Posts

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  Learning A Second Language! There are many reasons why it is an excellent idea to learn a second language. For example, bilingualism improves listening skills, as the brain works harder to distinguish between different types of sounds and linguistic rhythms. Such duality reminds me of my youth living in Mexico City when I met an Italian lady who had just immigrated to my neighborhood and offered Italian classes. I loved the language, especially since my only exposure to Italian was through the opera recordings that I listened to in the mornings with my father and some Italian movies with Spanish subtitles that my mother saw on television from time to time. I had grown up with only one language, however I had a good memory, so taking lessons helped my cognitive abilities. When one knows more than language the brain is constantly choosing the language in which to express yourself. Sadly, I ended my Italian classes after a while without ever practicing with anyone except my teacher. In
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  My Connection with Frida Khalo In all aspects of life there are certain connections with people even if you have not known them personally. Even though I did not live precisely there, the neighborhood of Coyoacan in Mexico City was the one I called my own. Not only was it in close proximity to my house, but there was also my favorite bar, 'Gloria’, that served the best snacks; an ice cream parlor with horchata ice creams; and in its beautiful central plaza there was a bookstore called "El Parnaso”. There you could read a book about any subject while simultaneously enjoying a cappuccino and make friends with whom you could discuss your point of view on life. As a result I often passed the blue house where Frida Kahlo lived. I knew a lot about Frida’s life and artwork as I also admired the paintings and murals of Diego Rivera. However, I never felt any connection or similarity with her until I emigrated to the San Francisco Bay Area in the United States at the age of 23. Frida
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  The Power of Puppets in Education; It could be said that puppets are in every culture and in every community around the world. Sometimes they have a religious or ritualistic context. Other times puppets are used for storytelling and entertainment. In regions such as India, Africa and Southeast Asia, puppets and puppeteers generally engage in ceremonies or rites. In Europe it has a more theatrical, or musical context. In the Americas, especially in Mexico, puppetry has existed since pre-Columbian times, and was used to narrate and preserve the memory of daily life. In these early stages puppets were clay dolls articulated directly with the puppeteers hands. In addition to serving as vehicles of oral history, puppets were used to represent religious texts, usually accompanied by a song or dance. At the time of Independence in Mexico, puppetry flourished in the realm of performing arts and enjoyed great popularity. Puppets even began to be used to educate the population about basic publ
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  Spanish through art.   Art is a powerful tool to learn a language through cultural expressions! For more than six consecutive years, Spanish Today has developed courses to harness the pedagogic spark of art. Such fusions of creativity and language have been offered in a variety of institutions such as the Montalvo Art Center in the City of Saratoga. For the summertime, we have curated Spanish courses that aim to encourage and motivate students to converse in Spanish through innovative problem-solving and observation. By engaging in sculpture, paintings, handicrafts, musical performance, and dancing, our students form deep connections between their experiences and their environment. When students participate in what we like to call “transcendent-learning”, they can more easily connect with the target acquisition - in this case the Spanish language. The stimulation of both cerebral hemispheres causes genuine emotions and exalted sensations which lead to a greater capacity to concentra
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  Mexican Wrestling I remember the lackadaisical summer afternoons visiting my favorite cousin in the City of Tlaxcala, in central Mexico. My cousin Martin and I had a lot in common - the love of playing all day in the street, horseback riding, playing as young entrepreneurs engaging in small “businesses” that would earn us enough money for all the ice cream we could eat, or better yet, going to Lucha Libre, the idiosyncratic art of Mexican wrestling! Free-style wrestling is practiced in Mexico with its own unique style. It truly is a mixture of raw athleticism and theatrical sequences. Wrestling remains a very popular spectacle nationwide, and in the summer season the league went to the City of Tlaxcala. It is said that this sport was introduced in 1863 during the occupation of the French Empire in Mexico. In 1933 the  Empresa Mexicana de Lucha Libre  (Mexican Wrestling Enterprise) company was founded. The founding of that organization was instrumental in turning wrestling from a reg
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Roadways to the Mayan Route. During the 1970’s my father was a journalist and close collaborator of the former President of Mexico. As such, one day he was assigned to document the tourism development project of the state of Quintana Roo. For my father, who traveled frequently, that assignment became one of his favorite trips to make as it represented a great six-year long project in which he documented the progress of this plan for “Saeta” magazine and other publications. One summer my father announced we would travel to the Mayan Route and that it would be something very special and beautiful. We left Mexico City for Kunkuna, which means snake nest, the sacred land of the Mayans that is today known as Cancun. On the way we crossed the jungle in the family’s beige Chevelle Malibu, making several stops over many hours.  The days were hot and extremely humid. We first reached Escárcega, a small city in the state of Campeche, after having driven over 600 kilometers on a barely explored
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  Día De Los Muertos, a millenary tradition for Mexicans. The Mexican tradition of Dia De Los Muertos is of pre-Hispanic origin, and is a World Cultural Heritage as named by UNESCO, a title which causes no surprise once its profound and complex beauty is appreciated.  Dia De Los Muertos is a celebration those loved ones who have passed, a time to craft an ornate altar of offering decorated with fragrant flowers, lit candles, fresh fruit, and cherished photographs. Such an altar serves as a welcome-home sign, akin to when a family member returns from a trip abroad and finally arrives home. In order to truly understand Dia De Los Muertos it is essential to understand the concept of death as the beginning of a journey in which the soul goes to a sacred place and periodically returns to the mundane world.  My memory is replete with thousands of images of altars that I have seen throughout my life, especially during the years that I lived in Mexico City. Also of note are the impressive alta