Monday, November 20, 2006

I have eight forms of photo id now, but don't worry! I only carry five of them on a daily basis.

Anyhow, I went to Toledo again this weekend, with a friend whose family lives there. It was amazing to me, because my problem enjoying Toledo the other time was that it felt like Disneyland: made to please visitors; not inhabited. Of course, the other time I'd only been in the historic zone, and Valle and her family live in the modern, but we did wander the olden streets Saturday evening. We sat in the same place in front of the cathedral where Matt and Julia and I had eaten marzipan, only this time we were waiting for Valle to finish her cursed cigarrette. Oh grief I am going to leave Spain with a year of second-hand smoke in my poor baby lungs. Valle, María José, not to mention everyone in Spain. We also passed by the same café Matt and Julia and I had hovered around waiting for seats to empty out, the only cafeteria nearby with a menu in Spanish only..
Valle was an enjoyably terrible guide. We had to find a map, and she didn't know what most of the buildings were for or the statues were of. I was content wondering, but she would point them out and then realize she didn't know. Pretty much like me on the Claremont colleges. I know the layout like the back of this cliché, but uh I don't really go in those buildings, but they're definitely important? It was like that.

Hm. It's true, though. Old Toledo is made for me. During the night, as the kids are drinking under the huge walls and going to the same several bars (it's a small town, really), there are men with huge hoses washing the streets clear of trash and vomit, leaving everything ghost-town clean. There are so many places the cars can't park during the day, so many stores selling suits of armor and other ridiculous things. We're doing something wonderful personally, as tourists, but we're doing harm culturally. I do mean those tacky shops.

It's this, you know? Any culture has to keep changing, rebelling against itself, letting in new things, tearing down. The problem with we tourists is that we come in search of the typical, the most typical possible, usually more of the past than the present, usually more imaginary than not, but stifling any way you look at it. Places like Barcelona which are famous more for being beautiful and alive with art may survive tourism better than places famous for their stone and marzipan.

Well hm. But I take it all too seriously. Valle and I walked through a charming ancient tunnel and she told me her mother's car got stuck there once. Just as much a crime to drive a car through (or half the way through, as it may be) as to insist that cars not be driven through.
What I mean to say is that I really liked my weekend. It's nice to have been asked over; nice, once there, to be asked to stay longer. Good to know that Valle and I do get along outside of class, and that her friends and I like eachother. Oh, and really good to be shown, by Valle and her (adorable) friend Elena, what they claim is a fossilzed chicken stuck in one of the ancient toledan walls. I have a better picture where the claw also shows, but uh please take a look and tell me what that thing is.

Plus! How are yous?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

We all have words which have become instincts. Curses, exclamations. Because they're instinctual, they don't translate. My program director says Wow when you talk to her in Spanish. A lot of U.S. students here drop Likes or You Knows in their otherwise-spanish sentences. We all curse in English when we stub our toes. (Grandma! I've met some nice girls from St. Mary's!) I'm not sure why, because I don't thiiiiiink I said it in the U.S., but when I'm astonished here I gulp out "oh-my-gosh."
I said that a LOT in Granada, which is now on my long useless list of Places to Live Forever.

If you ignore Matt and Julia and I, this is a really pretty picture. If you don't ignore us, um, your loss? Seriously, what awfully ugly kids.

The point is, I have a new photo album website, because flickr let me upload about 4 pictures of vibrant captivating Granada. So here:

All about Granada, oh-my-gosh Granada.

In other news! I am being busy! Tomorrow I spend lunch speaking English of all things with a nice talkative girl from my Islam class. The time after that we'll speak Spanish, and so on. Practical!
Thursday I'm actually tutoring (speaking English, but officially) and getting paid a lot. Awesome!
Friday the police will give me permission to live here all year. This is important, but does not merit an exclamation mark.
Monday I take the final for my so-pleasurable Picasso class and fail or fly.
Thursday morning I fly to Paris on the wings of my triumphant Picasso test taking and spend Thanksgiving in the romance capital of the world. I've had my Thanksgivings in the funniest places, since I left home.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Online photo album:

I wanted a beauuuutiful blog, but I think I'll have to settle for a beautifully written blog (ah ha ha) and a separate-but-beautiful flickr account. I've got too many photos and too many problems uploading them. So here! Photos!

Beautiful red cold Burgos.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Family mine,
Sorry for not writing in a million years. I've tried, but had a lot of trouble uploading pictures. Why oh why?

In the meantime, Friends, Elen has a well-written blog, very elegant, will make you want to live in Berlin:

Berliner Bare

So there's that. I just got back from Granada, which was truly lovely, and I promise to tell you how everything is soon.

much love,