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Espana/Book Gift

December 31st, 2009


Sorry, I don’t know why all these photos are miniature! Argh.

I love Spain. Maybe more than Italy and France. Probably more.

I grew up in California and Spanish words were part of our vocabulary, just tossed in as slang or whatever …. cerveza, adios, que pasa …

I took Spanish in high school and didn’t take it seriously. More than 20 years later I am still kicking myself for this. I was offended by my haughty Spanish teacher who took me to task for goofing around in class by telling me, “You cannot have class unless you speak two languages.”

My response to him (the one I said in my head) is unprintable.

Now I believe he was right.

I took several Spanish classes in college, still not very serious and then took three Spanish classes AFTER college. So you think I’d be on my way to fluency? Noooooo.

In fact, I bought this book to start from square one again with my Spanish and will continue my studies until I am fluent without any breaks for fooling around … wish me luck. I’ve procrastinated way too long.


BOOK GIFT ————————————————-
I received an awesome Christmas present this year. Adriana Trigiani sent me an uncorrected proof of her new book, Brava Valentine:


I almost never buy new books. I have mentioned this before, but I usually check a book out from the library at least once and know I love it before I ever purchase it for my bookshelves. However, I love Adriana’s books so much that I always buy them new, each and every time she has a new one.

She is very open to her readers and called into my bookclub meeting last year. Because of this, she sent me this advanced copy of her book. Happy, happy, joy, joy!

And here’s the kicker, unlike a lot of bloggers who get swag (maybe I need to find out how to get me some of that) I never have and Adriana has NO CLUE I even have a blog and how I rave and rave to everyone who will listen about how much I love her books.

Of course, I’m sure there is some publicity angle to sending me the book, but it is a down home, grass roots effort, I believe, which I find charming.

Full disclosure: If you do want to buy the book and click on my link, someday I will get some money for it. So far, my amazon account for people clicking on my links has $1.16 in it, which of course, is better than nothing, so it’s more of a convenience than a way for me to get rich quick ; )

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  1. December 31st, 2009 at 10:08 | #1

    How funny. My life is filled with tech technicalities. Not to worry we see your lovely pictures and speaking of lovely, thank you for your blog and thank you for being you.

    I wish you a joy-filled new year in which all your hopes and dreams come true.

    Warmest regards,

  2. December 31st, 2009 at 12:43 | #2

    Kristi, I also grew up in California (Los Angeles) and Spanish was part of the culture. However, I chose to study French and many years later regretted not choosing Spanish. At this point in my life, though, French is more important to me (I’m very involved with an orphanage in Haiti and will be spending a good deal of time there), so I’m trying to relearn that language. So one of my New Year’s goals is to spend time studying French on a daily basis. I look forward to hearing how your Spanish studies progress. It’s never too late to learn.

  3. December 31st, 2009 at 16:50 | #3

    How are you going to do this..learn the language? I have Rosetta Stone French and my lazy behind has not finished part 1 yet. In fact I need to start from the beginning again as I am so rusty. I would love to learn another language.

  4. December 31st, 2009 at 17:15 | #4

    In a perfect world I’d say pack up the kids and the hubby and move to Spain! You would be fluent within a year! I’ve heard great things about Rosetta Stone though!

  5. Mal
    January 1st, 2010 at 04:20 | #5

    Happy New Year Kristi, I don’t comment often, but love reading your blog. I am learning Spanish, too, (never did it in school at all) and used the BBC website to begin. I think you can get it too, only it comes with advertisments out of the UK. Do have a look, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts, best wishes for 2010, Mal

    • January 2nd, 2010 at 07:32 | #6

      I remember hearing about the BBC website awhile back but completely forgot. Thank you for the reminder!
      Believe me, we’ve checked into many options for moving to Spain over the years as we both adore it. Maybe some day!
      I am spending an hour a day on the book, then when I finish and have a good basis, I will probably enroll in a language course, possibly through the spanish institute which is cheaper than community college. Also, I have joined a group that meets to speak Spanish, but will not attend until my refresher course is over.
      What will you be doing daily to improve your French on a daily basis? I will need ideas once this textbook is finished!

  6. January 2nd, 2010 at 11:18 | #7

    Kristi – right now I’m going to work through a textbook that I already own. I also have an intermediate French CD set that I want to start using once I’ve finished the text book. Another way I want to improve my comprehension is to get French language movies through Netflix to help train my ear to the language. It seems there are many opportunities to be exposed to Spanish in the US. Depending on where you live, often you can get Spanish TV and radio. Some cities also have inexpensive conversational Spanish programs through parks and recreation centers. Gook luck with your studies!

Comments are closed.

What is it about those Italian women? You know the ones I’m talking about: beautiful, sexy, dressed to the nines just to take the kids to the park. They have a certain something that is indefinable. It is in the way they dress, the way they prepare their meals, the way they spend their leisure time.

It is because they know the importance of la bella figura. Roughly translated from Italian, it means putting you best foot forward in everything you do. It means cutting a beautiful figura. The opposite of la bella figura is la brutta figura, which is what someone might say about the falling down drunken guy at the party or the super tackily dressed woman at church. It means ugly figure.

La bella figura is much more than your appearance. It goes much deeper than that. It is about how you act. It is about how you treat others. It is about how you care for yourself, your home and your family. Living a life in line with la bella figura doesn’t take money. In fact, it is more about how to have class without a lot of money.

Someone who exudes la bella figura will have clean, pressed clothes and be well groomed. They will not be rude or sloppy. Their fingernails will be impeccably groomed. Their hair shiny and clean and their shoes will be polished. They will not have stray threads hanging from their suit hems. They will not be driving a car in need of the car wash.

La bella figura means driving that 15 year old car and meticulously cleaning it and caring for it. It means keeping your belongings in good repair. It means taking time to clean your house and not cluttering it up with meaningless objects.

When you focus all your spare energy, time and money on the things that bring you the most amount of pleasure, then you are truly living a life in line with la bella figura. The best part about it is that you don’t have to be Italian to do so. You just have to think like an Italian.

Italian children are raised to present la bella figura in whatever they do. From the time they are small and are groomed perfectly to attend church or school, they know that appearances count. They count because it is the first thing people judge about you. That first impression does matter. Appearances are also important because when you take the time to look nice, you are showing that you care about yourself. When you care enough to look good, it shows you have good healthy self esteem. Nothing is more attractive than self confidence.

In addition, dressing nice also shows respect for others. If you invite people over for dinner and greet them in flip flops, baggy sweats and a stained shirt, it is really disrespectful to them. The same if you dress sloppy to go to church or even to the market. By dressing nicely and being well groomed, you show respect for everyone in your world.

Having la bella figura means presenting yourself in the best light possible in all your interactions.