I was just reviewing my “to do” list for the week in Evernote (an application you should download immediately if you haven’t already). One of the bullet points, “update blog” has been copied and pasted from one day’s list to another for a week now; something for which I have no good excuse. I’ve had the last five days off of work, after all! I have posts on a handful of topics that are still in the works, but I can’t seem to wrap any of them up tonight so I thought I’d try something new. I have lots to say about things that have nothing to do with each other, so I’ve decided to organize this smörgåsbord of topics in a bullet-point format, inspired by my ever-growing “to do” list 🙂
So here are some updates on my life, in no particular order:
- As I mentioned, I’m coming off of a 5-day break from work. I always have Fridays off, and then we all had Monday and Tuesday off for something called a “puente.” This word literally means “bridge,” but in this case it refers to the general consensus in Spain that if a holiday falls awkwardly in the middle of the week (today is All Saints Day), they will also make the day before or after it a day off as well in order to “bridge” it to the weekend. I am in full support of this custom.
- Speaking of holidays, happy belated Halloween! Several other Americans and I had our share of Halloween fun despite the fact that it’s not widely recognized here. We had Halloween “potlucks” on both Saturday AND Monday nights, complete with dirt cupcakes and candlelight. Then we took to the streets to call even more attention than usual to our costume-donned American selves! :-p
- We have yet to have internet installed in our apartment. Such things run on what we like to call “Spain time,” which is a very different timetable than the “giveittomeNOW” ideal so dear to our American hearts. I’ve been spending a lot of time at WiFi bars, and at home I’m tethering internet from my mobile phone which has gotten me through, but it is r-e-e-e-e-a-l-l-y s-l-o-o-o-o-o-w. Imagine waiting 10 minutes for a simple YouTube video to load and/or just time out. Dial-up, anyone? The Euskaltel dude is supposed to come give us The Internets by Monday at the latest. w00t!
- I’m ashamed to confess that I’ve consumed Ramen noodles (the Spanish version of them, anyway) on a couple of desperate occasions recently. The grocery store had a couple flavors that piqued my curiosity (i.e. curry and shrimp) so I went for it. In related news, I saw a commercial today for two new flavors of Lays potato chips that have hit the Spanish market: shrimp and KEBAB. I can’t make this up.
- I have watched more episodes of Friends in the last two weeks than I had in my entire life up to that point. It is on almost 24/7, and our fancy TV usually lets us change the audio to English. Treat!
- I went to Gernika yesterday and it was pure insanity. Every Monday is “market day” in Gernika, but the last Monday of October is the biggest one of the year. Farmers bring in the best and last of their fall harvest, and the streets of Gernika become one giant Basque party. I had heard this was a big deal, but I greeeeatly underestimated just how big this deal would be. The line for buses to Gernika from downtown Bilbao was down the street and around the corner. I finally got to Gernika at 1pm, and the streets were already packed to the gills and littered with bottles of sidra (hard cider). The main streets were lined with vendors selling everything from gourmet cheese to handmade toys to, of course, mouth-wateringly fresh produce. There was lots of live music, lots of laughing, and lots of broken glass. Not having braced for such intense fiesta so early in the day, I left after being there just a few hours. I definitely appreciated the cultural experience, but a total immersion would have been a bit much for me at that point 😉
- Is it really November? Because we’re still hitting the 70s on a regular basis here. I grew up in a place where Halloween costumes were altered to include winter coats, hats and sometimes even snow pants, so this temperate climate thing is a new concept for me. The temps in the 70s won’t last, but I’m pretty sure I can handle the upper 40s/lower 50s that will be the “winter” here. It’s a pretty nice upgrade for a North Dakota girl.
- I finally hung pictures in my room of all my family and friends, and it made me miss everyone back home so much. I love you guys! Come visit!