Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Como si fuera un sueño...

July 15th. Yes, our friends have superior photography skills...

I don't know who, if anyone, still checks this, but I figured I could give the little bugger some closure (especially on the eve of a term paper being due, ahem)...

So. July 15th turned out to be infinitely more grand than I spent months imagining it would be. The second the plane wheels thudded on the LAX runway, there was no sign of a disappearing act for the nutty grin that had plastered itself on my face. I'm sure the airport maintenance lady thought I was completely off my rocker when I excitedly asked her where the nearest bathroom was and practically sprint-skipped in the direction she pointed. The next thing I knew, familiar chums were popping out from under towels in the back seats of Mrs. Olson's beast of a car chattering nonstop nonsense, and before I could even catch my breath, old times slipped in as if I had never left.

I've been back for about a month and a half now, and I'm still working it out in my head slowly, very slowly that Spain wasn't just a figment of my oft unruly mental capacities. Although many of my previously study-abroaded friends cited difficult transitions, I have been exceedingly blessed with a readjustment smoother than premium Chinese silk on the black (pun intended) market. Absurd but such is my glorious life. Oh, 'tis SO good to be home.

Here are some thoughts regarding life in the States:

Mexican food is delicious. So is pretty much everything else edible here. American coffee is rather lacking though; I do miss me some cafe con leche.

FAMILY. I get to see them more than just once every 11 months. That's certainly a perk if I ever saw one.

. So far San Diego gets a boo hiss, but being 21 does help a tad.

I have been reunited with my friends, and boy, are they the best ever! ...who am I kidding? It's just nice to have any friends again. (But they really are great.)

Woah. I can ask for help slash explain something and be understood on the first try. Weird. (P.S. For those considering abroad study, Barcelona is not the place to learn Spanish...)

I'm back at UCSD and for the first time in my life, I declare that I love Geisel. (I just caused at least eight people fall over in shock just now. My apologies.) And I'm a senior?! When did this happen?

Poop on gas and its exorbitant prices that make me woozy every time I step near a car. I take back all the flak I gave the metro...

It exists! And there's lots of it. Mmmmm. I can finally sweat in peace.

And finally, NO CATCALLING. I can run, I can jump, I can even puke all over the place and for the most part, people will not obscenely throw snide remarks and just leave me be. I'm back to being invisible and it's amazing.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Runnin' In The Rain

¿Cómo se dice SOGGY?!?!

Unfortunately, my internet access has been extremely spotty these days, so I have not been able to write as proliferately as my latest adventures should warrant. So until I catch up, here is a quickie while I'm at Ry's flat mooching her wireless.

HOSTIA. Despite the fact that it was 34 degrees Celsius this morning, IT IS CURRENTLY POURING IN BARCELONA. Like cats and dogs pouring. Or really, tigers and wolves pouring. Ahhhh.

We stepped out of the metro station and it was thundering and lighting and LLOVIENDO. My Rainbows promptly caused me to slip and completely eat it four times within the first two minutes much to the amusement of many bystanders. I quickly shucked the suckers off, and then Ryan and I proceeded to dash the 15 minute route to her apartment, bags and bags of Brava sauce in tow. I was barefoot, drenched to the core, and could not see a thing. And not just because I lost a contact along the way...FOOF. We finally arrived at our blessedly dry destination, that is, until I tracked water throughout her entire piso. Ehhh. I am now wearing her clothes, soaking through those as well, and praying for a cease fire long enough to afford me a dry journey back to my penitentiary cell (I'm staying at a semi-janky hostel in room 666 for the next few nights...).

We're keeping it classy over here by the Sagrada Familia too. Since we obviously aren't about to go out for dinner as planned, we scrounged up an old box of Mac n' Cheese and a can of ravioli. And we're getting in our last truly Spanish Tinto de Verano with our ever classic 40 centimo boxed wine...drinking out of plastic cups because all her glasses are molding in the sink. With episodes of Season 3 of The Office playing (amazing!) on top of it all, I pretty much couldn't ask more out of life....

Hey, at least it's never boring here, right?

[Click for a more accurate view??]
I KNOW you miss this face.
Don't you worry your little heads.
I'll be home in less than three days!!!!!!!!!

Monday, June 30, 2008

¡Olé España!

YEAHHHH! Spain won the EuroCup 2008 last night and the country is going NUTS. I'm currently living in an apartment on Las Ramblas (in the very heart of Barcelona) with my family and people outside were going absolutely wild. I wish I could attach a clip of the video footage my dad got from our balcony. It was like the night Bautista fled Cuba...Las Ramblas was packed with celebrating fans wearing yellow and red, ecstatically waving Spanish flags, haphazardly throwing firecrackers into the crowd, and chanting "¡Olé" over and over. Cars were honking non-stop, drunk guys were climbing the light posts, and the streets were victorious chaos until the wee hours of the morning. Haha. So fun.

In other notes, Sisi, DON'T LEAVE MEEEEEEE. Ahhhhhhh. She touches down tomorrow in LAX at 10:25PM.
BE THERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

¿Podéis creer que ya ha terminado un año entero? Ayyyyyyyy.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Amo-te Portugal

La Boca do Inferno in Cascais, Portugal

I am completely and utterly enamored with Portugal. Still.

It actually makes me not want to go home, and I daresay if I don't end up in Latin America some day, I will live in Portugal (I even have my house picked out already). Yeap. Anyway. Our Sunday Night Dinner crew (coincidentally we all go to UCSD) took a little jaunt of a trip to Lisboa, Portugal. It was muito muito bem.

We four explored Lisbon, which has been described as the San Francisco of Europe and did indeed have similar such ingredients as a "Golden Gate Bridge," squished buildings on hilly cobblestone terrain, and rickety ol' trolley cars.

We also took several daytrips to nearby cities surrounding Lisboa, the first of which was Sintra. After an adventurous train ride and a lunch of authentic Portuguese food, we spent the majority of our time at the Quinta de Regaleira. What exactly it was, I still don't particularly know, but there were caves and unfinished wells and foliage galore to forage through and what a jolly time we had mongering about. The afternoon was rounded out with a sampling of tasty queijada and travesseiro pastries.

The next stop in our daytripping series was mainly just a beach on the way to our subsequent real destination, though Carcavelos proved beautiful in its own right. Not to mention adorable as it seemed to be National Portuguese Toddler Fieldtrip to the Beach Day. Awwww. There were little chum chums in matching hats holding hands all along the shore. Portugal, keepin' it cute.

Cascais, an old fisherman's wharf, followed, where we immediately scarfed down some roadside bocadillos and then hiked to the ominous Boca do Inferno, otherwise known as the Mouth of Hell. Dun dun dun. Aside from attempting the competitive sport of rock climbing in a skirt and sandals though, the Boca do Inferno really posed no grave prowess except in beauty, I suppose. It was quite a view; waves of turquoise blue hues crashing up against the majestic cliffs of Portugal. Mmm. We seceded the precarious perching with a few hours of wandering about the old town, sniffing around in the fishermen's nets, perusing craft fairs, and downing generous portions of refreshing gelato.
Eventually, we found ourselves in Belem, the town of DELICIOUS custard tarts and a quality collection of modern art. Alighting from the train, we immediately made our way towards a famous bakery for fresh hot Pasteis de Belem that came with packets of powdered sugar and cinnamon. Ohmygosh. YUM. Call me a fatty (after all we have indeed become chubs again), but they were delightful. Then it was to the cultural center with an up and coming exhibition of everything from Picasso to Andy Warhol. Mostly over my head stuff, but great fun. I still occasionally wish I had majored in art.Beijos e high fives para Portgual.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


This is us on the beach in Mallorca, which Si is supposed to blog about sometime...ahem.

Oh joy to the world. After four, that's right, count 'em, four months, my laptop has finally been returned to me in fully functioning form. Shocking. On my ventures to re-familiarize myself with the old chum, I re-discovered a few unpublished blog entries wasting away and figured I should post them before they become obsolete. Aqui tienes one of several squished together.

Weekends...what's not to love about them? (Besides the dreaded Monday mornings that always come afterwards.) Here are few things I've been up to these past few fines de semana:

+PLATJA. Capital letters because I basically spend as much time here as possible. I already detailed a bit about the perils of beaching it here, but otherwise, it has been wonderful soaking in the sunshine to the tune of the lapping Mediterranean waves. And finally adding some semblance of color to my translucent skin hasn't been too shabby either. Albino-ism be gone.
+Mercat del Encants. Flea market madness. This place is legit. Not exactly classy souvenir worthy as I had hoped (unless all of you want used rolls of deodorant, whole porcelain bidets, or rusted hatchets, probably none of which are even from Spain), but jammed packed with deliciously authentic hustle and bustle. All the things you wouldn't ever think to buy plus more.

+RCD Espanyol 1, Zaragoza 1. I was under the impression I was going to a real FC Barça futbol game, but alas, it was only RCD Espanyol. I should have known Barça tickets don't come free (even UNICEF can't spot me). Regardless, Ellie hooked me up with a ticket and we went with three of her German friends, who were all amazed that I managed to stay entertained for the entirety of the game without consuming any alcohol. Ellie nearly fell asleep and the guys kept complaining about how bored they were. Laaame. I thought it was fun! I would like to go to a Barça game before I leave though. Also, who's down to go to a billion Padres games this summer? Yeahhhh.

+Picnics and the Magic Fountain of Monjüic. About a 20-minute walk from our flat are a few majestic fountains where weekly spectaculars take place complete with music and lights as well as the typical street vendors hawking their wares to susceptible tourists (really, who wants to buy glow stick necklaces anywhere besides Disneyland and raves?). Scams aside, the shows are the real deal. We have taken to packing picnic dinners and stretching out on the lawn to catch the last few Friday nights rounds. The musical selection is perhaps the most breathtaking ranging the gamut of ditties such as Party Like It's 1999 and Love Shack, cheesy American love ballads from the 90's, the over-played Titanic theme song, Star Wars battle tunes, and of course, the epic Viva Barcelona anthem (not to be confused with the official national anthem, although so amazing, it should be declared as such) to seal off the night in all its operatic glory.

Eh, more to come assured. In the meantime, I'm starting to freak out just a little bit over the fact that I'm coming home very soon...ahh!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A Day In The Life

7:35-7:38PM =
The guy sitting one chair away from me stands up, unbuckles his belt, takes off his pants, gets up on his chair, waves pants over his head like a lasso, puts pants back on, delicately hops off the chair, sits back down, and carries on typing as if we were actually in the computer lab. Huh.

9:20-9:50PM =
An unusually well-groomed man seated directly across from me on the train blatantly picks (and by that I mean, digs all the way to his brain) his nose for the ENTIRE thirty minute ride. How much you got up there, man?! Ew.

10:00PM =
A scraggler on the metro approaches and asks me to marry him. I give him the WTF look without actually looking at him and turn up the volume on my iPod. He proposes we run away to ______ (I didn't actually hear what country it was he said) and live the good life. My lack of enthusiasm over described proclamation of "love" is verdict enough and he eventually wanders away. Better luck next time, buddy.

11:05PM =
I finally arrive at home to find the used, neon pink cat scratching post my French flatmate received as a recent birthday present has resurfaced in the living room. That and the Santa suit the other flatmate picked up off the street. Germs anyone? Anyone?

I kid you not, this was my Tuesday night.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Eu Faço Um Muito Bom: Porto Part 3

On our walk back to the hostel from the Atlantic Ocean...

Man. I really need to finish with Portugal and move on with life. It is holding up all the other blog entries I want to share, so here goes...last but not least, part three!

Considering we didn't get to bed until 5AM, we naturally slept in and took it easy on our last day in Porto. Our agenda was simple: beach and food. That was all we really cared about.

After a quick stop at a neighborhood bakery (only 70 centimos for a gigantic ham and cheese bread thing, what!), we took the city bus to the highly anticipated praia. A very jiggly ride that lasted only 20 minutes and then BEHOLD, the mighty Atlantic Ocean. It has definitely been a few years since I've seen that thing, and what do you know, it was beauteous! We walked along the shore and climbed out onto some rocky crags where I totally got doused by an enormous wave because I was too busy setting my iPod to Seu Jorge. Haha, typical. It was glorious though, even despite being in jeans, two long sleeve shirts, a scarf, and socks and shoes with the sun beating forcefully down (all the weather reports predicted torrential rain the entire weekend!). So sweaty, but glorious.

We dined at a classy cafe on the beachfront (see below pictures). I tried a typical Porto Portuguese dish called the Francesinha practically everyone had recommended to us. Literally translated to "Little French Girl," there was absolutely nothing "little" about it. Chorizo, a few types of ham, and steak in between two slices of bread that were smothered in cheese and then doused in a tomato-ey sauce. I unfortunately boasted to Jackie that I would eat it all, then did so, and consequently couldn't move for a good few hours. Man. There was far too much packed into that deceivingly compact entree...

The second significant part of our day (after the numerous requisite naps and hammock lounging sessions, of course) was a return to the Guarany Cafe for another show. We had heard something vague about world beats and Latin-tinged stuff and immediately decided we needed to get in on that action. As it turns out, a musical group straight from Cuba (!!!) was performing that night and we were lucky enough to be seated right in the front. Yesssss. Ohmygooooodness. I was freaking out. What a fantastic time.

The music was amazing, all salsa-y and such, but the beats were painfully contagious and catchy though. Half of me was basically in heaven and I could not for the life of me wipe the silly grin off my face. The other half of me nearly wanted to cry out of nostalgia for Sunday Hot Monkey Love Cafe salsa nights with the crew. Not that any of us were professionally spectacular (well, besides Neo, but what isn't he good at?), but we had ourselves some good times. Watching all the couples whirling and twirling and salsa stepping was both beautiful and such a tease. The lead singer kept looking over and chuckling at my hardly contained excitement, occasionally motioning me out onto the small corner of a dancing floor. No way, man. Aas much as I tout my non-Asianess, in this area, I am still very much so; awkward, stiff, and uncoordinated. Heh.

I remember one night at Yee Yi's house, it was one of the usual crazy, fun family reunions I so love. My mom and aunts tried to get Amanda and I to learn some dances, but I was too embarrassed to take it seriously. What a shame. I'm pretty sure I spent about 80% of my childhoos being embarrassed about...everything. I think perhaps tha may be why I have so little shame about many things these days (not dancing though clearly; my failed childhood experience in Reston, Virginia in that purple wedgie-perpetuating leotard scarred me for life). But I digress...

What a great night (in Porto) it was and an incredible way to end a perfect trip. Now I'm eighty hundred times more excited to take Portuguese next quarter, the classes for which I am already registered!, and well, long story long, I loved Portugal and am ecstatically looking forward to my return next month (this time to Lisboa). Eu mal posso esperar!

Day 3:
Oh baby.