Sunday, April 27, 2008
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
"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.
Monday, April 21, 2008
(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...
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Monday, April 7, 2008
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
...visited a castle where I saw falling snow for the first time in ages.
[Okay, I admit it. I spent about 90% of the trip just eating. Yay.]
...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:
Mil gracias a Tia Suzy for her hospitality, thoughtfulness, and generosity.