A Basque in Boise

Mintzanet: Basque online and free


I found out about Mintzanet a few months ago, and I thought it was a great initiative. I read up on it, figured out where to take the test (it’s free and you do it on your own), but it wasn’t until last month that I decided to sign up. The process was really easy, and Cristina, Mintzanet’s coordinator, helped me every step of the way. I have my first one-on-one session on Saturday, and I’m super excited!

Mintzanet makes practicing easy for people learning Basque, especially for those of us who live outside of the Basque Country. All the information you need is below.

If you don’t feel ready for Mintzanet at the moment, you can check out other Basque resources at: Writing in Basque: Tools to get you there.

About Mintzanet

The aim of Mintzanet is to offer the possibility of practising Basque to everyone. The initiative is completely free and is based on two pillars: the bidelaris and bidelagunas. The bidelaguna is a person who is proficient in the language and helps those who are studying. The bidelari, on the other hand, wants to learn and improve.

Thus, the purpose of this initiative is to provide all Basque speakers, both those who live in the Basque Country and those living in other parts of the world, with an opportunity to practise. A minimum level will be required to ensure the possibility of basic communication (A2-B1).

Mintzanet’s goal is for this free project to continue to grow and, although the priority is to attract bidelagunas, they also need bidelaris.

Bidelaria: S/he is learning Basque and wants to improve his/her level, so s/he needs someone else’s help. To take part, a minimum level is required. They must be able to maintain a conversation. To show this, they will have to do a small test (B1 level).

Bidelaguna: someone who knows the language well offers his/her help to someone else so the latter can practise the language (no title needed). S/he is a helper.

Conversations take place in pairs.

For more information or to sign up, visit Mintzanet’s website or email  Cristina Tapia, Mintzanet coordinator.


Photojournalist Jan Boles’ exhibit opens next week at Boise’s Basque Museum

“The Time of the Lambing and Shearing”

Date: 02/23/17
Time: 6pm
Location: Basque Museum & Cultural Center

In 1976, Photojournalist Jan Boles was assigned to write a feature article about the sheep industry in Idaho for the Idaho Free Press. Jan photographed the last lambing and shearing operations at the J.D. Aldecoa and Son, Inc ranch – a year later, the company sold the sheep and focused solely on cattle and farming.  The exhibit: “The Time of the Lambing and Shearing” features photographs taken by Jan along with artifacts from J.D. Aldecoa and Son, Inc.

Visit the Basque Museum on February 23rd at 6pm for the opening reception with comments by Jan, followed by light refreshments.


Basque Global Network: An initiative to connect Basques worldwide

sgrc-9oqThe Basque Global Network is a Basque government initiative presented in July 2016 centered around the idea of a virtual meeting place for anyone connected in some way to, or just interested in, the Basque Country and Basque culture. This platform was created to encourage the cooperation and exchange of information on all things Basque, whether in the Basque Country or among the Basque diaspora throughout the world. The goal is for this Basque social network to serve as a meeting point between these people and Basque institutions with a central theme: Euskadi-Basque Country.

If you would like to get involved in the Basque Global Network, click here to sign up (Basque, Spanish, English and French available). You can also check them out on Facebook at Basque Global Network.


Content of BGN

This global Basque network is aimed at people of Basque origin who live outside the Basque Country (permanently or temporarily); Basques with international projection (regardless of where they reside): People associated with Basque Centers, members of other Basque virtual networks of international scope, and people with affinity for the Basque.

The languages of the new platform will be, Basque, Spanish, English and French, although there are no limitations to the use of other languages.

The BGN will host five thematic areas or subnets: institutional, business, cultural, educational and development cooperation. These areas respond to the different lines of work currently being developed by the Basque community in the international arena. Participation in this network will require an application with personal identification linking to one of these five areas.

Mark the difference

Unlike other social networks, the members of this global Basque network will be able, in addition to weaving networks of contacts or creating groups based on common interests, to manage and share events, calendars or documents. It is intended that all users of this network can be agents who contribute ideas and knowledge and generate interconnections for mutual benefit in a network of shared interests. Also, each member can determine their degree of privacy in the network.

Basque Community in the world

The Basque Government is taking steps for the Basque Country to adapt to an increasingly global world. The 2020 Internationalization Framework Strategy represents the “open” nature of the Basque Country project. The “Basque Country” brand is the sum of Euskadi, Euskal Herria, País Vasco and the Basque community abroad. With this new tool, both concepts are covered: “Basque” and “global”.

According to data from the National Institute of Statistics, it is estimated that there are now 84,300 Basques distributed throughout the world. Also, about 34,000 people are associated with 190 Basque Centers and federations established in 25 countries around the world. There are also millions of people of Basque origin and related to the Basque spread throughout the world.


Kantari, the digital song book app you’ll need when partying with friends


“Kantari”, an app developed by Bilbao native Galder Segurola (www.galder.net), has the lyrics for more than 300 songs in Basque and Spanish, with their corresponding YouTube video. You’ll never be at a loss for words again when your friends put the fork down and the wine glass up, and start singing Basque traditional songs after dinner.

I’m specially fond of this app because it includes songs about Athletic, and even a song book from my hometown of Ortuella!

The “Kantari” app is available for both iOS and Android devices.

For more resources on learning and practicing Basque, check out the following post: Writing in Basque: Tools to get you there.

Why do I like Boise’s Basque Center?

This post showed up on my Facebook memories today. Four years later, it still stands. Unfortunately, the Basque Center might be timeless, but it is not immune to the passing of time, and since I wrote it, a couple of dear mus players left us for a better place. Goian Bego.

Why do I like Boise’s Basque Center?

My friends and I are always making fun of how much time we spend at the Basque Center, “that new place in downtown Boise.” We show up for Basque dancing on Tuesdays, after pala practice on Wednesdays, Mus tournament on Sundays, and monthly dinners or special events throughout the year, like Olentzero or Sagardotegi. On Friday and Saturday nights we go just for fun and kalimotxos.

We promise ourselves on a regular basis that this weekend we’ll try something new, that we’ll aim for a change of scenery. We research online and get ideas from family and friends. We act like this time will be the time, just to fail miserably and find ourselves drawn to the Center again, irresistibly, like we did last weekend and the weekend before.

There is always a familiar face there. Even when it’s empty, bartenders Juli and Flora will sit across the bar and chat with you. That’s the main reason why I love it so much. Besides, I know that more often than not I’ll be able to park my English at the door and use Spanish or Basque instead. When you live in a foreign country and speak their language all day, you know what it means to take a break. In the end though, the conversation invariably turns into a mix of three languages — four when our friends from Iparralde pay us a visit.

Boise’s Centro Vasco is anachronistic, timeless. A place that transcends physical barriers and becomes universal. It is not unusual to find four different generations of Basques on any given day of the week. Some were born here, some in the Basque Country. Older Basques continue to play cards on Sunday evenings, just like they did when they were young, and often Mus partners go back more than a decade. But there is also change in enduring traditions. The older generation now competes against their children and grandchildren, women are part of the tournament, and there is at least one grandfather/granddaughter Mus couple.

The Euskal Etxea is an integral part of Boise’s close-knit Basque community. We all gather there, each with our languages, our accents, our nationalities, our stories, and our preference in soccer teams. At the Center, our differences bring us together to make us, above everything, Basque.

Looking to host a foreign exchange student? Maite Iribarren-Gorrindo can help

16298479_10155052632357491_4346822862602279974_nFor a year now, Maite has been the local coordinator for foreign exchange organization Terra Lingua. She told us what a wonderful experience it has been so far. Maite keeps in contact with the students she places once or twice a month, and she loves to see them thrive, grow in confidence with their English and generally fall in love with Idaho.

Maite is now looking for families for the 2017-18 academic year. If you have any interest in talking about an exchange, you can email her at maite@tlusa.org. Or, if you know of any family or friends who might be interested, please let her know as well so she can reach out. You can also pass this link along for people to sign up online: http://www.tlusa.org/hosttoday.

Why host a foreign exchange student?

Hosting a foreign exchange student is a big commitment. However, it most certainly can be an extremely rewarding experience, where your family and the student forge a lifelong bond.

The year just started, and what a wonderful time to open up our homes and lives to a high school exchange student! You are giving them a view of America that will make a profound difference in who they are and how they relate to Americans. In turn, you get a glimpse into their life and customs. That’s just the beginning of the extraordinary benefits hosting brings to families, students, and the world.

We are proud welcome students to the Eagle, Nampa, Kuna, Mountain Home areas for the 2017-18 academic year. Volunteer host families are needed for students from over 20 countries! Which country peaks your interest?

Terra Lingua USA is an accredited non-profit organization whose vision it is to promote global awareness and cultural understanding one student at a time. You’ll be pleased to know that our students pass a rigorous application process for academic achievement, behavioral expectations, and English proficiency. Each arrives with medical insurance and spending money for all of the exciting things that await them. You simply provide room and board, and treat them as a family member.

Families with or without kids are welcome to apply. A simple application process and background check and you’re on your way!

Contact your Treasure Valley Representative, Maite Iribarren-Gorrindo at maite@tlusa.org or visit our website www.TLUSA.org for more information on our programs and to complete a host application.

Terra Lingua USA is a U.S. Department of State designated Exchange Visitor Program (J-1 Visa) sponsor.

Boise’s Basque Museum is looking for an Education Program Specialist

Boise Basque Museum and Cultural CenterThis position if for an outgoing, organized, creative person that would like to bring children and adults to the Basque Museum & Cultural Center for a unique Basque experience. Having the opportunity to meet new people and create programs and events in order to reach a broader audience is just a portion of this position. The Education Programs Specialist will also be able to work with schools, tour groups and others to schedule general tours as well as specialized tours to meet the needs of those visiting.

The Basque Museum & Cultural Center was started in 1985 when founder Adelia Simplot purchased the historic brick home on Grove Street in downtown Boise. Since then, the Basque Museum has grown to include artifacts, photos, archives, a library, and exhibits to teach and share the Basque culture with Boise and beyond.

The position of Education Program Specialist requires organization, time management and creativity. You will work with a small staff, but many generous volunteers. The position is 40 hours per week, though sometimes there are evening and weekend programs and events that will raise those hours or cause you to adjust hours accordingly. Starting salary is $34,500 and will include benefits. You will also receive a parking pass just behind the Museum. This position is guaranteed for one year with the possibility of becoming a permanent position after February 2018.

If you are interested or want to be part of a great team while sharing a unique culture with the public, please apply by sending a cover letter, resume and at least two references to the Executive Director. This job posting will close February 15. For more information, please contact the Basque Museum at 208.343.2671

Below is the full job description for Education Program Specialist at the Basque Museum & Cultural Center.

Basque Museum & Cultural Center

Education Program Specialist

The Education Program Specialist is the person primarily responsible for administering educational programming and providing information to the public to build awareness of and promote participation in Basque history, language and culture across generations.

General Overview of Responsibilities:

  • Implement and enhance educational programs
  • Organize and provide educational presentations on and off-site (tours, workshops, lectures, and classes). Provide unique learning opportunities that attract all ages.
  • Retains strong contacts with area schools to assess their needs and develop programs accordingly.
  • Increase educational outreach off-site, regionally and statewide – work with BSU Basque Studies, NABO groups, and other educational entities
  • Works with Curator to produce curriculum-related materials tied to changing exhibitions and traveling exhibits for use in-schools/off-site (web based resources, curricula, etc.)
  • Works with community groups, organizations, school systems and others to increase awareness of the institution as an educational resource. Develops community collaborations and partnerships to extend organization programs and audience.
  • Organize and coordinate docent program – train volunteers to assist with student and adult presentations and tours. Administer volunteer sign-in, documentation of hours and maintains master list of volunteers.
  • Seeks funding sources for education programs, consults with Director and Finance Committee on strategies to fund existing and new programs. Writes/assists with education grants to support programming.
  • Offer educational and cultural activities such as children and adult language classes, film series and cooking, language and music classes and educational programs to a variety of age groups.
  • Administer Educational Trunk & Educational Resource Materials program(s).
  • Work with Ikastola Director to continue to increase enrollment, and improve and enhance the programs/ facilities of the Ikastola.
  • Monitors education department income and expense budgets.
  • Compiles various monthly and annual reports detailing department activities.
  • Coordinates scheduling for BMCC facility use and Basque Block activities.
  • Responsibilities related to technology:
  1. Creating and collecting content for and production of the newsletter
  2. Website – updates re: programs, activities, and events
  3. Museum Guest Book – follow-up emails, suggestions, statistics
  4. Collection and electronic maintenance of services provided by Museum
  5. Addition of education resource materials to the website


  • Undergraduate degree in education, communication, public history, or related field required.
  • Excellent organizational and problem-solving skills. Strong verbal and written communication skills, with ability to multi-task, prioritize and self-manage.
  • Sets a comfortable tone and encourages open communication. Listens attentively and actively. Promotes team spirit and works collaboratively to achieve team goals. Thrives in a team environment while working independently.
  • Accept ownership for new and different requests. Explore opportunities to add value to job accomplishments.
  • Proficiency in MS Office and administering and working with databases.
  • Warm, engaging interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to work with and teach a variety of ages – from pre-k through adults.
  • Strong verbal skills with bilingual ability in Basque or Spanish preferred.
  • Strong technology skills preferred

Education Program Specialist must be able to have a flexible work schedule and will work evenings and weekends, as needed, to accommodate programs and activities.

  • Full-time, exempt position, Reports to Executive Director

Updated: January, 2017

An evening with William Douglass in February at Boise’s Basque Museum

Bill Douglass (@ Basque Museum & Cultural Center)

Bill Douglass (@ Basque Museum & Cultural Center)

William Douglass, Mr. Basque, author of countless books about Basque culture, language, traditions and more, will be in Boise February 9 for a presentation you will not want to miss.

Boise State University’s Basque Studies and The Basque Museum & Cultural Center are honored to host professor emeritus William A. Douglass, PhD in Boise.

Get over to the Basque Museum on Thursday, February 9 at 6pm. There will be light appetizers and drinks to enjoy.

Date: 02/9/17
Time: 6pm
Location: Basque Museum & Cultural Center

Bill Douglass is Coordinator Emeritus of the William A. Douglass Center for Basque Studies at University of Nevada, Reno. His lecture will focus on the historical and cultural tradition of human migration.

This educational event is hosted by Boise State University Basque Studies as part of the Elorriaga Basque Lecture Series and the Basque Museum & Cultural Center, in collaboration with the Center for Basque Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno.


Related posts

Learning to let go, by Ana I. Bernal Triviño

I could have done without the last few months, really. Luckily, I don’t feel crappy anymore. It turns out that time does make everything better. Time and wine. Mostly wine. Oh, and friends.

I read an article last December called Aprender a dejar ir (Learning to let go), by Ana I. Bernal Triviño. I enjoyed it because it helped me finish putting my feelings in order. So much so, that I decided to translate it into English and share with you guys (thanks, Diana, for the quality control). It might come in handy someday.

I just want to be happy with my life, and honestly, I am. It’s good to be back!

El beso frente al Hôtel de ville, 1950 © Atelier Robert Doisneau, 2016

El beso frente al Hôtel de ville, 1950 © Atelier Robert Doisneau, 2016

Learning to let go


There are times when we must fit pieces of our puzzle, rebuild the landscape, remove weeds and shifting grounds… There are three days left until the end of the year, and we all take stock of our gains and losses. I have gained things, but I have also lost. I have recovered, for the time being a mother after a cancer. And these days I feel like I have recovered two friends, the type who you know would never leave, but who needed their distance, their silence, their time to think or a delicate vital circumstance to react, even if it took them years.

My friend Ruth says that every so often we have to watch the Eat, Pray, Love movie, when it is time to let go. The thing is, I have always found more courageous the adventure of those facing a moment of existential or personal crisis without running away, without putting distance in between. I don’t deny that I would like to go to Rome for a year, then to India, and then to Bali. But why put distance in between when what’s needed is putting time in between. And that cannot be rushed.

In these assessments, gains are kept as if our lives depended on them, neatly folded in our most heartfelt nooks. And the losses, we must know how to let them go or let them be. And it is hard. And it hurts, it hurts a lot, like losing part of yourself.

I suppose one never really knows how to let go, but it is different every time and it is only a learning process. It seldom happens to me, very seldom, except when I lower my protection wall. And sometimes I have lowered it even when I knew that person would not stay in 2017, because I gave a vote of confidence. However, when it is time to let someone go I always insist on the details, which are everything.

First of all, I am referring to normal relationships. Where there is physical, psychological abuse, humiliation, disregard, reiterated and unjustified blame, and the tendency to do harm, even after being left… it is obvious we must leave.

Secondly, letting go when you are the one who made the decision to leave is not that praiseworthy, because you have the advantage to recover and not experience grieving phases. Swallowing that bitter pill falls on the one who must let go despite still being in love, despite not being heard or understood, despite not being forgiven, or despite missing the other person… Too much weight to bear. And that’s when we need to lighten the baggage. If the other person does not help us remove it, it is up to us, because we cannot take on other people’s responsibility.

When it comes to friendship or love, I am one of those who never slams the door, because I see it as a lack of respect and the biggest disregard after sharing your time with somebody, when there is always an option to say goodbye without yelling and with caution. Not like little kids, but like adults. Because there is no need to add more pain to something that, as it is, already hurts.

If that happens, more than the farewell itself, I’m disappointed by the people who allowed themselves to be overcome by their anger and fury, and do not appreciate that time together. Someone’s nobleness is measured right there, in the farewells. And as much as that person denies it, one day I realized that the tale of the red thread could be true. That when you meet a person a red thread appears that links you both together, and you can distance or detach yourself as much as you want, but that thread never snaps.

For that reason, I’m one of those people who prefer quiet, grateful farewells, accepting an apology and contributing with your own, putting distance in between, silences… Then, time is responsible for resetting the pieces of the puzzle and moving them for you. Now, of course, the good ones will me moved, those who belonged to noble people who, in time, know how to handle sensibly what happened. And if there is something I can guarantee is that although it might take five or ten years to arrive, when the person is honest, did not put on someone else’s costume, did not have other obscure intentions and was worth it… that apology or that pending talk will come, or that misunderstanding will get resolved. That’s why I always leave the door open… Because we all make mistakes, and because when you are enraged, in the end, it only affects yourself and it prevents solving the issues.

But even then, to move forward, you know you have to make way. And let go hoping that time will provoke a reaction, for better or for worse. Or let go forever, when you are denied all options from the beginning. It is not usual, thankfully, but when occasionally the door is slammed and the greatest disregard emerges, initially I would freeze up for fear of losing. Not anymore, because I learned that those reactions belong to people who really fear for other things, but never fear they will lose you. And because the very people who bid farewell in such a way are the same who were never actually there. And in those circumstances, what are you going to let go?

Even if it hurts, it is not worth suffering either when someone leaves you at the most delicate time. I’m not talking about being asked for some time, because that’s not leaving, that’s knowing how to wait. And if you are there when that person returns, there are no ‘buts.’ I’m talking about what I’ve seen: family and friends who leave you when cancer or depression hits, because it is too much responsibility for them. We have to let those people go until they come to their senses, if they ever do or empathize at some point, because otherwise it is clear they were there for some vested interest.

When we are forced to let go, I was taught to do it without resentment or hate, never wishing harm on anyone, no matter how much harm they did. And I accepted one has to let go because that would mean loving yourself less than that person, and that can never, ever, happen.

If the farewell is painful, leaves you in shock or you cannot take it in well… I always imagine that the person died, even if it’s not true and in time you accept they live and what happened. But in the beginning, it doesn’t hurt as much. Because we don’t put blame on dead people. All is forgotten, we forgive and are only left to deal with the grief. And in the end, what good are disregard and rage, if we are all going to end up dead sooner or later?

And in those occasions, I re-read my Federico García Lorca and Doña Rosita when she said: “Everything is finished… and yet, with all my dreams destroyed, I go to bed and get up with the terrible feeling that hope is finally dead.” That happens. And it hurts. And then I ask myself… if hope is dead, how are we to live? And then Leonard Cohen comes to mind, just like a friend reminded me a couple of days ago, when he said that even if you have the hope that nothing will change, you must act like you didn’t know it.

If you receive disregard, if you’re left like you’ve been thrown to the trash, like a paper, you cannot love that person more than you love yourself. And if you take a long time to let go, it doesn’t mean that you are cowardly or weak. It means that you really loved, because when things are pure and true, they require more effort and more pain. And when you accept that, and you let go, you will feel courageous. Because courage does not involve holding on, but releasing the hands instead, even if it takes an extraordinary effort.

And if that person comes back to your mind, let that person return in the best way they existed in your life: with their best memories, with their music, with their embrace. When you remember them without resentment, you will know that you have let go in the healthiest, safest and most respectful way there is… And like that, until next time. Like that, until next year.