Where should I start?
We are on vacation, and loving it. Visiting places, meeting people, enjoying different flavors, seeing different landscapes, smelling new aromas, like the soup my mother in law is cooking now…
We went to Madrid, my home town, and I was lucky to meet Karen and spent a few hours in her lovely company. Karen has a talent, a blessing; she is capable of reading many books and present to us in return all she has learned in a very synthetic way, so clear, so unpretentious yet so elegant. She is this great encourager to all of us, homeschooling moms and self learners.
My family lives in Madrid. We stayed with my parents. I am glad my parents got to spend time with us, specially with their only two granddaughters, our girls.
I wish we had had more time, I wanted her to have talked to me more about all the 6 volumes by Charlotte Mason, and her other writings. However, little by little I will get to know this from her, 🙂 One of my goals for 2015, it’s to read some of volume 5, one of Karen’s favorite, specially the second part. She told me it talks about teens and older children, which proves very interesting for all of us, since our children are determined to keep on growing!
I also met with my friend María José, and had two lovely walks in the Retiro Park, Madrid.
Karen, María José, and I, talked about plans, -book translations, workshops and online courses-, but they will have to be sometime next year, possibly in spring, because we have a school year to finish, the girls and I, 🙂
In Madrid I finished reading The Law, by Bastiat. Such a relevant read, since Spain is experience the collapse and aftermath of decades of socialism which is now showing into financial corruption of monumental proportions, and moral and spiritual bankruptcy.
I also started reading The Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins. I am still reading it, my kindle tells me I’m at 68% and I can hardly put the book down. This is the most fascinating mystery novel I have read in my life. Collins is a master of suspense. In this book, as in The Moonstone, he employs the technique or literary recourse of having different people narrating, and it makes the book so much sharper, even when we are abruptly removed from a narrator to go to another, in the long run this makes it more fascinating.
We are making memories, like the day when the girls and us went with my dad to pick these mushrooms. We ate them and drew them too.
In Madrid, I collected the books my sister had bought for us upon my request during 3 years, and some in the shelves that belong to me and that I read when I was younger, and now I am facing a hard dilemma. I don’t know how I am going to fit all we have, -books, some new clothes, souvenirs…-. And I have not visited the bookstores I plan to visit in Madrid yet! -sigh-.
Before coming to Malta, I also started reading Fortunata and Jacinta, by Benito Pérez Galdós. I am not boasting when I say this prolific writer can be called our Spanish Dickens AND Walter Scott combined. He has several novels, and as many as 46 books called Episodios Nacionales. Those are novels that have fiction and non fiction intermingled but not mixed up. They have the story of different characters, and they add recounts of Spain’s history from 1805 to 1880 approximately, (Wikipedia informs me).
I know to me the last book or books I am reading are the ultimate best, but believe me when I tell you I have waited 43 years to meet this amazing author in his splendor. I remember in high school we all read a short novella that I did not personally liked much, so I was not expecting to like Fortunata y Jacinta as much as I do. I guess to ask young people to read a novel longer than War and Peace is not realistic. Specially this novel. I believe it’s for a bit older reader. I think one needs to have a deep love for language, and more live experience, to get absorbed by the story of two women from different social class. I keep a notebook with me, and I am writing many words I understand by context with their definitions. Galdós is a titan, a master of language. He, like Dickens, makes you laugh, makes your heart ache with beauty and nostalgia, and like Tolstoy, he paints a universe for us to inhabit while reading.
I have to write another post to share more of what we are seeing and doing in Malta. This December is a different yet lovely one. I am having time to ponder and to look at the big picture. I have thoughts to fill many posts, I am reflecting about Christmas, the girls education, my role as a mom… I will try to comprise this here.
On Christmas. I used to be so rigid, so uneasy about the whole Christmas thing when I first became a Christian. Now, while I know where I stand, what we celebrate and what we don’t, and why, I am glad we have a Christmas culture in The States and in Europe. We should all strive to maintain this culture, to then be free to live it and understand it as our discernment and understanding of the Scriptures indicates, sharing and showing others our reasons with respect.
While on holidays, everything is lovely, but if you are interested in knowing, whenever there is parents, there is children, and discipline. Yes, we have to at times discipline them, and there are not so nice moments, and that’s what we parents do.
On reading and the girls, I am learning acceptance and patience. If my girls, 10 and 8, do not choose to read by themselves yet, I am still glad they love ME to read to them. I was not always the reader I am today, and they have a life to get to savor the joys I do, that are beyond reading pages. They love learning, they have a passion for drawing, cooking, they have their hobbies and their pursues. And thanks to homeschooling, since their birth to now, we have enjoyed so many good books and their ideas, we have learned so much… and not only from the books, but from life. After all, education is the science of relations, and that they have and keep nurturing every single day, most specially in this wonderful vacation we are blessed to have.
I hope to keep this calm and this perspective when I go back to the buzz and hectic life at home.
More coming soon… for now, I wish you the best Christmas and month of December ever!