General Non-Fiction posted May 15, 2019

This work has reached the exceptional level
For Lisa May


by Maria Jose Garcia

On September 23rd, 1964 something great happened in Spain. Do you know what it was? No? It's obvious. I was born! Jokes apart, I'd like to tell you a bit about the place where I was born.

I guess most of you know my country as a tourist destination. And I'm not surprised, we have warm weather and wonderful beaches. We also have monumental cities and beautiful landscapes.

Spain is a land of contrasts. There are deserts (some westerns were filmed in Almeria) and there are also green areas similar to England in the North.

Spanish people, in general, are friendly and will welcome you with open arms.

We are smart and also cunning. During the credit crunch, many families were hit hard, but they survived because that's what Spaniards do (the methods used were not always above board though...).

Spanish cuisine is also great... If you don't count mine. I'm a terrible cook. When you visit, make sure you try Spanish omelette, paella, gazpacho and cocido, to mention but a few of our best known dishes.

My country has produced some of the greatest artists in the world. I know you have all heard of Cervantes and Don Quixote. Camilo Jose Cela, a 20th century novelist got the Nobel Prize for Literature.

I'm sure you also know two of our greatest painters: Picasso and Dali. By the way, did you know there's a Dali Museum next to the river Thames?

Two Spanish scientists, Severo Ochoa and Ramon y Cajal, are also Nobel Laureates (Medicine).

The first thing some foreigners say when I tell them I'm Spanish, however, is 'Ah, yes, like Nadal.' It used to be Julio Iglesias...

When I was fifteen and in Scotland, somebody asked me if we had washing machines in Spain. Fortunately, I was too young to feel offended.

Spain is a modern country, but the recent budget cuts mean that our wonderful NHS has suffered and so has the educational system.

One thing that has improved enormously in the past few years, however, is the teaching of English. Now we have state-funded bilingual schools and I hope the next generations will be able to speak better English.

An interesting piece of trivia: we've won the Eurovision song contest only twice. You can listen to one of the songs in the video below.

I have to confess I'm not very patriotic. I feel more English than Spanish, but this is a beautiful country. Ask my daughter if you don't believe me. She's in love with Madrid.


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