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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

As you can see, I haven't posted that much during December, mostly because I am on holidays, which means that there's no translation or ballet classes until January and therefore, not much to say.

I guess I could have written a "Merry Christmas" blogpost thingy, but I'm not a very Christmas-y person. I prefer to wish happy holidays to the people; I hope you've had fun with your beloved ones... and now it's time to say goodbye to 2011!

This has been a very nice year. I learnt lots of things at the university; I had my first interpreting exams and simultaneous interpreting lessons, which were lots of fun; I started this blog, I went to Belgium and Holland, I danced in front of a crowd after eight years, I was (re)promoted to pointe, I went to London and to the Royal Opera House and I met my favourite ballerina ever, Tamara Rojo. What else can I ask for? Well, an even better 2012!

Some of you might not know a pretty nice tradition we have in Spain for the last 12 seconds of the year. We eat a grape each time the clock at the Puerta del Sol in Madrid strucks (it's also live on TV). It is a very funny moment! Grapes are not very easy to eat in a second, as you may know, so most of us finish the 12 seconds with our mouths full of grapes and normally laughing, coughing and crying. Fun times!

So I wish you all a very happy 2012!!!
May your translations stay accurate, your interpretations lack of filled pauses and your pirouette fairy is always around!

The Snowflakes wish you a Happy New Year too! =D
Artists of New York City Ballet
Nerea.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Ballet is hard and stuff

So this girl went to her first rehearsal for Les Sylphides on Friday and the day after she found this super nice thing:

These are my knees, yeah. Nice bruises, huh? And they hurt, in case you're wondering.

Lovely, innit?!
Nice to know that pink tights cover everything up, because if I get three bruises after each rehearsal, I won't have acceptable legs to dance with in January.

Keep dancing, anyway!
Nerea.

Friday, December 9, 2011

I am such a Sylphide!

I know I haven’t written anything here for long, but I actually did it on purpose because I wanted to be able to tell you the full story!

You know what? Two weeks ago, we had a ballet class with another teacher. We didn’t really understand why we had this change, because our regular teacher was also at the studio. So not that she was ill or anything! And class was hard. So, so hard. Our new teacher kept taking notes while looking at us doing some terrible attempts to dance gracefully. You know, it was one of those days when you leave class thinking you’re the worst dancer in the whole world. Fun times, yay!
Ok, no.

So during our next class (pointe) my regular ballet teacher (Mrs. M) told us she needed to have a talk with us. She was very serious, so we thought that whatever she was going to say was going to be very bad. Something like: “the other day you sucked so much that we don’t want you here. Leave this place and never come back!” Nervousness everywhere!

But instead she said: “This studio is participating in an important performance in January; we’re representing an association of dance. Mrs. A was here the other day to take notes about you, and we believe that some of you are ready to dance with us. But there are some important things that you need to take into consideration. First of all, it is not compulsory. Second of all, since the moment you say yes, you have to accept anything we say. This means that you may be dancing something you don’t like with people you don’t know or with a teacher you can’t stand. You might not be dancing with your regular classmates! Oh, and you have to be able to come on Saturdays and Sundays if we call you. Understood?”.

So I was among the ones who were picked, and of course I said yes. I want to dance in January and I am really happy to be a part of this! These past two weeks must have been for the teachers to prepare everything; to create the choreographies and all the stuff. Actually I’m having a week off from university and I’m in Salamanca instead of home with my family because I wanted to be here in case we had our first rehearsals. And guess what?! I had them today! Almost two hours of class which were AMAZING! “What are you dancing?” –you may ask. I’m dancing “Les Sylphides” with a neo-classical choreography, with soft slippers (most of the time), with Mrs. A and with some girls from the advanced and intermediary levels. It’s hard to work with a choreographer, because it’s not like a regular class. Mrs. A marked loads of steps and I just couldn’t remember anything at the beginning, but I got used! Oh, and we’re doing something extremely cool that was so MUCH FUN. We are partnering!!! Yes, like when there are boys on the stage and they do these really cool pas de deux with the ballerinas. Only we’re all girls. But it’s super awesome anyway! Oh, and HARD. It looks easy, but it is not! Anyways… really, dudes, come on! Come to class, please. I want to do a partnering class like… everyday. Thank you.

So that’s all! I’m such a sylphide, nice reader!
I’ll keep you up to date!

I look nice, huh...? Ok, ok, that's Tamara, not me! And he is Rupert Pennefather!
Nerea.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Ballet for translators

These days I have read many blog entries that talked about how helpful can some exercises be for translators (and for some interpreters too, of course).

As you know, we work sitting in front of computers or microphones. It looks like a pretty comfortable job, huh?! Yes, but think of sitting on a chair in the same position everyday for the rest of your life! Your back will give you trouble at some point! Believe me: after only two years of translation studies, I started not to feel so comfortable when I was sitting in front of my computer.

But later, during my third year, I (re)started my ballet studies and within two months or so, I started to feel better. Why? Because ballet makes you be more aware of your position. So I was sitting up straight without really realising and I was feeling fine; my back didn’t hurt anymore.

Of course, there are other exercises that you can do, like pilates or yoga! I’m just adding ballet to the list. Oh, and you will get some satisfaction knowing that not everybody can do what you do! And don’t forget it is simply fun!



Keep translating and dancing!
Nerea.

PS.: Male translators: please, do come to ballet class. We need you! ;)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Making the right decisions

So I am still recovering from the shock I went through the other day at the Royal Opera House in London… It was amazing; one of the best experiences of my life. I guess I don’t need to tell you that the whole company was absolutely wonderful and flawless. They performed The Sleeping Beauty just like only the Royal Ballet does. It was perfect and… I love them all. Word.

But I am here to talk about decisions. I realised I never really wrote here what I decided about my Translation and Ballet studies. Well then, I am glad to say that I made the right decisions, and this is making me so happy.

You know, last year I loved interpreting, because I found it so dynamic and new, but actually in my inside I always knew I wasn’t made for that. Maybe that is why I couldn’t sleep well the nights before going into a booth. So this year I chose Translation. And I am so happy I made that decision, nice reader. I love the subjects I am taking and find them really motivating and inspiring. I am truly enjoying my time looking for solutions on the Internet, in books and dictionaries. I am really loving this freedom I have to play with words. I am having fun and I can totally see myself doing this for the rest of my life, because I am in love with it. And when you’re enjoying so much an activity, you find it wonderful when you see that your hard work is rewarding. When you receive an e-mail from your favourite teacher, who tells you she hasn’t changed anything on your translation because you write so well. These things, nice reader! These things are motivating and inspiring. These little things make you want to push yourself further; they make you want to achieve perfection, as unreachable as it is! They make you feel happy and love what you do!

And as regards ballet, I told you a few weeks ago that I needed to make a choice between staying with the beginners and going to an intermediate class and pointe. I did make the choice. And it was the right one. I am going to class with the intermediate students. I am not a good dancer: ballet is hard, very hard. But I am dancing. I am really dancing little combinations and I am learning so much. Things are going pretty fast for me: you have to realise that now I am taking class with girls who have been en pointe for many, many years. I am actually asked to dance like them in the centre, even though I have only had four or five pointe classes… so it means that I might have skipped a few years on my ballet training because my beginner teacher believed in me. And my current teacher is so lovely. She is such a beautiful dancer, nice reader. I am glad she accepted to teach me. She believes in me; she thinks I can dance like the others and I feel honoured and grateful, even though sometimes I am simply unable to do what she asks me. But I am trying. I am doing my best. If I fall today, I will stand tomorrow. I am determined to become the best ballet dancer I can. And now I have to encourage you to DANCE, because it is simply a pure wonder, nice reader. Nothing feels like that.


Keep translating and dancing!
Nerea.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Dear Tamara,

You might remember me, or maybe not. I am the crazy Spanish fan girl who met you the other day after your brilliant performance of Aurora at the Royal Opera House. Yes, that girl who said nothing but a shy enhorabuena and then gave you a rose. That girl who asked you to sign her tiny pointe shoe. 

I am that girl who simply melted in your presence and who was not able to tell you what she desperately wanted you to know. This is why I write this letter: because at that point I could not think properly. I was overwhelmed and honoured. And it is not a matter of adulation; it is a matter of inspiration.

I started taking ballet classes when I was six, but due to different reasons I had to give up at thirteen after a recent promotion to pointe. When I was nineteen I got an Erasmus grant and I was lucky enough to get London as my destination. In May that year I went to the ballet at the Royal Opera House and this is when magic happened. You were dancing Asphodel Meadows with the rest of the company. I had never seen you dance before, but you got through to me, and I had not seen the best part just yet. Later that day you danced Carmen and you simply changed my life. I bought your DVDs and watched them all. I searched for other performances of yours on YouTube and I loved every single second of them. Through your dancing you gave me the strength I needed to go to a ballet studio and enrol myself again after more than six years, even though I knew it was a bit late for me. I do not consider myself a good dancer; I have so much to learn…! But you are my inspiration and if I know I will never give up it is because of you. Because you granted me the privilege of seeing your dancing. That is why I will never be able to thank you enough. 

Tamara, when I met you last Monday I did not tell you this, but the pointe shoe that you signed for me was not any pointe shoe. It was actually my first pointe shoe ever, which I had been keeping like a golden treasure since I was eleven. You just made it even more special, so thank you once again. 

I will continue following your career and watching you live as many times as I can, because you never deceive me. You always have something new to give and I will be there to catch it every single time. Thank you, Tamara Rojo, because you make me happy and without you, my life would not be the same.

Your ever supporting fan,
Nerea.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Reverse translation and interpretation

If you’re reading this blog you may already know things about translation and interpreting and therefore this post might be obvious for you. Or maybe you don’t know anything about these subjects, because you’re a “dancing reader”.

Anyway, I am here to write about reverse translation and interpretation. You know, it’s this thing when you write a translation or produce a speech from your mother-tongue into one of the languages you have learnt during your life. In my case, this would be reading in Spanish and translating into English, French, German or whatever. And the same when it comes to interpreting: I listen to a speech in Spanish and I talk in French or English (I can’t even think of German in this case).

I just want you to know that… this thing exists, and it has a name, but it shouldn’t. Translators and interpreters work with their mother-tongue as an active language, and the rest are their passive languages. This means that they should always translate and interpret into their own language (in my case, into Spanish). I am fully aware that this is not exactly how the real world works, but I also know that it is what happens in most cases.

Why am I telling you this? Well, because, as a student of Translation and Interpreting, I have been asked more than once to translate things into English or French. Or even worse: FROM English TO French. My first reaction to this is usually something like: “wait, you want me to do WHAT?” and then I explode in rage, saying that I can’t do that, that it is impossible and blah, blah, blah. My “client” would say things like: “but why not?! You’re almost a translator, aren’t you?” So my second reaction is: “oh, ok. You don’t know WHY I can’t do that!” Because I DO speak many languages. I do, and you know it. You know I can read books in other languages. You know that I can go to a foreign country and speak with the people and that I can listen to the radio in there and understand it! Yes, I can. Wow, that’s awesome, yeah! Well, let me then explain why I can’t do the work you’re asking me to do.

  1. When you're doing a reverse translation (or interpretation) you are never completely sure of what you are writing (or saying). When you’re writing your own essay in a foreign language, you will surely find difficulties, but you can overcome them by writing something different or by not writing anything at all. But wait! What happens when it is a translation? You can’t change what the original text said, and obviously eliminating sentences is not advisable at all! So what do you do? See? You have to find a way to solve the problem, and it can obviously not be the best option. Actually, and using my little experience, I can almost assure you that it WON’T be the best option. From a native’s eyes, there is always room for improvement!
  1. If you really care about doing your translation properly, you will have to check EVERY SINGLE SENTENCE out. I have read a ba-zillion novels in French and I am pretty sure I can speak and write it quite well. But still, I need to check out everything I write. I have to make researches of frequency simply to make sure if I’m right. Even in those (rare) cases when I KNOW I am right, there’s always a tiny, minuscule possibility of being wrong. What do I do? I google!
  1. You will never, ever be able to know a foreign language as well as a native speaker. They grew up with it. They read their first books in that language and their parents and teachers taught them everything using that language. They will always be able to find this “something” in your text which just doesn’t “sound right”.
  1. Oh, and the culture! What is the culture you know best? Yours, isn’t it? And you don’t even know everything about it. Haven’t you heard some days ago an expression in your own language that you had never heard before? Well, I have. Many of them, actually! And I also learnt a word that people use in Extremadura, but not in León. Translation and Interpreting are about expressing ideas in other languages, not just words. You have to be perfectly capable of understanding your own culture. What if there is a sentence without connotations in a language but you know it will surely offend someone if you keep it with the same words in the target language? Or even worse: what if you DON’T know that it will offend someone?
  1. This one is related to interpreting. The situation is even worse when you are interpreting, and so much worse when it’s simultaneous interpreting. People with more than one first language are very rare. If you have two, it means that you have the same level of knowledge in both languages. And if you are an interpreter, you have to know your first language(s) very well, so you should be able to speak in different registers without much trouble. If you only have one active language (like normal people who are not interpreting gods), it will be very difficult for you to produce a correct speech in a foreign language, because you won’t really have time to wonder if what you’re saying is completely right or not!
  1. And finally, translators are not human dictionaries, ok?! So stop asking them how to say lenocinio, palimpsesto and oclorancia in English; because they might not even know that they are in Spanish! They are not human dictionaries: they are humans that know which dictionaries to use!

I hope things are clearer now!
Nerea.

PS.: I’m not even going to tell you how many times I have used the dictionary or Google to write this blogpost. And I know there are mistakes. I’m so sure of it! ;)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Big Ballet Dilemma

I have been faced with this dilemma for more than two weeks, I still don’t know what to do and I have to find a solution like NOW. I know that the decision should be mine, but I’m in desperate need of advice.

As you know, I’m studying in Salamanca. This is my last year of university, and therefore it is also my last year of ballet in this studio with this Amazingly Awesome Ballet Teacher. I had a ballet class for beginners today. I felt so much ahead the rest of the class. I’m not swaggering; it is a fact. We did a new barre and I could remember all the steps and I performed them pretty well. I didn’t get any corrections from the teacher. Only things like “very well, Nerea! You’re doing fine!”

Well, it seems that I have a pretty much pretty and amazingly cool life. What is the problem, then? The Problem is this:

Class finished and Amazingly Awesome Ballet Teacher told me that she didn’t know why I still was in that class with the beginners. She had spoken with intermediate ballet teacher (with whom I have had an intermediate class and two hours of pointe. That equals three hours), and this second person had told her that I could totally get enrolled in intermediate class. She said I was doing well; I just needed to have a little more agility at the centre.
So I told Amazingly Awesome Ballet Teacher that I didn’t feel really confident in intermediate level. She answered that she was sure I was ready and intermediate ballet teacher thought the very same. I hesitated for a second and Amazingly Awesome Ballet Teacher shouted: “come on!!! It’s always me! I always have to push you guys to do new things! Come on, Nerea! Go to intermediate level!!! You can do it!!! I know you can!!”

So, these are my options:

  • Stay in ballet class with the beginners, with Amazingly Awesome Ballet Teacher, 2 hours a week + 1 hour of flamenco, also with Amazingly Awesome and Adorable Ballet Teacher.

  • Go to intermediate level with Not-So-Awesome-Ballet-Teacher. This means 2 hours a week + 1 hour of pointe shoes with her… And not flamenco at all, because, you know, my budget has its limits.

The first option means that I will focus on the basics again; on very easy things that I can already do, which can be nice… or not so nice, and of course, staying with lovely teacher. Second option means, of course, something like: “bye, bye, Amazingly Awesome and Adorable Ballet Teacher, forever and ever, and hello, stressful ballet classes in which I learn so much and I can actually dance like a ballerina, but where I don't really know if I'm performing correctly!”

There are other options, but certainly less advisable, like giving up flamenco, staying with the beginners in ballet class and going to intermediate pointe class. Or going to intermediate ballet classes, giving up pointe and going to flamenco with Amazingly Awesome Ballet Teacher.

Should I repeat that Amazingly Awesome Ballet Teacher absolutely wants me to go to intermediate level, because she thinks I have some kind of potential?
My head is a total mess. Any experienced advice?

Oh, and if I choose option 2, I will dance like Tamara in a few years. Yeah, sure... ;)
Look at that super AWESOME winged foot!!!
Nerea.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Twitter talks pointe class

Going to ballet class. Excited. Je vous vois dans trois heures, tweeps!

This is how I said goodbye on Twitter last Thursday. Three hours went by, I got home, and this is what I wrote:

Back from ballet class... with GREAT NEWS. OH-MY-GAWD, OH-MY-GAWD, OH-MY-GAWD, YOU GUYS.
My teacher has invited me to JOIN TOMORROW'S BALLERINA CLASS, aka POINTE CLASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
POINTE, POINTE, POINTE, POINTE. I'M GOING TO A POINTE CLASS TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!
I haven't been to a pointe class since I was 13. So I've just (re)joined the club of people who like to mangle their feet on purpose!!!

Please note my mental breakdown. It might be serious. Later that day I also had my sentimental moment:

I just wanted to say that... I love you all, ballet tweeps. I'm so happy to be a part of this community where we can share our impressions.

And then, another mental breakdown. This one is a little milder, as I was starting to assimilate the news:

Sorry if I'm a little annoying, but I can't help jumping and shouting in joy! I AM EN POINTE, YOU GUYS.

It seems that when your ballet teacher invites you to try pointe class, you feel everything. Fear, of course, is the order of the day:

But I'm a little worried, because pointe class won't be with my regular teacher. The other one seems a little harsh (?).
Oh my God. I am going to suck so much this afternoon at pointe class.

Then, I got ready (see feet here) and went to pointe class.
And this is the result of it:

Advanced pointe class is serious business, guys. It felt good, but I was doing pointe with 15-17-year-old girls far more talented than me, who could do piqués en tournant without problems. But the good news are that my feet weren't hurting at all!!!
I will go to the academy on Monday again. I will talk to my pointe teacher and to my regular teacher and we'll see what they think about me.
Oh my, I'm dehydrated!!!
I guess my teacher was right (they know us better than we think). I was prepared. I didn’t break my ankles in pointe class.
The problem was the technical level. They should give a pointe class for beginners, because I simply couldn’t follow the steps. Seriously, how the hell do they want me to do a hundred piqué turns EN POINTE in my first class in 8 years? I can't even do them properly in slippers!
Definitely, I could totally go to that pointe class during barre and port de bras. But the diagonals were too much. TOO. MUCH.

Oh, and by the way... I think my ballet teacher just promoted me to intermediate class. Maybe I did something well today, after all? =)

Nope, I hadn’t done anything well THAT day. This is what hapenned yesterday when I went to talk to her:

My ballet teacher had spoken about me with the intermediate teacher before the academic year started.
She told her I was strong, had a good posture, a very fast evolution and could perfectly fit into the intermediate class (and pointe shoes).
She said that last year she could tell I had danced for many years before. In her (translated) own words: “I just had to polish you up a little bit, but now you’re ready”.
So she has definitely invited me to try intermediate level. She said I could be a little lost at the beginning, but she believed I was prepared.
SO I AM HAPPY.

And also sad, because that means that I am probably going to class with another teacher. And I like Mrs. C so much, you guys. Because she’s lovely.

My super old pointe shoes, which look less crappy with their new ribbons!

Nerea.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Day when it happened

Today I went to my second ballet class of the year.
The first one, on Tuesday, was fine, but there were some new people, so it was slow. I have no problem with that, as we’re starting again after three months and I believe it’s better not to start with a full variation at the centre.

But I am here to write about today, which is going to be known as “The Day” from now on. Because, nice reader, “The Day” was good, so good. Barre was very simple; I did the exercises without much trouble, except for a: Nerea, try not to move your body so much when rond-de-jambe-ing with your left foot. Because, you know, Left Side is evil. It’s the Dark Side of ballet. I am such a disaster with my left part of the body, seriously.
Also, I could finally keep my balance for many seconds while doing a passé relevé, which is a huge achievement for me, due to my weird hips and knees.

Later we started with the diagonals, which consisted in walking. Yep, it was simply walking as ballerinas in first position. Mrs. C asked me not to be “so correct”. She said that my walking was technically perfect, but I should be more relaxed. I can’t help being tense; I haven’t danced in three months!

So when ballet class finished, a friend of mine asked the teacher about the possibility of attending pointe class this year. It was a private talk, actually, but when I finished putting my flamenco clothes on (because “The Day” wasn’t over yet), I joined the conversation. I said I was also interested in that, but Mrs. C thought it was maybe too early because we had been doing ballet for less than twelve months. She said that we shouldn’t join “Pointe Class” anyway, mostly because it’s for advanced people. There’s no pointe class for beginners right now. Nice reader, that is a shame, you know. She also said that she would try to arrange a thing on the timetable to make us come half an hour before our normal class to be able to do some barre work en pointe. BUT, that would be next year. NEXT YEAR, or as soon as in March, April or so. That is a total disaster. A total and absolute disaster, because next year I will be a graduate and I will not be in Salamanca for ballet class after June. But that was her last word.

Then, flamenco class with my flamenco classmates started. We’re currently dancing some beautiful alegrías, but I’m not comfortable. I’m, you know, used to delicate movements and tense body; I’m more classical! And that doesn’t have anything to do with the fiery steps of alegrías. So we’re doing a nice step in which you have to move your right foot forward and with it… you also have to move your right hip. Well, I can’t do that. I keep doing a tendu. And that’s not it. And of course, Mrs. C has realised, because she ALWAYS realises. She said she had the same problem when she started with flamenco after so many years of ballet. Ha! I’m not the only one! She suggested me to relax my body and to forget about ballet (which is not easy at all). So I guess I can say that the bad news are that I am not good enough at dancing flamenco because I am too ballet-y. Oh wait… are those bad news? I don’t really know.

Class finished and I got dressed normally to go back home. I was kind of sad. Or disappointed, or something. Mrs. C was at the reception when I was about to leave. I was determined to let her know that I had some pointe shoes at home which I wanted her to see if we were ever going to do some barre work, even if it was in April. I think I sounded a little desperate, actually, haha. No, but seriously, I told her that if she was going to teach us half an hour or so in April, I wanted to show her my old and crappy pointe shoes in case she didn’t like them and wanted me to buy some new ones. Because they are really crappy, guys. Really, really crappy…
And this is where magic begins!
The conversation was something like:

Mrs. C: Oh, but you already did pointe?
Me: Yes! I did a year and a half of pointe, a long, long time ago!
Mrs. C: I knew it! You have very strong legs and feet. You can do it! I just don’t want the rest of your classmates to injure themselves because of my decision. But you can do it!
Me: B-b-but…
Mrs. C: You can go to pointe class tomorrow. Speak with the teacher, she’s there.
Me: But… it’s an advanced level!
Mrs. C: You can do it. Go, have a look and try it. Hey, Mrs. M! Nerea took pointe class a long time ago!
Mrs. M: Ok, she can come then!
Me: B-but my pointe shoes are old… and… crappy!
Mrs. M: No problem, just bring them! I will see you tomorrow, Nerea!

And I stand there, open-mouthed. I take a deep breath and utter a shy “see you tomorrow, then!”
I leave, and while "The Day" comes to an end, I take my mobile phone and call my family with tears in my eyes.


Nerea.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

I can do it, guys!

So a month and a half ago I wrote this post about ballet being French, in which I said that when I was a little girl I was very proud of my grand écart. I also stated that those were happy times and that now I couldn't do it anymore.

But guys... I don't know how or when it happened, but now I can do it! I CAN DO IT!
When I was trying to do some pirouettes -by the way, I'm getting better at those-, I said to myself: "let's see if you are closer to the ground when doing the splits!" And I tried... and went down, and down, and down... and this is what I got!

Ha! And it's not a fake one! A little painful it is, but not fake!

See? I can do it, I can do it! *Happy dances*

Anyway, I still don't understand it. I really don't. I haven't stretched that much these days, and I haven't done much ballet during summer. I guess even if it's just a little bit, stretching works. It really does! And that is the proof you were looking for!!!
So... stretch, guys! STRECH!

Nerea.

Friday, September 30, 2011

I was an interpreter!

You know what? Last week I was an interpreter. Not a professional one, since I wasn’t paid, but I was a real one. And it felt so good!

You all know I’ve had some training on interpreting, and I think I did quite well, considering that it was reverse interpretation into French.

So I went to the Valporquero Cave with my family and a friend from France who happens to speak many languages including French, Portuguese, English, Italian, Luxemburgish, German and others… but she doesn’t speak Spanish. And in the cave we had a guide who spoke kind of quickly, but very, very clearly and spontaneously, so I thought it was my moment!

I stood next to my French friend and I practised chuchotage from Spanish to French. I chose this language because it’s the one I feel better with when it comes to reverse interpreting. The speech had many specialized words related to the rock formations in the cave, but I think I could cope with them quite well. I did not say everything, but I transmitted the most important parts and I felt proud. There was also a little girl looking at me while I interpreted and I think she liked it. Maybe I was able to awaken her curiosity! (?)

So that’s all. I have to admit that it feels calmer when you’re not being judged by a professional interpreter like in class, although I know that those kind of things are not usual in the interpreter’s world, as they’re people who commonly work together in booths!

You should totally visit the cave. It is amazing!
Keep interpreting!
Nerea.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Back to normal life… or almost

I'm back in Salamanca after three months of holidays.
Even though this is meant to be just “my student life”, it is also “my normal life”, as I live here for nine months a year.

So everything is back to normal. I’m living again in an apartment full of dictionaries, interpretation notebooks, German books, dancing clothes and ballet posters (if I ever buy a house, the decoration will absolutely be based on this), full of precooked food and technologic devices… and wild animals. Eh… what? Yes, wild animals are back! Right now, I’m living with a huge moth, which decided to come inside my flat on Saturday evening and we are becoming friends. Anyway, I hope it leaves soon, or I will have to start with “aggressive negotiations”.

Getting to the “pointe”, I’m officially enrolled in the Translation Itinerary, which is full of hours related to translating specialized documents FR>ES, ES>FR and ES>EN… (I liked the teacher I met yesterday; she was so French, and had such a lovely accent!) And I’m also going to some hours of Interpreting a week (two, I think). By doing this, I’ll enjoy interpreting (no matter what, I keep saying that this is what I like most), but I will not be so much stressed. I really have to find a solution for that. I can’t be an interpreter if I’m not able to cope with my own mistakes or with my shyness.
Also, I’m preparing a planning for the semester related to my free time at home. I will probably use it for reading or for interpretation, focusing mostly on English to Spanish speeches and I will also do some stretching (both things at the same time… why not?).

As regards my dancing, yesterday I went to my studio twice. The first time I just asked when classes started and if I needed to enrol myself again. The answer to first question is next week (ZOMFG, YAY!), and to the second, nope. Also, I liked that everybody in there remembered my name and everything about my dancing studies.
The second time I went to my studio was five minutes later, because on my way back home I remembered that I had bought some pictures of the festival in June, and I hadn’t picked them up yet. So I’m back to the studio, right when a class is finishing… and I see my teacher (I missed her so much, for realz! She’s so lovely, you guys. So lovely!) And she asks me about my summer and if I am going to do flamenco this year too (obviously she doesn’t ask about ballet, because she already knows I will.) I tell her I won’t, because there’s been a change on the timetables. She looks at me and says that it’s not true; that for me, it’s the same as last year. So I show her the timetable and say: “look, flamenco for beginners! See? It’s one hour later!” And she says: “my dear, you are not longer a beginner! You have to be on intermediate level this year!” And I’m all open-mouthed and say something like “OMGWHAT!”, which I don’t really remember now. So I get enrolled right away and leave the studios happily happy.

Get that, y’all!! I’m a flamenco intermediate dancer!!! Did you read that!?! I am a freakin’ flamenco intermediate dancer! In just one year! HA!
I just wish I can ask her: “hey, lovely Mrs. C! Can we have a talk about pointe shoes?! Las puntas, pa’ cuando las dejamos?” Because I so want to be on pointe again.

Still, I am freaking excited about the new subjects that I will discover during this week, and so, so happy about next week, when I will start ballet again after three months.
It’s a happy week in Salamanca. Everything is back to normal… or almost everything!

The city where I study is lovely, innit!?

Nerea.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

First pair of pointe shoes

I thought you would like to see my first pair of pointe shoes; the ones I used when I was eleven!

I used to have very little feet for my age (I still do actually, although not as much), so… my first pair of pointe shoes is kind of tiny. It’s a European size 33, which, according to a chart I just found, is like an American 1,5Y (I don’t even know if that’s right). They are almost the size of my hand, look at them!

Also, I like Corella Ballet. A lot.

As you can see, they seem to be almost unused. Actually, I wore them for a really short period of time (I would say… four or five ballet lessons), because my feet grew a little bit and then it was painful to even walk normally with them on, so I had to buy some new ones!

Nerea.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Just like Tamara Rojo

So the other day my mum was with her friends, showing this picture of myself dancing at the dance school recital in June:


I was also there, listening to their conversation, and you know how it is when mums start talking about how amazing their children are… yeah, so not fun times.

And then, suddenly, one of my mum’s friends said: wow, look at her! We have a Tamara Rojo in here!
And I was like WTF!, because you can obviously tell that the woman doesn’t know anything about dance, since Tamara is not a flamenco dancer, and even if she was, I could never be as good as her…

But if she wanted to make a compliment (which, I am sure, was her purpose), she couldn’t have chosen a better one, because for me, Tamara is the bestest ballerina ever.

So I couldn’t help but think:
Awwww! Take that, I am like Tamara Rojo! Do you hear that, evil single pirouettes? I have now pwned you! You are now pwned, because I can do 32 freaking fouettés in a row!!!

And then I went home and tried to pirouette… and failed miserably as always.

[…]

Maybe in a few months… (?)

Nerea Rojo.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I am going to be a translator

I guess I had to write this blog post, because I have officially decided it. Well… kind of. Yes, I am going to become a translator specialised in localization. And a good one, I hope.

As you know, I started this blog because I thought I wanted to become an interpreter, and the fact is that I still want to (why do I have to choose? WHY?), but I have several reasons to decide that I prefer studying translation:
  1. Although I liked very much my Interpreting lessons last year, the truth is that I am not used to that kind of stress and it made me feel bad before, during and after class. I only found it rewarding when I did it well, and that didn’t happen usually.
  2. They always say that Interpreting can be taught, and I absolutely agree with that, but it is also true that there are some “gifted” students that can do so much better than "normal" people. Sometimes I felt I was the worst student in class, even though I know this isn’t true. Yeah, I am too pessimistic and it doesn’t help.
  3. I love reading. I love languages. I love reading and translating documents. When I find an interesting topic, I love translating it (well, it is true that instruction booklets are not usually fun, but still). And I find it rewarding; I am actually good at it, and I feel I never stop learning things.
  4. I have discovered the amazing world of localization. I already knew it existed, but I hadn’t thought of it as a possibility. But the fact is that I have always loved anything related to technologies (I did my first webpage at the age of 8, when some people didn’t even know that the Internet existed) and I would love being able to translate software or even videogames. So cool! 
So next year I am going to enrol on translation lessons, but that doesn’t mean that I am not going to learn how to interpret!
I guess that one of the things that made me feel stressed last year was the final exam. Because I was thinking of the exam during the whole year and since I didn’t see a big improvement on my interpreting skills, I couldn’t help but think I wasn’t good enough to pass. And since this year I just have half the usual number of credits (I did too many during the past three years), I am going to attend Interpreting lessons along with would-be interpreters, but I will not do the final exam.

Because… in spite of the things that I said before, I LOVE interpreting so much. It makes you feel stressed, but free. You can play with words; with your language. You can learn things about everything. You can meet people from everywhere. You have the satisfaction of being the only person that can help some people who, without you, couldn’t even say “hello” to each other, perhaps. You have the satisfaction of hearing: “yes sir, I have understood you”.

So I guess I have to change the title of this post:

I am going to be a translator… and an interpreter!


P.S.: … And of course, the best ballet dancer I can! (Is this the year? Will I be on pointe again? We’ll see!)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Ballet is French

When I was a child I was very normal. And as a normal, Spanish, little girl, I did not speak French.

When I went to ballet class, I used to learn the names of the steps by their sound. Actually, I think I didn’t know it was French, anyway. My mind worked this way: if Mrs. R said tandí*, I quickly pointed my foot. If Mrs. R said yeté*, I did the same, but separating my toes of the ground. No questions.

How could I imagine that those words had a real meaning and that they were in French? Nobody had told me! There’s no way I could know that my tandí was actually a tendu, which means extended; or my yeté, which is really a jeté, something thrown away. This makes things easier to remember, huh?!

It is funny that just some months before I stopped my ballet training, I started with my French lessons at the High School. I realised that I had a deeper knowledge of that new language than my fellow classmates, and most of all, because of ballet. You know, when you’ve heard many times that shanshmán* thing, you freak out when you realise it is spelled changement and it means change… But you don’t find it hard to remember! The same happened with many other steps: my padeshá* didn’t really look like a pas de chat until I knew I was doing a cat step. Same with my beloved padebugué*, which I still remembered when I (re)started a year ago, but I hadn’t realised it was a pas de bourrée. And finally that awesome gran ecar* of which I was so proud! Because, nice reader, there were some lovely times when I could actually do a grand écart! Unfortunately, those times are not here. But French is. And believe me: it’s making ballet easier and more fun (if that is even possible).

So… put a little of French in your lives. Give ballet a chance!
Nerea.


(*) I write the sounds just like I heard them when I was a child; c’est-à-dire in Spanish.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Do not use Google Translate!

Please.
Believe me, the world will be a better place.


Please, rely on real translators.
Thank you.
Nerea.

PS: I had to blog this. It appeared while doing a research for the previous blog entry.

Ballet and interpreters are everywhere!

So recently my fellow ballet blogger Nina wrote this nice post about ballet being everywhere.
That is so true. Ballet is everywhere and so are interpreters!

I went to Brussels and I visited the European Parliament. You can think: "but no wonder there were interpreters at the EU Parliament. It's the biggest interpreting service in the world!"
I know, yeah. That's why I was so excited!

I mean... look at those amazing booths!
But there was something else I hadn't thought before travelling to that country!
You know, Belgium has got three official languages, therefore in its parliament there must be some interpreters! So I was able to go inside the building just to check it out... because I'm that cool! Nah, I'm not. On Thursday they had their National Day, so public buildings were open for everyone! So I went into the Belgian Parliament and it was very cool! You could see micros and headphones everywhere... and those horrible "booths"! Actually I don't know if I can call them "booths", because they consisted of a table, two chairs, two consoles and a pane of glass in front of them. And that's all! I mean, no walls, no door... NOTHING! If you're an interpreter there, you must suffer a lot doing your job! You can hear everything around you!
Actually I think I couldn't do it, as I got distracted by my classmates' voices when they were interpreting in adjacent booths! It's sad but it seems that in the professional world this happens a lot. Our teacher told us that she's had to work in these situations more than once. Not fun. AT ALL.

And regarding ballet being everywhere, in Brussels I saw something I never thought I would see. There was a freakin' ballerina in the Atomium! A freakin' ballerina doll, you guys! Yeah, there she was, with her leg on the barre, doing some stretching:

And she's got pointe shoes and everything!
And I could see the poster of "Romeo and Juliet" by the Moscow Ballet everywhere in Brussels. The performance will be in December, though. I wanted to steal a poster, but they where pretty much well stucked.

Also, I found this lovely photo of a plié in fifth position in Bruges. I had to take a picture:

Girl likes hard work. And torn leg warmers, haha!
And that's all for now, guys!
I'm back. I like having you around.

Nerea.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Boring holidays… but Brussels!

As you know, I am on holidays. I arrived to my village five days ago, and as I predicted, I don’t know what to do here. No ballet classes, no interpreting lessons, not even a single text to translate. I go to the swimming pool for an hour or so every day, but the water in León is cold, so I don’t enjoy it very much. I don’t really like watching TV, so it’s off all the time and I don’t have Internet connection at home, so I spend my time reading, which is nice, but I don’t like lying on my bed with a book the whole day. By the way, at the moment this book is “Haroun and the Sea of Stories”, by Salman Rushdie, if anyone’s interested.

But I have something to be happy about! Guess what! I am going to Brussels in less than two weeks! You know what? Brussels is a very nice place to visit when you want to become an interpreter or a translator, because it’s the capital of the European Union and its Parliament is there! Plus, they speak French over there, and it’s been a while (two years) since my last visit to a French-speaking country. As you may know, it’s my first foreign language and I feel really close to it. I want to “need to speak it”, if you see what I mean!

As regards my interpreting training… I have been doing some speeches these days, but maybe not as many as I should have. My headphones are broken and I will not be able to interpret a lot until I buy some new ones. You might know that earphones are not very comfortable for this… at least for me, they aren’t. Anyway, I am still using the speeches of our lessons. I can’t use the Speech Repository of the European Union without Internet. This is horrible.

Also, I have been doing some ballet barres on my own, but it’s not as fun as in class, because there’s nobody to correct me and I lack of imagination for the choreographies. As a result, they are repetitive and very boring. Another problem is the space. My house is big, but there are too many things inside and I haven’t found a single place where I can do a grand battement without breaking a vase. Not fun times at all.

I have the feeling that, when July finishes and I come back from Brussels, I will need the holidays to be over as soon as possible in order to go back to Salamanca with my friends and my studies. Until then, I will try to enjoy my time here, even though this is the first time EVER that I want it to finish quickly.


See you!
Nerea.

PS.: Harry Potter 7.2 will be out in ten days. I’m excited and happy, but at the same time I’m sad, because I don’t want it to be over! You know, after more than 10 years… it’s the LAST Harry Potter movie ever!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Such a great time!

Last week I had some really busy days with the rehearsals and the show, but it was so worth it! I had such an amazing weekend! I can't wait to repeat it...

The only problem is that my academy only organizes this kind of show every two years, so I probably won't be able to dance in front of a crowd in Salamanca again, since by this time next year I'll be a graduate. However, as soon as I live in León again I will look for a dance studio, because now that I have restarted, I will not stop, even though I'm going to miss my current academy, and teacher, and classmates.

I still have one year left before having to change my school, but before that I have a LONG summer without ballet lessons, which will not be fun at all. What can I do? Try to work on my own stuff, using the things I've learnt during the whole year. It won't be as cool as real lessons, but at least I will not forget what I learnt; I will improve my flexibility and I will come back to Salamanca with clean single pirouettes en dehors. I hope.

So... back to the show... it was very stressful, because there were more than 100 dancers prepared to do their performances, and many of them were little children, so you can imagine the chaos at the backstage. But anyway we had FUN. And I loved dancing before all these people. And it was amazing when, after Saturday's show, I went to the stalls all dressed up and many random people congratulated me. It was simply awesome.

I haven't made this entry before because I had some trouble uploading the video to YouTube, but as I said I would put it in this blog, here it is. I warn you that it is the result of ONLY 25 hours of flamenco lessons, knowing nothing before. Enjoy!

 

Keep dancing!
Nerea.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Final thoughts before the show

I have to admit that I have already done this. I have been dancing in front of a crowd before. But it's been so long since then, that it feels like the first time. I can't believe that this time tomorrow I will be heading towards the theatre, probably repeating the flamenco steps in my head and making sure I haven't forgotten anything. We'll have a general rehearsal before the show, anyway, to make sure everything is fine.

I still don't know the look of our hair for the show, and it's a thing I'm kind of worried about, as I'm a total disaster at anything related to doing my hair, haha. I'll ask my teacher later, but I guess it's not that important. My dress is ready to be worn during a couple of days, and so are my shoes. I have to buy some new tights, though. I've run out of them.

Some days ago I promised my viewers on YouTube that I would upload the video of the performance, so I guess I will put it in here as well. Only if it isn't absolutely horrible. No, Nerea. It won't be horrible.

Tonight I have my last ballet and flamenco classes of the term and I'm going to miss them so much. I mean, what am I going to do during the whole summer without dancing? I will probably stay home watching TV or some other banal thing. But hey, I guess we all need a break. Anyway, I'm determined not to lose the strength I've gained this year on my arms and legs (yeah, I finally can see that Y-shaped muscle on my legs and I want it to stay there), so I promise I will stretch many days a week and do some barre exercices. I want my teacher, Mrs. C, to be proud of me when I see her again in September.

As well as practising ballet, I will start with my interpreting schedule on Monday, after the performances. I'm still not sure about my English level for interpreting next year, but I want to improve my skills, and I will.

I might write another blog entry tomorrow, after the first performance. Or maybe not. Anyway you will be able to read my news very soon. And hopefully I will show you an "spectacular" show.


Until then...
Ta-da!
Nerea.

EDIT: I just realised that before giving up ballet, the last day I danced when I was a child was June 24th 2003. You know what? My first performance EVER since then will be in June 24th 2011. EXACTLY eight years later. It has to mean something. =D