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 Cal├žotada, 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 :)