Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Ratoncito Perez

Last week I saw a play with all the infantil kids at school about the Spanish tooth fairy...who is a rat. Which got me to thinking: in the US when you lose a tooth a nice little princess fairy comes to leave you a quarter (or nowadays 5 bucks wtf? kids are so lucky). 
Awww what a nice little fairy

Well in Spain when you lose a tooth...a rat crawls into your bed to leave you some euros. His name is Ratoncito Perez and he looks something like this:
I think I'll stick with the Tooth Fairy. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Milk was a bad choice

 Grocery stores are a great way to see cultural differences. Often when I go traveling, I love to wander through a local grocery store for a while just to see what products they have and the weird things that pop up in the aisles. 
Typical American grocery aisle
American grocery stores are generally really big. Even the "smaller" stores are huge by most European standards. There are lot of aisles, lots of options, and lots of products. Having so many options is one of the things I believe the American consumer has come to expect. 

In Europe and in Spain, neighborhood grocery stores are generally smaller with fewer options (minus their olive oil selection which has an entire aisle). And one of the most shocking things I remember from my first few visits to a supermercado was the milk. It was just sitting there on a normal air...at room temperature! I remember standing there for a couple minutes totally dumbfounded. Milk not refrigerated...was I in a third world country or something?

I quickly learned that most of Europe and 95% of Spain drinks UHT milk (for ultra high temperature milk). The milk is heated at a very high temperature for a short period of time allowing it to be stored at room temperature for long periods of time. Since Spain is a hot country and refrigerated transport is expensive, it makes since why it is normal to be able to keep milk at room temp.

But after drinking a glass a day of fresh pasteurized milk as a child and adult in the US, I'm still wary of the UHT. I usually only drink it mixed with something (like Cola Cao) or in cereal because the taste is a little off-putting. 

Expats or people who have tried UHT milk, do you notice a difference in the taste? Do you like UHT milk?

Monday, January 16, 2012

When Spanish gets complicated

Remember how I said having a Spanish novio helps you learn Spanish? Well check out what he got me for Christmas:

He tells me that my questions about the subjuctive, por vs. para and other Spanish grammar specifics have gotten to difficult. SPorque es asi he says, "Because that's the way it is". Well I need better answers! So he got me book. And now I have homework. Be careful what you wish for...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

And a star was born

Yeah right. But after 2 months of funky dance class, I decided to show off my sweet moves to the public. For your amusement and my moment of Fama here's the video (look for the tall guiri in the back left corner):

Attention Beyonce: I'll be expecting a call when you're looking for back up dancers in your next video!

Saturday, January 7, 2012


I have a love hate relationship with airports. On one hand I loved coming home this Christmas to have my family waiting for me with open arms. I think airport hugs are about the best hugs on the planet. I have spent an amazing break spending time with my friends and family, trying to catch up with all the people whose lives I've missed out on in the last year. On the other, airport goodbyes are about the worst in the world. I hate goodbyes anyway, but getting on plane makes them so much harder. 

As I spoke and visited many of my friends, I found myself thinking how much everyone has changed. Well, they haven't changed but they have. All my friends are in school or working, building their life after college. And after being away for almost an entire year, it struck me just how much of their lives I've missed. When talking to my friends I felt like I knew almost nothing about their current lives: what they were doing, who they were dating, the mundane stuff that happens in their lives. Although its hard for many people to believe, its one of the part of living abroad that sucks. Everyone at home moves on without you. 

I know I can't stop everyone else from continuing on with their lives, but I can be better about keeping in touch with them about it. When it comes to living between 2 countries I feel you have to take the Tim Gunn approach to it, you have to make it work.