Sunday, December 30, 2007

Night fog, delusions, library

1. On a Friday night out in the city, Aran and I pass the cathedral tower that is shrouded in a thick mist. All around us, the air is cluttered with tiny specks of sparkle.

2. Learning more about Spain´s history, while enjoying another woman´s stories of travel in Miranda France´s ¨Don Quixote´s Delusions: Travels in Castilian Spain.¨

3. The massive library around the corner of the flat, that holds English newspapers, DVD´s, music, and books. And it´s all free!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas food, movies, and laziness

Note: I´m on holiday until Jan. 7, therefore not at school and will be found lazing about in my apartment until then. Unfortunately, my blogging will be sporadic, but hey, it´s the holidays!

1. Turkey, stuffing, vegetables, muffins, cabbage, mashed potatoes combined with a Spanish tortilla to add a bit of cultural flair, and a tiramisu cake plus Irish coffees make for one marvelous Christmas dinner, a full and satisfied stomach and plenty of hours on the couch.

2. Watching ¨It´s a Wonderful Life¨ on Christmas Eve.

3. Just being lazy. Not having anywhere to go. Reading on the couch, snacking on baked goodies and Spanish sweets from the grocery store, watching movies, and staying in bed until I decide I should probably get up before it gets dark again.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Lisbon, Portugal, Pictures

Above - Lisbon dinner

Above - Lisbon dinner

Above - picturesque cafe alley in Lisbon
Above - Lisbon

Above - Lisbon´s castle lit up
Above - Sintra, Portugal (tile bench)

Above - Sintra

Above - sloping streets of Lisbon
Above - Lisbon
Above - Me holding the pineapple tree

Above - Me lifting the pineapple tree

Above - Me and pineapple tree

Above - Lisbon

Above - Santa trolley

Above - giant tree in Lisbon park

Above - Lisbon

Above - are the people real or not?

Above - first day in the hostel, Lisbon

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Simpsons, Spanish treats, countdown

1. Watching Simpson Christmas episodes in two of my classes today.

2. Having some wine and Spanish biscuits and sweets from the headmaster of Lourdes yesterday.

3. Knowing that I have 5 more classes to teach in 2007 and I won´t have to listen to whining Spanish children for another two weeks.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas bingo, shoppers, snow

1. Not teaching from the book, therefore not having to lug all these books around, and therefore not having to really think, but just watch the kids color away the hours before the Christmas holidays.

2. On my walk to school, I see all kinds of people with wrapped presents peeking out of their shopping bags.

3. The first flakes of winter drifting from the sky slowly and sparsely, yet making the sidewalk wet.

Monday, December 17, 2007

No fumar, calamare bocadillo, darts

1. While checking emails and playing pool at an Internet cafe on Saturday afternoon, I noticed signs everywhere ¨smoking is prohibited¨. Yet, during the entire time Aran and I were there, the owner never took a cigar out of his mouth once and kept the door open so that the freezing cold air could somewhat mask it. These are the times when I´m glad that I come from a country where when there is a sign that ¨smoking is prohibited¨smoking is indeed prohibited.

2. It seems that Burger King is a bit more fashionable in Spain. Teenagers would rather sit around a plastic table with plastic chairs and rustle their hamburger wrappers while sipping cokes out of paper cups while paying more money than it´s all worth, while I can sit and nibble on a calamare sandwich for half the price while sitting at a wooden table with wooden chairs. Different countries, different fast foods.

3. To escape the frigid afternoon, Aran and I find a nice cozy underground bar with a dart board.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Decorations, almost over, gloves

1. For the last ten to fifteen minutes of class, I´m allowing my students to color and decorate my classroom with pictures of Christmas.

2. I´m tired, and yet another week is nearly over.

3. I found a pair of gloves that I´ve been looking for this morning. A pair that Alicia mailed to me in Hungary and that are mittens/gloves with an opening top so that my hands can actually function and stay warm.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Packages, gnocchi, happy game

1. I received not one, but three pieces of mail on the same day. There´s nothing better than mail from a familiar address while abroad. A package with real brown sugar, vanilla, and real chocolate chips with some amazing Smart Wool socks that I can´t get enough of, plus more, from my parents, a birthday-Xmas card from none other than Jer (Koszi Jer!!!) and even though it´s mildly less exciting, a package of information on Spanish lessons from another language school.

2. Aran and I made a combination of gnocchi and caprese salad dinner in an attempt to replicate the one that I ordered in Lisbon and it turned out to be just right.

3. Today, while playing a Christmas bingo game, one usually obnoxious student said, ¨This game¨

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Hearty dinner, new reading, feeling rested

1. A dinner of mashed potatoes, chicken, roasted vegetables, and Irish coffees.

2. A new book about Spain, that I ironically enough, bought in Portugal. I can spend free moments leafing through it learning about the Basque Country (Euskara), different day trips to go on weekends, and a little about Spain´s history.

3. Despite having traveled the entire weekend, 16 hours on a train, and hiking up and down Lisbon´s hilly San Franciso-esque streets, I feel refreshed today. Maybe it´s the fact that I´ve gotten out of Dodge for a bit and that gives me energy.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Away from computer, warm weather, a few of my favorite things

1. I´ve been away from the computer for what seems like a really long time and actually, it feels nice. Either the Internet server isn´t letting me access Blogger or I´ve been away from the school. It doesn´t bother me.

2. It was 65 degrees Fahrenheit, 18 degrees Celsius in Lisbon this weekend.

3. Swordfish, Indian food, pizzas...things that seem to be inaccessible here in Valladolid, but were happily available everywhere you looked in Lisbon.

4. New pictures to post...coming soon!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Hippo, birthday card, and Christmas lunch

Yikes, I just had a four day weekend away from the blog...

1. I find that Aran has bought me that red-sweatered, comical stuffed hippo in the window of a stationery shop for my birthday. I can´t stop giggling when I realize what´s in the bag.

2. Michelle has made me a birthday card with all of my colleague´s signatures on it. We share the same birthday, so I got her a box of Chip´s Ahoy and some magic candles to put in her cubby hole at work.

3. A nice Christmas lunch with the language school at the most massive table I´ve ever eaten at and getting to talk with people I don´t usually see.