The end of the Ramblas with Columbus pointing at the Americas
Prefered choice of transportation after foot, moto
One of the cutest advent calendars I've seen At an adorable chocolate shop on the corner
In the market with tons of mushrooms
in the market
from the cute flower stands...
Of course, there are always the street performers and pet shop stands with birds and bunnies and hampsters and artists...and even though its always full of tourists...the ramblas are still great everytime.
I'm in Barcelona for a mini weekend (long layover) before my flight to the states...and, surprise... it's still beautiful here. I've never been here in the fall, or spent an entire day on my own wandering the streets...it's been nice. I'm lucky enough to have a place to stay with a friend of mine who's living here teaching English, and with that my goal has been keep the trip cheap. So for free I discovered more of the Gothic quarters, palaces and plazas and stone streets with ornate windows and graffitied doors, and the Raval neighborhood where i wandered into the public library that is housed in an old hospital and has amazing arched stone ceilings and a courtyard, enjoyed a one euro tray of prepared fruits from the boqueron market while looking at the mediterranean, and made sure the Casa Batllo was still in place. Now, i'm going to get a little cafe con leche to hold me over until a late dinner with friends. Pictures to come soon...
Well, it's Christmas time in the city for me. I've been spending my few free hours in the zona nueva of Santiago looking for Christmas presents for friends and family as we will be celebrating Christmas at Thanksgiving while D and I visit the USA. And, even though I know that shoes aren't the best present for someone (unless you know them very well), I love looking at the shoe displays in the store windows here in Spain. The displays are filled with at least 20 shoes, set out in all available colors with the price. Spain is pretty famous for its shoes, and one brand that seems to be the typical shoe of Spain is Camper. When I studied in Sevilla the style was bright, printed, and mismatched shoes, and I still remember the joy in one of my friend's eyes when after months of eyeing a pair of Campers she finally bought them. The window displays this fall are much more demure than they were 5 years ago, there lots of greys, blacks, and browns, but the Camper shoes are still cute and mismatched, and there are more than a few styles that I wouldn't mind buying to give as gifts, or to receive as a gift.
The weekend is only hours away and it has been a very busy week. I've been teaching more than usual making up classes that my students will miss in the three weeks that I am gone, and with teaching more comes planning more, and making more games up, and teaching at the academia, which was a nice experience, even though on the last day with 5 year olds a made a little girl cry...opps (she was ok after about a minute, i took a vocabulary card from here, and she was a little upset about that). In the busyness of this week I just realized that I never posted anything about the Halloween weekend and the little excursion D and I took to the cemetaries in the pueblos on Dia de los Difuntos. Halloween was spent with our little pumpkin gourds and a little dinner with friends, gummy body parts were served as desert to make the dinner a little more halloween inspired.
And on November 1, as celebrated in most Western cultures, we went to the family cemetaries to place flowers on the tombs of loved ones. Dia de los difuntos is like a mix of memorial day without the military, and day of the dead mexico style but with out the alters and sugar skulls. Cemetaries here consist of family structures, and the traditional flowers to use are white and yellow and round. And just to clarify, this is not really a holiday celebrated by everyone in the family, you mostly see parents and older folks at the cemetaries.
This song is everywhere here in Spain right now...i hear it a few times a day, and it gets stuck in my head everytime...and i have to admit i like it. It's upbeat, bubble gum, fun and I love me anything that looks like figure skating...so watch the video on youtube...and you'll be humming it all day too...
ps: if you havent noticed by now, im quite blog illiterate an dont know how to get the actual video onto the blog...sorry, maybe next time!
It's finally the day...and here in Spain everyone is eager for an Obama win. I have my fingers crossed too. The newspapers have Obama on the cover, the news channels are covering the voting process, and D and I watched a live feed of Obama and Michelle at the polls while we ate lunch. I'm not sure if there will be any election parties in the city tonight, more likely tomorrow with the time change we won't really know the outcome until late morning tomorrow...but while we are waiting, we'll toast some vino in hopes for change...
I'm also very busy this week with extra classes from an academia that called me to sub for an hour three days this week. I've had to rearrange my schedule a little, but all my classes are working out. Another good thing is that the families want to make up the lost classes for the time that I am in the states, so nothing will be lost there! After going to the academia, I can only say that I really really enjoy teaching my clases particulares. Having 6 5-6 yr olds in a room together is quite different that having one or two in their house. Tonight I'm teaching 11-12 year olds, so hopefully they aren't as squirmy. But, one good thing about teaching at an academia is meeting people to hang out with. It's never easy meeting people in a new city, and D has been great in introducing me to all his friends, and they have all been great at making me feel like part of the group, but it's always nice to meet new people. I've tried to sign up for gallego classes (they were full) and thought about taking art classes (still might when i get back from the little trip to the states) to open up the possibilities of meeting people, but neither of those options has worked out. But yesterday, the regular teacher at the school, a guy from England, was very nice and was saying how D and I will have to go out with he and his novia sometime...so maybe we'll be meeting more people soon. Everything works out with time, I've always known that, but these months in Spain are teaching me more and more. This is the first time I've really had to start from scratch in a city (compared to everyother time i've lived abroad being with study abroad programs), and although I've had my moments of thinking I'd never find a job, get papers, make friends, everything works out, it just takes time.
So ending on an optimistic note...lets hope things work out in the election today!