Wrapping up the year through some pics :)

If you follow me, you know this blog is a good thermometer of how I’m feeling and how are things going. Even though since June I have been looking forward writing about the absolute revelation that has been going back to gardening (more on this on a separate post), I’ll be dedicating this entry to some 2012 moments –that I didn’t cover in the blog- by grabbing my Flickr/instagram stream.

There’s nothing better than reflecting on how a year passed by checking out some pictures and realizing that besides difficulties, positive energy, love and enthusiasm is always out there.

Work

Just a brief one here to share that we met all the objectives for the year. Yeah! In june we ended up the first year of the Responsible Education Network of Schools scaling -and improving- the program from 3 to 16 schools with a teacher’s satisfaction of almost 3/4. Right now we havescaled it up to 50, including 17 schools in Madrid.

Mallorca

I keep going more and more to Mallorca. I just love it. Particularly Palma, this tiny version of Barcelona with all the scene, bars, trends and stuff but without all the Barcelona silliness (sorry to all my friends down there). Plus amazing weather and nature.

Here some images of Cap Formentor and L’antiquari and Sa Sifoneria. Could have bring so many more, but hope you get the vibe. Even surfing if you are lucky enough to grab some good conditions.

Turkey

Yep, this was in April as Emre (former San Francisco’s big house mate) and Gerone were getting married in their hometown, Istambul. How could you say no to that?! Amazing time there staying at Sultanahmet partying at Beyoglu, crossing to Kadikoy and having such an experience.

Canfranc/Huesca

That was so unexpected… I was reached by the UIMP people at Huesca for presenting on a course on innovation in sports intuitions. I was a little shocked, but as they were expecting me to talk about tools and project management, I took the bite and actually loved it.

Canfranc Station is amazing. If you haven’t been there you have to. Big rains there through these days made it even more epic.

Caravan 12

Wow, that was a good one… Don’t know if the best Caravan ever but definitely a great one. Having there Virginia, my former mate at ITE, really made a difference. Actually the Madrid guys killed it if you know what I’m talking about.

Great music as always, with guys like Adrián & friends, Pablo, Pat and great surprises such as Laura Portko.


Galicia with mom

That was the last big trip done. I try to do one of those at least once a year with mom… And this one was a real treat. We went all the way to Cariño, in the Ortigueira area. There we stayed in A Miranda, a lovely B&B before hitting Bares, and having some amazing food in places like Rinlo (historic Arroz con Bogavante) and el Molín de Mingu in Peruyes.

I really wish you all happiness and strength for the year to come.

Be positive, be happy, do good, love and keep it real.

As I said, next one will be on the garden (the revelation).

Muacas!

USA in my mind

I just came from an amazing trip to my beloved California.
No words for what it means to me to catch up with the old friends there, checking both North and South and having a blast. I’m always very positive on my future but I know I left behind some of my best years back there.
So there we go with some highlights…

Orozco’s family is always my campground in LA. And the thing is that Eagle Rock, actually rocks… We had the chance of checking Pasadena’s music festival (as the girls worked down there) and celebrate with dad fathers day (including a visit by Jude and Charice coming from Ventura). Love u!

Papa Orozco took me to grab the Greyhound to San José… It was actually a great trip that more than one american should do in order to get over some stereotypes. Can you believe I had free wifi all the way and that wifi at The Fairmont was 20$?!

Presenting at Mlearncon this year, as I did in 2010, was great… Always good to stay in touch with the elearning scene, tools and trends. I think they liked my view on opensource tools and our strategic approach to scale Responsible Education.

I keep San José in my heart… They say there’s no vibe in the university, no scene in the streets but if you dig a little you’ll understand that some stuff has to come up from all that (real) diversity. There is a reason for things happening there such as The MumlersSouth First Fridays, etc. There is proud in San José.

Special mention to my former boss, Super Cyndi, who saved my ass -big time- keeping me in her place at Campbell on my last night in SJo. Here having some donnuts.

OK… of course then I hit the city. San Francisco always gives me great welcomes, this time through Emre and Gerone (Just Married!). Here in the artwork by Chus.

It was great seeing the people from the big house (shame we missed Lana), and just grab some food at Old Jerusalem at Mission with Byron and the old Camry is priceless.

Just before leaving back I had the best luck and I catched up with Will from The Mumlers, who was  recording a show for Bamm.tv that night.

Besides the video, if you can, even if its crancky and has some ads, check the original ustream and the entrance I did at 3:40… Too funny.

http://www.ustream.tv/bammtv

It was a perfect clousure for such a perfect trip.

Definitevely, CA in my mind…

 

Life is Good (Eilts dixit)

I am writing from IES La Granja, an adorable highschool in Heras, on the other side of the bay. As part of the Responsible Education program, all the schools working with us, besides the online training they receive in the different resources that we have (music, arts, counseling, and literature), they go through a series of three face to face workshops (one each year) focusing on emotional (first), cognitive (second) and social (third) development. So, I’m in one of those with Carmen, one the psychologist that works with us.

Regarding work, -or actually the cool /funny things I do in my job- just a couple more lines… On the one hand, the Facebook hit that was my participation on the international event we organized in Madrid on Creativity and Social and Emotional Education. Raucousness power.

And now…

This post comes after half a year of no posting, so I am not sure if I have a blog anymore. It has also been a year since I started working here in Santander.

It has been a tough one. Not a bad one, but a tough one. When I reread my posts I see I have been doing an effort –I guess I’ve always done that and I guess that’s good- telling myself that everything is OK.

Probably everything is not OK. There’s an amazing song by Los Piratas, a Spanish band, called El equilibrio es imposible (balance is impossible) about the tension generated when something, whatever it is and wherever it is (life, work…), is not in the right/exact place.

Still, and I was talking to my mom about that the other day, I am pretty good dealing with that stuff. I think I have a clear understanding of life as seasons that come and go. That there’s a need of autumn for spring to rise and that winter shall come so we can surf and have fun in the summer.

This means that I am not sad, and that even though in a lot of ways I miss things -in different spheres- and specially places, as my professor Sharon Eilts says, “Life is good”. I think it also good that when facing problems and challenges  thoroughout these months I have keep strong and confident.

OK… and now the fun stuff: Trips and things. Among others: Côte d’Azur and Mallorca with Malén; Mootes 11 and La Rioja to visit Pat, but specially an amazing trip to Italy, Austria, Liechtenstein and Swiss.

And yes… of course: Caravan of Love ’11

From NY trip to my holiday break

Again, long time with no posting. Actually I could say that this long-term love story with technology it’s not in its best days –neither the worsts ;). It has happened before, but it was more a shame on all these people in the twitter and facebook hype, the 2.0 thing, the bla, bla, bla and the blindness of emphasizing the use of technology instead of attitudes for change. Now its kind of another feeling…  tired of spending so much time in front of screens instead of looking to people in their eyes, telling them how we feel and talking about how to make cool things –and actually doing them-.

As said, just after my last post I had the chance of going to New York with the Global Classroom people. 13 students from public schools in Cantabria (just a few from semi-public) represented Australia, both at the Grand Hyatt and the UN headquarters itself following the United Nations Model.

To put it down, it was the most amazing educational experience I have seen. So moved –actually got goose bumps- of seeing our guys (some of the from remote villages in Cantabria) defending their countries position, making friends and/or flirting with such a healthy crew from all over the world on the cruise around Manhattan… It would have helped you realizing what we got and what we can do.

On the other hand, Thursday will be the last day before my summer brake. Yeah… I think it’s a deserved one after this first period working in Santander. Definitively, it will do good.

A lot of things happened in between with 15M, being the most “special” one. With all the good (the awakening) and some of the bad (forms and –sorry to say- a lot of people that I don’t like).

Also a wonderful trip to Portugal (Porto and Lisbon) and Mallorca with 10 live concerts in 4 days (true), a great summer course on Creativity organized at the Foundation, a cosmic party, some basket… and a moving. Yes, I’m living in a beautiful place straight in Santander downtown and I want u to visit.

The thing is that, as always, engines are on and more than ever I am confident on the future to come. At all levels.

Love

 

Updating…

This is one of those that I force myself to write. No posts in three months is not good… I guess it has to do with the fact that I’m working hard, but still I have the feeling that I’m doing a lot of things besides work. I think it may be good to put those down.

Gijón. Just because…
Really think we –in general- should go more to Asturias. Great weekend checking out Lastres, the city, and both Covadonga and Lagos. Years since last visit, always good memories.

Not only travelling but also receiving friends here in SNT such as Diego and Marta.

con Diego

In Mallorca there are waves. We shoot those at El bunker, Son Serra de Marina in March.

No words to describe how special it was getting together with the old folks in Valencia… Love y’all!

More recently, I hit the road to do Zaragoza (some conferences there) and Madrid to see beautiful mom and dad Fla and Chris (you look sexy!), @aaraguz (prob not on twitter anymore –good for you-), Raúl and Suvi + some funk.

Finally, surfing France South on Easter break with Malén. Oh, yeah.

Tell ya’… feling much better right now. Still need to find some time each day (Hoppe dixit) to do on a regular basis what I miss most: write, read (both fiction and non fiction) and, specially, playing music.

All love, crew :)

Starting the engine (again)

This is my first week working at the Marcelino Botín Foundation.  Although I worked as a freelance for the creativity in education focus group, I just join the educational branch of the Foundation on a full time position. I am extremely thankful for the opportunity I have been given and I really expect this collaboration to be great for both parts. The work done by the Foundation on creativity and social and emotional development is truly amazing and I just expect to learn from them and, to the extent of my abilities, bring my experience on training, elearning and project/community management.

Such mixed feelings… On the one hand, I am very happy for coming back to my homeland (Cantabria) and catching up with all the good friends and family. It is also great to see that plenty of friends from the city 90’s scene are coming back, thinking on it, or just doing cool stuff in Santander.

On the other hand I am very conscious that I leave behind one of the most amazing working environments one could ever have. These 13 months at RIATE have been the perfect storm: The diversity on our profiles, the emotion on the projects developed, and the different personal/working stages we were at set up this big time momentum.

The best picture to explain that is the visit to Santander made by my ex-coworkers Sandra and Raúl (actually my ex-boss) for New Year ’s Eve. We had a blast with Ana and Arantxa (Caviedes rules), Alfred, the Fouz Jazz guys (@areciosmith, Íñigo, Iván and Javi) plus all the crew. Can you believe we launched Águeda with these guys playing almost 15 years ago? Now, they even talk about us on a historical perspective! (Page 190).

The party hosted by Javi Cantera at la Casa del Sol for New Year’s Eve, deserves a separate mention. I just expect the event and the vibe of the night to be representative of the new SNT days. Fingers crossed…

I truly hope you all face 2011 with energy and emotion. Just remember that is us that we will be building it up.

All the best, family.

On wisdom, tolerance and knowledge

A few days ago I was having a beer with some good friends at Pepe el Guarro, an amazing place on the outskirts of the city. Straight to my top three tapas bar in Madrid with El Descanso and El Pezcador at Las Infantas street, for sure…

Among others, I was there with Jesús, a very old friend of mine, and Diego one of my coworkers. Jesús is one of the most talented graphic designers I have ever known. His way of looking at things from a whole new perspective is truly amazing. Design for him is everything and he always approaches things on an emotional and aesthetic manner. Still he is so pigheaded… Big time pigheaded. Diego is amazing too, but in a completely different way. Formerly a music teacher, he has reinvented himself as a technical solutions provider. He is a self-tough professional and he always put things to work through his Diegish approach: “If we want it, we’ll be able to do it”. I am so thankful for having him by my side.

Jesús is a Windows user.  After many years, he realized that he needs such an amount of professional software that there’s no other way. Don’t ask me what side is he at, but considering he is a Spaniard freelance you probably make a guess. Last time I went to his place he had about 200 software applications on his computer. And believe me, he actually uses all of them.

Diego cannot hear of Windows. He is a Linux user (Ubuntu 10.4 in particular) and a big fan on open-source software. Long time on the dark side, he confessed he can’t remember the last time he cracked an app and that he will never do it again. He can’t stand big corps so don’t mention the possibility of using either Apple or Microsoft products.

I am a Mac user. I can’t stand their “think different” shit but  for my stuff their machines work just better. They help me to reduce computer hours and they make them more pleasant. Enough.

We all three have tried extensively the three OS and then we decided. What I am bringing here is how we all three, being that different, we respect and understand each other. For my Anglo-Saxon friends this may be weird, but in Spain we love to entrenched in a particular point of view and go the Taliban way. I am right you are wrong, this is good this is bad, mine is bigger yours is smaller.

It happens all the time and it is particularly sad with the circle politics-entrepreneurship-society. Let me put it this way… Public administration learning from good private initiatives? Private projects (particularly with +50 years old bosses) with a true social spirit? Don’t even mention it. Why is it that tough for us to bring things together, see the good contributions on the work of others and, specially, be open to new ways of thinking?

Surfing Portugal

I have just come back from Portugal. It has been such an amazing trip… Although my parents run a restaurant/motel on Jaén in the seventies and they travelled extensively with me throughout Andalusia I was really looking forward to get back to those southern landscapes. Malén and I setup the route Madrid, Seville, Puerto de Santa María, Cadiz, finishing the first part of the trip checking out the hippish town of Caños de Meca and enjoying its chill out scene for a couple of nights.

We started surfing down there at El Palmar meeting true free spirits such as Moja (he has his little surf shop down the road from the camping site), who fixed my keel and gave us some good surfing advice. All the way towards Cabo San Roque, the farthest West European peace of land, we found great spots on the shouthern Algarve cost such as Meia Praia and, specially, Zaival. There we enjoyed beautiful small to medium swells with perfect wind conditions (gotta love North wind down there).

From Cabo to North Portugal it was the other way round; extremely consistent swells but very exposed and easily blown out. Still we loved Cordama and Castalejo, both with impressive cliffs. South Carrapateira (Praia do Amando) was the last wind protected spot we found and it was a very fun ride. North Carrapateira (Bordeira) was amazing but too big for newbie riders.

This trip has helped me a lot, mainly to get down this train of pseudo-social craziness. Something –definitively not my plans- kept me away from facebook, mail, twitter and iPad all these days. Only the iPhone Stormrider Guide was used occasionally to check out spots, and that was not even as much as the paper version. One of the most beautiful sentences I have read in years (@aaraguz at http://aaraguz.posterous.com after her summer brake) came over and over to my mind: “I have the feeling that everything got frozen, and that the same tweets kept up flowing as the water in these tacky Zen fountains throughout a close-circuit”.

Don’t get me wrong. I definitively think connectivity and connectivism are the new paradigms. I truly think that we are walking towards a better and more authentic society due, among many more things, to this kind of “sensitivity swell” that we, as a society, are experiencing -more on that on next posts-. But still, please… Stop mithiphying each new tool that comes out and just take it for what it is: a tool. If after finishing this article you are still going back to tweet, please be responsible. Share only what you truly think that it’s worth to be share.

Chronicles of an inverse cultural shock (OK, not that bad ;))

I love my job, no kidding… Well, I mean my main job at RIATE (work in progress, excuse us). Main job as since I came back from California last summer I’ve been working for other clients such as Fundación Marcelino Botín and some schools here and there, always coaching on how to achieve change through community and technology. I love my job because, among many other things, I work with a small group of highly talented people, from developers to social communication people, from educational psychologist to teachers. We are young and quite in a good shape ;)

However, there are many things I don’t like or, to put it in another way, things that I would change. Still, having this feeling is good, innit?! Most of those happen because our team is part of a giant: The Institute for Educational Technology at the Department of Education of Spain. If BIG companies have peculiarities due to their size, Spanish public administration has even more… Among them:
1) People are rarely hired based on their talent, work, and passion. Exams are the main way to get a position into the system and in most cases there is no connection between competences and job positions
2) There are not evaluation systems to measure the performance of teams and individuals. Once that people become public employees, their position is guaranteed besides their merits
3) As a result of all this there are a few features that I often miss in da house –again, not in my tiny team-: Innovation, risk, collaboration, transparency, SPEED.
BUT… it happen that today we got our wifi running (besides our classical network and almost after a year asking for it) and believe me, I’m very happy. For a person that considers himself an independent contractor this means a lot. It will give me freedom to work with my own equipment and avoid most of the inconvenients caused by 1, 2, and 3 (more on that on next posts ;))

As I am saying, I love my job. It will be like this as long as I enjoy seeing pals in the morning and having a good cup of coffee with them.