Saturday, August 8, 2009

La Guerra Civil

In order to better prepare for our trip to Spain I hit up the Eugene library. I can't claim that I checked out everything that they had, but it would be fair to say that anyone in the area who is looking for information about a certain Mediterranean country may be out of luck.
I finished the two memoirs right away and have slowly been working through the textbook about the Spanish Civil War. Merely holding a textbook in my hands sends my brain back into student mode and I find myself wondering if the reading is 'optional' or if it will really be on the tests. Fortunately, in this situation, there is no test, which leaves me with the option of taking a nap instead of plowing through. This policy, which served me well throughout my college days, doesn't do much for my understanding of Spanish politics in the late 30s.
Luckily, our library also had a DVD which I was able to watch in 58 minutes.
I've still got my textbook, to which I can refer, but I probably won't need it because now I'm pretty much an expert.
I especially enjoyed the DVD because it focused on American women who worked as volunteer nurses on the front.

There were all kinds of famous artists and writers from all over the world that flocked to Spain in 'the fight against fascism' including Ernest Hemmingway and George Orwell. They could see the potential that a dictator would and eventually did have in crushing the freedom of expression and stifling the artistic pursuits of Spaniards.
What I hadn't known, which makes me feel stiflingly ignorant was that Hitler and his evil cohorts joined up with Franco and that many believe that the Civil War was a pre-test that eventually gave the Nazis enough confidence to move on to the rest of the world. Although many people responded to fight against this first step, too many governments refused to get involved.

The DVD focused on several brave young nurses that decided that they were personally going to get involved. They worked to save the lives of injured soldiers under horrific circumstances and saw violence and death everywhere. The interesting thing was that in all of their interviews they talked about their time during the war with such passion because even though it was a nightmare, they knew they were doing something to help.

I was really inspired by the example. I'm not sure that I would have had the courage to go out and actually do something to fight for the things I believe in.

There are so many examples of amazing women throughout history and I hope that as I learn about some of the things they have done that I can use their example to become a better person.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Being the wild and spontaneous family that we are, we decided to take an impromptu jaunt to the coast and camp out for a night. We learned the hard way that Coos Bay reserves this weekend for their Dune Fest and every campground in the area was filled with dune buggy enthusiasts. Lucky thing for us, the Oregon coast has about 6 million campgrounds and we were able to find a spot just outside of Florence.

Since everyone else was out on the dunes we had the tide pools to ourselves. It was a cool 66 degrees and couldn't have been more beautiful. Brandon has some serious skills when it comes to spotting interesting things and Rocky is an enthusiastic apprentice.