Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Adiós Dos Mil Ocho

Did you ever feel like you can't say everything you want to say... even if you want to say it? Maybe for fear of jinxing a situation or hurting someones feelings or maybe you don't want EVERYONE to know everything about you. Sometimes this makes it difficult to blog.

I will say this though, I had a lovely Christmas here on this side of the pond, the second in a row if you can believe that. I am looking forward to a New's Years Eve celebration which apparently includes the eating of grapes... ok.. I like grapes and I do try to participate in the Spanish culture (contrario a la creencia de alguno). I will try to post some pics soon. I finally have the next week off from work which will be a good opportunity to get some things done that I have been wanting to do.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

This mornings sunrise taken with my crappy camera.

It's 8:05 AM and I have been awake for nearly three hours. Wide awake and not really feeling like doing much which sucks because I have a lot to do. I haven't sent out my Christmas presents yet, which means they will never get there by Christmas. Nor have I bought any presents for my friends here, which also sucks. I used to love to go out and buy things for people and now I feel kind of resentful that I feel like I have to. This is not the first year I felt like that, in fact every year for the past 5 years or so the feeling has become stronger and stronger. I am not even Christian so why should I feel obligated to celebrate a holiday that I believe has become twisted and turned into an abundance of mass consumerism... oh yeah, the crisis. I guess I should do my part by buying everything in the stores I can get my hands on. Perhaps I too should trample someone to death in an attempt to get the best deal possible or does that only happen in Walmart? There are no Walmarts here, except the French version called Carrefour.

I am tired and I hate Wednesdays because of my class schedule. I had to cancel my private lesson with Belen because I have progress reports due today and haven't been able to finish them due to the fact that I have to write them in Spanish. On top of that my boss is taking all of us out for a 5 course lunch today to celebrate the holidays. I hope people aren't exchanging gifts because no one told me and I have nothing. I used to keep things in the basement on the "regfting" shelf. I'm a firm believer in regifting because if I can find someone that likes something I don't than I have done a good deed. One year my... get this... ex-step-grandmother gave Ken and I the strangest little statue of a cat laying on it's back holding a glass bowl. Though I appreciated her generosity, it wasn't at all something I would display in my home, so we gave it to Ken's mom who loved it! See what I mean, what else should I have done with it?

It's almost time for my alarm clock to ring. Three solid hours after I woke up. I guess I will hit the showers early and try to get some shopping done before the crowds get in and I have to catch my 11:00 metro.

Of course instead I fell asleep and slept straight through to 10:15 and now I'm rushing like mad to catch my bus... gotta go.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A piece of fall.

Last week while on the bus coming home from work I was studying Spanish, well specifically words with tildas and where to place the accents when there are no tildas. This is a difficult thing to study alone but I was practicing for a lesson so I was reading quietly aloud and trying to ignore the fact that people around me might think I am nuts. Well, as it turned out, the man behind me was amused at my attempts and so he asked me if I spoke English... in English. The man had to be well into his seventies and had a beautiful smile, but he irked me because he kept speaking to me in English even though I continuously attempted to steer back to Spanish. This happens to me frequently, people here like to practice languages so when they have the opportunity they jump on it. Although the man was nice, I was annoyed by his not wanting to converse in Spanish.

I saw him again on the bus tonight and chose a seat next to his so that we could try again. We spoke for nearly 30 minutes.. ok so it was Spanglish but I tried real hard to stay in Spanish even when I was at a loss for words. I think it was the first time I had a conversation that was remotely interesting. Ironically, his name is Daniel and he is a retired teacher.

It's weird to be learning a second language now, at this stage of life. It brings up strange feelings. For example the other night I was saying good night to a friend in Spanish and when it was over, I felt like I didn't give a proper good-bye. At first, meaning the first couple of months, I noticed I was repeating everything I said in Spanish in English but I made myself stop doing that... mostly, at least I try. I am taking two private lessons a week, and I finally found a workbook I enjoy using and think is useful. Additionally, I get to learn new vocabulary everyday I teach which is great. My students LOVE teaching me bits and pieces of their language and enjoy watching me struggle with the pronunciation.

It's hard though. Today, for example, my boss invited a friend to the house for lunch. They spoke to each other in Spanish the whole time while I listened for one hour of them talking about their kids, work, the weather, Christmas. Occasionally I added a little something, but listening and comprehending (I think I got about 70%) takes so much effort for me .To put together a sentence on top of that AND to make it come out of my mouth causes a type of headache I have NEVER had before... seriously. It's similar to the one you get when driving in a heavy rain or snow storm for too long, but it's not exactly the same. I seriously feel my brain being used in a new way and it's exhausting.

Do I sound like I'm complaining? Well, for the record I'm not, not really anyway. I remain frustrated, but determined. I enjoy the challenges 90% of the time. Now, I'm tired and my brain is on overload. I thought I might study a bit but I think I will only examine my eyelids.


I think about life, the past, the future and the present. All of these things help make the person I was, I am and I will be. Sometimes life seems so beautiful and interesting and other times it is scary and confusing. I have come to understand that I am a person who needs both stability and excitement. Without these factors I become lost and crave more.

I sometimes wonder, but try not to dwell on, what will be next...

Monday, December 15, 2008

This weekend I:
  • wrote and wrote and wrote
  • spent hours on the phone talking and laughing
  • studied Castellano
  • saw a movie
  • looked at pics
  • yelled at me lawyer (long story)
  • did laundry
  • shopped a bit
  • helped decorate the flat with a bit of Christmas spirit
  • prepared packages to send to family
  • cleaned some
  • missed my peops
  • went out with my fabulous amigas on Thursday
  • said happy birthday to my darling, good fun at parties, excellent cook, pain in the ass friend, Chris!
On another note... Thursday I walked to the beach on my lunch break and took a bunch of funny pictures (see above). I was in such a silly, creative, punchy mood that I lost my phone... I guess one doesn't always have to have to do with the other... but, in my case it often does. I was on another planet and not paying attention to things... so I lost it and was very angry at myself... I was a bit manic... up, up, up at the beach then I crashed hard... I do that I a lot more than I ever realized.


The other theory is that when I put the phone into my pocket it jumped out of my pocket possibly because it wanted to stay at the beach longer or maybe it was tired of hearing me talk. It's possible it didn't realize how hungry I was or maybe it just didn't care.
I can't be sure. It is a very dear little, pink Motorala so it could have a mind of it's own no? Who should I blame for this, me or the phone? I am willing to accept either explanation, but, in fact, I think it is best not to blame either of us and just move on. The phone has since been returned by an incredibly sweet couple, but it is very broken and sick, I will have to replace it... again. Hopefully the next one will be more obedient or I might have to "let it fall under a car" too.

On yet another note...

Rubes... we gotta talk soon! Tell me, is there a Happy Hour, Christmas celebration on Friday?...Can I call and say hi to a few of my fabulous BOCES peops?... I miss you guys. Shhh don't tell but sometimes I really miss my job... but mostly the people: staff and kids... and not all of them heeheheheheheeeee... besos for you all!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Just another day...

Oh what a long day I had yesterday. Wednesdays are always the worst. I have 5 hours of teaching and two consecutive classes from hell. One are full of ornery preadolescents and the other are just 'littles' aged at an average of 6. I have a whole new respect for elementary school teachers, and I respected them a lot before. The good news is tomorrow is jueves which in translates to Friday for me but it is really Thursday. Plus there was no work Monday. As I understand it, Monday's holiday was due to the celebration of the immaculate conception of baby Jesus... but I really don't understand how that could be since Monday was the 8th and he was allegedly born on the 25th... any takers on this one?

I have to say though, it was a really interesting day. Even though the early bus I was trying to catch whizzed right passed me this morning completely neglecting to stop for me.... I managed to make at least part of my private Spanish lesson with my new teacher, Belen, a colleague, a Special Education teacher and una amiga. Sometime I will get into what I have learned about Special Ed. in Spain... there isn't much to tell because it is all but non-existent, but I will speak of it. Back to the point... Belen drilled me this morning, making me repeat verbs, conjugate, repeat orally, with my eyes open, then closed. She had me write, create small dull sentences and repeat it all over again... OMG it was just what I needed. A basic understanding and usage of how to make the verbs work for me. My vocabulary isn't bad at this point... not bad at all for a beginner, but I can't seem to get out of the present tense and pretty much only about yo... For those who don't know.. .that's me... I. So I can talk about me, here and now but that makes for very dull conversation after the first few lines. So today I learned how to memorize what I need to to talk about others in the present tense too. Too bad I didn't learn this sooner. I can't tell you how bad I hope it helps.
At lunchtime, Ramona and I had a deep conversation about Spanish, learning languages and then about our home countries. We spoke of how we are sometimes both proud and ashamed of the things our homelands have done and/or do. We talked about how sometimes it's hard to be proud of where you are from if you know the trouble the country has caused. She from Spain, me from the US both having similar feelings of love and shame for our own countries as well as each others. More and more I enjoy our lunch time together and her company.

It's really cold here this week. I am a bit tired of it already and winter hasn't even officially started... hehe, but I heard it snowed in NY already. I won't see snow this year unless I head for the mountains (which I would like to do) but I definitely won't be shoveling. May this day end soon so I can hit my new little version of happy hour con mí amigos... in the meantime I will try to enjoy.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

givesthanksing II

I haven't been writing much lately and so much has been going on. Life is good to me and I can't complain but I am tired because even though I am getting used to my new lifestyle and home, it is still very different from anything I have ever experienced before... all of it. I don't always get to write about everything I want to for a variety of reasons, but there are things I would like to share. Halloween for example at the academy in which I work. The kids had a great time and most of them dressed up and I taught them to say. "trick or treat". I was una niña... so some of my students started calling me Danita.. which means little Dana... I love it!! Every time they say it I have to giggle.

After two days of celebrating here, I went to Madrid to visit my friend who lives there, but is from Chile. We went to see Rocky Horror Picture Show together which was a thrill for me to be in a place like Madrid seeing something I used to love and frequent. The show itself was in English, but the audience participation was entirely Spanish and sooo fabulous. My friend had never seen the show before which, of course, made him a virgin... haha a virgin at his age! Well, we took care of that. I think he really enjoyed it and I know I did. We had a great time, as we have every time we see each other. I feel fortunate to have such a good friend.

Busy, busy, busy... then Thanksgiving... ok so I screwed up the date. For some reason I could have sworn that Thanksgiving was the third Thursday in November, as it turns out it is not. It is the fourth, so we had it early. It had to be done on the weekend because, obviously Spain does not give us the day off. So we had 20 people to serve. My roommates and did the cooking and it came out quite good if I do say so myself. We had people from England, Ireland, Chile, Spain, Hungary and the US. Many people had never experienced Thanksgiving before nor the foods... but for the most part, it was a hit. People ate and laughed I think even made new friends. What a great time, though as always, it was a lot of work. Then, 5 days later I cooked another dinner by myself for my boss, her family and my colleagues. Nine in total, and none of them had ever had a turkey nor any of the fixings... they were pleased and it was nice to share the tradition with others. Though my belly was once again too full. I know why we only do this once a year.

Meanwhile my word in the States continues to go on. Ken and I are officially divorced, well at least he signed the papers and the courts should have them by now. My brother Greg is having a terrible time and I worry about him every day. My brother John and I are not speaking. I got really angry at him 4 months ago when my aunt died and told him I would never ask him for another thing again. I think he took that as I never wanted to speak to him again, but that is not what I said, nor what I meant. My mom seems ok, but I think is looking for more than her life is bringing her right now and I worry about her. My dad... my dad, well for the first time in his life he is working with people far less fortunate them himself and I think he has learned more about himself and others in the past couple of months than in the decades prior to that. He speaks of being grateful for what he has, I don't think I have ever heard that from him before. I miss them all and feel lonely when I think too much about it. In addition, one of my cousins just had to have a double mastectomy and is doing her damnedest to fight cancer. She is in her early thirties and has three small children. Although I never speak to her, I think of her every day. She is so fortunate to have good friends and family around to help her. Another cousin started at LeHigh University this year and is doing great. Even though I sometimes feel so removed from all of this, I still miss them and think of them often... especially my Aunt Ann who passed away in July, just weeks after I got here.

So here I am in Spain. I still can't believe it sometimes. I have fallen into 2 great communities one here at home and one at work. I have friendships that I will cherish all my life. I have a comfortable home, a decent job, a ship I wouldn't trade for anything, and me. I take care of myself everyday. Sometimes I long for someone to share the days with and the experiences, but I hope will come in time. Last night I went dancing with friends, pretty much all couples. I had a great time, a really great time in spite of a headache that has bee nagging me for two days. But sometimes I feel like something is missing and there is nothing I can do about it but wait patiently and hope. Which is what I do.

As I said, I can't complain an I am not, I have so much more than I imagined I would. Before I came here I knew I would cook Thanksgiving Dinner... I knew I would and I wondered who I would invite. I had hoped my friend in Madrid would come, but other than that I knew no one. How lucky am I to be able to share with not one or two, but 20 people. All are friendly, most intelligent, and I would consider many of them to be good friends. What fortune? It makes me think I must be doing something right. I hope this is true. I also wondered what I would miss, so far it's really just the people I love... and sometimes the peanut butter though I am not exactly sure why.

F**kin' blogger won't let me add a pic!!! I'll try with another post.

Add yourself...

A new gadget that allows you tell tell other readers (provided I still have some) where you are reading from... add yourself.. please :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

no nada

How could it be that all in one day I have so much to say and yet nothing at all. I wish that everyone could have as good of a Thanksgiving as I had.

More to come soon.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Funny?!?!?

This was sent to me via email from my friend Cleo, who along with her husband, Juan Jose and my roommate Klara, I enjoyed a lovely meal with on Friday night... Prior to eating we saw a film and afterward cocktails and modified Trivial Pursuit at Sinpy Jo's.

You have 2 cows. You give one to your neighbor.

You have 2 cows. The State takes both and gives you some milk.

FASCISM You have 2 cows. The State takes both and sells you some milk.

NAZISM You have 2 cows. The State takes both and shoots you.

BUREAUCRATISM You have 2 cows. The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then throws the milk away...

You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull. Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows. You sell them and retire on the income.

SURREALISM You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.

AN AMERICAN CORPORATION You have two cows. You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows. Later, you hire a consultant to analyze why the cow has dropped dead.

You have two cows. You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get
all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows. The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island Company
secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company. The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more. You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States , leaving you with nine cows. No balance sheet provided with the release. The public then buys your bull.

A FRENCH CORPORATION You have two cows. You go on strike, organize a riot, and block the roads, because you want three cows.

You have two cows. You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk. You then create a clever cow cartoon image called 'Cowkimon' and market it worldwide.

You have two cows. You re-engineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month, and milk themselves.

You have two cows, but you don't know where they are. You decide to have lunch.

A RUSSIAN CORPORATION You have two cows. You count them and learn you have five cows. You count them again and learn you have 42 cows. You count them again and learn you have 2 cows. You stop counting cows and open another bottle of vodka.

A SWISS CORPORATION You have 5000 cows. None of them belong to you. You charge the owners for storing them.

You have two cows. You have 300 people milking them.
You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine
productivity. You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.

You have two cows. You worship them.

A BRITISH CORPORATION You have two cows. Both are mad.

Everyone thinks you have lots of cows. You tell them that you have none. No-one believes you, so they bomb the shit out of you and invade your country. You still have no cows, but at least now you are part of a Democracy...

You have two cows. Business seems pretty good. You close the office and go for a few beers to celebrate.

A NEW ZEALAND CORPORATION You have two cows. The one on the left looks very attractive...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Well, it's unusual that I get to write in the middle of the day between Monday and Thursday, but today is a bit of an unusual day. Before I can explain why it is unusual, I should first explain what has become usual for me because what is now a regular day used to seem quite irregular to me.

On the days that I work, I have to be out of my house and on the way to the Metro by 11AM. I get on the Metro at Xativa, pass Colon, Alemeda and get off at Falcutat where I catch my bus in front of the Universidad de Valencia. I like this area because I see all the university students on campus studying, socializing or rallying for one cause or another (sometimes I even understand what cause they are rallying for). I wait a few minutes for my bus than sit for a half hour or so until I get off at el Kiosko en Puerto de Segunto. From there I have 15 minutes to walk three blocks. Sometimes I stop for coffee or at the grocery store, other times I have to rush to get prepped for my first class.

At 12:30 I pick up my first class of kids at school. This is the beginning of their 2 1/2 hour lunch break. Some parents, but mostly grandparents are there to pick u the little rascals who range in age from 3 to 11. It is quite a sight. What amazes me the most is the grandparents... so many of them picking up there kids for a family time break together. This is when the Spanish eat their big meal of the day and most do so with the whole family. On the streets, one can smell the soups or meats cooking in the air. It is amazing to me as is their commitment to this meal time. Most work from early in the morning until late evening, so this break is very important. Almost every shop in town closes and the streets become all but completely empty... barely even a car in sight. It continuously fascinates me. People will tell you they need their 2 hours, there is no stopping them.

At 1:30 I take the kids downstairs or to their lunchtime daycare center (for the few who don´t eat with their families) and I go back to prep for the afternoon. At 2:00 sharp, almost everyday, my boss, Ramona, and I have lunch together. Usually we go to her house where her housemaid (for lack of a better word) has prepared lunch for us. Spanish soups, homemade croquetas, stews, meats, etc. If Aurora, the family friend and cook hasn't cooked then we make a big salad and eat that. For the second course, which there always is, we usually eat a variety of cheeses Then a piece of fruit or grapes, sometimes a dessert and finally coffee. I used to drink cafe con leche, but Ramona has turned me on to cafe cortado which is the same thing, only less milk. I love it!!! Ok, it is insane how much food is consumed at this time, but it is so nice and relaxing. Each course its separate. It used to actually bug me that the she wouldn't let me start the coffee until the fruit is finished... I mean why not get it ready? Ramona told me it's like rushing to relax... you have to relax to relax... It's funny because I can't tell you how many times I have said, "Hurry up and relax so we can get on with it!" I though it was a joke.

Ramona and I talk about life, politics, teaching, education, ex-husbands, friends, etc... While we don´t always agree, we are very respectful and have become quite comfortable with each other at this time. In the beginning for I felt quite awkward, like I was being treated to a feast everyday. Because she takes such nice care of me, I have offered to take her out once a week, or at least to bring some food sometimes. So on the weekends I try to get to el mercado de Rusafa and get some nice, fresh treats... fine cheeses, fruits, herbs, hams, whatever I can find that I think she may like. I have learned enjoy this time of day, but often crave some time to myself too. I have a bedroom here, well it is a guest room and so I can take my siesta after we eat. I love this. My boss actually encourages me to sleep in the middle of the day so that I can be rested for my afternoon!! Whoaaaaaaaaa!!!!

Today, unusual? Well yeah... Ramona has meetings this afternoon and so I am here with the work laptop. I just ate leftovers (she calls them tapitas, like little tapas) from yesterday, which I neglected to mention we also do sometimes. I am finishing my little dessert of homemade flan and now I will take my siesta before I go back to work. Another reason I love Thursdays (I mean besides that it is really my Friday) is that I usually teach three classes in the afternoon and then go tutor for an hour before getting back on the bus at 9:00 to be home by 10:10. Today, instead of teaching my 4:00 class from hell, I have my private Spanish lesson with a colleague who is really, really helpful. Cristina, is also one of the few people at the academy that will speak Spanish with me. I really like when she does too.

Ok... I will post this tonight because I need to nap and don´t want to take the time to proofread right now.

Hasta luego!

Ironically, by the time I got home last night I was feeling like total crap so I just went to sleep. I woke up at 6AM and am hoping to go back to sleep but I figured I wold post first.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

We did it... well ok it was mostly you guys in the states... but I can still be included in that "we" thing can't I? Afterall, I sent in my vote...

He did it!!

I fell asleep with my laptop on and this morning I was woken by a former student (and current caretaker of my Monte). I heard the bing of gmail chat asking if I had heard the news. It was 6AM here and that's how I found out. I think I did shed a tear, but it was more for pride than misery as it has been in the past few elections. When I woke up at 9AM, I saw Obama's victory speech... my goodness do I hope he delivers!

349 to 147...
You GO USA!!!!

I can't remember the last time I felt some pride for my country... it's not that there aren't so many things I love about it and are even proud of. There really are! But lately, these last few years, American pride has felt more and more like an oxymoron to me, and I think to many others too... but then suddenly, bit by bit it creeps back in... well, I hope so anyway.... I can feel bits creeping in already!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Feeling Twisted

So here we are, it's election day in the US of A...
I hope this year I don't cry like I did the last one (or two).
It's strange being here and not there in these times,
but selfishly,
I feel good about it .
I thought I wrote it,
but guess I didn't,
I voted about three weeks ago via absentee ballot.
Maybe I didn't write it because I don't really feel proud.

I will listen to the results
as things start to open over there.
Here I am 6 hours ahead.

Too bad that doesn't mean
I'll know what happens
before those in the US will...
think we could work a little
time machine into the time zones...
I babble..
I am nervous...
the whole thing gives me knots in my stomach...
I hate politics sometimes...
I really do.
I only partake because I feel it is my moral duty,
but I trust no one involved...
even as I cast my vote each election...
I really hate that..
I have only had the opportunity to vote for
what I believe to the be lesser of two evils
because the reality is no one can really be trusted...
at least this is how it seems to me.

It's time for change...
the US needs it and the world needs it
from us.

Please, at least, let things be fair.

So that was my bit of optimism for the day... and so early too... thanks to the wonderful world of blogger... it didn't com out like I had hope... twisted, but I guess it'll do.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

far away

Sometimes being away from home is hard for the same reasons it is easy.

Monday, October 27, 2008

It's 11:11 PM, that's good luck right?

Anyway, a funny thing happened to me on my way to work. I was in the elevator, same as every morning, though today I was running late and in fear that my Metro ride wouldn't get me to the bus on time. The elevator has a large mirror and so usually I check myself out a bit making sure I am ready to hit the world. Instead today, I was rumbling through my bag in search of my keys. When I found them, I started to look for my car key... this is strange because I don't have a car and for a split second I was trying to figure out which was my car key.

Now, I have had a car since the age of 16 and have since not been without one until this past July 1, 2008. When I sold the car, affectionately called Salsa because of the color, I was a little freaked out but was left with a feeling of liberation. One less thing I don't have to be responsible for, one serious deduction in expenses, and less reliance on the oil, we people use to destroy the planet, get around, heat homes, produce goods, etc... Instead of the responsibility and independence of a car, I now have to be responsible to leave myself ample time to get to the bus stop by 11:20AM. For peace of mind and so that I am not the only one in Valencia rushing to get somewhere (these people seem so relaxed about getting from point A to point B) I should leave at 10:50, if I plan to have breakfast out than even earlier than that, but not much. I usually enjoy the commute it is a peaceful ride that goes passed two or three towns and the highway runs along the sea so for at least 10 minutes, I get to see el Mar Mediterráneo which pleases me.
Sometimes I share the ride with a friend on the phone which kind of feels like I have company with me and is nice. Other times I practice Spanish, occasionally I even read out loud and pretend no one can hear me. Still other days I just gaze out the window and do nothing, which is unusual for me. Most days I don't miss having a car but today I did. I can't have a car here in Spain because I can't register it, I don't have a driver's license here, I can't really afford to keep a car with insurance, garaging, gas, etc... and the truth is I don't really want to rely on a car. I like feeling like of contributing less to the consumption of oil that, as we all know, is a major source of the evils that take place in this word. I know taking the Metro and especially the bus still contributes, but less so... I keep reminding myself of that and try to remember that my day doesn't have to begin by putting my key in an ignition. It begins when I open my eyes and go from my bed to the door in my room that overlooks Valencia, and even if it is raining, as it has been so many days in this month, I smile and feel the fortune that I have found.

Back to Spanish class in the morning. Ahhhhh, 9AM!!!

Found the pic via google, it's from US 1942 WWII propaganda posters... anyone see anything like this now? Funny how conserving oil is considered propaganda (propaganda=propaganda in Spanish, I love when that heappens!!)... I try to do those things too.
Made it through Monday, just three more days left!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Well there you have it...

Day three of Spanish classes and I overslept... Oooops. While I do take responsibility as I was up until about 3AM writing and doing some other things. in other words unwinding, I mostly blame my alarm clock. Yesterday, the snooze went off every minute for about 6 minutes until I finally had to disconnect the battery because I couldn't figure out how to make it stop and I wanted to kill it. Last night I set the clock for a 6 minute snooze so I could get just a little more sleep this morning. The damn thing rang once and it never went off again.

This is the part where I find patience with myself a bit difficult and I get angry with myself. Ok so I study a little more on the bus and maybe during lunch... I'll figure out a way to make up for it. Meanwhile I am very hungry and have to get ready for work, I have yet to over sleep for that.

***Footnote: upon further examination of the clock, I discover that the reason it didn't go off again was because I turned it off with out looking.... stoopit clock!!!

a bit

It's late and I should be sleeping as I have two more long days ahead of me. I don't feel as tired as I thought I might, maybe because I am feeling motivated or maybe I just feel like someone has lit a fire under my ass and I am once again the popcorn kernel waiting to hit her head on the top of the lid before crashing down again. I don't know. It's hard to tell.

In the first hour of my two hour Spanish class yesterday, I felt completely lost and I was really disappointed. It took me a bit to get in the groove, but I got it a bit. We were practicing speaking in the past tense and I have a real hard time getting out of the present tense, but I think I'm ready. After a while, and some very handy verb charts, I understood what was being said and was able to respond a bit. Today however rocked. We were did a crossword puzzle and I worked with a partner from Germany. We had worked together yesterday too and her knowledge of verb conjugation was much stronger than mine. But today, when we concentrating on vocabulary, I was able to do a lot more and helped her with some of the answers... I was so psyched. I love that I find myself using my dictionary less and less, though I still never leave the house without it and I fear I may never be able to speak without my verb charts.

I find throughout this whole experience, that I must learn to be patient with myself. It's funny, because I have always considered myself an extremely patient person. The truth is I am patient, but mostly with others. Sometimes it's easier to accept other peoples’ difficulties and to see the reasoning behind them than it is for to accept and reason through my own. Poco a poco... a phrase I have heard dozens of times... it means step by step or little by little...or the most part, that's what the Spanish say to me when I try to speak to them... it's like reminding me to relax and take it step by step. The good thing is they have been very friendly about it for the most part. Ah yes, and the thing about my not starting every conversation with an apology for not being able to speak the language has worked wonders, probably for me as much as the people I speak with.

Another small step for me.

I keep meaning to write about Valenciano, I haven't but I will.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Wow, it's been a long time since I have written. This week has flown past, well actually this month.

I started working my full time hours...well kind of full-time. I still only actually teach 20 hours a week, but with the commute and the lunch break I am out of the house from about 10:45AM to 10:15PM. It's a long day, but I like it and I still have Friday thru Sunday off so I really can't complain. Also, I enjoy the work and am starting to get into a groove. The kids are a lot of fun and most are pretty adorable. I really had to learn how to work with the little ones, it's so different than my usual teen scene especially when you include the language barrier.

My boss, Ramona, has been very good to me too. She still seems happy to have me aboard and takes good care of me. In fact, last week when I told her I had a toothache, she had made an appointment with her dentist, drove me and translated for me. It was unbelievable. I was in tremendous pain and kind of terrified of going to a new dentist in a new land...etc, etc, etc. In the end it turns out I had an infection in a tooth which had spilt and a filling was pushing against a nerve... OUCH!!! I am now minus one tooth, on antibiotics but feeling much better... mucho mejor!!! Luckily it was a molar so you can't really tell unless I smile real big... so I don't, at least not for now.

Julie left last weekend. A friend drove us to the airport and I stayed with her until she walked through the gates (not realizing of course that I was still holding her jacket for her). I feel like I lost my friend. It's funny how well we connected even though we are in such different stages of our lives. New people moved in, a couple Dave and Klara. They are great people and I think it'll work out fine.

Meanwhile, I decided now that I am a bit more settled in my job, it's time to head back to language school. It seems the only time I can actually go to school is from 9-11AM. Then I will catch the Metro, which is practically outside the door of the school, to the bus to my the academy where I work. The problem is that I won't get home until 10:15, so my M-Th are going to be really crazy busy, but it's ok.. I don't mind, plus I still have viernes, sábado y domingo... ahhhh el fin de semana !!! I love it!!

Today I did a lot of cleaning but also relaxed. My friend Chris invited a bunch of us over for a proper English breakfast and some Formula One or Grand Prix... I forget. The food was great, but I really don't see the interest in the races.. I tried, but I just don't get it. He cooked us eggs, toast with baked beans, 3 kinds of sausages, black pudding, bacon, and sauteed mushrooms and tomatoes. Then of course there was tea and Mimosas... at 9:30AM. It's a miracle I got anything done at all, but honestly is there anything else like a Mimosa on a Sunday morning?

I am already set to go to work tomorrow. My books are in order, my clothes are picked out and I kind of feel like a little girl staring her first day of classes; a sensation that is becoming more familiar to me since I have been here. Everyday is another adventure though I am feeling more comfortable each day. Of course I will always miss my friends and family the most there are still little things that I miss about home... like a clothes dryer on a rainy weekend, diners, pizza, Franz and Gatene, and autumn in NY. Feel free to send some autumn pics.

The above pic? I just like it...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I feel like I have so much to say and then like there is nothing at all to say.
My face hurts and I am tired... I will rest and write more in a few days.
Life just doesn't stop... it just doesn't.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

oh well.....

No tengo leche y quiero pastitas y leche... hoy no suerte ...:(
Sucks to be me... not..jajaja

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

El mercado

The market of my neighborhood.
El mercado de mi neighbohood.

Did you ever notice that the same thing that feels daunting or exhausting can also be fun and exciting with just a simple change in attitude? I'm not saying everything is like this, but I sometimes think more than what most people are willing to admit.

Yesterday, in addition to deciding to plough out of the metro, I also decided that I was going to stop beginning every Spanish spoken sentence with pardoning myself for my inability to speak much. The reality is it isn't a secret, in fact it is quite obvious once I try to get past the first or second sentence.

My first sentences are usually carefully planned and crafted so I might even sound like I speak better than I actually can, I'm not sure. But, if I start off saying apologizing for my inabilities one of two things usually happens. People either immediately get annoyed and treat me like an idiot (which I often feel like I am in Spanish... and I hate that) or they start speaking English to me. Now, the first one is helpful for instant gratification, in other words, they slow down, decrease the vocabulary, or just don't want to deal with me and start pointing themselves or something like that. I usually manage to get what I want, but don't get to practice speaking.

Secondly, people switch to English. I ALWAYS feel bad when a Spaniard makes the switch to talk to me. I mean really, when did I ever do that in my country.. well except for those two Guatemalan guys that helped out with the Len Ct. house when we first got it... they taught me a bit.. fuego.. fuego!!!.... Anyway, those very nice guys aside... obviously I didn't speak Spanish to the many Spanish speaking people in the community because I couldn't, but I willllllllll!!!!! I swear next time I am home I am going to El Dazante (from danzar the verb to dance) and I am going to sit and have a conversation over some delicious Mexican food (which is NOTHING like Spanish food for those who didn't know) with some of the many Mexicans that frequent the place.... I love that restaurant.

Fui el mercado. Vi Frutas, verduras, carnes, jamóns, juevos, quesyos, miel, pescados, mariscos, pastitas, pan, nueces y muchas más, fresca toda. Me mucho gusta el mercado de Rusafa. Yo hablé español e incluso conseguí elogios.... Ahora estoy feliz. !También fui a la oficina de correos y hablé solamente español, no inglés!!

To translate try....

Ok... It's not the best Spanish ever, but I am learning so I will make many mistakes and that's the way it is, not much I can do about it except accept it and move on.

PS... the TV goal has already failed... I hate the boob tube and can't deal. Going to try to conquer some newspaper articles during the commute instead or I guess mix the two. Jajaja.. I am always changing my

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I had a great weekend and am still having it in fact.

In NY, I have a friend Pat who has been a big part of our teacher's union. On the back of his truck, he had a bumper sticker that read, "Union, the people that brought you the weekend.". A brilliant idea the weekend is, I have to admit, but... I also have to admit the 3 day weekend rocks!!! I like this.

My work days are rather long or at least rather late and I am limited as to what I can do on those 4 days as I don't get home until 10:15, if I go straight home from the metro. Then I have Friday, Saturday and Sunday for meeeeeeeeeeee!!! I think I can get used to this. The thing is Spain has funny (funny as in annoying, not jaja) hours for shopping and other important errand like missions. So I will have to be careful how I use my mornings, but I think I can do that. I say I think because I find it a bit difficult to wake up, have a few hours to get ready for work and to actually use the time wisely. I find myself wanting to kick back, have a nice breakfast, answer emails, read and write blogs, etc... Not so in to getting up and getting out before I actually have to, but I think I'll learn.

Julie is moving in less than two weeks. I am really going to miss her. Neither of us expected to get along as well as we do and to find such ease in our living situation and our friendship. I am looking forward to visiting her in Belgium in a couple of months. I already have two new people moving in when she leaves. They're people I met from the "crew" that hangs out at the bar. Well not only the bar, for example last night, another friend had a party at his place. The company was fantastic as was the food and wine. I even got to make a version of my spinach-artichoke dip that went over really well. Some of the Spanish people at the party loved it and asked me for the recipe!!! I was quite flattered and almost embarrassed to tell them how easy it was to make. We all had great time was had as usual.

Anyway, Dave and Clara will be moving in probably a few short hours after Julie leaves. I think it will be a good situation as well. They are both very cool, intelligent, aware people and I look forward to getting to know them better. He is from Kansas and she from Hungary. The thing about the bar crew is they are very international and I get to meet people from all over... Italy, Hungary, Germany, the US, England, Scotland, Ireland, Spain, Argentina, France, ummmmm... more I'm sure but I can't think of any right now.... jaja.. Belgium!!!

I went shopping this weekend at a place called Carrefour, which is like a French version of Walmart. There were things I needed to get now that the weather is turning and I am committed to staying for at least the year. It was a strange feeling to have to buy things I know I have at home, but what can I do. I needed a blow dryer, socks, an alarm clock (tells the temp in C & F too), and a bunch of other miscellaneous things that I have been missing... like a lamp for my bedroom. I also found peanut butter... not the chunky kind that I like, but ok... I'll live with it.

Today I will clean some and prepare for the week ahead. I start my new schedule tomorrow and I want to be organized and ready. I have to meet with my boss at lunch time to discuss some important details about the job and such. One detail includes her promise of Spanish lessons for me. I really need to go back to studying regularly. I can't stand it when the Spanish people I meet switch to speaking English because I can't understand everything they are saying to me... some, but not everything. When they are kind enough to "make the switch" I always feeling so guilty and so "American"... I am getting super frustrated, which for me usually leads to motivation in my more recent years anyway.

I have come a long way in my life especially in the area of education. There was a time when I didn't even think I would graduate high school. I dropped out of college a few times, was kicked out once, then finally woke up and learned how to and why I should apply myself. It's been years since I have felt the negative consequences of my educational hardships. I have to admit though, this whole "'never learned a foreign language thing" keeps bringing my those times to the front of my mind. I wonder if I will be able to leap this barrier as well as I have so many others.

As always, I will do remain dedicated to do the best I can.

Above photo is an example of the paella John made.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The weather has been dreary the past few days I guess it is the beginning of the rainy season though I was under the impression it didn't start until October. Anyway the other day while I was teaching it started to rain so hard it was almost to noisy to teach. Yesterday morning I meant to buy an umbrella, but forgot so of course, it rained. When I got out of the Metro it was drizzling and I feared another down pour might happen. Luckily it didn't until I got on the bus and by the time I got to Puerto Segunto, the rain had stopped... pure luck and much gratitude. My boss gave me an umbrella just in case.
Now it is rainy and chilly and I am thinking, "What do I wear?".
On a totally different note...
A lot of things have changed in my life over the past couple of years. Some are enormous and quite obvious and others are more discreet or personal. One of the things that has changed is that I barely ever watch TV anymore. This is true for well over a year, not just since I have been here. I just became completely disinterested and nearly disgusted with almost every program I had been watching. It's not the first time this has happened. When I was 21 before I moved to Key West, I was a soap opera Well, it's true, I think I watched about 3 or 4 a day. It was easy to do because I worked nights and had the house to myself by day. In Key West, I didn't even own a TV and never missed it for 3 years. I think I watch TV most when I am feeling depressed, unmotivated and/or uninspired. I am feeling none of those things now, so watching TV is of little interest to me except it is starting to catch up with me.
There are two reasons I am beginning to feel obligated to watch the boob tube again and the actually contradict each other a bit.
1- Listening to the TV in Spanish is a really good way to practice listening, but it is work. I have to really pay attention to get only a small portion of what is said. The variety of accents makes comprehending some people very difficult. On the other hand, at least I can now recognize there are accents... jaja... for a long time I couldn't tell the difference.
2- I have not been watching the news at all. I have no idea what is going on except the little bits and pieces I hear here and there. I mean I haven't been reading the news, listening to the news or watching it... I guess I just needed a break. Sometimes the news is so overpowering and depressing to me I just can't take it, so I back off. Economic crisis, war, election, hurricanes, bombings, etc... I barely have heard anything since the beginning of July. Guess I need to catch up some.
Another goal starting this week... watch more TV because it can actually be good for me? Yes, it is true. Half an hour a day of EuroNews or BBC and then a half hour a day of something in Spanish. But, to be reasonable I will say 4 or 5 days a week. I just can't bring myself to watch everyday, but I can swing most days. I wish I could say I could watch the Spanish news, but I fear it won't help me get the information I think I need to know but maybe sometimes I will add it to an English speaking news program.
It's time to pay attention to something beyond my immediate world again, there is too much going on for me not to be a part of it.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Three days into the new job and I am totally exhausted. The kids are great, some more of a handful than others, but I feel like I can learn as much from them as they can from me. The learning is one of the things I love most about teaching.. Language aside, there is such a difference between these kids and kids I have taught in the past. For one thing, generally speaking, they are so organized. I know it's the first week, but I can already see that they take better care of their things. Each child brought in a notebook and pencil case with his or her own supplies. They all use erasers and actually carefully erase every little mistake. Even the little ones... it's unbelievable!!!

As of right now, I have classes Monday through Thursday from 4-7:30. Then I have another another hour or so of tutoring before I catch the bus at 9:10 PM. This gets me home about 10... Beginning in October, I will have to go in earlier for a 12:15-1:15 class, then have the break for nearly three hours before I teach the afternoon classes. Going home is not really an option because of the bus schedule. So 4 days a week I will be working long days, but three days a week I will not be working at all. I hope it works out ok... I think it will if I can use my time properly. So now I have to try to find Spanish classes (that don't suck) in Puerto de Segunto during my three hour break. I am hoping this will work otherwise there is a possibility of my getting private lessons from another teacher for a half hour each day I am there.

I am feeling really really frustrated about my Spanish... I am tired of saying that I only speak a little bit. I want to be able to speak more and move on. Being around the kids this week really inspired me to learn again for a variety of reasons. For one, it would be nice if I could understand them better when they did speak to me in Spanish and it would be nice to explain some things to them too. But mostly because I am so impressed with their courage. Most of them just go for it. I love it.

Goal for this week is to get a concrete schedule that includes lessons for myself again, lessons that will actually be helpful and not as scattered as the school I attended this summer. I really was not impressed, though I did learn. I don't want to go back there... though I really had a great time!!

I wrote this last week and just edited a bit so I could post something... I know it's been a while. The job is getting a little easier each day I am having fun with it. The kids range in ages from 5 to 15. It's funny teaching the little ones, I not used to it, but for an hour each class, I enjoy it. They are so cute and curious. I know they only understand a bit of what I say to them but usually the watch very attentively and I become extremely animated.

As much as I enjoy working, I really did like taking 2 1/2 months off. I have never taken that much time off in my life.

My thought are scattered because I am tired.
I'll have to write more about it soon, though finding the time to do so is becoming more and more difficult.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

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My, My, My (Click on me)

My, my, my... what a week I have had. I don't know if I have written this before, but in the past I have compared my life to be a bit like a roller coaster ride. Lots of ups and downs, but never dull moment. I simply don't allow for dull... quiet or tranquil sometimes, but never dull. Lately, however, I feel more like popcorn being cooked in a machine. My ups are very up and my downs are very down. Sometimes when I am feeling up I feel like I bang my head on the top of the pot and come crashing down only to be bounced back up again. It'll help if you try to visualize....

With that said, I will tell a bit about my past week.

Last weekend was so much fun, but thoroughly exhausting. Because the team was in town, we were up late every night... or early in the morning is more like it. This is fairly common practice here in Spain. People don't even eat dinner until between like 9-11, then they relax and start heading out. I am not used to that at all and it's hard to acclimate and damnit lack of sleep makes me cranky, even if it is due to too much fun. Anyway, in addition to being out late and laughing my ass off, I also went on two job interviews and finally decided to take a job that starts tomorrow. This added to my ups, but also created a little stress for me because every school year brings it's own stresses but a new job, in a new country, with a TOTALLY new population of kids that don't even speak the same language as me (well at least not what I am used to) is a lot. Ups, ups, ups... downs, downs, downs...

Wednesday I crashed hard!!! I didn't exactly realize why at the time, but I completely lost it. My laptop has been giving me some difficulties, especially with the wireless issue. A big reason that I want wireless is because I am living on the 9th floor with a gigantic terrace, actually three terraces, and I want to be able to sit out there and use my computer without being confined to the indoors. I would like to be able to write, do research, chat, talk to my friends via Skype, etc... I have spent an unreasonable amount of money to get it to work for me and it continues to give me a hard time. To add to that, when the cable guy came hear to install everything, I had to ask him to leave because he was... inappropriate at best. This makes me nervous to call the cable company again... I don't want that guy back here and I don't want to report him because he knows where I live... anyway... a bit more stress there. Then, my power supply wire broke, I had to get another one and it was over 100 Euros!!!!! that's like $150!!! I was pissed and it just made me break down. I lost it....

In the end, I bought the stupid cord, stopped at the local bar (which I will have to write about sometime) to have a drink before and vent to friends before I went home. I got the power working and then spent hours on the phone with my friend in Madrid who first listened to me vent some more, then helped calm me and finally had me laughing and giggling by the end of our conversation. It's rare to find a friend who is willing and able to be there in times of insanity, especially when distance is such an issue. I should mention here that I am very grateful.
The next day I realized that I was having... let's say, hormonal issues that I just wasn't recognizing in the moment. I share this because just knowing that helped me feel so much better because I knew for one that it was only temporary insanity and for two there was a legitimate reason for my breakdown... HORMONES!!! Eckkkk.
Biggest fear: actual nervous breakdown.... it is my wholehearted belief that having mini-breakdowns every once in a while helps keep off the big one that requires some sort of long term lock up... ok kidding... kinda... I know and love people that have been through this type of trauma and I always kinda wonder how far behind them I might be.

In the midst of my little breakdown, I went into work two days this week to assist with a little curriculum development, get to know the materials the academy has, fellow teachers, my boss, what is to be expected of me, etc. I really like the place a lot. Ironically for me, it's called "The American Cultural Academy". It's like an extra-curricular program for kids either during one hour of their two hour lunch break from school, or after school. I will be teaching from 12-1 then a three hour break and again from about 4:30- 7:30. Ummm yeah... that's 4 hours a day... :) With a three hour break??? ¿Is this my life?

Did I mention it is Monday through Thursday??? As in no Friday... making TGIF better than ever and perhaps even adding a TGIT in to my life... or I guess I should say TGIJ (jueves) or GDEJ... I don't think I need to translate that... you probably get the gist. So, hear is the scary part of the job, I mean besides the fact that everyone there speaks Spanish primarily and I have a 3 hour break in an unfamiliar town (about 45 minutes from here by metro and bus)... I have a variety of age groups that I have to teach, beginning from 4 years old going up to 15!!! FOUR!!! OMG!!! ok... I haven't taught kids that young in... forever and even then I was the assistant not the teacher. Additionally, for most of these kids, I will be the first introduction to English the will ever have... no pressure though... ahhhh.

In spite of it all, I am excited about the job. My boss seems equally as excited to have me, a certified teacher from NY. She lived in LA for a few years about 15 years ago, and loves the culture of the US (not the politics). Part of the deal too is that I will be tutoring her kids 1/2 hour a day, bringing the work week to a whopping 20 hours. One of the boys has dyslexia and she wants me to work on some issues with him. Because of these reasons, she has offered me a good amount of money to come work for her. Still no where near what I make in NY, but certainly enough to live on here and with my three days off a week I might even get to do a little traveling... well nevermind might, I will. First trip will be to Belgium to see Julie who is going back October 10th. I can not tell you how much I will miss her.

After not working for 2 1/2 months, I am ready to go back. I am ready to teach and to be around kids again. I feel prepared to take on the responsibilities that go along with teaching more so than many other jobs.... I have let go of the Spanish Bagel store (though I still love to go in and say hi the Serg... :) ). I have let go of the need for WiFi (for the time being).

Some wise words were shared with me this week, and I have kept them in my head to remind myself not to get wrapped up in my own nonsense...

"Remember water is stronger than stone... be like water my friend."

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

¿¡ Antwerp en españa !?

Things I want to write about, but don't seem to have the time...
  • my new job, which starts today... I'll go in to set up the classroom and get things ready and help with some curriculum development. I will tell more about it soon.
  • how bad my new roomie, Julie rocks this world!!! She is the bomb and the cat's meow all wrapped in one.
  • the fact that I just spent the past two days with a basketball team and owners from Antwerp, Belgium and laughed so hard... so hard my face actually hurt last night... seriously... it hurt... and the funny part was I only understood half of what they were saying... but they were drunk and telling jokes and just so funny, "they" being the owners, sponsors and coaches... the boys, or players, were quiet in comparison, though still funny as hell.
  • that while hanging out with these wonderful Belgians I was treated to several fine meals, a catamaran trip, dancing, tapas, countless drinks.... oh yes and two basketball games, one against Ibiza and the other against Valencia... Ibiza won, Valencia lost... Julie and I cheered on the players with the men... really...
  • ¿me? How on earth did I get here?... and how many times was I asked that question this weekend? Why are you in Spain?... lol... ¿Why not?

¿¿¿Maybe I just came for the upside questions marks???

  • The meals were outrageous, and I really wanted to write about that... but I have to get ready for my new job which I already mentioned I wanted to write about, but...
Thinking of you... all of you.
¡¡¡ Yo tengo WiFi, yipppeeeeee !!!
Click on ¿¡ Antwerp en españa !? for a link to the team...

Friday, September 5, 2008

I got a job... I am psyched, it seems like a good deal. I don't feel like writing about it though. I think I will go get some sun. More soon...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Today was a strange day. I went to 4 hours of Spanish classes then decided to pay a visit to my Spanish Bagel friends. Serg was the only one there and he pretty much only speaks Spanish and Valenciano so I got to talk to him a bit which was nice. Luckily I was already a bit "warmed up" from class. I find it very difficult to get into the mindset of speaking Spanish, but once I get warmed up I can say a lot more. Anyway, they still don't need any help but he said he would let me know when they do. Afterward, I went for a rather enjoyable bike ride and whistled a lot, which is something I never do... I was also humming rather loudly and the people I was passing could hear me and I knew it, but I didn't care... also something I never ever do.

When I got home, I sat down and spent two hours looking over my CV (resume) and sent a few out to different companies. I also called the man I interviewed with in July. He said he would be making decisions over the weekend. I need to start working in a large part because of the money, but also I feel like if I don't go back to work soon I may never want to go back again. Obviously retirement isn't really an option... at all.... plus I miss working... there I said it, I really do.

Sending out resumes always makes me anxious.... then sad. Then I got more sad when I realized today was the first day back to school. Something inside of me felt very lonely, like how could I be missing it? Yes, this is what I want and where I want to be right now, but still... So now I feel like a crazy manic person who whistles on the street then goes home and freaks out. As my dad would say, "What a whacko!". Though he would never say it about me of course... I don't think... at least not to my face... as of yet... would he?¿?¿

Afterward Julie and I met in el centro for tapas and a couple of clara con limón... yummers, beer and lemon soda. This is something I was introduced to by a friend back in December when I first came here. The tapas were simple, homemade potato chips and some tuna on bread... patatas fritas y pan con altún. I love Spanish food, I really do.

I guess I feel more sane now than I did this afternoon. I also have resigned myself to the idea that I am not getting WiFi..,. at least not until I get a job and can afford to pay for someone to hook it up and get me the proper technical crap that I need. I bought I bought a router but doesn't work at all and apparently there is an activation fee involved.. blah, blah, blah. So WiFi is just one of those things I have to give up. Could be much worse than be attached to a wire... I remind myself to be grateful for everything I have, because sometimes I forget how fortunate I am.

I also discovered that if I open Blogger in Explorer rather than FireFox, my spellcheck and photo uploader thingy work. I figured this out on my own too which felt good, though I was feeling a bit betrayed by my machine earlier today.... another example of what I can choose to let make me crazy or to be grateful for... I will continue to try for the latter always.

The above photo was taken two weeks ago in Benidorm about an hour south of here. The place was run down, but I really love the shot and the message... I don't think a translation is needed.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Technological difficulties....

In the past few weeks I have had more than my fair share of having to figure out technological challenges. It makes my brain hurt and it's not like I can just read the directions or walk down to the shop to ask for help. I mean I can, but it's a lot harder to do with the language barrier... trust me a lot harder.

I moved into a new home with no WiFi and had to get a wire long enough for to go into my bedroom.
What I don't understand, because it doesn't make any sense, is that whenever the wire gets unplugged and put into Julie's laptop she has to wait 10-20 minutes for it to "kick it"... when we switch back it is the same for me. It's annoying at best, but a new WiFi refuter is like 80 Euro and well...

Then a new camera, luckily those directions were in English as well as Spanish so I spent some time actually reading them. This is a rarity for me as there is little more boring to me than reading directions. However, I was so happy to see them in English I decided I would dive in. Still, there remain little difficulties and hassles that seem like they just shouldn't exist at all.
Why did all my pics of the coast come out bluish??

Next a new phone, I have wanted one that would take pics, play music, be a date book and oh yes... of course allow me to communicate whenever and wherever I please. A friend was kind enough to give me his phone when I got here, but it began to break after a few weeks and it was giving me troubles in and off for weeks so I had to replace it.

Really what a luxury? Ever think about how incredibly luxurious a cell phone is? I have a love/hate relationship with my phone (aside from the fact that I can't get my frickin' music on there). Love/hate…yes… I love that I can be contacted wherever I am. I love that if I am lost I can call someone for directions, or if I am at a cafe I can call someone and invite them down. I hate feeling obligated to answer a call just because it is ringing and everyone knows you have your cell on you. I mean who ever leaves home with out it these days... Anyway, this bothers me far less here than it ever did in NY for a variety of reasons that I don't want to get into. For now, I just want my phone to play music so I can listen to it on the beach. I know it can do it, I just don't know how to make it happen. I think they gave me the wrong memory card because I can't seem to make this one fit anywhere in the phone... I'll go to the shop... AGAIN!!!!

Than there is my computer, I am terrified of something going wrong because who would I turn to? I tried to change a little something in the settings the other day, with the help of a friend, and low and behold it turns out I am not even my own administrator... Ken took care of these things and now I am without a password to create a new account on my own machine. It's curious how interdependent we become. Each time I have one of these challenges my first reaction is to find a man to fix it. Now anyone who knows me knows I am a handy person, I like to fix things... but not everything!!! Is it wrong to want someone else to do some of it for me??? And yes, generally speaking, men tend to be better at these things than most women I know.
We don’t often like to admit it, but it is true. Luckily, I have some friends who help out here and there and I totally and completely appreciate it when they do even if I don’t like to have to rely on others, I know that I do.

I have spent about two hours this morning trying to get music on my phone. First I created a play list, and then tried to transfer it... easy right??? NO! I couldn't get it to transfer onto the memory card because it was a different format, so I used the wire which didn't work either and now after all that time I lost the play list I created and still don't have music on my phone. I also can't figure out how to get the pics off my phone into the computer... how annoying!!!

PS... I woke up with a soar throat two days ago, worse yesterday and now I appear to have a cold on top of it all.... guess I am feeling a little cranky. Think I'll go to the beach and listen to some..... never mind, I'll study instead.

PPS Still no spell check or photo download on blogger... I don't get it¿?¿?