Tonight my mother dropped something on a nice new bowl which she got for a christmas present this year. I said, "Don't break the bowl."
She replied, "Don't break the bowl, bitch."
I yelled, "What?" astounded that she would say something like that.
"What's in the bowl, bitch. You haven't heard that?"
"No, Mom. I haven't."
"Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet, eating her curds and whey. Along came a spider who sat down beside her and said, 'What's in the bowl, bitch?'"
I'm laughing because apparently today is a holiday in Spain. It's called "La Segunda Pasqua" (the second Easter). I wasn't even aware because basically every day is a holiday for me.
Last night I had possibly the best dream in the history of dreams.
I worked at The Office, yes, The Office and Michael sent Stanley and me on some sort of off-premises mission. After we completed our mission, which was in a parking lot, Stanley was supposed to give me a ride back to the office. But he didn't have a car, he had a moped. And instead of waiting for me to get on the back of it, he just drove off, laughing maniacally. I was stunned and hurt that he would be so mean. But as he pulled out into traffic, I watched him be hit by a car. He wasn't hurt that bad because he was wearing a helmet but still! So I was freaking out because Stanley was just hit by a car, I was yelling, "Did anybody call an ambulance?! I would but my phone is out of money!" (a common occurrence in Spain) and I was thinking, "great, idiots. no one called an ambulance." because everyone was just staring at me blankly. Then all of a sudden, an ambulance pulled up and who jumped out of the back? JD and Turk from Scrubs! NOOOO way! Yes way! So I got to ride with them to the hospital and Stanley ended up being fine. And JD and I started dating. The end!
best dream ever.
May 1, 2007
One Day in Morocco
I met you in Morocco,
on a train,
the hills and men,
goats and children,
existing in reverse.
I peered at
as you told me stories of growing up:
when there were no phones in houses,
so the man from the corner store
“Reda, it’s your uncle!”
I saw the man and I saw the streets.
We practiced each other’s language,
unfamiliar words rolling in my mouth,
like clunky marbles,
and I learned to count to three in Arabic –
wahed, jzhuz, tlata.
You said I sounded like a three year old.
Morocco smelled like orange blossoms –
I wished I could bury my nose,
and whole body
in the smell.
The expectant rain
hanging in the air
heightened every sensation.
I left the next morning,
on a forward-facing bus
that smelled of warm vomit,
olives and sweat.
and we drove through dirty towns
and stopped at random places
where beggars and boys
entered to plead for money
or that you buy a bar of chocolate.
I avoided their eyes
and wondered how so much magic
can exist in one day
and not spill over
to the next.
Our bottle opener broke last night so now we can only drink champagne. seriously.
so I'm back in Barcelona, showered, and about to eat some hella good home-cooked food and watch the newest episode of the office. I had seriously the best time in Morocco (mostly thanks to two amazingly nice Moroccan guys who spoke English that we met on our first train ride to the capital). I'm planning some gargantuan lj updates detailing this past week because not only was it really fun, it was also an incredible shit-show, tons of missed connections, begging people in bad arabic/french/english to please let us board a bus... things like that. because what would an adventure be if everything went right.
also, I just found out where I'll be living next year.... HOGAN!!! It's the best senior housing on campus; suites of singles, with a kitchen, common area, bathroom; right across 114th street from the library and the student center. I am so excited. also, to say that housing is not near campus doesn't mean THAT much for Columbia since nothing is more than 6 blocks away (at the worst). but to live in Hogan is a dream come true for me. I've been living in singles the best two years (which is really nice for privacy and personal space) but so sad when all you want to do is throw parties! So now I'll be throwing parties AND living in a single.
time for the office and dinner!
stuff that's going on:
just booked my flight to Rome and back for next week. should be a blast. I'll be staying with my hella cool older cousin, Chuck, who is studying there this semester. Plus Meredith, his sister/ my favorite cousin, will also be there.
also, I wish I could watch this past week's episode of the office but fanpop.com isn't working! it usually has all the episodes for free but it seems like someone caught on... and no more free episodes... :( I need my usual dose of jim, michael, and dwight.
things that I am going to buy when I'm back in the US:
The Office on DVD (every season)
Things that I miss about NYC:
The happy male voice on the fancy 2/3 line that says "Stand clear of the closing doors please!" (that voice haunts me)
The sailing team
Internet in my room
The city in general
Things that I like about Barcelona:
Not really having school work
Jamon serrano bocadillos
gelato shops on every corner
Lazy days in parks
Digital countdowns on the metro platform til when the trains arrive
My parents and sister were here for a week and just left this morning. The visit was really fun; although it rained every single day. It was also really surreal... (ie riding the metro with my dad up to my house.)
I'm leaving tomorrow morning for five days of traveling to Sevilla, Morocco, and Granada. Unfortunately, the weather forecast says it's going to rain every day in every place. coooool. Like I didn't get enough of rain this past week.
Registering for classes at Columbia is usually a semi-stressful process. But I'm totally lost over here across the Atlantic. I honestly have no idea what the heck I'm supposed to do for creative writing classes. The department hasn't even posted a schedule online. Nope. Just a list of class names without days or times. How helpful. Mehhhhh.
Time to pack.
yo yo yo,
having a good day. I have an intercambio, Javier. He's a 23 year old engineering student and we get together once or twice a week after my 5 pm class and talk over coffee and pastries.
p/s I was talking to my parents on Saturday. They went to see a Peter, Paul, and Mary concert up in Providence and they were going to dinner beforehand. "What time?" I asked. "5 pm," my dad said. I almost died. 5 pm!!!!!!!!! I eat dinner at 9:30 pm here. Just last week, I found myself hurrying home at 8:45 pm to make it home in time for dinner On my way to the metro, I thought, "What is this? It's 9 pm and I'm going home for dinner... and it's normal."
So my intercambio is really nice and hanging out with him is fun! Some people have really bad intercambios that give them the creeps or are socially awkward or are 30 years old. Today Javi and I talked about classes, being late for things, sailing, and Disney movies. I drew a diagram of an FJ (the boats I sail) for Javi and labeled all the parts. He was so enthralled. I learned that tiller in Spanish is "timón." Later when we were talking about Disney movies, I was like "Timón is a tiller and he's the little animal in the Lion King!" It's okay because Javi is as dorky as I am. (in a good way.)
My Catalan class is so ridiculous. It's with only Columbia kids and for some reason all the boys from Columbia on this trip are goofy with only a hint of intelligence. So Catalan ends up being a big joke. Today we designed the houses of our dreams. My dream house was actually really great.
In all seriousness, I'm learning some Catalan. I find myself mixing Catalan words into my castellano speech. This past weekend, I said a number in Catalan instead of Spanish and the waitress was like, "queeeee?" Another time, I was talking with a Catalan friend and I was explaining my middle name (which is my great grandmother's last name) but I used a Catalan word by mistake and he just looked at me like, "What the heck did you just say?" and I was like, "Oops! Catalan! It's poisoning my brain!"
Also, I was once lost and I asked for directions and the man answered me in Catalan and I understood! I think that speaks volumes for how much my Catalan has improved.
Another exciting thing is that I took the night bus for the first time this weekend. I have a problem in Barcelona. The metro stops running at 2 am on the weekend and it starts up again at 5 am. So I used to either go home at 2 (lame), stay out til 5 (which takes stamina and skill), or take a cab home in the interim (which is expensive). Between 2 am and 5 am, night buses run throughout Barcelona but you have to know your number and where to catch it. Well, I finally figured it out and took the night bus this weekend! It only costs a metro ride and it took 20 minutes to get from the center of the city to my house! Heck yeah! I feel so liberated. I also feel like Harry Potter, sticking out my wand to catch the Knight Bus.
My parents arrive this Friday! Mis padres llegan este viernes. Els meus pares arriben aquest divendres. (english, castellano, catalá)
ciao - Carolina
It's been a long while since I wrote a long email. My apologies. It seems that the more I get accustomed to Spain the less I find strange and email-worthy. I guess I'm transforming into a Spaniard.
For starters, I'm sitting on my patio, facing the view of the mountains, typing this up. I stole Erica's super long ethernet cable so I could have internet out here.
I've been getting questions about classes from some people (mainly Señor Ramey... what's up Señor! He was my Spanish teacher from high school who is responsible for my internet in Spanish. He took me to Spain in 2003 with a group of 10 other students and that's when I realized I wanted to major in Spanish and eventually return to Spain.)
Classes... classes... classes. Where to start? The only thing I can say is that there is a very different mentality towards classes and education here. They do not ascribe to the American method of 4 years of college for a bachelor's degree. The same college culture does not exist. I would say that 90% of students live at home and commute to classes, plus work in their off time. Only 10% live in dorms and those dorms are not near campus. They are more relaxed towards classes but at the same time, they are more serious. It's hard to explain. There is not the pressure to apply to 9 schools (3 reach schools, 3 normal schools, 3 safeties). They go to college when they can, they take the number of classes that they can. If it takes them 7 years to graduate, so what? The type of work is different too. A lot of it is optional but then at the end of the semester, they have 40 page papers due.
I was talking with a friend on the program from the US who entered college in 2001 and he is going to graduate in 2008. He lives alone and has been supporting himself financially while going to college. And he says, "Who decided that I have to graduate in 4 years?" It's true. I think my dad would agree because he thinks the American mentality towards college is madness. College rankings, SAT scores, alumni chapters...
I'm not completely knocking the American concept of college because it's churned out some pretty smart people. And I love Columbia. love love love. My director here in Spain, Alberto, says, "You all have an advantage coming to Spain to study. You already know the American system of education and now you are learning about the European system. And you will learn that it is not a matter of one being better or worse. But just that they are different."
Alberto is basically the best person ever.
And that is true for everything in life. From countries to religions to individuals.
This past weekend our CIEE group traveled to Madrid. Everything was paid for, the train, the hotel, the museum excursions, and our food. We were given vouchers in denominations of 5 euro that were accepted at almost every restaurant in Madrid. I think I spent 40 euro all weekend (and 35 of that was on a new dress... :D) The first day we toured el Palacio Real (the royal palace.) The king doesn't live there though because it's so big that it's a pain to maintain. They mostly use it for ceremonial functions... like signing the treaty when Spain entered the EU! WOO!
The weirdest thing was walking through the gardens surrounding the Palacio and immediately being transported back 4 years before when I was in Madrid for one night with Señor Ramey and the group from high school. I find it incredibly strange to say that I've been to Madrid twice in my life and I'm only 20 years old. weeirrrdd. I have to get out more and stop retreading all the well worn paths of my childhood. (it's a joke.)
Madrid was cool but I didn't get to see that much of it because I came down with the stomach flu the first night we arrived. I spent most of my weekend in my hotel room bathroom. I missed the visit to the Prado but I did make it to the Reina Sofia and saw Picasso's Guernica. wow.
Being in Madrid made me realized how much I love Barcelona and Catalunya. hehehe. I liked all the places we visited in Madrid but I didn't like the city as a whole but then again... I didn't have a full experience.
I'm still not feeling 100%. I usually babysit/tutor today but I took the day off because my stomach is still angry with me.
This weekend I'm going to Ireland with my cousin, Meredith, who is studying in Sevilla. We will be staying with one of my best friends, Erin, who is studying in Galway. I'm hoping I feel better by then.