Years and age

What does it mean to you to get a year older? Do you feel the difference from the day before your birthday? In many cultures there are different celebrations for that special day.  Some people like to celebrate their birthday, while others prefer to forget or actually do forget it. In English the word means ‘the day when you were born’, same as in German ‘Geburtstag’, while in Spanish we simply refer to completing another year, counting up or down, ‘Cumpleaños’, one more or one less…

Birthday cake

An Austrian birthday cake

On that day, if you celebrate, you  become king or queen or star for a day. People congratulate you for being born (they should congratulate your mother…) and give you presents, not always. In Germany, for example, if you go out with your friends you are the one who should pay and they bring you the presents. In Mexico you should’t pay for your meal and usually everyone contributes to pay the bill. Many of my colleagues in Munich used to bake a cake and bring it to the office or to school. It is a real honor to bake the cake for the day. You may believe it or not, but in the IT companies I worked for the men were proud bakers, while many of the women simply bought the cakes. I did’t ask why… Men had the recipes from their mums or grandmas and I found that quite nice! The German culture is a cake culture or should I say a self-baked cake culture?  I wasn’t that good at baking and had only two fool proof recipes, but my mother-in-law had about ten times more!

Here in Mexico, you rather buy the cakes in the bakeries.  After more than 20 birthdays out of Mexico I really enjoyed this one. I didn’t have to bake and didn’t pay my meal 😉 Over here we usually sing the famous song “Las Mañanitas” that mentions the day that you were born was the day when all flowers were born and the nightingales all sang… very poetic! However, the poetic part gets lost when it is your neighbors who have engaged a Mariachi group to sing “Las Mañanitas” to someone in their family or to their sweetheart at 5 or 6 am when the sun sets and the birthday is starting!

In Germany there is a special hymn “Hoch soll er/sie leben, drei mal hoch!” Something like with honour should he or she live, heigh up, three times up! And if you’re not that big and heavy you may be thrown up in the air three times!! You may be very familiar with birthday parties in the US, there are many films and TV series that show you the celebration. I remember that the tradition of cake and candles is an American one… I hope I’m not wrong.

This year was a very special birthday for me. I felt that I had a accomplished a major task. I have closed a big cycle in my life and have started a new one. It’s been like beginning to write a new book, with some old and many new characters, some good, some mean… 😉 and in a different surrounding. The book I finished, was an exciting story with a positive ending. The one I’m starting is one with a good beginning and I hope it won’t get very rough (accidentado). There will always be laughter and happiness, sadness and tears, and all those emotions that make life worth living it. I’m very excited of what this new era will bring and I’ll keep you posted 😉

p.s. I like to celebrate with family and friends, but I don’t like to confess my age. However, there are always good schoolmates who remind you of it and of those good old times in Kindergarden posting the exact dates on your Facebook page…

La medicina azteca, envidia de europeos

Desde la capital auteca 😉 un artículo muy informativo. Gracias, Francisco.

franciscojaviertostado.com

4379483934_0ca9fb6a94_z Máscara azteca en el Museo Británico.

Cuando Hernán Cortés contactó con las civilizaciones mesoamericanas no solo se sorprendería por su cultura -tan diferente a la suya- sino que comprobó in situ la medicina que practicaban.  Lejos de ser tan primitiva como podía esperar era en muchos aspectos más avanzada que la del viejo continente.

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Una prueba sencillamente genial: el test de APGAR

Esta vez una entrada en español, pensando en mis hermanas y sus bebés de 10 y de 8. 😉

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recien nacido apgar

A lo largo de la historia, durante el parto la atención se ha centrado en su mayor parte en la salud de las madres y no tanto en los recién nacidos. La elevada mortalidad neonatal, asumida como algo difícil de evitar, hacía que la atención al bebé fuera tan básica como retirarle las secreciones, limpiarle y dárselo a la madre. Si la criatura presentaba algún problema, poco se podía hacer. Será a principios del siglo XX cuando la mortalidad infantil comience a disminuir, pero cincuenta años después se ideará un sencillo y a la vez brillante test, que salvaría (y sigue haciéndolo) millones de vidas en todo el mundo: el test de APGAR. Muchos habréis oído hablar de él pero, ¿cuántos se han preguntado en qué consiste? Permitidme que en las próximas líneas os intente dar a conocer su historia porque, aunque la tecnología ha avanzado, esta simple prueba sigue siendo indispensable.

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Words by Blair Gaulton

Toutons Tubas and Other Tales

Words
Can cocoon and mislead.
Harm those yet unborn;
cover our world
in hatred’s storm.

words can
fuel love and wondrous deeds
that will be told for generations to come
they are the seeds
inspiring others to do the same
to bring our world back
from its destructive track.

May all our words
inspire others in a good way
so one day
they can say
we helped to spark their flame
to build a better world again.
(C)BJG(Blair Gaulton)Feb 2015

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Una taza de chocolate, por favor

franciscojaviertostado.com

El metate, o piedra de moler el cacao, muy usado en España hasta el siglo XIX, en lo que se denominaban «chocolates de brazo» o «chocolate a la piedra».

España, siglo XVIII. El molendero recorría la geografía del país cargando una piedra curva sobre su espalda. Tras llegar a un pueblo cercano a Madrid se disponía a moler, arrodillado, sobre la misma piedra, las semillas del cacao. Tras mucho esfuerzo, extraía una masa líquida conocida como pasta de cacao. Después, en un jardín señorial, unos sirvientes lo mezclarían con vainilla, canela y azúcar, convirtiéndose en una fina pasta. Tras calentarlo en una vasija de cobre se vertía en una chocolatera, de porcelana o plata para servirse después en las jícaras, unas tazas que se disponían sobre mancerinas de porcelana, una bandeja inventada por don Pedro Álvarez de Toledo, marqués de Mancera, para que el chocolate no se derramase. Así se…

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Two beer, or not two beer

Para acompañar la comida y el actual fútbol 🙂

franciscojaviertostado.com

Según un papiro encontrado en Egipto del año 2.800 a.C. se arrestó a un conductor de carros que conduciendo borracho chocó contra una estatua de la diosa Athor. Encontrándole culpable, se le colgó de la puerta de la taberna donde le vendieron la cerveza, hasta que los animales carroñeros acabaron con él.

Este es el primer accidente registrado provocado por un estado de embriaguez.

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El comienzo

Pues bien, al fin me he decidido a comenzar mi blog. Es difícil decidir qué decir y qué callar. Me pregunto si habrá alguien al que le interese lo que opino…
Sin embargo, me parece interesante compartir lo qué he visto, leído, escuchado, comido y quizás comprado recientemente.
Esta primera entrada será muy escueta aunque ya me estoy imaginando mis próximos comentarios.
Ciao!