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  • Thursday, October 27, 2005

    The Birthday Party

    Last weekend I went with my daughter to a birthday party for one of her classmates. It was at a stable close to her school. The day started out a little rocky, because there are actually two stables close to her school and I went to the wrong one. The stable I arrived out told me I had to pay 8 euros to get into the party before a girl waiting to ride told me I was at the wrong stable. As she started to walk me to the other stable I'm pretty sure they were telling me I had to move my car, but parking is so difficult I chose not to understand. (One of the rare times where not knowing Spanish has been an advantage).

    There were 28 children at the party and most children were brought by their fathers. About 10 of the fathers stayed and 3 or 4 of the mothers. The most interesting parent was the grandfather of the birthday girl. He was in from Madrid where he was the head of the Red Cross. Before heading the Red Cross (which is completely a volunteer job), he was CEO of a petrochemical company. He told me how he was able to pay for college by playing professional soccer and how being on the soccer team, where he had to get allong with people who mostly had very little education, gave him some of the most useful experience for being a successful CEO. He also told me about getting his Master in Chemical Engineering at MIT. He recieved a one year scholorship, so he had to get his masters in one year. His adviser thought it would be impossible, and told him that at a minimum he would have to improve his english. The adviser strongly suggested getting a bed dictionary (i.e. an American girlfried). When he told the adviser that he was married, the MIT advisor told him that his advice still stands. The advisor's secretary was horrified and ended up helping him get through the program without the extracuricular help.

    I also met a father that worked in buscit marketting (Formerly with Nabisco but now with a Spanish firm). I asked him about the Jamon with DVD promotion (see previous post). He told me you could also get a free Jamon leg when you bought home insurance or, during the Christmas season, if you bought enough biscuts (and not just any Jamon, but the really good stuff with the black hooves).

    The fathers pretty much just talked amoung themselves as the kids went riding and then afterwards, as the kids had snacks. This continued as the boys in the group started running around throwing food at each other. One of the fathers commented something to the effect that boys will be boys. My daughter tells me that this roughty behavior is tollerated at school as well. She commented that, if the Spanish students were transported back to school in Raleigh, the School in Raleigh would have to hire more principals.


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