Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Because this admissions essay is open record, let me just say that our transportation into the United Stated was economy class. In order to raise me properly my mother needed as much of the security of her own culture as possible. So we rolled through Texas (just 34% Hispanic) to Los Angeles (48% Hispanic).  A few minutes adrift in an alien environment then we turned a corner and we were right back home.

Monday, February 24, 2014

My Autobiography

(This is something that you will probably repeat a million times in your life when you meet people and speak English. Everyone will ask you where you live and where you are from. )

My name is Maruja. I am 95 years old. (I am 95). I am 1.76 (one meter seventy-six) and I weigh 100 kilos. I have gray hair.

I live in Valencia. I was born in Godella. I was born and raised in Valencia. I have lived in Valencia all my life. I have lived in Valencia for five years. I have lived in Valencia since 1995. Valencia is my home. My hometown is Valencia.

Valencia is a big city. It is a city of about 800,000. The population of Valencia is about 800,000. Valencia is the third largest city in Spain after Madrid and Barcelona. Valencia is on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Valencia is east of Madrid and south of Barcelona.

I am married and I have two children ages three and seven. I have two children, a boy eight years old and a daughter who is two. My daughter attends Liceu Corbi and my son is at the prison in Picassent. I have been married for ten years.

I have one brother and one sister. My brother's name is Justin. He is 15 years old. My sister's name is Barbie. She is 18.

I go to school in Valencia. I study English and French at school. When I finish school I will go to university in Valencia.  

Valencia is famous for paella. Paella is a dish made with rice, chicken, rabbit, green beans, butter beans (garrofó), tomato, olive oil, salt, pimentón, saffron, and water.  If you put anything else in a paella someone from the Valencia Paella Police will come to your house and arrest you.

Valencia is also famous for oranges. There are orange trees all over the Valencia Community. The Moors brought rice and oranges to Valencia.

Valencia has excellent weather. It's always sunny in Valencia. Valencia has about 300 days of sunshine a year. The winters are short and the summers are long.

There are a lot of great beaches in and around Valencia. Lots of people from other parts of Europe come to Valencia because we have great weather. It is always sunny in Valencia.

Paella Recipe
Paella is the most famous dish in all of Spain; it is perhaps one of the most famous dishes in the entire world. Paella comes from Valencia. Paella is made in a large, shallow (poco profundo, deep = profundo) pan called a paella.
Green Beans
Lima or Butter Beans (we don’t have garrofó)
Tomato (grated = rayado)
Olive Oil
Pimentón (Spanish paprika)
Fry the meat very well (brown the meat very well) in olive oil (don’t be shy/timid with the olive oil). Salt the meat.  Add the green beans and fresh butter beans (if the butter beans are pre-cooked add them with the water). Add the grated tomato and the pimentón and saffron.  Add water and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the rice and simmer for another 15-18 minutes.
Optional Ingredients: snails, artichokes, rosemary, and red pepper but only if you live in Alicante.

What is Fallas?

Fallas is a big festival that happens every year in Valencia. It begins on March 15th and finishes on March 19th. During Fallas neighborhood clubs called “casals fallers” build beautiful structures that look like giant cartoon monuments. Tens of thousands of (lots of, a lot of) tourists come to Valencia every year for the festival. There are lots of fireworks at night and children throw firecrackers in the streets. On the last night of the festival the cartoon structures—called fallas—are burned to the ground.

Fallas is a very old festival and during the celebration people parade around the city wearing traditional clothes. The women wear beautiful dresses.

Fallas is a very noisy festival. Every day during Fallas there is a percussion firework display called a mascletà in the city center which lasts only five minutes. As many as 100,000 people come every day to listen to the huge explosions in the city’s main square called the Plaza del Ayuntamiento. Every evening each neighborhood has a street party that lasts until four o’clock in the morning.
Firecrackers – petardos
Fireworks – castillos, fuegos atificiales 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Comparatives and Superlatives

This is the biggest and best lesson on comparatives and superlatives…or at least as good as any lesson.

Los adjetivos tienen tres grados de comparación:
Grado positivo:
Joseph is smart.
José es listo.
Penelope is pretty.
George W. Bush is an idiot.

Grado comparativo:
His borther is smarter/cleverer.
Su hermano es más listo.
Barcelona is bigger than Valencia.
Bart is older than Lisa.

Grado superlativo:
Their sister is the smartest in the family.
Su hermana es la más lista de la familia.
Madrid is the biggest city in Spain.
New York is the biggest city the United States.
George W. Bush was the worst president in American history.

La mayoría de los adjectivos en inglés son como “Smart” y solo hay que añadir el sufijo.
Small      smaller      the smallest   (pequeño)
Green    greener      the greenest (verde)
Young    younger      the youngest (joven)
Old        older             the oldest

Con algunos hay que añadir otro consonante para guardar la pronunciación:
Fat         fatter            the fattest   (gordo) fatter
Thin       thinner          the thinnest (flaco)
Big         bigger          the biggest
Red        redder         the reddest
Sad        sadder         the saddest
Wet       wetter          the wettest (húmedo)

Con algunos hay que cambiar el vocal Y por I:
Easy        easier           the easiest (fácil)
Busy        busier          the busiest  (ocupado) (bizi se pronuncia)
Angry      angrier        the angriest  (enfadado)
Hungry    hungrier       the hungriest (hambriento)
Thirsty     thirstier      the thirstiest (sediento) 

Adjectivos irregulares:
·                     Good    better    best
·                     Bad     worse     worst
·                     Little    less       least
·                     Much (many)  more – most
·                     Far     farther    farthest (distancia literal: Paris is farther from Valencia than Madrid)
·                     Far   further    furthest (en el sentido figurative: Nothing could be further from the truth.)
Good        Better       the Best (Bueno  mejor   lo mejor)
Bad          worse        the worst (Malo  peor     lo peor)

Muchas veces estos adjetivos tienen más de dos sílabas (a veces no).

Expensive      more expensive     the most expensive (caro)
Beautiful        more beautiful        the most beautiful   (hermoso)
Hilarious (hilarante chistoso)
Dangerous (peligroso)
·                     respectable   more respectable – the most respectable
·                     beautiful   more beautiful – the most beautiful
·                     preferable – more preferable – the most preferable
·                     hardworking – more hardworking – the most hardworking (trabajador)

Comparaciones de Igualdad
as ... as - tan ... como
not so ... as - no tan ... como
not as ... as - no tan ... como
(not) as much ... as - (no) tanto ... como
(not) as many ... as - (no) tantos ... como
the same ... as - la misma ... que
·  Bob is as tall as Joe.
Bob es tan alto como Joe.
·  Julia is not as beautiful as Magaret.
Julia no es tan hermosa como Margaret.
·  This is not as easy as you think.
Esto no es tan fácil como piensas.
·  We do not (don’t) drink as much wine as Tom.
No tomamos tanta cerveza como Tom.
·  I have not (haven’t) read as many books as you.
No he leído tantos libros como tú.
·  Mary is the same age as Jane.
Mary tiene la misma edad que Jane.

The weather this February is (has been) better than it was last year. It was sunnier and warmer yesterday than it was one year ago.

Where is the best weather in Spain?
Will today be warmer than yesterday?
What was the hottest February in Valencia?