Back again I guess

Seems like such a long time since I last posted.

La verdad es que estoy entre dos mundos: uno en el que no puedo comunicarme bien claro aunque me rodee y el otro en el que hablo con fluidez pero es principalmente una herramienta para la enseñanza.

Spanish and English. You aren’t going to struggle to guess which of these my native language is, I hope.

En la ciudad donde vivo hay dos idiomas: catalán y español. Y la gente de aquí cambia entro los dos idiomas sin pensar a mitad de una conversación.

Swapping languages comes hard to me. If my Spanish is ropey at the best of times, then my Catalan is non-existent. Although I can translate and read in both languages with varying degrees of success, I am quite simply unable to respond in conversation in a way that makes me happy I have got my point across. In fact, conversation sometimes feels like the PC game, Worms; you can choose the target, the weapon, and the angle, but until you click on the mouse button there is no telling what the result will be.

Quiero hablar sobre la ciudad en la que vivo, pero la conversación, las cosas que pasen, y el ambiente requiren un lenguaje que aún no domino.

For today, let’s take the example of the adjective, caradura. It might well translate as cheek or effrontery but that doesn’t get across its nuances. The President of the Community of Madrid, Cristina Cifuentes and her infamous Master’s Degree offer us a good example of how its skilful employment can be used to shrug off a scandal as casually as an unwanted call.

It all began when news spread that Cifuentes may have fraudently obtained her Master’s Degree from King Juan Carlos University. In order to stop the whispering campaign, she provided an official university document to the nation’s media as evidence of her Masters, and held it up before the cameras like a winning gold ticket to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.

And that should have been enough to end the debacle until, in another twist in the tale, the university itself questioned the veracity of the document. Signatures were questioned, coursework was missing, and students on her course reported never having seen her.

Most people would have thrown in the towel by now but not Cifuentes.

When in possesion of a hot potato, serve it steaming hot in someone else’s lap. And that is what she did. Before the cameras of the press once again, she graciously gave up her fight to defend her Master’s Degree on the grounds that the university administration were such bumbling nincompoops that sorting the whole mess out would be well-nigh impossible. To rub salt into the wounds, she added she had never really needed the darned thing anyway. Gosh, think of all those fools who are spending their life savings on an education, and one can simply make it all up. The mind boggles, eh!

To make it a perfect caradura experience, however, she was arrogant in her treatment of others, casually dismissed critical comments, and was applauded by her peers for doing so during a one minute ovation at the party political conference held fittingly at the height of the scandal.  ¡Más caradura no podría haber sido!

I guess you could say we are only talking about Cifuentes as she is in the public eye or have a bone to pick, but caradura is everywhere. If I didn’t see you crossing it was because I had better things to look at. If you don’t like what I am doing, be so kind as to ignore me as I will not acknowledge the presence of lesser mortals. Caradura is a way of life and at the moment Cifuentes is the one of the most well-known practitioners. Trust me when I say that there are many, many more.


Thanks for reading!