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I am a baby boomer (1946 vintage) and have enjoyed possibly the most privileged life of anyone - who ever lived! Having worked in Cyprus, Frankfurt, Munich, Brussels, West France, Marseilles, and most recently - since 2005 - Madrid.
I can now claim to be thoroughly monolingual (I speak English and Muddled) and recommend other peripatetic workers should learn from my mistakes, and escape the Anglophone ghetto by learning the local language ab-initio and PDQ!
I also recommend the works of people who have studied culture issues, for example: Geert Hofstede Software of the Mind), Fons Trompenaars (Waves of culture et al) and Fernando Flores who, with Charles Spinosa and Hubert Dreyfus wrote "Disclosing new worlds" Perhaps the most impenetrable but thought provoking example best example of how not to write English (or rather American).
Entrepreneurship, Democratic Action and the Cultivation of Solidarity (the book's sub-title) was my final (2009) project which tried to bring to Madrid the work of Eric S. Raymond and his seminal work The Cathedral and the Bazaar.
Since then, I have retired to Aranjuez, possibly the most fascinating historical site in Europe, containing (among other delights) a Visigoth necropolis, basic Moorish irrigation developed when Philip II of Spain chose this site for his springtime palace, and laid out extensive gardens and orchards (sadly, now mostly used for cash crops such as maïs) but still defined by shady, tree-lined avenues in 'occult' geometric arrangements, most of which are in their original condition providing delightful, level walks for adventurous visitors. As well as the royal palace there are many 18th Century but mostly ruined 'casas de jornada' where nobles lived while the royal court was in session here. Anyone with lots of cash and a desire to refurbish a palace need look no further!
For me, Wikipedia in English has been a vital work tool, because my students were often stuck in the Spanish version, which seems to need to catch up in some areas! I tried to encourage them to start to edit, and some of my own edits have been prompted by them, or done as demonstration lessons.
I believe that people educated in the Spanish system tend to be intensively educated (but in a rather narrow, formal structure), and the many immigrants to Spain, who (like me) have enjoyed extensive experience (but often need academic support) can compliment each other brilliantly.
My hope is that the crisis will ignite Spain the way that Germany was fired by the post-war chaos and the bitter winter of 1946, and that Wikipedia (and working in English as a Foreign or Second Language) will help them copy what the Germans did for Europe and the English Speaking World.
And ¡ WOW ! I am part of that? What amazing luck! Thank you Wikipedians, for helping me get lucky. I hope I can do the same for you someday! Meanwhile, I am still learning about the hidden power of Wikipedia:How to edit a page. It is a long way from the Transistor–transistor logic computers I worked with as an apprentice.....
Here are some of my draft articles that need your help, because they did not (or will not yet) make it through the Wikipedia checks:
- User:Timpo/MWT Magnetic water treatment - Eventually we got some agreement
- User:Timpo/PARVE Charging System This design now seems to have become moribund
- User:Timpo/FLIC Foreign language electronic trainer using brain psychology from Prof. Nicholson
Best wishes for a life as rich as mine (but maybe rather better informed), regards, Timpo (talk) 07:34, 28 April 2009 (UTC)