Thursday, May 27, 2010

Here I am, on the other side of the spectrum, unable to say goodbye. Five short months ago, the only thought clouding my entire mind was the uncertainty of what the next semester would bring. Little did I know, it would exceed even my highest expectations. The memories I've made, and more importantly the friends, will last longer than these five months ever had the opportunity to. I don't think any of us held concrete certainty that I would make actually make it, (given my previous track record) but to know that I have is incredibly rewarding.

So to you Spain, its not goodbye, its I'll see you later.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I've got to save all of my energy to mentally prepare for the lunch my señora is having tomorrow. Therefore, just pictures today.

The little girl.
This picture is long overdue since ninety percent of my blogs are about her.
Plus, we've been bonding lately.

One of the many Hello Kitty PJs.
I couldn't resist a picture when they were sitting on the dining room table.
My first urge was the steal and wear them.

My room.

The spinach I've been raving about (mainly just to Mom).
Its out of a box but I loves it.

Trip to Montserrat today.

Third blog in three days, btw. I must be butter.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Well, I came face to face with my second attempted robbery today. I was perched at my usual table, at my usual cafe with my dingy Vera Bradley bag upon my lap and my red and black, tacky, East Central High School football boosters umbrella at my feel. Do I honestly look like someone with anything worthy of being stolen?! This was of no concern to the scummy Spanish man that appeared at my table. He sat down in the chair next to me and asked if he could use my computer to send an email. I just stared at him like a deer in headlights (this seems to be my only defense mechanism in situations of this sort), luckily it may have worked to my advantage. When he asked if I have MSN, I replied no. When he asked if I have internet, I once again replied no (meanwhile I had eight tabs of Safari pulled up). I still don't know what his intention was, maybe he thought he would be able to get away with ripping off my computer. Little did he know, I have cat-like reflexes and could run him down all the way to Chinatown (does Barcelona have a Chinatown?... No me importa). Once he decided my clunky, 2007 Dell XPS with a nonexistent battery-life wasn't worth his time, he made like pea soup and split. My new bestie at the cafe, who oversaw the whole debacle, reassured me that he's a frequent robber. Thanks for the heads up.

Which brings me to my next point, if you know some schmuck frequently robs the customers at your cafe, why not take a lead from BIGGs and plaster his face all over the walls. Then, at least, everyone will know who to watch out for. Thats just what I would do. I'll never fully understand the mentality of Spain.

At dinner lately the little girl has been playing a bizarre game with me. She calls it ¿dónde está mi madre? and proceeds by covering her face with the nearest piece of paper and prancing toward my chair. I in turn have to act cutesy and make faces/giggle/pretend to tickle her. I guess its kind of adorable.

Also, in the middle of our game she plopped a babydoll down on my lap. I asked her what its name was and she stared at me like I had just told her to jump off our seventh story balcony, and then told me it doesn't have a name. How can you not name your babydoll?! That was the absolute first thing I did. There were never enough dolls for all the names on my list. And don't even get me started on playing dolls with mom. She named EVERY doll Petunia. It was the most boring game ever, I think she did it just to get a rise out of Jules and I. Its still a sore subject for us to this day.

Thats enough fun for one day, until we meet again.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Some big mile stones have come and gone this week.
  • Bono's birthday.
  • The four month mark - I have been out of the US and A four whole months!
  • The little girl pulled out a new pair of pajays. The bottoms are cute little grey leggings and the top is grey with a pink hello kitty. Big surprise, right? She's just showing off now.
On that fateful morning of January 10, as I walked hesitantly toward my imminent death sentence, I knew deep in the pit of my heart I would one day find myself unable to detach from the city that imposed my strongest sense of anxiety. That day is here and now. I can't wait to see my friends and family, and am looking forward to all the next year holds, but this city has wiggled its way into a special place in my heart. Here, in this city, I have for the first time done everything completely on my own, and it has opened my eyes to a whole new world. Its a mere miracle in itself that I've been able to navigate from my apartment to any given destination. Baby steps. Lots and lots of baby steps.

Thats my sap story for the day, you can expect there will be more to come.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I cannot, for the life of me, eat any more tuna or olive oil. Physically and mentally, I just can't.

I have heard, on more than one occasion, Spaniards complaining that the US and A doesn't know how to properly categorize them. Don't they have more important things to worry about, take for instance their recently conquered level of twenty percent unemployment? I guess not.

Moving right along, Easterpalooza.

Let us move to the situation room for a quick debriefing.

We have an affinity for Easter egg hunts, it is our most prized tradition. We are, and will always be, the oldest and most proud hunters on the whole block. And probably in the entire country for that matter. When I decided to spend a semester in Barcelona, one of the most Earth-shattering realizations was that I would miss the hunt. Luckily, Mom wouldn't stand for that. She put a quick halt to ALL Easter celebrations; this meant not only the hunt but baskets as well. My siblings were like deprived little orphans on Easter day. But, this can only mean one thing: Mom is ransacking all the post-Easter candy sales, hoarding pounds of Lifesaver Bunnies and pastel M&M's.

On June 4, the Thomas children will go to bed with more anticipation than a four-year-old on Christmas Eve. In fact, our Christmas ritual will likely carry over to this coveted event. Jules will set her alarm and wake the rest of us up before the sun even considers rising. Jules, RJ and I will find Gabe sitting at the kitchen table, smirking, because he couldn't wait to open his basket full of Bubble-Yum and Star Wars paraphernalia. We will scold him for betraying us and then proceed by terrorizing our own Easter baskets. We will then wait painfully until Mom and Dad slink out of bed.

Next, we'll all congregate on the back porch, waiting for Mom and Dad to give the go ahead on the hunt. Jules and I will ridicule RJ for peaking at all of the glorious eggs poking out from among the trees and dog bombs, and then again for snatching all of the most obvious eggs that we left for Gabe. RJ will inevitably win the hunt by stealing all the easiest eggs. I'll be tripped up by one last camo egg that mom hid in the drain pipe near the road and Jules and Gabe will battle until the end for the last golden egg. Blood will be shed. There has been talk of Mom and Dad pelting water balloons at us meanwhile, as an added challenge.

This my friends, is how Easterpalooza will play out on that fateful day, marking the first annual Easter massacre.

Friday, April 30, 2010

I remember far too vividly the days when Jules and I found ourselves stranded at the dinner table in front of what seemed like a never-ending slab of meatloaf. "Guess what we're having for dinner tonight," Mom and RJ would ask tauntingly as Jules and I fell silent, followed by raw denial. Tears swelled as we reflected on the unavoidable shape our night would soon take. It was made even worse when Mom forced us to prep the ingredients that led to our eventual demise. We scoured the kitchen for bread and sauces to distract from the taste, to no avail. No matter how voraciously we tried, our night always ended the same. Blood shot eyes, tear stained pajamas, two plates of untouched loaf; the only way it could have been worse is if I had to face it alone. Jules knew better than to desert me on meatloaf night.

My apologies, I got lost in the story, akin to dads speech at my graduation party :) The point I was trying to get to... at the end of that brutal night Mom would threaten us by boxing up our meatloaf for breakfast the next day (and we would let her believe it was a threat because it was our only chance for freedom from the dinner table).

Last night, the little girl didn't finish her fish and her mom boxed it up and made her eat it for dinner tonight! What kind of a mom actually follows through with that sick joke? But, moral of the story, every little girl needs a sister to share in the suffrage of inedible foods. I suppose I was intended to be that surrogate sister, but I don't play those games. I live in constant fear of my señora kicking me out for not licking my plate clean.

My señora is now scolding her daughter, the little girl is screaming, stomping, crying, and Mariah Carey is blasting in the background. I can't think of any worse form of torture. Get. me. out. of. here.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sant Jordi.
More books and roses than Barcelona knows what to do with,
but beautiful no less.

Not only is Bob Esponja haunting my every move, but now attempting to teach life lessons as a side job. The last episode featured a standoff between Bob Esponja and Patricio, initially flaunting their best friends t-shirts. As soon as Bob Esponja found out Patricio doesn't wash his hands all bets were off. It was like dogs in warfare (don't know what that means but I saw it on wiki and it involves my favorite phrase, dogs). I hope this isn't foreshadowing...

Speaking of implicit messages, the rolex store I pass everyday on my way to class is plastered with big, blue letters reading mothers day. They took the words right out of my mind. Mom, you can expect one of those is headed your way.

The little girl has added a new pair of pajamas to the mix. Striped, light blue and white, with a minimum of three hello kitties and perfect for summer. I can't wait until she pulls out a pink nightgown with a hello kitty the size of her torso, then we'll be ready to duel.

Side note: I googled duel for the correct spelling and this is how it is defined...

a prearranged fight with deadly weapons by two people (accompanied by seconds) in order to settle a quarrel over a point of honor

That is exactly what's going down. If Hello Kitty isn't a point of honor I don't know what is. Some things are just worth fighting for.

Other points of observance:
  • If I lived in Barcelona full-time I would never get anything done. The beach is so enticing. When I'm not basking in the sun on my brown scarf, court-side to the Mediterranean, I'm daydreaming about it.
  • I'm visiting North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Gettysburg, and Washington DCburg this summer.
  • Bono's birthday is May 10. His anniversary is August 21, it is by no means a coincidence that this just happens to be my birthday.
  • Thats actually all thats occurring as of late.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

More stress. My señora's brother and wife came over to drop off their chillin (I swear this word means child) for the night, good thing she was incredibly cute. If the unexpected drop-ins continue I may develop an ulcer, or worse yet, my bladder may explode. Luckily I spent the day at the beach to fend of any unwarranted stress.

Moving on. Today we went to a town outside of Barcelona to see Castellers de Vilafranca.

They basically did this on a smaller scale.

But, when we were building that tower I felt like it was at least fifteen stories tall. Dang, if I get worried about fire escape routes at house parties, you can imagine how nervous I was about the safety of these shenanigans.

So, to coerce my fear of everything, I decided to partake in the practice of human castle building.

Drum roll please,

mounting the top.

prepping for the big spin.

the initial dismount.

final dismount.

Sitges, I will return to you.

Friday, April 16, 2010

In a dream I had
I was on a stage with Queen
Michael Stipe and Elton John
Bono and Springsteen
Singing hallelujah, rock and roll is king
People Like You, Live

Live and I dream the same dream. But I'd be a backup dancer, breaking down the electric slide, or even better, the chicken dance.

Today I came back to the apartment to find the little girl had two friends over. Naturally I was stressed about the situation, one small child makes me feel awkward enough. The two girls were decked from head to toe in dress up clothes, including fake hair pieces (I'm going to have to steal one of those in the night to permanently cover my mullet). And a little boy watched in awe as the girls gave him a relentless stream of orders. Sounds like my childhood, though we spent our free time playing vending machine and boat. But, that is neither here nor there.

One of the girls, Carla, couldn't figure me out. Every time she walked by my room she would stop and stare, and I, of course, smiled nervously. This persisted until she finally decided to stop by my room and sweep the floor with the worlds tiniest broom. Even a five-year-old could tell my room needed to be swept (my love affair with digestive cookies is to blame) but I know it was her way of saying she wanted to be my friend. So, we said hello, introduced ourselves, made some small talk, and set a lunch date for next week. Great success, my first spanish friend. She even gave me a hug on the way out. In regards to the hug, she actually just stood next to my bed with her head cocked as if she wanted to give me a hug. But, since spaniards rarely hug and instead do the double kiss I ended up giving her one kiss and a half hug. It will probably be our new secret handshake.

Tomorrow I'z going to Sitges. Wiki it, you know I already have.

Here's a little preview...

I lead a really hard life.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The woman and little girl I live with performed an eclectic rendition of english songs today, including but not limited to Thriller, Looking in your Big Brown Eyes, and Colors of the Wind (they must have known of my past Pocahontas obsession, and by past I mean everlasting). The english was barely recognizable but the hummed melody was spot on, culminating in both a hysterical and heartwarming listening experience. Probably akin to Jules' famous Under Pressure performance.

As I narrow in on the final stretch of my study abroad adventure, I expected to have had an epiphany of the future by now, but... to no avail. I imagined a scene with really bright, blinding lights atop a mountain. Earth, Wind and Fire would show up singing Fantasy, something like...

recognize its your life now in review
and as you stay for the play, fantasy, has in store for you
a glowing light will see you through
it's your day, shining day, all your dreams come true

...and with the final vocals I'd know I had arrived. But since that didn't happen, maybe I'll stay in school as long as possible. Though sadly that reality is slowly coming to an end as well.

In other news, there is no other news.

Barcelona is becoming more and more saturated with tourists. Though I'm certainly not a local, I wouldn't call myself a tourist either. I believe Sonia said it best this weekend, we are all but a few focals. Fake locals. I like the energy of crowded streets and warm weather, but la Boqueria and las ramblas are just way too crowded as of late.

That's all I've got.

Oh except, the define function on google is one of my most useful assets. You simply type define: followed by a word and suddenly a wealth of definitions. Its my second most frequented site next to wikipedia.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Ahoy :) I'z back.

Now, let me get my ducks in a row.
  • Over the course of the past month my dad, Caleb, mom, and Sonia have visited. I also adventured to Budapest and Vienna. I make no promise to cover these events in any certain order.
  • Mom and I hate our pictures from her visit, so much they nearly caused us to jump. That being said, please bear in mind that the mullets are temporary but the jeggings are not.
  • Tomorrow marks three months that I've been out of the US and A, crazy. Those of you counting down the days, I'll be home May 28.
I think I have writers block, this must be cured sooner than later.

The people in the apartment below me listen to techno.
My senora is listening to spanish music for the first time since I've been here, its nice.
Today I treated myself to a day at the beach, ice cream included, to combat the stressful event known as class registration.
U2 has a concert in Chicago this summer.


Monday, March 29, 2010

I left Barcelona this morning with one pair of clean underwear and a suitcase full of dirty laundry, en route to Budapest.

Rest assured, there will be oodles and noodles of updates upon my return.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

It's a powerful word, it's lovely to say.
It's implying more than 'get up and dance, baby.'
- Bono, in regard to Rejoice

I've been looking forward to blogging all week, but suffered through a few setbacks. When I got back from Dublin my computer was infected with the blue screen of death. I lost a lot of sleep over the matter but finally got it fixed. Living without a functioning computer is like being trapped on an island (I imagine this island to have a large cave in the middle, in which I am tied to the outside) with millions of spiders slowly approaching; the panic continues to build with each passing moment. This is NOT an exaggeration.

And so it begins... Dublin was larger than life.

The trip started out swimmingly with my own row on AerLingus flight EI563. I spent the first hour literally laughing out loud to Magical Thinking by Augusten Burroughs. I was overcome by such bliss, I didn't even mind how obnoxious it seems to giggle publicly about a book. After my Augusten fix I cranked up U2 on my pod and attempted to take a snooze. I reclined my seat once it was officially safe (I don't dare break that rule) but it slowly crept back to the upright position. It felt like riding in the Boss with my seat at a 75 degree angle. However, it lacked the company of Jules and RJ occasionally banging their heads against the window and complaining about our beautiful chariot.

Some highlights from the trip:
  • The sign at the Patriot which read: In the interest of safety, please refrain from dancing. For real life footage, see my pictures from Dublin.
  • Harold's Cross Greyhound track. We've been to the dog track many a time in Pensacola, so we knew what we were getting ourselves into. However, this was a cream of the crop track. We made reservations for dinner, which I was slightly hesitant about due to the fact that the array of food at the Pensacola track extends from french fries to pizza with ice cream and popcorn in-between. But, I was pleasantly surprised to find a four-course meal awaited us. The track was full of energy, and when the rabbit (whom I will refer to as Swifty) was let loose the crowd went wild. The best part... the people who bring the dogs out to display as you make your bets (at this point Gabe elects the dog taking the biggest crap) were dressed in lab coats! There was no rhyme or reason to this process which made it all the more fantastic. And for a better adjective, mysterious.
  • Dinner at the Tea Room: aka a restaurant part owned by Bono and the Edge. What's not to love?
  • Dublin Castle and Kilmainham Gaol. U2 made a music video at the jail. I have a current U2/Dublin obsession.
  • Guinness. I tried it, I liked it. Or should say, I didn't dislike it.

part Irish, part rock. I liked them.

Next, Dad and I will be tearing up the streets of Barcelona. Stay tuned for more. Bear with me through my rapid influx of visitors, posts may be far and few between. Until we meet again :)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I can't seem to shake this little yellow creature.
He's following me all over the globe.

Okay, let me try to retrace the past few days (well, more than a few, a little negligence on my part).

I found the cutest jumper at a store the other day. I've drug myself into that store everyday since, just to continually admire it. I'm hoping one day I'll break down and buy it.

Usually the music in the metro is less than satisfactory and commonly involves peter pan pipes. But, yesterday someone got a little crazy and switched it up. His intro was a little off because I initially thought he was singing a Smashing Pumpkins song, but soon realized it was none other than U2, With or Without You :) Naturally this was one of the few times the metro was already sitting there waiting for me so I didn't get to bask in the U2 glory, but it still lit up my heart.

Though I've always known the little girl and I share a love of pink, velour, hello kitty items (or mainly just soft, cozy things), tonight at dinner I realized we have something else in common. She and I share the same jammy cycle. This entails wearing one pair of pajays for two to three weeks straight and then changing to a new pair. She alternates between a pastel yellow, velour, striped pair and the hello kitty pair. Maybe one day we'll do the jammy shuffle.

Some updates on my day-to-day life:
  • I still have the pathetic excuse of an umbrella. I don't know why I'm holding out, it seems like it rains at least once a week in Barcelona.
  • I've made it a goal to floss my teeth more often. My dental hygienist told me that even people with perfect teeth can one day wake up and need dentures if they don't floss their teeth often enough in life. She obviously didn't know who she was talking to. I take those kinds of threats to heart. I won't delve into other fears, but its been a lifelong trend.
  • I find myself rushing to class every morning, big surprise right? By the time I get to the metro I'm a sweaty mess and even more of a spectacle than my not sweaty, not late American self.
  • I've nearly eaten two whole containers of crema de cacahuete (peanut butter) since I've been here. Oh my gravy... maybe thats something I should have kept to myself. But, now that its out on the table, this is essentially what I look like everyday.
Until we meet again.

ps: Dad and I will be tearing up Dublin this weekend.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I thought I had escaped Gabe's incessant gun noises (no offense, Gabe), but I was sadly mistaken. The little girl has the loudest game in the world. I have no idea what it is, but it sometimes sounds like Dance Dance Revolution and other times it sounds like a staticy gun. No matter what, there is always stomping involved.

I almost forgot, but the other day in the metro I saw a guy with a dredded jew-fro mullet. It looked exactly as it sounds and was awesome. I wanted to snap a picture but it was too awkward, even for me. I already have the Euro-mullet going for me but I could use a little more jew-fro and a little more dred. I'll work on it.

For a while I was convinced the Spanish siesta didn't exist, until this fateful day. I needed to pick up a few grocery items today after class (okay, lets be real, I really just wanted to hang out at the grocery store) but everything was closed due to siesta! I had to wait until 5 o'clock CET to get my grocery store fix. That was rough and I almost didn't make it.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle.
- Christian D. Larson

Frightening experience on the metro today. A herd of clowns that looked like they were straight out of the Big Comfy Couch, but scarier, jumped onto the yellow line of my voyage. As they rolled around, climbed poles, made monkey noises and creepily poked people with umbrellas, all I wanted to do was curl up in the fetal position. I kept repeating do NOT touch me in my head and refused to make eye contact with them. This was surprisingly harder than it sounds because they were everywhere, I think they might have even been multiplying. I accidentally looked at one for too long and she waved at me. Obviously, I shot her the double stink eye (I realized I seem to do that quite often here). Ugh, clowns.

Yesterday we hiked up a mountain in Barcelona. Thats right, Holly, hiked, and mountain all in one sentence. The view was incredible but there were heaping piles of dog crap lining the trail. I always make fun of people that walk around carrying grocery bags full of their dog's poop but this mountain could have used a little more of that.

Once we got to the top we engaged in a traditional Catalan onion-eating fest called a Calçotada, wiki it if you so desire. The onions tasted okay, but it was a lot of dirty work for a little bit of onion.

Lets see, what else? I'm going to Dublin in two weekends to meet Dad. And, drum roll... Budapest, Hungary for spring break. I just realized yesterday that I have TWO weeks off for spring break. How did I just figure this out, I'm the all-knowing queen of dates.

Menjar, Catalan for to eat. It took me six weeks to deduct the meaning of this word, but I finally nailed it. High five! Every night while the little girl is fixated on bob esponja, her mom repeats menja, rolls her eyes and gives a little huff. Theres no way it should have taken six weeks to learn this word, but a great success no less.

PS: today is my half-birthday... you know what that means.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

When I was little I had one simple request for my parents; I wanted them to adopt an older sister for me. I never understood why they wouldn't just comply and get me one. The other day I had a sudden realization that the little girl I live with is hijacking my childhood dreams
. No wonder we're mortal enemies.

In other news, Madrid. Well, thats all I have to say about that. I'm falling hard and fast for Barcelona, and am therefore biased. That being said, Madrid left something to be desired.

Okay really, where to begin. I think its only appropriate to start with the fact that I barfed in my snack bag on the bus, a half-an-hour into the trip. That pretty much set the tone for the rest of the weekend.

Some high points:
  • Stalking cute couples all over the city and proceeding to take pictures of them. I know this comes as no surprise to anyone.
  • Visiting Oskars, twice. Egg, ham, and cheese breakfast sandwiches always hit the spot, no matter what city I'm in.
  • Reina Sofia and the Prado. But more importantly, the Thai restaurant down the block from Reina Sofia. We experienced the traditional Spanish lunch. Not in the sense that we ate traditional Spanish food, but more-so that we spent two hours at the restaurant eating and chatting.
Some low points:
  • The man running our hostel was awful, and thats the understatement of the year. He told me "internet isn't God" when I asked him a question about his website. Little does he know, its the 21st century. Internet is quite clearly God.
  • Having to lug our bags around Madrid for the first four hours because we couldn't check them into our hostel. An interesting trend we have brewing here...
And, for a little icing on the cake, someone was blasting "The Final Countdown" at 2 am on the bus back to Barcelona. I like this song as much as the next person but was sorely disappointed when it wasn't followed by a magic show. Thus, highly inappropriate.

Be on the lookout for Madrid pics!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

One month ago today I was a mess of tears, suitcases, official documents, and... big surprise, more tears. The thought of being away from everyone and everything I know for five months was more terrifying than having to eat meatloaf everyday for the rest of my life. But, lo and behold I have successfully set a new record for the longest time I've been outside of the U.S., and even the midwest for that matter.

So, to celebrate, today I received a box filled with Walgreen's entire holiday candy aisle; complete with bubble wrap and tissue paper! Sweet jesus, the heart shaped reese's I ate was like a little piece of heaven inside my mouth. Someone knows me far too well :) I'm afraid to open my box of reese pieces, due to the fact that I will eat them in record speed and then long for them again. I have a problem which entails saving things I really like for the perfect occasion. Only the real problem is that nothing is ever quite perfect enough. Jules and I once had a bag of a million stickers but refused to use them because no paper could possibly meet our standards.

If you ever want to pretend you're eating dinner with me, just play this song a few times throughout your meal. Bob Esponja:

I'm leaving for Madrid tomorrow evening, hopefully many pictures and stories to follow :)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Barcelona does not fail to impress :)
I could get used to living by a beach.

"Oh My Gosh. Give me a bowl. He's been locked in for 8 hours, he's ready to scream. Little negligence on my part. GERONIMO!"
-- Sorry to those of you who have been feeling like Gil lately, due to my lack of new posts. I know its what gets everyone through their days ;)

Now, time to get down to the nitty gritty. This past Thursday I had an intercambio with my program, which means my whole group of English-speaking students met up with a whole group of Spanish-speaking students at a posh little bar. In theory you speak Spanish half of the time and English the other half. A few friends and I decided to get tapas and drinks beforehand with hopes of alleviating the likelihood of any awkward situations. Needless to say, I was feeling pretty good about my Spanish that night.

Friday, I experienced a small scale melting pot. The night consisted of eight people from five different countries, a game of kings, and a slur of languages and sushi. It was incredibly fulfilling.

I really can't complain about the weather here, especially with the snow that has been deluging (thanks for the word, Dad) the U.S. and A., but it has rained for the past two days and I literally have the most pathetic excuse for an umbrella in all of Europa. Just for a little supplemental imagery, its brown with rainbow polka-dots and does not have one fully functioning arm. I would be better off taping a garbage bag to a stick and holding it over my head. But, I think it suits me and I refuse to buy a new one. My friends begged me to get one today, I think it was their way of telling me they were embarrassed.

ps: I'm going to Madrid this weekend.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I now know what its like to be one of Pavlov's dogs.

My host-mom started cooking around 8:15, per usual. I thought I sensed the beautiful odor of hotdogs, but figured it was just my mind playing tricks on me since I am in a constant state of hotdog yearning. I can sniff out a hotdog from a mile away though, so I was pretty sure there had to be some basking nearby in a pan of hot olive oil. My hunger heightened incrementally as the minutes ticked and all I could think about was hotdogs. By the time my host-mom called me for dinner I literally had a stream of drool running down my face. When I sat down at the table I found a salad with a heaping mound of tuna in front of my seat, meanwhile the little girl I live with had a pink hello kitty plate with the perfectly browned hotdog. My heart sunk in my chest as I thought about challenging the little girl to a cage-fight for the hotdog. Instead I shot her the double stink eye for the first half of dinner. Then, out of nowhere, my host-mom appeared with a bowl of spaghetti n' cheese with cut up hotdogs! I thought I died and went to heaven :)

In other news, one of my goals for today was to find one of the free newspapers in the metro. I failed. I looked up and down four different stations, but found nothing. I'm convinced there's a special Spanish room where they keep all of the newspapers, and I may never find it. Or maybe its just because I get there too late. I'm going with the former.

Something else I've noticed:
Everyone here is reading Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol. And by everyone I mean I've seen six men reading it on the metro. That seems like a pretty high number though.

Thats all for now :)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Find life experiences and swallow them whole. Travel. Meet many people. Go down some dead ends and explore dark alleys. Try everything. Exhaust yourself in the glorious pursuit of life.
- Lawrence K. Fish

I quite like that quote.

This morning started way too early, 6:30 am CET. In the most opposite of my style, I didn't hit snooze once. Dios mios. The method to the madness... I had an excursion. We went to the Dalí Museum in Figueres and to Girona. The Dalí Museum more than exceeded my expectations. Before today, Dalí held no weight in the scheme of my life, but that is no more. He is probably best known for this:

But I like him better for these:

If you look hard enough at the last picture, its actually Abraham Lincoln. I enjoy things that have more than one meaning. Well, thats enough about Dalí, though I do recommend him.

Girona was incredibly beautiful. We weren't there long enough for me to say anything else, but its beauty would still win out anyway. As is the case with most everything ;)

In other news, I tried mussels the other day. After you pop those suckers out of their shells, they look like the world's most disgusting bug. It was quite an internal battle after that slimy, poopy-orange sight but I made myself try it anyway. What a major triumph. And, it actually tasted pretty good.

Two things before I go:
1. The doors here open towards the inside. I know Spaniards take pleasure in laughing at me every time I pull. It never fails.
2. Spanish-speakers pronounce my name Hoolly.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My first memory of Spanish dates back to when I was roughly eight years old. Mom and I were sitting on the floor of her peach colored room in our Philo house, more than likely playing crazy 8's. She taught me how to count to twenty in Spanish. I felt infinitely superior to everyone at school due to the fact that I could count in Spanish and jumped at every opportunity to flaunt it, little did I know of the impact of those twenty numbers.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

iQue bonita! iQue guay!

This glorious sight is only about three or four blocks from my home-stay, and thats all I have to say about that.

The Verdaguer metro station has a long tunnel-like runway that I detest deeply. The stale lighting and constant wind make my eyes water and I'm somehow always sweaty by this part of my metro journey. But, the other day someone was playing the Titanic song with a peter pan type instrument. It made me smile in the midst of my least favorite part of the trip. I can only hope that next time someone will be dressed in lederhosen, armed with an accordion and playing the chicken dance.

On Friday we went to a place called the Dow Jones bar. As you may have guessed, the drink prices mimic the stock market and fluctuate throughout the night. How stressful! I, of course, bought a 6margarita and soon realized I have no future as a stockbroker. It was my first legal drink purchase though, so obviously I had to splurge.

After this fun, expensive little excursion we went to a hole in the wall bar... right up my alley. The metro closed at 2 am so we spent the rest of the evening chasing down the US embassy, McDonalds, to no avail. We did, however, treck down las ramblas to the Mediterranean. It was tan bonita and calm at 4:30 am.

Today: the Picasso museum. It was magnificent with intermittent periods of strange. I had a sweet potato for lunch from a street vendor. So cute and yummy.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I've been trying to figure out how many calories are in the cookies I've been eating and its practically rocket science. They measure calories in kcal here? I tried calculating with google and came up with 38,000 calories in one cookie! Obviously, math has never been my strong suit. If anyone has a better calculation, send it my way. Or maybe its better if I don't know how many calories are in everything. Fair warning, someone might have to roll me out of Spain.

I got another free loaf of bread at the metro today. I think I would be somewhat content to spend a whole day at the metro. There is so much to see. Today there was a band and old people were dancing. It looked like so much fun until some old spaniard asked me to dance, then I bailed.

Hasta pronto :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

First and foremost, here is a link to some pictures:
Spain, Short and Fat Diva Style
I'll do my best to post more soon.

Update: Spongebob translates to Bob Esponja in Spanish. I have the pleasure of watching it every night during dinner. Pretty soon I'm going to know more than Gabe in Spongebob trivia :) That will be a major feat, since Gabe terrorizes me in all walks of trivia. Though its almost unbearable to watch, Bob Esponja is somewhat helpful for learning Spanish. He talks surprisingly fast though.

Yesterday, I actually got up early enough to do some exploring around Barcelona. I was really proud of myself for finding my way around. I found a cute little cafe and decided to break for lunch. I was incredibly displeased to find that the sandwich I ordered tasted like Lexi smells. Thats almost the worst thing that can happen to a sandwich. So, my first lunch of the day was a fail. After walking around a little more I attempted lunch two. I had been craving gyros so I decided to go to a place called "Pita Inn" I think. What a bad idea, I should have know better, judging by the name alone. I don't even know what kind of meat I ate there, but somehow my second lunch was just as bad as the first. I'm trying not to think about what I could have bought in the US with all the euros I spent on TWO gross lunches.

Today I was told I flush the toilet wrong, though I'm pretty sure I've been doing it right. That hacked me off a little. Also, in Spain Dunkin'Donuts is called Dunkin'Coffee. That doesn't even make sense. I was told by one of my teachers its because Spaniards don't want the "fast food" image. I find that frustrating too.

In other news, I got a free loaf of bread at the metro yesterday. What a great feeling, now I can make peanut butter toast! Also, I tried churros with chocolate today but they were nothing to write home about. Therefore, this in no way counts as me writing home about them. Maybe thats because I don't really like donuts though. If you could dip them in peanut butter it would probably be another story.

Tonight we had a traditional Catalan dish for dinner, with habas. Or in other words, broad beans? I wasn't sure what those were so I had to wiki them. According to wikipedia, broad beans can be used as a natural alternative to viagra :P

On that note, more to come later.