viernes, 20 de agosto de 2010

I'm Back!

I'm having flashbacks to Spain. I still get e-mails from Renfe and all the facebook-like sites I signed up for over a year ago, and I had the urge to speak Spanish, since my Somerville language group is currently on hiatus. More importantly, I've had the urge to get back to writing the blog, but it seems weird that the subject of it should stay the same. I mena, I'm not in Spain anymore, and my next genius idea for a blog really had nothign to do with Spain at all... so I guess this is my segue into the new one, which I can only hope will be as exciting as before, if not funnier. Stay tuned for "Bus Tales"....................

domingo, 6 de diciembre de 2009

Would it be weird to continue my blog in Boston...?

Rhapsody Purchased Music:
1. This Time - John Legend
2. Pretty Wings (uncut) - Maxwell
3. Daydreamin' (Featuring Jill Scott) - Lupe Fiasco
4. Knock You Down featuring Kanye West, Ne-Yo - Keri Hilson
5. No Air duet with Chris Brown (Main Version) - Jordin Sparks
6. No One (Radio Edit) - Alicia Keys
7. Intro - Lupe Fiasco
8. Hey There Delilah - Plain White T's
9. Fireflies - Owl City
10. Misery Business - Paramore
11. Misery Business - Paramore
12. Chasing After You (The Morning Song) - Tye Tribbett & G.A.
13. Faithful Is Our God - Pastor Hezekiah Walker

sábado, 20 de junio de 2009

Funny Story

Saying bye to Puri, and having little Beatriz read the note about her grandma helping us pay the bills so we could eat, and take advantage of the opportunity to travel around Spain, and other neighboring countries. I mean, I meant for her to read it, but maybe the whole family didn't need to... Needless to say, she enjoyed it, and seemed happy that I'd even bothered to say goodbye since not everyone did. What can I say, despite the extravagant cost of living, I really did grow to like Puri, or maybe we just had a mutual respect for one another that I appreciated over time. Whatever it was, the card reading moment was priceless!

Me pongo triste

The packing is always when it hits me.
When the last person walks out the door, when I turn in the keys, when I start telling people the date I'll no longer be in town, those are all guaranteed signs that I'm leaving. But what really gets me to break down is taking the pictures off the walls, figuring out what clothes I want to wear in the last three or four days so they can go on top and not on the bottom of the maleta, writing farewell cards, and looking at my empty room and remembering all the memories that a place holds for me.

I jumped on my sheet-less, blanket-less bed because I'll never sleep there again. I spent hours in the living room writing cards to friends and co-workers I may never see again, and thought of how they've shaped my experience here. I am constantly flabbergasted by the number of people I have to say goodbye to. Between, school, church, tutoring, and hanging out in the streets, I've gotten to know faces and people. Many of them are just conocidos who wish me well in the future wherever I end up, but some are much more than that, and I have to do my best to tell them so.

In my last weeks here, I've realized that a ton of people don't like saying goodbye, and sometimes I don't either. I've also realized, I'm not always so good at saying how I feel about people, or what they've meant to me. I can write it down beautifully, pero me ponga nerviosa decirlo en voz alta. I don't know why. Maybe it's because it would sound so cheesy, even though it's genuinely how I feel. Like when I say "Ana de mi alma", "ojos del encanto", or "te echare de menos..." I'm being serious. Coming up with a list of the reasons why though is when it gets difficult to keep talking out loud. Luckily I can write, and my writing in Spanish, I've been told, is almost flawless. I still laugh when I hear that, but I do relish the compliment.

Anyhow, while I get sad, I hope Espana and all the people I've met here, will stya strong in my absence. Try not to miss me too much. Os echare de menos, pero volvere;)

lunes, 8 de junio de 2009

Being 25

I've spent the last month telling myself "I am 25" so that when the birthday actually came and people started asking me how old I was, I wouldn't get confused. Tragic, but it's happened to me before, so now I give myself a little practice time way in advance. Luckily for me, venticinco slides off the tongue a little more easily than venticuatro, so I actually prefer to say it.

Now that I'm actually 25, I realize it's not old... then again, I bet 50 year olds are telling themselves the same thing. The thing is, I'm not suddenly moving slowly, wrinkling, or sagging. That stuff happens gradually anyway. But it does feel different, like at this age I ought to have new responsibilities and obligations... to myself.

So, I spent the turning 25 weekend at the beach with Ana de mi alma, who threw a surprise birthday party with the help of the Cheers crowd that hangs out at the Bodeguita. (If there were a reality show taped on Matalascanas, the cameras would have to stay at this little bar. Between the comedy, the singing, and the dramatically overplayed anger, the cameras could actually keep rolling 24/7 and air footage without any cuts.) We'd gone there earlier in the day, and Ana must have told everyone the day before that it was my birthday, so people, some of whom I'd just met, kept wishing me a feliz cumpleanos and asking how old I was (good thing I practiced). When we went back later on, and after a half hour or so, I took a servicio trip with Ana, who said she was mareada from all the vino... odd I thought. Then, when we came back downstairs, and she was shouting "mareada, mareada!" I knew something was up, I just didn't know exactly how it would play out.... Cut to the Bodeguita at the bottom of the stairs: Lights out! Cake! And a roomful of people singing "cumpleanos a ti, cumpleanos a ti, te deseamos todo, cumpleanos a ti!"

So, lessons learned this weekend and in the past week, other than the fact that a birthday only lasts 24 hours (unless you start shopping a week early, and extend it with chocoterapia):
  • there's a difference between loving someone and loving them well
  • sing happy birthday to yourself in the mirror when you wake up, it will set the day off RIGHT
  • if 34 isn't old, 25 is like fresh out of the womb
  • it is possible to still be in love after 30+ years of marriage
  • good friends are priceless and often come unexpectedly
  • overexaggerate and damn near shout when speaking another language, it sounds crazy in your head, but people will know what you're saying
  • how to say Nia in Spanish: pretend you have a lisp, and stick your tongue out between your teeth a little, otherwise you'll be mistaken for Lia, Nina, or even Ina by some abuelas...
  • having a place where everyone knows your name is like my goal in life, and I seem to have achieved it in Bollullos Par del Condado
  • sad movies can be good when well acted (case in point, The Namesake or El Buen Nombre)
  • cleaning and doing laundry is a great way to pass the time
  • nothing comes exactly when you want it to, but surprises are often welcomed

domingo, 31 de mayo de 2009

No me dejas

It's hard to be the last man standing, but I did do it to myself. Now that my roommates are gone, my BFF's Ngoc and Ally on their way to more international adventures, and most of the other Bollullos auxiliars are on their way out if not gone already, I feel that my authentic (albeit solita) Spanish experience is really just beginning. Perhaps, at the end of the day, this is what I actually expected when I first came here... and then wound up with two American roommates, and lots of chances to speak English. Kind of wish the house was one level though, and had a few less rooms. I'm not sure If I'm living alone, or will be a live in maid for the rest of the time I'm here. The place requires constant maintenance that's easier to do in threes.

Initially, when I got my ticket, I'd wanted to stay a little longer in Spain because I figured I'd have a lot of traveling that I wouldn't have done during the year and still wanted to do al final. Well, duh-harrr, and of course, as expected, there're still tons of places on my list to see. To be honest, most of the places I've gone thus far weren't even on my original list, from Cordoba, to Ireland, and Portugal. I'm glad I went of course, especially Cordoba, which after three visits, has become one of my favorite cities. Still, there's a lot I haven't seen of the world, although people who've seen less might call me a world traveler. Seems like the more you do, the more humble you become about your own experience and capabilities.

I was just thinking the other day how I've spoken with people who said they wish their English was as good as my Spanish. Ha! Meanwhile, comparing myself to people who fluently speak two or more languages, I feel like I am not. Ok, so maybe I'm not on the bottom of the fluency scale, but I feel far from being mistaken for a native speaker, which is always my goal. A little lofty perhaps, especially considering I started learning when I was 18 and this has been my longest, although not the first, stay in a Spanish speaking country. Nonetheless, I appreciate the compliment from people who strive for bilingualism, if it is one... that they would like to speak as well as I do in a non-native language. Which brings me to something I'll supremely miss about Spain, compliments.

From "que guapa vienes" to "joder!" to "que bien hablas," I will miss the frequency with which Spain and its countrymen have boosted my confidence at random and unexpected intervals. I don't know what I'm gonna do when people actually walk by in a rush to get wherever they have to go and don't stop to stare; or when I go to work with people who are straight hating... Thanks, Espana, for the constant pick-me-ups and for showing me the world is not completely full of hateration. Probably helps that I've spent most of the year working with older women who are more likely to treat me as the exotic daughter they never had than to walk by without giving a compliment. I will miss it all, and I'll be soaking it up, for what it's worth, in my remaining weeks here. 'Preciate it. Keep it comin'.

sábado, 30 de mayo de 2009

Wide Open Spaces

Was I really just in Dublin earlier this month, because yesterday it felt like I was on the Oregon Trail, destination the Wild West. A few weeks ago I learned that hueco means space, like a little gap between one thing and another, or just un espacio. What I saw at El Rocio yesterday was more than a hueco, it was like a different place and time. I wondered if the caravans of manifest destiny had similar pitstops along their journey, stopping to eat, drink and be merry while dancing, singing, and chatting it up. I guess keeping in high spirits would have helped them forget about the dust blowing in their faces and the indefinitely long journey that remained.

To sum it up would be impossible. El Rocio es muy propio. Like all its own, an event in and of itself. A different epoca that you witness, and although you too are dressed up while watching, you can't help but to stand back and think, where am I? Amidst the convivencia, people are so excited that this time of year has finally arrived. They're eager to get to El Rocio, the home of the Virgin of devotion, and stay in their houses, or their friends' houses. I don't know how many new sevillanas I learned. Prior to the camino, I was just working with "Carmela borda en mi vela" but now I have love song sung through the metaphor of "un trigo y un limon" and another about the virgin, plus a handful of others I haven't completely memorized.

All in all, an interesting experience, even if it did involve bumping along dirt roads in the back of a truck to get there. Don't let anyone tell you riding in a small remolque is okay. It's hellish! But tolerable in short distances and with lots of singing and other merriment.