Monday, February 28, 2011

I resent you for being so short - An Ode to February

I don't like that February only has 28 days-- it makes time go by even faster, if that's even possible.  I was just getting used to the idea of February and I think with 2 more days I might've had my fill.  Then, it would be permissible to change to March.  But now?? That's a bit too rash.  Fuck you, February, and your hastiness and your need to be all unique.  I don't like it.  Because that means I have less time to reach my 4 post-per-month goal this month.  Not like 2 more days would've really made a difference, I really should be more honest with myself, but February made for a good scapegoat.  Also, it made for an interesting apostrophe with which to open my post.  God, I'm such a NERD.  Shut up.

So, that was an obnoxious little rant... Wait, whaaa??  I haven't talked to you since Berlin??  Where the hell have I been?  That's a good question.  Well, let's see-- Number 1: I moved out of my original housing situation and in doing so, reclaimed my sanity.  Big changes going on here, folks.  Honestly, I think architects are gods because if you think about it, those fuckers are the ones responsible for shaping our worlds.  I'm sure this question's been asked before (probably by me) but how different would our lives be if the fundamental geometric shape in architectural design was the circle?  Can you imagine living in global buildings, in circle rooms, sleeping on an oval bed?  THAT WOULD REDEFINE THE ENTIRE HUMAN EXPERIENCE!!!  maybe......
How did I get to talking about this?  Oh, right-- well, all I'm saying is that those motherfuckers have a lot of power.  The assholes who designed that apartment on Castanyer, for example, have proved to play a key role in shaping the character of my month and a half in Barcelona. Granted, there were a bunch of other factors thrown into the mix (blah, blah, blah I don't really feel like getting into them right now).  So, let's just stick to placing the blame on the anonymous and the conceptual rather than the living and the breathing.  It's less messy that way.

So from update Number 1 comes Number 2:  I moved in, to a new, happier, healthier home.  I'm living now with another girl from my program, Lorienne, and my host mom.  Her name is Mercedes and I love her.  She is so kind and calm, and patient and caring.  She's a really great cook-- I'd be so bold to say the BEST tortillas in Barcelona.  But that's because they're made with love.  That's what I had for dinner tonight, actually.  What it is, is just egg mixed with onion, potatoes, salt, and olive oil, and maybe some garlic, cooked up into this little pie that you slice into triangles.  Oooo I love it so much! With some pan con tomate, corn salad, and zucchini soup.  Mmmmm... What else does she make?  There's always a variety.  And always generous servings, and seconds if we want.  And then a fruit for dessert.  Dinners are also where I get a good part of my Spanish practice in.  We talk about lots of different things.  And she helps to fix my Spanish when I don't say things the right way.  In the helpful way, not the annoying way. I can notice myself improving a lot, which is exciting!

Speaking of exciting (that, my friends, was a segue)-- I joined the UPF choir.  I couldn't join the theatre because auditions are only held the first trimester.  So I joined the choir instead.  It's cool-- I mean I've only been to one rehearsal.  It only meets once a week for 3 hours, with a pausa in between.  Yea, so, I had my first rehearsal last Tuesday.  Everyone seemed really welcoming.  I came in with this really dramatic entrance.  I was all flustered and nervous because I thought I had to actually audition and shit.  So I come in late, apologizing and shaking and the directors just like, "It's cool.  Take some music.  Sit over there."  "Oh, so I'm in?  Kind of anticlimactic but sweet, I guess, thanks..", as I awkwardly take my seat in a room that sounds oddly quiet after filling it up with all my loud American gesturing and explaining.  Some people thought it was cool that I was American.  They liked my Doc Martins. :)  There was only one other American there, he's from my program. I'm not sure where the rest of the people come from-- if they're Catalan or if some of them are exchange students, as well... I'll find out more about them at rehearsal tomorrow, I guess. I'm actually really looking forward to it! It's the only opportunity I have to meet Spanish people and it seems like the people are really open and receptive to making new friends.  So we'll see what happens!  I'll keep you posted.

Alright, well, I at least got two post in for February.  I'm going to end this before it turns 12AM.  I should also go because I have a midterm to study for, for tomorrow.  My Spanish Golden Age literature class.  That should be interesting..  I don't know how much studying I'll get done tonight though.  I just ate three chocolate-covered digestive cookies and some fried nuts so I'm feeling a food coma coming on.  But I'll at least make an effort, put up a good fight until the salty-sweet-chocolately-sleepy goodness takes over me.  Good night.  Colorful dreams.  Take care.  Snore.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

One Month Anniversary Post-- Sparkle, Sparkle

So reading through my last blog it seems I left you guys hanging in a pretty intense place.  I wish I could say that things have gotten better with the program and all, but they haven't.  Not really. No. This experience so far has proved to be challenging but in a way that I didn't anticipate.  I thought that my biggest obstacle would be the adapting to the culture thing but I've experienced very little of that thanks to IES.  The greater challenge has been finding my place amongst this insular group of Americans.  To be honest, it feels a lot like high school.  I fucking sucked at high school.  I couldn't play the game.  And I still can't.  I can't handle the bullshit.  But maybe that's just the nature of the corporative urban study abroad beast. It's loaded with bullshit.  I mean, it's not entirely bad, don't get me wrong.  They've organized a way to house me, to feed me, to educate me.  But with the important necessities comes a boatload of bullshit.  The experience I'm looking for can only be found independently.  What I'm looking for will always be outside of the institution.  I mean it makes sense.  I've always hated being guided my the hand, cudgeled, pampered and flattered. I mean seriously, what's this shit?  I'm an adult. I can go off on my own, discover things for myself.  Aha, revelation-- misery exists within the system.  I have get out and take control over my experience here.  I'm capable.  I'm a big girl.  Fuck this program.  It wasn't designed for me. I'm doing my own thing. So. there. Fuck. yea.

Alright, that's enough shit talk.  Let's discuss happy things now, shall we.  Like how beautiful this city is.  Like how I discover new places everyday.  Like how even the extremest of weathers the temperature comfortably fluctuates between the realm of a New York fall and that of a New York spring.  Or how about my super cool language exchange partner, LĂ­dia, whom I met for the first time last week, talking Spanish over coffee and exploring the uncharted nooks of the city. Or what about my trip to Berlin where I met up with the Chelak sisters amd lived under the generous, cozy, and loving hospitality Jamila's super cool parents. Berlin is another great city. An incredible contrast to Barcelona.  When I was there, it was cold and rainy and raw.  So much of it was still deconstructed, or under construction, as a result of what occasionally appeared to be remaining vestiges from the war.  But from the destruction there has evolved so much life.  So much art.  Art that springs from the streets. From discarded scrap metal and other left over waste, the entrails of urban devastation.  Artist turn waste and ruin into beauty and life and meaning.  It's such an emblematic example of the transformative and regenerative potential of art and the artist.  I found something so uniquely and secretly beautiful about Berlin. It's not beautiful like Paris which is all about the pristine aesthetic form and layout of the city.  Nor is it like Barcelona which has la playa and the mountains and beautiful weather all year round.  The beauty of Berlin is found in it's ability to survive. 

Well, I have class soon so I should head on over and get my ass on the metro.  I miss you and I'll talk to you soon!  Take care!