelled to school by bus, in those famous yellow school buses, at least in my experience. Here, however, school buses are quite rare and parents themselves must pay for them. Most kids are personally brought in to school by their parents, no matter how far away they live.

On the other hand, school buses here are quite the luxurious item. We had to travel squeezed tightly into these cramped, dirty (well, the ones I travelled on were always dirty) yellow school buses while European kids breeze along in their airy, spacious, top-of-the-line luxury coaches. I always want to ask them if they realize how lucky they are to be able to go to school in one of those, which always look clean, and there is room for them to put down their backpacks and stick out their feet.

* Most things, in general, are just generally a lot more tightly controlled here in Spain than they are in Canada. That is, I think, both good and bad. The good thing is that not just anyone can have access to things and people here the way they do in Canada. For example, if you are in a hospital and someone is trying to kill you, it would be very easy for them to pay you a visit in Canada. But here, who can enter into a hospital room to visit a patient is very restricted. When my mother-in-law was in the hospital she was only allowed to receive visitors for two hours a day, only one visitor at a time and no children were allowed to see her. I thought that was extraordinarily sad, the people she wanted most of all to see were her grandchildren. In Canada, on the other hand, a whole bunch of us including babies could pile into a patient’s room, much to the patient’s great joy and relief.

Because Canadians don’t have ID cards, that sometimes makes things harder in Canada and sometimes easier. It’s harder, when (in Canada) a person is very paranoid and won’t let you have something unless you can produce about thirty documents that prove that you are who you say you are. Since there really is no norm in Canada that states that you must identify yourself a certain way, in other places you don’t have to do anything to prove that you are who you say you are. It all seems to depend mostly on the establishment’s own personalized, rather haphazard policies.

* Stores. Need I say it, it is a lot harder to buy anything in Spain, and generally a lot more expensive too. In Canada, we had all sorts of cheap-o shops where you could get things for a dollar or two (and I’m not referring to dollar stores). Drugstores sold make-up (and not exactly from China either) for a dollar or two. We had Zeller’s (which may not exist anymore) and Woolco (which I think has since been bought up by Walmart) where everything was cheap. Pyjamas for the kids were cheap. Shoes for the kids were cheap. Shampoo was cheap. Diapers were, perhaps, the only thing that wasn’t cheap there! You’ll never find something like that here in Spain!

* Convenience. Living in Spain is like about a hundred times more convenient than living in Canada! In a Canadian city, you might have a grand total of perhaps THREE or at the most FOUR large supermarkets in the entire area, usually located in distant suburbs and generally requiring the use of two urban buses in order to arrive at the location. In Canada, most cities are divided into residential neighbourhoods and commercial districts, which makes the term “shopping in your own neighbourhood” a bit irrelevant. I LOVE being able to just hop downstairs when I want some bread or milk, rather than have to hop onto two buses for some bread and milk. (Well, of course, since I went to the trouble of hopping onto two buses and riding for perhaps two hours, I would of course buy more than just bread and milk, but I hope you get the picture.)

* Employment (hehe, this subject had to come up, of course!). Quite frankly, getting a job is a lot easier in Canada than in Spain. Not because it’s richer or has a great, booming economy (which it doesn’t, like every country in the world, it’s in crisis). The reason is because employers here in Spain are just so **** demanding! You can’t even work in a f***g McDonald’s here without possessing at least three different types of professional certifications and presenting about thirty references.

Basically, in order to work at the counter at McDonald’s here, you would need something similar to an MBA from Harvard, a few internships in a variety of different large corporations and a couple of courses of “Manipulador de alimentos” which you would, of course, have passed with flying colours (and be in possession of the official, government-issued certificates to prove it, too). Then later Americans ask me why don’t I just get a job at McDonald’s, since apparently in the US McDonald’s will just hand the position over to the first person who waltzes in off the street and asks for it. They say, after all, I don’t need any qualifications to work at McDonald’s, right, and anyone can do it? Snort snort! That must be in the States, because here……!

What kids habitually do in Canada such as delivering newspapers, selling lemonade or babysitting for a bit of small change would be considered child labour here in Spain, which is, of course, illegal. Here, you are supposed to leave your kids with a responsible adult (ie. over eighteen years of age) or you would be considered a negligent parent. So asking your thirteen-year-old little niece over to watch the toddlers for a couple of hours just wouldn’t cut it here. (A lot of people do it here, however, which is okay as long as nobody knows about it and can report them to the police.) In Canada a lot of kids begin working at the age of fourteen in shops and boutiques to earn a bit of spare change because probably their parents refuse to give them money for clothes or entertainment and you know, a teenager without the latest fashion or being able to go out to the pub is one very sad teenager indeed!

* And of course, there are, I think, a lot more ways to save money in Canada than in Spain. There, you can have garage sales, buy on Craigslist or get your clothes at the Salvation Army. I know there is a thing here in Spain called Segundamano, which is supposed to be like Craigslist, but the few times I’ve looked at it it was practically empty, except for a rush of ads in the “Personals” sections. In Spain, I find that there really isn’t as much of a culture of “second-hand” or “one man’s garbage is another man’s treasure” sort of thing. People tend to throw things away into the bin rather than give them away and there appears to be a bit of a stigma around using second-hand items (except for electronic items). No one wants to buy their clothes second-hand here, for example, whereas in Canada even very respectable, professional women had no qualms about shopping at the Salvation Army.

* Sales taxes. Well, the only thing I can say about that is that Rajoy has probably been eyeing Canada a lot lately and trying to learn from Canadians. Maybe he figured, if he started charging taxes like the ones they do in Canada, Spain would somehow magically transform itself into a country similar to Canada? (Well, with taxes like that, I can certainly understand why Canada doesn’t have Spain’s debt.)

And then, the worst thing is, that in Canada sales taxes are not included in the listed price for an item. So when you’ve filled up your basket with all the goodies that you would like to take home with you, you take it to the cashier, who then passes it through the cash register which performs some sort of complicated, algorithmic calculations and then spits out at you the amount of tax that you must pay in addition to the cost of the items that you wish to buy.

So, now your modest little basket, which perhaps summed up to be about ten dollars when you were just looking at the price on the price tag, has now suddenly jumped up to perhaps a whopping twenty-five dollars! (Well, maybe I’m exaggerating a tad bit, but not much.)

* Efficiency and productivity, especially in the workplace. Ever wonder why it takes at least five times longer to get anything done in Spain than it does in Canada?

The other day I was at the unemployment office here in Malaga. I was observing human behaviour. There was only one information counter and just one young guy manning that counter. He answered the queries from a couple of understandably confused people, then waltzed off to the back of the large office with a slip of paper, supposedly in order to file the paper away in its proper place. Well, so far so good, right?

He tucked the paper away succinctly into its proper file, then turned around. Did he turn around in order to return to the information counter? Of course not!

He actually turned around so he could chat with his co-workers who happened to be conveniently seated near the file cabinet he had just used. After chit-chatting for a space with these co-workers, he advanced a couple of steps towards the front of the office, then stopped to chit-chat with the next co-workers in his path. He did this at every step he took and as you can imagine, since it was a government office, it was filled with employees to chit-chat with.

Eventually, he was joined by a young lady who apparently had similar ideas to him, and they both took up a post somewhere in the centre of the office just chit-chatting and discussing whatever happened to be on their minds, together. They stood there for about fifteen minutes, talking animatedly, while the line-up before the (now unattended) information counter grew longer and longer. No one else bothered to attend to these people, and no one said anything to the young man who was supposed to be attending to the counter, either.

Eventually, the young man and his co-worker strolled casually back towards the information counter. They lingered a while longer next to the information desk so that they could conclude their rousing discussion before the employee started attending to the people in the line-up.

I have an acquaintance who owns a company that is going down the drain. One day I wandered into their office for a visit. He just happened to be berating an employee of his at that moment. His words, more or less, went something like this:

“You want to know what you’re doing wrong, and why I’m mad at you? You arrive every single day ten to fifteen minutes late! Then, every time I send you out on an errand, you have to go to a bar and have a drink before you return to work. It only takes you ten minutes to take the document to the address that I gave you, so why does it take you half an hour to get back? Because you’re spending twenty minutes in the bar!”

To which the young man replied, non-plussed: “Well, but I have a right to take a break, don’t I?”

I asked my acquaintance why he didn’t just fire this lazy dead-beat, but he said it wouldn’t have made any difference, because everyone he hired did the same thing. That’s just what people are like, and how they expect to behave, around here in southern Spain.

* All the things which are traditional and “home-grown” are, of course, easily and readily available here in Spain, such as (in my case, as these are the things I use a lot): sweet almond oil, anything with chestnuts in it (I *heart* my raw chestnut honey, lol!), olive oil OF COURSE, I mean, we are in the heart of olive land, right?

However, if you want anything that must be produced in another country, then you would be fairly outta luck here, as Spaniards seem to be allergic to importing things (except things like computers, Nintendos, mobile phones……).

So, in conclusion, is life better or worse in Spain or in Canada? Well, I don’t think it’s either better or worse, it’s just different. And I guess it also depends, too, on what sorts of things you like, personally.

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Blog about Blogs and Blogging

The other day I was reading a few blogs. All the bloggers put up a new post every 2 or 3 days complete with photos. I don’t know how they do it. And in addition they all have time to put up links and comments about other blogs that they have read as well. How in the world do they ever have time to write so many posts, make so many photos and read so many blogs? In addition to working and taking care of families?

I wish I were able to post every 2 or 3 days. But to do that I’d have to dedicate every free minute to blogging. I don’t know how they do it! My congrats go out to them!

Maybe I just don’t have a very exciting life to go on about. For example, this could be a post about if I go out:

Today I went shopping with a friend. I went shopping with her because I wanted to spend some time with my friend, I mean, after all we are friends and people like being with their friends, right? But she spent the whole afternoon shopping. Now that is all fine and great but I hate shopping. Where is the fun in stalking from store to store the whole day long just looking at clothes? If you HAD to stalk from one thing to another the whole day long wouldn’t you prefer to go and look at cute and furry little animals or something instead?

Something like this, for example:

Hungry Crocodiles

Ooops, wrong pic!

Lemur

End of blog post.

So you can see not a very exciting blog post. And this is when I actually DO something and actually have something to say! A typical day, when I DON’T have anything to say, would probably go something like this:

Today I had to run to catch the bus in order not to arrive late at work. But then again, EVERY DAY I have to run to catch the bus in order not to arrive late at work. I worked the shift I was supposed to do, then I went home. When I got home my always hungry son started pestering me for food as usual so I had to whip something into the oven. Then since I was so tired I went to bed.

End of blog post.

I was reading some posts by people who comment a lot on the things that they buy. Boy they sure do buy a lot of things! I thought people who bought so many things were just an urban legend.

Well here is my blog post review of our latest acquisitions in our household:

Well a few weeks ago I went to the hyper-market (something similar here in Europe to a Wal-Mart in the States) and I bought some new pillow covers and bedsheets, because the old ones were full of holes.

Now bedsheets and pillowcases are not the most essential items in the world, but I guess they’re pretty important, because who wants to sleep with holes underneath their feet when they can sleep on new sheets?

So now I will proceed to review these sheets. I got them in some pretty exciting and vibrant colours, blue and fuchsia. I must admit, I am quite crazy about my new fuchsia-tinted pillow cover. It does actually kind of make me feel rather regal to be sleeping on a neon-coloured pillow and even more so when this pillow no longer has holes in it.

Blue and Fuchsia Pillowcases

I’m afraid this item can’t really compare to a face cream, an eyeshadow palette with 120 shadows in it, some hair serums or something (anything) from Shiseido or Givenchy, however. Sigh!

Well I think in future posts I may start a series reviewing music and books that I like instead.

The latest book that I bought: Dans un Gant de Fer (or In An Iron Glove, if you prefer to read a translation into English, which I think is available on Amazon) by Claire Martin.

Use an iron fist within a soft velvet glove to raise your children. Harsh and cruel life of children in rural Québec a century ago, when the driving (sorry have to interrupt this interesting item with a quick and important news flash: More than ONE HUNDRED people have read the Privacy Policy! Breaking news!)(Oh, I didn’t even know that there was a Privacy Policy. Well, basically it states that if you write to me I will NOT use your e-mail to send you spam (got better things to do, like cook dinner for always hungry kids, if you’ve got kids you will know what I mean. And now back to the main item) slogan in the hidebound, repressive Catholic environment for child-rearing was: casse-leur les membres pour sauver leurs âmes. Break their limbs and you will save their souls!

Because used to be that it was considered very good practice to beat children at school in Canada.

By the time I went to school they didn’t follow that policy anymore (at least!). But they still believed in toughening Canadian kids up, because I guess they figured, if we were going to have to live in that sub-arctic clime all our lives, they might as well get us inured to it at an early age.

So they made us stand outside all the time. I mean, here in Spain, when it gets just a little chillier than usual, or there is a tiny drizzle with 4 scattered raindrops, they usher the kids urgently into the school.

So that really contrasts with Canada where they made us stay outside all the time (when we weren’t in class, I mean) even if it was 40 below or there was a blizzard! They sent one poor teacher out, always the same one, who always stood at the door and looked like she was about to die, dressed in layers and layers of fur! And she was dying with all that fur on. So what about the kids, who don’t wear fur coats?

(Not that I believe in fur coats, of course. I am as always

Against Animal Testing

and

Against Fur Coats

(All right, so the effect might have been a little bit more dramatic if I had used a pic of a cute and fluffy little baby animal, I guess, but I don’t happen to have any such photos. Unless you count the photos of my babies, that is. They’re sorta cute. And when they had baby hair, I guess you could say they were fluffy too.)

However the only thing that did for me was make me flee for warmer climes, like Spain. Because the thought of spending a whole lifetime in Siberia was just too depressing!

I also got The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende, but I already read it before, just that I left the book in Canada. It doesn’t matter if you read it in English or Spanish, the English translation is magnificent and superb and you are not missing any of the Spanish original if you read it in English. However it’s very long so if you have already read it before (like me) you might not make it through a second read. Especially if you have a job, always hungry and always sick kids, 2 blogs and a website.

What more can I blog about? Well I don’t have an eyeshadow palette with 120 colours, but I did get the original 88-colour palette that they sell at Coastal Scents, except in the Spanish version.

So I suppose one day I might take out that 88-colour palette and make a review of it. If I ever use it.

Because after I got the palette I got the job, and at this job I don’t wear make-up. The reason is because I don’t work with real people at the job, I work with virtual people on a webcam. And webcams really make you look weird.

The day I wore make-up I looked like a porcelain mannequin on the webcam. I looked like, when I started to talk, if you were looking at me on the webcam, you probably would’ve jumped out of your skin, because you probably thought I was a store mannequin. That is how I looked on the webcam the day I wore make-up. When I don’t wear make-up I look like a person. So I don’t wear make-up.

I can’t explain it. Webcams just make you look weird. They give you strange stains on the skin that you don’t really have in real life. They make everything look black and white and grey, no colours. They make me look like I am wearing very bright lipstick and I don’t wear lipstick. I don’t know, they just change everything from the way they look in real life, the colours, the shapes and sizes.

See you soooon!!……