10 years ago I bought a one-way ticket Copenhagen-Barcelona, I packed my suitcase (a very big one, so it could fit my favourite CDs). From Barcelona I took the train to Tarragona. On my way, I met the unpronounceable word Torredembarra (how on Earth did they fit all those r in just one word, real tricky for a guiri like me). It already looked like a complicated adventure this one, but here I was, 20 years old with (almost) no idea of Spanish and even less of Catalan, ready to learn and to begin my new life for the next six months (or at least that was what I thought).
I came to Tarragona to learn Spanish, although a more obvious choice would have been going to Spain. But Tarragona had captured my attention in an earlier visit a couple of years before. That night of the Trofeu Gamper, Barça against AC Milan, I understood why. Tarragona makes you fall in love with it. The city has this great atmosphere and a special very light, just as I remembered.
So yeah, the six months turned into ten years (so far). After learning Spanish and later Catalan and surviving working in whatever I could, I started studying journalism at the University Rovira i Virgili, my final thesis was on the “The coverage of the Catalan conflict and nationalism in the Danish newspaper Politiken”, which was published in Catalan Journal of Communication & Cultural Studies. After graduating I did a Master’s Degree in Strategic Communication my thesis of the master’s was titled “The evolution of Vuelta Ciclista a España as a cultural-communicative phenomenon after A.S.O.’s takeover (2008-2014)”. This year I started my Ph.D. in Communication, specialized in sport (cycling). I currently work at the Department of Communication Studies where I carry out my Ph.D. studies, do research and teach. In my free time, I do some sports radio for the local radio station Ràdio Ciutat de Tarragona.
My other interests in my spare time are quite mixed in genre. First of all I’m a sports freak. I love all kinds of sports although football and cycling are the ones I follow the most. I love languages; I use four of them on a daily basis (Catalan, Danish, English and Spanish) and I’m eager to learn more. Catalan is my favourite language of them all. It’s a beautiful, complex and rich language, which allows you to say exactly what you mean. Catalan culture is another thing that fascinates me; I can’t get enough of it! I’m, therefore, also very interested in the political process and future of Catalonia and try helping a little in getting the message out there…or well, at least to Denmark. Last but not least I’m a great fan of art, specially photography, cinema and music.
Well, that was pretty much how I ended up here. And Now I’m formally going to introduce myself: Hi, I’m Helle Kettner Høeberg a 30-year-old Dane, who is delighted and very honoured indeed to be curator nº 92 of @catalanvoices. As my interests are mixed, my tweets are too. I hope you enjoy following a Catalan Dane in Tarragona during this week. And by the way, I still buy CDs… Wanna see my collection?