Friday, May 9, 2008

At Long Last

So, I assume that we all have writing blocks. It seems mine has lasted a good three months. In that time, I've managed to try almost anything in terms of adaptation. Sometimes it's frustrating. I hate it that I go to a hardware store and need a new frame for my door but can't figure out how to say frame. I hate it that my dog eats my frame in general. I love it that in Spain everyone says hola, whether they know you or not, whenever you past them. I hate it that I can fall in love with a man from spain and have no idea what that means or where I'm going. I love it that I've fallen in love. I hate it that when I try to communicate something important that seems internally vital to my existence, I cannot figure out that precise word that comes so naturally in my own language. I love it that I carry a dictionary with me at all times.

Life seems to go in ups and downs. Maybe it's taken me 27 years to realize that. Sometimes it seems that everything is perfect, that nothing can break your little bubble, and sometimes it seems that every moment it is possible to explode the tiny little bubble that a three year old made with a plastic tool at a park. I wonder sometimes what it is that controls all of this. I used to think it was me. That I could control every moment, every second, every millimeter of my life. And then I guess I grew up? Or something happened, and I realized that we must go with the flow. And while controlling that flow to a tiny degree, we still have to take the moments that life gives us and create our own bubbles with it.

So, I've come back from the park. I watched a group of children with their plastic tools blowing bubbles. And I caught them. As well as I could. And with this, I suppose that I'm controlling the most I can . . .

Sunday, February 24, 2008


It's been a while since I wrote, so I'm going to try to catch up with all that's been going on. It's been an interesting month. The weather here is insane and I can't seem to grasp the concept of Madrid winters. Sometimes it's 70 degrees and sunny, although rarely, and then others it's raining and freezing and your lungs freeze the moment you walk out the door. I think it's really negative to the human body, and all of the new teachers have had a consistent cold since this started. I learned how to say and write "tissues" pretty quickly once it started though, because I'm constantly walking around blowing my nose.

I heard the weather in the states was kind of crazy. Let me know what it's like where you are!

Other than that, it's been school school school. I've been designing new units and trying to somehow keep up with all my grading while still enjoying a social life. The social life has been put on a back burner, but I've managed to do a couple of cool things. I went to a new club opening a couple of weeks ago. It's kind of a funny story. One of my friends asked me if I wanted to go with him, and I said sure because it was Friday and I figured I should get out and do something. So I came home from school, walked Zoe, made dinner, took a shower, and got ready for my night out. I think it was sometime around eight at this point. My friend still hadn't called, so I was a bit confused. I called him and he started laughing at me. I couldn't figure out what was so funny, until he finally told me that the club didn't even open until midnight. Midnight!! He told me he'd be at my house to pick me up around 12:30 so we could go. I was in utter shock. That's way past my bed time normally, so I walked Zoe again for a couple hours to try to keep myself up just to go out. We ended up staying out until 7 in the morning and we were one of the first people to leave. Once the sun came up, I had some difficulty keeping myself going. I came home, slept through Sat, couldn't sleep for the night, and was completely screwed up for the coming Monday. So, long story short, I don't think I can handle the Madrid social scene.

This week I'm going to Paris Wednesday night and staying through Sat. I'm going to get to see Elodie, one of my close friends from when I lived in France. We haven't seen each other in six years, so I'm quite excited to go. I'm sure I'll have big news and lots of pictures when I get back!

Let me know how life is going for everyone. When I don't get responses back, I tend not to post as frequently! Love to all!

Monday, January 28, 2008

More pics!!!!

I have so many pictures that I took this weekend, and I can't decide which ones to put up. I hope this gives you a glimpse into the beauty that I experienced this weekend . . .

San Vicente de la Barquera (Santander)

Crowded trains and busy streets have become my norm here. I'm so used to people pushing me on the train that it doesn't even seem as annoying as it once did. I know that I'm not tall enough to reach the bar to hold on to, so I'm getting accustomed to flying left and right at every stop along the way. I'm starting to understand that going shopping on a Saturday means fighting my way through crowds of people who refuse to smile and grab the exact object that you want right in front on you. So, you can imagine the feeling on complete contentment as I got into the car on Friday, ready for an excursion outside of the city. With Madrid quickly behind us, I started feeling normal again. It was dark, but along the road I saw tiny little specks of lights, tiny villages where I'm sure the Madrid style of living doesn't exist. It took four hours, and it was dark, but it was the best dark I've experienced so far. Complete blackness, with stars twinkling in the sky. Stars. I had forgotten how much I loved them. I had forgotten what they looked like in general. We arrived, very late at night, to this tiny little place that is called a pension in spanish. It's kind of like a mixture between a hostel and a bed and breakfast. When I awoke Saturday morning, I looked out one window and saw tractors and holsteins and jerseys and was greeted by the smell of countryside. Another aspect I didn't realize how much I missed. Out the other window was a small hillside where animals roamed freely and the beach framed their images. I could hear the water splashing even from our pension, and it was with much enthusiasm that I awoke to greet this day. We met up with some of Abel's friends and went exploring. Everything was beautiful. Driving to the beach felt like an out of body experience. We were up on the hillside, so you could see the little town we were going to and the beach from miles away. It was kind of like a mixture of West Coast ocean and Missouri countryside. I don't think I've ever seen or been anywhere quite like it. I managed to get some amazing pictures of Abel and Sergio surfing--and Zoe! Zoe apparently likes surfing and she kept following them out into the ocean until a big wave would hit and then she'd swim back and wait. It was incredible to watch. I think she needs a surfboard. Imagine a black lab surfing--perfect picture, eh? I spent a lot of time eating, and eating a lot. We found some little bar type place where the menu was in English also (woo hoo!) so I actually knew what I was ordering for lunch. But it didn't matter, because knowledge was the last thing on my mind this weekend. It was all about feeling, about experience, about forgetting what you have to do the next day and just letting the sound of the ocean overtake your body and make you feel whole. We ended up meeting up with another friend Saturday night and eating at this strange restaurant in the middle of nowhere. I swear, it was surrounded by the woods and nothing else. And it was amazing. It was like an old movie where you walk in and it's just the locals with a dusty piano in one corner and a woman behind the counter whose eyes smiled at you when you walked in the door. Perfection. I even managed to play a couple of songs on the piano, which was nice. Wish I had my guitar. Sunday was kind of the same. The three guys went surfing and I stayed on the beach --I hate surfing-- and graded papers. Well, actually, I sort of graded papers and worked on untying the knot of the kite so I could fly it. Unfortunately, I never got the chance as Zoe ran away in the middle of the experience and attacked the trash cans along the beach. Fortunately, no one saw this but me, so I was saved from minor embarassment. I also picked up more Spanish, although I'm not sure that they are words that I should be learning. Surf language of the Spanish. In general, it was one of the most amazing and beautiful places I've ever been, not just in Spain.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ok ok! I'm posting!!

After fifty emails telling me that I needed to make a new post, I'm finally getting around to it. Life has been busy lately! After my mom left, I had exactly one week to plan three new books for my classes and the homework that went with them. I spent hours every day working on it, and then came back to school, grudgingly. Right now I'm fighting with the Spanish mail system since they've stopped a package at customs and are making me go through ridiculous hoops in order to have them tell me whether I'm allowed to keep it or not. And if they let me keep it then I have to pay taxes on it. Fun. All for some damn chocolate and toothpaste (I don't like the Spanish toothpaste).

My apartment building has FINALLY ended the construction and now I'm able to walk to my door without scaffolding everywhere and weird Spanish guys saying things that I don't understand. I also can hang my clothes outside, which is nice, but considering that it's freezing here, I haven't been doing that much. And I have a secadora now!

Hmm, what else? I'm tutoring like crazy trying to save money and transferring Euros into dollars. I opened my first CD the other day which made me feel kind of odd. Grown up in a weird sort of way. It's funny how money can do that to you. Instantly change you from a child to an adult. I guess that's capitalism for you. I tried to go out to a movie last night and made it as far as my door before I realized that all I really wanted to do was curl up in bed and go to sleep. I've been taking pictures like crazy with my new camera and really enjoying the results. I'll post some later.

Right now I'm at school, typing while my students are reading, since I never seem to have time to do this updating at home. I love silent reading days!

Oh, and Zoe is doing well to all who asked. Yesterday I came home to a trash heap as she has now discovered how to open up the top of the trashcan and pull everything out. That was fun. However, she was quite proud of herself and sat there sort of smiling at me. I swear she was saying something like, "See Mom! I can open a trashcan! And look at all these treasures!!" I did not have her same excitement.

I think that's it for the moment. Mail problems, and male problems. But that's another story =)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

More pics of our day!!!

I hope that these prove the distance covered today, and also the very camera shy mother.

A Day of Walking

Well, we left this morning on a mission to find the lamp that mom broke and replace my futon cover for the living room. Instead, we ended up walking all over Madrid for about six hours and enjoying the city life. We walked from Delicias up to Embajadores, then on to La Latina, Tirso de Molina, across to Retiro where I managed to get us lost for about fifteen minutes, then back up Gran Via to Sol, Plaza Mayor, and the Palacio Real. So, she basically got to see most of the important Madrid sites in one day. We were going to also try to hit the Reina Sofia for a bit (a museum) but we got too tired and had to come home to walk Zoe. I think we walked about ten miles in all. It was a long trip.

Mom refused to perform for the camera, but I managed to get some shots of her when she wasn't looking. I'll post those also. She seemed to really enjoy herself, except for telling me I was going too fast and that she needed to sit down more often. Who would have known? She swears to me she walks all the time, but I think she's lying. You guys in Waynesville have to tell me the truth! But in all seriousness, she really did have a great time seeing all the sights. She kept asking me to take pictures of the most random things, so she's coming home with pics of painted buildings and police officers. Moms! Right now she's napping. =)