27 September 2008

This weekend really is lazy. . .

This is something I never thought I would say, but maybe a three day weekend is too long.
I've had the whole apartment to myself almost the whole weekend because my roommates had better things to do which they did not tell me about- it's cool, I like having the place to myself (except when there are a ton of unexplained/creepy noises around the place, which there were last night). And when I take weekend vacays to exotic and exciting locales, I might just forget to invite/tell them too.
I've got a vote for Estonia so far. It will be tough to find cheap tickets to these less-traveled places, but I'm already looking. Any of the Baltic states would be a cool opportunity, and of course it would be nice to connect with my roots in Sweden. But as it gets colder, I might want to hit up a warmer area, like Greece, or Italy, or even Africa. How exciting would that be?!
So yesterday I didn't do much, because we were expecting IES staff to come inspect the apartment, and I had just sort of planned to be there and ask them some questions and then get on with my day. I was ready for them at nine, because no one had told me when to expect them and I wasn't trying to take any chances. My ra said the plan was for them to show up at 1- but they never did. That kind of screwed with my day.
In the late afternoon, after I expected places to have reopened from siesta, I went out to shop and get groceries. I checked out lefties, which is an outlet of one of the big stores here, and H&M, which was right next door. They were both located on Gran Via, a big street near Sol, so I walked there next.
When I was jogging through Sol the other night, I saw those two Irish pubs which show baseball and American football sometimes (I don't remember if I mentioned them already?). I thought for sure at least one of them would have the Sox/Yanks game on their schedule for the night, but it was not the case, unfortunately. Slightly upset, I headed over to Calle Princesa (yeah, it was a little out of the way, but I would rather take the subway 10 minutes than walk the same amount of time back towards Gran Via) to get groceries, and then I went back to the apartment.
Basically, I spent around 3 hours just walking, and I was feeling it by the time I got back. I'm usually sore in my hip flexors more than anywhere else. Walking is brutal. I totally support it as legitimate exercise, but I am not in favor of race walking as an Olympic sport (did you hear that like five Russian race-walkers failed drug tests recently? Embarrassing). But I digress.
The day was not a total loss, by any means. For instance, I got caught up on both Project Runway and America's Next Top Model (thank goodness for YouTube).
Today has been more of the same. I've watched something like three different versions of Peter Pan (I started out looking for the newer, live action version but couldn't find it, so I settled for the animated version and an old-school musical version before finally finding what I had looked for in the first place). Then it was music videos ('Chicken Noodle Soup' and 'Tell Me When to Go,' to name a couple). Now I'm listening to the Mules game on the web. Uncle Willie was being interviewed on the pre-game show, and I think that officially makes his voice the first family member's voice I have heard since I left the country.
Oh yeah- my mom will want an update on my classes. Grammar class is going well, but I'm probably not speaking up enough in class. The other day she had us do a tongue-twister to work on our r's: "El perro de San Roque no tiene rabo porque Ramón Rodriguez lo ha robado." We said it one by one the way we would normally say it, then she made us say it with the rolling r's exaggerated, and then we repeated it one more time as fast as we could. We all sounded pretty silly.
On Monday, my Creative Writing teacher couldn't make it, but all we were doing was watching a movie, so that wasn't a big deal. It was a little weird, though, because it was the third day of that class, and it was the second that she missed. On Wednesday, we got a new teacher. The woman who is the head of IES Madrid came in to tell us because it was a last minute thing and the new teacher was on his way. This new guy, Enrique, made a dramatic entrance, throwing the door open and sliding in (unintentionally).
He is very funny. As he introduced himself and asked us about the class, I felt like I was watching a comedian. When he isn't sure what to say or when he is thinking or needs a filler, he makes a little noise like, "Tak tak tak, tak tak, tak tak." It's really funny. I think he'll be a good teacher, but I am going to miss the other one too- mostly because she was going to call me Isabela.
Contemporary Spanish Theatre is going well, but I think it might kind of be a tough class. I mean, the teacher couldn't be there on Tuesday, so he is making us make up the class. Monday afternoon at four. I kind of am not in favor of that.
Ceramics is good, except for the walk to and from the studio. I've completed another pot, this one modeled after a traditional Muscogee/Creek tribe seed pot. It's shaped like a frog, which I've done before. I'm not used to raku glazes though, or only being given three minutes to glaze, so it kind of came out of the second firing not looking so good. The other girls in the class think it looks like a panda bear. "Just tell everyone that's what it is!" they tell me, and I'm just like, "But the Muscogees didn't have panda bears!" so I am kind of looking to get rid of this one asap.
The Prado class is going well, but it is really pretty exhausting to spend an hour and a half in the late afternoon on your feet. We are all a little impatient in there, and easily distracted. This week we studied Titian.
Theatre Workshop is pretty cool. I don't know if I mentioned the teacher before, but she is a stage actress, and she comes to class in pretty eccentric outfits, like full, floor-length skirts and bright shawls. She reminds me of a fortune teller.
We got our scripts this week- it's not a play you would have heard of, and she assigned parts pretty randomly. I am Mujer 2 in a play called Ramón.
I'll have my first music workshop class this upcoming Monday, and that should make my week just a little bit busier. No, I'm not required to have any prior musical experience; no, it is not worth any credits; and no, it does not cost any money. You can expect me to come back a virtuoso.
Tomorrow I plan to head back to the Rastro- I still need to get that flamenco dress for Cousin Brooke. She may just have to be happy with castanets or something, because I checked out a flamenco specialty store yesterday and the dresses were priced upwards of 600 euro. I'm really looking for another pashmina for cheap, because they go with everything, and they make great breathing masks for Ceramics class when we open up the kiln and smoke goes everywhere.
I encourage you all to try tortilla española- it's my favorite Spanish food so far. Basically you take eggs, chopped boiled potatoes, and chopped onions, and you mix it up and put it in a pan and cook it until it is like an omelette. Then you put that in a baguette. I've had it with mayonnaise and a big, grilled green pepper slab on top, and those are both delicious, too. (You have to cook the pepper enough though- I think maybe they slather it in olive oil? I don't know if it's actually grilled or how they cook it but it is good.) I highly recommend it, and I am definitely taking Mom out to my favorite bocadillo place to try some when she comes to Madrid in December.
Sorry this update wasn't very exciting- I haven't been up to much these last couple of days. Funny how I still managed to write way too much.


Harold Brooks said...

Give a thought to Slovenia for a weekend. Ljubljana's a nice city and there's some beautiful scenery outside it. I haven't made it to Bled yet, but hope to. If you go there, let me know. I've got a friend there (that goes for a number of other places, as well). Prague's also wonderful, but a little closer to the beaten path.

Anonymous said...

i'm addicted to tortilla española, but in a pincho, not in a baguette