End of year greetings from Neftali - 2020

Thank you 2020 but welcome 2021!


Sa saad seda kirja ka eesti keeles lugeda siin.

It goes without saying that this year has been different from others in so many ways. Like many of you, we too shared a sense of worry about the future more than once throughout this constantly changing year. We worried not only about the health of loved ones but also about how to manage work and family life in this new situation. The confinement made me realise that I have taken for granted many things I considered a normal part of life.


Personally, one of the hardest parts of this year was not being able to meet my family in Spain. What has made it especially difficult is the fact that my second child Mateo was born in February shortly before the pandemic cancelled all travel plans, so his Spanish family has seen him only when he was a couple of weeks old. Despite that, I am grateful that all is well with them, and I hope that there will be an opportunity for us to get together not only through video calls but also in person in the upcoming months.  

Although my Spanish family remained far, I feel very grateful to our team in Hispaania Maja. Starting with Liis and Merilin in our admin team, our wonderful teachers Antonio, Francisco, Laura and Leonardo who give classes on the spot and last but not least Anna, Cristina and Fernando in Spain with whom our students meet in online lessons. Their professionalism and dedication to give their best makes me proud of having them in our team and gives me confidence that we can get through even the most difficult situations together. 


A lot has been talked this year about social distancing and to keep the spirits up; I created a tradition of cooking dinner once or twice a month for our Hispaania Maja staff. In these challenging times, these gatherings gave an opportunity to not only share a home-cooked meal together but also check up on each other. I am also happy that it gave me an opportunity to experiment with new recipes. I propose you share such moments with your workmates too when the restrictions allow.


With the year closing, I dare to say that we managed to adapt and used the time of lockdown as an opportunity to expand the selection of our bookshop and Spanish food shop even further bringing Hispaania Maja closer to the concept I had in mind since the beginning. An all-in-one house, and therefore the name that is a combination of those houses abroad that hosted food and cultural gatherings for Estonians in exile and Spaniards too, as during Franco regime there were “Casa Española” all around Europe. From an economic point of view, the decision to invest our resources into the improvement of Hispaania Maja was, of course, a bit scary as a lot of our students too were affected by the pandemic. Still, nevertheless, I was sure that our renewed space where one can feel like home or even like in a Spanish home surrounded by the Spanish language, literature and food is needed. 


I personally want to thank all of you who have visited us; those of you who came with enthusiasm to our classes and learned Spanish, who found study materials to improve their Spanish or enjoyed well-selected books translated from Spanish by Toledo Kirjastus. And of course, all of you who love authentic Spanish flavours as much as me and brought home quality olive oil, seafood, Vermouth, wines, cavas, jams and sauces, and keep coming back. It is your enthusiasm and love for Spanish flavours, culture and language that inspire us.


This time we can actually say that the year that is about to start will be better than the one we are leaving behind.


I would like to wish everyone good health and strength for the new year of 2021!


Yours sincerely

Neftali Peral



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