¡Hola, mundo!

I recently moved to Gijón, Asturias, in northern Spain with my Asturian partner Belén after a few decades living in Ireland and Canada. As a native English speaker with a B1 level* of Spanish from the Instituto Cervantes, there will no doubt be a few aventuras along the way, so I thought I would share them with other interested native English speakers, Spanish students learning English, or tourists just visiting. We all graft our pasts to other’s when attempting to understand the new. Hopefully, one can learn from my mistakes or be amused by my own quirky concerns.

CaracolasThe blog is called caracolas, which Google translates as ‘conches’ and is far more poetic than ‘seashells,’ which is how I would have translated caracolas. For me, a seashell conjures up thoughts of adventure in its eerie oceanic echo, and seems particularly apt as language and culture reverberate everywhere here. Spain is many things: sun, food, wine, football, passionate European culture with seasoned stories in its weathered boots, but to me it has always been about the sea, and its great sea-faring people who set out to expand the old to meet the new, not to mention seafood in abundance.

In my semi-irregular caracolas, I will try to cite the new, seeking adventure and refuge in the old, here in Gijón, on the shores of the Cantabrican coast (Bay of Biscay), and throughout Spain. I bring my own preconceptions, of course, some of which will be redressed along the way, but all my tales – both new and old – reverberate through the beauty that is Spain. Espero que disfruten el viaje.


* B1 level http://diplomas.cervantes.es/en/information/levels/level_b1.html
  • Understand the gist of clear texts, in standard language, if they involve well-known topics related to work, studies or leisure.
  • Deal with most of the situations that may arise during a trip to where the language is used.
  • Produce simple, coherent texts about well-known topics or issues of personal interest.
  • Describe experiences, events, wishes and hopes, as well as briefly justify opinions or explain plans.

About johnkwhi

I have worked as a writer, computational analyst, project manager, physicist, and lecturer during a 30-year career. I recently published the general trade book Do The Math! On Growth, Greed, and Strategic Thinking (Sage, 2012), aimed at improving general numeracy, and The House of Words (Tuttle House, 2013), a literary thriller starring New York Scrabble champ Suzy Q. I recently moved to Spain and started this Caracolas blog to record some of my experiences.
This entry was posted in Spain and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to ¡Hola, mundo!

  1. Elena B says:

    I love the caracolas site, especially the language you use. I noted in my book of words vocabulary I enjoyed reading like daunting, quirky, beautify, reverberate,seasoned stories, weathered boots seafaring, etc. Your comments are full of insight and humour and could be helpful for foreigners who want to discover Spain and Asturias or Gijón. Your experiences and anecdotes are delightful.
    I particularly enjoyed reading the first chapters of your book which I found fascinating. I think you are a good writer and would encourage you to write more books as you always have things to say. You gave me ideas for my own blog which is on schedule.

  2. johnkwhi johnkwhite says:

    Hi Elena. Many thanks for the kind comments. I appreciate it, and hope I can do justice to Asturias and Spain in further posts. I am learning more and more every day. Stay tuned for more seafood and sidra inspired ideas. Good luck with your book. All the best, John.

  3. Clara says:

    “Seashells” también suena muy poético a oídos españoles, pero me alegro de que hayas usado la palabra en castellano. Por si lo quieres saber, la traducción al asturiano sería “turullos”, aunque supongo que ya lo sabes si tienes una compañera de aquí.
    ¡Me alegro de que digas que Asturias es el mejor lugar del mundo para vivir!

    • johnkwhi johnkwhi says:

      Muchísimas gracias por su comentario Clara – muy apreciado. Y me encanta la palabra asturiana de conchas marinas. Es mi nuevo favorito — turullos! Y sí Asturias es el secreto mejor del mundo.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *