a wandering woman writes

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A mis 95 años, or, if you ever needed a reason to learn Spanish

I'm very late to this party, but I discovered a warm, funny, entertaining and inspiring blog yesterday: A mis 95 años.

A mis 95 años is the blog of a 95 year old grandmother (soon to be great-grandmother, as she enthusiastically announces on the blog) from Muxía, Galicia. María Amelia talks about the history she's seen and lived, current Spanish politics, the best way to prepare Galician dishes, life in her seaside pueblo, daily life at 95 and whatever else occurs to her, while her grandson types. The blog was a gift from that grandson:
Internet friends, today I turn 95. My name is María Amelia and I was born in Muxía (A Coruña - Spain) on December the 23rd of 1911. Today is my birthday and my grandson, who is very stingy, gave me a blog. I hope to be able to write alot and tell you about the life of a woman my age. (my translation)

How cool is that? She talks, he types. Man, to give a blog and a grandson like that to more people who have lived (and continue to live!) like María Amelia.

When she first started her blog, María Amelia claimed the title of oldest blogger in the world. She's since lost that crown to an Australian woman over 100, a woman who says she was inspired by María Amelia.

A mis 95 años reached 100,000 visitors in its first month online, and María Amelia was invited to interview with websites, newspapers, television shows and radio stations all over the world; the interviews are now posted on her site.

But I say it wasn't María Amelia's age that kept me at her blog for hours last night. It was her blogging...er....talking.

She's frank. She's funny. She's wise. She's warm, even when she's feistily telling off a reader who's spewing partisan politics in the comment box or suggesting her grandson and readers are manipulating a helpless (hah!) old woman.

And she's lived the 20th century. Her first memory is World War I, and she's posted photos, stories and memories of her life before the Spanish Civil War, and during, and after. When she writes about an army officer she believes was her family's salvation at the war's outset, the man's nephew writes in to compare notes, suspecting the officer might be his uncle, who had been in her village when the war broke out and died later, in combat. Within a few e-mails, they piece together the officer's story.

When a 15 year old Spanish boy asks her a series of questions about the Civil War for a school project, she answers politely, and then asks whether he likes spending time talking about war. Because she doesn't.

She clamors in post after passionate post for ADSL in every pueblo in Spain, including hers. When her cries fall on deaf ears at Telefónica, she posts an open letter to José Luis Zapatero, the current president of the Spanish government, suggesting that her many years of loyal service as a Socialist alone ought to earn her ADSL access, and that he is her only hope of persuading Telefónica to offer it in her area.

She is beautifully open about expecting death. Before she leaves on a trip to Brazil she leaves orders to ship her ashes back to Muxía if she doesn't make it back alive. (She not only makes it back, but gets up to dance at the dinner she attends the night of her arrival in Brazil - after a 20 hour flight! I want to be 95 like María Amelia.) She celebrates her birthday monthly, since, according to María Amelia, that's what you do at 95.

At the end of one of the interviews posted on her site, the interviewer asks María Amelia a question I suspect he poses to all the bloggers he speaks with: what do you think your blog will be like in 5 years?

A few excerpts from my new blogging hero's answer (translated quickly by me):

Well, God gave me this spirit and he's going to laugh. I want to live. I'll have to die by force, because I don't feel at all like dying. Are there things to make us sad? Okay, but there are joys as well.

....I'm keeping my feet in the earth until I just can't anymore. I like this world because it's beautiful. We don't know how to respect it. But it's a paradise!

And the 95 year old blogger closes:
If at the age of 100 I'm not a mummy, well, this will be a very big blog. Because I have a lot of grandchildren.

En fin. If you can't read María Amelia in Spanish, go learn.

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  • Hi Erin!

    I had come across this blog before and it is indeed really great! Her trip to Brazil was amazing ;)


    By Blogger AlexiaGB, at 2:39 AM  

  • Fantastic, I hadn't seen that blog before, and you describe it really nicely. And yes, oh to be able to understand it :-)

    It's really not true that the Internet's a young person's game. Never really was.

    By Blogger LesH, at 8:11 AM  

  • I've been getting rusty. What a great place to get out the rust!

    Have a great weekend!

    By Blogger Angie, at 5:27 PM  

  • What an interesting blog! I didn't know about it untill I read your post. Thanks.

    Now I've added it to my google reader.


    By Blogger Alfacharly, at 10:57 PM  

  • Yep, yep and yep. It's a great read, and yeh, Angie she's seems like the perfect anti rust treatment! Fun to see you here! I got a note today thanking me for the post signed: "el nieto".

    The grandson. LOL

    By Blogger wandering-woman, at 12:11 PM  

  • Voy pa' allá. Thanks for the tip-off. She sounds like a true inspiration.

    By Blogger Ortizzle, at 4:20 AM  

  • Hey Ortizzle, you're going to love her. She's in the pueblo at the moment, secretary-less :) (sans the typing grandson) so I'm catching up on the archives.

    By Blogger wandering-woman, at 11:36 AM  

  • Hi, I´d like to introduce you to my blog. Pop up as often as you feel like.

    Spanish courses in spanish universities

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:25 PM  

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