spain en general

who loves the sun? me! me!

for some reason it took me until today to realize that the grass has been green the whole time i have been in pamplona. and i mean really green. and the sun was almost shining and it was warmish. and i realized that in the middle of january it almost felt like spring and just then someone rode past me on their bike wearing a short sleeve shirt. and that made me really happy.
happy enough to want to jump on the bed or smack my gum really loud or bite my lip. because in iowa and missouri right now everything is probably various shades of grey and covered in dirt. maybe there's even snow on the ground. but i am sure that flowers are not blooming over there like they are here.

and then i wondered, if we can't have green grass and warm temperatures in january, ¿why can't we at least sidewalks with cool designs in the states?

and then it rained.

the mighty mississippi

yesterday jose and i went out for coffee and like usual we were speaking in our spanglish - one sentence/paragraph in spanish and one in english. its kind of like a call and response. i want to speak in spanish and he wants to speak in english so i speak in spanish and he speaks in english both of us trying to trick the other person to switch languages.

we do this involuntarily and usually without noticing. obviously, though, everyone else around us notices because we sound like language schizos.

yesterday at the coffee shop the poor bartender had no idea where we were from. at first he though we were english. from mexico? ah, from the u.s. ah... new york right? no. oh, well then from where?
as if new york were the only state in the whole country! the united states of new york.

i tried to explain that i live in missouri.

him: oh yes the river, the mississippi river.

me: well, yes but there is a missorui river too.

him: both states have rivers?!

it was almost too much for him. firtst, ney york isnt the only state and now there are two rivers! omigod!

then he tried to impress me by telling me he saw a movie about tom sawyer... i told him the author was from missouri.
the author? he said. was based on a book.

at least its not as bad as it could be... i have a friend from argentina and people have actually asked her if she has electricity in her house.

i spy with my little eye

all the funny things i have seen in pamplona:

a nun wearing a burberry scarf (sure, it was probably a knockoff, but still...)

a dog washing machine !!

a grumpy old scolwing man carrying a hot pink and purple girls backpack decorated with hearts

a car accident in which the police showed up out of nowhere less than 15 seconds later

several spanish girls who seem to think that neon orange and lime green make a good fashion combination

Halls coughdrops being sold in the CANDY section of the grocery store!...i always get into arguments with europeans about whether or not halls are candy. ¿¿why is it that they think something that tastes so awful and makes your throat feel better and your nose run is candy?? i dont think i will ever understand.

happy day of the constitution!!!

Well this week we had a super long weekend (wednesday was day of Navarra, Saturday was day of the constitution - 25 years - and monday was i dont know what) and we had so many plans but we ended up just staying here and going out for chinese and a movie. but, it was worth it because the movie was SO good. Love, actually. i really didnt want to see it, i thought it would be some sucky hollywood romantic comedy but actually i loved it. we went in a huge group and when we left the theatre just about everyone either was or had been crying, that includes the boys. and, you have to take into account that the great majority of these people have a hard time understanding spanish and the movie was good enough to move them to tears.

i think on wednesday (movies are cheaper on wed.) we're going to see Searching for Nemo.

friday night we went to a really big party and that just threw my sleeping schedule off for the rest of the weekend. i've been going to sleep around 4 or 5 a.m. and waking up at 2 pm everyday and eating dinner around 3 a.m.
supposedly i was going to use all this time off wisely and study for an upcoming test (my first one!!!) and start reporting for a story i wanted to write. alas, i haven't done anything productive.

yesterday we went to pizza hut for dinner. turns out if you order a pizza and you take it away yourself, instead of delivery, THEY GIVE YOU A FREE PIZZA! and right now they have an offer if you spend 17 euros they give you a shower radio! we only spent 16 though, so we'll have to go back to get our pizza hut radio. i love buying things in spain, you always get gifts.


i finally went to barcelona. josé and i went for the weekend while bea went north to santander.
i got to spend the weekend with the aznars and josé got to see his aunt.
jose luis bought me a really good cake that we ate on saturday and then i took a long siesta in the afternoon and watched TV with Xènia.
grisel·la and i and a friend of ours, dolores, met up with josé on the train to barcelona to go out for the night. the original plan was to eat something and go to a bar and take the night bus back home around 3 or 4. we went to a bar and around 3 i realized we should get going soon, but decided we should wait until the bar kicked us out. all of a sudden the light were off and it was 3. i turned around and the gate was across the door but the music was still going and no one seemed to be leaving. legally, bars have to close at 3. this place just seemed to close. people who are in the know kept on coming in even though the door was closed and the lights were off. around 5 we left to go to a disco and got home around 7:30 a.m. needless to say, we didnt do much of anything on sunday.


yesterday i saw a man walking a donkey on campus.

more mullet talk

I finally got my hair cut. All the salons that I have seen here are fairly expensive and since I usually go to Great Clips or some other cheap-o hair place at home there is no way I was going to spend over $15 on a haircut here. If it came down to it, I was going to let Jose cut my hair.

So, a friend of mine told me about a hair school where the students cut your hair fairly cheap. We made an appointment (Jose had to go also) for 5 pm and found the direction on the map. We left the house around 4.45 and went to the nearest bus stop where we waited 10 minutes for the bus. We got off at the first stop and had no idea where we were. We walked almost the whole way back to the bus stop (the salon was 2 blocks from the bus stop) and got to the appointment at 5.30. They didnt really seem to care that we were half an hour late.

The place was really loud and they sent us to the basement where it was even louder and really hot. They put Harry Potter robes on us and sent us to wash our hair. Jose's girl had a clear cut mullet with haphazard patches of orange and white hair. The people were really scary. Jose says they looked like post-apocolyptic road warriors with tri colored mullets.

All i wanted was a trim. And i said that. Same with jose. they wanted to give us both mullets.
Because its a school, it took us 2 hours to get our hair 'trimmed'. As soon as Tina cut the back of my hair she had to go find Don Rodrigo and consult with him on whether or not she did ok and if she could advance to the left side of my head. And on and on it went. Every time Don Rodrigo came over so would 5 or 6 other students to stand around at look at me in my Harry Potter robe with my wet hair pinned up at funny angles. It was very uncomfortable. When Don Rodrigo would say something they would all lean in and scrutinize the back of my head or how the hair grazed the tops of my ears. ooooh, they would say in unison. They would all agree on what should be done next but the second Don Rodrigo went away, Tina was left with a handful of my hair and a very confused look on her face that scared the bejesus out of me.

jose left with a quasi-mullet and i left with super short hair and 'long' bangs. the inverse-mullet.
and, Tina, my hairdresser thought i was portugese. but she wasnt at all disappointed when she found out i am american.
oh i know new york!, she said.
Me too, we're best friends, i said.

tuna, anyone?

Last night I went to a tuna party. The tunas are a university tradition in spain. in the 15 and 1600s (i think) they were a group of university students (all guys) who couldn't pay for their tuition and so they went around singing and playing for money. Now each school has one and they have fame for being don juans.
So, only girls were invited to the party and we all sat around chatting (i actually met a few spanish girls) until we realised the tunas were outside the apartment building serenading us. There were 13 of them all dressed in traditional costume, most with acoustic guitars or tambourines and two accordians. We were on the top floor of the building and we could see all the neighbors sticking their heads out of windows on floors below us.
So we let them in and they sang all night until the neighbors complained about the noise around 1.30 or 2 a.m. These particular tunas didn't quite live up their reputation of being funny or suave. Two of the three boys who tried to talk to me were pretty stupid and i just made fun of them until they left me alone.
At least i got some funny fotos.

Hey Mr Blue Sky!

Three days in a row the sun has been shining! Its like living in a whole new city! Today I don't even have my umbrella with me! Yesterday I ate lunch outside - sans jacket!
Obviously, this is exciting. Since I've been here, it has rained at least 6 days a week and 2-3 times a day. For example, I woke up on Saturday around 3 and looked out the window. 'ooooh, que bonito!' the sky was all blue and not even a cloud was in the sky. I went to the kitchen to make a glass of tea and began to plan what I could do on such a sunny day (should I go read in the park? should I go for a walk? or just do errands without an umbrealla?) and when my tea was done steeping, I went back to the living room and it was pouring rain! So, I put myself back in bed to read.
But today, almost a week into November it is so nice that I was sweating on my oh-so-slow-half-hour-walk to class.Just check out our crazy weather forcast- super warm for november and soon to be super rainy again. At least I can keep my hot pink umbrella in the closet until the weekend.

all the cool kids

in spain, it seems there are two types of young people. either very preppy - button down shirts, sweater tied around the shoulders, khakis and loafers are the uniform - or indie rock, in which case the only requirement is a MULLET and some dirty jeans. the more dramatic and ironic the mullet, the cooler the kid. in pamplona preps dominate, especially at my private university. but the occasional mullet pops up. in barcelona, the capital of cool, mullets are everywhere. the first mullet i saw in barcelona was a girl who had layered hair. the longest layers were very dark and reached the middle of her back. the middle layers, which were dyed a lighter shade of brown, reached her shoulders. then, there was a lighter layer that went to her chin. the rest was dramatically shorter but also in layers AND, ¡an inch of her bangs were shaved!
que cool, ¿no?

p.s. bea locked herself in the bathroom, we sprung her loose and the lock still does not function.

how long a minute is depends which side of the bathrrom door you're on

bea and i share a bathroom. the floor and walls are black tile while the sink, shower, toilet and bidet (yes, we have a bidet and no, we dont use it) are PINK. one wall consists of a floor to ceiling mirror with a woods and river scene etched into it. in other words, bea and i share the ugliest bathroom ever.
on our second day in the apartment bea managed to lock herself in the bathroom. i was of the mindset to just leave her there until she figured out how to work the lock. but she was whimpering and whining loud enough that we ended up rescuing her. it took all of five minutes and she was almost in tears. since then we put a stop/go sign on the door and we warn all our guests: don't lock the door...
today i decided that bea (who is currently in madrid for the weekend) just doesnt know how to use a lock and to prove it to myself, while i was brushing my teeth, i locked the door and then tried to unlock it. no such luck. of course, i wasnt dumb enough to shut the door. but now i cant use my bathroom.
i think the current plan is to keep the door open until bea comes home from madrid...


in the beginning, i arrived to pamplona alone and took a taxi to my hotel. 5 minutes later, i met josé (a guatemalan transfer student from notre dame). the next day we met bea, short for beatrice (an italian/spanish hybrid from milan) through tom, a fellow missourian.
the three of us then began our frustrating apartment hunt. frustrating because josé and i liked everything we saw while bea thought it either wasn't well located, not large enough, not well lit, not well furnished, not well kept, not, not, not... until we found 6 bis. what is 'bis', you may ask. all we know is that 6 bis is located next to 6 on the street Pio XII. as you may guess it is well located, well lit, large and clean according to bea's standards. thank god because living in a hotel was getting to be a bit expensive and inconvenient: josé and i shared a room and the two of us shared a bathroom and kitchen with two middle-age drunk basque businessmen who tended to fall off their chairs and make an extroadinary amount of noise around 3 a.m. while we were trying to sleep.

between the three of us we have invented our own language: italespanglish, slightly more complicated than your average spanglish. we invent words, anglocise spanish words, conjugate english words (estás flirteando = are you flirting or no me pincheas = don't pinch me) and spanish-ise italian words or add an italian accent to spanish words to make ourselves understood.

yesterday, after a week-long argument about the word 'cheek' we consulted the dictionary (finally) and realized all the words we were using and arguing about are synonyms. i think the dictionary will stay on the coffee table for futher consultations.