Tag Archives: magic

Pass The Cambridge Proficiency In English Exam: Check

6 Jan

(Number 5 on the list)
In 2015 I gave myself a useful present: a 40-hour course to prepare myself for the Proficiency in English Exam.

I did this for three reasons:
• I love English.
• I´m an English teacher, but not a native speaker. So that certificate will be a great help when I start looking for a job again.
• I´m often asked to prepare people for language exams, so I thought it would be a useful experience doing an exam myself.

So that´s how I got to spend eight Saturdays in a row bent over linguistic exercises. My fellow students were a bunch of bright and brilliant twenty-somethings and one sweet-tempered middle-aged woman. Most of us were strangers to each other, but again that Spanish magic happened, the way I´ve seen it happen so many times before. You put some Spaniards together and within a few hours they will have managed, with the skillful use of casual conversation, to tie a group together that is ready to collectively celebrate Christmas, New Year´s and each other´s birthdays. Whenever I get to be part of that experience, I always feel blessed for living here.

Our teacher was a loveable Scottish girl, who repeatedly expressed how sorry she felt for having us all locked up inside on a Saturday evening. But those were needles worries, because it always seemed to fly by.

The exam took place at the end of November, in a fancy hotel. It took just about the whole day, hours and hours of intense concentration. I was tired but in full Border Collie mode, so I managed all right.

Today is Three Kings´ Day, which is a big thing in Spain. The Three Wise Men bring presents to all those supposedly well-behaved children, the way Santa Claus/Father Christmas does in the English-speaking world, and Sinterklaas in Belgium, Germany and The Netherlands. But apparently those magic kings also have some leverage with the people at Cambridge, because we´ve just found out that our results are already online.

And I passed!

Thank you, Melchior, Gaspar and Balthasar!

On the Existence Of Magic

18 Dec

My daughter has a few recurrent questions. Some are very easy to answer (“Can I have chewing gum today, as an exception?” -No), others are more of a challenge (“What happens after we die?” -Eeeeh…).

A thought-provoking specimen in that last category is “Does magic really exist?
This is of course a logical query for a 4-year-old. She sees all that Bippety-Boppety-Boo stuff on tv, but none of her own magic wands work. Not the ones mum made out of chopsticks, not the wooden ones she found in the park, not even that impressive plastic one her aunt sent over. Pushing its button will make the star at the top flicker like a pink stroboscope, but no magical conversion of spinach into pasta takes place.

To make matters worse, at the end of the Magic Project they´d been working on in Kindergarten a magician came to give a performance. My daughter, who had eagerly been counting down to this encounter with what she hoped would be a real wizard, observed that the magician seemed to have no magic in him at all. He simply used “mechanisms”, she said. How disappointing.

Hence the question: does magic really exist?

Below you can find a delightful answer from Roald Dahl, but I´m also very curious to hear what you think…


Magic - Roald Dahl