Friday, November 30, 2007

The Year-Long Sleepover

About that...

If there were two pictures that expressly epitomized Sierra and my relationship, these would be it: (feel free to click and enlarge)

It's funny that Sierra and I have technically known each other since the sixth grade (probably funnier had we pictures to prove it). While we were never mortal enemies, we somehow weren't friends either. Looking back and reflecting on all of our quirky commonalities, past and present, we stand amazed that it took us eight years to finally discover the kindred spirits in us (yes, we quote Anne of Green Gables, among many other novels devoured during childhood, shamelessly; sometimes we even quiz each other...). After high school, us small town hicks continued crossing paths as we both ended up rather unwilling at UCSD (coincidentally, we both wanted to go to DC). Our lives were seemingly intertwined and bound by a thread of inevitability; Eleanor Roosevelt College-->InterVarsity Fellowship-->IV ERC Freshman Bible Study...heck, even our dorm buildings were right next to each other.

This blog entry would equal the length of a full set of encyclopedias were I to list even a selection of all we have shared since then. But in short (well, sort of), a flurry of divine providence and spring quarter extravaganzas freshman year catalyzed the plethora of events that compose our history, which continues as we speak. People thought we were inseparable last year, we may as well have been physically attached at the hip, serving some amazing freshmen on IV Dorm Team with 21 other incredible Bible Study leaders, living in the most frequently visited second-year apartment (I recall hardly going to anyone else's apartment because everyone was always over at ours! Who could blame them...), essentially joint-owning Frankers, attending church and well, pretty much everything else together every week...clearly, our audiences and fan clubs didn't realize how much more lay ahead though.

Since then, we have left America in our dust (the sparkly glitter stuff is Sierra's) and trekked across few a states and an ocean. Together, of course. [Our decisions to come here were certainly made separately and individually though. Don't worry, we're not psychotically co-dependent.] And here we are, half-way around the world, reveling in a myriad of adventures, and sharing memories of lifetime durability. Not only are we in Spain together, we actually share a room and it has been like a ridiculous five month-long sleepover.

Granted, we definitely had to face and work through some serious muck the first month we moved into our apartment. But as we have discovered, the imperfections and struggles have resulted in the priceless refinement and strengthening our friendship. Sorry, if your stomach is churning at the sappiness, but it has really been such a blessing to have a soul sister here to share in both the joys and trials (haha, at first, I put "travails," then looked it up to make sure; "the pains of childbirth." Yeah, nope, not using that word...) of Spain.

Cheers to what has been, what continues to be, and all that still lies ahead!

Well, this is just RELLLLL great.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Estar en la edad del pavo*

Sierra likes white meat.

Me: ¿Día de Gracias? ¡Fue anoche! El 22 de noviembre.
Jordi: ¿QUE?!?!?!?! No puede ser. Es en diciembre.
Me: ¿DÍA DE GRACIAS? Hombre, es en noviembre.
Jordi: No no no. Estoy hablando del día en que coméis pavo.
Me: Ehhhh...SÍ es en noviembre. Te digo que fue ayer y no tiene nada que ver con Navidad.
Jordi: (pause) Guau. No lo sabía. Creía que era parte de las celebraciones navideñas.

Jaja. Despite the general lack of information and interest with respect to Thanksgiving festivities here (I supposed Spain is excused considering Día de Gracias is a holiday rather exclusive to the United States after all), we managed to still carry out a few traditions. Our study abroad program put on a dinner for us at Hotel Espanya, complete with real American Thanksgiving food. There was a large turkey for about every four or five people (lucky me, I was sitting with two vegetarians), mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, veggies (though drenched in olive oil; there had to be Spanish tinges somewhere), and even cranberry sauce. Also included was unlimited wine (therefore it was so cheap even I, the inexperienced wine degenerate, could tell), water (this is actually a big deal), cava bubbly, as well as apple pie and ice cream to finish off the delectable night.

Staying true to our American roots and also realizing this could be our only opportunity at real meat all year, WE STUFFED OUR FACES. I'm quite certain my stomach no longer possesses the stretching capacity it did as, say, in the summer, but it definitely got some exercise Thursday night (and I'm not talking sit-ups).

Unfortunately, in these parts, dinner occurs at 9 o'clock at night, meaning dessert wasn't served until about 11:40. Oh yeah, the metro closes at midnight. For those of us too poor for taxis, with no friends with cars, and too far to walk, we had no other option. Si and I scarfed down the pie and ice cream, gulped the cava, and bolted. Every few seconds, we'd pick up the pace and jog a bit down Las Ramblas. But with such overly full stomachs, it hurt. Nonetheless, the minutes were flying by and we were still not on the metro. The clock struck 11:58 and thus commenced our full sprint down the hallway of the Catalunya metro station, in our dresses and bulky winter jackets and as of yet, undigested dinner. I haven't moved that fast since Chris Westling sprung his hamster on me. We scrambled up the stairs and reached the platform just in time.

To see the last metro drive away, that is.

I guess it was about time. We were due for a frenetic extravaganza anyway. We sat down dejectedly, sweaty, red in the face, and fearful of turkey resurrections. With no Plan B, Sierra convinced me to wait it out, hoping for one last last metro finishing its line. Sure enough, 30 minutes later, a glorious train pulled up and took us swiftly to Placa de Sants. Needless to say, we were thankful for more reasons than one that night. Foof.

Y agradecidas somos.

*A new phrase I just learned: "to be at an awkward age."

Thursday, November 22, 2007


I was riding the metro home from work today. Nothing particularly out of the ordinary--I was bundled up in a cozy winter coat and scarf, Phil Wickam serenading me with the acoustic guitar that I miss oh-so-much, the pre-recorded metro man regularly announcing the next stop over the intercom.

Then two women, one about my age, the other significantly older, got on, and the minute they boarded, they zeroed in on a girl with Down Syndrome seated a few feet from where I was standing. They remained by the doors but proceeded to put on a shameful display of distasteful gestures, finger signals, and things of such nature, with ignorant, ugly jeers oozing from their mouths all the while. They continued their leering, provoking the girl into response, which only spurred them further on. The older woman pulled out a bag of rubber bands and the two women began shooting them in the direction of the now distraught and agitated girl. Absolutely indignant and burning with anger, I 'casually' walked over to the girl and planted myself in front of her, as if the handle bar I presently clutched was the only available grip on the whole metro, my body just 'coincidentally' shielding her. The volley of rubber bands did not cease, but I simply kept my back to the women and turned up the volume on my iPod, their verbal insults increasing but bouncing right off, just like the bands.

The girl got off at the next stop, and the two women the stop after her (thank you, God, I would not have known what to do had they attempted to pursue her). I only had a few more stops myself, but wow, I was M-A-D. Humanity sucks so bad sometimes.

And I think it is the complacency of everyone else on the metro that made me the most angry. It wasn't rush hour-packed, but there was a decent amount of people; all the seats were filled and many were standing. And yet NO. ONE. DID. ANYTHING. They all just sat around nonchalantly, acting as if the outrageous display was normal or even acceptable. Most averted their eyes and attempted to pretend as if nothing was going on. Some were so bold as to blatantly stare and drink in the whole situation like it was a thirst-quenching liquid, and still remain passively seated. How in your heart can you simply watch injustice and allow it to continue? It's not even like we're talking about martyrdom or starting a revolution here!

I fumed the whole walk home. Sightings report that smoke may have been seen coming out of my ears. Jesus, forgive me for the unjust bitterness I harbor against those who incite and perpetuate evil, for the place of judgment belongs only to You (not to say that we cannot hate injustice itself because God certainly does). But I pray that You would shake us out of our complacency and give us a boldness to follow our heart's calling to speak up for those who don't have a voice, those who don't have the strength to stand up, and those who continue to be beat down. Make us a channel of your light and salve.

I want to see your justice heal and bring hope to this broken world.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The blog of Ryan Cristina Alcaraz Gallagher

And we'll have ourselves a jolly good time...

Ryan's [early] birthday at La Rosa Negra:

B-day round 2:
Haircutting adventures:
Una noche on the town:
Dinosaurs and...a late Saturday night:
And, of course, the requisite Photo Booth fun:Yeeeehaw.