Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Dates

mmmm dates... my favorite Barhi dates are coming into season now.  I wonder if i can find them at the Boqueria?

I digress...  that's not the type of date i'm thinking of. 

Today is Once de Septiembre here in Catalunya - an independence holiday.  For me it's September 11th.  

11/9/12
9/11/12

I love when it's the 13th of the month, or later.  I know instantly that the 13+ number is the day.  Otherwise i stare at the date and think - is it November 9th or the 11th of September.  What further throws me off is that September should be the 7th month and November should be the 9th.  

Maybe it's just me.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

What I've Learned In My 11 months 16 days in Barcelona

Interpreting Weather Forecasts - when it says 20% chance of rain, it'll rain REALLY REALLY hard if and when it does rain.

It was dry about 20 minutes before i took this picture - which was when I left the bar to start walking home.  I got home drenched to the bone.  (oh - maybe that's why i'm feverish today?)

Yet those days it says 60-80% chance of rain - I wear my (fabulous) Hunter rainboots and bright pink umbrella - there's nary a drop from the sky - and i feel silly.

 


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Summer Eaten

If only I attracted men the way I attract mosquitos...

Despite all my efforts to keep the bugs at bay - they just love my blood... it's like crack to them.


 They're not so bad on the arms or shoulders... i mean, they still suck...

But when it's on the underside of the arm where it rubs against my body... i just can't help but to scratch... this one, just above was super-painful.  And this picture was taken the morning after the bite.  It was swollen to twice the size the next day.

As I said, the arms aren't so bad... not compared to the ankles.  Those are the WORST.  I have been slowly poisoning myself with a steady supply of spray repellant, slow release citronella bracelets, adhesive citronella stickers to put on clothes, and tea tree oil. 

That's enough to leave me nauseated.  No wonder the men are staying away.  (grumble grumble, kicking rocks)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Summer eats

Perfect after-dinner combo.  

The wine was 10,40 Euros at my local wine shop (which means you might find it cheaper elsewhere).

My first Summer in Barcelona

Summer holidays?
Vacation?

Totally un-American. 
Complete foreign concept to me. 

But it's the norm here in Spain.
More than half the shops are closed...
well, at least in my neighborhood (the touristy areas are packed).

And including me and the instructor, there were 7 people in spin class last night... that's in a room with 100 bikes!

I did take a long weekend up in the Costa Brava - near Santa Christina d'Aro... or was it S'agaro?  whichever... the sea looked like this:


My friend Patty invited me out to her summer rental.  She also rents a little Zodiac boat to take us out to these "swimming pools" below some rocky cliffs - where the water is still and clear and blue-green. 

It was "estupendo"

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Not That I Like Spanish Food Much Anyways... But Still.

I don't handle death too well.

Well, duh.  Who does?

But today's funeral was somewhat surreal for me.  As the foreigner, I only caught about 50% of the conversations.  Being a new (yet old) member of the Spanish family, I had very little context with most of my family here.

So I really felt like an outsider, even though my place was within the inner circle.  I couldn't quite grieve among the group.  I'd rather weep in private, maybe with a few people I'm close with... and then be among people.

Fortunately, I haven't been to many funerals.  They are always sad, and full of tears - which is to be expected.  Yet most have had a memorial type gathering after... Usually with lots warm hugs, consoling smiles, and homemade casseroles, pies, and all types of comfort foods. Maybe that's just the American way. 

Today's Jewish ceremony here in Spain was just the gathering at the mortuary, followed by the burial at the cemetery.  That was it.  Afterward, we all went our separate ways.  No flowers, no reception.  Maybe that comes later?  

I don't like cemeteries.
I don't like the ritual.
I don't like the concept.
I don't want to go to them, nor would I want anyone to ever feel obligated to go to one on my account.

First off - if I can be a donor, that's what I'd want this vessel that is housing my spirit to go to - science.  If I can't... well, I'd want to be cremated.  And maybe be buried with a sapling that will become some sort of tree.

Kinda like in that Jodie Foster movie "Little Foxes" - where that girl says she want's them to plant a pear tree, so that in future years, people can come by, have some fruit and say "she's tasting good this year".  Well, maybe that's kinda gross.  I'd prefer apricots.

Just as I don't like cemeteries - I just don't like maudlin & morose funerals.  Have some sort of informal gathering at some favorite place... with lots of yummy homemade comfort food.  Pile-on all that dairy I've been lamentably missing all these years.  (damn that lactose intolerance!).  And just share some stories, and reminisce.  Something relaxed and easygoing.  With hugs.  And tears.  And laughs. And smiles.  Pretend I'm in the room enjoying seeing all my friends and loved ones remembering me fondly.  Without the drama.

Rest in Peace, my dear tante Lisette.  I absolutely adored you.  I feel blessed that I got to know such a fabulous woman who lived an extraordinary life full of love, kindness and generosity.  I miss you tremendously.  I almost feel guilty that I didn't get that haircut you always wanted me to get.  Almost.  I still prefer my hair long.  x

Saturday, July 21, 2012

How Is Death "Done" in Spain?

Odd question.  I know.

But a beloved member of the family,  my aunt Lisette just passed away this morning.  It wasn't unexpected, nor did it take any of us by surprise.  Yet it still hurts, and it's sad.

A kind friend of mine, another ex-pat from America living in Spain offered to bring a casserole or be of any service or assistance.

That's what got me thinking... How is death "done" here?  I was asking my mother... somehow it had a calming effect on her to get her thinking about the differences within cultures and between different countries.

Yes, there will be the mourning period.  But what about the celebration of a life well-lived?   Remembering someone for the joy and love he/she brought to our lives?  I'm not sure if there is a "wake" here in Spain.  Seems so much more mournful & morose.

Note to my friends and family:  don't cry... instead -  Throw a dinner party or gathering I'd just die to attend (pun intended).  The only tears should be those from laughter.  From reminiscing the good times - the stupid times - even the bad times. 

Sigh.