Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Some Nights in Murcia...


Michiel & me, Granda, June 15, 2013
From the streets and mountains of Murcia, to the sprawling boulevards of Valencia, through the magical gardens of the Alhambra, and in and every damn playground we could find from Spain to Romania, my friends and I treated the act of having fun like a contact sport and a drinking game.

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There isn't much to be said about me reliving my college partying days on an epic scale of  international and therefore ridiculous "come home with the sun" proportion, aside from the obvious in that it was a lot of fun . In 10 months I literally drank more beer than I had in all four years of undergrad (because I didn't really do beer in undergrad and had upgraded almost exclusively to vodka once I got to grad school), discovered the upper limits of my alcohol/consciousness limits...twice (St. Patrick's Day was the set up!), loved and loathed la madrugada, and got to know some of my fellow expat friends in awesome, terrible, and hilarious ways.

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Walking Backwards


Granada (revisited)  June 15, 2013

¡Hola a Todos! So let's just skip past the part about me not blogging for 6 months, and start over from the beginning. Which, because I'm the author of this story, means I'll start at the end. And I don't actually mean the end, because this international love story between me and Spain is far from over...

16:50 Tuesday, June 25, 2013

So there I was in Madrid's Puerta de Atocha Estación de Tren. With the aid of a kind stranger, I had just stepped off the train with three, overstuffed pieces of luggage, two carry on bags, AND Kona in his travel carrier (which he loathes traveling in).
My struggle was so much worse than this. My suitcases were twice as big 
 Ignoring the puzzled look on people's faces as they watched me on the platform, I put forth my best "I can do this shit" attitude, confidently assembled my bags for exit, and 5 minutes later was smoothly walking backwards towards the escalator. And then I got to the escalator and realized I was majorly fucked. 'Cuz ya know, escalators are moving stairs, which created the very real danger of me falling face forward as I tried to haul my crap while walking backwards. I tried not to panic, but I was at a loss of how I was going to make it work AND I was blocking the escalator. Another kind gentleman witnessed my dilemma and helped me get on the escalator without face planting. We got to the top of, he helped me get my bags off and just barely out of the way of the travelers who had been trapped behind my little sideshow, and disappeared. Considering that when I got on the train in Murcia, and was fighting the good fight to lift my suitcases into the hold and NOBODY helped me, I was grateful. But then I looked at the 1000+ feet journey just to get to the main vestibule of the train station and my heart sank a little.  I made several attempts to walk facing traffic with my bags behind me, only to lose control of them and have them fall sideways nearly taking me down with them, so I surrendered my pride to what worked. I have to say that walking backwards with 200lbs of luggage and a dog through Spain's largest train station was probably the longest 20 minutes of my life. By the time I made it through the main terminal and outside to the taxi stand, I could barely stand upright or even speak. But I stammered out my destination address, collapsed into the taxi, and exhaled. I was I halfway to on my way home. In two days I would be in Madrid's airport and heading back to the U.S. for the first time in 10 months. I had made it! So let's go backwards a little more.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Bizzaro Land Christmas. And I Roasted a Chicken!

Christmas Land in Murcia. Polar Bears I get. The Panda Bear...not so much. There was also a clown among other randomness..

So this is a Christmas post in February, and the longer I live in Spain the more it becomes evident that this country is basically bizzaro USA. To be clear, this is not actually my homesickness talking right now--though I would like to point out that homesickness is a very real and insidious condition that seeps into your bones and spreads through your entire existence like a cold, cancerous tumor which poisons your spirit and shrouds you and everything around you with an inky blackness on even the sunniest of days. [In case you didn't know this, I'm a bit of a drama queen. Sue me.] But back to bizzaroland España--a first world country with third world tendencies--a land where the local government thinks it's perfectly acceptable to not pay me for three months at a time, banks and government offices are operational just 5-6 hours (if you're lucky) a day, supermarkets are closed on Sundays, teenagers dry-hump each other against the walls of the convent that's just 4 steps from my front door, and the Christmas holiday season is a mere fraction in size, commercialization, and obnoxiousness that we've all come to know and love/loathe stateside.

{Source}

Monday, January 21, 2013

Lost in Translation::Pollo al Horno con Puerros de Mantequilla


After four months of living in Spain, you would think that by now, I would have fully adjusted and settled into my new life here. But the reality of the situation is that it's taken me just that long to feel as if I've found some semblance of balance and/or normalcy. And keep in mind the operative term of "semblance" because both my definitions of normal and balance seem be in a constant state of change. In any event, for many reasons, including this period of adjustment, I've been remiss if not purposely avoidant of updating this blog. 

As you can imagine, there are lots of things that get lost in translation when one packs up their entire life and moves to a new country, and transitioning a domestic food blog to describe an international life is one of them. I have struggled here, not only with the language and from time to time, the distance from home, but the question of how to express myself in that full-on Bernadette way--complete with inappropriate levels of profanity, butter, and bourbon, whilst sharing the good, the bad, and the absurdity of my life in Spain. 

January 13. on the beach!

Monday, December 10, 2012

An American Macaroni & Cheese in Spain


What happens when, while living abroad, you make one of the most American foods ever, which happens to be the most important side dish of the dinner of the second most American holiday in existence¹, for a quantity of no less than 30 people from six different countries, in a house in the mountains, where eating, boozing [repeat and repeat], laughing, hiking, and fighting the dog for stolen turkey bones from the garbage commence for approximately a weekend? You get zero pictures of the finished product in all it's magnificent glory, and are forced to steal any photographic evidence of its cooked existence from other people's facebook albums. And contrary to what you may initially have thought, your Thanksgiving in Spain is pleasingly similar to Thanksgiving at home, with the hilarious exception of the entire "family" getting plastered and the addition of a resplendent mountain backdrop and a pool. Basically, my Thanksgiving in Spain was amahzing, but more importantly my Spanish rendition of Linda's [mommy] famous macaroni and cheese was a success!


For starters, I must talk about the Españification of this American classic, because while the Spaniards are quite fond of cheese, they are not quite so fond of variety or importing good American cheddar. And though my Spanish is still not where I want it to be three months into this adventure, I was still able to clearly communicate with the guy at the carnicería that a gub'ment cheese-looking block of mild cheddar was not hell what I was looking for.

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Place of Yes

Alicante

If you speak even the smallest smattering of Spanish,  I assume that you might find the title of this long overdue blog entry a bit contratictory to the blog's new namesake Sin Mayonesa, Por Favor. But I assure, it's not.

Elche

Allow me to explain. When I departed from the states on the 11th of September, I was carrying with me a bag of farewell cards from my friends, that I didn't  have the stones [nor the time, or emotional capital] to read previously. But during the drive to JFK international, following my heroing defeat of all things Murphy's law on that fateful day, I finally decided it was time to put my big girl panties on, and read what my friends had to say. Naturally, all the cards made me cry.  But one card hit a chord. One of my dear friends encouraged me to find my place of yes.

Murcia

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost


So after much preparation, and absurd last minute drama, I finally embarked on my journey to Spain. In the year preceding my decision to move abroad [2011] and the last weeks leading up to my move, however, I felt incredibly lost. In both these instances it felt as my life was in endless turmoil. With respect to year preceding this decision, I felt that every decision I ever made was wrong, and despite my best laid plans, the world insisted on stomping them into oblivion. In the weeks leading up to the move, the significance of my departure started to weigh on me like a ton of bricks and there were three tearful breakdowns. The first at my going away party, the second and most physically significant being fueled by a massive amount of vodka, courtesy of table service at my favorite strip club, and the last was brought on by a series of unfortunate events, including, but not limited to Kona being incredibly sick the day of our departure. As I sat in the vet's office that morning, giving them my tearful permission to run whatever tests were necessary, it was in that moment I was convinced that packing up my life and moving to a new country was the WORST IDEA EVER.

Even after leaving the vets office $200 poorer, with a bag full o' medicine and poodle on the mend in tow, I wasn't so sure that the energy that I was expending to speed to my mom's house in New Jersey where I was supposed to have been the night before, was worth it at that point. What was supposed to be the most exciting experience of my life, had morphed into the nightmare that wouldn't end, that kept getting more expensive, and invited everyone in the WORLD to tell me I was going to meet  a Spanish man, fall in love and get pregnant. On the day of my departure, I wanted nothing more than to crawl into bed and stay there forever. But instead, I pressed on.

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