A Basque in Boise

Thursday, May 8: Pintxo class, documentary, and txikiteo in Boise’s Basque Block

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Pintxo PoteNABO, along with Boise’s Basque Museum & Cultural Center, will host a pintxo class, the “Echevarriatik Etxebarriara” documentary, and a pintxo-pote (snacking and drinks) on May 8th, starting at 5:30 pm. It will be an eventful night filled with Basque music, lots of good food and drinks, and great talks about the Basques. The cost is $5 for the class and documentary, but bring more for drinks and pintxos during the txikiteo!

Mara Davis, the Ikastola director, will give some basic instruction on the ever-popular Basque pintxos, which we will get to taste, of course. The Basque language students will serve the pintxos, and the attendees will have to ask for them in Basque to learn the names of the ingredients.

Then, director Ander Iriarte will show his documentary “Echevarriatik Etxebarriara”, which has been selected for Donosti’s Human Rights Film Festival. The documentary explores the effects of violence on the Basque Nationalist Left, from the perspective of folks in Oiartzun, Gipuzkoa, the director’s hometown. There will be time for Q&A after the showing.

We will round out the evening with a small txikiteo (bar-hopping) to The Basque Market and Bar Gernika for paella, croquetas, and drinks!

For information about the documentary visit www.echevarriatiketxeberriara.com.

If you have any questions, please contact Annie at the Basque Museum at (208) 577-225 or email Itxaso Cayero at itxasocayero@u.boisestate.edu.


New England Basque Club’s Txitxiburduntzi 2014 coming up

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Txitxiburduntzi 2013

Txitxiburduntzi 2013

New England Basque Club members are invited to celebrate and participate in the Txitxiburduntzi Celebration on Saturday, May 10th at Riki Lasa’s farm in Connecticut.

The celebration starts at 1:00 pm with Basque Aizkolaries challenging local woodcutters Dale McClouduno and Ct Champion Shannon Strong. All are welcome to participate other Basque rural sports such as sokatira (tug of war), txingaruten (weight carrying), txokorbatzen (corn collecting), harrijasoketa (weight lifting.)

Barbecue Master Patxi Gandiaga will delight the crowd with roasted pig. Wine, beer, refreshments, dessert and coffee will be included.

The All New England Mus Tournament will end the celebration. Thank you to organizers and special thanks to Riki Lasa for hosting the event.

RSVP before May 5th to nebasque@aol.com if you are planning on attending.
Txitxiburdintzi 2014: 426 south Grand Street, Suffield CT 06093.

Aberri Eguna Contest 2014

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Aberri Eguna 2014This week’s edition of Astero tells us about an Aberri Eguna (Day of the Basque Homeland) contest being sponsored by the Basque Government.

The Basque Government invites all Basques in the Diaspora, who celebrate Aberri Eguna, to submit photos or videos showing how you celebrate in your community. Submissions will be accepted from April 20-28, 2014 on their Facebook page. The three top photos or videos will be awarded prizes including: Euskara jendea: gure hizkuntzaren historia, gure historiaren hizkuntza (Basques, their Language through History) written by Juan Carlos Etxegoien “Xamar,” as well as Euskara Jendea a six chapter documentary based on the same book and co-produced by the Zenbat Gara Cultural Association.

Winners will be announced on April 29th also on Facebook. Sorte on!

If you would like to have Astero, NABO’s weekly bulletin, sent directly to your inbox, you only have to fill out this form.

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Dinning as a family, the way to insightful conversations

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Cherry TomatoI try my best to have dinner as a family with the kids every night, given that breakfast and lunch are are out of the question during the week. Most days dinner involves my daughter eating like she’s trying to win the gold medal at the 100-meter dash, while simultaneously fighting with her brother about, jeez, pick anything. Chances are they’ve argued about it. Once in a while we manage to act like normal people and carry out meaningful conversations or simply fill each other on the events of the day.

Occasionally, though, when I think I’ve finally caught up with them and have a pretty good grasp of the things they know, these kids manage to shock me again. During these times, I usually end up with nothing to say because

a) I don’t want to fuel the conversation by asking them how the hell they know
b) I don’t want them to realize there is actually something to know
c) I am tired
c) All of the above

Last night’s meal seemed to be going pretty well until Maitane picked up a cherry tomato from her salad bowl and announced to the rest of the table that, in her opinion, this tomato looked like a penis. “It’s kind of small,” I thought, but hey, it happens. Then, she proceeded to bite into it.

Andoni said to her sister, “Yuck! That’s looks kind of dirty.”

My ears immediately perked up, sensing the danger.

“Well, it’s ok I guess,” he continued. “You are too young for that”

What the hell? Did my 10-year old just say that? I obviously chose Option a) and kept working on my chicken.

Maitane, without missing a beat, looked at both of us and responded, “Right, like I would ever eat a penis.”

Option b), option b), OPTION B)!!

The River

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(Photo from euskomedia.org)

I remember the first time I heard Bruce Springsteen’s The River and what impact it had on me. It was time again for my uncle to get a haircut, so as always, my aunt ringed my mom and scheduled a time to get together at their home in Gallarta, which is only a 10-minute bus ride from Ortuella. I decided to go along because as closed as we lived, I didn’t spend that much time hanging out with my younger cousin, and I really enjoyed her.

We were around thirteen or fourteen, and she LOVED Bruce. I knew who he was, of course, but I hadn’t’ taken the time to delve into his music. Luckily, my cousin was so excited to share, I soon became an expert too. We listened to a few songs before she played The River. For years to come, I would cry every time I heard the song because it is such a sad story. I found out later in life that, more often than not, couples are unable to keep the river from drying after a number of years. I don’t cry anymore when I hear it though; it lost its punch after the thousandth time.

I think I was about to hit puberty when I learned that my aunt, my uncle, all my cousins in Gallarta were not related to me by blood. All those years thinking that my mom and my uncle were brother and sister when they weren’t. They even looked so alike with that long nose they both sported! My mom looks more like him than she does her real brother. Not to mention I think I’ve seen my “real” uncle about ten times in my life. The shocked lasted about a minute and then they went back to being my family just like they always were.

The River came up on my iPhone as I was driving home from work the other day and I started thinking about my kids and how they now have another set of family members thanks to their step-mom. I must confess that, initially, it was not easy for me to get used the idea and I felt my insides rebel a bit when the kids talked about their new cousins. “What a hypocrite I have been,” I thought as I hummed the words along, like I always do. It is the same thing for them now as it was for me then. It is that simple. I was really excited because I realized that little by little all the pieces in my life are not only falling in place, but they’re falling in place correctly, without rubbing each other anymore.

The great thing about loving people is that, no matter how many individuals come into your life, one never runs out of love. You don’t need to stop loving an old family member or a long-time friend to take a new one in. How cool is that?

Las atroces consecuencias del tabaquismo

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Y yo que tuve que dejar de fumar así, de golpe y porrazo, sin ninguna ayuda. ¡Qué fácil que hubiera sido con estas advertencias!

Happy Friday!

Basque<>Spanish/English translator now available online and for mobile devices

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r59-itzultzaileaIn 2012, the Basque Government launched an online translator to help the general public bridge the communication gap from Spanish to Basque. This year, the next phase was implemented and the Spanish/English to Basque translator was unveiled in Bilbao at the beginning of the April.

The tool -developed over a period of two years by a team of linguists- will handle short texts (up to 1,500 characters), as well as websites. According to the original article published in Spanish by Diario Vasco, this new tool is 70% better than Google Translate, although there is still room for improvement. The tool will never replace a human being or a professional translator, but it will aid users significantly in everyday life.

The online translator is available at www.itzultzailea.euskadi.net.

Not only that, but the translator will be also accessible from iOS or Android devices. Android users can download the application from Google Play, while the iOS version is expected at the Apple Store in the next few weeks. One of the advantages of using the app is the ability to dictate directly into the phone, instead of typing.

For more resources on learning Basque, check out my previous post Writing in Basque: Tools to get you there. There is plenty of information there to help you learn or improve your Basque language skills.


Kern County Basque Club will host the 2014 NABO Pilota Finals

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This year, the 2014 NABO Pilota Finals will be hosted by the Kern County Basque Club.

The championship will be held on Memorial Day weekend – Friday, May 23rd and Saturday, May 24th in conjunction with the NABO Convention. The semi-finals (if needed) will be played Friday afternoon/evening (time has not yet been determined) and the finals will be played on Saturday from 7:30am until 4pm. The finals must be completed no later than 4pm.

The schedule will be posted as soon as confirmation from all participating clubs is received.

If there is enough interest and time allows it, the Gazteak (youth) finals in Eskuz or Paleta Goma could be held on Friday evening.

The following categories will be offered:


Class A Paleta Goma
Class B Paleta Goma
Veterans Paleta Goma
Class A Eskuz Singles
Class A Eskuz Doubles
Class B Eskuz Doubles
Paleta Cuero


Paleta Goma

Great turnout at the New England Basque Club Aberri Eguna celebration

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The New England Basque Club celebrated Aberri Eguna last Saturday, March 29, at the Middletown Knights of Columbus.

Despite the rain and cold, the 115 attendees who gathered to celebrate the Aberri Eguna in Middletown, Rhode Island were treated to a rural sport demonstration by aizkolaris Riki Lasa, Patxi Gandiaga, and Juan Mari Aramendi. Riki Lasa dethroned Aramendi, who previously finished first. In this latest challenge, Lasa did not take any chances and won the round leaving the mystery of supremacy for May 10, when the three aizkolaris will be measured at the yearly New England Basque Club Txitxiburduntzi Party, organized by Riki Lasa in Connecticut.

After the rural sport demonstration, Chef Ismael Biurrun- with the help of Mark Massa, Sergio Lopez and Jesus Meabebasterretxea- delighted the Basque Center members with a succulent dinner of mixed salad, fish soup, and a main course of chicken with vegetables and potatoes. With coffee and dessert came the last event of the evening.

The young Basque-American musician Mikel Arambarri serenaded attendees with mythical songs from Mikel Laboa and Itoiz among others.

For additional photos and videos of the event, click here.

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I can’t be bothered

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No me da ganas. Eso dice mi hijo cuando le pido que recoja su habitación en mitad de una partida de fútbol FIFA 13 y así traduzco yo ese “can’t be bothered” que siempre decías y que a mí todavía me encanta, aunque sé que está mal. Sin embargo, no me da ganas de buscarlo en el diccionario, así como no me da ganas de escribir esta entrada en inglés, la primera vez en muchos meses.

Tiene su chiste, por cierto, porque es para mi amiga Susie, escocesa donde las haya y sin mucha idea de castellano, aparte de esas famosas frases de supervivencia como “¿Dónde está el baño?” o “Una cerveza, por favor”.

Creo que el idioma del mensaje es lo de menos porque Susie se murió de cáncer de pulmón hace unos años, así que dudo mucho de que lo vaya a leer. No tengo ni idea de qué pasa con las personas cuando nos dejan: ¿Nos siguen viendo? ¿Existen idiomas en el más allá o caen las barreras de la comunicación? De todos modos, algún traductor habrá que pueda echar una mano en caso de ser necesario.

Susie solo tenía 33 años. Da qué pensar, ¿no? No voy a decir que fuera una santa, pero que no he conocido muchas personas de su calibre también es verdad. Todavía no he llorado su muerte. Ni siquiera desde el púlpito, cuando subí para hablar de cómo nos conocimos y cuántos años tardamos en entender los mensajes de voz que nos dejábamos en el teléfono. No había problema al hablar en persona, pero sus mensajes grabados en la máquina con ese acento escocés eran incomprensibles.

Tampoco escribí en su muro de Facebook después del funeral, ni por su cumpleaños o cualquier otro evento señalado. Aún hay gente que se comunica así con ella porque nunca desactivaron su cuenta. Yo comprendo que es una manera más de honrar su memoria, sobre todo para quienes viven fuera de Escocia y no pueden visitar su tumba, pero a mi me da cosa escribir ahí. Quizá yo esté haciendo algo parecido al publicar esto, pero el espacio es mío y todavía sigo en este mundo.

Hace unas semanas me topé con tu mejor amiga mientras daba una vuelta por las afueras de Hewlett-Packard. Ha bajado tanto de peso que si no me llega a insultar (siempre nos saludamos con un cariñoso “Hey, bitch!”), no la hubiera reconocido. Es imposible verla y no acordarme inmediatamente de ti. Lo pasó súper mal cuando te fuiste y no sé hasta qué punto se ha recuperado por dentro, pero por fuera está estupenda y ya sabes lo que dicen, mente sana in corpore sano. Intenté acercarme a ella varias veces, quedar para salir, quedar con los niños, pero no funcionó. De vez en cuando la veía en Barnes & Noble, sentada en vuestra mesa de Starbucks, leyendo un libro.

Hoy salgo con Erin a tomar algo. No me acuerdo exactamente de cómo volvimos a conectar, pero hace años que nos vemos esporádicamente, primero por los niños, luego ya porque nos caemos bien y nunca nos faltan temas de conversación. Últimamente quedamos algo más seguido. Ha habido muchos cambios en la vidas de tu grupo de amigas de Boise, ¿sabías? Echo de menos hablar contigo. Creo que fliparías con algunas de las historias que tengo guardadas para cuando nos volvamos a ver.

PS.- Hoy me pongo el abrigo blanco que me diste. Sí, todavía lo tengo. No veas cómo lo cuido.