Friday, November 28, 2008

Hullo honeys. Happy día de Acción de Gracias, which is what the Spanish call Turkey Day. I missed calling my family in Riverside, though I tried many times. I'm pretty sure the line was busy each time. Guys!

I did celebrate, though. Like most Americans here, I attended more than one Thanksgiving Dinner---one last week and one last night. The first was thrown by some sweet friends of Chase, a friend from work. They're nice hippies who do things like the Camino de Santiago and Couchsurfing. They invited 300 people from Couchsurfing to their leetle apartment, but luckily only about thirty people came. One of them was a friend of Brittany's, who I'd already met at the only other ex-pat event I'd attended. Ah eddies of slender currents of illegally expatriated college grads in full teacher makeover. I'm a teacher, who are you? Oh you're a teacher too! Then there's a pair of us--don't tell! They'll banish us, you know.

That dinner was delicious: applepie, cranberries, gravy, stuffing, and chicken.

An' last night another friend from work, another delicious dinner, this time with Turkey (baked in a toaster oven) (scrumptiously), garlic soup, corn, green beans, camembert on crackers and Lindt chocolate. Chase was also there, putting him in the three-card lineup of friends I've had two away-from-home thanksgivings with. Ariel, Christine, you're the others.
Double-Thanksgiving Friendship

In fact, yow, wow, now that I notice--two Thanksgivings ago, while I Studied Abroad, I also had one Turkey dinner and one Chicken dinner.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Good morning!

I mean, good night, last night, of the sort on whose strength I returned to Spain. Keith and his friend Sophia and my friend Pastor and I went to a Yam. A Yam Session. Any English word beginning with a "J" becomes a "Y" word in Spanish, a completely unfair compromise between the Spanish "Hh" and English "Dg."

The Yam was in this lovely upstairs hall, incensed, dotted with cushions, dotty with hippies. We all, somehow, knew people there--Keith and Sophia realized their cool Spanish professor had told them to go to that same Yam, so two of their classmates were there. Pastor of course had music friends there. I saw people I hadn't seen since two summers ago, including my friend Topo, who ended up singing to Leandro's flamenco guitar at the very end of the night. Topo has an incredibly beautiful voice, and a face so expressive as to turn muppetlike when he sings.

I was having a beautiful shameless night. Funi, a tiny woman I know from the ye-oldens, was clowning to the music with a classic rattailed lavapies dude in some sort of flapping salwar kameez. The rattailed dude clown-courted me into his dance, so I had a fun clumsy time with them, enough so that I got up and danced later. Dancing in front of People is still embarrassing for me, even after Bard, where all parties were small enough for everyone to notice everyone's dancing. But I love it! I love it, and if I can't let myself look ridiculous now I'll never be able to humiliate my children at various graduations and birthday parties in the future. Last night was an investment.

In other news, I'm looking for a new room in an old building, any old building. I found a beautiful one immediately, but I'm still waiting to hear back from the charming tea-drinking Italian painter who owns it. Her apartment is little and sunlit and painted in pale spongy greens and blues, and I want to live in it and drink tea.


Monday, November 17, 2008

You see, I have no photos for you!

I'm editing the draft of some interview questions my favorite student is going to ask Wangari Mathaai, oh wow.

I taught her and my other favorite two these two poems in conjunction, because they are conjoined:


When You are Old, by W.B. Yeats

When you are old and gray and full of sleep
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true;
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face.

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead,
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.



Breast Cancer, by Frederick Seidel

The intubated shall be extubated and it rains green
Into the uptown air because it is almost raining.
You can smell the sidewalks straining.
The sidestreets are contagious but serene.
The disease is nutritious.
The bitter medicine delicious.
The beautiful breasts are repetitious.
The much older man you love is vicious.

The man will be even older by the time
She takes down the book to read the poem.