25 2 / 2012
So not quite summer. But I wore a tank-top today and laid in the sun, and it’s merely February 25th. I realize I haven’t updated this in 3+ weeks… which is odd considering I’m really busy laying around until 4pm, occasionally going to class (my weekend starts Wednesday at noon), dressing up as a pirate, practicing my spanish which seems to be getting worse, and getting food poisoning. Okay so that last part is an exaggeration, but I am recovering from my second mild bout of food poisoning which is super fun. Let’s see how I can best go about recapping these past few weeks:
#1: Shir Genish in Barcelona
Yes, she flew from NYC to Barcelona for 4 days to visit me. And to see Barcelona, but mainly to visit me. I spent 4 great days gallivanting the city with Shir, who I hadn’t seen in quite some time. We basically spent the entire time gossiping/her filling me in on life in the US. But we also did some really wonderful touristy things, like:
-Eat patatas bravas (Literally, just the most irresistible food in Barcelona. Who would have thought that fried potatoes, essentially hash browns, with a mildly spicy sauce could be so delicious. Note: Spaniards think black pepper is spicy. So “mildly” spicy just means that the sauce has some flavor at all to it)
-Visit Parc Guell:
-Wandered for 2 hours trying to find an Asian tapas restaurant just to later find out it closed 2 years ago.
-Went to the most “famous” tapas restaurant in Barcelona that my host mom told me she never heard of. Apparently Cal Pep is only famous to Americans for some unbeknownst reason. I also single-handedly consumed the majority of that dinner and the bottle of wine (How American of me to be a total pig!).
-My host mother hosted us for lunch on the Saturday afternoon of her visit. A few revelations were had by all of us: My host mother revealed she does not know how to cook for vegetarians (So, when I asked her to stop cooking me the meat/fish that’s making me sick, I have a feeling it will not go over so well). Shir realized that Spaniards use absolutely no salt or pepper or seasoning on their food. I realized that my host mom was married for some time in her 20s (Shir somehow got my host mom to reveal facts about her life which I have not dared inquire into before).
‘Twas an absolutely wonderful visit and she helped rid some of the homesickness I was feeling. Thank you so much Shir! You’re the best.
Week #2: Lluisa acknowledging my existence and life before 2pm
Carnavale in Spain is essentially the equivalent of Mardi Gras; everyone dressing up in costumes, lots of parades and celebrations, etc. My host sister, Lluisa, was celebrating Carnavale at her school one day about a week and a half ago. My host mom works all day (10am-8pm… Quite long hours indeed, but I think she spends a few hours siesta-ing in the afternoon as is the Spanish way. This consists of sitting outside at a café for hours on end mid-workday, shmoozing, drinking café con leche, etc etc. You wonder why Spaniards are more likely to live longer and generally less stressed. Siestas and olive oil may well be the key to living a longer life.) Okay so back to my original point, my host mom works long hours and could not attend Lluisa’s Carnavale since all the parents typically watch their children parade around the school in costume, and then put on a little dance performance (Reminded me a bit like gym drill, eh? Minus the Nazi dance moves). So, being the kind and generous person I am, I offered to get up at the crack of dawn to accompany Lluisa this day. It was well worth getting up at 8:45am to go because Lluisa finally responded to me when I called her name! Granted, I had to say her name 10 times before she decided to acknowledge I was there (I was walking right beside her and she refused to make eye contact). But finally, I have picture proof that I exist in her little mind (the indian):
I felt like the awkward foreigner walking in this parade with all the parents speaking catalan and clearly 15 years older than me. It’s like I was a teenage mom for the morning. The mom texted me during the parade to ask if Lluisa seemed happy that I was there, I lied and said yes. The mom told me later that night how thrilled Lluisa was that I came. Funny that she doesn’t emote her true feelings.
Week #3: A joke
Let’s see… I had a bit of class. Some of which were cancelled because the professor was sick. The others are just too difficult to pay attention in considering it’s in Spanish and actually takes legitimate focus to follow everything. Let me also note that my professors have casually walked in 20-30 minutes late to EVERY single class. That my final is 70-80% of my grade in each of my classes. And that all my classes at the University of Barcelona are between 30-200 people and I’m likely the only/one of less than 5 Americans in the class. So like, I complained about classes last semester being too hard. Here’s to praying I don’t fail this semester! Granted, I’m the only person on my program whose grades don’t count towards my GPA… So like, Tufts for the win? I also haven’t bought any textbooks nor has there been any mention of reading/textbooks or anything that I should be keeping up with…
This past Tuesday I celebrated the equivalent of “Fat Tuesday” at Carnavale in Sitges, a small beach town about an hour south of Barcelona. I thought I was too tired to go out, and was all ready to go to sleep at 9pm… Then I realized Fat Tuesday happens once a year. I quickly threw together a pirate costume in 15 minutes, using the pirate hat, eye patch, and hook, that my 5-year-old host sister had worn for a previous Carnavale celebration. My ripped American Apparel leggings that I have worn once since purchasing 3.5 years ago (1 night freshman year of college) got some use this night (Once pictures are posted, I’ll add it here to give you the full effect). So, let’s just say this night consisted of running through the tiny streets of Sitges with hundreds of random Spaniards, speaking my Spanish which gets really really great at that time of the night, and then I ended up on the beach and before I knew it, it was 6am. I hopped on the train, and got home just in time to sleep for an hour before my class that morning. So like, I’d say I’m having a decent time here.
Today was the first day since Tuesday (or rather Wednesday morning?), that I have felt well enough to venture more than a half a mile from my apartment (My body is not the most resilient apparently). We went to Tarragona, about 1.5 hour south of Barcelona. It was about 70 degrees outside today (In the sun that is. In the shade it is about 60). The biggest theme park in Europe (or maybe it was just in Spain?) is located just a few miles south of Tarragona. Qué guay! Other than that, Tarragona has a few things to offer:
You can see the ruins of a Roman amphitheater in the distance. I appreciate that the Romans built it right on the ocean. I like their thought process. You can check my ‘chronicles’ album for other pictures of our excursion in Tarragona. But it consisted of a lot of walking around, followed by laying out in the sun and getting ample amounts of vitamin D. It also consisted of consuming mass quantities of patatas bravas. I really think a diet consisting of solely patatas bravas, nutella, tons of candy (For some reason, myself and most of the people on my program claim to have really intense sugar pangs ALL the time. We CRAVE candy/sugar. I think it’s because American food has a lot of high fructose corn syrup/sugar in it, and food here generally just does not. So we’re going through withdrawals. Conveniently, there are candy shops on every corner. Candy shops and Zara are to Barcelona as Starbucks is to NYC), and the occasional piece of fish or butifarra that makes me ill are really not conducive to a healthy lifestyle. That and all the tequila…
30 1 / 2012
I think the most mindblowing experience I’ve had thus far in Barceloca, is learning how animal sounds translate to “castellano.”
(Side note: Barcelona is in the Catalonia region of Spain, which has two languages: it’s own language “catalán,” which seems to me a mix of Spanish and French, and then “castellano,” which is “español.” But, it is considered politically incorrect here to say “Hablo el español,” without offending los catalanes. Basically, some/most catalanes believe that Cataluña is not a part of Spain, and rather is it’s own country. I believe the opposition to the use of the word “español” is a result of this sentiment.)
Okay so back to los sonidos de animales. Let me blow your mind:
-cow: mu muuuu
-dog: guau guau (Wtf?)
-chicken: piu piu
-duck: cuac cuac
-frog: crua crua, berp
-pig: oinc oinc
-cat: miau miau
Okay, so maybe it is not as funny as I thought it was considering I was the only student laughing to the point of tears/having one of my laughing fits. What else have I been doing these past 2 weeks? Well, let me share some pictures.
Calcotada. These charred onion-like vegetables are dipped in a rich tomato sauce and then dangled above your mouth in order to eat as I am so gracefully demonstrating above. My awful table manners in the US are manifesting here as well — eating with mouth wide open and all!
Okay tumblr won’t let me upload any more pictures. So that’s it for now. Moving on to the next order of business, is BaRceLoCa really as LoCa as they say…. yes and no. Well for one, I walk in the kitchen tonight and my 5-year old host sister was watching “Bob Sponja” pronounced “Bob-hey spon-ja” (Spongebob Squarepants in Spanish), and I was so fascinated by it that I decided to stay in and watch it (Monday’s are known as “Loco lunes” at a lot of clubs — but I have yet to experience it). I have more about my host sister, but I’ll get to that in a bit. Likewise, on Saturday night I ate dinner with my host mom, all her cousins, sisters, their husbands, etc. which was from 10:30pm-12am (normal for here). When I told them the name of the club we were planning on going to, they said in surprise “Por qué te vas allá? Ten cuidado de los hombres de cincuenta años.” Which translates to: Why are you going there? Be careful of 50 year old men. Okay so fast forward to 3:45am when I return home from said club, which I wasn’t really feeling because of the lack of rap music and the plethora of old and aggressive men (though I need to get used to this), my host mom and family are mid-“party” and ask why I am home so early. I need to do better work.
Oh I do have one story though. But I don’t think it’s going to be as funny online as it was at the time. I somehow lost my shoe on Friday night, and I try searching for it but can’t find it. Sometime later a random girl hears me say I lost my shoe, and she grabs my arm and takes me to the other side of the club to a middle-aged man, bald, 5’8” and 200+ lbs. She points at him, he lifts up his foot, and on his foot is my shoe. Wtf?
So now to my homestay. My host sister is afraid of me. Okay, I really don’t know how to deal with kids. I try talking to her, and my Spanish is decent so she should understand me. But she just looks at me with dead eyes everytime I speak. But then, she will just sit in my bedroom doorway for hours making noises and trying to get my attention, but when I ask “Qué pasa?” she just continues to stare at me, but doesn’t move or respond. I thought that music was the universal language so one such day when she was sitting in my doorway, I started playing Soak Up the Sun, and I said, “Lo reconoces?” (Check post “soak up the sun”) and she shakes her head. So then I just sort of have given up. Samantha suggested I play “Simon says” (LOL), Peekaboo (She’s 5, she’ll think I’m dumb), or teach her to dougie/stanky leg/cupid shuffle, or something of the like. If you have any other suggestions, please let me know. Her mom always asks, why don’t you come out of your room, you can hang with Lluisa? I don’t want to tell her it’s because her daughter is a mute and it makes me uncomfortable.
And just one last little plug to some of what I’ve been digging lately, Kid Ink.
26 1 / 2012
18 1 / 2012
Currently, my 5 year old ‘hermana’ is blasting Soak Up The Sun as she takes her nightly bath. I was feeling a bit Tufts-sick this evening, but hearing an American song (really just hearing English) was comforting! Alright, so I am in Barcelona, which you likely knew. It reminds me very much of New York, but cleaner and with shorter and more beautiful buildings. There are palm trees everywhere which just instantly brightens my day because that means I’m in a warmer climate and near the beach (emphasis on beach). If only there were palm trees outside Anderson or Ballou or West or something… seriously would make my walk to class much more pleasant. I really don’t have anything interesting to share yet seeing as I haven’t really done much aside from speak a lot of Spanish and eat portions of food that are HELLA smaller than portions served at American restaurants. Seriously, you wonder why Americans are fat.
So, I’m living with a mom and her 5 year old daughter in a part of Barcelona that I’d say is comparable to the Upper West Side of New York. Which is really nice actually. Let me repeat though — I’m living with a KID! Everything happens for a reason, and maybe god is trying to teach me how to like kids. But okay I’m gonna complain really quick, the one thing about the homestay sitch that I can’t get over and is proving to be a huge buzzkill is that my house is quite far from everything and everyone I know in Barcelona (all like 28 people on my program). This means that I have been given a legitimate excuse to not go out because cabs are quite expensive to my neck of the woods… which is only bad because I was planning on breaking my lazy habits. Womp.
BUT, I’m going to suck up my jetlag and venture out to watch the FCB vs Real Madrid game tonight. Though really I don’t know how much I care or know about this soccer game right now… since I’m too busy being freaking STOKED about Ravens vs Patriots this weekend. Okay so hopefully I’ll have a good story or something after my first night on the town. I’ll let you know if Spanish guys are really all as creepy and aggressive as everyone here has warned me. Luckily I’m taller than like every person here. Okay no, that’s an exaggeration and maybe I just have really tall friends at Tufts so my view is skewed, and everyone else in the world is a normal size… But I feel like an oaf here. Lol. (Oh yeah, if you have iMessage or WhatsApp — message me!) Hasta pronto!
13 1 / 2012
Music has a strong association with certain memories for me. So, as a sort of retrospect to my past 2.5 years of Tufts, I have compiled a few (okay, maybe more than a few) songs that remind me of Tufts and its people in some regard.
2. Racks - YC
12. Down - Jay Sean
24. Make You Feel My Love - Adele (I know Bob Dylan sang it originally, but the video quality of him performing it was really poor)
I know most of these are pretty run-of-the-mill songs, but they still make me nostalgic. Chances are they won’t mean much for you — but I’m sure you have your songs that place you back to a certain point in time too. It was really fun, and kind of bittersweet, compiling this list. Enjoy!
12 1 / 2012
Okay okay still not in Barcelona yet, but in other news I watched the new Chelsea Handler Show, “Are you there Cheslea?,” which naturally I thoroughly enjoyed seeing as I aspire to be a professional ridiculous successful lady who doesn’t give a crap, just like Chelsea. Anyways, her father on the show is played by Lenny Clarke, a comedian. Cool story that makes me kind of famous by association to share with you: So, this summer I interned at a magazine, and we hosted an event starring Steven Tyler. But, to the point of my story, the MC of this event was Lenny Clarke. So me being all VIP and ultra glamorous at my internship, I got to hang out backstage with Larry for a bit, during which interaction he said he was amazed by how tall and pretty and nice I was. So like if only I were into 65 year old men, who are shorter than me, but kind of funny and famous, both of which are redeeming qualities… Also, DIGGING this. Yesss plzzz pac div.
11 1 / 2012
I’m still living the B4LT1M0RE h00d lyfe, so don’t have any real reason to start a blog now, but as brit da sloth so eloquently says, “it’s just whatever.” I depart for my first European adventure on Sunday, and will arrive in Barca a las 7 on Monday morning. Wondering if I’ll actually finally abandon my pre-teen years when I’m dropped in the middle of a foreign city/the house of random Spaniards… alone. After chatting with cpatt, who is becoming more cultured and glamorous and obese (according to her claims about her eating habits in Paris), we realized that humor doesn’t always translate from English to other languages. Like I can be funny on occasion when speaking English, but I realized my humor will probably just sound even more awkward and bizarre when I try to articulate it in Spanish. I’ll just laugh at my own jokes I guess. In other news, I’m really orange again. And yes, I wore some sunscreen in Florida. I used to joke that some ethnic mistress was slipped in there somewhere along my heritage, but now I’m pretty sure it’s just a genetic mutation of sorts that turns pigment in my skin to a lovely rust orange color upon sun exposure. Thus, not only will my humor be off-putting to my future madre/friends/acquaintances, but they will probably spend a lot of time at first wondering what the hell is wrong with that orange chick. Also, I wonder what my host mom will think of me when she hears FKi & Iggy Azalea playing as I get ready for my day. There’s no replacement for 94.5 and Ramiro and Pebbles in the morning, but I think this will do for the next 5 months.