Tuesday, December 30, 2008

te echo de menos

Okay, so not gonna lie, I enjoy the carpeted floors and the indoor heating. I like answering the phone in my own house and raiding the cupboards for random snacks. And it's great to be able to call and text people without worrying about jacking up my already-astronomical phone bill.

But all that doesn't mean I wouldn't fly back tomorrow if I were given the chance.

He's emailed me once. My biggest fear? That he was only waiting until I left the country, to spare my feelings or some crap like that, and now he's going to quietly back out of my life. That he never intended to stay in touch with me; that - although he honestly will miss me, because, naive or not, I believe that he will - he'll realize that it could never have gone anywhere and a long-distance friendship isn't worth the time it takes.

But then there's my optimistic side, the part of me that remembers his face when he said goodbye to me on Christmas Eve; that wonders why he made such an effort to call me every day of my vacation, even waking up at 6:30 Saturday morning to talk to me one last time before I boarded my plane; that can't forget all the times he told me I was different from anyone he'd ever met, that I had been so good for him, that he didn't want me to leave.

So I'm naive. There are worse ways to live.

Love always,

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

almost final thoughts

Before coming to Spain, I'd never had something worry me so much that I lost sleep over it, or that I made myself sick over it. Both have happened here, more than once. Life here is tranquila - I have no job, no homework, my host mom does my dishes and my laundry and all I have to do is enjoy myself. How does that add up to giving me more stress than I've ever experienced in my life?

Well, I'll be home soon. I'll be depressed for a while, but it'll be much safer for me there.

P.S. it is effing COLD here. Spain is not prepared for this weather! Why the hell else would no one have indoor heating?? I riddle you that. No indoor heating, tile floors, everything built out of stone...bah! My toesies are congelados.

Love always,

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I love Switchfoot

Wish I had what I needed
to be on my own
'cause I feel so defeated
and I'm feeling alone

And it all seems so helpless
and I have no plans
I'm a plane in the sunset
with nowhere to land

And all I see,
it could never make me happy
And all my sandcastles
spend their time collapsing

Let me know that you hear me,
Let me know your touch
Let me know that you love me,
Let that be enough


She turns like the ocean,
she tells no emotion,
she's been gunning down the fight
She's just reminiscing,
blood sweat and one thing's missing
She's been breaking up inside, inside

Singing without tongues
screaming without lungs
I want more than my lonely nation,
I want more than my lonely nation
Desperate, we are young
separate, we are one
I want more than my desperation,
I want more than my lonely nation

Don't leave me hollow,
I'm tired
Don't leave me hollow,
I'm tired of feeling low,
of feeling hollow


Everyone's been scared to death of dying here alone

She is easier than love,
it's easier than life,
it's easier to fake and smile and bribe

it's easier to lie
it's easier to leave,
it's harder to face ourselves at night,
feeling alone,
what have we done?
What is the monster we've become?
Where is my soul?


Rumor has it you love me
Rumor has it the world spins upside down
Rumor has it my only hope is in you
And the rumors are true

I turn everything over,
I turn myself in
I turn everything over,
I turn myself in
There's nothing left to me to defend,
I turn everything over
I turn myself in


This week I'm indebted to those who listened to me when I needed to talk: Mary, Michelle, Michael (alliteration? weird), Katie, Talia - I don't think they'll ever know how much their support means to me. But they're pretty much incredible.

P.S., This is possibly the first year of my life that I haven't made a little red and green paper chain to count down to Christmas. But seriously, guys - it's only 16 days away! I miss Christmas music and Christmas movies. I can't remember what prompted it, but yesterday I had this random longing to watch The Santa Clause. Maybe I'll have a weird little catch-up movie party when I come home.

Love always,

Friday, December 5, 2008

quiero ir, pero a la vez, no.

My parents come two weeks from today, and so ends this grand adventure.

Okay, so...a month and a half ago, I was totally convinced that I could not spend another minute in Cadiz. So I decided to cut my year short and come home for winter quarter. Europe would still be here in a few years, right?

I wish I'd waited to make that decision. The week after - seriously, the very next week - everything started looking up. C'est la vie, I suppose.

Pero es muy difícil. Y sí, voy a escribir el resto de esto en español. No es muy importante; no hace falta para ellos que no pueden entender.

Hay un chico. Un español. Y...al principio, no iba a ser nada muy serio; sólo alguien con quien podía practicar español y pasar tiempo; un chico que me prestaba atención. Pero ahora....no sé; él es muy importante en mi vida. Me gusta mucho pasar tiempo con él; es simpático, gracioso, divertido, y....le gusto. Puedo ser sincera con él - no sé si es que cuando hablo español, soy más honesta, pero cuando hablo con él, digo todo que pienso. Puedo ser quien soy con él. Y él tiene más experiencia y más de un...sentido de lo que quiere que otros chicos que he conocido.

Y ahora....me quedan sólo dos semanas. Dos. Mis padres vienen el 19 de diciembre. Tengo que irme, tengo que regresar a los EE.UU., y no sé si voy a volver a verle más....jamás en mi vida. No puedo pensar en eso. Me hace daño. No sé si tengo un futuro con él, pero....puede ser. Si podía tener la oportunidad, podría ser algo muy bueno. Y ahora...tengo que irme. No quiero pensar en eso!!

Vale. 2 semanas, más la semana que paso con mis padres aquí. Salgo del país el 27 de diciembre, y dejo aquí toda mi vida, todas las cosas que me han encantado por los últimos 4 meses.

No me lo puedo.

Amor para siempre,

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I can't find the Spanish word for procrastinate

and that leads me to ask myself, Why am I wasting time on a language that doesn't even accomodate my study schedule (or lack thereof)? Point for English.

A ver. Let's recap my Spain experience so far.

September: Go to the beach every day after school, play volleyball in the waves, get tan, go shopping, eat ice cream, walk along the water at sunset, do the single page of homework in the 10 minutes before class on the morning it's due. Vale.

October: Sit outside at cafes or on the steps of La Catedral after school and drink tea, continue to watch YouTube videos in my Lengua 2 class, walk along the beach after dinner, do the single page of homework in the 10 minutes before class on the morning it's due. Sweet.

November 1-19ish: Go home and take a siesta after class, talk with people on Skype before dinner, try to read Soldados de Salamina after dinner and instead choose to read good books, dress up cute and go out every night of the week to flirt with the cute bartenders at Bhopal and Nahu. Wake up 10 minutes before class and neglect to do the single page of homework because we never go over it in class anyway. Pretty dece.

November now: Trip to Granada this past weekend, taking up Friday-Sunday of potential study time. Lit 2 exam yesterday, covering 9 poems, an incredibly boring novel, and 3 movies. 15-minute presentation and paper due in Lit 2 next Tuesday, explaining why the poetry of Carlos Marzal should or shouldn't be read. 30-minute - NO JOKE, 30 MINUTES - presentation in Lengua 1 next Wednesday about the Internet. Art History paper on La Catedral due next Thursday. And oh yes, let's not forget; trip to London this Thursday-Sunday, which I planned before knowing that these hijos-de-puta profesores were going to dump 3 months of homework on the next two weeks.

It is not extremely comforting to remember that after next week, I'll be back to the whole go-home-and-siesta-every-afternoon-before-saliendoing-every-night pattern. I have to survive this week. 30-minute presentation??!? That's a SERMON! Srsly, Victor. Por que nos odias!?!

And it's cold. All the time. My house - like most of the houses here - doesn't have indoor heating. I am cold all day long, even when I get under the covers with all my coats and sweatpants and socks. My toes are frozen. And I'm going to complain about it because I can, so, nyeh.

And I have less than a month left, and I'm going to miss it. It's beautiful here. Finally getting chilly outside, but in the sun it's perfect. And I'm going to miss going out at night and getting to talk to people from all over Europe. And I'm going to miss hanging out with my Spanish guy and seeing my Spanish improve daily. I'm excited to come home, but I don't want to leave just yet.

Oh - add to the stress. Trying to figure out the lease agreement for an apartment that is halfway across the world and in a time zone 9 hours behind me = MUY DIFICIL. No me gusta, y estoy muy estresada todo el dia. Pobrecita Katie; ella ha tenido que hacer todo.

So, yes. En conclusión, this week is going to be fun, fun, fun. I'm SO EXCITED.

Love always,

Friday, November 14, 2008

dos mas


11. When I asked for a lemon after taking Cointreau on Wednesday night, the FINE French bartender Maxime put it in my mouth with his fingers. Almost fell off my bar stool.
(11.1. I can hold Cointreau for longer than any of my friends. Chya. Burns like hell, but I like it.)

12. Same fine French bartender Maxime found me and added me on Facebook, all by himself, and proceeded to write "soft skin, red lips, so kissable" on my wall. Um....okay!

If all French boys are this hot, why the crap am I studying Spanish?

Love always,

Sunday, November 9, 2008

november highlights (thus far, ella)

1.) Stayed out til 8:30 last Saturday morning, walking home as the sun came up. Turned into a nocturnal day; I went to sleep at 8:52 and woke up at 4:30. Awesome.

2.) Shots that taste like chocolate cake (for reals) for my friend's birthday.

3.) Election night party at our favorite bar - our beloved (and muy guapo) bartenders put CNN on the big screen, instead of the weird-ass music videos they usually play (freakin' Spain, dude), and we cheered every time a state came up blue. Cheered even harder when they played a commercial with images of Seattle. Pike Place we miss you!! Also got to shake my head and laugh at the American boys who dragged tables over and played beer pong. Guess they miss home a lot these days.

4.) Re-downloading Limewire and downloading fun dance-y songs, so now I can have dance parties in my room when I need to warm up. I'm sorry, I know it's awful, but I love "I Kissed a Girl" by Katy Perry. Something about the beat. But my favorite is "Hips Don't Lie." How did I not have this song before now??

P.S. My senior year of high school, Hips Don't Lie was my AP U.S. History teacher's ringtone. Mr. Wilson, 6'5" or something like that, wonderfully dry sense of humor; his phone rang in class one time and he said, "Oh, it's Shakira, she's been doggin' me." Amazing.

5.) Walking to my friend's house today and realizing that my jacket, however cute, was completely unnecessary because it was in the 70s, perfectly blue skies and sunny like the middle of September. B-E-A-Utiful.

6.) Flirting - successfully - with...let's see. Hot Italian bartender named Fabio (I know); hot German student named Helge; hot Spaniard named Felix (like the cat, he says)...I think that's everyone of note. I call it successful because they gave me besitos. Check for Spain.

7.) Going out with the aforementioned Spaniard 2 weekends in a row and spending a good 5 1/2 hours each time practicing my Spanish. True, he has to repeat some more colloquial words several times before I get what he's saying, but we had legit conversations and I'm feeling pretty confident about my language skills. Word, yo.

8.) Bought cute skinny jeans and the sexiest shirt I've ever owned or worn or seen. Vale.

9.) Historia del Arte was only a half hour long on Friday and then the teacher bought us coffee (well, tea for me). Love it.

10.) Talked to Roman and Kaetochi for like an hour and a half on Thursday and then - finally!! - got to talk to Sarah for the first time since I've been over here. (I'm not counting the times we tried and failed because of sketchy internet.) The rest of y'all - freakin' download Skype and call me. I miss you.

Love always,

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I like late-night skype talks about poetry

So I told Ella I was going to sleep. Oops. Didn't mean to lie, and I do have an awful headache, but I just had to post. Ay, mi.

I have a 3-page list of things I miss from home, ranging from grass (they have NONE here!) to 24-hour supermarkets (lazy effing Spaniards and their siesta) (no hatin' on the siesta, but srsly) to my dad's singing "Oh what a beautiful morning" to wake me and Mark up. It's probably not the smartest thing to do, but I can't help it.

Talked to my director today, finally; I'd been avoiding it, thought she'd be mad at me, but it went well. It's official:

I'm coming home in December.


Love always,

P.S. Read "El Exilio," also by Alberti, about his friend Federico Garcia Lorca, who was killed in a mass execution. "Federico./ Tú te reías como nadie / decías tú todas tus cosas / como ya nadie las dirá." Me rompe el corazón.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

for those who never took spanish, and for those who did

Hace unas semanas, en mi clase de Literatura y Otros Artes, leímos un poema de Rafael Alberti. Me gusta mucho:

Los Niños de Extremadura
Los niños de Extremadura
van descalzos.
¿Quién les robó los zapatos?

Les hiere el calor y el frío.
¿Quién les rompió los vestidos?

La lluvia
les moja el sueño y la cama.
¿Quién les derribó la casa?

No saben
los nombres de las estrellas.
¿Quién les cerró las escuelas?

Los niños de Extremadura
son serios.
¿Quién fue el ladrón de sus juegos?


The children of Extremadura [a forgotten, poverty-stricken region of Spain when this was written]
go barefoot.
Who has stolen their shoes?

They are wounded by
the heat and the cold.
Who ruined their dresses?

The rain
soaks their dreams and their bed.
Who destroyed their house?

They don't know
the names of the stars
Who closed the schools?

The children of Extremadura
are serious.
Who was the thief of their games?


I don't know, I just like it. And I told Andrew I'd translate it...kind of silly, recommending a poem to someone who doesn't speak the language. Oops.

Btw, I'm coming home in December. I have to work it out with school and housing, and not let the director here convince me to stay, but this time it's certain. I can't stay here until May; I just can't. I don't have to be a fiercely independent world traveler. There's no shame in admitting that I need to be closer to home. And every time I think about being home in 2 months instead of 7, it makes me incredibly happy. How's that for an answer?

Love always,

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Oleeee, ole ole oleee! Ole, ole!

I've been in Spain for exactly two months. Currently counting down the days until my family comes to visit for Christmas; they'll be here (well, Málaga, which is several hours away) the 19 of December. I can't wait. I've been needing a sandwich hug for as long as I can remember.

My brother is trying to punk out and not come. Um, hello, querido hermano mio, but I think you can spare a week away from your girlfriend to see your only sister who will have been away from home for 4 months by that time and who won't see you for another 5 after that. Porfa.

(Btw, "Porfa" is one of my new favorite things to say. Even those who never took Spanish will know that "por favor" means "please." Porfa's just way more fun. And the Spaniards actually say that! What a world. We also figured out that OMG translates to ADM - Ay, Dios mio! Good times.)

I'm not sure if it's a good sign that, instead of lamenting that I only have seven months left here en España, I'm counting down the months 'til I leave. My homesickness comes in waves, and sometimes hits me at the most unexpected times. I miss random things, like answering the phone in my own house (and having everyone tell me that I sound just like my mom), or coming home from work and plunking myself down in grandpa's chair and watching Law & Order: SVU marathons. Man oh man, I miss TV in English. Although I gotta say, Fresh Prince and That 70s Show in Spanish are still pretty fun.

My favorite thing about Spanish culture so far, I think, is that almost all of their social life happens outside. All day long, and late into the night, you can find tons of people still hanging out in the plazas, talking, laughing, rollerblading, everything. I love watching the conversations, especially the groups of old ladies. They're so cute, especially when they say "No me digas!"

These past couple weeks, I've finally started going out to the bars with students from our program, and it's great because I get to meet really fun people - from all over Europe, too - and learn to drink with friends who are responsible and far more knowledgeable about it than I am. Made the mistake of telling my dad what I'd tried when we went out in Salamanca; gotta be careful with how my stories go. Oops. P.S., though, absinthe tastes like black licorice and is actually delicious. And it doesn't make you crazy like in Moulin Rouge. No green fairies or anything (which was kind of a let-down). I'm still making good choices, so never fear. I'm still too self-conscious and self-aware to ever let myself get drunk. No worries there.

I miss everyone and everything from home. Not even joking. The end of May can't come soon enough.

Nos vemos en siete meses!

Love always,

Saturday, October 11, 2008

cobblestone streets

I was walking home from El Corte Ingles (shopping mall) on Thursday when it hit me.

I have to stay.

All along, I guess, I'd known that. Deep down, it was always there. There's so much more I want to do here. So much. I couldn't fit it all into the next two months. I love it here. I love the people, the pace of life, the knowledge that rest and conversation are more important than 40-hour work weeks. And I love that I just walked home at 3:45 in the morning and felt absolutely safe.

I also love caramel vodka. First shots of my life = success.

Love always,

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

decisions, decisions

To stay for a year or go home in December.

That's the question.

Pros of going home:
1. I'd get to live with my dear friend/former roommate in a sweet apartment
2. I'd be able to complete my journalism major AND honors requirements on time (probably)
---I could just go with a Spanish minor.
3. I could possibly study abroad some other time, some other country
4. I wouldn't come home impossibly broke and thousands of dollars in debt to my parents
5. I wouldn't have to stay here after all but 1 of my close friends have gone home
6. I wouldn't have to go to Gibraltar to get Reese's.
7. I could see my family, friends, everyone
8. I could get a job and earn money, instead of just spending it (related to No. 4)
9. I wouldn't have to worry about my host dad doing another imbecilic flip-out on me
10. I would be living in a country whose language I actually speak.


I love it here.

I need to find a completely disinterested party (which eliminates parents, friends back home, friends here...everyone) who can make the choice for me.

....alguien? alguien? bueller?



Love always,

Sunday, September 28, 2008

on counting to ten

I’m having trouble with my host dad.

I fear for my own temper, whose force I know all too well. I’m praying fervently for self-control, for humility and the ability to be gracious.

Psalm 17:1-2
Hear, O Lord, my righteous plea; listen to my cry. Give ear to my prayer – it does not rise from deceitful lips. May my vindication come from you; may your eyes see what is right.

I love David. No matter how dark the night, he always remembers to bring it back to God.

May I do the same.

Love always,

Friday, September 26, 2008

and my weary heart

Yesterday was a good day.

I've been feeling the lack of God-time in my life lately. Haven't been to church since I've been in Spain; how long is that now? 5 weeks? Too long. The Inn started on Tuesday this week, and I wanted to be there. I wanted to hear The R welcome everyone in that jovial tone he always has, and I miss the conviction I always feel after one of his sermons.

It's mostly my own fault (and possibly Spain's for being intensely Catholic) that I haven't been to church this whole time; I haven't really looked for a place to go. But this week, I have a destination: Calle Marianista Cubillo, 3, Cadiz 11008. A tiny little church, Josh said, with great people. Here's hoping.

But that's not why yesterday was good. Yesterday was good because the day before yesterday (seriously, in Spanish, that's so much easier to say: "anteayer." 8 letters. "Day before yesterday." Okay, I'm not going to count, but Mike Johnson could if he wanted. Needless to say, it's more than 8. Boo English.) I talked with Emily Vancil from the Inn, and she told me what they're studying this quarter, and we set up a little Bible study for me. Plus accountability - I read what the Inn is reading, and then e-mail her my thoughts, so I have a structured reason to do it. God, thank you for Emily Vancil.

So yesterday (ayer = 4 letters = winner) I went out and sat on the beach with my Bible (oh, side note, I had a nightmare anteayer that my Bible, the one I've had since 3rd grade that has 11 years of notes and highlightered-ness in it, was totally ruined - cigarette burns that made holes straight through it, torn up; it was awful) and turned to Mark 1:1.

I like Mark. He jumps right into when Jesus starts his mission, unlike Matthew, who gives us a complete geneology before getting to the story. But no hatin' on Matt; I like him too. He's quite highlighted in my Bible.

Continuamos. I read, and wrote down what I thought of it, and ate Milka chocolate, and stared off into the horizon as the sun was coming down. And remembered to pray before I started.

I love sitting in the sand in my jeans (versus a bathing suit). I feel like I live here now.

I'm going back out after lunch. We'll see if Mark shows me anything new today.

Love always,

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

hola, qué tal, bien?

New blog.


No palabras rotas in the URL.


I have consistent Internet in my kitchen.


Love always,