Nuestras Conversaciones en Skype / Our Skype Conversations

Jessica: Recientemente, una amiga mía me preguntó consejos para llevar a cabo una conversación de intercambio. Y a decir verdad, para las conversaciones con Rober, nunca he pensado mucho en ello, siempre ha habido muchas cosas de las que hablar. ¿Recuerdas al principio las conversaciones y cómo empezamos?

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Early on, we talked a lot about travel, cooking, and music.

Rober: At first I thought it would be more challenging, to start talking for an hour to someone living 5000 miles away, who you didn’t know, not to mention that half the conversation would be in English! But in the end, this was what was most interesting, since we realized we had a lot in common and we could chat about plenty of topics. How do you think having a language partner has helped us to improve our skills?

Jessica: Creo que la consistencia es un factor clave. Además, siempre tenemos un experto a quien podemos acudir con cualquier duda. Vamos a hablar del blog en los próximos posts pero creo que las conversaciones sobre lo que íbamos a escribir eran muy interesantes, tanto cuando empezábamos como cuando se desarrollaba nuestro proyecto. Tuve varios compañeros de conversación antes de hablar con Rober, y creo que hay muchas maneras de hacerlo, pero tener un amigo con un nivel comparable al tuyo es de gran ayuda. Cuando hablas de gramática, es más fácil encontrar conexiones entre los dos idiomas. ¿Cuáles crees que fueron nuestras conversaciones más interesantes? ¿Qué consejos darías a una persona que va a hacer un intercambio?

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Outside of our conversations, we often send signs or ask about expressions we’ve heard. We’ve learned about our own languages in the process of trying to explain grammar rules.

Rober: I love to talk with someone in another other part of the world with a different time zone and to know about daily life there–in some ways it’s something similar to traveling. So, I think our most interesting conversations were about getting to know each other, and about the the lifestyle and culture in our respective cities, as well as our conversations about expressions. I think there are a lot of people who are nervous about talking to someone or don’t even realize it is a possibility. I think if they let down their guard, a lot of interesting conversations could start to flow.

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Exclusive footage of our first photo ever taken: an accidental screenshot on Skype!
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Interview with Jessica: Jewelry Making

This month we’re writing about some of our creative endeavors. Today, Rober interviews Jessica about her jewelry workshop and some of her other creative exploits.  You can read Jessica’s original post about metalworking here.


Rober: Have you ever thought of selling your designs, or do you just like to make them for yourself?

Jessica: Yes, this year I’d like to launch a website and produce enough to sell. I signed up for a First Friday showing at Bathing Beauties (the bead store) in October, where I’ll be able to display my jewelry for a night. And I’ll probably try to participate in some of the craft fairs that happen around the holidays. Hopefully, I’ll have a website up and running some time before that, but it’s nice to have the deadline.  

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So far I’ve just given jewelry as gifts–this was a pendant for a Christmas gift for my mom.

R: How much time you spend weekly in your workshop?

J: I spend a few hours a few days a week right now. I would like to be working more, and I think making the workshop itself more efficient would help a lot with that. I currently spend too much time looking for tools and materials, so I need to get it better organized so I can just sit down and get to work. I think ideally I would be spending 15-20 hours a week.

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When I made a few mistakes on some earrings I was making for my aunt, I made it into a pendant for myself instead. 
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A pendant I made in one of my jewelry classes to practice setting non-round or oval stones.

R: Have you attended any other courses like clay classes or any others?

J: I took a few sessions of metalworking classes in San Francisco just before I moved. The second class I took was from the owner of the studio, it was a self-guided class and I basically just asked him what he thought would be useful things to learn how to do. These classes were one of the things I was saddest to leave when we moved because I could have learned a lot more from him. Since you asked about clay, I took a clay class with my mom when I first moved to Missoula. I like working with clay a lot–similar to jewelry you have a lot of leeway to change a project along the way when things don’t go how you expect.

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Boxes I made during my ceramics class last year.

 

Taller de Joyas

A finales del año pasado, organicé mi taller de joyas en una habitación en el piso de arriba. Tiene mi vista favorita de la casa, donde puedo ver la puesta del sol por la tarde, que es cuando suelo trabajar más a menudo. Actualmente, estoy trabajando en una línea de piezas a base de círculos y triángulos. El concepto de diseño es sencillo, pero hay muchas posibilidades para dar rienda suelta a la creatividad.

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Jugando con ideas para un diseño

Tengo suerte de vivir a unas pocas manzanas de Bathing Beauties Beads, la tienda de cuentas y otras cosas para hacer joyas. Además de tener una gran variedad de gemas y piedras semipreciosas, están organizadas por colores,en pequeños platos muy bonitos. La experiencia de estar allí es muy agradable–a lo mejor demasiado agradable–porque antes de darme cuenta, me he gastado mucho dinero. ¡Esas pequeñas perlas van sumando!

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Por lo general, Missoula es un lugar excelente para hacer cosas artesanales. Hay un estudio de arcilla, un centro de arte para los niños, muchas clases para principiantes, y mucha gente creativa. Me gusta ya que existen diferentes oportunidades a las que te puedes apuntar, pero la comunidad no es tan grande como para que dichas clases y talleres se llenen de gente ni de proyectos.

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Adventures in Requena (Part 2: Parties and Paella)

Cena en casa de Pili

Jessica: El fin de semana empezó con una cena en la casa de Pili, la madre de Diana. Tuvimos que hacer una tarta sin gluten para la fiesta del día siguiente, y Pili preparó una selección de tapas para la cena: patatas bravas, gambas al ajillo, ajoarriero, y esgarraet, un plato cuyo ingrediente principal son los pimientos. Nos fuimos a casa con una selección de semillas de su colección para plantarlas en nuestro huerto misouliano, pero no sin antes terminar la cena con tres chupitos. ¡Fue un gran comienzo del finde!

Rober: When I’m traveling, one of the things I like to discover is the local gastronomy, so we wanted to show our friends some of the dishes we usually eat. Some days we prepared them at home, other days we went to a restaurant where we could try them. But we were really lucky because my mother-in-law, Pili, invited us over to try several tapas she prepares the traditional way. She is an excellent chef. We helped her make ajoaceite (aioli) to accompany the patatas bravas, and I think the result was pretty good!

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Testing the aioli./Probando el ajoaceite.

Cumpleaños de Rodri

Jessica: Por suerte para nosotros, había una fiesta sorpresa para un amigo de Rober y Diana, así que tuvimos la oportunidad de conocer a varios de sus amigos y pasar el sábado comiendo y bailando con un grupo de rumba en vivo. Después del anochecer y de una presentación de fotos para el cumpleañero, la fiesta se calmó por un rato y lo pasamos muy bien hablando en grupos pequeños. La fiesta terminó, por lo menos para nosotros, con unas pizzas por encargo y bebiendo vino en el porrón.

Rober: Everything looked great for the party on the second Saturday with Jessica and Jacob; a big paella for about 70 people, nice weather, really good musicians on the stage, and friends all around, some of whom I hadn’t seen for a long time. Nothing could spoil the party! My friends and I were completely amazed when Jessica and Jacob started dancing Lindy Hop, so cool!

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Paella time!/¡La hora de la paella!
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After lunch, the band started to play./Después de comer, el grupo empezó a tocar.
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We danced away the afternoon./Bailamos durante toda la tarde.

Domingo en la Caseta

Jessica: Creo que el día que comimos con la familia fue mi favorito. Fuimos a la caseta de la familia de Diana para disfrutar del buen tiempo y de la compañía de toda la familia de Rober. Cuando llegamos, la paella ya estaba en marcha, el cocinero Richar vigilaba el paellero, y mientras Pili nos hizo un recorrido por la casa. La paella de Richar estuvo fenomenal y después de comer, dimos un paseo por la zona buscando espárragos silvestres.

Rober: Diana’s family’s country house is amazing. It’s an old hamlet just five minutes’ drive from Requena, where her mom lived for several years growing up. It has a well, an ancient oven and even an underground shelter from the Spanish Civil War. Diana and I meet here with both of our families once in a while, especially in the spring and summer, to eat and spend time together. On this particular Sunday the family increased, thanks to the presence of a couple of Missoulians. I’m glad that they could meet so many of my relatives.

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A photo with the chef./Una foto con el cocinero.
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Paella almost ready./La paella casi lista.
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Heading down into the shelter./Bajando al refugio.
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After lunch, we gathered for a game of pollito inglés./Después de comer, nos reunimos para jugar al pollito inglés.

Fiesta Flamenca

Jessica: El Martes, Rober organizó una clase de flamenco con su amiga, Inma. Aprendí bailar la primera sevillana y unos pasos de rumba, lo cual fue muy útil durante la semana siguiente cuando fuimos a una fiesta organizada por Inma y su pareja, Josevi, en su bar de Requena, El Bicho. Cuando terminamos la comida y los cubatas estaban servidos, retiraron las mesas y empezaron a aparecer los instrumentos. A Jacob y a mí nos encantó ver tocar a Rober y a sus amigos músicos (algunos de Gypsy y Los Gatos Rumberos), con todo el mundo bailando y dando palmas. ¡Cómo moló esta fiesta!
Rober: We don’t usually have as many parties as we did while Jessica and Jacob were here, but by chance, it was an especially festive few days. At first, I thought that there might be too many parties in too short a time, but now I think it was perfect because we all had a blast. The flamenco party was the last day we spent together. The food was delicious (paella again, haha), as were the wines and desserts. After dancing and playing music all afternoon, we went to have a drink. I don’t think any of the four of us wanted to go home because we knew it was our last night together.

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Rober organized a Flamenco lesson with his friend./Rober organizó una clase de flamenco con su amiga.
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Once again, we danced away the afternoon!/Y de nuevo, bailamos durante toda la tarde!
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Let’s do this again!/¡Repitamos esto!

Algunas Actividades en Requena (Parte 1, Paseos y Visitas)

El Parque de Bomberos y La Villa con “el Bombero”

Jessica: Rober nos explicó que en su entorno hay varias personas que se llaman también Rober– conocimos al menos a cinco de ellos. Para evitar confusión, utilizan apodos, y estuvimos varias veces durante el viaje con el Rober conocido como “el Bombero”. El Bombero vive en La Villa en una casa la que ha remodelado a su manera con resultados impresionantes. La casa, como otras en esta zona se sitúa encima de una cueva–su cueva también es impresionante, pero de otra forma. Nos lo pasamos muy bien con el Bombero las veces que coincidimos con él durante nuestro viaje, pero sobre todo me encantó la visita al parque de bomberos, donde me deslicé por el poste, me probé su traje, y tomamos café acompañado de panal de miel en la sala de descanso.

Rober: When I told Rober, a.k.a Bombero, that my friends from Montana were coming to Requena, he asked, “Would you like me to show you guys the Fire Station?”

It isn’t the typical place that you show to your guests when they come to Requena, but I asked Jessica her opinion, and she was completely on board. It was a really interesting outing for us. Sometimes when you are traveling you have more fun and discover more authentic places when you do things a little outside the box.

Bombero also showed us his neighborhood, La Villa. I had been in his home, but not the cave underneath it, and I was amazed when we saw it.

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“Want to try on the suit?”/”¿Te quieres probar el traje?”
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The cave under Bombero’s house has huge vessels once used for wine and olive oil, and stairways where it used to connect to a network of caves under La Villa./La cueva bajo la casa del Bombero tiene grandes vasijas que se utilizaban para guardar vino o aceite de oliva, y unas escaleras para conectar una red de cuevas bajo La Villa.

Paseos en el Campo

Jessica: A Jacob y a mí siempre nos gusta caminar durante nuestros viajes y Requena tiene un paisaje muy bonito para hacerlo. Fue divertido ver en persona los sitios de los  escribió Rober en sus posts del año pasado. Un dia, andamos con Richar, el hermano de Rober, su amiga Cristina, y su perro Draco, hacia San Blas y el río Magro. El jueves, después de trabajar, Rober nos llevó a Chera, donde caminamos a unas pozas y por la orilla del pantano. Mientras se ponía el sol, fuimos a una catarata, y apenas con la luz suficiente dimos un pequeño paseo para subir a una cueva que hay en el mismo sitio.

Rober: One afternoon, Jessica and Jacob and I met up to go for a stroll near Requena, starting from my place and heading towards the northern part of town, in the countryside. We had a nice stroll because the weather was really good and we could take pictures and chat quietly while we enjoyed the views. I also wanted them to visit the area of Chera, which has a big lake and several swimming holes. It’s a beautiful outdoor venue worth seeing for that alone, but is also a common place for people from Requena to go in the summer to swim, or for Easter to camp, as my friends and I used to do when we were teenagers.

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A quick little pose on the rocks for Día a Day./Un pequeño y rápido posado en las rocas para Día a Day.
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On the shores of the reservoir./En la orilla del pantano

Cofrentes

Jessica: La noche que llegamos a Requena, estuvimos riendo durante varias horas con Rober y Diana, intercambiando refranes de nuestros respectivos idiomas. Uno de los españoles, “A quién madruga, Dios le ayuda,” resultó cierto el siguiente sábado cuando madrugamos para llegar a tiempo para una ruta fluvial en barco por el río Júcar. Después del barco, paseamos por Cofrentes y tomamos una cerveza en una terraza con vistas al río Cabriel, ya que en Cofrentes confluyen los ríos Cabriel y Júcar.

Rober: Diana and I wanted to visit the Júcar river route some time ago, so we decided to wait for our Missoula friends to do it. It was a great idea, the canyons around the river are breathtaking, and the tour passes by Castillo de Chirel, so you can see it from the ship. The route goes from Cofrentes to Cortes de Pallás. I was wishing that the tour had a stop in Cortes de Pallás so we could get out and visit this village, but no such luck.

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Who’s driving this thing?/¿Quién conduce esto?
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Beers on the terrace./Unas cervezas en la terraza

Visitas a las Bodegas

Jessica: Rober había organizado la visita a dos catas de vino, una de ellas con la explicación de la bodega y todo el proceso de hacer vino. Las dos fueron de las mejores visitas a bodegas a las que he asistido, con respeto a la información sobre cómo catar el vino correctamente. Aprendimos cómo distinguir los aromas a roble y frutas, y cómo averiguar los grados de alcohol de un vino. También nos enseñaron a calcular la edad del vino por su color, y probamos vino de Bobal (la famosa uva autóctona de Requena) en las tres fases en las que se caracteriza un vino en cuanto al tiempo de maduración: joven, crianza, y reserva.

Rober: According to one of our tour guides, there are more than 100 wineries in Requena. I didn’t expect such a high number! One of the things that I like about having guests is that you go on outings in hometown and find out things that you took for granted. We visited an underground winery located in El Rebollar, a village near Requena. All of their wines are organic and the process for making it is traditional. We bought several delicious wines to drink during the week. We also visited Ferevin, an association of almost 30 important wineries in the area. Nuria, the woman who works there, and her colleague, gave us a lot of information about wines. We tasted 4 different wines, including one sweet one, and a couple of shots.

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Ferevin is in La Villa and serves wines from all around Requena./Ferevin está en La Villa y tienen vinos de toda la zona de Requena.

 

Interview with Jessica: Comedy in Missoula

We think conversation is one of the most fun parts of language learning. On Thursdays, we switch languages and ask each other questions to learn more about Tuesday’s topic. Today, Rober interviews Jessica about Missoula’s comedy scene. You can read Jessica’s original post here.


Rober: Are there any well-known comedians in Missoula? How did they get started with these types of events?

Jessica: There are several people who are well-known in the comedy community, many of whom have been involved for a while and participate in as many shows as they can. John Howard started the Thursday open mic 8 years ago. That was a jumping off point for some of the other comics I talked to, like Sugar Bush who went with a group of friends. Charley Macorn said they got their start by “crashing a music open mic back in 2006.” A lot of the comics had a background in acting improv and that led them to try jokes in a more planned setting.

R: In Spain there are often controversies when someone makes a bad joke about groups of people. How do Americans manage these kind of jokes in bar shows?

J: In my experience, comedy shows tend to be closely monitored because comedy often walks a fine line between funny and uncomfortable and the best comics mix those feelings and know how to play with that balance, but it’s easy for things to go off the rails or for someone in the audience to get too rowdy. So the clubs always have ways to either talk to the people discreetly, or often the comedians will take charge by making fun of the person who said something disrespectful. Of course, at an open mic where the organizers don’t necessarily know what material people plan to use, they have methods for keeping people responsible for their actions. Sometimes they rearrange the order so that somebody rude is followed by a comedian who can roast them, often a comedian directly targeted by the joke.

R: Are there any issues with freedom of expression in your country with comedians, musicians and artists in general? Is there any kind of censorship?

J: They U.S. is very protective of free speech, so the government can’t persecute people for what they say or sing on stage. This is why it surprised me when we talked about Dani Mateo, that he faced legal repercussions for blowing his nose on the flag. Of course, nothing protects an artist from twitter mobs.

R: Which of the shows you talk in your post have you attended and how was it?

J: I went to a showcase at the Roxy a few years ago, so I was familiar with some of the comics I talked to over the phone. I wasn’t sure what to expect since they had a fairly long lineup and the sets were 5 minutes. I think 5 minute sets are super hard. You have to set up your jokes and get the punchlines out faster than if you have people’s attention for a longer time. At any rate, it exceeded my expectations, I laughed and that’s really all you’re looking for. There were some really polished and well delivered sets and there were others who seemed like they were newer to comedy. My conversations with the comedians this week made me appreciate how much they are doing to facilitate new faces on the scene and I’m looking forward to supporting some of these in the future. I will have to arrive earlier, though! The reason I wasn’t able to attend a show for this article was that the one I went to was sold out.

R: Who is your favorite comedian or comedy show in your country and why?

J: When I lived in Sunnyvale, California, south of San Francisco, there was a club called Rooster T. Feathers. We used to go there quite a bit because they were close, had really reasonably priced shows, and most importantly, brought in comics who were quite good, but not the most famous. Sometimes they were well-known in other countries or other parts of the US, so it was a good way to learn about people I wouldn’t otherwise have come across. We saw Wil Anderson, an Australian comic, twice at this club. He tells a lot of stories that are fast paced, he almost kind of yells them. I always think that one key component of comedy is how you set up and break expectations, so I think the fact that he is from Australia sometimes makes him funnier to me because he uses words I wouldn’t think of with intonation I’m not accustomed to.

La Comedia en Missoula

Hay elementos de competición en todos los campos de arte – para los mejores bolos, o los mejores papeles, o las mejores conexiones – pero los humoristas de Missoula, como dijo uno de ellos, han “hallado una manera de hacer de la comedia un deporte de equipo.” Sabía que había una gran variedad de eventos de comedia regularmente en Missoula, pero no me di cuenta de que la mayoría están orientados a alentar a la gente que nunca se ha subido a un escenario.

Missoula’s HomeGrown Comedy fue creado hace 8 años cuando empezaron a organizar micrófonos abiertos en el Union, un popular bar de Missoula. John Howard, uno de los fundadores del grupo, me dijo que la constancia ha sido la clave. El primer jueves de este mes, habían 33 comediantes. Este evento sigue siendo popular ya que es el espacio perfecto para probar chistes nuevos.

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Algunas veces es algo que no puedes controlar, como el ruido en un bar o una mesa de gente que no deja de hablar durante tu monólogo. A veces es que la broma no aterriza con un público en particular y tienes que improvisar. Howard dirige unos talleres gratuitos, una media hora de escritura y sketches, y una hora y media de improvisación. Fracasar frente al público es una parte importante de ser monologuista, y Howard dice que la improvisación enseña a fracasar.

En otro lugar, otra noche diferente, Sarah Aswell, a cargo del grupo Revival Comedy, dirige un taller para mujeres y personas no binarias. El taller consiste en un micrófono abierto que se realiza cada mes en el bar The Badlander. En el listado de apuntados para el siguiente espectáculo, los participantes del taller tienen prioridad. El anuncio del taller carece de toda presión y dice así – ¡Son bienvenidos los (actuales o los que aspiran a ser) monologuistas, actores, escritores, podcasters, artistas, bailarines, improvisadores, y demás! Es una manera de animar a la gente que nunca se presentaría y les da la oportunidad de subirse al escenario inmediatamente después de dar el paso e ir al taller.

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Otro humorista, Sugar Bush, a cargo del grupo Highline Comedy dijo que algo único de esta comunidad es que pone mucha atención en ser inclusivo y respetuoso con las minorías. Como presentador tiene una habilidad especial para manejar el tono de un programa. Siempre presta atención a las presentaciones de los humoristas, y si hay una broma que le encanta, la añade a sus propios comentarios durante su turno entre monologuistas. Igualmente, si hay alguien que  hace bromas de mal gusto hacia algún colectivo, Sugar Bush o cualquier presentador tienen la última palabra.

great northern barComo son inclusivos, han desarrollado una comunidad de personas con experiencias variadas tanto en el público como entre los humoristas. Muchos de los humoristas están involucrados en la comunidad y destinan los beneficios de sus actuaciones a alguna causa en particular. Charley Macorn, por ejemplo, mencionó que efectúa una recaudación anual de fondos para jóvenes LGBTIQ de la zona. El año pasado hicieron un espectáculo y la rifa de una tarta por esta causa. Este año, hicieron un espectáculo destinado a la prevención del suicidio.

Siempre me ha interesado probar en el mundo de la comedia. ¡Me parece que los organizadores de eventos relacionados con la comedia de Missoula están haciendo que desaparezcan todas mis excusas!

Interview with Jessica: Winter Activities

We think conversation is one of the most fun parts of language learning. On Thursdays, we switch languages and ask each other questions to learn more about Tuesday’s topic. Today, Rober interviews Jessica about Montana winters and options for getting outside even when it’s snowing. You can read Jessica’s original post about cross-country skiing here.


Rober: As we learned in your post, the winter can last as much as 6 months in your area, but how much time is there usually snow on the ground? How is life with such a long winter?

Jessica: My first year living in Montana, it snowed on the last day of school in June! It didn’t stick of course. While it’s common for there to be snows in early November and late April, it’s rare for it to feel like winter the whole time in between. A few weekends ago, it was warm enough to read on the porch for several hours during the day, and there are usually only a few weeks where getting outside really requires bundling up. Otherwise it’s easy to at least walk or run outside. So, life with a longish winter isn’t so bad. We usually have a solid 3-4 months with snow on the ground, where it doesn’t melt in between snowfalls.

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The first snow this winter in early November

R: What other activities can you enjoy in the snow? Which of them have you done before?

J: Pretty much anything snow-related is a possibility here. Like I mentioned skiing, both downhill and cross country, are really popular. Snowshoeing is also a great way to get out into the mountains. When I was younger, did a lot of ice skating and sledding. There was a hill across the street where I lived as a high schooler that was fun when you just wanted to get outside, and a quick drive would get you to a bigger hill with more options for sledding. And while it’s not exactly a snow activity, I really like walking/running in the winter. Actually, in our very first post for this blog, I talked about running at the equestrian park across from my parents’ house.

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One of my winter walks at the equestrian park

R: Are there ski resorts in Missoula or do you usually ski in the countryside?

J: There are several ski resorts in Montana, and we have one downhill ski area near Missoula. I haven’t been there yet. I’ve heard that there are not a lot of routes for beginners, so I guess that has deterred me a little bit, but it’s only about half an hour from town, so it’s too close to pass up forever. So far I’ve only cross country skiied on groomed trails, but my brother was telling me about renting back country skis last year and exploring in Glacier National Park, so there are a lot of options, both at established areas and in the wilderness. Of course, going off the beaten path takes more preparation and in some cases, more knowledge and safety training.

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Lubrecht ski area, about 35 minutes from Missoula

R: Are there other activities you can do at or around Lolo Pass?

J: When we finished skiing there a few weeks ago, we headed to a hot springs a little farther down the road. You take about a 20 minute hike from the parking area, and then you start seeing pools scattered along the edge of the river. There were several people there the day we went, but we managed to find a little pool of our own. I think it was a cooler than the main pool, but we were able to dig away some of the sand around the spring and warm it up. It was a perfect end to skiing, minus the fact that I forgot the towels and putting on damp clothes in the snow is never nice!  

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View of the snowy river on our way to the hot springs.

R: Did you miss the snow and the Montana winter when you were in San Francisco, or did you prefer its mild winters?

J: I didn’t miss the snow at all, but I’m loving it now that I’m back. I really liked San Francisco weather, because you so rarely had to think about it. I just always brought a jacket with me. But seasons are pretty fun, and so far, I’m not tired of winter. Ask me again in a month!

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The last of the snow last winter in April.

 

Una Actividad Invernal: Esquí de Fondo

En Montana, durante un año particularmente frío, el invierno puede durar hasta seis meses, desde noviembre hasta abril. Es bastante tiempo y la mejor manera de evitar la melancolía de esos días cortos, es salir y disfrutar de la temporada. Algunas personas patinan o juegan al hockey, pero el pasatiempo más común con diferencia es esquiar. Como se aproximaba el aniversario desde que nos mudamos a Montana, sabíamos que era el momento ideal para subirnos al carro.

20190122_080100En navidad, Jacob me regaló una tarjeta de regalo para la tienda de actividades al aire libre donde alquilan esquís. Fijamos la meta de gastar toda la suma de la tarjeta en esquiar, lo que ascendía a cuatro días.

Dada su popularidad, suponía que podría gustarme esquiar, pero todavía tenía mis dudas. La última vez que esquié fue durante un viaje de trabajo. En esta ocasión creo que los esquís que alquilé eran demasiado largos, porque no podía dejar de cruzarlos. Estuvimos esquiando en un campo donde al mismo tiempo habían trineos tirados por perros. Muchas veces, teníamos que hacernos a un lado para que pudieran pasar los trineos. Casi cada vez que esto ocurría los saludabamos con la mano, se me cruzaban los esquís, y acababa en el suelo.

El primer viaje del año a la nieve fue una experiencia completamente diferente. Justo antes de año nuevo, hospedamos en casa a nuestros amigos de Nueva Orleans. Decidimos ir a Lolo Pass, que está a una hora de Missoula.   

20181230_103918-1Lo que encontramos fue un paraíso invernal. Había huellas recientes y nieve en las ramas de los árboles. A juzgar por el número de coches que encontramos en el estacionamiento, podrías pensar que había gente por todas partes, pero a parte de los cruces de los senderos, parecía que estábamos solos en un lugar remoto. Nunca había visto tanta nieve virgen.

Me gustaría esquiar cuesta abajo algún día, pero tengo mis sospechas de que el esquí de fondo es la actividad que repetiré muchas veces durante los inviernos largos. Me gusta que hay una amplia variedad de ubicaciones muy cercanas a Missoula (incluso algunas justo al lado de la ciudad), y que no tienes que comprar un boleto del remonte, así que no hay problema si quieres ir por la mañana y regresar a la hora de almorzar.

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Mientras que escribo, hay una tormenta de invierno con mucho viento y nieve soplando lateralmente, pero la mayoría de los días de invierno aquí son bastante moderados. Claro, no hace la misma temperatura que en la playa, pero con un par de guantes calientes y calcetines de lana, puedes disfrutar de todo el día en la naturaleza y tener una buena sesión de ejercicio al mismo tiempo. No es nada que la mayoría de los “Missoulianos” no hayan descubierto antes.

Interview with Jessica: Dancing in Missoula

We think conversation is one of the most fun parts of language learning. On Thursdays, we switch languages and ask each other questions to learn more about Tuesday’s topic. Today, Rober interviews Jessica about her resolution to dance more. You can read Jessica’s original post about her dance and improv goals here.

Featured image courtesy of Neva Oliver


Rober: Do you prefer to teach or to take dance classes? Which of these is most interesting for you as a dancer?

Jessica: Up until recently I’ve preferred taking classes rather than teaching them, but in the last few years the idea of teaching has gotten more attractive. One thing I liked about teaching Pilates to individual clients was that I didn’t have to do a lot of preparation beyond thinking of a concept I wanted to work on. A dance class takes a lot more prep work in terms of coming up with phrases and picking music, and the thought of running a drop-in class where you don’t know who will come, is more intimidating. However, I do love teaching movement and teaching dance is a skill I would like to develop. I’ve taken a pretty wide variety of classes in the last few years and I’ve seen how many different ways there are to organize a class, so now it feels like a fun challenge.

Modern dance can vary tremendously and I’ve always struggled to describe it to people. (source)

R: How do you describe the type of dance you usually do? Do you like to dance any other types?

J: I don’t usually feel like I describe it very well. Modern dance developed in the early 20th century at least in part as a rejection to ballet’s set movement vocabulary and restrictive costumes. I think it’s difficult to understand modern dance without having at least some idea of what came before and what it is not. Similarly, the dance that you find in contemporary classes is heavily influenced by postmodernism, which, again, is defined by a rejection to the structures and artifice of the modern dance that came before. Really, the main thing that unites the type of dance classes I often come across is an attempt to push boundaries and break previous habits. It can be a little pretentious feeling, but it’s also really fun to explore on a theoretical level. As far as aesthetic, contemporary dance involves a lot of weight shifts, and level changes (i.e. moving down to the floor and back up). I’ve danced a lot of other types of dance over time. I really like taking ballet classes and in the last few years, Jacob and I have been into Lindy Hop.  

R: Does Missoula have any upcoming/recent events related to dance?

J: Yes, there are quite a few performances and social dances that take place on a regular basis. The day after I got back from New York, there was a film festival, curated and produced by Bare Bait Dance, Missoula’s only professional dance company. They accepted films from all over the world, and while about a third of the shorts were from the United States, there were several from other countries… the Netherlands, Canada, Spain, and others. I’m a big fan of dance for film because I think it adds a lot to dance to be able to add a concrete setting. In addition, dance films often feature a wider range of ages, bodies, and and dance styles than you would see in an average live dance concert.

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The program for Kinetoscope doubled as a ballot to vote for your favorite film.

R: Where can you take dance classes in Missoula?

J: The pickings are pretty slim for adults if you’re looking for ballet or contemporary classes, just a few ballet classes and the Bare Bait company class. However, there are several other types of dance classes, such as West African, Argentine Tango, and Swing. There is one dance center owned by one of my dance teachers from high school. And there are several studios for kids and teens where adults sometimes take classes. Finally, the University of Montana has a strong dance program that sometimes offers classes for the community.

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During a class at Mountain Dance Fest at the University this summer (source: Neva Oliver)

R: Do you have any other resolutions for this year apart from the dance ones?

J: I do, but my dance one is the most fleshed out now thanks to writing this week’s article! At the end of last year, I set up a metalsmithing workspace at my house, so one of my resolutions this year is to improve my jewelry making skills and sell some jewelry at local events. Another resolution, along the same lines as the dance one, is to work on improvising on the piano. I’ve played on and off since I was in middle school and while I’m ok at playing from sheet music, I would like to learn how to play in social settings so I could jam with other musicians.

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The beginnings of my jewelry workspace