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.