Saturday, June 7, 2008

so i guess this is life...

It seems like every time I stop to think about the "status" of my life so I can write in this thing, the conclusion is always - this is just a really funny, clumsy time of life. As the end of the schoolyear gets here I have to make plans for the summer, and these plans are in the following state:
I MAY, or possibly MAY NOT, have a job teaching english at a summer camp here in spain for a few weeks.
I can't stay in my current apartment in July, but need a place to stay, but not for the WHOLE month if the summer camp thing swerves toward the "may work out" possibility.
I have a tentative job teaching private english classes, but that MAY not work out depending on what happens with summer camp.
I MAY know where I'm living next september by the end of the month and be able to move things there, but it MAY NOT be settled in time.
I MAY be getting almost 500 euros from the Spanish government if I get my shit together and they don't take an eon to give me my tax info (this MAY be too much to ask).

I MAY be broke and homeless in a month - though somehow I trust this will not happen.

Basically there's a curious amount of "MAY" going on for it to be June.

Other general goings one (file under the "amusing" category), last weekend I was in the end-of-term dance concert for the afterschool program at the school I work at. Beth and my friend Dan came to see the show, which was quite something,, let me tell you. Check out this clip somebody posted on youtube - it's from the dance I did with all of the moms from the school (and a couple other teachers) to Thriller by Michael Jackson...dressed as zombies. Just wait 'til I get pictures...

When the zombies leave the stage I'm the blonde one that comes down to the audience in the middle (It's a wig, so no, I didn't dye my hair again).

I also danced around in gold lamé as a backup dancer, while Virginia (same Virginia as always) sang Don't Stop Me Now by Queen. Need to get those pics up too...

At the end of the weekend Beth left for a month travelling around Mexico, and I wish I were going off on an adventure too. I guess in a way just living here is adventure enough in comparison with what I could be doing otherwise, but I was hoping to get away and do something other than teaching english this summer, change things up, see new places. I wanted to go do a WOOF program in Italy, but I'm afraid I can't turn away getting paid. I need the money - because I haven't saved any this year. I need to learn how to do that... So this is the difference between before and after college.

One thing I can't complain of is that it's a beautiful day outside, and I should be there in it. I'm trying to spend less time plugged into the computer and more outdoors, even if it's only to read. I suggest you do the same.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Today I stopped for a moment to assess where I'm at right now...between 3-day spanish rock festivals, catching up on battlestar galactica, the choreography for the dance show i'm in a few weeks from now, and trip to barcelona next weekend, the guy i've had a couple dates with who's currently on hold...I realized it had been a while since I'd taken stock.

And the answer that came to me? Estoy en movimiento
I'm in motion. right now I'm surfing this wave of things that are happening - and I dont' really know where that puts me but I think not knowing is OK for the moment, right?

I also realized, a second after this thought, that I have sheep for neighbors.

About 3 blocks away from my building the town of Villanueva de la Cañada effectively ends, there's a two-lane highway, and then.... GREEN. All the way into the distance, where you can see the sun setting over the mountains. And right over the highway is the pasture of my baa-ing, bell-dangling neighbors. If I was looking for something different in moving here - to Spain and then to the smaller town - I've found it, no doubt. And I'm really enjoying that.

As for other things that are going on - the rock festival, ViñaRock, was a lot of fun. I'd never been to a multiple-day festival, not even in the U.S., the kind where you camp out and all that. So I bought myself a sleeping back and spent 3 days at concerts until 4 in the morning, waking up at noon, and drinking, smoking and eating until going off to the concerts again in the evening. It was funny to spend several days listening to bands that I barel knew - I mean, I knew the choruses to a handful of songs that always get played in bars and discotecas and whatnot. But I had fun dancing and listening anyway. Funny thing about spanish rock though - it has a very distinctive, fairly strict formula:
short guitar solo-

It's a standard rock formula. And unless this guitarrist is exceptional or the lead singer distinctive (there were several of these, like Rosendo and Marea and La Fuga, and they were pretty good) it's gets a little monotonous, especially after DAYS of the same. Lucily there were some great jam bands to dance to, like canteca de Macao and Muchachito bombo infierno or Huecco. Anyway, I came home dirty as hell, dry as a desert and tan (the weather was hot and sunny). As my roommate woud say, triunfada.

At the moment I can't think of anything else to report. I'm trying to be more on top of this thing lately...when I have pictures, I'll post 'em.

Monday, April 7, 2008

the rain has come to spain

You know the smell of rain in about late april-may, when all of th e trees and plants are in flower, and the rain makes the air smell vibrantly green? it's unmistakable. and that's what it smells like right now. I can't remember the last time it rained here, its probably been 2 months, and after the beautiful weather we've been having (already in the 70s the first week of april), everything is starting to flower, and i can already tell that when the skies clear the landscape is going to be neon green with life. i'm stoked.

The last month or so has been an interesting change - and i've been out of touch because once again i was without internet for a month. Because of that, and being now outside of the city, i've been feeling more isolated, and for the first time all year i really started to miss was rough for a few weeks. I've also been taking stock in the friendships i have with people at home and which ones matter most to me, and feeling a little bit less certain than i was before that i am going to find people here that will offer me the caliber of friendship that i expect, the kind that i've left behind - and mostly this is not because i can't find people to get along, but more that a particular quirk about spanish culture seems to be their stubborn and somewhat blind loyalty to the friendships they've grown up with, and it seems almost impossible to become a really truly close friend of anyone here; all those places are already taken b people they've known at the latest since elementary school (!). And I just ain't from around here, no matter what I do.

However, I think I'm still determined to push ahead, and give things more of a chance (probably at least a couple of years worth, so don't hold your breath over there...). Things in my apartment are going mostly well: my room IS much nicer and the house more comfortable, and not travelling an hour to work everyday is a blessing. However I feel like my roommate, excited as she was to have me move in at the beginning, is showing slight signs of annoyance at having another person always in the house - I think mostly because she'd been living alone for months, and she's adjusting to having osmeone else in her space, which is fine. She's also a neat freak, and as I am not, I think it bugs her that i don't always leave thing as neurotically immaculate as she does (though at least she recognizes her own obsession). I was hoping to be living with someone a little more enthusiastic to spend time accompanied, and instead it seems i'm cramping her style...

all things considered, though, I'm more satisfied with how things are going now, this last month has mostly been a transition, and as I already feel I'm moving through that, my guess is that things will change, and I'm hoping the move toward the better. Once the weather improves and its starts to be nice spring weather and all ervyone wants to do is spend time outside drinking beer on terraces and whatnot...that;s the best part of being in spain, man. I'm looking forward to it.

this week I head down to Sevilla for the famous Feria de Abril after 2 years of pleading my friend gloria to take me - think culmination of everything typical you think of when someone says ""spain" to you: flamenco dancing and music, dirnking and food all night long, followed by 2 days of recovery on the beach...i'll try to post pictures later.

big besos to all. Drop me a line if you havent heard from me. I miss you!


Thursday, February 14, 2008


What a crazy month this is turning into...


In March I'm leaving my apartment with Javi and Elodie (and Manolo) in Madrid and moving out to Villanueva de la Cañada, the town that I work in. I'm really relieved about not having to commute every day (it's an hour each way at least), and though I've been hesitant to give up on living in the city, I really feel like I've been longing for a slower pace for a long time, and I might as well take a chance, try something new, and see if it works out. I mean, I had a few explicit goals for my life after college:
-invest time in reading books i wanted to read (self-education)
-invest in my own health/happiness by being active/excercising, cooking and eating well
and if since I was planning on being here in Spain:
-improve and practice my language skills as much as possible - take full advantage of being here

As of now, although things aren't bad with me, I also don't feel like I'm meeting any of these goals. ANY. I've tried, but the first two get dropped because the commuting takes all my time and energy, and when I arrive at home I don't even feel like talking to anyone, nevermind in Spanish.

This new apartment I am going to belongs to Mariola, a gym teacher and friend of mine at my school. She's a sweet person and has a beautiful apartment which she lives in by herself, though it has two bedrooms and two bathrooms. I'm so psyched to live with just one person, to be able to come home right after school and take a nap in the sunshine (which comes in through the window of the room that will be mine), to plop down on Mariola's awesome couch and chat with her and watch TV, or go to the gym (she goes every day). I feel like this is a choice that will bring me closer to a better quality of life -- at least for 4 months. As of now I still plan on moving into an apartment with my friend Virginia in September.

Anyway, I'm a little nervous about leaving everything I've set up for myself in this neighborhood in Madrid, but more than that, I'm relieved by and looking forward to having a situation in which I may be able to breather easier. We shall see...

Monday, February 4, 2008

And then, sometimes, this happens...

This is an actual email I sent to a friend:

I really wish you were online right now. actually, you're probably watching the superbowl aren't you? hmmm, another american tradition lost (to me, i mean).

well, i'm fine, but tonight i'm just having one of those nights when i feel kind of pensive/morose, and i really wish i had someone good here to talk to, just for a little while, so i could a couple of very general, not-immediately important life issue thoughts out of my brain so that i could sleep a little easier. I wish you were here. i wish anyone were online. ANYONE. I wish i lived in the same timezone as you or any of my other good friends so i could just pick up my cell phone (which my parents would be paying for), and call. i wish my good friends in spain weren't all studyign for exams, because i feel like i just can't be selfish right now and ask someone to just let me think out loud at them for 40 minutes. Right now, i feel really distant, and kind of sad about that. It'd be nice to have somebody over for dinner and a couple of beers sometime this week. its funny that something so simple is, like, totally out of the question for me right now.

anyway. thank you for reading my email. I hope the Pats kicked ass and you had a great time watching the game. I'm sure i'll get to talk to you this week, and I probably won't be in the same state of mind, don't worry. I guess I just wanted somebody that would care to know.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

How to make no money and still spend 200E on "Rebajas"

So I survived the month of January, after spending ALMOST ALL OF MY MONEY on vacation in France and Barcelona, despite demonstrating incredible self-restraint and thriftiness on said vacation. I survived by picking up a couple of english lessons - as in I "teach" people English. and "a couple" as in 4, soon to be 5 (cross yer fingersssss).

And then I got paid yesterday. Since then I have spent at least (i haven't actually looked at my bank statement, I'm too scared) 200 euros. I am wearing a new pair of shoes. And when i go out to the movies tonight I will be wearing a new t-shirt and sweatshirt. And thats not couting the other pair of shoes and t-shirts and and and....

I am ill. I have shopping-itis. And yes, things are cheaper, relatively speaking this time of year (January and February -wow I just forgot that February had two r's- are post christmas sale months, aka "Rebajas"). And I like having nice things, that at other times would cost more money.

At the same time, I'm reflecting a lot lately on various global, exaggerated consumerism EVERYWHERE, the contribution of the meat industry to greenhouse gases (mmm-mmmmm, cow farts in the air)... And I wonder every time i try on something new, or buy myself hamburger because I don't know what else to cook; could I go without? Wouldn't it be better if I did?

I guess this is just part of this strange process I've been noticing lately in myself -being much more specific with and conscious of my choices, in who I spend my time with (or don't), what companies or people or places I choose to support with my money, and the times that I recognize that i'm putting my money somewhere that I really don't want to, but don't at the moment have much of a choice - economically speaking mostly.

In that vein, I'm trying to eat more vegetarian, and hoping to do a WOOF program this summer, learn some more about organic agriculture and hopefully yummy vegetarianism. I mean, I'll probably always eat some meat, but there are ways you can support humanitarian animal-raising and butchering practices, as well as local butchers and people who make little money actually dedicating their lives to what they do instead of just grabbing a quick and easy job at the supermarket.

I'm not really sure why all of this came out quite this way in this entry. I cold tell you about the mini-happenings and coincidences of my life right now, like how I'm probably living in Madrid next year with Virginia - my colleague aforementioned in this blog, how I'm so sick of my smelly roommate I considered moving, how one of my students IS Lucy from the Peanuts comics - she's only missing the blue dress. But Honestly, this is more important to me, on a grander scale, than all of that. And I'd rather share the important stuff.

I'm doing well. I'm musing on what I could do with my future, trying to hustle out a living, reading books... I think I'm enjoying myself. I hope that makes you glad.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Holiday International: A Photoessay

1) Feliz drunken Navidad! (with Gloria)
2) Javi Smokes? What?? He's a such an SLC student and doesn't even know it..
3) Staff food-fight at our Christmas meal. Clearly I work with professionals ;)
The irony was that that same day the kids had a Proper Behavior in the Cafeteria workshop...
4) Where am I? Oh wait... RIGHT! It's Paris! How awesome is that?!
5) Beth has a run-in with a scary-looking Cherub on the Pont
6) Speaks for itself
7) Hello Beautiful
8) Oh, hello! You're an awfully large Arc, aren't you? Arc de Triumph
9) Lady Victory looks ugly when she's pissed...or, you know, conquering countries or something.
10) The Seine at 8am on Christmas Morning.
11) And in Barcelona...The Joan Miró Foundation
12) And there's nothing like a day chilling on the beach to cure your travelling ills...