30 September 2008

QUARANTINED

29 Sept 2008

No historia del arte today. Poor Basilio. This morning I swept floor before class and then mopped in between. I went with Kel to Maria Cristina to get her suitcase that her mom sent over with a family friend. I was so excited to hear “Proximia Estacion: Maria Cristina,” but got caught up in coversation and missed then voice over completely. We stayed at the hotel for a while and chatted with the friend of the fam--nice guy. On the way out I completely ran into glass sliding door. Oh god, I wish I could have seen it from afar! The consierge guy was all, “Are you alright?” SO GREAT! That night we saw Vicky Christina Barcelona for cine class. Fabuous movie! There were so many recognizable places/traditions, it got me excited! And Javier Bardem isn't too bad to stare at for a couple hours either!

1 Oct 2008

Yesterday Elena kept her phone out in class “just in case she gets a call and has to leave running.” Oooh dear, I hope poor Basilio is alright =(. The other day we were at our small supermarket and a woman walked out and whistled for her dog but it was nowhere to be found. So she said “shit” a couple times in English and then got back in line swearing in Spanish. So Ames and I went out to see if we could see it and we saw the golden just walking around at the end of the block. She came out and whistled again and it came back! It’s crazy how dogs are everywhere off leashes. They’ll be sitting outside of stores, sitting with their owners at outdoor cafes, in the metro…its just nuts! I had the rest of my chicken empanadas last night even though I didn’t want them. Every bite was literally torture. Couldn’t fall asleep because those freaking empanadas were making me sick. I kept thinking about them no matter how hard I tried to put my mind elsewhere. Had they gone bad and started effecting me mentally? Perhaps! I literally thought I was going to vom! I didn’t know what to do so I just downed some water and let my nerves get the best of me. I had weird dreams that night. One in volved a magical music video, complete with slippers, a table, and a drugged out Kurt Cobain. Then it jumps and I’m late to class and I’m driving like a madwoman to get there. Eventually get there and am soaked after having to go through the “late student” water tubes. I walk in, and everyone just stares. So I say "sorry" for my lateness and ask what everyone’s staring at. The teacher (glasses Monica to be exact) says they got a notice that I had died. She then proceeded to point to a poster with drawing of me on it which says “died yesterday, this room is quarantined” Umm, yikes! So I sat down like I wasn’t dead and tried to figure out what language they were learning. Maybe died from the chicken? But then I woke up to find out Sox won the division, yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

2 Oct 2008

MY ABSENTEE BALLOT CAME TODAY!!!!!!! It’s in it’s “official election yada yada envelope,” love it! Off to Lisbon, like, right now! Much more later!

5 Oct 2008

So on the way to the airport, we saw this terrifying woman who had had waaaay too much plastic surgery. It was one of those things where you cant tear your eyes away, even though you’re terrified of what you’re seeing. We all got to the Vueling terminal super early so we hung out at this little bar/snack shop area for an hour or so. I got a beer, they got some food, and we just chatted until it was closer to flight time! The flight was good, except for the landing. Before the flight, Kevin was like, “wouldn’t it be funny if the plane crashed?” since that’s what old Basilio always talks about. I legit thought we were going to die. The plane was alllll over the place and and kel and I held hands for dear life! Portugal is gorgeous. It’s so open and spacious compared to Barcelona where everything is built right on top of each other. Weird people though. We got offered fake drugs, which is apparently completely legal there? Throughout the trip, there were just a lot of creepy and rude men, but I wont get into that. Our first night we found a place that sold hamburgers, fries, and drinks for 4,80! YESS! We also got like 30 ketchup packets which got us all jazzed. The hostel we were staying at was super cool. It was decorated all funky (complete with a chandelier made of shot glasses), and there were people from all over just hanging out and listening to Bob Marley. I don’t think we were cool enough to be staying there, haha!

On our first full day, we decided to go to the aquarium since all of us were secretly dying to go. I must have fallen/slipped/tripped at least 30 times during the trip because I’m a klutz, my shoes have no traction, and the roads were made of glossy little blocks of stone which stuck up unevenly. However, this certain time, I had a nasty trip and my toe started bleeding. Poo. Good thing Mamma Kelly had band aids with her! We saw the most adorable little Portuguese kids running around by the water. All the boys were dressed in matching blue, and the girls in matching pink. One fell and started crying…it was so cute! The aquarium we went to is supposedly the biggest in Europe and the second biggest in the world? It was neat! Got to see a lot of stuff and took a lot of pictures! Afterwards, we discovered the way to Belem, which was on the complete opposite side o f Lisbon. Such a pretty town! We first went to a pastry shop to get the famous and delicious Pastry of Belem, and then we headed for a pita lunch at Bread Bread, Cheese Cheese. So delicious! We were ordering when I heard 3 of our group start laughing hysterically. It turns out that while they were trying very hard to speak Portuguese/Spanish/English , the guy at the counter started laughing at them and then spoke to them in perfect English (minus the Boston accent). Turns out he was born in Boston, but came here with his Portuguese mom about 17 years ago. Such a small world. Afterwards, we kept walking down the road til we saw the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos. We checked that out and then went to see the Torre de Belem which was supposed to protect the monastery from a sea raid. We saw the big statue on the way home (too lazy to look up the name, sorry), and then headed back home. For dinner, we went to a little restaurant for some real Portuguese food. I had grilled bacalau (codfish), which was surprisingly good! That night, we found a place where they have fado, a traditional Portuguese way of singing that is poetic and supposed to bring the listener to tears (assuming you understand Portuguese). The place we went to was up in the mountains, so it had a gorgeous overlook of the city all lit up at night—SO PRETTY! The place with the music was under that restaurant, but so cool looking! We had some port and one of the waiters (who kind of looked like a chubby Jude Law) helped us get closer seats—nice guy. I couldn’t keep my eyes off the fingers of one of the guitarists. He was seriously AMAZING! They moved lightning fast and he was just the coolest dude ever. So jealous of his guitar skillz!!!!

The next morning, I went and bought some post cards as well as some bumper stickers to put on my guitar case…so excited about that!! That day we wandered up towards the big castle on the hill but stopped in 2 churches along the way. The tower was crazy awesome, but I was worried about falling on the stairs, and there were a LOT of stairs in that freaking tower! Being accident prone and all, I had a mental fiesta whenever I got to the bottom successfully! We went to a little place for lunch on the way down the big hill and had some more traditional Portuguese food. Something with ham in port sauce, rice, and then some weird looking potato-ey soup with green grass-like things in it. All incredibly delicious though! The fat little dog we saw earlier in the day was roaming by the restraint…we think it was preggers. We got some cheap ice cream afterwards and continued our journey across the town and up another incredibly huge hill to go see the botanical gardens. So weird. We finally get there and its closed! Like, there is literally a chain around the entrance! However, there were two old ladies picking crap up off the path, so Kelly asked them in Portuguese if it was closed and the woman just stared at her for a minute, and then ignored her completely and went on with her business. Really? You're mature! We ran into some other people who told us where the other entrance was and we got in for ,75 with our student discount, chicka chicka yeah! It was so pretty in there! We took dinosaur picks and laid in the luxurious grass for about 20 minutes. There was a boyman sleeping in the grass by a tree and I decided he was Frodo Baggins! So we decided it was the shire we were laying in (or perhaps Edward’s meadow for those who have read Twilight?). It was so relaxing and so Across the Universe-esque. That night, we went to Hard Rock for dinner where everyone was singing and cheering for people’s birthdays. It was very different.

After becoming sick after the first night, I knew it would be hard to sleep for the 5 hours we had before having to get up for our flight. It was another non-sleep night since I couldn’t breathe and didn’t want to make a lot of noise. We got to the airport, had some McDonald’s breakfast—pancakes of course (which were totally crappy since they were small and thin and didn’t come with a sausage). I got a hot chocolate and a McFlurry as well. The flight was fine—I slept most of the way. However, my wallet did get stolen at the BCN airport. Home sweet home!

MORE PICTURES!!

Lisbon

And just watch this video

Also, if you understand Facebook, check this out for shits and giggles!

video

28 September 2008

he's famous!!

24 Sept 2008

Today we went to the Picasso museum—not as great as I was hoping. I expected to see some of his classic works, but apparently not. It was a tad poorly organized and had a lot of other peoples work in there…kind of strange. But afterwards we went to a place called Enivia or something like that for tapas and sangria. The patatas bravas were so delicious and the spiciest i've had yet!
The pan amb tomat was fabulous as always! We got this meat platter which was not my fave. Oh well, you live and you learn! Later that night, we headed over to Placa de Espanya for a fireworks/fountain show set to music. SO AWESOME! They had fireworks that I had honestly never seen before in the states. The music assortment was so random. They had everything from the Dragonball Z and Teletubbies theme to “Born in the USA” and the Rolling Stones! On the way in, we got handed free sparklers and lighters, so half way through the show everyone lit theirs and it was such an amazing sight! Since it was Steph’s birthday in about an hour, we all headed to the Chupiteria back by our piso. Good times getting Amy drunk! But so we’re just chilling up at the front and these guys in white capes came up to me and were like “hi! Umm, we have a table back there if you want to join me and my friends! We’re celebrating one of my friends birthdays and we have drinks.” So I was all yeah, sure, in a few minutes. So he comes around again and is like “you’re not coming =(“ but I assured him I was, right after kel and ames got their chupitos. So we wandered back there! They yelled! I asked the original guy why they were wearing white capes and he explained that the birthday boy was wearing a king cape and they all just had plain white ones. So then I met the birthday boy, Jordi, who was turning 22--such a cutie! They were all “sit down with us, sit down!” But we decided to head out since we have class tomorrow. When I told them we had class they were like, “noo! What class? I have work and he has an internship, but we’re still here!!” So I apologized and tried walking away, but one snagged me and was all “what’s your name??” So I told him, yada yada. Then we really went to leave and original boy gave us cards and told us to go to this place on them? I don’t know, I’ll have to check those out tomorrow.

25 Sept 2008

I had a dream last night that Ryan died and it really upset me =( So now I just want to talk to him to make sure he’s alive, but he’s not signing on to myspace. Damn him!

Dude, Kevin just sent me a wiki page about our really old professor today and this is what it says:

“Basilio Losada Castro (Láncara, Lugo, 1930), es un traductor español, crítico literario, catedrático de Filología Románica en la Universidad de Barcelona desde 1986 y catedrático de Filología Gallega y Portuguesa, y antes profesor en otros muchos centros universitarios. Traduce al castellano y gallego. Es autor de numerosos estudios críticos sobre la literatura gallega, portuguesa y brasileña. Ha traducido 150 libros en siete lenguas, de autores como Jorge Amado, Saramago, Rosalía de Castro, Pere Gimferrer... En 1991 recibió el Premio Nacional de traducción por Memorial do convento, de José Saramago. Ha recibido además la Creu de Sant Jordi, de la Generalidad de Cataluña;
la Comenda da Ordem do Infante Dom Henrique, que otorga el gobierno portugués; la Ordem do Cruzeiro do Sul, de Brasil; y la Medalla Castelao de la Junta de Galicia. Se jubiló como catedrático el año 2000, aunque sigue impartiendo clases en los programas de diversas universidades norteamericanas en la UB. A los setenta años publicó su primer trabajo de ficción, la novela La peregrina (traducida al italiano por Giuseppe Tavani), ambientada en la Edad Media, período en el que es un gran experto.”

Whoaaaaa, he’s famous! I want him to sign something for me!! He’s in the hospital for something not serious, so his daughter (damn, not his wife) Elena will be teaching us on Monday. Poor Basilio!!

28 Sept 2008

Bust of a weekend...did absolutely nothing. I don’t want to get into it. On the other hand, Ames and I went on a 2.5 hour adventure this morning! We went down to Barri Gotic and walked around the side streets. We saw the big church again, and this time people were there for mass! There were also people outside of the church selling the most beautiful paintings! If I were rich, I totally would have bought some!
We walked into a book store to see if they had the apparently rare book we need for Cine, and they had 2 copies! What luck! We saw a lot of cool shops, bars, and restaurants that I shall have to keep in mind for weekends like this past one! Afterwards, we wandered up the other side of La Rambla and found some more cool little shops. Pricey, but neat stuff. I kept smelling something resembling a campfire and decided that if anything could really make me want to come home, that smell could do it! So much in my life in the States has been connected to that smell…sheesh! Then we came back up by our area and wandered. We found a cute park on Aribau, a new grocery store that I cant wait to check out, lots of cute restaurants, and a crap load of bars. Ive decided that on weekends such as the last, I’m going to go bar crawling up and down the streets by our piso to find out which bars have good prices and good atmosphere!

MORE PICTURES!
La Merce
Barcelona

I took about 20 videos from the fireworks show and was too lazy to go through and find the best one, so here's part of the finale =P

video

21 September 2008

Running with the devils!!!!!


19 Sept 2008

Get drunk in Spain? Check! …finally. We went back to the Chupiteria and I tried one of those big green drinks..I think that was what got me! No worries though, i was with about 10 of my friends!

So tonight the girls and I made some guac and watched Penelope…James McAvoy is so adorable! The guac turned out pretty good, but next time we need to put more spices and peppers and such in. Needed a little more POW!

20 Sept 2008

Today we went back to Barceloneta, but it was overcast-y all day. The sun came out for a while, but I was downright chilly out there! These guys were throwing one of those whistling footballs back and forth and threw it at us twice. The first time, Karen threw it back, but the second time we were pissed and just left it. So this long haired dude came over and we talked to him for a bit after he realized we spoke Spanish. We said we were from the States and he’s like “ahhh, la tierra de oportunidades!!!” Yeaaaaaah. He was from Chile and then he talked about the golpe de estado that happened in the sixties and was like, “un poco de historia!” and then left. What an interesting person. They were playing their guitars and singing very loudly, but it was all good. They were rather normal in comparison to some of the other people who are at Barceloneta, but I don’t want to get into it. Mark cut his legs and feet on the rocks and had to go to the medic tent to put some iodine on it. Since we didn’t want him to walk around on the sand, we headed out to eat, but we bought him some gauze and tape first. So funny! Mark’s sitting on a bench surrounded by 5 girls who are trying to figure out the best way to wrap his foot up. Meanwhile, there’s this group of people laughing at us and one guy was actually videotaping us. Karen made up a great documentary voiceover for it which spoke of the “elusive American pimp who makes his hos do his dirty work while shielding him from the public view.” Oooh Barcelona!

Duuuuuuuuuuuuuude, Correfoc was SO awesome! For starters, here’s what La Merce’s guide says about Correfoc (The Fire Run):

“This is one of the most spectacular events of the Catalan festive tradition. Fire and music add to lifelike scenes of hell with dragons and devils. Every summer festival in Catalonia has a fire run, and the capital has one of the biggest with dozens of groups of devils from all over the city and the surrounding area.

Warning!

The Fire Run can be dangerous and every person must take responsibility for themselves. If you want to dance with the devils, you must wear clothing that covers you to avoid the sparks. A cap or hat, cotton clothes and even goggles or special glasses are recommended. Children watching the Fire Run for the first time may become alarmed. Please ensure that they are not in the front lines. In case of accident, there are ambulances at the end of Via Laietana.”

So we get there, and there’s already a bajillion people there already, and wandered a bit. Then we decided we needed some direction and asked one of the cops where we were supposed to go if we wanted to run in the fire and he goes “oh noooooo. You’ll get burned….like a LOT. But its all down these streets.” Sweet. We heard a drum line and drifted in that general direction where we found this big gate like thing and I decided it was supposed to be the Gates of Hell, and it totally was!! So they start shooting off fire and fireworks from the gates and then it begins. At first I was like, “holy shit, we’re going to die!” but I got used to the idea as they approached. It was still terrifying though. Whenever a blowtorch of sparks went out, it would explode, and it was so incredibly loud that I’m surprised I’m not deaf right now. There were devils, dragons, and other scary creatures spewing fire out of them. In between every group was a drumline that played a beat that sounded like it would have been in King Kong when they were sacrificing the girl. SO AWESOME! At one point, one of the devils grabbed me, lit his pitchfork which was throwing sparks everywhere and I got burned on the back of my neck which was exposed. Sadness. But we went through the entire thing, and then went back in for the last of the parade. There were these 2 guys dressed as devils running through the crowd who wasn’t taking part in the fire dancing, but they were whistling and scaring everyone into thinking they had fire. Those mischievous little Spaniards! So afterwards we meandered through the carnival that was a block away while some real fireworks went off. Such a fabulous night. Then we decided to get some cotton candy which was like, 4 times the size of my head. The guys who were making it were all, “we may be small here in spain, but we have big cotton candy!!” Fo sho. It was so delicious. We saw some gelato places on the way back to the metro and, of course, stopped to get some. We ran into some of the Californians who were like, “oh my god, we saw you dancing in the streets—you guys are crazy!!” Hahah! Such a great night (with the exception of me losing my camera case during Correfoc)! It really goes to show how lax Spain is about…everything, haha!

21 Sept 2008

This morning I got up early and made some cheesy scrambled eggs and some toast and jam. Delicious! This morning was the Castellers (the human towers). It was back in the same area, so we hopped back on the train early so we could get a good view. So cool! They had people of all sizes and all ages! At first they had local groups up on the stage doing formations. This one group had the TINIEST person every at the top of all of theirs. Honestly, whose parent would let their 4 year old child do that?! Spanish people are crazy! Then the more professional people came out and did some walking towers. Then the main 3 groups made insanely large towers. The Barcelona team fell once, which scared the crap out of me. I’m so surprised no one was seriously injured. They got to go again at the end of round one, and were successful! It was super hot there though, so we left after round one. No regrets though, they supposedly do their hardest formations first so they have enough strength to do the easier ones as the day goes on. We’re all beat! I saw the burns on my back from last night and I was like “WHAAA?!” They’re fine though…they don’t hurt anymore =)


MORE PICTURES!! As always, check on them later since I'm still waiting for some pictures to surface!

Chupiteria

La Mercè

1 Video of the Correfoc (below)

video

ALSO CHECK OUT THIS VIDEO LINK!!

17 September 2008

why yes, i'm a fatty american!

14 Sept 2008

Amy, Carolyn, Kelly and I went for gelato about 10 minutes ago—FUNNY STORY! So Carolyn and Amy both got petite bowls, but Kel and I decided we wanted mediums since I’m a fatty and Kelly has a sore throat. So I’m like, “medium bowl with chocolate & ___ amb xocolata.” So he makes it and goes “2 spoons?” I just laughed and said “no, it’s for me.” I’M SUCH A FATTY ICE CREAM EATER!! I finished it in record time and now my tum hurts. Oh well.

First day of real classes are tomorrow. Hopefully I cant get all the issues worked out before 10:00 with Aaron. I just want it to be 24 hours from now, so I can settle down!

15 Sept 2008

Today marked the first day of classes. Karen and I wanted outside our program’s office for like an hour since we needed to switch classes, but they didn’t show up til like 5 minutes before class started. It all worked out though. I finally think I’m in the right classes. I’m still going to look into some stuff, but yeah. So my first teacher is a hilarious old man who likes telling stories and making funny sound effects to go along with them. He’s also told us a joke every day at the end of class. What a jolly old man. My next teacher is quite the character. At around 78 years old, he talks like a sloth. I think he thinks we don’t understand him since he asks “¿Me entiendes?” (do you understand me) like every five minutes. Oh well. So he tells us that Spanish isn’t his first language, but his Spanish is perfect. Well, alright! Then he tells us why art is so important to him and how it helped him find a woman. This woman, as it turns out, was one of his students!! Um, whoa! He told us at 19, she was the most beautiful girl ever (and he knows a beautiful girl when he sees one, thanks to art). But he tells us, that in her 50’s she’s not as beautiful as she used to be, but she’s still pretty, ahaha! So we have this suspicion that his wife is this other teacher we have with the same last name and in her 50’s. The investigation continues! Then he tells us, “yeah, I’m probably going to die soon,” and then just continues talking…umm, what?! He accepts death though since he already died once. I know right! He told us he was declared dead, the doctor and the judge both signed the death certificate and he was being wheeled to his autopsy before they realized he was alive again. He said it was a good feeling of clarity and peace? That’s good to know! Yeah, so I just hope he doesn’t keel over and die in the middle of class. I don’t think I could handle that! After classes, Kel and I went to la Boqueria then we made a big pasta dinner that night for the 3 of us, which was DELICIOUS! Later we went to see El Caballero Oscuro (The Dark Knight) in English so Kel could hear Heath Ledger’s voice! We had minor difficulties getting off the train at Les Corts though. So funny! Everyone goes to get off and none of the doors open! So everyone was looking up and down the train and laughing and stuff. Ahh, Spain.

16 Sept 2008

So I found out we’re selling my car due to major problems which marks the first time I’ve cried since I got here. I’m so lame. But I love that car! I’m going to drown myself in ice cream and a good movie night with the girls. Princess Bride, here I come!!

Monthly Rap!!!

Hello Barcelona, it’s very very good to know ya!

Between your frequent manpris and sense of style

I know I’m going to love living here for a while!

Although the older generation is annoyed with us

I still like seeing you and thinking of Franco on the bus!

Speaking of bus, I like your transport!

You rock!!!1 (in short)

OpenCor and Café Niri

You are both so very dear to me!

I only hope that we see each other again,

Because from you I cannot abstain!

Mojito, my discoteca lover--

I would never trade you for another

Although I sweat like a pig

You always play music that I dig!

I like meeting people our age

In conversations, you‘re always eager to engage!

Whether you’re actually helping with my Spanish

Or just laughing at my feeble efforts,

I know I’ve always got your support!

What’s with the dogs everywhere?

I see German Shepherds and I cant help but compare!

On the bus, off the leash on the street, or in a café

These dogs have more privileges than those in the USA!

And with that, I’m going to end my monthly rap

I could go on more, but it would probably be crap.

At home, I hope all is well

Even though that hurricane gave you hell!

To everyone who reads this—I miss you

But now I must go…adéu!