a wandering woman writes

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Es caminante quién...

He is a caminante who moves his feet and his head, and his hopes, wholly giving all of his time, dreaming about what lies ahead, enjoying everything that arrives to his eyes.

A blessing to the pilgrim who, through the camino of the stars (the Camino de Santiago) finds himself without looking, walks the trails without moving his attention from a single step and without longing for his destination.

from the First Book of Petrolinus the Alchemist, who wrote of his pilgrimage to Santiago, through Salamanca, in 1765. Found in a lovely illustrated booklet published by the tourism office of Salamanca, and lying in wait for me at Salamanca's luxurious pilgrim's albergue.

A little wall wisdom

Death is so sure of victory she gives you a whole life's head start.

translated from a ladies' room wall of a bar in Hervás, Extremadura.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Meet the Keltic Dreams

I've been feasting on this video all week. Meet the Keltic Dreams, a celebrated band of Irish stepdancers from.....a grade school in the Bronx?

I've feasted on this New York Times story because it crosses borders, defies assumptions, and stars some adorable, curious and openminded children who can step dance a heck of a lot better than me.

Watch this video and feast for yourself.

Note: The video loads from the link above, but very slowly. To get it to more quickly, follow the link below to the story, and watch the video there. Or, go to the Times video page and look for the video "Keltic Dreams".

The full online story is here.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Aguda, and proud

This must be a milestone.

Last week for the first time during four years in Spain, I received an e-mail with my name written with an accent mark.

It was written as one would write it in Spanish, if we pronounced it as the 1 in 100 Spaniards who even dare to make the attempt do.

Estimada Sr. Corcorán, read the opening line.

I'm always Sr. Corcoran to people reading Erin for the first time so I happily let that slide. But my eye fixed on Corcorán. Corcorán.

Nice, huh? And correct if we think about it.

Spanish has admirably fixed rules for placing accent marks in words. It's all based on which syllable is stressed. And so, if I said my name as I would in the States, COR-cor-an, with the accent on the first syllable, well, I'd be a woman living under an esdrújula, and I'd need an accent mark up front.


If I said my name as most Spaniards do, cor-cor-AN, I'd have to call myself aguda and place an accent on that last syllable, as my friendly correspondent did.

Erin Corcorán.

I like it. And it really might take away the fright at pronouncing my name.

Without an accent mark, you see, my moniker is a type of word known as grave - far too serious a label for me - and is pronounced with the accent on the middle syllable: cor-COR-an. Many Spaniards read the accentless name I scribble and type everywhere I go - Corcoran - and they stumble, sensing this odd beast must be cor-COR-an while at the same time finding that pronunciation as awkward and unlikely as I do.

After four years, one finicky española has given me a darn good way to get my name spoken aloud. To be listed as more than simply "Erin" in the database at my hair salon, at the grocery store, at the dry cleaners. After all, another Erin may just invade Salamanca one of these days.

Erin Corcorán.
I like it.
I hereby pronounce myself aguda, and proud.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Wisdom, philosophy and greatness

Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry,

the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness

which does not bow before children.

~Kahlil Gibran

Thanks to Laura for the quote.