NCAT

(Nature Connected Activities in Tarragona)

Last month we walked along Playa Larga near Tarragona and had several nationalities: a Dutch couple, a Portuguese, a Greek, several Spaniards, a Venezuelan, a Scotsman, an Englishman (yours truly) and a Swiss woman (Mika) – it sounds like the beginning of a complex bar joke (but it wasn’t, lol).  It was a beautiful place with forest right next to the sea. This month we go to the Febró ravine; I’ll tell you about that.

Recently we had our first NCAT English meet up. We were asked recently if we had outings specifically for speaking English, so we obliged and created a new branch of NCAT. This group is more for people that want to practice their English in an informal setting. We do have a few exercises to learn some basics, but just something simple whilst we walk. There’s plenty of extranjeros (foreigners, like me) that want to learn Spanish, so why not an NCAT Spanish?

We also have NCAT Eco-Art; the first workshop will be the end of this month. Here we use natural materials to create works of art (mandalas, “touchscapes”, etc.), but working with ecopsychological principles by becoming aware of the natural world around us with senses little used!

Here are the links for each group:

NCAT – for excursions and activities out in nature.

NCAT English – excursions in nature, learning and practicing English.

NCAT Ecoart – artistic activities in nature, combining natural materials with ecopsychological principles.

Seeker of Knowledge, Seeker of Transformation

There came a time for me when I stopped seeking knowledge for knowledge’s sake, but instead looked to be transformed by information, that it would enter me and evoke some change. Each piece of information acts like a key deep within, unlocking something, and creating new pathways between neurons.

Curiosity led me not on a path of knowing but of transformation, which itself becomes a path of knowing as I gained the experience of navigating through a world replete with diverse information, and also gained insights into myself as to what and how I think. My old ways of thinking were questioned and disturbed until I had nothing to cling onto except my own sense of who I was and my experience. I wasn’t learning just to think new things but learning to think in new waystoo.

In the process of learning there is a deeper process of transformation and development, and expanding the horizons on the way we think. How can information be detached and objective when it affects us so deeply? Learning need not be dry intellectualism nor passive submission, there is a whole adventure to be had!

El Sobrino Speaks

Otra vez… (this is a rewrite of a blog I lost earlier)

Yesterday my sobrino (nephew) came to stay and I’ve been stretching my semi-bilingual brain much more. He’s almost three years old and speaks some Spanish and Catalan, understands French and has picked up some English. However, not enough English for me to speak with him, so when he asks me “¿Co qué?” (por qué=why) I have to come up with a quick yet coherent answer in Spanish, there and then. I think I used more Spanish words today than English!!!

I think sometimes I’m making up sentences as I going along, so don’t know how I sounds to a Spanish laymen’s ears, but I survive with this mantram: No se dice, pero se entiende (it’s not said, but it’s understood), so I may sound silly but I can make myself understood until I iron out the wrinkles in my Spanish.

His brain is absorbing language at a far faster rate than mine and in a few years he’ll probably be more fluent than me in more than two languages (I envy him and Keanu Reaves, the latter of which can just plug himself into a computer for five minutes and then say “Wow, I know Kung Fu”). Another mantram that I tell “Con él tengo que aprender castellano” (With him I have to learn Spanish), and I practice it too.

And yet I’m still amazed at how my brain unconsciously picks up on new languages; there are even some French phrases I can recognise!