Curator #35: Jordi Vilanova

MeSwede

Very proud to be the 35th Curator for @CatalanVoices!

Born in 1958 and brought up in England, of a Swedish mother and a Catalan father born in Paris, France, I came to live in Catalonia when I turned 19, after the dictator of Spain, General Franco died. I first went to French school in London and my parents both taught me their own languages as I grew up in NW London learning, but not actually having to study, four languages. The only language I ever really had to study was Spanish, when I came to live in Barcelona!

As you can see, I am not strictly of full-blooded Catalan origin, and nor is my wife, as her parents come from Southern Spain. That makes me pretty much a run-of-the-mill Catalan citizen. Most of us here have roots from all over the place, speak at least Catalan and Spanish, and are pretty much adverse to the uniform, monolingual culture in most of Spain.

I must admit I was brought up to think of Catalonia as not being Spain, as both my father and grandfather were political émigrés from an authoritarian country that never accepted its own different cultures. In fact, it still has a tough time accepting it is a multicultural country. I have often compared it with someone suffering from an autoimmune disease, i.e. when the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues!

I am a volunteer proofreader and editor with HelpCatalonia.cat, a collective that wants to reach an international audience to explain how we in Catalonia see our situation, rather than that of the Spanish mainstream media, which is what usually reaches public opinion in other countries. Working with Help Catalonia means I have pretty much given up blogging in English at georgebcn.blogspot.co.uk and in Catalan at yuribcn.blogspot.com as I have to leave time for work as a business process and organisation analyst, and for my family. But you will find some recommendable (even if I do say so myself) posts on Catalonia there. I still find time to tweet from @yuribcn though!

The photo of me was taken by my wife at my cousin’s sommarstugaor holiday home in central Sweden.

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