Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Sunday, July 27, 2008
My camera is gone. I lost it at the beach last night. I am so sad!!!
I got home about and as soon as I realized it was gone and dragged
In my horribly broken Spanish I explained that I had been to the beach from Benimaclet (my neighborhood) many times and asked if this was right. He said, "sí, sí la playa metro". Well the bastard took us clear across town and tried to drop us off at another metro station having little or nothing to do with the beach. So I said, "no señor... la playa Eugenia Viñes" (a specific stop at the beach)... He was like "¿oh la playa?"... Ok my Spanish isn't that bad!!!
So the meter is running and what should have cost 6-7 Euro was now upwards of 10 Euro... and I had no idea where we were. The worst of it was that all I had was a 50E bill. So all I could think of is I had to give it to him when I got to the beach. So I started attempting to explain to him in Spanish that it wasn't fair that the meter was so high and I didn't think I should pay it. He started yelling at me in Spanish so I started yelling back in English because I can't yell in Spanish... I can barely talk!!! I figured if he was going to yell at me in a foreign language I would do the dame!
"Este es mert" was all that kept coming out of
Anyway, here we are yelling, really yelling at each other in different languages and I was pissed so I said,"no, I won't pay policia..... Sooooo.... he pulled right up to a cop and started telling him the story. I heard what he said and could tell he was lying about my original request to go to la playa. The cop wouldn't even make eye contact with me... and I had on my best "he is a liar and wrong pouty face". After a couple of minutes the cop looked at me and I explained that I asked for la playa, not the other stop that I had never heard of. The Spanish was horribly broken but I knew I made some sense. He didn't seem sympathetic at all but in the end, the guy gave me 40E change and the meter said 15.35E. Still we were about 3 km from the beach and it was starting to get light out. We walked the rest of the way to the beach and searched for the camera but nada... The beach was filled with people heading home from the nearby clubs... it was a mess, garbage everywhere broken glass, cans, plastic bags, etc. We watched sun the come up and took the tram home. I was in bed by ... what a drag.
I am sure though before the morning beach rush started the garbage was completely gone. Here people drop trash everywhere and at night the streets are a mess, but by the morning they are spotless... everyday.
Although I tried to break that 50E several times throughout the course of the day, the lesson I learned today was no more going out without small bills in my wallet. I think I will start stashing some mad money so that I will be better prepared in such an emergency. The only "crime" I have heard about here in
The new challenge is buying a camera in a store where I can't speak properly!!! OMG this is so frustrating!!!
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Mí amigo, Stevie, from England left today (Sat.) so last night Erin and I threw a little party in his homor. He has kind of been the leader of the pack since we all arrived, he gathered everyone's numbers and always made sure no one was left out. Though he always tried to act like he didn't care... he did and showed. He's already missed by all. of us.
The party started early for españa, maybe 9PM. We bought snacks and everyone brought beer and wine. We drank for a couple of hours than headed to the Jardines del Real (the park down the street) for a free concert. The band played Queen songs entirely and they were pretty good, though once again I was hoping for some español and little appeared. At one point we were all up close to the stage dancing and singing... yeah a bit tipsy too, what a great time. I was smiling proud to be amongst these new people singing old tunes such as "We are the Champions", "We Will Rock You" and" Bohemian Rhapsody". I simply couldn't feel alone while such memorable songs were playing and I was dancing with my new amigas... and Stevie...lol...
This morning I met with Adriana, my language exchange partner. Intercambio, as they call it is very popular everywhere in Europe, but not so much in the US... at least none was found in Craigslist in the Hudson Valley. (¿ Craigslist flawed... could it be?). Anyway she is wonderful. She is from Urugua (South America) and has been in Valencia for 10 years. She was very empathetic of the culture change as she has been in my shoes before. I really like her.
Sometimes now I think (a veces ahora creo) in my head like Spanglish... I know some of the Spanish words that I want to say but they get mixed in my head with English words... though I don't let it come out that way too often. I get very frustrating trying to write in Spanish and think about buying a Spanish keyboard so that the letter "ñ" por ejamplo does not require me to push 5 keys in order to appear on my screen.
Friday, July 25, 2008
This has been a rough week for me. I think my aunt passing away was very was difficult for everyone who knew her but for me it brought about a whole new set of issues. Here I am so very far away. I miss my family regularly, but to not be there in this time of need was really hard for me. I am a caretaker, it is what I do. I have always taken care of my family, especially my parents ( to some degree). To not be there for my mom was so hard... I called as often as I could and tried to comfort from afar, but there is nothing that can actually replace a hug.... nada.
I'm feeling bit better today. I love it here in Valencia. They say it has over 300 days a year of total sunshine... some days have minor clouds for brief periods, but mostly the weather is perfect... though some say too hot, I don't think so. The people are friendly and the more Spanish I speak the friendlier they are I spent two hours with un hombre (a man) the other day doing a language exchange. He speaks no English except he can say his numbers, hello and yes.... lol. After two hours of me trying to speak to him, it finally began to flow a bit and then he had to go to work. He is a photographer and I might help him out with a project, more on that if it happens... don't worry nothing inappropriate, I just don't want to jinx it.
Tomorrow I meet with a woman for another language exchange... She is a couple of years older than me and I know she at least types in English beautifully. We will to meet at the beach and see how it goes. I'll be happy to know someone my age.
During this difficult and emotional week I decided I needed a better bathing suit. Since I lost weight this year and more since I got here, I thought the tankini I had bought was too much. Most every woman wears bikinis here no matter how big or small. So began the quest for a new bikini, not to mention the stress. Seriously, I tried on over 40 before I found not one but two I was happy with... I love them. Even though I still would like to slim down more, I feel more comfortable in a bikini here and letting myself be natural, than to try to cover myself.... and know what? I look pretty good if I do say so myself. I'm looking forward to wearing one to the beach tomorrow... but ahhhh which one?
The Serb sisters went away for the weekend so Erin and I are having a little party with some classmates. Stevie, the young Brit boy who is the life of every party, is leaving to go home tomorrow... so we are giving him a proper farewell. Afterward, there is a free concert at a park near my house so I think we may move the party there.
As so many things in life, only time will tell.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Perhaps today wasn't the best day for me to go to a bullfight... perhaps there really is no good day to go watch a beast be tortured... because don't let them fool you, what they do to the bull is tease, bully and torture him. What el matador and his sidekicks do is flirt with and tease the bull. It's almost like a beautiful dance, only with pain and blood...
Next time I will watch people dance instead or maybe even dance myself... not a good day for a bullfight.
I have always been a firm believer in trying everything once... if you don't like it don't do it again, if you do and it's good for you then hey... that's great. I am going to have to keep a limit on that motto... no more watching animals be tortured. Years ago I went to the rodeo in Colorado, that was equally as disturbing...
What was I thinking?
The bottom line is just because your ass looks great in an outfit, doesn't mean you have to be a bully.... It just doesn't.
Not a good day for a bullfight, especially if you are a bull.
Oh and if anyone was wondering where the King of Spain was tonight...Well rumor has King Juan Carlo was at the Corrida de Toro en Valencia hanging with me... though I am still not sure and no one even said to bow... I would have given a bow or something for a king... damnit... this is not a good day for a bullfight nor to see a king. .
Also... and then I will day no more on this matter, if you ever decide to see a bullfight, go late. At least one hour into the time you are told to be there. This way you don't have to see 6 bulls being tortured and killed. Arriving late means you can see the latter ones which seemlingly have more angry and energetic bulls. I left before they speared the forth bull, I just couldn't watch anymore.
Today is not a good day for a bullfight, not good for the bulls nor for me.
Now I will sleep and try not to have nightmares of what I have just seen.
I am so tired I am having trouble making complete sentences appear from my hands... seems more like psycho ranting to me... lol... I think I will be better tomorrow... no more bull shit...
Sunday, July 20, 2008
What I will miss the most about Aunt Ann are the stories she would tell about my mom. When my mom was born Aunt Ann was 9 years old. My grandma was on her way to the hospital to give birth to my mom. She told my aunts, Rachel and Ann that she was going to come home with a surprise. Aunt Ann thought my mom would be a puppy... she always teased about how sad she was to this day that my mother wasn't a puppy. Seven years later they lost their mother and five years after that their father. My mom was only twelve. Ann and Rae raised her for the remainder of her "childhood" and did the best they could for her. My mother remains the only sister left of the three, Aunt Rae passed about 20 years ago.... I still miss her... we all do.
I would do anything to be able to hold my mom and cry with her right now. I can only imagine the loneliness she must be feeling. My family is very small, but tight in spirit. most of use don't see each other often and are scattered across the US... mostly the east coast, but my brother is in Colorado and here I am in Spain...
How did I get here again?
We sat and exchanged stories, well they did; tonight I mostly just listened. It was a unique mixture of people non-native and native English speaking people with little in common besides a few weeks together in Valencia and our love for good company and wine. We enjoyed each other and it was nice. At midnight, the fireworks started. I felt comforted to be amongst people this week as last Saturday's display began with the bus fiasco. I did take a few walks by myself along the beach to put my feet in the water. It felt so good.. Some how feeling the water on my feet and the moon in the sky helps me feel connected to what I need. I wondered if my mom noticed last night's moon. It was huge in the sky here... all very grounding.
I wait to hear from my mother or cousins so that I know what's going on. I have a US phone number here now. If you are interested in calling send me an email and I will give the number, I can only make calls from my computer, but can receive them on my cell phone.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Today I went to the Oceanogriafco (Aquarium). When I got home I found out that my Aunt Ann had a massive heart attack the night before and a stroke this morning. She is not doing well at all. My mother is driving up to North Carolina to be with her and cousins. I am so sad not to be there, I would love to be able to say good-bye to her. Luckily, our last correspondence was rather recent and in it she told me how proud she is of me and how much respect she has for me. I wrote back that I love her. The hardest part is not being there for my mom and cousins. I wish I could do that. I can't believe I am not there and part of me wants to jump on the next flight out.... I must always continue to find strength within myself.
A friend of mine passed away this week too after a long battle with cancer. She's at peace. It's strange to think I won't be attending her services either.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Things here are good but mentally exhausting. When everything is in a different language my mind has to work in ways it never has before and think in a whole new way. It's good, but tiring sometimes. Today was really tough at school, I came home and vented and cried for a bit then picked myself up and got back on the Metro heading for a previously scheduled private lesson with a different teacher. She spoke almost entirely in Spanish to me the whole time and when I didn't understand she explained without speaking English. In my class, we all say the English word for something when we realize what he means... anyway it was different to be in class alone.
At the end of the day I broke out my inks and played with my colors for a while... it felt good too.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
I cooked... yes it's true, a whole meal in fact. I was inspired by last night's party. I went to a classmates a 22 year old British boy who decided he was going to have a barby The sweet man, Stevie, bought a bbq, toms of meat and invited everyone in class to come over for some festivities. Poor Stevie didn't have a clue how to get the bbq going and when he finally gave up, Vince and I helped... Who is Vince? Another classmate, age 24, attends
In case you are wondering why this might be a momentus occasion for me, it's because when I decided to stop being a wife, I also gave up on the kitchen and pretty much all groceries too. I had been eating at friend's houses, going out to eat or completely skipping meals all together. I didn't mind really, but today I felt like preparing a meal. I went out and bout fish, potatoes and asparagus. I spiced it up and browned the potatoes then put it all in a ceramic paella dish that came with my apartment. It was delicious!! Once again, I feel certain I haven't lost my touch in the kitchen from lack of practice. I used to love to cook; especially for other people... maybe I will find that love again. Wither way I can say with complete certainty that the food I eat here feels better for and tastes delicious. However my Serb sisters want to know what kind of American I am if I never go to McDonalds???
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Ok so last night I decided I wanted to go see fireworks at the beach. From my house to the beach is simple, walk 3 blocks, catch tram, stay on tram for 10 minutes, get off and walk one block to beach. I have done this many times to enjoy a beautiful sunny day (which every day so far has been). Last night shouldn't be any different...but...
I get to the tram station and I was trying to read to find out what time the last tram was. Suddenly a bus pulls up and all the people at the station get on it. When I say pulls up I mean right on the tram track. I was confused about that, but the guy who worked on the bus kept yelling at me to get on, he was laughing and smiling and there were at least 50 people on the bus so I thought...ok. and I got on the bus. I was the last one on so I stood with the 3 workers one of which was driving, the other two were screaming to him which direction to turn.
Ever watch the Simpsons when they had that dog named Santa's Little Helper? The dog would listen to the humans and it would sound like blah, blah, blah, treat, blah, blah, blah, sit... That's how I felt last night. These guys were laughing their asses off trying to figure out how to get around the repairs of the tramline... I heard blah, blah, derecha, blah, blah, directo, blah, blah... etc. I still wasn't too sure about what was happening but I kinda got the idea when I saw the actual construction on the tramline. Then boooom... the bus gets a flat tire. They stop and try to fix it, but decided not to bother. We keep going and the driver is getting angry because, it seemed the stearing wheel was pulling to the right. So we stop again... everybody gets off the bus, so do I, two minutes later everyone gets back on the bus and so do I. Then it hits me, how will I get home?!?!?! So I ask best I can if the tram will be running later. "No"... the autobus? "No" Metro... "No metro here" ahhhh ok, taxi? "Sí". Muchos grasias por su ayuda!!! (thanks a lot for your help).
Eventually we made it to the beach, everyone on the bus was singing and having a good time. Wow did I feel like a foreigner, such a strange feeling. I mean I know I am, I feel it everyday, but last night I felt like a stupid foreigner... hmmmm? Anyway I decided to go enjoy the fireworks but to leave early to be sure I would catch a cab. I saw the display and it was beautiful, amongst the best I have ever seen and I made it home safely via a taxi. So I guess it's safe to say my mission was accomplished, but not as smoothly as I might have liked.
Today I must have walked about 10 miles. Sunday is free museum day in Valenica. We went to el Museo de Bella Artes. Gorgeous!! We also walked around the east western side of the city and walked through many streets and neighborhoods I hadn't seem before. It was a nice mellow day, I used my dictionary some to try to decipher but it was kind of nice to take a break from the studying. When I came home I studied a bunch of vocabulary and felt ok about it. Monday I will ask my teacher for extra help with conjugating verbs. We started future and past tense and I am sill trying to understand present uses... ahhhhh.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
I'm doing it... the ultimate Spanish experience, or at least one of them... no I don't mean un hombre! ¡I mean Corrida de Toros! We got our tickets yesterday and are all excited but a bit nervous about seeing in, but certainly this is one those, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do" moments. There is a link that explains all about it if you click on the title of the post. The morning the tickets went on sale there were about a hundred people sitting waiting to purchase the tickets They divide the ticket prices in two ways. First, how close you are to the ring and second, whether or not you are in the shade. The shaded seats being more expensive and also sold out. We will sit in the sun and pretty far away, but somehow I think it will still be very engaging... to say the very least. The Spaniards are such a passionate people, I can only imagine this will be an unforgettable experience.
For now, I will get ready to spend the day at the beach and relax while doing some studying. Also I guess my school is having a fútbal game with some staff and students... participation is optional and it's all at the beach so I think I will go and watch that for a while as I sit and soak up the hot summer sun.
My Internet is working now but it is not the wireless.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
After the walk Erin and I came home, made lunch and went to the beach. The beach is only a tram ride away which we pick up just around the corner. It never seems to be too packed though I hear I may feel differently in August. About half the women there are topless which feels so liberating. Though today as we were laying out this little boy, 7 maybe, kept passing buy saying something about tetas (sp) lol… I wasn’t sure exactly what he was saying but he was pointing at me so…. ?¿?¿?
School is intensive, five days a week, four hours a day… I love it. I feel like my brain is constantly sponging information. Whether reading, listening, or trying to speak. I am constantly trying to decipher information. It’s exhausting, but in an inspiring kind of way. Each day I can understand more. I have been able to ask for directions, order food, ask for band-aides (for my blistered feet) and point out nouns as I see them… sounds funny but I am almost constantly with book in hand trying to understand something as simple as an advertisement on the street.
Mí profesor is great. He is patient with a great sense of humor. What can be better? My class, at the moment, has a few people from
Getting used to the schedule here is not easy. People go to work later for the most part and then practically the whole city closes in the afternoon only to open again in what we would call early evening. No happy hour... lol… or maybe happy hour all day. Most of the time we can find someplace to sit and have a café con leche o cervesa. Sundays are dead… nada…it’s almost funny, but definitely foreign, but than again it is all foreign… I love it!!
I’m dying for my Internet service to be turned on which should happen in the next couple of days. Then I will be able to post more, reply to emails, use skype, research apartments, jobs, use the “yellow pages”, etc, etc, etc. Until then I wait patiently and enjoy the freedom of few attachments and commitments.
Until then, I miss all who are not here… wait, that’s pretty much everyone I know… wow!! Keep sending good thoughts but know I am safe and happy.
Saturday, July 5, 2008
be afraid it will never begin.
Send this to all of your friends in the next 5 minutes and a miracle will happen.
I send it to all of you... but in a little longer than a minute.. but miracles are already happening.
PS... the interview was interesting, nice guy, seemingly nice business, we will talk again.
Friday, July 4, 2008
So far everything has been going pretty smoothly. My new house-mates are fantastic. Two sisters from Serbia. They are beautiful, intelligent and very easy going. We get along very well and are able to help each other out. Since I have been here before I know a little bit about where I am going. I also have been studying the map of Valencia and thankfully inherited my father's keen sense of direction so I have some sense of where things are and what to look for.
Jasmina is somewhat fluent in Spanish, so she explains some of the unfamilar words to us and they are both grateful to have any help in English they need. They may argue it, but their English is very good, certainly better than my Serbian... but that isn't saying much.
Early in the evening we explored some of the city and found ourselves somewhat lost, but luckily the when you ask for directions...¿Donde esta? the Spanish speak with a lot of hand movements ... very dramatic and so we could figure out what they were saying for the most part... bit of a challenge but not too scary with company.
Last night Jelena and I stayed up until 4AM talking about our home countries, traditions, educational systems, geography and whatever else we could think of. Finally, though I could have spoken to her for hours longer, we had to force ourselves to go to sleep.
Today we registered for school and got a schedule. The girls went to the beach and I went to the American Consolate, though they were closed, I discovered it is only a few short blocks from school and will go back on Monday. I guess I am supposed to let them know I am here. Afterward, I walked around a bit then enjoyed cafe con leche y tortilla (Spanish egg pie... kinda like a quiche but different) in a nice outdoor cafe, of which there are many.
This evening I have an interview for an ESL position. WOW!!! Guess sending CV's in advance was a good idea. I also spoke to the property management company about and apartment and we will meet in about a week or so to try to find a more suitable place to live in the long term. This place is great, but a little out of the way for a semi-permanent home, also it is much too big for just me. It's about 2 miles from the center of town.
As I walk around I can not believe my eyes. The history is so deep and apparent, I want to learn more and more. There are several parks near my home. Both have bike and rollerskating paths and are just lovely. One park goes around almost the entire city making biking to almost anyplace easy and safe. Soon I will get myself a nice bike with baskets and happily get myself from one place to the next. The Metro system seems very handy as well, though I haven't attempted yet because the walking feels good in spite of the blisters on my feet.
The weather is perfect so far, not too hot at all and there is almost always a cool breeze blowing from the sea. I haven't been to the sea yet either but plan to venture there tomorrow. I can't wait to just kick back and relax until I get so warm that I have to jump in the water. I want to feel the sand between my toes.
I will try to keep posting as much as possible... soon I will even post some pictures, but I haven't time for that right now as I must prepare for a job interview. Yikes... I haven't been interviewed in years, suddenly I am feeling a bit nervous. They say the first few interviews are good practice so if this doesn't work out, than I will simply learn from the experience and go for another one. It's all about the learning...