Wednesday, February 23, 2011

confessions of an inadequate blogger

I'm not gonna lie I started this blog for my parents and my grandparents but as I read back on I am glad I have kept an online record of my time here in Spain. This year I have been reading more blogs of people who live in various parts of Spain and I have to admit sometimes I get really intimidated. I usually make my posts about things I do in the city or trips I take which maybe totals out to once a week. Then I see some of my other friends (cough Kit cought) who update almost daily and while I admire it, my life is just not that interesting. I know I live in Spain and all but my day to day life is still normal life--I go to work, do english classes, play ultimate in my free time. Although sometimes I think gahh why can't I come up with more things to write/reflect on so Kit doesn't kick me off her "Blogs I'm reading" list, it does challenge me to be more adventurous in posting. I definitely don't consider myself a really talented or funny writer but I want to put more of myself out there. Although writing about traveling is exciting in its own right, the little daily differences between living here and in NC also are worthy of blogging about! Can I get an amen?

P.S. Kit I'm not hatin', you are an awesome blogger and the bomb dot com

Sunday, February 20, 2011

no that's not photoshopped, i really was in bernabeu

On my long list of things to do while in Spain, go to a soccer game is one of them. I am not a very active soccer fan but I know going to a game would be totally different from just seeing it on TV. I didn't go when I was in Sevilla, didn't go last year so this year was the year! And I didn't even see Real Madrid...I saw la Seleccion Espanola!! That team that won the World Cup last year?? Yep, that's right! And I didn't even know we were going. Here's what happened, I met up with Alberto last Wednesday and he told me he had something planned but it was a surprise. We met up to first go to dinner at a top secret location to meet with unknown people. Turns out we went to Alfredo's, the famous Texas restaurant here in Madrid that has the best burger I've ever had in Spain, hands down. We met Jose and Ani from the frisbee team and ate really good burgers and baked potatoes. I thought it was really strange that everyone seemed like they were in a hurry to eat and get out. I mean this is Spain and everything is about going slow right? We finished dinner in an half an hour. I was kind of suspicious but they told me that the la furia roja was playing in a scrimmage game in Bernabeu and they really wanted to see it at a bar near the stadium. We were speed walking to get to the stadium and I was wondering why this game was so important to see the very beginning. We were right next to the stadium and there were tons of people lining up and pushing to get in. Jose turns to us and says well this is so many people maybe we can try to get in. Thinking this was a joke I was like haha okay let's give it a whirl, this system is so disorganized that we might actually have a chance. And if not we'll get turned away and just go to a bar. They were all looking at me strangely like why are you going along with this? Then Jose reached into his pocket and pulled out the tickets! I just got punked. We hurried up 6 flights of stairs to find our seats and when I walked out into the stadium the first time, my knees went weak. Huge doesn't even describe it, I felt like I was at the Super Bowl. And with everyone there cheering, it just made it even better. It was so cool! I felt like as giddy as a schoolgirl, looking every which way to see everything. The game itself was not the most exciting but I was really happy to see all the players from team playing together again. Spain narrowly pulled out the win, scoring a goal late in the second half. I was in awe the whole time at the stadium and the atmosphere, I was on cloud 9 the whole next day. Check soccer game off the bucket list!
The pictures don't do it justice.
La furia roja!
Ani and me in the stadium.

Monday, February 14, 2011

be mine, valentine

Happy Valentine's Day! Although Valentine's is only celebrated by couples here in Spain, I decided to show the kids at school the American tradition of giving little paper cards to everyone in your class. Each kid in class made a valentine for someone else in the class and then read it to them in front of everyone. Then we made them hug it out. So cute! I gave out Hello Kitty and Toy Story 3 valentines to all the kids in my two second grade classes and they freaked out. "Why do they make these?" they asked me "And how did you find them in English??" Kids are so funny.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

i guess kit can be right about some things

And San Sebastian is one of them. My computer is up and running so round 2 on San Sebastian post...go! Last weekend I went with Allison visit my good friend Kit and San Sebastian/Donostia in Pais Vasco. It was one of the places in Spain that I have been looking forward to goingo to since I had heard such good things about the city and more importantly, the food. I mean Anthony Bourdain wanted to live there in his alternate life, enough said. I knew it was going to be a good weekend when on the bus they played two movies from the last 5 years hooray! We arrived in Bilbao Friday night and Kit met us at the bus station to take us to her apartment. We visited Bilbao last year but it was nice to see where she lived even if just for a night. We woke up early to catch the bus to San Sebastian, happy with the good weather and con ganas to eat!! San Sebastian is very well know for the quality of its pinxtos, the basque version of tapas. We arrived in the morning and quickly decided priority number one at 12 pm, get the best gelato in San Sebastian duh. We then walked to bask in sunshine (which was lucky because it rains a lot in the north) and see the beach. San Sebastian is around a beach that is shaped like semi-circle with two mountains at the end of each side of the beach. As you can imagine, it is georgeous! We strolled along the beach to go see the Peinedel viento the well known sculpture by basque artist
Eduardo Chillida. They are built into the rocks that surround boarder of the city and are absolutely amazing.

It is also one of the places that inspired us to take cheesy photos like this one:
After walking a half hour to see the sculptures we made out way back into the city and it was time for our first stop for eating lunch, yay! Since we wanted to take advantage of the beautiful weather we stopped to get sandwiches at Juanxtos and have a picnic on the beach. It was so nice to have warm weather randomly in February to cure the winter doldrums. We ate our delicious sandwiches and then wandered over to play in a sand dune for a while. The kids next to us were really jealous of the air we got on those dunes. Who says white girls can't jump?

We wanted to climb one of the mountains to watch the sunset over the city. We huffed and puffed our way up the steep steps to set up and see the sunset. It was nice at first but nothing special, we were about ready to pack up and call it quits when Allison convinced us to stay just a little bit longer. The saying is true, good things come to those who wait and we saw a breathtakingly beautiful sunset. The weekend was off to a great start and it was only about to get better with Kit's pintxo tour of San Sebastian. Basically one of the reason's I had come. The pintxo apocalypse was a mix of the Anthony Bourdain tour and Kit's favourite spots. And the food was out of this world good. We started off eating Tigres mussels at La Mejillonera that were covered in an amazing tomato sauce. Then it was off to La Cuchara de San Telmo where we had a delicious risotto, steak and then it came down from heaven. A delicious buttery and perfectly cooked foie in an apple compote. I had never tried foie before and what a great start! Then we moved onto Hazea where Anthony Bourdain had pinxtos with 2 of the famous chefs from San Sebastian. Fantastic. Finally to Zeruko where we ate morcilla de burgos with pistachos, queso de la tetilla, and brie with you guessed it...more foie! Full and extremely happy, we stumbled out into the streets to find low and behold there was a festival in the Plaza Mayor! There was a parade, costumes, singing, and cute little basque children. Tired and happy we went to bed dreaming of churros and chocolate, which we would have for breakfast the next morning. Mmmmmmm. On Sunday there was more ice cream, more sun, the Cathedral, more mussels and saying goodbye to Allison. Kit and I noticed that the waves were really strong and crashing up against the city walls. So we walked out to los Peines del Viento to see the waves crashing up against them. Chillida also made holes into the floor of the walkway so that when the waves were big the water would shoot up like a gyser. To finish out of the last part of the vacation we had more foie, pintxos, went to a basque independence bar (yeah that was ummm interesting) ate more churros and got one last Juantxos sandwich for the bus ride back to Madrid. Could I ask for a better weekend? Food, good friends, and sun. Nope

Friday, February 11, 2011

the best laid plans of mice and men...

so last weekend i went to san sebastian to visit my friend kit. the trip was awesome and i was writing a long blog post complete with photos when my computer froze and all the icons disappeared. awesome. i'm working on what went wrong and i'll post when my laptop is up and running!!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

the birds & the bees

Every week I give private English classes to 6 children every week. Normally they are pretty cut and dry- "No you can't be brown eyes, you have brown eyes." But today one of them was pretty memorable. One of my favorite kid to teach all week is an 11-year old named Roberto. He is really good at English and more importantly really enthusiastic. This kid could talk to a brick wall in English. I strolled into the class expecting some funny school stories and homework, but today we had to study for a science test. Okay, no prob. Roberto flipped open the book: Male and Female Reproductive Systems. A little more in awkward than what I do with my 2nd graders but still easy enough to label the parts of the body etc. Then we got to the good stuff. How girls and boys change during puberty. We talked about how girls bodies changed and suddenly Roberto asked me "Yessica...what is a menstrual cycle?" At that moment, I understood how my 5th grade teacher Mrs. Fields must of felt while showing the girls in my class a Tia and Tamara video about getting your period. Totally lost for words, I tried to explain that when there is no baby the woman's egg has to leave the body. "So like when you pee?" Roberto asked. Hmmm not exactly. Then the light bulb turned on... "la regla!" ("your period!") Roberto shouted. "Yes, exactly!" I said trying frantically to turn to the next page and a different topic. Then a strange look crossed his face. "What?" I asked. He looked back at the book and pointed to the part where it said girls go through puberty around ages 11 or 12. He said, "So...girls in my class have the menstrual cycle?" I nodded. His eyes widened and he whispered, "But what did do they do with the blood?" I almost lost it. I think I'll save that explanation for another day.