5 reasons to visit Zaragoza, Spain

I’ve always said that among all the sites I’ve ever visited, Zaragoza is that one place that exerts a special unexplainable, magical attraction on people…

It’s a small city , not as well known as Barcelona, Bilbao or Madrid which are the great international poles. But once you come here, you either stay forever, or you end up longing for it wherever you go.

Compared to other places I’ve visited in Europe (here is the link to my travel gallery),  this is where I enjoyed my stay the most and consequently settled in afterwards. Here come the 5 reasons why!

1- It is a small town where the life cost is ereally low compared to other Spanish locations. Yet it has everything with everything you need: shops, entertainment, banks and food, etc.

2- The lifestyle rhythm here is more relaxed so the  level of stress the reduced compared to bigger European metropolis.

3- The town is extremely clean and there is less pollution.

4-  People are nice, easygoing and they take the time to attend to you when you need help, for example while asking for direction in a street.

5-  It has a unique culture, where medieval , mediteranean and modern trends blend in perfectly,  creating a special touch. You definiyely won’t be bored; there’s always something new to do or a new place to discover!

It’s a hidden gem, waiting for your visit. Cariño, cuándo te vienes? (Darling, when are you coming?)

See you in my next post!

Nuna Blomevi.

#ZaragozaEnamora #ZaragozaMakesYouFallInLove

For more photos of places Nuna has visited, please click here: Travel Gallery

Some of the photos are avalaible thanks to the courtesy of my friend S. I. (She took them during our strolls). Gracias por las increíbles imágenes, amiga! (Thanks for these incredible visuals, friend!)

We’re back!

Hola Cttbies!

I hope you’re doing well. Long time no write!

I’m glad to announce that I’ve returned to posting again. The past weeks have been somewhat hectic, but I managed to pull through by God’s grace.

Hence, I’ll be posting again on the website about my favourite topics: writing as a rookie author, and my stay in Spain. Also, why not, about special topics that draw my attention as I meditate about life.

On the other hand, the design of the website has changed. I modified the theme,  some colours and the font with the purpose of making it simpler, easier to read and browse through. I hope it is offering a better user experience. For any technical issues, please feel free to message me via this link!

I can’t conclude without saying a very big thank you for your patience and for staying in touch! Especially since June is a special month for me. Indeed, I decided to start blogging and officially launched this website a year ago, on the 5th June 2020. It hasn’t been easy. I have learnt a lot all this while. All your visits, readings and likes have been of great encouragement to me. I am grateful! I’m still a bit clumsy and in the process of learning, but I will keep improving and getting better.

Once again, a very big thank you!

Un abrazo fuerte! (Hugs)

Nuna Blomevi.

Spring and Window Shopping in Spain: Malls and Fashion trends

Hola Cttbies!

¿Qué tal? (How are you?)

It’s spring! (At long last). The weather is great here (an average of 20°C). The spring breeze is so sweet here, and the birds chirp so beautifully during the day!

On the other hand, it’s also good if you’d like to have a quiet trip, because there is less touristic affluence and hassle. I must say, the best months to visit Spain are March to early June, or September to mid November.  In summer it’s too hot, especially in August the temperature goes up to 40°C , and there blows a hot wind from the desert that is completely unbearable; in December to January it’s too cold and windy, not the best time either. All year long, it’s like the god of fire and the god of ice fight all year long in Zaragoza.

Busking at Paseo IIndependencia, one of the main streets in Zaragoza’s town center.

From 24°C to 11°C on the same day,  Spring is the time of what I call “quitaipón de ropa” (remove and wear clothes). Temperatures in my town are very unstable, with very high differences in intervals. at one moments you’re sweating buckets and at another, you’re freezing. The wind here (the infamous “Cierzo”) is mortal so you can catch a cold if you let your guard off.  It’s advised to take a light coat with you even if you don’t end up wearing it. Yesterday on my way home, I couldn’t walk properly because the Cierzo kept pushing me from behind. That’s how strong it is!

When the weather gets warm like this, I feel like I’m reviving after a long slumber. I’m in a good mood nowadays, and so are many others, seeing how the streets are busy with plenty of people. The covid 19 incidences have lowered so the authorities lessened the restrictions.

What a better way to celebrate than to go to window shopping or visit a mall?

I am mostly working from home nowadays, so every chance to go out is fine. I met up with a friend and we paid a visit to Puerto Venecia, the most beautiful shopping center in Zaragoza. Built in 2012, it caught the hearts of thousands of buyers and even caused the death of one of its predecessors, Plaza Imperial Mall, which was deserted. Puerto Venecia is bigger, more beautiful, closer in distance and even has a pond with Koi fishes. Sorry, you can’t beat that. The other malls luckily survived because they’re close to the town center and, very importantly, because one can’t go to the same mall all the time. We humans need variety…

This time, I only went window shopping because the economy is kind of low (Ahem). My heart was breaking as I saw all those beautiful things from afar… But still, I had a lot of fun. Actually, I’ve never laughed so much at clothes in my life. The fashion here is a bit peculiar, usually a lot of colours with a touch of eccentricity. Trend wise here, youth clothing is gradually turning Kpop-inspired or anime-inspired. It seems kanjis and dragons are in season. and nowadays, teens here are into colourful bob cuts or “anime skirts” (my bad, I don’t know the exact name).

In the perpetual quest for creativity, some brands went a bit overboard this year. I took some pictures of the clothing I found the most bizarre… Ahem… striking (pictures below). After a long, harsh year, maybe they’re trying to lift our mood… I’ll just take it that way. I just hope they’re confortable to wear…

Is it Spring where you live as well? How is it in your country?

Warm regards, and wishing you a wonderful week!

Lady Justice and Lady Liberty: law, relativism and power struggles

Si, dans le nombre infini de choses qui sont dans ce livre, il y en avait quelqu’une qui, contre mon attente, pût offenser, il n’y en a pas du moins qui y ait été mise avec mauvaise intention. Je n’ai point naturellement l’esprit désapprobateur. ” Charles de Montesquieu, Préface “De L’Esprit des Lois”

If, among the infinite number of things that are in this book, there be any which, against my will, happens to offend, there is , however, none mentioned with a bad intention. It is not in my nature to be a disapproving person.” (NBPT: Nuna’s Personal Translation)

Today’s meditations brought me to the area of law and personal freedom. I enjoy reflecting on serious topics, but adding to it a pinch of humor.

My recent meditations brought me to cogitate over the concept of law. First, I wrote a previous article on storytelling and politics, then on power and influence , now I am drawn to talk about law and liberty. Mercy…nowadays,  I feel too rapidly compelled into adulthood …

Ultimately, I hear a lot on TV, the Internet and on the news a great mention of different topics related to freedom. Everybody is giving their opinion about what should be done or not, and sometimes there are so many different opinions about the same issue (my head hurts a lot because some say “do this”, others say “don’t”, it’s confusing).

It made me reflect on the notion of freedom in general, and on the role of the law in the regulation of society.  “Can Lady Justice and Lady Liberty be friends?“, I asked myself.

To understand better the concepts of law and liberty, let’s retrace them back  to the notion of good and evil and to the concept of authority.

1- The notion of “good and evil”

Human beings are social creatures bound to share time, space and resources within a community. There are things we want to do, and things we don’t want to do, and we wished we were free to live according to what we want. However, the acts posed by one person may affect another. In order to regulate society, the law was created, and actions were defined under the notions of “good” and “bad/ evil”.

The morality of an act and its level of  gravity can be measured based on various variables. For example; the circumstance in which it was committed, the level of the damage incurred and the intention behind it. For example, killing someone with premeditation isn’t dealt with in the same way as self-defense. Stealing food isn’t the same as robbing a bank.

Personally, I define “doing wrong to someone” as an act caused towards an individual that resulted in causing them a sort of damage. It may be physical, emotional, or related to material properties. Doing good, on the contrary, is posing an act that will bring the receiver some contentment or benefits.

Both “good” and “evil” can vary in levels; they can increase or decrease. Something or someone can be described as “very bad” or “very good”, or also “not so bad” or “not so good”.

A “punishment” can be applied to keep people in check by letting them know that something not very pleasant, or something painful will happen to them if they don’t follow the law. A “reward” is the opposite, it is a pleasurable return on an action committed.

On a macro level, the Law (a set of rules) is a summary of the most recurrents crimes (acts that cause a high level of damage) and the corresponding punishment that a certain society has agreed to apply to it. Those rules are based on morals, values and principles that govern a particular community. For example, some countries apply death penalty for certains crimes while other nations considered that no life should be terminated, so they rather applying a life sentence . In some past civilizations, they cut your hand if they caught you stealing. Nowadays, you will go to jail or pay a fine.

On a micro level, the term “law” can also be related to the set of rules that govern a household or an individual’s life.

2- The concept of authority

The concept of authority has always existed. It is the strength that enforces the law and can manifest in different forms. For example, parents have authority over their children, a boss over his employee at work, or a president over a country.

When two voices are raised against each other, the louder one silences the other. As the stronger voice leads, those who agree with it are happy and those who don’t… have no choice but to submit (or rebel, and wait in silence until the opportunity comes to overthrow the leading voice).

In the hand of humans, power takes turns.  (That’s why we humans are jealous of God and wished we were deities, because only He gets to do what he wants).

On a macro level: to save society from drowning into chaos, the world needs a strong figure that will superimpose its supremacy on other opinions. In the contrary case, it will be morselled and each part will constantly be clashing, one trying to overthrow the other. It doesn’t only refer to gunshots and bombing. It can also refer to“unrest”, the absence of peace. It’s a natural human need to seek for a leader, “someone who can show the way”. In our relativist era, I wonder who will be able to assume that position now… Our modern society teaches us that we’re all free to think and do what we want. However, it is impossible to accept every single opinion. The majority’s voice will always prevail…

so that kind of backfired on keeping order.

3- Lady Perspective: a friend or a foe?

If we follow the logic that it’s a free world, then why does the law exist? We should all be able to do what we want. Well, the law exists to establish limits to our actions and to ensure that we cohabitate peacefully with each other. However, it has the unique but great flaw that it can be modified at will: either, the principles behind it become obsolete, or when one has enough power to bend it. The Law is therefore directly linked to authority, and is one of the main causes of all power struggles and society uprisings, summarised in a nutshell: “You dn’t agreed with a verdict? Then get enough pwer to shift the tables and overrule it”.

The law can be altered at will according to the changes in opinions, perspectives and other variables that are relevant to each society (and personal gains of influential individuals). Even more, power dictates a lot in whether a law will be passed or not. The stronger opinion gets to have the law it wants approved, and if those against are weaker, they have no choice but to submit. The tables keep changing as power also changes hands.

The current society has taught us that we were free to do whatever we wanted to do (that’s what some higher ups said to compel our votes during the electoral campaigns). However, that grand promise has come to backbite them, because they didn’t tell the second part of the concept of freedom. I enjoy very much this particular quote in French that expresses it pretty well : “La liberté des uns s’arrête là où commence celle des autres”, meaning: “One’s freedom ends where others’ freedom begins” (NPT: Nuna’s Personal Translation).

Nowadays, when the people of law want to punish them, a common justification is: “It is my belief. We live in a free country, so I have the right to do what I want, and you must respect my choices”. I’m not sure why, but I’m hearing that excuse a lot nowadays… As long as the action done doesn’t harm anyone, probably. But if not, then there’s a problem.

For example, I saw on the news, that some folks organised a party to celebrate the New Year with about 500 people gathered in a closed place, with no mask, in the middle of this Covid pandemic . In the name of liberty, should their celebration be permitted? or in the name of law and the greater good, should they be sanctioned?

This is just one example out of many others.

Phew… Lady Justice and Lady Liberty must be having a hard fight up wherever they are. “The law was supposed to maintain order in society. Now we are told that every opinion is valid and we are all free to think and do what we want. Then, if the law is an impediment to liberty, why does the law still exist? ”

In conclusion… our world is a free world, but at the time, it’s not. It’s all about reaching the proper balance.

Oh, charismatic leader who will subdue chaos and at the same time ensure the freedom of all, the world is waiting for you…

I’m out for now… See you in my next post!

Forever meditating and forever overthinking,

Nuna Blomevi.

Sources consulted (click on the word to follow the link):

defintion of “law” and liberty

5 reason to abolish death penalty

New Year party

A letter to my older-self: age well

They don’t have all the answers, but at least there are certain things that they know better”.

In my culture,  we are taught from childhood to respect our elders, for they are great sources of wisdom. As I grew older, I came to understand that even more. (I am a lovely woman who is between 20 to 30 years old, hehe).

Since I live alone abroad, I don’t have any family members I can interact directly with as much as I wished. Lately, I had the idea to search on Youtube for influencers who were 60 years old and above. I am usually brilliant (I don’t mean to boast) but that was one of the best ideas that ever came to my mind. I highly recommended it, especially if you’re a long-term planner like me. Who can give us better heads up about life than those who lived a little longer?

Of course, young people have fresher ideas that are more up to date with their times, and old people don’t always have it all figured out. Some of them might have even failed us or didn’t leave a good exemple. In any case, I like learning from whoever I can learn something good from, be they young or old. Kids are innocent, youngsters are passionate and  innovative, and older people have experience.

On the other hand, I made myself a little chart summarizing certain things I observed about life. They might not be completely accurate, but I found them interesting.

0- 25~30 years old: the time needed to learn about life as much as you can (theorical and practical knowledge) and prepare for adulthood . Trial and error are still allowed somehow and more easily forgivable.

30-60 years old : time to implement what you learnt and work to save money to prepare for your retirement. Try to avoid major life mistakes. If you mess up too big, you’re screwed cause you have less lifetime to turn things around (depending on what you got yourself entangled into).

60- 100 ~ deathday: time to start thinking about how you’ve lived so far, and to try to making up for some mistakes you’ve made. The body starts failing more around this age and it makes you more conscious that you won’t be on earth forever.

Yes, I am that atypical young lady who says we should listen to our parents. I still remember two good advices mine gave me,which saved me a lot of headaches.

First: do not fall for just any guy who tells you you’re beautiful and that he likes you.

Second: Never get tired of doing good to those around you. Your kindness will come back to you, one way or the other.

Mom, Dad, thanks for those heads-up. I haven’t been on Earth for so long, but I’ve lived long enough to experience how accurate those tips are…

By the way; a common mistake we make as young people is to think that we won’t grow old.

One of the worst days of my life was when I  woke up one morning, went to the bathroom and got the shock of my life when I looked into the mirror. “Who is this?

My reflection looked so mature that I thought I had seen a stranger. I wondered if that face was due to lack of sleep, or if my skin lacked hydration. The following days, I tried to sleep better, and I also got some face creams. But… it was in vain.

Then, when I got on the bus or walked on the streets, I started paying more attention to older people. Skin spots, cracks, wrinkles, I discreetly observed a lot. That’s when I understood what was happening to me. “I see… so, this is what it means to start growing old…”. I was shocked, and angry as well (not towards anybody in particular…) because I wasn’t prepared for this.

In regard to this week’s meditation, I felt inspired to write a letter directed to my older self. I should check it when I turn 60, haha.

Zaragoza, 19th March 2021.

Dear older me,  

If humans are said to live up to about 100 years, I am about a quarter far on the road of life. I am still young, yet my eyes have seen and understood more things than the peers of my age who are still innocently carefree, merry and jolly. I grew up being the youngest  in most of the social circles I belonged to. Thus, I have had the privilege to learn from their stories instead of having to go through certain experiences myself. I learn from older people as much as I can whenever I have a chance,  I hope it’ll help me avoid unnecessary  mistakes and pave a softer way to make my future life better. What better way is there than to listen to advice from someone who has walked on earth longer than I and seen more things than I will ever catch up to? Of course, they aren’t always right and don’t have all the answers, but what they have to say does make the life of us youngsters better. If only we cared to take heed. Sadly, On the other hand, the elderly’s health gets weaker and weaker, sometimes preventing them from teaching as much as they wished. Also,  youth is blinded by passion and vigor,  and they think they can take on and conquer the world based on that alone.

I have a young body, but the heart of an old lady. It sometimes makes me stand out among my peers, and my sermonings makes them uncomfortable at times. I either sound too known or too holier-than thou.Yet, I do not regret at all, and I cherish my way of life. It is not my aim to sound lofty. I simply desire to have answers, to know the way, and to gain wisdom. That is the best way to live comfortably here on this earth.

I don’t have great ambitions. I simply wish to live comfortably, and help those in needs, within my possibilities.

By the way; it seems that the romantic quest finding a life partner and the professional endeavour to secure a stable job to make a decent living is what keeps us young people busy and gives us purpose. Now that you’re 60, you’ve probably achieved those, or given up. In any case, what are you focusing on? What is driving you through the days? I hope you’ve not falling to the excuse that you’re old and can’t do much. I hope you’re still living to the fullest and staying active. I’m sure there are still things you can do.

So tell me, dear old me; With all the lessons I learnt through the years, are you living a better life? Have you achieved your goals? What stage of your life have you reached? And this one is to make fun of you: how is your frantic and ferocious battle against wrinkles going?

I’m sometimes scared about how I’ll look when I grow old and my body starts to decay. But, for the sake of my own peace- and yours, I have reached a certain level of acceptance; there’s nothing we can do about the passing of time. And also, I want to stop worrying about what hasn’t happened yet. Ever more, lately I’ve been seeing a lot of beautiful older women, and it reassured me that even though our body changes, one can look good at any age. I was greatly encouraged.

Therefore, I’ve decided to not be afraid of aging and live in anxiety, worried about how I’ll look when I grow old. I’ve resolved to be confident about myself and look my best no matter what age I reach. I’ll grow to be a cute, delight-looking granny. So, I’ll take care of our body, keep fit and eat healthy.

I’m not in a hurry to meet you… But see you in some few decades.

Warm regards,

Your younger self.”

This marks the end of today’s post. What are some of the good pieces of advice that have marked you? Do you think the gap between generations is an obstacle or a blessing?

And if you’re facing the same worries as me, I hope this post brought you a little comfort.

Forever overthinking,

Nuna Blomevi.

Spanish ravishing strolls: discovering the city of Zaragoza

Hola CTTBies!

I hope we are all doing well, and that we’re all safe!

In today’s post I will be sharing more about an important aspect of Spanish social life: the art of taking strolls. I’m also taking you on a visual tour of Zaragoza, the town were I live!

In a previous post, I mentioned that Spaniards spend a lot of time in social interactions, and therefore, it’s very common to come across “improvised hangouts”. It does not necessarily refer to parties or meetings over meals. Spaniards also spend a lot of time outside their flats, walking, chatting or just having fresh air. Their cities are designed for that purpose. For example, in my town Zaragoza, there are a lot of public spaces of various sizes: parks, squares, green spaces or playgrounds between buildings. There are always public benches on every street. You can see families with kids, lovey-dovey couples, young people chatting with their friends, eating snacks or listening to music, or old people getting fresh air. It was really funny for me to that even the University’s park is visited for the same purposes and even to walk their dogs. 

They also go for “tapeo” which is going from bar to bar eating “tapas” (snacks or hors d’œuvre) and having a drink.

On weekends, after church, I like walking home. I sometimes take a detour to enjoy the view. There are days when my  friends tag along. We walk, enjoy the view, sit or squat somewhere for a while, there continue wherever our feet lead us too. If we’re hungry, we go to any supermarket nearby and grab some snacks to keep us company. My town is small and very safe, so we stay out until our legs give out (before Covid-19 started, sometimes till 1 or 2 am ).

There’s always something new to discover, or things that capture our attention… We have a local saying here: “Zaragoza te enamora” (Zaragoza makes you fall in love). Indeed, I have been here for years, but it is constantly fascinating.

After the Filomena snowstorm left us covered in white, San Valero’s strong wind gushes nearly blew us away, and now… Valentine came with love in its wings. The weather is pretty more merciful these days. We’re transitioning to spring so the average max. temperature is 14°C.

As it’s getting warmer and warmer, talking strolls around the city becomes even more agreeable. It is pure goodness to see the trees bloom and to feel the sweet rays of the sun slowly warming up… I love Spanish Spring very much, I feel like I‘m reviving after the harsh winter.

I know it’s still far, but as the tropical bird that I am, I can’t wait for summer to come.

Warm regards,

Nuna Blomevi.

“Expo” Zone

Valdesparterra” and “Arcosur” residential areas

I recorded traces of the Filomena snowstorm on my Youtube channel

To love… or not to love: how much of myself do I invest in others?

Happy couple, happy family. Happy family, happy society. Happy society, happy world! 

Rewind… First of all, how do we get to the happy couple stage? 

Backstory: I was comparing today’s pre-marriage processes with how it was done in other eras. People of the past used to investigate and carefully select the family of the bride or the groom before choosing a spouse for their children. Education, heath, values, and morals, they checked every detail they deemed necessary. They knew well that every individual comes with their own background, and what they bring with them affects marriage life and even their future children.

Nowadays, people choose based on “tingles in the chest” or “heartthrobs”. Anecdotally, I’ve heard in a K-drama that it takes only 3 secs to fall in love. Well, it’s possible. However, for a relationship to last, it will take more than just butterflies in your stomach. 

 1- Love: From us to others

 At first, dating was a “preliminary process” where lovers met for different activities to know each other better. In modern times, falling in love seems to not be the only reason why couples are formed.

The original purpose seems to be disappearing. People look more focused on choosing a person they deem cool to hang out with, share meals, exchange gifts, have fun and entertain themselves. 

Peer pressure in schools sometimes pushes young people to date because it’s “ trendy” and they don’t want to be the odd one out. It’s “cool” to have a boyfriend/girlfriend, a.k.a “your special person that is special to you and that treats you specially as well. You don’t have one? Bummer”.

On the other hand, society teaches us how to impress others by looking good, kissing good and developing our attractiveness etc… But…  it hardly teaches how to genuinely care.

One time, I heard an interesting reflection that has left me quite impacted. It tells about how we make our list of requirements: how we want them to look like, what we expect them to do for us etc… It’s not a bad thing. Nonetheless; as we set the bar so high for others… What do we have to offer them?

That hit me… I immediately reexamined my standards. I resolved to improve daily as a person, in accordance with the qualities I would ideally like to receive.

Why are you attracted to the person you like? Is it a “heart tingle”, “butterflies”, “trend”? Or are you genuinely in love with them, and you want to be by their side to make them happy? Introspect in your heart and check your motives… 

2- Love: From others  to us

Humans beings are complex and constantly changing. There is no fixed formula to handle social relations, and there is no way to fully grasp who a person really is. Your loved one may try to “fix themselves” for you; however, their nature might be stronger and more unmoveable than you think. Old habits die hard. Make sure that at least the majority of what you perceive or know about them is not fake.

When you allow somebody in your life, you are investing your time, your body, your mind, your heart, YOURSELF. Be sure that the person receiving is worth it. Enquire about everything you WANT to know and NEED to know about them. Check what you’re getting yourself into, and ask yourself: “Can I bear with this for the rest of my life?”

Anytime you see something that you consider a red alert, don’t ignore the signs. It might come back to bite you later. Love with your eyes open! Don’t lose yourself to someone else. You’ve got only one life to live, so take care of yourself and choose what’s good for you. What is healthy for your body and your mind.

In a nutshell… Love yourself, and also love others. Loving oneself is different from being selfish, and loving others doesn’t mean they should prosper at the cost of you. It’s all about balance.

Also remember: Love is not a feeling, it is a decision.

Happy Valentine’s day!

Forever overthinking and forever meditating,

Nuna Blomevi.

Spanish Holidays: Celebrating San Valero

Hola CTTBies!

This weekend we celebrated Saint Valerius Day -Valero in Spanish- the patron of Zaragoza. More festivities! Long Live Spain! Hurray! Feliz día de San Valero, rosconero y ventolero ! (I’m flexing my linguistic skills). I said in my previous article that this post would be quirk… I’ll skip the conventional way of describing commemorations and just write it my own way (already grinning out of excitement). There I go!

Background story: Spain is an exclusively Catholic nation (official stats say 90% of the population, but truth is, many don’t really believe or they hardly go to church. Anyway… I’m just saying). The country is divided into different regions called “autonomous communities”. They are all independent, it kind of works like the federal states in the US. Each of them is also divided in provinces. So, I live in the autonomous community of Aragon, in the province of Zaragoza. Each province has a patron, which is a saint that is dedicated to them. So, Zaragoza’s patron is Valero, who was a bishop some centuries ago.

San Valero (picture retrieved from the Internet)

Personally, I have observed that religious events here don’t exactly hold a pious connotation among the population, especially the younger generations. They’re more perceived as an occasion to eat and be merry (99% party, 1% devotion). I was shocked that the biggest outdoor concerts are held at the city’s main square, right in front of the town’s biggest cathedral…

Why it is celebrated: Now, this funny. There are holidays where even the natives don’t know what the occasion is about. The feeling is just like: “Fiesta! Another day off! We get to stay home or hang out, hurray!”. As I mentioned in one of my previous articles, here every good excuse is an approved reason to relax and lounge around. As a foreigner, I have fully adapted to the local habits… 

So, I’ve been here for years, but I still don’t know why we celebrate San Valero. The only half-convincing answer I got was: “Oh, it’s because he’s our patron”. So I was like “yeah, what the heck did he do for that to happen, I mean, any great accomplishment?” I didn’t get any satisfying reply so I requested help from the greatest assistant of all times: the Internet. Thus; according to Wikipedia, he was a bishop, he got exiled, then he died somewhere else, then he got canonized (a.k.a, consecrated by the Church as a saint).

Long story short: I still didn’t get what he accomplished to receive that title… 

Plot twist: After an eternity of research, I finally got more info on one of our local malls’ website , Gran Casa. In summary, I discovered that it was because he was a martyr who got persecuted for his faith under the roman emperor Diocletian.

Fun Fact: the natives came up with this comic motto for him: “San Valero, rosconero y ventolero!”. It means, on his day he brings a strong wind and also a lot of “roscon” (a typical dessert). It’s true somehow; apart from the dessert specially sold in pastry shops for the occasion, yesterday was very windy!  By the way, Aragon is a mountainous region which is infamous for a strong and sudden wind gust called “Cierzo”. It blows unbelievably fast, all year long. A local joke says that in Zaragoza  it’s no use to do your hair nicely and it’s dangerous to wear a skirt.

I have personally experienced the cranky mood of this ill-tempered wind. I was walking on the street one day; the Cierzo was blowing so strong that I couldn’t move forward because it kept pushing me in the opposite direction. 

Special food: Spaniards make a special pastry or dessert for almost every holiday. Most of the time, it’s a “roscon”, a sort of big donut-looking bread filled with whipped cream and topped up with candied fruits. They made it for Reyes Magos (6th Jan.), for San Valero (29th Jan.), they’ll make some for Santa Agueda (5th Feb.) and then for Cincomarzada (5th March. It’s the same cake but they change the shape: the first two are donut-like, the third is shaped like a breast and the last one as a 5 (for now I’ll skip the story behind each of them).

(picture retrieved from the Internet)

How we spend the holidays:

For main holidays, concerts, parades or other cultural events are organized. If it’s a religious occasion, a huge procession is organized. For San Valero, they bake a huuuge, endless roscon and place it at Plaza del Pilar, Zaragoza’s main Square.

(picture retrieved from the Internet)

On apersonal level, Spaniards are highly social individuals. They usually gather among relatives for family lunches or meet up with friends. Thanks to their awesome culture, I have become an expert at improvised get-togethers. It’s easy: get some snacks, some drinks, a TV and call as many people as you can. Everyone brings something and we all share. The key to success: be in good company with fun people. (Important detail: here, it’s good manners to bring something with you to give to your host when you get invited somewhere! It can be food or drinks, or a dessert).

Not in the mood for socializing? No problem. My personal recipe: Stay home, eat your favourite food, binge-watch TV and sleep as much as you want. Repeat.

Due to the Covid-19 restrictions, the holiday was pretty lowkey, but I was able to meet up with a friend. We wanted to go to the mall but got there too late so it was closed. We rather went for a stroll by the Ebro River (pictures below). The view was absolutely amazing and the weather so agreeable (aprox. 19°). We also enjoyed an small outdoor gallery designed by local artists to retrace the history of comics in Spain .

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this article.

Stay safe, and see you in my next post!

Nuna Blomevi.

The Joys and Pains of a Foreigner

Have you ever gotten frustrated by an obstacle which seemed small at first, but you can’t figure how to go about it?

That is exactly how I feel right now.

When one is a foreigner living abroad, it appears that the immigration service finds every excuse to not let us thrive and advance professionally. It’s so annoying… 

Background story: As many of you know, I am a foreign student schooling in Spain. Up till now, I didn’t have any necessity to find a job (financially speaking).  But as I’m growing older, I want to acquire some professional experience and, why not, make some extra bucks.

Look. I am fluent in 3 foreign languages. Also, my CV is overloaded with qualifications, trainings and extracurricular certifications… I have the required skills wanted for the jobs in my field and I’ve received offers from institutions who really wanted to work with me. But… 

My only hindrance is a freaking piece of paper: let’s call it the “Immigration’s green light”, a.k.a a work permit. The funny thing is, to get the work permit from them, I need a contract from a company. And to get the contract from a company, I need a work permit. In summary: They’re freaking toying with us, right?

There are small part-time jobs like tutoring or cleaning, etc which don’t need papers, but they don’t pay enough to make a decent living. So, except you’re from the European Union, the rest of us have to go through “the Overseas Aliens’ Transit Regulation”. (Excuse my language, I probably lost it out of annoyance, haha). Based on the absence of that sheet of paper, (even as a highly educated noncitizen) you are either forced to leave, or to stay in the country and not amount to much, or to sweat it (and buckets) before you can become anything substantial.

Because of that “system”, today was another failed interview for me. You know, that feeling when you’re in love with someone but the family is against you… Something like that. Worst thing, I woke up with a back pain today so I’ve been walking half-bent like a crab. Great… Awesome day…(sarcasm). I’ve chosen the title “Joys and Pains of a foreigner” because I didn’t want to scare you guys… And also because I decided to take all this positively.

By the way, when I’m feeling nostalgic or downcast, I like to play on Youtube some old songs from my childhood, or my favourite K-drama OSTs. Skillet also does the deal… When I got back home after the interview, I felt so deflated. I listened to “Saint Seya’s” opening theme and “Cat’s Eyes”, “Jayce et les Conquérants de la Lumière”, “Nicky Larson”, “Ken le Survivant”, “Sankukai”, amongst others (links below). Not only the lyrics are so corny, but the melody and the bad visual quality make me laugh so hard. And the reactions in the comment section are hilarious… Especially, the video for “Sankukai” is an antic…

Those songs from old mangas are full of warm memories. They remind me of when I was carefree and living comfortably in my family nest. Now I’m an adult living alone abroad and paying bills… Hehe (sarcastic laughter).

Anyway. My New Year resolution was to not be pessimistic. Where there is a will, there is a way. I must keep fighting for my future and to accomplish my goals. May God help us all.

Any expat friend here who can relate? You can comment below, I’d be more than glad to hear from you! 

Aside from that; maybe you’re reading this and you’re going through another type of difficulty. I’d like to share these encouraging words with you too. Whatever it is, let’s not give up! Let’s keep it up, let’s keep trying! We will knock until we get the right doors to open. Just like the lyrics say in “Jayce et les Conquérants de la Lumière”, “Si tu ne perds pas la foi, tu trouveras la voie.” (If you do not lose faith, you will find the way).

By the away, tomorrow in Zaragoza we celebrate San Valero, the holiday that I previously mentioned in the post on my New Year’s wishes. I’m thinking about writing a short article about it (with my personal quirk touch, without fault). Stay tuned!

Warms regards,

Nuna Blomevi.

The enchantment of Storytelling: A magic charm to move hearts

The links to the resources mentioned in this post are available at the end of the page.

Some stories are born when someone sincerely pours his/her heart out, and some others are craftfully edited to manipulate.

Some months ago, as I was on the job hunt, I made some peculiar findings. I was looking for vacancies related to translation, content writing and copywriting. Then I came across an interesting term called “storytelling”. Let’s look at it from these two aspects: its use and its purpose as well as its functions.

1- Use

In a certain way, it is a writing technique used to make a story sound sensational and more stirring than it originally is (or should be). With a great dose  of embellishment and a touch of exaggeration, the purpose is that the said narrative should be able to shake the most unmovable rocky heart.

Fine! That’s great stuff. I should apply it to my novels to make them more exciting”, I said to myself. I did some further research to know more about the methods applied. In the course of that, I discovered that not everyone has candid goals as I do. I somewhat knew that storytelling is utilized a lot in marketing and advertising (if you noticed, some ads just don’t make any sense); however, I was horrified to learn that it is widely used in politics to create effective electoral campaigns. My excitement immediately melted away like butter. Funny enough, the opposite word for “story” is “truth”…

This is dangerous”, I thought. “If we fall for a well-written scenario and we vote for its candidate, we might actually put that person into power based on a convincing show.” No wonder the world is at it is. If the candidate is a good person, what a relief. If not, the country is doomed…

People are not people… It’s recommended to not believe everything that we hear or that we think we see. We don’t know what happens inside their homes, in their private lives. We only see what TV and the Internet grace us with. And if they are corrupt but powerful enough to cover things up, we might only get to find out about their evil deeds a hundred years later when journalists record a documentary about it (or reveal the innocent ones who had been framed.) . Some writers and movie producers also try to warn us through books, series and TV shows when they cannot warn us directly. One of my favorite quotes is from Virginia Woolf: “Fiction here is likely to contain more truth than fact”. It represents so well the main characteristic of our modern era, where it’s hard to distinguish genuineness from manipulation. Our world’s characteristic has always been “a bit of truth, a bit of fiction”. It’s hard to tell what’s what.

The laws that rule our countries and daily lives are passed by a small group of people in a small room, and they come out to tell us what was decided. The only power that we have is to choose who goes inside that small room (for those who don’t live under a dictatorship, of course). We elect them after meticulously scanning their words, lives and portfolios through their campaigns and speeches. We put faith in their promises, hoping they’ll improve our countries and therefore make our lives better. Electoral campaigns have now become like courtship between lovers: “If you marry me, I promise I’ll make you happy. I will never make you cry.”(Well, experienced people know that nothing is more unsure).

Frankly speaking, we can’t really choose wisely even if we’d like to. It would be convenient if there could exist an instrument to measure sincerity… A sincerometer? (Goodness… I said that word randomly, but I googled and it does exist, though that machine hasn’t been invented yet).

2- Purpose and functions

The main intent for storytelling is to exert an influence on and / or to suscite a certain reaction in the reader (interestingly, the word “influence” etymologically means a power or a flow that can change someone’s behaviour or destiny). Of course, there are other goals as well. Let’s look at each one.

  • On this earth, human beings are not eternal. Be it through literature, music or graphic art, we pass down the legacy of our lives from generation to generation. Coming to think of it, we are able to create a certain sense or eternity by remaining in history.

Remembrance. It might be faint in comparison, but it is the ultimate form of immortality that we humans have reached. When we pass away, we will not be present to witness how well-remembered we are or if we are not forgotten. Nonetheless, we don’t want to leave this earth without at least having the comforting feeling that someone we left behind will think about. As many people as possible, the better. It’s one of the reasons why we perpetuate stories. And the best of all the stories we leave behind is the story of how we lived.

  • Another reason is that we tell stories to leave traces of things we cannot or do not want to say openly.
  • Lastly, elaborate brainpowers use stories to subtly change people’s minds. While some have good intentions, some of them can be dangerous…  I was reminded of Adolf Hitler’s book “Mein Kampf”. We all know the disastrous consequences that it provoked. Just the thought of it made me shiver… And wonder: did he change people’s minds, or did his writings make stronger the secret convictions they already had in their hearts unconsciously? Both he and his followers had the firm conviction that they were in the right, even though their beliefs brought a bloodshed. Ironically, when I searched the book on Google just this week, 80% of those who read it like it… which implies that after all that happened, there are still people who agree with him today. 80%… By the way, why is his book still being sold freely up till now?

That is how powerful someone’s influence can be. On how many occasions did we change opinions because TV or social media said so? Or buy something we didn’t plan to? Or come to like / dislike something we didn’t before?

Even more, we are thinking creatures and talking creatures, so it is impossible to live in society without exchanging points of view with others. Our convictions are made or broken everyday. Emotions and intentions are invisible forces imprinted in all that we see, hear, or what we say or do. And they hold a tremendous power of influence.  Our bodies are static, but thoughts and ideas are dynamic and constantly shifting, causing societies to mutate. And the more powerful someone is, the more their opinion prevails over the rest and leads them to dominate other people.

In previous centuries, we used to complain that we were subject to obscurantism and we fought hard to break free. Nowadays, artificial intelligence, advertisements and algorithms dominate our lives and dictate our behaviour. Probably, it’s just the methods that are different…

Leaving the socio-political scene and coming back to literature , I am personally not fond of works that contain a lot of gore, violence or nudity, both as a reader and now as an author myself. The amusing detail is that they are usually classified as “adult content” (seems to imply human nature gets worse as we grow old).  I’m not criticizing preferences here, but only expressing opinions.

Whether it is from sincerity or manipulation, no text is effectless. Like little magic spells, they will suscitate either hate or admiration (just to name a few emotions). Be careful of what you set your eyes on, and what you expose your heart to. And if you write, may your works bring good influence unto humanity. As an aspiring writer myself, I feel the weight of that responsibility. I hope my writings bring out good.

Forever overthinking, forever meditating,

Nuna Blomevi.

Storytelling

1- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Storytelling  some of its purposes: Using narrative to manage conflicts/ Using narrative to interpret the past and shape the future/ Using narrative in the reasoning process

2- https://vilmanunez.com/que-es-storytelling/

3- 4 P’s of Storytelling: People, Place, Plot and Purpose. https://vimeo.com/blog/post/storytelling-the-stillmotion-way-part-1/

4-https://www.harvardbusiness.org/insight/telling-stories-how-leaders-can-influence-teach-and-inspire/

Commentary on Virginia Woolf, “A Room of One’s Own”.

1-  https://www.sparknotes.com/lit/roomofonesown/themes/

2-https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/811265-at-any-rate-when-a-subject-is-highly-controversial

Age of enlightenment vs obscurantism

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_Enlightenment

Etymology and origins of the word ‘influence”

1- https://www.universalis.fr/encyclopedie/influence/

2- https://dicocitations.lemonde.fr/definition_littre/14523/Influence.php

3- https://www.etymonline.com/word/influence