Stuff to do in a lockdown: Learn a new language! 

Learn-Spanish-Heather-with-course Pen & Wok Blog - - Cecilie's

Use the time wisely and learn Spanish through a new concept: The meta meta mega course. Guaranteed 100% violence free! Now also online. 


A few months ago my friend H and I were sitting in Pan y Cocina talking about how we could find something more for her to do. She was already teaching English privately and wanted some more students. A mega-fluent speaker of Spanish (Castellano) and Mallorquin, do you know, she had never thought of teaching Spanish! After being the only Norwegian Cantonese teacher in my village in Hong Kong for almost 30 years, I found that rather incredible, but when something is so close, it can be difficult to see. 

So I said, let me write the course as someone who doesn't know a word of Spanish, and then you can teach it! And that's what we did. Here's our first lesson in Binissalem:

Learn-Spanish-Heathert-and-group Pen & Wok Blog - - Cecilie's

... and about two hours later we were all told to go home and stay home and never come out again. Damn! But thank God for technology, eh? You don't have to go to Binissalem to learn Spanish, in fact you don't have to live in Spain at all! You can study by yourself or in a group, or Skype or Zoom. Here you can see H and me in action, in our early days working for Spanish World Hong Kong:

so now, between us, we've got the main languages of the world covered: English, Spanish and Cantonese. Contact us here for more details!






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What a difference a week makes 

Corona-Bellver-morning Pen & Wok Blog - - Cecilie's

I am sooooo responsible! I waited a whole week before sneaking back to the shop (Mercadona), dog on leash. To avoid people, we weaved in and out of back streets, but signalled our honourable intentions (shopping) with carrying shopping bags while wearing latex gloves. But I could have saved myself the latter, because Mercadona has taken the great step of handing out gloves to each customer at the entrance. They had also set up plexiglass barriers between you, the virus carrying customer, and the tellers. Yes! Good move with the gloves! Because if it's really the case that this virus can settle on packets of frozen soybeans (edamame), I don't want hundreds of people's hands to touch them before I get them home.

Corona-neighbourhood-Palma Pen & Wok Blog - - Cecilie's

Going home I saw a police van with two masked officers. We all waved, as usual. But my first reaction was: Will they stop me? Bloody hell. Has it come to this after just over a week - me feeling like a criminal for talking my dog for a trip to the shop? 

Which reminds me of the 8 o'clock chorus of clapping and boat honking every night, to honour the health workers of Spain. That's all well and good, but how about the people who bring us all the stuff we need to keep body and soul together? They are at risk too, as are the people working in shops where hundreds of potential virus carriers go in and out every day. They are brave! I would be very unhappy if I was working in retail, that's for damn sure. 

Corona-view-Palma-sunrise Pen & Wok Blog - - Cecilie's


Things to do that I have put off/haven't had time to do: Clean up my photo collection(s). If I work on that for 10 hours a day for the next six months, I should be able to put at least 1/3 of them in folders and delete the unwanted ones. Woo hoo! (Notice to police: These photos were taken in 2018. When we could just go out whenever we liked.)




Some perspective 

Mallorca, lighthouse, Formentor, cyclists Pen & Wok Blog - - Cecilie's

Today rumours have been swirling around about the Spanish government adding another 15 days of quarantine on top of the 15 days we are already half way into, taking us to April 12th. This was only to be expected, but came on top of a sudden thunderstorm whose torrential rains flooded my ground floor. I felt a bit irked, especially because I had just cleaned that floor. Then I thought about my uncle and that whole generation. 

Living for five years on a boat under almost constant bombardment, that's always my yardstick when things don't go exactly the way I want them to. That, and being nailed to a cross. 

We can talk to people on Skype and what not. 

Corona_restaurants_closed Pen & Wok Blog - - Cecilie's

Oh no, not again

Corona-tofu-mix Pen & Wok Blog - - Cecilie's

Just as we thought 'the camera eats first' craze was well and truly over, or at least petering out - now here they are again, the dreaded 'Photos of things I am going to eat and which I am under the misapprehension that you will be interested in seeing.' But this, the second, wave, is much worse, for instead of snapping beautiful restaurant food, people are now showing food they have cooked for themselves in their miserable quarantine existence - two sausages and some fried potatoes in fluorescent lighting. (Not you, Ellen!)

Don't think I'm not sympathetic, though. This curfew house arrest home alive burial thing is like being on an endless long haul flight but without the little tv screen in the seat in front. The only thing to look forward to all day is food

In these Robinson Crusoe-like situations it is important to keep a certain standard, so in addition to washing my hands 200 times per day, I change into my ballgown and party rubber gloves for lunch and dinner, put on a tiara and sharpen my chopsticks. Here is today's effort (the bottle is just for effect - Corona really doesn't taste good! However I have read that its sales have seen a healthy increase): 

Corona-beer-and-lunch Pen & Wok Blog - - Cecilie's

But how about Chinese products? I'm running out of deep fried tofu and fresh lotus root; in fact most of the ingredients in the dish above. And I need peanut oil to cook! Chinese food cooked in olive oil... Ahhrghhhh. No, it doesn't bear thinking about. 

I'm surprised that in all the good advice we get on what to eat and drink and how to behave, no one mentions closing the toilet lid before you flush. During SARS in Hong Kong, a whole apartment block was infected by droplets coming out of their loos. So that's my advice for today. Not only is it smart health-wise, but it is also good feng shui to close the toilet lid at all times when not in use. If you keep an open lid, you flush all your wealth away. You'll thank me later! 


Living in genteel poverty 2

Today, for the first time since I came here in January 2018, I did that thing that you're supposed to do when you live by the Mediterranean: Sat on the balcony and drank coffee. 

Corona-Genteel-poverty-2 Pen & Wok Blog - - Cecilie's PenAndWok.comIt was really only to reward myself for having cleaned that balcony, mostly of the droppings of a certain tree I have in my garden. It's a Norfolk Island Pine, the most meaningless tree in the world. It is so tall and of such an 'impressive' (idiotic) girth that when people are in my (tiny) garden they can't even see it. It has no function except creating work for its victims with its incessant droppings. Yes droppings! They are not cones, but long, slightly slimy, torpedo - no, poo! shaped droppings. So that was the highlight of today. And talking of poo:

Koldbrann-human-poo Pen & Wok Blog - - Cecilie's

To be honest I've never understood the point of eating human poo. I know dogs have different tastebuds from us, but come on! I thought by moving from the countryside of Hong Kong to a city in Europe I would avoid al fresco human poo, but no. It's everywhere, and Koldbrann is on it like a Polaris missile. But I'm thankful that he eats it - when it's eaten it's gone. My old dog, Piles (a pain in the arse) used to roll in human poo. 

And thus I finished a whole blog entry without mentioning the word Corona.