Tuesday, March 29, 2011

We are the champions!

After 8 weeks of solid Monday night game play, we have finally done it! "The Major Ragers" are officially Pub Quiz champions!

We won first place last night and boasted four bottles of wine, and a huge fishbowl of a White Russian sufficient for 8 people. We came. We saw. We owned that game.

The winnahs!

Examples of some of the intensely trivial knowledge we knew:
Which daughter of one of The Beatles' members has her own fashion line? (Stella McCartney)
What was confiscated from men attempting to board a plane in Dubai last week? (40 snakes)
Who won the Formula 1 Race last week? (Sebastian Vettel)
Which American female celebrity's birthday is today? (Lady Gaga)
What is euphobia? (Fear of hearing good news)
Who designed the German SS personnel uniforms? (Hugo Boss)
In what shape is a lateen sail? (Triangle)
Elephants have the first, and humans have the second longest what? (Memory)
Why was a UK dentist fired this month? (For repeatedly breaking wind around patients)
Who was the drummer for Nirvana? (David Grohl)

And so many more.

Each Monday night there are 6 rounds with 12 questions each. Topics include: news, media and gossip, potluck, music, and sometimes a sports round (which we let the Europeans deal with).

So Mom and Dad, all of that effort that goes to my education is really paying off. Thanks a mil. :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

El tatuaje.

Yep. That means, "tattoo" in English.

I've known since I was a teen that I was going to get a tattoo(s) and that it was just a matter of time. My eighteenth birthday came and went. And between then I just never felt morally compelled to get anything specific. I knew I would eventually though. Well, two weeks ago, I couldn't stand it any longer and went and made an appointment at Pupa Tattoo and Art Gallery.

The artist was incredible. Her station was covered in framed paintings and pen drawings of her own. She rocked my socks. The most triumphant part was making the meeting and discussing what I wanted and planning it all in Spanish. I felt very bilingual in that moment.

Since I got to Spain, I had a feeling I'd get a tattoo in Spanish and knew it would probably be something from my favorite Spanish playwright and poet, Federico García Lorca. He lived in the early 1900s in Spain and was a contemporary to Salvador Dalí and other famous Surrealists. I've seen a play of his in Spanish and am about to see another. I have some of his poetry books and they are incredible. He was killed at the start of the Spanish Civil War, for being very liberal and perhaps also for his quiet homosexuality.

He wrote a book of poetry when he was living in New York for two years called "Poeta en Nueva York." There is a poem in it called, "Panorama ciego de Nueva York," which more or less translates to the "Panoramic view of the blind man in New York." I chose a small part of it for my tattoo which says: Yo muchas veces me he perdido para buscar la quemadura que mantiene despiertas las cosas. Translating (more or less) to, "I oftentimes lose myself to find the burning that awakens all things." That particular poem is very meaningful to me, and that part blows me away every time I read it.

So last Friday, I got up bright and early, accompanied by Brandon (for weak moral support) and headed to the parlor. Here I am rocking the stencil and verifying (for the 8 millionth time) that it is, in fact, grammatically correct.

The process began! And as Brandon said, "I didn't know a fish was getting tattooed."

Almost done with a very inky and sightly bloody arm. If you're wondering why hand is extended, it's because it was numb from resting in that position for so long. I was surprised by how little it hurt. But I think I built myself up for it and psyched myself out.

And all done! I am so happy with it and ecstatic to have something to remind me of this incredible experience in Spain forever.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Don't you judge my wool socks.

Today was one of those days where I was so completely stunned by my own cluelessness. These days don't happen often, so cherish it, people. Here's the story.

First of all, this class that I am taking at the Facultad (the main university for Spaniards, NOT study abroad students) is kicking my ass in the worst way. Every day I look over at Antonella (the Italian in my class) and find her face to be just as lost as mine. At least we have each other. Basically, I've been scouring the Internet trying to find a book for this class (that is just under FOUR HUNDRED pages) to read and write an essay on by Sunday. That would be 6 days, folks. With that, cue the story.

I took the bus back to my neighborhood from my Facultad class. I got off one stop early to divert from the main street near my house, Gran Vía, to hunt down a different part of the campus--the University of Law. I looked at the online catalogue and this was the only school of the university that had a library with a copy of the book I need. Which, by the way, is called (in English) "Spain. Three millenniums of history." Yes. Riveting.

So I found the school, which was super fancy. Hunted down the library which was at the top of a marble staircase and crept in. I talked to a librarian briefly and located my book. I stood there for about 5 minutes or so looking over the book/my eventual doom. I was being very quiet and library-like. But when I looked up from the car crash that is this novel, I noticed that a lot of people kept giving me looks. Not of anger, but of confusion. And I'm thinking, "Crap. Either I have toilet paper on my shoe, or it's super obvious and obnoxious that I am not a Spaniard and they think I'm lame."

I looked down; no sign of toilet paper, nor any other embarrassing accessory (open fly, etc.). On my way out, a male student, a little older than me, was on his way in. He politely held the door open for me (RARE for a Spaniard) but also gave me a look. I had already put my iPod headphones back in and was jamming to Phoenix (head bobbing included), so I didn't hear him the first time he spoke to me. I panicked, when during a quiet part of the song, I realized he had spoke to me. I ripped out my headphones and said, "Perdón?" He asked me if I attend the school of law. I said definitely not. He laughed. I will translate his very Spanish response as best as I can:

"Oh, it definitely appears not. And it's not just the way you dress..."

Okay, I stopped comprehending after that. What is wrong with the way I dress!? I then looked back in and realized it was definitely a briefcase-required kind of party in that library. I couldn't help but laugh. He asked me where I was from and what I studied. When I said literature, he said, "AAAAH." Like, "Oh, I get why you're wearing oxfords with cuffed jeans and an entirely-too brightly colored scarf." We had a nice conversation before I had to run.

So they didn't think I was a super obvious American! They thought I was dressed like a non-law studying weirdo!

In summation, today is stressful and weird. Very weird.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

La gripe y otras cosas.

Hello, hello. I realize I haven't blogged in a while, but that is for the lack of compelling and interesting things going on in my life.

Last week I was knocked directly on my bum by the flu (the dreaded "gripe," as it is called here). Fever, aches, throat pain, congestion, the works. It was awesome. Still battling some major sinus congestion but aside from that, I am among the living and attending class again!

Tonight, Brandon and I are seeing a play for our theatre class. It is called, "El caballero de olmedo" by Lope de Vega. I really like what plays I've read of de Vega-back in the states for Comp Lit 400 and in here in Spain. His style is always very nationalistic and based on the ideas of honor and idealism. He often finds a place in his work for women, converting them from heroines to heroes. Which, I dig, of course. Proof that I am going:

If you can read backwards, it's at "Teatro Alhambra" on Molinas street. I imagine the theatre is near the base or boasts a view of the Alhambra. In any case, it's new to me. The theatre we went to for the García Lorca play was more in the "downtown" area. I am excited.

I've forgotten if I've told you, but I am travelling around Northern Italy for Spring Break ("La Semana Santa") with three of my Spanish roommates and Arisa. We're renting a car once we're there and everything. Very exciting! Bolgnia, Venice, Verona, Genoa and Florence, here I come!

However, looking further into the future, I've started thinking about my June trip(s). The "Last Hoorah Trip," as I call it. Having been to much of Western Europe, I really want to sneak in a tropical or warmer place before I leave. I've had my eye on either Greece or Croatia for months, and Chelsea just started researching island hopping trips to either set of islands. The boat trip with lodging, two meals a day, tours, and other amenities is surprisingly affordable! The flight to either Dubrovnik, Croatia or Athens, Greece are not so cheap. We're going to sit down this weekend and figure it out though. In the meantime, here are some "teaser" images of my potential Croatian or Greek island hopping trips...