Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A hiatus

Unfortunately, I won't be able to fulfill my dreams of being an expat any time soon. I'm back in the States with a job (thankfully) and trying to become a full fledged contributing member to society. I don't know when my next trip will be. I only know that there will be another. Till then blog posts will be even more infrequent than they had been.


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day!



I love Spain, but I'll always be American.

Monday, June 14, 2010

At what point does black crack?

People are starting to guess my age, correctly, and I must say it is very disconcerting. I know I always knock off a few years if someone who looks older than his 20s asks me to guess his age. I wonder if people are doing that to me. Does that mean I look older?

Growing up sucks.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

La Copa Mundial


Every 4 years the World Cup rolls around and though I'm not really interested in soccer, I watch (mostly for the players).

America and Spain, baby!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Dude I thought this painting was so cool


Return of Prehistory by Seth Alverson.

Just discovered him and I think he's pretty cool.

Pingar el Mayo


A tradition around these parts, Casarejos, San Leonardo (affectionately referred to as SanLe), Hontoria, etc where the eligible bachelors in the town go out into the forest, cut down the largest tree they can find, and erect it in the town plaza or next to the town church. The lifting of the tree by the men supposedly represents virility and fertility.

The funny thing is that the (only??) "eligible bachelors" in SanLe were students from the high school???

NB: The picture isn't of SanLe.

Maybe it's because I live in a small town

One thing I really like about here is how living in a small town really allows teachers to form closer relationships with their students. I remember when I was a kid, I would avoid talking to teachers outside of the classroom at all costs. Actually, I distinctly remember doing that even when I was in college. However, here the students aren't embarrassed. Just the opposite. I always feel strange when we run into each other in bars or nightclubs, but they take it like champions, saying hey and smiling. Undoubtedly, it is me who probably makes a bigger deal about it than they do. I'm veering off subject though.

As I mentioned earlier, I do like how living in a small town allows you to forge closer relationships with your students. And one of the ways this closeness is shown is that students in the last year of high school (segundo de bachillerato) invite the teachers they like to lunch and or dinner on their last day of class. It's is something that I would never have thought to have done when I was in school and I suppose it would have been quite difficult to arrange since my class was about 500 strong in comparison to 15 or so here. I'm not sure if this is a tradition everywhere in Spain, or if it's just something that goes on in the pueblos around here, but I thought it was a nice gesture and worth mentioning.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

An Incredible Lightness of Being

Lately, I've been walking around with the sort of freedom that only knowing that you're leaving soon never to return again can grant. I don't mean the freedom to be mean to people who have upset me or anything. Quite the contrary. I mean the freedom to be completely content and to express it without worrying about what other people think.

There's a certain lightness and gaiety to my step and an extra watt to my smile because I know that I've enjoyed being here and I intend to leave with the best memories I can take away.

The world is mine oyster

Sometimes I really feel that way. Opportunities are ripe for the plucking. I just have to find them and pull.

On a side note, thanks. For those to whom I spoke today, you know why. (Sounds really stilted I know. Just trying not to end with a preposition.)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

All good things...

Must come to an end.

Well, I know definitively that I won't be back in Spain next year. I was bummed at first, but now I've taken on a more zen like attitude towards the whole thing. As my father reminded me, I knew coming into this that it was only going to be for 9 months. And well, time's almost up.

Anyway, I took a day to dwell on the news and feel sorry for myself. After that, I started looking for things to do next year. School? Look for work (even though there are no jobs)? Travel (even though I have no money)? What to do?

Ideally, I'd find another teaching gig outside of the country or stumble across the opportunity to travel on somebody else's dime. Something tells me that's not going to happen though. I have no desire to go back to Miami, but if I have to return, I have to return.

Well nothing more needs to be said except that as I am sure you can figure out, these past few months here have been fantastic. The best present ever!

I realized this a little late

That I hadn't written anything about the customs/traditions of my town or Spain. There's so much to tell. Expect a post on that.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Creating the best mellow/indie playlist ever

Well maybe not ever, but pretty darn close.

Anyway, in accordance with my mood, I need some mellow songs to listen to. Suggestions? I'll get the ball rolling.

The Field Mice--Emma's house
The Field Mice--If you need someone

Math and Physics Club--Darling, please come home

Owl City--Umbrella Beach

Saturday Looks Good to Me--Meet me by the water

Dani Flaco--La ley del ultimo trago
Dani Flaco--Quizas sea el mar

Mazzy Star--Fade into you

Another Sunny Day--I'm in love with a girl

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Can a Spanish person explain these to me???

One of the reasons Spanish is so hard to grasp is because Spanish speakers substitute things with pronouns without prior reference to what they're substituting. It seems that you have to be native to fully understand why some expressions use lo(s) instead of la(s) and vice versa. I have no idea what the pronouns are substituting in the following phrases:

1. Pasarlo bien
To what does the lo refer?

2. Las que lian
Las que?

3. Matarlas callando.
Las que??

4. Apañarselas

And then there are those I can't figure out

I have no idea what the English translations for these would be.

1. El que da pan a perro ajeno, pierde pan y perro.

2. Matarlas callando
Wolf in sheep's clothing?

3. Mosquita muerta

4. Tener malas puglas, tener mal genio

5. Entrar por los ojos

6. Cuando veas las barbas de tu vecino cortar, pon las tuyas a remojar

Expressions II

So, about 2 months ago, the English teacher for adult education, asked me to come in once a month to speak with the students. This past time, she wanted to look at Spanish and English idioms. We sat down and composed a list of both English and Spanish idioms and proverbs and tried to come up with their translations. So far, we got:

1. Raining cats and dogs
Llover a cántaros; llover a jarros


2. Roll with the puches
Hay que continuar

3. Finders keepers, losers weepers.
El que se fue a Sevilla perdió su silla.

4. No good crying over spilt milk
Agua pasada no mueve molina.

5. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
El que no arriesga, no gana.

6. Politeness costs nothing.
Ser educado no cuesta dinero.

7. The early bird catches the worm.
Al que madruga, Dios le ayuda.

8. A stitch in time saves nine.
Mas vale prevenir que curar.

9. To pull someone's leg
Tomar el pelo a alguien

10. All that glitter is not gold.
Todo lo que reluce no es oro.

11. Mas vale coger pájaro en mano que ciento volando.
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

12. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.
A caballo regalado, no le mires el diente.

13. Birds of a feather flock together.
Dios los cria y ellos se juntan; estar en la misma onda

14. If you lay down with dogs, you get up with fleas.
El que con ninos se acuesta, mojado se levanta.

15. To each his own.
Sobre gustos, no hay nada escrito


16. By the skin of his teeth; by a hair
El canto de un duro; por los pelos

17. Tener buen gusto
To have good taste

18. Dressed up to the nines
Ir de punta en blanco; ir de gala

19. That is so you.
Es muy proprio de ti
Te va (muy) bien--clothing
Te pega.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lo pasamos bien aqui, verdad?

As I mentioned, things are winding down here with the summer coming and all. We had our merienda-cena for yoga today. Good company, good food, and good weather. Does one really need anything else in life? As usual, I'm not in the photos, so don't bother looking. = )







And so with my stomach full and my spirit content, I said adios to those members of my yoga class who were present. A ver si el ano que viene tendre suerte estar aqui otra vez.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Spanish chicks have unusually raspy voices

Just something I've noticed in general. It could be the smoking.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Carbarceno



Friday, I went to Carbarceno (in Santander), a zoo that resembled a safari, with the kids from the colegio. We had a great time. It had been a while since I had been to a zoo and even though I'm not a fan of encaging animals, or making them perform in spectacles, I had a great time. I forgot how cute little kids were even when they're annoying. I also love how they show how excited they are as opposed to me who just keeps it inside. Unfortunately, I left my camera at home so you'll have to look on the internet for pictures. It's things like these and days like this that are going to make it hard to go back to Miami.

For some reason people keep asking me whether or not I've met someone yet

"Also whoever is the black woman running around America saying "Italian men love black women", please stop."
--NYC/Caribbean Ragazza

Truer words have not been spoken, although I would change Italian to European.

What living in Spain does...

1. Killed any sense of grammar I previously had

2. Sent my spelling to the dogs

3. Messed up my intonation in English

4. Made my head hurt. So much new information in such a short amount of time.

5. Helps you develop a taste for lambrusco rosado and vino blanco.

6. Makes you reconsider the taste of olives. Perhaps they're aren't so bad, but only in olive oil.

7. Makes you believe the saying that Spaniards work to live while Americans live to work. How many days have we had off of school for fiestas?

8. Nothing for my abhorrence of running.

9. Made me realize that I didn't know as much about the American school system as I should.

Soria, ni te la imaginas!



As my time in Spain draws to a close, I really will try to write down all that I've experienced in these 10 months. Part (well, most) of my hesitation to keep this blog up to date is because of my laziness. However, the other part of it is that nothing I write will fully capture the magnificence of my time here. I truly love Spain and working at the high school. I couldn't have asked for a better year, a better pueblo, and better people to be surrounded by.

But anyway, back to the title. Soria, ni te la imaginas is the theme song of this province. You hear it every time there is an ad for Soria, during "fiestas del pueblo," on buses full of elementary school children returning from a field trip, etc. Roughly, the title translates into Soria, you can't even imagine it. And it's true! Before coming here, I had never heard of Soria and when I received the letter in the mail telling me to which school I had be assigned, I thought I was going to be in some backwater part of Spain hours away from any major city. I was kind of right. If we take backwater to mean an isolated (relatively) peaceful region, then yes, I think San Leonardo would classify as that. Here, I'm surrounded by mountains, pine trees, plains, and lakes. It's lovely, really. And if I need to go to a city, Soria capital is 1/2 hr a way, Burgos, an hour, and Madrid 2.5.

Even though I'm a big fan of cities, I find myself quite content to pass my weekends and free time here in Soria--Castilla y Leon. So far, I've been able to explore the Laguna Negra, a lake whose depths still haven't been discovered. I've been lucky enough to have been in the Canon de Rio Lobos a few times now. The canyon boasts a nature reserve and several caves worth exploring. In the center of the canyon sits a small chapel which was built some time in the 13th century. Also worth noting are the several pueblos such as Molinos de Duero, Navaleno, and Casarejos that form part of this province.

Of course these places would be nothing if it weren't for the people who inhabited them. Simply put, they're pretty great.

I once knew a guy who went to Spain during a year abroad. He didn't leave for another year more. I now understand why.

Spain has its charm, and Soria more so.

Here's to a great 8 months. Hopefully the last one will be equally as awesome.

Portugal



Madrid. But not to worry. We didn't stay there long. About an hr or two after we arrived, we jetsetted to...

Lisbon
Just so you know, this is my new favorite city. Even though we arrived at night and we didn't get to see much of the city that first night, I knew that I was going to like that city. I was...right of course. We had decided to try couch surfing on this trip, and it turned out to be a pretty good idea. Our first host, Luis, lived right smack in the middle of Lisbon. He was super cool and had the most interesting books on his coffee table. He's a journalist/surfer so I'm sure you can imagine some of the books you would find. Anyway, we met Luis and he took us to a look out point to see the city at night. Then we with him to a restaurant to celebrate his friend's birthday. At the restaurant, we got our first taste of Portuguese wine. It wasn't bad.

We went back to his house early (he had given us a key), and went to bed. The next morning, we woke up, say bye to our host, left, walked to the Ofama, Graca, and other historic sites in Lisbon. We returned to Luis', got our stuff, dropped our key, and headed to the...

Beach (or Cascais)
And this is why I enjoyed Portugal so much. The beach. The sun. The hostel in which we stayed. The view. Ridiculously awesome. E. and I seriously stayed in like a penthouse/mansion/home straight out of those home decorating magazines. The house was beautiful, spacious, clean, airy, and about a 10 min walk from the beach. The first day we got there, we chilled on the beach. Did the same the second day. It was pretty sweet. We don't have beaches in Soria. On the second day, we went to Sintra, a popular vacation spot of the old Portuguese kings.

Anyway, E wanted to do a bit more than chill on the beach, so we rented a scooter and explored the coast. The girl almost killed me thrice. Once, we crashed into a gate, the second time, almost into a bus, and the third time, we ran off the road. The coast is beautiful and I think I got some good shots. Unfortunately we only spent 2 days on the beach, but if we did have to go back at least it was to Lisbon.

Lisbon
So we went back to Lisbon. We had contacted our second host the night before and had arranged to meet him at 6:30pm at a certain bus stop. Since we arrived in Lisbon at 12ish or thereabouts and had a long wait ahead of us, we decided to drop our bags off at the train station and then go to a huge outdoor market. From the market we walked 10km to Belem. That was taxing especially because it was hot. When we got to Belem, we decided to screw sight seeing and turn right back around. By this time, it must have been 5:45. We couldn't find a bus to take us back to where we needed to go until around 6:20ish. We arrived at the station at 7:00. Our host was upset! Rightfully so.

But he kind of forgave us. He took us to a look out spot in the city, and we paid for his dinner. Then he took us out for drinks. And we paid for that too. But, he woke up at 5:30am to take us to the airport. So, in the end, I think we lucked out.

Morocco







During Semana Santa, E, a friend of mine from KS, and I went to Morocco. Since it has been over a month since our trip and I'm not really up for putting the experience into words at the moment, I'll just paste excerpts from an email I sent to friends.

We first went to the coastal town of Essaouira. What an experience! Nobody knew where the street that our hostel was on was. We asked policemen, taxi drivers, tourist helpers (sorry, can't think of a better way to call them), and nobody knew. Eventually, someone thought he figured it out, marked the street on a map, and we gave the map to the taxi driver. Said taxi driver dropped us off in the middle of nowhere next to a beauty school because in the excellent directions that the hostel owner gave us, her hostel was right across from the beauty school, 5th house on the right. Well of course, it wasn't. And of course, no one spoke English. So I had to use my rusty French to get a little girl to take us to the nearest internet cafe. I don't know how the girl understood me, but she did. She took us there and we made contact with the lady. After much pressing on our part, we finally got her to agree to meet us so that she could take us to where she lived. When we finally met her, she was rude because apparently her meeting with us caused her to miss out on meeting her friends. Well, after about 5 or so minutes with talking to the woman, I canceled the reservations and E. and I went on our merry way to find housing. By this time, it was dark and we were a little worried since it was the day before Easter and we were looking for housing on such short notice.

We walked backed to the medina, the place where all the shops were, and passed by one hotel was located in a back alley. We considered checking it out for a minute or so, then decided to try our luck. We walked a little deeper into the medina and spotted another hotel. We entered, and asked the price of a room. 15 euros/person. Score! (or so I thought until speaking with a friend today who told me that she and 3 other friends paid 15E total for a room). So after all was settled, we went to our room and rested our weary heads. The next day was Easter. Instead of going to mass as I would have liked, we went to a roof terrace restaurant and had what I suppose is a typical Moroccan breakfast of mint tea, orange juice, and crepes.

And what more can I say about Essaouira? Not much. We souvenir shopped. We went to the beach. We ate fish. We rested. We walked around the town. We left to...

Marrakesh
So in Marrakesh, our hostel was in the back of the medina. Prime location! Our room was pretty dark, but only because it was decorated in the stereotypical Middle Eastern decorating scheme--dark reds and pinks, curtains, and light bulb covers. Anyway, aside from that, our room was nice and cozy. I did have a pesky worry that I would find a snake in my bed, but that was only because I had seen so many running free in the medina.

Anyway, E. apparently went to undergrad with a kid from Morocco. So her friend, Wail, drove to Marrakesh from Rabat with 2 friends and his girlfriend and they showed us a different side to Morocco. First they took us to this huge pool which was like something right from Miami. There was a DJ, girls running around in skimpy outfits, drinks, etc. We chilled there for a bit and then they took us back to the medina to get changed for dinner. After dinner, they took us to a casino which was crazy. I wouldn't have imagined myself in one in Morocco, well ever to be honest, but it was not bad. We finished the night at this pretty cool club. It was expensive and shots (of Tequila) ended up costing 9E. The next day, they showed us a bit more of Morocco until they left in the afternoon. After that, E and I were on our own. We walked around the medina, then outside, then went to bed early because the next day was our flight to...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

It's been a while

Well grandparents and sister,

It has been a while since I've posted. I'll get on that!

PS: Spain is still fantastic.






Thursday, April 1, 2010

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Oh what a difference a year makes.

Last year, I was at a St. Patrick's Day parade (albeit a small one). This year, I barely remembered it was St. Patrick's Day.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spain not foreign enough?

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article7031371.ece

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Nodar Kumaritashvili

Friday, February 12th marked the last day of this athlete's life. Apparently, Nodar was practicing on the luge track and due to a faulty design, veered off course, hit his head, and eventually died. Now I am not back in the States and don't have much access to American television, but I wouldn't be surprised if what journalist Milton Kent (Fanhouse--a sports website sponsored by AOL) said was true: the gravity of his death eluded NBC. So, I wanted to place something here, however small it may be, to show that people (Americans, really) do care and that he is in our thoughts.

Oh

Fluorescent lights are so cruel.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

As long as we're on the subject of books

I had a craving for a 19th century English novel and settled on Persuasion by Jane Austen. I'm in volume II, and the story is still quite good. Even though I'm well aware of the ending, I'm interested to see how it was written.



I've been quite lucky this year, having time to finish another novel earlier: Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. I thought it was going to be a doozy, but I loved the book, disliked the main character.

In Spain news, I went to Santander (Cantabria) and San Sebastian (Pais Vasco) last weekend with a friend from high school among others. I had a lovely time and will post pictures within a week or two.

Besides travelling, teaching has lost some of its luster. I still think the kids are good and the other teachers are great, but the novelty has definitely worn off. That being said, I'm glad that we have Monday and Tuesday off. I need a break.

Hmm...


Perhaps I should really listen to this book.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

By June

I want to be as fluent in Spanish as he is in English.

Monday, January 25, 2010

I once wrote this



"Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around - nobody big, I mean - except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all." --Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye

I thought about this quote earlier today when Ann sent me a story about a Czech mother who locked up and tethered her 7 yr. old son in a basement and was eating him alive. The boy was found with his 9 yr. old brother who was also abused. The children were found by chance by a neighbor who picked up images of them on his baby monitor. It was a crazy story that only began to get more complicated since the mother posed as the sister of the two victims. Ill. This is only the most recent mind boggling story to come out of these "sleepy" countries.

In April I believe, an Australian man was arrested for kidnapping and sequestering his daughter and their children for 24 years. Apparently, he built a trap room under the basement, drugged his daughter, and faked her running away with a cult. Over the course of 24 years, he had seven children with her, one of whom died. Three of the children lived with him and his wife, the daughter's mother, who claimed that she knew nothing about her husband's extra-curricular activities.

This case came on the heels of another case happening 2 years prior in the same country. A girl who was kidnapped at age 10 as she was walking to school, managed to escape her captor8 yrs. later. The dastardly kidnapper threw himself in front of a train when her learned of her escape.

Each time I read stories like these, many things run through my mind:

1. How can people so cruel?

2. If you can't trust your family, who can you trust?

3. And this is the thought that kills me more than anything, who else? The idea that there might be some poor, helpless child locked up with no chance of escape kills me which leads me back to the quote with which I started.

I want to be the catcher in the rye, not saving children from going over the precipice of childhood into adulthood, but from going over the cliff of happiness and lightheartedness into the abyss of suffering both physically and mentally. I just want to protect them, to set up a sanctuary where they can stay to live out their dreams, to be free, and pure and beautiful.

I never want to have children. There are too many children who need someone to care for them who need someone to care for them. I'd rather make the world's unloved, parentless, lonely, poor, unlucky children my children.

I want people to look at me and say, "God that girl has got a good/pure heart." She's a little mysterious/aloof/quirky/eccentric/whatever, but damn she's got a good heart.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Learning a language in 3 months??

Yup, that definitely did not happen for me. Not even in 6 months.

From previous posts, I should hope that it's pretty obvious that one of my main goals here is to become fluent in Spanish. That desire has led me to blog after blog in search of the magic method. Unfortunately, there is none. However, I have gleaned things from those blogs (and my experience here) which have helped me immensely.

1. Avoid speakers of your native language like the plague.

If you really want to learn another language, you're going to have to make yourself a little (very) uncomfortable.

2. Roadtrips are a really good time for you to practice speaking the target language.

Sure you could fill 5 hours listening to music, but it would be much more to your benefit if you took advantage of the journey to have a conversation. My housemate commented on my how much better my fluency and my accent were after returning from a long roadtrip. I was alone with someone who didn't speak English and I really have any other option but to talk to him in Spanish.

3. Read read read.

You have to pick up vocabulary from somewhere. Children learn it from their parents and in school. Since your parents probably don't speak your target language, and 3 months of schooling, even intensive schooling, can not make up for years of vocabulary deprivation, you must take other steps to acquire the vocabulary that you lack. Books, newspapers, and magazines are great sources.

4. Watch the news.

Besides being a well informed person, you will get the chance to hear proper pronunciation (the ideal) and learn new words. Also, the news is done at a pace that is faster than many of the lessons on language tapes, while not as fast as that of normal conversations.

5. Intensive language courses...

Don't work in my opinion. If you're going to take one, make sure to practice outside of class.

6. Bars are probably the best place to learn a language.

Usually in these settings, people are more relaxed and much more likely to use slang, idioms, and popular sayings which are fundamental in the transformation of the target language from a textbook language to a real, living thing.

7. Break up your language learning.

For me, that meant dedicating the first 3 months to listening and understand. I dedicated (and am currently in) the next trimester to syncing my brain and my tongue. That means taking extra care with my pronunciation and making sure to get my point across. I don't know what I'll focus on during the 3rd trimester. I'll just have to pay attention to the areas in which I am really weak.

I've found excellent advise from the following sites:
http://www.fluentin3months.com/
http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2009/01/20/learning-language/

No te cortes! Sin miedo....

are probably among the phrases I hear the most (along with "etypically espanish") often directed at me. Usually the speaker is trying to pull me out of my shell and get me to speak more, to make me forget about utilizing correct grammar and and trying to pronounce things as perfectly as I can, however painstaking it may be.

I would like to think that I have made progress in this area, but perhaps what may seem like leaps and bounds to me doesn't even constitute a half step to someone else. In any case, no te cortes is easier said than done. I sometimes wonder how I would interact with people here if I didn't have the language problem. However, then I realize that language isn't the only problem. Many times in group situations, I find myself lost because someone makes a cultural reference. While said reference can bring some of the participants in the conversation closer, at the same time, it can easily exclude those who don't understand it. And that is the position in which I find myself many times. Before coming here, I didn't realize how much language was used to reference and rehash cultural facts. I figure that there is no way that I can get around being in the dark about what people are talking about except to ask. Sin miedo. Don't be afraid.

I suppose that I must do the same that I tell my students: don't worry about making a mistake. The important thing is getting your message across and if you don't understand something, ask.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wallowing in ignorance

Every now and then, my housemate refers to some Spanish idioms that have been translated to English and laughs about how funny they are while I'm at a loss as to what they mean. So, I've taken the liberty of posting the idiom, it's English translation, and what it means (based on what I've been able to find on the internet).

1. Se te ha ido la olla: Your pan has gone
To go crazy.

2. Mi gozo en un pozo: My happiness in a well.
My hopes were crushed/just my luck/my luck went south/things didn't turn out the way I would have hoped.

3. Compuesto y sin novia: Composed and without a girlfriend.
Ready to go, but missing an important piece. To be left high and dry.

4. La madre que lo/te/me pario: The mother who gave birth to him/you/me
Son of a gun. Can be used to express frustration, surprise, or anger. Depending on the context, it can have a meaning stronger than "son of a gun."

5. Vamos, no me jodas: Let's go. Don't fuck me.
Come on. Stop kidding around. Or, are you serious?

6. Marcando paquete: Marking parcel.
Showing off one's package/family jewels/male genitalia.

7. Marica de playa: Sissy of the beach
Refers to the overly muscular guys that you find at the beach prancing around in their revealing beach wear and showing off their muscles.

8. Marica el ultimo: Sissy the last
Last one's a sissy.

9. Apaga y vamanos: Switch off and let's go.
Enough already; Let's call it a wrap; I rest my case (when used to express
frustration).

10. Meter un puro: To put in a cigar
To sanction someone; to punish someone.

11. Salir por piernas: Go out by legs
To make a hasty/speedy exit; to leave quickly in the face of danger or an uncomfortable situation.

12. Cantamanana: Morning singer
A fly by night; a wreckless, loquacious person, a bull shitter, a rascal, a ruffian.

13. Por si las moscas: For if the flies
Just in case.

14. No es moco de pavo: It is not turkey mucus.
Used to signal that something is important.

15. Me la suda (vulgar): It sweats me.
It's all the same to me.

16. Tienes mas cuento que Calleja: You have more story than Calleja
The stories or excuses that you give ring a bit false, seem exaggerated.

Will add more another day.

Thwarted: A mini vacation that never was

I had visions of myself getting out of the pueblo and exploring a new city, but alas that was not to be. There is something to be said about proper planning and having enough money to make decisions on the fly. My sister says I want to go everywhere and do everything, and that's true. I want to do it all. I just don't have the resources. However, this time, it was my own laziness that prevented us from going to Granada.

If I had checked the bus schedule, I would have realized that there was only one bus leaving from this town today and then I wouldn't have made a reservation at a hostel in Madrid--a non refundable reservation, and long awaited for money. Even though the blame falls on me for this one, why would a company decrease bus service on a holiday as opposed to increasing it like every other company does? People are more likely to travel when they have time off!

Anyway, I'll chalk this up to a lesson learned. There is something to be said about proper planning.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Pictures for entries from way back

These next 5 or so shots are definitely my favorite from the trip. We were up in the clouds in La Peña de Francia, a mountain in the province of Salamanca.








In the past, Ávila was a city that existed behind a wall. The wall still exists and the city has become a tourist attraction for Spaniards and non-Spaniards alike.






The church within the city walls. I don't remember the name and quite frankly am not bothered by this since by this time, I had seen way too many churches.



This picture was actually taken while standing on the wall.


Another church.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy new year!

Art the III and I spent new year's day in Puerta del Sol. It was pretty sweet.

I hope everyone can say the same.