Trucks are prohibited...but you are always welcome

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sweet nothings

Many words describe me as a woman; independent, headstrong, loyal, and at times jealous... but the word that describes best my heart is without a doubt ROMANTIC. I wish I could deny it, but something leapt within me as I read the immortal words of proud Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, watched Molly Ringwald kiss Jake over the light of her birthday cake, and listened to "In Your Eyes" blast on the boombox held by a lovesick John Cusack. There is something about these unabashed gestures of affection that reaches a part of the human heart nothing else quite can. Mind you, I am not a typical girl... I detest the notebook and gag at cheesy chick flicks, but I will never forget the romantic things said to me in earnest. The words of my prom date upon seeing me for the first time, a profession of love from a high school flame, or the small, loving gestures shown by a dear friend. I treasure these words and actions in my heart like pearls, taking them out and putting them on in the mirror when I need to feel pretty. Ugh... gross.


Amidst a sea of flash cards, a quicksand pit of textbooks, and a desert of online review exams, I have found an oasis; on Netflix there is a television series called "10 things I hate about you", which is Shakepseare's 'Taming of the shrew' in teen drama form. (not the movie version with julia stiles and heath ledger) It is, for lack of a better word, stupid. Well, I suppose asinine is a better word... but my point is that this television series is a cesspool of poor acting, unrealistic dialogue, and predictable plotline. The characters are as shallow as they are attractive (very, very attractive), with the emotional depth of a carrot.
I am absolutely addicted.
With the workout my brain gets 99% of the day, it is so, so, SO nice to watch something that takes zero effort to appreciate. I don't have to think, ponder, mull over, or debate what I see on the screen. I just accept it for what it is, a blessed abomination. Thank you, Hollywood, thank you for this. Also, you should be ashamed of yourselves.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Madrid, el ultimo dia

This is it, friends; the last hurrah, the cherry on the sundae, the final countdown. Tomorrow morning I leave at 7:30 am for the airport. I'm feeling very sentimental as I leave these people I have called my family, so I will now give you an explanation of each person and why they are fantastic.
Alberto: The father of the family, works for the government doing nature conservation work. One of the most knowledgeable people I have ever met. Can talk to you for hours about geography, literature, music, history, politics, nature, or architecture. He is an amazing father, and calls his daughter "cookie". Funny, gracious, active, vivacious, generous, and a darn good cook to boot.
Concha: The mother of the family. Also works in Madrid. A charming, lovely, patient woman who loves to laugh, dance, and talk. Thoughtful, sweet and loving, is always looking to help or make you feel more comfortable. She is an amazing example of a wife and mother and has made me feel so at home.
Celia: My host sister, she has been so patient is showing me the ropes of life in Spain. With a quick wit and incredible sense of humor, she always keeps me laughing. She takes after her father in both humor and intelligence, and also can give you detailed information about a number of subjects. She studies architecture, and so has a special eye for the incredible buildings that adorn Spain. Thoughtful and caring like her mother, she has also made me feel like one of the family. After only a few weeks, I already feel like we are sisters.
Guillermo: I know Guillermo the least since he was only here for two days of my stay but from what the family has told me, he is a typical 17 year old boy. Active and fanatical about futbol, loves to play video games, hang out with friends, and eat.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Madrid, dia I don't know, I lost track

Wow. What an incredible week this has been. I said a heartbreaking goodbye to my group of girls from English Camp, I will dearly miss those little monos. I hope to keep in touch via email/snail-mail. Spent the evening with the family, and the next day we traveled to Concha's village. It was the most quaint, glorious example of classic Spanish architecture and a simply beautiful landscape. Spent the day eating an incredible feast, laughing with the grandparents and uncles at the house, going for walks through the countryside, and napping. At the house there were a multitude of fruit trees that you could eat right off of. Plums, apples, grapes, nuts, and mirabelles. They were mind-blowingly amazing. Around 7 Celia and I left for her grandparents flat in Madrid, which we had all to ourselves for the weekend. We got dressed, ate dinner, and hit the downtown area. The party scene on Saturday nights is nuts, and if you are two young girls walking, men approach you every block or so and offer free drinks if you will visit their club. We paid for one drink the entire night. After much dancing and beating off the boys with sticks, we took the bus home and collapsed exhausted into our beds. Today we went a outdoors flea market for most of the afternoon. It was magnificent, so much great stuff I wanted but all I bought were two friendship bracelets for Celia and I and a hand-crafted leather book cover. Tomorrow is my last day here, I am verklempt. (it's yiddish, look it up) I have grown to love this family, this city, and this country. America, I love you dearly but now that I have breathed the Spanish air, yours will never smell quite as sweet.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Madrid, dia once

The second week of English camp is half over, and I find myself divided. One half of me is exhausted, worn out, and homesick. The other half has become infatuated with Spain, my family here, and my girls at camp. My two loves, pulling me in opposite directions of a vast, blue ocean. I spent the day with Celia in Madrid yesterday, we watched some amazing contemporary dance street performers and did a little shopping. I wish I had the time and money to see a show here, Madrid is an amazing center for theater. My one qualm about living in the midwest is the lack of culture. But as lovely as it is here, it will be nice to be in a place where I can understand everything that is said to me. The voices of the people around me are often white noise, with gestures I recognize but words I don't. Well, friends it is time for my afternoon nap. Adios, my loves.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Madrid, dia ocho

Money, money and more money!! I have spent so much today, but hey... how often will I get to shop in Madrid, yeah? Vale, Vale, the day started out splendidly, with a breakfast of churros y porros con chocolate with the familia. Despues, fui a iglesia para el servicio. The church service was good, but a little long. After church, we had lunch and then Celia and I headed to downtown Madrid to shop. It was ammaazziiinnnggggg!!!! So many great shops, but everything was so expensive. I got some good deals though, and bought everything that was on my "to-buy" list. Now I am broke, but fashionable. That's an even trade, right?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Madrid, dia seis

Feeling the homesickness periodically throughout the day, usually when something reminds me of home or I have especially pronounced difficulty with communication. I miss my home, I miss my friends, I miss Devin, I miss my family, and I miss Greyhouse. But Spain is beautiful, my host family is incredible, and I look forward to the rest of my time here. Camp was fun but exhausting, I could feel every inch of this Friday pounding in my bones. A fun week all in all, but I am drained. I don't have the energy to put much thought into this post (I'm sorry) So here is a rundown of a typical day for me here.
7am- wake up, shower and breakfast
8:15 walk to the school for English camp
9-4:30 Camp hours
4:30: 6 ice cream with camp group or laying by the pool with family
6-8: merienda and siesta (snack and nap)
8-10: run and shower
10-11: study or talk with family
11-12: dinner
12-1:30am: skype with devin
1:30am BED!!! then repeat all over again.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Madrid, day 5

Sorry for the lack of blog yesterday, after camp I hopped the train with 4 camp counselors and jetted to downtown Madrid. The city was gorgeous, we saw a phenomenal cathedral and an Egyptian temple. The cherry on the sundae was the fantastic (but expensive) tapas bar in the Plaza. I plan to return to the Plaza Mayor because I did not actually do any shopping, just sightseeing. After a long, long day of being a turista, I returned home around 11pm just when the family was sitting down to dinner. We talked and ate until 12, then a skype date with my lovely boyfriend. I felt bad because I was so exhausted from the day's activities that I could barely carry on a coherent conversation. Today was another great day at camp. My group continues to grow closer as the days go by, one of my girls even brought me a home made bracelet! Preciosa!! I brought them all gifts of American money, which they loved. Camp is physically and mentally exhausting, but I am really enjoying my time. I have never been a camp counselor before and have been doubting my leadership skills. But I got some encouraging words from the camp organizer, which instilled more confidence in my performance. More tomorrow!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Madrid, dia tres

Action packed day. Today was the first day of English Camp, it did not start well with me getting hopelessly lost on the way to the school. Ay de mi!! But it got much better as I was assigned a group of four 3rd grade girls who are just darling. Within a few hours they were climbing on me and clinging como monos en un arbol. It was a long, tiring six hours but I had so much fun, and I am so excited for tomorrow. Seccion de deportes went fairly smoothly, with only a few rough patches with the 1st and 2nd graders. Those kids are cray cray!!! After camp, Celia and I had merienda together then laid out by the pool. We went for a quick run once the sun went down, then had dinner with the family around 11. I had authentic Spanish empanadas for the first time, I loved every bite. I also got to try all sorts of new fruits. After dinner we went to the central park to meet her friends, who were waiting there. It was a fun, relaxing evening and I had a fun time with her friends (though I had trouble understanding the conversation) and we made plans to go shopping in Madrid, backpacking in the mountains, and visiting some of the landmarks like the castles and art museums. I don't know how I will fit it all into two short weeks! More to come.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Madrid, dia dos

One day down, I feel like i have been here a week already. I love the pace of Tres Cantos (TC is a small community outside of Madrid) because they live life slowly, and with enjoyment. They enjoy each other´s company, they enjoy meals, and they enjoy living each day to the fullest. ¨Work to live, not live to work¨, as my host father says. Today was training day at the English camp. they assigned us to groups (I´m doing sports for a group of 4th graders) and prepped us on what to expect for the next two weeks. I have made some amazing new friends, the volunteers here come from all over the world. There are groups from Arizona, California, England, and Sweden to name a few. I am enjoying practicing my very limited Spanish, they are all very patient with me. It is beautiful here, and the food is just amazing. This saturday the group plans to travel to Segovia, where many of the ancient architecture still stands. Also, my host family and I are planning a trip to the mountains for hiking. Friends, i can not describe how wonderful it is here. I would not hesitate to move to Spain, not one bit. But don´t tell my mom!!! (Te amo, madre!! ;P )

Saturday, July 2, 2011


Guess where I am, friends... MADRID!!!! I arrived this morning (the time change threw me off... 3am my time, 9am their time) and was picked up at the airport. I made a new friend on the plane, a student from UCLA studying abroad for a month. we talked about getting people together to go to downtown Madrid this weekend, i really hope that all works out. yay for new friends in unfamiliar places! I met my camp director and my host family, they are all just the most amazing people. my host family is fantastic and i am already feeling at home. they are introducing me to all kinds of new foods and experiences, and helping me practice my spanish. tomorrow is training day for camp on monday, i am so nervous but also really excited. my host parents are alberto and concha, my 16 yr old host brother is quillermo, and my 21 year old host sister is Celia. they are so welcoming and friendly. the only thing thats hard to get used to is the standard greeting, which is a double cheek kiss.I must admit, I am not used to being that close to perfect strangers but i am getting the hang of it. oh and also, the meal time is so strange. they have lunch around 4 and dinner around 10! very very strange. but the food is fantastic. i will write more later but for now we are all going to the pool to escape the oppressive heat. farewell from Spain!!