Saturday, February 17, 2007

A charming account of Christine's visit to Madrid can be found on Christine's abroad-for-a-year-blog,

I saw a terrible zarzuela today. What does that mean? I've learnt that bad actors are the same in Spain as they are in California, New York, Minnesota...

Grump, grump. The Bard kids are here and they are terribly nice. We none of us talked much there, yet here they are and we all get along. They are all in long-distance relationships, dear lord. The non-Bard-AYA girl, Kate, is a sweetheart too. She carries a little pen of Tide to clean kebab stains off her sleeves. For reals.

My other New American is Caitlin Liss, who's here au pairing two rambunctious spanish boys. She has to travel an hour and a half to get to my house, but here she is! Here! In this picture! With the kids!

Yeah, I like them! They're no MattandJulia, but they are (left to right) Caitlin, au pair; Mary Kate, ex-punk ex-nanny; Elizabeth, who carries coffee in a jam jar and makes hummus every day in Maria José's kitchen!; Sam who has already made 2.50 bu
sking in a park; Jessica whose ear is so spangled with earrings I have difficulty not turning into a fish and swimming into it; Kate whose bag today held, along with Tide and antibacterial gunk, a deck of cards and a novel by Graham Greene.

This is them in my loungey basement living room, eating a huge dinner we all made together in my tiny dormlike kitchen. The food is hummus and pita, good vinagery salad, sliced chorizo, too much pasta, wine and carrot orange juice. Dessert was a lot of good cookies and strawberries. Pre-dinner was goat cheese, pears, and pastis. Why do I write all of this down? Why do I write it on the internet, forcing my mother and aunts to read it? I usually write good times and things (like meals) down in order to relive them, but I am actively reliving this meal as it is: my breakfast, lunch, and snacks today all came from the leftovers filling my fridge.

I'm happy! Even though some classes start monday, and I don't know my schedule at all, I'm happy. I saw a nice concert on Valentine's day in a bar, played by a busker Ariana and I met in the subway. He was quite good, though, like my Spanish teacher, he really really likes Ben Harper. He also likes Joanna Newsom and Ramona Cordova, though, making him the only Canary Islander I've met who's heard of either.

Much love and much more!

Monday, February 12, 2007

To Ariana and anyone who likes us: the pictures from your (her) trip to Madrid are up (on my shutterfly account) ( up up.

In other news, I am not a tortilla prodigy. José came in, giggled at my efforts, and then got serious and said tortilla española is difficult! He will teach me! I said thank you, and would you like some half-baked potato slices with a trim of scrambled egg?*

*which is what tortilla esp. becomes if you are not a tortilla prodigy.

Friday, February 09, 2007

I was told two shaking bits of impersonal tragedy today. The first, the more serious, is that Molly Ivins died last week from breast cancer. She was white-haired when I saw her speak at Scripps, but so vital... I truly loved her work- her book "You Got to Dance with Them What Brung You" was my high-school entrance to politics, honestly. She was funny; ironic but not cynical. Molly Ivins was an optimist, a moralist, a humanist- at that age she was what I needed in a political writer. Too many writers accesible to me made me feel helpless in the face of the governmental machine.

I've passed from the clarity I felt at that age, reading her essays on grassroots activism and liberal values, but I still credit her for starting me reading the paper.

The other, replaceable loss--which I learned from Ana just as a I entered the Catedral de Toledo for the first time--is that some kids smashed up the emblematic lizard of Parque Güell in Barcelona with an iron bar. Ana said it was "to be funny," but I have to wonder if it was a political statement. Statement or no, the lizard was a lovely, silly thing, and I'm terribly sorry it's been so damaged.

Well, darlings, I'm writing to say that I'm well. There's good news for the future. Sam will probably come visit me, which is wonderful. I'm behind on photo-posting, but rest assured: twenty million photos of Christine drinking tea will soon be on the internet. I, I'm fat and (what's that? I haven't written about food yet in this entry?) full of marzipan, thanks to Toledo's charming stagnation/traditions, charmed with my kitchen and cooking, and about to go eat with the new AYA kids.

Love to you, all.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

I poached an egg!

Oh my gosh. Christine wrote and illustrated instructions and I did it! I poached an egg!

I am marriageable!