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


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.


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

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.

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.


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...

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...