What Am I?
Mother (always first and foremost). Friend (I do my best). Aspiring writer (taken me around 50 years to say that out loud). Aspiring photographer (Likewise). Volunteer (doing my best). Traveller (at heart if not in action). Teacher (of ESL and lovin’ it!) The rest is below.
Who am I ?
Well, I became islandmomma long before I was looking for a name for this blog. It happened like this – my kids, who were surfing/snowboarding/skating/skateboarding freaks (still are some of those things) and some of their pals had this dream of becoming, professional surfer/snowboard/skate dudes, and they had this great name for the team they wanted to become, it was “island chaos”. One winter vacation, when they were away with their dad in the Sierra Nevada, I received a fax (yes, really, emailing probably existed back then, but only if you were seriously techie!) requesting something or other, and I dashed off a reply and signed myself “islandmomma”…….and so I was reborn, or at least gave a name to my rebirth, which happened, I guess in two parts the momma bit in 1981 and the island bit in 1987.
Right from my first email addy I was islandmomma….although sometimes people have gotten there first when I wanted to be email@example.com, for instance, and it wouldn’t allow me, so I’ve had to adapt. Twitterers know me as madreislena, which was suggested by a Puerto Rican friend, it more or less translates to islandmomma in Spanish, and it seems more unwieldy to change everything over than to have a translated identity. Adds to the fun anyway, and after 20+ years of living in Spain I feel a bit of a split personality in any event!
Now I’m 64 now, and on January 22nd 2010 I found myself, for the first time in my life, unemployed. It was far from being the end of my world, as you will see if you look at my entry shortly afterwards. When a door closes I inevitably look for the next one opening, it’s the way I am. As you get older, the unattained or forgotten dreams come back to haunt you, and it’s time to lay those ghosts. Four things I always, always wanted to do – travel, write, take photos and do volunteer work.
I began with the volunteer work four or five years ago. It is, as anyone will tell you, a mind-blowing and rewarding experience, which enriches your life and validates your existence. You get far more than you give, which is not the purpose, but is a fact. I’m not sure if I can write about it, but maybe I will try sometime.
For now this blog is fulfilling two of the other dreams, the writing and the photography. I am studying both, and also to teach ESL, so it’s easy to see why life is so much more rewarding than fielding complaints from mostly rude and inarticulate people which is what I had to do in my last incarnation.
We became islanders after emigrating from the damp and flat landscape of North West England in 1987……..and before you ask, “Yes, I do kind of like it here…..which is why I stayed so long……and the only thing I miss is Marks and Sparks.” So now that’s out of the way, exactly where am I?
Where Am I ?
Currently living in El Médano, in the south of the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands. The Canarian archipelago lies off the Atlantic coast of Morocco, but is a province of Spain. I’m not going to give you the island tour or history here, because there will be plenty of that in the blog, plus about a zillion photos. The things I love about being here are the variety of life, which still amazes me, the warm climate which makes life so easy, the fascinating and colorful history of the islands, and mostly the rich cross section of people who live here.
Travel? Well, being unemployed isn’t all that conducive to travel budget-wise, but I did have a sort of epiphany last year. I broke my wrist in October, and the enforced downtime did give me time to think and formulate ideas, even before I was fired. “Life’s a Journey, Not a Destination” became my mantra. I determined to look around me and to treat life as if I am a traveller here, (which, of course we all are, but not let’s wax overphilosophical right now!). Travel to farther shores will happen and will be documented, but for the most part, currently, the travel will be about the islands.
So, a new journey begins………….
The Rest of The What
Other things which rouse me:
The English Language - I used to much prefer the lilt of Italian or the sexiness of French, but missing hearing English spoken on a daily basis has made me appreciate the richness and variety and scope of my own tongue. I love it all from the flowery lexicon of Shakespeare to the venacular of hip-hop. How many different ways we have to express ourselves!
Books – “good” literature, travel, bios, history, environmental issues, international co-operation.
Blues and the African music from which they came.
Good conversation with good friends (preferably around a table or on the beach).
Good conversation with strangers! Learning new things about new people, travelling vicariously!
Italian food and Spanish wines - Canarian wines have re-established their place in the market in recent years after a long, long time in the doldrums! And I might add food and wine of any denomination, but I was being picky there.
Walking – always the best way to get to know a place, whether city or countryside. You miss SO much trundling around in car!
Swimming (not a good swimmer, odd for someone who has always lived near the sea) especially if with mask and snorkel, I adore diving, but it’s much too expensive for me now. There is a spiritual aspect to wading or diving into the ocean, and feeling it’s coolness on your skin.
Movies and theater when there is enough in the kitty. Possibly the only thing I truly miss about living in England.
and………..of course, Travelling……note the capital T!!
Other than my family and friends, I am most passionate about this planet with all its faults and all its glories. I am passionate about trying to conserve the best of it, while still providing a decent and peaceful life for its peoples. I am passionate about everyone having the same opportunity to enjoy its beauty and its bounty, regardless, of course, of color, race, nationality, religion.
Over recent years I have become involved in the subject of immigration. How could I not? I am, afterall, an immigrant……but my skin happens to be light, and I was lucky to have had a decent education. There were some paperwork problems at the beginning, but the stabilizing of the EU means that I have, now, pretty much the same rights in Spain as if I were born here. Lucky me.