Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

It's the day before Christmas and all through the city
The drinks are flowing, bubbly and fizzy.
The people all celebrating the days off to come
And the children excited for toys and for fun.

It's the time we're reminded 
To respect people we pass,
Not wish them Happy Kwanzaa, 
Happy Hanukah or Merry Christmas.  

But to hell with that non-sense,
That foulness and trouble, 
Let's rejoice in the season
And let's celebrate double.

So in this season of joy, 
It's no matter if you're Muslim or Jew, 
Black, white or brown, 
Red, yellow or blue. 

I'll wish you Merry Christmas,
And I hope in return,
That you'll wish me the joy of your holiday
Until the year's turn. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


Tengo frio.

yup, it's finally cold in Barcelona. Not cold like Canada, where you can throw hot water in the air and it turns to ice before it hits the ground, but still cold. And the thing about Spain is that they don't think  they are a cold country, so they have no insulation. And linoleum floors. And cement walls.

Oh well. Tis the season of warm knit sweaters, scarves and hats!

Happy winter, and stay warm friends!

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Christmas Spirit

I have decided to get into the Christmas Spirit this year. Excitement over pretty lights, lovely snacks and treats, and of course, the birth of Jesus.

Being from Canada, I am finding it quite difficult to get into the spirit though, without the mounds of snow, or at least the possibility of such. I'm not saying I'm hopping on the next flight out to get back to snowy Canada, but for those of you who find yourselves bitterly shovelling snow and cursing the cold wet flakes, I know you'll be happy come Christmas morning when you have a white Christmas. Think of me, here in Barcelona, with no snow to welcome in the jolly season of gift giving and remembering how lucky we are to live in a time of freedom of speech, and democracy.

Let every flake be a reminder to you that despite living in a cold country, you have, at the very least, a warm place to be, and people who love you.

Happy Holidays to all!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Peanut Butter Thoughts...

It's Saturday night, and though I should be thinking: "why am I at home on a Saturday night?" and feeling depressed that I don't have a life, I actually wanted to be home tonight.

Winter is here, and my body hasn't adjusted to that yet. Yes, I spent about 15 minutes on my terrace today in the sun in a tank top, until the wind picked up, but winter is here. It is much colder than it was all week, and while it is not as cold as Canada or Russia, it is still a shock to the system. So here I am, snug and warm, nails painted and the peanut butter jar open beside me, with a spoon in it.

I am trying to think of a story to write, but I haven't had any ideas in a long time. I could write about peanut butter (done that)... or... nothing. I got nothing.

If anyone has any ideas, I'm all peanut-butter-brained at the moment, so feel free to share.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Ikea Rat Race

In case anyone was wondering what it feels like to be a lab rat, I imagine in to be something like Ikea on a Saturday.

A few weeks ago, I got my new apartment. Yes, I know there should have been an update right away and yes, I have already heard it several times from my mother, who will no doubt comment again. I've been busy. Not busy like I have too much work on my plate and I can't keep up, but too busy not being busy. I've been wandering my neighbourhood and spending time with someone I had missed very much before coming back.

So anyway, back to being a lab rat. I got my apartment, which was furnished, but needed some love to make it mine. And some sheets. And a blanket. And some dishes. So I got up early on a Saturday planning to beat the crowds, and headed to Ikea. Well, apparently Ikea doesn't open before 10 on the weekend, so I had a light breakfast and waited until the floors were open.

I didn't NEED to walk the whole showroom floor, but I wanted to get some ideas about what to do about storage in the bathroom. There is no place to put anything besides the top of the sink, which isn't a counter, its just the sink. So I walked the whole showroom. Wow.

For those of you who know me and my issues, I have to be very focused in those situations, otherwise I end up coming home with much, much more than I need. So I had my notebook with my list of needed items, and my cell phone with the calculator and a pencil for writing down everything.. and I mean everything. Anything that went in my bag got written down, including the price. I wanted to know exactly how much I was going to be spending, and not go over budget. So I walked around. By 10:30 the place was packed and people were everywhere. It was hard not to bump into someone. I found myself looking at dining room chairs at one point and wondered how I even got there and why I was looking at them. I'll probably never know. Except that I want to equate it to what Cinnabon does in malls: they pump the smell of their delicious cinnamon goodness into the mall and you hardly know what happened until you're licking your fingers and looking for a napkin to wipe the rest of the sticky mess off your fingers. Yes, that is what Ikea does with fancy lighting and lovely vases. They make you forget what you came there for in the first place!

By the time I got to the part of the store I actually NEEDED to be in, it was almost noon. Where did the time go??

Also by this time, I am pretty sure the building was over capacity and there was not space to even breathe. But on I soldiered, around the store, to find the many items still left on my list. Still checking my list every thirty seconds and writing everything down, I maneuvered myself and my cart around the hordes of people. This is the part that I equate to being a lab rat. You must find the rug and get it into your cart and get yourself, the rug and the cart safely out of the rug area before someone else runs you down. But make sure its the right rug, not just any one will do. Yes, that is a real thing.

I ended up leaving the rug area without one for my room. I got one for the back door, and one for the bathroom, but there were so many people and I was all by myself... too much stress for such little gain. I can wear flip flops in my room a little longer.

Blankets was another issue. Since I have spare rooms and would like to be able to rent them, I bought bare minimum essentials for them: a pillow, mattress cover and blanket for each. The bedding for each of those came to about 36 euros a piece, which was pretty good, I thought! Then came time to look for things for MY bed. They didn't have the blanket I wanted in a size big enough for my bed. Wtf. So instead of panicking, I decided that the only impulse buy that I was giving myself of the day (which I had already picked up and was a lovely fleecy grey blanket) was actually not an impulse buy after all- it was exactly what I needed. I bought a blanket that wouldn't be quite warm enough for the winter, and the fleecy blanket to go on top! THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is how you justify your choices! (The only blankets big enough for my bed were 85+euros. The blanket I bought was 25 and the grey blanket was 10.. hell ya!)

By the time I finished my rat race, I spent 268 euros and had almost everything on my list. I got a ride home in a cab around 2pm and started the task of cleaning the place from top to bottom and setting everything up.

Now it is almost perfect, my bed is comfy and warm and I love my new apartment!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Day I Didn't Die

So in my last post, I wrote that I was going running in the mountains, and that I might die.

I didn't.

Wanted to make sure I wasn't dead, or wouldn't die over night after such an experience, so I waited until now to update again.

I didn't die.

I'm supposed to go again next weekend. This could be interesting. I might die.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Death by Running

Okay, so for those of you who wanted another update, this may be my last.

I am going running today in the mountains with a woman I met in the gym.

God help me.

On the plus side, at least the scenery will be worth it!


Friday, October 3, 2014

Strangers on a Train... in the Worst Way Possible

By the title of this blog, you can probably guess what kind of day I've had...

I will not tell you about all of them, but I will tell you about the one that made me want to press up against a woman more than I've ever wanted to before in life.. ever. *

 It was rush hour (which for those of you who don't know, lasts from 3:30-8pm here in Barcelona, much like Toronto). Hundreds of people, cramming themselves into steel tubes that will rocket them to some point in the city that is closer to where they live. Man I miss cars. Also, by "rocket" I clearly mean "move at a pace faster than you can walk, but not so fast that you blink and its over".

 So here we all are, ten of us trying to maneuver our bodies onto the already full train in order to get to our destination faster, and lets face it, even if we waited for the next one, there would still be too many people to be able to get a breath of air, so we might as well just get on and deal with it. For anyone who is claustrophobic, I imagine this experience would be the thing that makes you lose your shit and kill people- the train would emerge from the tunnel internally covered in blood and there you would be, standing up on the seat and clinging to the handrails, shaking with cowardly rage over the bodies of the fifty-seven people you just destroyed. Yup, there is that many people on the train.

 Now, no matter how many people can squeeze themselves onto the train, it is still customary to try not to touch the person next to you. This is not the telephone booth that you tried to fit 20 people into as a youth, you still have to have some decency in tact. So I am between someone's arm in front of me, the door behind, a woman to my right (the one I would have spooned if it were in any way appropriate) and a gross old man.

 To be honest, he was probably grosser because of his actions, and I likely would not have even noticed him if not for his actions, but still gross none-the-less. When the train gets going, much like in any other moving vehicle, bodies sway. Well, the train started moving and the sway would have had me leaning towards this man, but because of my incredible balance and my discomfort with touching strangers, I have mastered the art of train surfing to the point of barely moving when the vehicle starts, if I so choose. Well, he moved. And then he righted himself, big belly and all right into my side. And there he stayed, for the duration of the trip to the next stop. Another man a few feet away from me must have noticed my face because he gave me the "aw man, I'm sorry for you" look. Thanks random stranger, for noticing in my unquantifiable displeasure.

 Upon the doors opening at the next station to let people off and on, I had, as any normal person would, assumed that he would kindly remove himself from his position pressed up against me. This is something he did not do. The doors closed again with the same number of people crammed into our space as had been before, though this time there were new people added to the starting-to-sweat hell that is this moment. The train moved again, and again the man swayed slightly, though this time his stomach was never not-touching me, and when he righted himself, somehow his (to quote Sheldon) "bathing suit parts" ended up against my thigh. UMMM!!

 It was in this moment that I started to inwardly panic. If not for the two or three layers of clothing between our skin, this old man would be succeeding in making his all dreams come true: once again rubbing up against a hot, young blonde in public with his... *shudders*. I can't even finish that sentence.

 This is my nightmare.


 Strangers being close in an elevator for a few moments is one thing, and anyone who has ever worked in the Scotia Plaza in Toronto can appreciate that when there are only 1-5 people in the elevator at five minutes to nine, you wish it were socially congruous to close the doors on the four other people running towards the gaping portal, citing it as your way of trying to prolong their freedom from "the man". Of course, that is not deemed acceptable behaviour and so when those people cram themselves in, you count your lucky stars, literally, because hopefully you have enough that by the time you've counted them, at least someone has gotten off the elevator. Also, in downtown corporate Toronto, daily showers and deodorant are an important social protocol and being that it is not yet 9am, everyone still smells fresh.

 But at rush hour in a major city on one of the most used lines in the metro system, all hope is lost as the closing doors trap you in this vast yet confined space with frisky strangers at the end of their workday. I feel bad for some of these people. They may have thought that they could skip the shower this morning and get by Italian style with deodorant and body spray, and that the tuna fish sandwich they had for lunch with a wine chaser would end up leaving their breath smelling minty fresh.

 Dear Girl-beside-me-I'd-like-to-spoon,

Your breath doesn't smell good, but I'd still like to get to know you better than this leaner with a big belly and an appetite for girls in tight spaces.



 I'm still having internal debates over whether to elbow this man so hard that he keels over, or continue holding my breath and enduring this most awful commute when the announcement rings through the train: "El proximo estacion: Verdeguer". Oh thank God there are only a few more moments of this unimaginable agony. Count backwards from 10: 10, 9, 8,- why is he staring at me?!- 7,6,- I can't even handle this anymore- 5, 4, 3, - oh no the train is slowing, he's leaning again only this time it's into me more than on purpose!- 2, 1 - OPEN YOU DAMN DOORS! OPEN!!!

 The doors slide open and he remains exactly where his is. Thankfully, enough people are moving out of the train that by the time new people can come in, I have moved to the opposite side of the train. Yes, my stop is next. And yes, I would rather fight my way past all of these people than spend another second racing through a long dark tunnel wishing I could melt into a fruit fly and die in the next 4.5 seconds.

 The man looked at me as the doors shut, as if to say "we were having a moment and you just... left?!" No sir, you were having a moment and I was being accosted by a stranger on a train.

 Can I have my virginity back?

*Yes MC, even more than you...even more.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Being Fabulous

Sometimes I remind myself how awesome I am.

Time for another cafe con leche ;)

Friday, September 26, 2014

Letter to Sidewalk Users

To the people in Spain who don't know how to share a sidewalk,

I may be Canadian, but I will still run you down if you're in my way.


People who walk faster than a snail's pace.

uumm... ?

All day yesterday, people kept saying to me "I keep thinking today is Thursday" and I'll let you know Thursday or Friday if you have the job" and "We'll talk on Thursday"...

Yesterday was Thursday. End story.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Peanut Butter Deficency... again.

So as it turns out, my little supermercado in my neighbourhood (or the one closest to my house anyway) does not even have the crappy peanut butter that only mildly passes as peanut butter.

Its a good thing I'm headed into my old neighbourhood... I know they have some PB there!!

Besides that, things are good. And yes, I know that no pictures have been posted yet. Lo siento. Soon!

Adios, y hasta luego mi amigos!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

You'll Hardly Notice the Difference...

As a follow up to "Finding a Replacement", it turns out that while tomato juice is seriously no replacement for our beloved Canadian Clamato, Bloody Mary's are actually not bad.

I'm slowly starting to get used to them.

Just add a lot of lemon, salt and some pepper, along with all the other ingredients of a Caesar, and double to vodka. You hardly notice that it's not Clamato ;)

Getting Back on the Horse

Its been a few days since I've had a chance to write anything, I know, lo siento.

I swear I have a good excuse for not being present in my online life...

I am job hunting. Seriously.

But I have prospects. AND I got one of my old students back... she is wonderful. I cannot wait until our class!

But on to the other things I've been doing.

I'm trying to learn Spanish. Eek. It is only difficult in this city because the best way to learn a language is to fully immerse yourself in it. If you know anything about the people of Spain, it is that most of them speak very quickly, and have a lisp. Its not really a lisp, but they pronounce things as though they do. For example, 'Barcelona' is Barthelona. And 'Vale' (which means 'okay') is pronounced like we would say ballet, with the emphasis on the first syllable.

All of this means that listening to people speak, it is somewhat difficult to pick up on the words you know when they are jumbled in with the words you don't know.

It's only a little frustrating.

And so I'll listen to some more Enrique and Marc Anthony and hopefully it will come. jajaja

Friday, September 19, 2014

Cafe con Leche

I can't even tell you how much I love this coffee.

Barcelona, for some reason, makes the absolute BEST coffee I have ever had. It's espresso and milk (hot milk) and probably some addictive additive because I can't seem to get enough of it. And for those of you who know me, jeez, too much coffee makes Canadia crazy! But it's so tasty, I don't want to stop. And the desserts... Croissants, chocolate croissants, cakes, pastries, wow.. Everything! It's a good thing I joined a gym. Need to combat the sugar intake.

So I sit here at a little cafe near my flat and drink coffee. Seriously, could life be better than this?

Back to my cafe. Enjoy the day lovely friends!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Finding a Replacement...

If anyone knows how to make a Bloody Mary taste like a Caesar, let me know.

Experiments to commence in T-1 day.

Pollo con Salsa: The Language Barrier

Barbados and I just got home from the gym (40 min spin class for me, in Spanish... I don't know if I did it all right, but I was pretty sweaty at the end so I think something worked!)

He sent me down to buy a chicken and gravy (or sauce, because they don't have gravy here) and potatoes. Muy bien. "Pollo, con salsa, y patates".

I got downstairs to the little shop, and they gave me a whole chicken in a bag, with what looked like oil or chicken grease, also in the bag and told me to microwave para dos minutos. Umm.. okay. I don't have a microwave, but I'll figure it out. She said a whole bunch of other things that I have no idea what she said, but it all sounded good, and I responded as much as I could. (They talk so fast here that its hard to understand.. Colombians talk much slower. Can I talk to a Colombian?)

Patates para dos (for two people).

Tambien, la tienda esta abierta los domingos, y dias festivos. (Also, the store is open on Sundays and holidays)... Bueno.

Tengo muy hambre. I just want my chicken and sauce.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

And Then I Cleaned My Apartment...

So today was probably the second most productive since being here, and I can't even say I did that much.

But I did buy a purse. Its pretty awesome. It's a deep jade colour and has tassels and a bit of fringe. Who knew I'd buy a purse with fringe?!

I also heard about some jobs. And looked for apartment listings. I think I'm going to have to walk around the neighbourhood for that though, and call numbers I see on buildings I like. Some places are sketch, or too far from my new gym. Yes, I joined a gym... already. And yes I went. And yes, it is high class.. so high class that I'm pretty sure I can blog from the bikes. But we'll see. I'm not sure how much writing I will do while sweaty.. mmm sweaty blogs.

Anyway, so I had gone out to drink a beer, watch the BarcaFC game and wait for Barbados (for those of you who don't know, I refer to people in this blog as the place from which they came, generally, so as to not give away their identity) to be done work and joined me. And then he decided he was going to stay near the school to watch because he was done late and pretty well hates missing futbol matches. Okay. So maybe I'm weird, but I don't like to drink alone in strange bars with old men who stare at me... maybe I'm not weird, but either way, I came home.

Our other roommate was not home yet so I decided to do the one thing that would make me feel more at home, and make my roommates like me... I cleaned the apartment. I swept all of the common area floors, and then mopped. *sigh* feels a little more like home. Me gusta.

Buenos noches mi amigos.

Telephono móvil

So I've now got myself set up with a phone (pre-paid, so my internet is 7.76€/month) and I have 45€ credit. Phone calls will cost me an obscene amount of money and so will texting, as per usual. But the good news is, almost everyone I know has BBM, Whatsapp or will use Facebook to talk to me... Excellent!

Why are phones so much cheaper in Europe than in Canada?!

If anyone wants my new number, PM me in Facebook!

Monday, September 15, 2014

I've been here for just less than 24 hours and I know if I don't post soon certain people (*cough* my mother *cough*) are going to start making comments..

First off, my flight was fine. I'm pretty certain that the woman next to me from Zaragosa was pregnant, but when I asked her, she didn't seem to understand (and I didn't want to press the issue, in case she wasn't). She and her husband slept most of the flight, which was perfect because I tried to sleep for most of the flight. I'm one of the few lucky people that, given the right seat on the plane, can curl up and have a snooze without being completely uncomfortable. The free wine during flight didn't hurt either, but they really could stand to give you more than 3 ounces of it!

Somehow, magically, my ears managed to pop much earlier than they ever had before making the landing much more relaxing. The fact that I was still yawning so much probably had something to do with that!

Once off the plane, we all went through customs. Of course the boarder guy that I had didn't speak a word of English and when he saw my visa stamped beautifully into my passport, he gave me a look like he had never seen a visa before in his life. Umm.. what? He asked if I was here to study, so rather than confuse him more, I said "Si, estudia!".

From there it was a quick jaunt to the bathroom to change and brush my teeth.

Baggage claim took forever. I'm pretty sure they carried one bag at a time over from the plane. It was ridiculous. Once they finally started putting a few bags out at a time, the crown thinned and thinned again. The sucky part of getting to the airport early and getting a good seat is that on the other end, your bag was put on the plane first, and will come off last. Once I finally had my two bags in had, I headed through the doors and out into Barcelona.

Barbados met me at the airport and I have to say it wasn't the classic 'The Notebook' style reunion with me running into his arms and him lifting me in the air. I was far too tired to run, and he was far too sick to lift.

He took my bags and we found a taxi.

We went for a walk after getting to his place. Had a beer at his favourite little watering hole and then headed back home for some food. Time and the hour of the day was a mystery to me all day yesterday.

And now it's Monday. And I'm in Barcelona instead of heading to work at Moose. I have to say, I miss the Moose. I don't miss the sometimes weirdo customers that tell me that our pulled pork is too salty, or that they ate bread and thought it was chicken... but I miss the people.

Well, on to start the day. Lets hope my Spanish comes back quickly... haha


Friday, September 12, 2014

36 hours

The official countdown is on.. we are down to the final hours before takeoff and I cannot wait.

The week has been a wild blur of saying goodbye to people in all parts of this beautiful province, tears of sadness and joy and a lot of laughs.

I still have a crazy amount of stuff to do before I go again, but I feel confident that I will get everything sorted.

For now, I am still stressed and writing this with dye in my hair, laundry in the washer and a list a mile long... that's why this is so short. Haha (or jaja en espanol)

Hasta luego!