Monday, December 26, 2011

As a Murciana on Christmas day...

...I woke up the latest I've ever gotten out of bed in my life and hit the town!

Everything was closed,  but I managed to attend a mass and a parade. The mas was full and nothing was different from what I remember of church in the States.

Lunch was an upscale Bocadillo with Atun y pimiento (tuna and pepper). All for the grand price of 3.12...and that includes the bottle of water, flamenco music, and meat hanging from the ceiling.

In the evening my host and I met up with a friend, another Antonio, where we stayed and the time just flew. We were there for 2 hours--??? Good times =)

Then my friend and I sat in front of one of the cathedrals where there was a three man band playing some Frank Sinatra.

We ended the night by watching the film "Eat Pray Love".  I am so the Julia Roberts of that movie. If that's my life, then at least I

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Murcia--Noche Buena

Out of Valencia!

Now it's Christmas day and I am in the quaint and beautiful city of Murcia. Few Spaniards even know about it. I guess that's why I decided to come. In a sense it's like the Wyoming of the US. =)

On the bus ride I listened to the radio--politics and flamenco artists. I got into town, off the bus, and asked for directions. Another traveler asked me if I needed help.  My tourist book gave me away. We ended up walking through town looking for this hostel that turned out to be a restaurant...

So being as I am, I dropped my stuff of at his apt, and went with him to his family's house for dinner. I got there and was immediately welcomed by small kids, women with babies, and this florescent green wall. The table was set for at least 30. Everyone kept on telling me how not everyone was even here.

All the food was placed on the table--red pepper salsa, octapus, shrimp (that hadn't be deshelled),  pan, and potatoe puree, celery with roquefort and a walnut, and slices of cheese. Don't forget the bottles of red wine from Murcia, which is very strong. The grapes are picked during the hottest and most humid time of year of the region.

People were snacking on the food before everyone was seated or before the prayer was said. This was socially unacceptable with my family, which made this version of dinner realy just different and fun.

The prayer was said,  of course, in Spanish. But everyone was making toasts and jokes during it so it took longer than normal to get through it. The fathers were doing most of the joking (these are elderly men were talking about).

Then we ate. It was loud. It was involved. It was wonderful!!

It was so delicious and out of the norm of what I'm used to seeing on a holiday table of any kind.

So I thought that once the food on the table was gone, it was all gone. Time for more drinks. Wrong.

They brought out baked eggplants. Each half was filled with vegetables, cheese, and some other tastes I can't put my finer on. Best part of the meal!! Berenjena is already my favorite vegetable. Put some cheese and more vegetables in it and voila--perfection.

Then, came came another dish. It looked like the American "pig in a blanket", you know the mini hot dog. But this had chicken and some kind of cheese.  They put a salsa on it that I thought was made from beans. Wrong again. When I asked Maria, one of my new Spanish friends =), she told me it was uvas (raisens!). This blew my mind. This was fabulous. The salsa was made from green grapes and a few whole, sauteed red grapes were thrown into the mix. Who would've thought chicken, cheese, and grapes would work together?

After all this, I was quite full. One of the brothers, though, made a comment along the lines of "How long was she in the train station for? She's really eating a lot."

Bahahaha, I wasn't eating any more than anyone else.......well, at least I didn't think so.

At this point Antonio's sister, Eva, pulled out her guitar and played traditional flamenco and Christmas songs (wihch sounded like flamenco). Everyone sang and Maria got up and danced to one of them. They used a bottle of vodka and knife for some added percussion.

My spanish has improved tremendously! I could understand everyone and conversation was easy (except for my grammer. Speaking is still my plight, but listening is so much easier since I've gotten here).

Antonio and I left around 1.00.

There were so many people in bars and on the streets. I needed a jacket but the weather was still beautiful. Think northern Switzerland, in the winter, during daylight...

Fireworks were going off and people were so loud; it sounded like the start of a civil war.

This was the best possible way I could have spent my time in Murcia. I am so thankful for all I've been able to do in Europe, Spain, and with this family. I am extremely grateful for welcoming me with open arms. (Seriously, who does that???)

Even though everything is closed today, I think I'm going to go explore

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Just something I noticed.....

I thought they didn't have a microwave. It baffled me a bit! =/ But then I found it tucked away in a cabinet. The power for it was shut off.

Their fridge is half the size as mine in the States, but their sink is twice as deep.

Once my dad moved to Vegas and my abuela moved in, we started going through spoons unnaturally fast. I just remember that the spoons would always be dirty and I didn't know why. We ran into the same dilemma here and from this, I have concluded that this could very well be another central/south american plight. Haha, oh the little things in life...

Spanish speaking stores even smell better. We went shopping last night and all of the stores smelt like every perfume my abuela has ever worn, especially Coco Channel. It was welcoming. Something different. I wonder though, if it's a marketing tool that works in Spain/ spanish speaking countries, but not other places like the US, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, etc...just thinking out loud.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

spaniard television

I can't say it's unique.

Saul was watching cartoons this morning, but it was translated from Japonese...

We watching House right now (with a friend from Colombia who models in Valencia)

The other night, we watched Paul, about a dog. It looked like it was from the US.

Jessenia watched a Disney show (must be a new one).

I think there was one soap opera that was spaniard but we didn't watch it for long. Everything from translated from American english or Japonese.

Either way, I'm difinitely picking up on some of it!! I haven't watched tv since August. It's good to have something mildly educational, though....


And here I sit in Valencia.

In the living room of my friend, Saul and his sister Jessenia, I am not doing your typical tourist vacation. I have been surrounded by their friends for the past four days. I'm more incompetent at conversational Spanish than I remember....

None of them speak english, but we manage. =)

On my birthday Saul invited five of his friends over. We bought a cake and sangria and celebrated. December 19 was also the birthday of another group member, Linder, from Bolivia. He is such a spaz. And I mean that in a good way. He always has so much energy when he's awake, but the three times he has been here, he fell alseep. Saul and Rafa (from Argentina...he and I are both the mestizos) almost put a cake in his face but then he abruply woke up. Que lastima...

Jessenia. Ah, Jessenia. She is still in high school and we totally love eachother. She took me to get my hair cut (which is right under their apt....some translation needed) then went to work on straightening my hair. It was so funny because the whole time I've been here, she has loved messing with my hair. You should see hers, though. It long, thick, and the darkest shade of brown without being black. She's about half my height and her skin is so smooth and beautiful!!

Their mother returned today and all hell broke loose. I had to laugh because the same situation would occur when it was my mom, me, and grandmother living together. As soon as my mom walked through the door my abuela and I would attack. The same thing happened with Saul and Jessenia. The sink was running, dishes were clanking, these wonderful smells started coming from the kitchen. It was magical.

And everyday I've eaten rice. Pan con queso for breakfast, then for dinner, always something with rice. A pleasant reminder of home. I would kill for some black bean soup with the egg right about now.