Sunday, January 29, 2012

Waiting for Javi

I took a short trip to Madrid this weekend. Jessica, Greyson and I left Friday afternoon and returned to Toledo late Saturday evening. We didn't have a concrete plan, except to get out of Toledo for a bit. After setting into our hostel, we wandered in search of a snack. It was chilly and drizzly so we ducked into a warm looking bar and quickly improved our condition. We wandered the city for awhile, stopping in for a caña (small house beer) whenever we needed a break from the wind. By chance, we ended up in front of a jazz bar that Jessica had heard about; the last time she tried to go it was too crowded. The live music (a very talented piano and harmonica duo) didn't start until 9:00, and it was 7:15, but we went inside to get a spot. We munched on chips and olives (and wine) until the show started and we ordered dinner. The music was great, and the atmosphere was cheerful and relaxed. It was a lovely evening. We went back to the hostel "early" by Spanish terms (in bed before 1:00am? Silly).

We were greeted with sunny skies Saturday morning as we left the hostel in search of churros con chocolate.

After "breakfast" we wandered (we did a lot of that!) in the direction of the Cathedral and Royal Palace, taking our time and enjoying the life of the city. We toured the Cathedral and then walked to the Temple of Debod, which is an ancient (over 2,200 years old) Egyptian temple gifted to Spain in 1968 in thanksgiving for military help. I visited both sights in my trips last year, but I can't complain about simply being in Madrid.

After a hearty lunch in the Chueca district we were...sleepy. So we did some window shopping in an alternative mall and walked the streets, thankful that it was not rainy. We ended up in Puerta del Sol, and took in the different street performers (earlier, I was scared, really scared, by two "heads" sitting on tables who loudly growled as I walked passed. I jumped in the air and shrieked...). We noticed a crowd drawing across from the Correos building and we thought we stumbled upon Los Goya awards-the Spanish equivalent of the Oscars. There were guard rails set up and we had a great view of the red carpet. Jessica and I immediately assumed that we would be graced by the presence of Javier Bardem himself, and we forced Greyson to wait with us. Ninety minutes and several guests later, we had frozen fingers (it was 7:40pm at this point), poor-quality pictures of people we didn't recognize, and no Javi. I did a little research today and I don't think that it was the actual awards, but some sort of reception for nominees, perhaps. It was still an experience!

We meet a fellow auxiliar and her husband for dinner at a small Thai restaurant and with full stomachs we made our way back to the bus station and caught the 11:00pm bus to Toledo.

I really love Madrid. I don't think I would enjoy calling it home, but I do intend to make more trips like this. It is so close! Today I am catching up on lesson prep and homework for my online class.

I hope you all are well: safe and warm. I will admit, I miss having snow!

Un abrazo.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Huele Barca

"Soccer" as we know it doesn't exist here, but "futbol" es la vida. Recently, when I told my gym classes we were playing soccer, they looked at me blankly. When I said, "Fine, it's football", they erupted in cheers. I think I even received a hug for that. (That's the easiest way to feel loved as a teacher-give them what they want).

The hottest rivalry is between the leading teams: Real Madrid and Barcelona FC. Today there is a big game as the teams vie for the Copa del Rey.

In honor of the big game (and this is in no way an endorsement of a particular team) I have a little anecdote to share today. This is actually from awhile ago, but I don't think I have written about it yet...

I was in a preschool class-three year old students, to be precise-and it was chaotic, as usual. Suddenly, we all noticed a horrible smell. The teacher laughed and said: "Someone pooped his pants!" (Side note: Yes, my decision to not teach preschool is connected to this day). In the middle of the commotion, a little boy piped up and said: "Huele caca...huele Barcelona!"

Translation: "It smells like poop...It smells like Barcelona!"

Out of the mouths of babes.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Interesting find

Jessica recently discovered that our building, an alleged palace back in the "day", is not only lives up to the reputation, but has two units which are used as vacation rentals. Visitors welcome! (But I'm in Number 6!)

Now, if only I could say our apartment is as nice as these look!

¡Feliz año!

¡Feliz año y un beso a todos! Lo siento que no he escrito desde deciembre.

Bueno, estoy aquí, en Toledo, de nuevo. Pasé muy genial la navidad y las vacaciones, pero el tiempo fue demasiado rápido.

Con el año nuevo intento de escribir (y hablar, y pensar, y vivir) más en español.

No tengo mucho para decir hoy. Llegué en Toledo el día 9 por la noche y la semana me pasó rápido y sin mucho dormir. Ahora estoy intentando de preparar estos meses!

Happy New Year to all! I am sorry I have not written since December!

I am here, back in Toledo again. I enjoyed Christmas vacation very much. Time with my family (and boy!) was just what I needed. It was difficult to say goodbye, again.

I don't have too much to say. I arrived late on January 8 and went right back to work the next morning. Last week passed in a blur with little sleep. Now I am just trying to prepare for the next few months!

I will write more later.

Un abrazo.