Sunday, April 27, 2008

And the Nakies Come Out To Play...

I'm so behind on blog entries these days...but I'm lazy and have a lot of homework and lack the inspiration to write. Blog entries just have to come, you know? And when they don't, they don't.

Anyway. A few weekends ago, Si and I went to visit an old friend Jackie, whom I had not seen since high school graduation (has it really been that long already?), in Madrid. More to come regarding that trip, but for now I will say this: if Barcelona didn't have the beach, I would be depressed for my life for not having chosen to study in Madrid. I loved it there! It was beautiful, clean, classy, and there were no creepers (you know, this trend of being shocked in the absence of sickos is quite sad...). They also had a fantastic sandwich shop called 100 Montaditos, in which the menu consists of 100 different varieties of bocadillos to chose from. You simply check off the ones you want, state the quantity, and bon apetit to you for only 1.10euro a sandwich! Man, I'd be such a chub if I lived there.

But back to the beach...Barcelona has been having absolutely amazing weather as of late. Granted, sporadic rainy days abound, but the 70-degree temperatures have me giddily gadding about with glee and forgiving the occasional drops. The golden rays, cerulean blue skies, and in-between-class-sprawling on the grass have been so worth it. Call me superficial but my disposition seems irrevocably linked to sunshine and warmth, so when it's beautiful out, I'm exponentially happier. 

Taking advantage of such ideal conditions, I have officially adopted the beach as my weekend home away from home. At said abode, usually Sitges or sometimes Castelldefels when the train decides it actually wants to stop there, I revel in the fine sand and crisp Mediterranean salt air, catch up on sweet slumber, and attempt to make the most of those blissful moments with the tricky task of employing only four senses. 

FOUR senses, you ask? Well, you see, beaches here are very, um, free. Back in Cadiz, when we first discovered the Spanish penchant for toplessness, it shocked our cheeks red (hint: redness not caused by sun exposure). These days, I employ my greatest disciplines to overcome my tendency towards continued surprise. I try to tell myself that bodies are natural or something.......but then things like running into a naked coworker happen and like a frightened turtle, I snap back into my shell of OMG, for the last time, keep your eyes SHUT, Lo! mode. (IT WAS SOOOOO AWKWARD!!!) And so continues the four senses beach experience. Another reason why San Diego calls to me. We were created with five senses and I intend on using them all to their fullest extent. 

79 days and counting, baby.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

La Diada de Sant Jordi

This is what I just researched about today:

"Barcelona's best day? Easy. April 23rd, Saint George's Day, La Diada de Sant Jordi, Barcelona's Valentine's day. A day when kissometer readings go off the charts, a day so sweet and playful, so goofy and romantic, that 6 million Catalans go giddy from dawn to dusk. Patron Saint of Catalonia, international knight-errant Saint George allegedly slew a dragon about to devour a beautiful princess in the south of Barcelona. From the dragon's blood sprouted a rosebush, from which the hero plucked the prettiest for the princess.

Hence the traditional Rose Festival celebrated in Barcelona since the Middle Ages to honor chivalry and romantic love, a day for men and mice alike to give their true loves roses. In 1923, the lovers' fest merged with International Book Day to mark the anniversary of the all but simultaneous April 23, 1616 deaths of Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare. Over four million roses and half a million books are sold in Catalonia on Sant Jordi's Day, men giving their inamoratas roses and the ladies giving books in return."

To get to the metro station, I cross the street by a small school. Earlier this morning as I waited for the light to turn green, I saw a little boy proudly hand his mother a bouquet of roses and recite a poem. She cried. :)

It's beautiful in Barcelona this April 23, 2008. The skies are clear and bright blue, the sun is out, the temperature is an absolutely fantastic 15ºC, and rose petals litter the streets with flashes of vibrant color everywhere. Flower vendors and make-shifts shops stand nearly every ten steps, everyone was clutching roses on the train, and people all around generally seem to be in high spirits. I got a flower from the President (UNICEF), AND Si and I get dinner cooked for us tonight.

Happy Barcelona Valentine's Day!

Monday, April 21, 2008

International Affairs

No, we would not like to go rollerskating with you...
(and no, those aren't the guys we live with, thank goodness)

For those who have seen the movie L'Auberge Espagnol about the French guy who studies abroad in Barcelona, Spain...that is a pretty accurate glimpse of my life this year. The dirty, messy flat packed with crazy international students, the coffee table constantly cluttered with beer bottles galore and hash ashes scattered around, loud euro trash music perpetually blasting in the living room, the boys who unendingly pass their time sitting on the couch watching tv all day, bathtub surprises, hazy adventures around the city into the early hours of the morning...oh man. Ridiculous.

A few weeks ago, we had a huge apartment dinner. The six of us each invited a friend, bringing the grand total to twelve people crammed around our dining table. I cooked 7 pounds of ground beef for burritos and made more chismol than I thought was possible. The French guys, Nico and Jon, baked a dish resembling potatoes au gratin on steroids. (It is supposedly a delicacy the mountainous peoples in Basque country eat during the wintertime justo antes de "hibernation," and judging by the caloric content of said entree, it should definitely only be consumed about once a year, if not once in a lifetime.) Tinto de verano, red wine, and beer were flowing like it was the Land of Alcohol and Honey. For dessert, we had ice cream and self-rolled hash cigs (don't worry, I just stuck to the helado de vainilla), and then everyone headed out to the neighborhood boho bar down the street for a live concert.

I've been spending quite a bit of time with Ellie, our German flatmate (who is coincidentally half-Chinese). Sitges and Castelldefels beach adventures and window shopping abound on the weekends. We occasionally cook and dine together, and sometimes after dinner, we spend a few hours Google Earthing our houses and looking up pictures of Offenburg, Germany and La Jolla. Mostly, I'm just feeding her propaganda on why she NEEDS to come to California to visit. She can't get over the fact that we really go to a school next to the beach and almost all of our friends surf and wear sandals year 'round. Heehee. Oh, California...

This past weekend, we had fried calamari for dinner and then went out to the infamous Chupitos Bar. They have an entire board of unique shots for 1.80 euros each, and it is quite the scene. Some of the available shots include the Harry Potter, which involves the bartender executing some sort of pyrotechnic magic trick before one downs the shot; the Boy Scout, where on the counter is lit a fire, over which you roast a marshmallow that you then dip in the shot and drink; the Orgasm consisting of a head massage with Neo's favorite spider-looking head scratchers; and the Mata Osos, which was definitely a bear killer. Other drinks in large pitchers are also available...

More to adventures to be documented shortly.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I just have to say...

...watching Vantage Point at 2 in the morning in the dark of our room while in Spain was probably not our best idea. Wow.

Update hopefully coming soon! 

Monday, April 7, 2008

En Los Tiempos de Primavera

Springtime in Parc Ciutadella

Until a few weeks ago, Si and I spent a few months floundering about in a deep pit of homesickness; smothered by its uninspirational depression and cursed by its unreliquishing grip. But the seasonal transition to delightful spring and the emergence of the sun these days have come to our rescue and brought about a reinvigorated joy of being in Spain...just as the countdown begins, ironically enough.

Yes, it's official. There are exactly 100 days until my glorious return to California. I left the Golden State on July 15th and shall be reappearing on the fated day of July 15th. [Sidenote: Sierra is coming home two weeks earlier on July 1st, so I expect to hear stories about her extravagant reception crew and welcoming party complete with balloons, banners, sparkles, and In-N-Out burgers. I'm not kidding (and consequently, neither is she).]

One whole entire complete year. The initial first moment will be interesting. In January, I had rather intense dreams about it every single night for two weeks straight. Una noche, I even dreamed Concon was at the airport with the rest of my entire extended family... Anyway, I digress. Si and I have run through every scenario possible, but what really matters presently is that there are still 100 days left and if we've learned anything...a lot can happen in that time. Jajaja. Así que, por el momento, we will be relishing the remaining months in Spain, finalizing a few more exciting trips, hosting visitors galore, and as always, engaging in our general ridiculousness. ¡Olé!

Here is a glimpse of my new favorite place in Barcelona:

We were like those who dreamed...

Saturday, April 5, 2008

S-P-O-I-L-E-D en Alemania

SNOW in Konigstuhl

I was supposed to write this eight hundred years ago, but not having a computer these days complicates things just a bit. Anyway, currently back at the daily grind, but I was recently (I know, 800 years is SUCH a short span of time) in Frankfurt being spoiled out of my brains and it was wonderful. Among many glorious things, here is a brief sampling of my adventures in Germ-town. I:

...had my own room with a big bed in a bomb seventh-story apartment with a riverside view.

...visited a castle where I saw falling snow for the first time in ages.

...sampled (this verb being a major understatement) schnitzel, various kinds of worschts, authentic apple streusel, German beer, gluewine, and a myriad of other tasty German dishes and pastries, the names of which I cannot for the life of me remember.

...ate real steak for the first time in over eight months (if you know my family, you should probably be wondering how I made it that long; I am also perplexed).

[Okay, I admit it. I spent about 90% of the trip just eating. Yay.]

...hacked my hair off again.

...spent time with Auntie Suzy for the first time in eight years.

...pretty much had the best week of my life. :)

The pictures do the trip more justice than this cheap entry:
Germany 1
Germany 2
Germany 3

Mil gracias a Tia Suzy for her hospitality, thoughtfulness, and generosity.
I had an amazing time.