Month: January 2013

Palma

My birth stone is topaz. Even the name is just….uhhggg topaaazzzz like the name of a person with frizzy hair, overly plain, maybe hasn’t showered, and you just don’t want to be near them or their personality.

I’m sorry topaz, but I wish I was a pearl. Pearl brings to mind all things lovely, light, good, pure, wholesome. When I got my ears pierced for the first time the studs I chose were pearl (not real of course because I was at Claire’s, and the lady told me I had fat lobes….ummm I’m 11 and you’re making me want to cry?!).  It is a jewel I have always loved, but never owned for real. It’s also something you can’t wear all the time unless you are a really important person or a Jackie O type.

pearl necklace

I'm sure that's just how it was found.

I’m sure that’s just how it was found.

Mallorca is a place I knew hardly anything about except that they have pearls. When my friend said she was going and I found a flight that was cheaper than going to Starbuck’s twice, did I hesitate to ask off of work? PEARLS.

The reason for the trip was to visit my friends study abroad host family and celebrate San Sebastian by grilling on the street, going to concerts, wearing red and devil horns, and according to my pictures drink expensive coffees with heart shaped foam.

The first one, next to a nice fire pit. Coat off in January, check.

The first one, next to a nice fire pit. Coat off in January, check.

My little special heart

My little special heart

It just never stopped. And I love the collage table.

It just never stopped. And I love the collage table.

There were some pros and cons to going to an Island in January with the biggest pro being less tourists- hardly any. The biggest con was probably that it rained for most of Saturday. Luckily it stopped at night because we promised the sky we would take a shot if it just let us have a peaceful non rainy torrada.

Results of a grill expert.

Results of a grill expert.

Torrada

Torrada

Las Ramblas

Las Ramblas

Sometimes the crisis can really quitar the fun out of everything though because we learned right away that one of the highlights of the whole fiesta was being taken out- fireworks. I love a good fireworks show. Just the pretty ones, not the loud ones. Those can go away. In the end I didn’t know what I was missing so everything was still awesome, including my personal favorite moment in the video below.

 

 

So far there is no evidence of me attempting to dance like that, but it is sure to leak soon. I wish that the U.S had cooler traditional dances, or cooler traditions in general. All the traditions I have come from my other background cultures from different countries….non are strictly U.S.A. meh.

IMG_2374 IMG_2378 IMG_2371 IMG_2416 IMG_2415

Let's play what will my future rich husband buy me.

Let’s play what will my future rich husband buy me.

The cool rainy weather didn’t slow us down too much, although we had some pretty killer siestas. Those usually go hand in hand with vacation though since during the work week it’s just not possible. It also gave us time to do things like make up a rap about our trip that mentioned each thing we did.

We achieved all that we wanted to do on the trip and on the last day the final moment to check off was seeing the inside of the Cathedral. We had attempted twice already and found it closed, so our last shot was to attend the Sunday night mass and cleanse away all of the sins we may have committed. We snuck in halfway through and it was a lovely experience and worth it to sneak the pictures below.

IMG_2388 IMG_2444 IMG_2448 IMG_2451

 

Now I’m curious about Palma in the warmer months to come. There are a ton of beaches, and some dope discotecas that are not open off season. Although for me I like the beach more in theory than reality. Sand is just terrible.

Carnavale is coming soon and last year I stayed in Logrono and dressed as a hippy. This year I might skip the party aspect and just use the long weekend to go somewhere cool. My time is truly slipping away. Can’t let that happen.

Un beso

 

At the end of the day….

all we have is who we are.

So we should all resolve to be better as much as possible and not just January 1 until going to the gym gets boring…. until you realize it’s almost spring break.

Each year people say they will “be nicer”  “exercise more” “spend more time with family” but those are about as solid as a politician’s promise to “make America better.” Does anyone know what that means by the way? My so called resolutions are about as fluffy as my examples, but they are things that I’m already doing and just want to continue doing….more….and better. Shoot.

I consider myself extreme. I don’t mean a wildly outgoing, thrill chasing, wackadoo. Although I know most of my students would define me as wackadoo; if they were even brave enough to utter such non-sense. I’m hard on myself when it comes to the work that I do. If I don’t feel like I’ve produced something amazing, then I feel it’s a total failure. I like to put my heart and soul into things, yet I tend not to because I don’t like them to get hurt. It may appear complex, but I promise I lead a simple life. At least in my daydreams.

What I really resolve is to do is make resolutions more often. My goals and dreams change pretty regularly especially since accomplishing them takes them off the to do list.

1. Run: I have recently taken to running. I currently run in bursts of 4 minutes max, then walk a little then run again…so I’m still on the couch to 5k plan and I’ve been on it since summer BUT I used to loathe running. I’m sure because I’m naturally terrible at it. This is also probably my 29th “go” at becoming a runner. The reason I keep trying is because it’s exercise and I like being active, and it’s free. What it has taught me is that if I keep trying something I don’t like, I could eventually change my mind about it. This has also happened with shrimp and minty things. I used to say that running a marathon is something I had zero interest in doing; like going to India; but as all of my students least favorite person sings “never say never” – Justin Bieber.

just runnin with my friends

just runnin with my friends

 

2. Cook: In college I could not have lived without a microwave. I used to microwave store bought cookies in an attempt to have that fresh out of the oven warmth and gooey-ness. I even microwaved a zebra cake once which I will warn you not do because they are already quite soft. College is that time when people say “oh, I live on my own so now I have to cook!” Well, actually you don’t because these places called stores and restaurants supply many already made things.

But I understand why cooking is better, healthier, cheaper etc. etc. I can’t pinpoint when this change came about but this summer I started to have this thing called lots of free time in a house stocked with food, so I guess It was my way of saying thanks to my parents for letting me live with them by occasionally supplying them with dinner after a long day at work.  Here in Spain I’ve had days where I throw some shrimp and vegetables in the frying pan and feel awesome, and others where I eat an apple a carrot and a flour tortilla and call it dinner (tonight)…..work in progress.

This really happened in my kitchen.

This really happened in my kitchen.

This really happened in a restaurant, but COULD happen in my kitchen one day.

This really happened in a restaurant, but COULD happen in my kitchen one day.

3. Teach: I always strive to be a better teacher. Who knows if I’m even any good. I sure don’t, and it’s hard to see any progress at all in my students when I only see them once every 2 weeks for 50 minutes. I also have no real curriculum and no real focus aside from the goal of giving my students many opportunities to speak a lot of English. Thus, I present whatever interesting topic or current event that pops into my head. It’s really an amazing opportunity that I have to purely teach. I don’t have to grade papers, or deal with parents, and no one is really watching what I’m doing.

It’s only slightly frustrating that I don’t know some of their names, but in general it’s a teaching dream. I can experiment with lesson ideas on these poor Spanish guinea pigs and they have to let me. What I really must do is prepare more. The weekends escape me, and I hardly have a spot in the day to take a deep breath. Saturday and Sunday I will henceforth dedicate at least an hour of thought in regards to teaching. Sincerely, me.

Can't say I haven't thought about this method

Can’t say I haven’t thought about this method

Sometimes...this is how I feel.

How I feel when my students say they are fine and didn’t do anything over the weekend. ZZZZzzzzzzzz.

 

4. Random acts of kindness: Today it was really cold, and since the supermarkets here don’t sell blankets like you might find at a Jewel or Dominick’s, I settled for a bag of croissants to give to the man who begs outside of Simply. He’s probably one of my favorite beggars because he doesn’t hassle you or make weird moaning sounds. In general I prefer to give bread or food items to those people anyways, just in case. But it gave me a bounce in my step to see him so grateful and smile.

I always think nice things about people, but sometimes I forget to say them out loud. Now when something pops into my head I’ll try and remember to say it “hey you look great today” “nice shirt” “cool shoes” “nice face” I know I like hearing those kinds of things. It can really turn a whole day around.

Be-Kind

 

well mush mush mush, blah blah blah now you know, and I promise the update on my fabulous weekend in Palma Mallorca is coming your way.

un beso

 

 

Tres tickets to 2013

Sevilla 2013 has been in the Campbell family plan since I decided to not have any other options but to return to Spain last year.

It’s one of the cities in Spain that I had heard only great things about from friends that had studied abroad, or other Spaniards that have gone on holiday (ha ha, vacation).

And because of Granada’s close (by U.S standards) proximity, the Alhambra was a must since the Moors are my dad’s “second favorite people, after the Romans.”

My stays in any given city are  no more than a quick weekend…2-3 days max. I run around, look at all the sites and only enter if they are free or cheap, eat everything, especially if it’s “typical”, and then return home dazed, happy, poorer, fatter, and maybe even more open minded….?

Well I was ready to have a slow paseo kind of a week in Sevilla. We didn’t have to run to 2-3 museums a day. We didn’t have to run at all! We could do one cultural touristy experience a day, and then live our lives normally since we rented a flat (aparment haha) where we could go home and read or nap in our own areas and not all be in the same hotel room like caged animals.

 

You made it my giant children!

You made it my giant children!

Our place was ideally located, in the Santa Cruz neighborhood….narrow streets, near the Cathedral and pretty much all the great toursity things.

IMG_1913 IMG_1914

Columbus, C. Dead.

Columbus, C. Dead.

Those oranges and blue sky don't quit.

Those oranges and blue sky don’t quit.

IMG_1930 IMG_1934

View from the top of the Giralda tower

View from the top of the Giralda tower

IMG_1939

Flamenco show 1

Flamenco show 1

Cuties

Cuties outside the Alcazar

IMG_1966 IMG_1968

 

Photos from the Alcazar. An excellent wannabe of the Alhambra.

Mama

Mama

I'll give you one artsy shot, but I think if you want to see the Alcazar, you shouldn't experience it via internet.

I’ll give you one artsy shot, but I think if you want to see the Alcazar, you shouldn’t experience it via internet.

IMG_1985 IMG_1996

Anyone have a baby? Perhaps a girl would work best?

Anyone have a baby? Perhaps a girl would work best.

If I was small....

If I was small….

Plaza Espana from the eyes of a girl on a tourist horse ride.

Plaza Espana from the eyes of a girl on a tourist horse ride.

7 boys, 1 bike

7 boys, 1 bike

Being with my parents was so great, but my aunt really said it best….it was like my practice for having children. (on vacation).

Lesson 1: Walk slow. I’m so used to running from class to class knocking over old people, and people that smoke (aka EVERYONE), and I only occasionally remember to slow down. My parents helped me remember that.

Lesson 2: Order everyone’s food: Pretty straightforward. My parents don’t speak Spanish, and I consider myself pretty good until it comes to menus. If you’re not sure, your default is that it’s part of a pig.

Lesson 3: naps. Yes i’m in Spain, but I don’t actually take a siesta. The time just exists for me to be incapable of doing anything except eat for 2 hours until I go teach again.

Lesson 4: Crazy questions: Hey, why is that woman wearing an ugly shirt? Why is this TV show so bad?  What are they eating? What’s this Latin scrawl mean? How come the sun is shining?

IMG_2039

in Plaza de Espana with the Logrono tile.

In Plaza de Espana with the Logrono tile.

Love of past, present and future.

Love of past, present and future.

Becquer and attacking angel.

Becquer and attacking angel.

12 grapes at the most anti climactic countdown....ever.

12 grapes at the most anti climactic countdown….ever.

dinner uvas

Nochevieja dinner uvas

headed towards Triana

headed towards Triana

If I see one more Belen....

If I see one more Belen….

IMG_2111

Carmen

Carmen

Worship Mary

Worship Mary. 

The sun sure did shine in Sevilla, and we had a steady temperature of 18 Celcius. The adjustment for my parents was with the fact that the sun doesn’t really start working until about 1 p.m. It’s similar in Logrono I guess, but I’m usually trapped indoors and it’s cold anyways so I don’t pay attention. And while those southern Spain dwellers could not have been more genius in their design for keeping things cool, I didn’t want to feel quite so cool in January. We took every opportunity to eat in a sunny plaza, or find a bench that wasn’t tucked in a cool narrow street corner. We had a sunny day in Granada.  Even though it was about as cold as Logrono, it was still nice for walking around the beautiful Alhambra gardens.

The Alhambra

The Alhambra in the distance.

IMG_2174 IMG_2175 IMG_2177 IMG_2192 IMG_2194 IMG_2207 IMG_2211 IMG_2218

 

Since my only experience with Granada was the Alhambra, I can’t critique it too well as a city although it did seem like a nice size with good shopping and some interesting hippie dippy kind of people.

Sevilla showed me all the things that people think of when they think of Spain without having ever been. After studying abroad one summer in San Sebastian, and living for 8 months in Logrono and mainly keeping to the north, I didn’t understand why the top associations with Spain were always bulls, sangria, Flamenco, beaches….

It seems bogus (explain that in another language) to say that Sevilla confirmed many of the stereotypes about Spain, but it goes beyond all of those things. I got a special feeling being there that the city motto was further ingrained in me.

NO8DO. “No me ha dejado” “It (Sevilla) has not left me/abandoned me” It was those rather slow moments of walking around with my parents that I enjoyed just being there and looking at all the well dressed people and wondering why there was a crisis when I could barely enter the Corte Ingles without getting stampeded.

 

Now that It’s been 2013 for three weeks I could officially say my resolutions but I have to make sure they are really all possible and make sense first.

Friday I’m off to Palma-Mallorca for the weekend to gather some pearls and celebrate San Sebastian and chase away the devil with fireworks. I’m pretty sure both of those statements are real, but we’ll all know 100% next week.

un beso