Thursday, September 28, 2006

Pictures taken by me . . . of me! For you!

The cheap pants! The jacket! I'm blurry!

The new sweater! (me wearing white?) (me looking very sweet?)

The new jacket! I've a very superior expression in this picture because I was thinking how greener-than-grass my jacket was. However, the lighting in my room is vicious and it looks blah green.

The new attitude! This is a picture of my FEELINGS.

Love yous!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

So, as I promised, I didn't take any pictures of La Noche en Blanco, but I'll tell you what. Didn't see the damn puppets. Nor the circuses. Nor did I get into any museums- the plan (my plan) was to finish the morning-side of night wandering blearily around the Prado, perhaps collapsing on a bench in front of something gorgeous to shock my eyes open while relieving my poor feet. However! The museums closed at 3:00. Matt, Julia and I spent most of the night shouldering through street parties in search of people-we-might-be-meeting? and I-think-there's-an-outside-concerts, and we did eventually meet up with people-we-might-be-meeting?, and they were ducks. Look, I know I don't say "ducks," much, and nobody does, but their just isn't a word in Spanish like "duck." I have to write it here and mouth it to myself. It is a solace.

Back to all La Noche etc.: We actually didn't have an officially sanctioned Cultural Experience until the v. early morning (la madrugada), about 7ish, but (I am typing with one hand so I can entertain (torture?) the cat by whapping her big pink ribbon around with the other. Remember the way the girl in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" swordfought while sipping her tea? That way. Just as Ninja Miss Manners taught us) it was worth it (oho! forgot I was in the middle of a sentence, did you? Go back and read it again!). Or maybe it just felt like it was worth it because we were all so exhausted. Well, I felt happy, and I'm not sure one can have felt happy without having been happy, as happiness is a feeling an' all. Anyhow, there was music in the park as the sun came up, and even though we were exhausted we hippie danced a little. I mean, barely. I tried, but ooh, tired, sore, chilly. Hey, they say "chill out" in Spain. "Cheel out," really. It's a style of music.

They also have a show on the model of American Idol, "Operación Triunfo." Operation Triumph, to put it vulgarly. The first thousand times I heard it mentioned I thought people were talking military politics.

Oh, yeah, La Noche en Blanco. I did take one picture. Not of the crowded boozy streets, nor the monuments lit startling colors, no, nor the park nor the sunrise over the lake, nor the musicians, nor the dancers. Nor the chocolate with churros we ate at 8:00 in the morning, in a café full of similarly cheerful all-nighters, though I'm sure we were a sight to see.

I DID take a picture of one of the buildings across the street from me, one block down. It's a newish, boring building, but the sun at 8:00 am is a grace, and it gives you an idea of my neighbourhood.

Too bad these color-coordinated chicas aren't walking toward it this second. Though really, it's not my building, and I'm one of them, so we'd have to be pretttty confused. Also, I don't want a big ugly New York City street cutting through the buildings in this new-but-cosy corner of Madrid.

This morning M.J. promised to throw me out if I keep being deaf, and (many minutes later) to throw the cat out if she keeps getting fat. In Spanish those adjectives rhyme (sorda, gorda), and I was spooked that she could repeat a threat, rhyme it, and not notice. People do often think in nursery rhymes. Violent, illogical, ultimately charming for virtue of their repetetive musicality and familiarity. Well, our thoughts don't always achieve musicality, but violence, illogic, repetetition . . .oof, time for bed.

Also, here they say "uf."

Friday, September 22, 2006

Th' Language

Spanish people use the phrase "the whole world" to mean everyone in the room, both in conversation and in print. They also use "for the best" the way we use "for the worst;" this can be scary.

Spanish speakers are as heartless as Americans about their language. "Limphogar" is my favorite worst business name: limpiar/hogar: to clean/house: housecleaning. Limphogar. Hideous, even considering that the "p" is hard and the "h" silent.

The slang and the Bad Word, called "tacos," which is stupid, are very enjoyable, though. Very expressive.

"Porfa-please" M. José said to me the other day. "That's Spanglish."

La Noche en Blanco

Tomorrow night should be really fun. On the bread-and-circuses model, Madrid is having a night of free cultural attractions. Museums open until seven in the morning, guided tours of theaters, circuses. No bread, I lied about the bread. We might not even have time to eat dinner if we go to what I want to see, which is "Merma nuncamuere," a homage to Miró using giant puppets he designed. I will definitely not take pictures, but someone will, and they will post them on the internet, and I will link you up.

Also I miss you all very much.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

In The Land of the Kuchen-Eaters

Leetle Jaya is doing some awesome German blog rocking, too,
french press

Beautiful Christine has started her year-in-France blog, though she be in Dover so far.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Hi, duckies. María José called me a "gansa" today, and if I must be a goose you must be ducks.

Anywez, as I was not saying before, I had nice tourist day in El Escorial, with Anna-Julia-Matt-my memories. The people of El Escorial built a statue of a robot with a camera to mock me.

The castle, which is not actually a castle, at El Escorial is sort of ugly on a gray day, so I'm not going to show you what it looked like. This isn't a blog about the truth, it's about the beauty. Speaking of beauty and truth, here's a good illusion for you.

It's not a door, it's part of a panel of a door. Flat, smooth, but made of different wood tones to create this lovely door-on-a-door affect. To adorn this door with more door. Forgive me. It's beautiful, I mean. One panel of one door. Click on it, I encourage you.

I start my fake classes tomorrow. That is, the classes with only american students, the "high advanced" (re:intermediate*) language class, the Spanish Lit. course.

*Really, I feel so schmoozed. There are five levels, the lowest of which is Intermediate. To give you an example of the schmooziness of that: I have been taking Spanish one year, know only about 3/4 the verb forms and am constantly transgendering my nouns, and am in the middlest level, "high advanced."

The way my schedule is in my mind, I'll be taking those two classes, two humanities classes (Islam, Contemporary Poetry of Spain), and one regular, requirement-fulfilling history class. Three Carlos III credits are four Bard credits. All my classes but the History class are worth three credits; the history is worth six. That's 24 Bard credits of Spanish-language courses in a country without grade inflation. Aaaaaaacch.

Let's talk about food instead. I finally had a café bombon, which is espresso with condensed milk. Aiiiee, la leche, I'm telling you. Do we drink that? Seattle's Best Coffee doesn't sell it, and that's my only coffee expertise. (Confession: I tell people I worked "in a coffee shop," and let them add the little tattoos to my shoulders. SBC, and in the middle of Borders, too. SBC, which is OWNED by Starbucks).

Bocadillos are lunch, sandwiches made with french bread and meat and oil only. We had them for dinner yesterday, to eat in front of "La Importancia de Llamarse Ernesto," and M. José was somewhat doubtful of my choice to slice a tomato onto my bocadillo, rather than simply cutting it in half and wiping the bread with it. I'm just to old and set in my ways to convert into a proper Castillian wench.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

My Crazy European Adventure

If you'd like to see pictures of Madrid, Segovia, Matt+Julia+me, and read heart-feelable descriptions of what it's like to be living abroad, Julia has this above blog.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

My room and company.

Here is María José! I like here a lot. Someday I will tell you a lot more about her, and it will be a treat for us both. For now, know only that she lives alone with her cat and a student (me for now), and that she wears pajamas around the house and very chic formal clothing everywhere else (see above), which is very Spanish of her. The home is absolutely sacred and private (and here I come with my bags and packages), and the street is social.

So this's a terribly dull post about me being alive and disoriented in Madrid and also having a room.

My room is a silly mixture of María José's things and my stuff. Things and stuff just don't mix well, you know? That's her stuffed pink bear gurgling in my coffee bag. Mama, so you know, that's the necklace you bought me pinned up over the Jolie Holland postcard, which, Hannah, so you know, is from the show we went to. Also to Mama: the long colorful postcard is a Henry Darger print which, Rachel, so you know, is the one I bought when we went to the Folk Art Museum the gither.

The Statue of Liberty snow globe, bald porcelain doll head, fan, etc., are not mine - nor is the bag of foodstuffs, which, Mama, so you know, I ate instead of giving to María José. The bag of candied ginger is taking me a while, but by gosh, she's not getting a pedazo. Well, okay, maybe a pedazo. Just because I get to lisp the "z" as I offer it.

I don't actually feel utterly lost in a foreign land yet, but we'll see what happens when classes start. One thing I've already learned from landing here is that I am not the empty collapsible kid I was. Yet. I know the difficult stage of living away is coming, coming, coming.

I know I tell you nothing about Madrid in this post, and sorry. I promise I'll take more pictures, now that I have my camera, and that the things which seem or are so damn quirky about Madrid will eventually be related.

The food is delicious, though repetitive. We were in despair about the lack of vegetables (sandwhich here means fried meat or tortilla between two pieces of french bread, without vegetable or condiment) (tortilla means incredibly delicious omelet) until Julia had the brilliant idea of ordering Gazpacho, which is cheap and delicious and healthy. Now we all eat a lot of Gazpacho.

Matt's a vegetarian, so Spain is a bit difficult for him. His current line is that the only vegetable you can get anywhere in Spain is ham. It isn't really a funny line, but it's true. There's ham pretty much everywhere you look----since I made fun of Matt's joke I'm not going to add any of my own to that.

I can't format anywhere in the world, but here are Matt and Julia (HOO-lee-ah, since we're pretending to be spanish) eating hot chocolate on Julia's birthday. By "eating" I mean eating, and by "hot chocolate" I do actually mean hot melted actual chocolate. Really, come to Madrid.

I know that the main vice of tourism is cuteness, but we're Not Tourists, so it's okay for them to be that. Cute, guys, I'm calling you cute.

Julia studies literature and is going to Oxford next semester. Normally she goes to Catholic University. She is a wonderful girl. Matt studies psychology at Harvard, and is returning next semester. He is a wonderful boy. We eat together all the time, because eating alone/while walking/less than five times a day is not allowed, and we speak only Spanish to each other. This has made us pariahs among the many other U.S. students at Carlos III (about which more much later), and that's probably really good.

Someone asked me today (someone, who knows who) how long I had been in Madrid, and in truth, I had no idea. Only two weeks! Ridiculous + I don't believe it.