La educación española, uncensored

Barcelona Travel Blog

 › entry 11 of 29 › view all entries
me, Shannon and Laura as Charlie´s Angels...
Here are some of the things I learned in the past week from Betty, classes, and just life in Barcelona.

1. Cómo coser
Mom, I know once I tell you what “coser” means, you’re going to be mad at me, not because I learned how to do it, but because I wouldn’t let you teach me before. It means “to sew.” One of the buttons fell off my coat, so I pulled out my tiny travel sewing kit and attempted to teach myself to thread a needle and sew it back on... How hard can it be, right? So I did it and was pretty proud, even though some of the threads were sticking out. Well, Betty walked in just as I finished and promptly shattered my pride by snickering at my the threads sticking out and telling me that every girl should know how to sew, especially if she is going to be living in a foreign country. So she re-sewed my buttons on and made me watch closely so that next time I needed to sew something, there wouldn’t be any messy threads. But she told me her daughter Elena doesn’t know how to sew either, so now at least I’m one step ahead.

2. Cómo hacer la Sangría
Mmm, Sangría. Betty asked me last week what my favorite food and drinks have been so far. When I said I love Sangría (Paella takes the top prize for food), she asked if I knew how to make it. I told her I’d made it once before with a few friends in the states by mixing wine with whatever fruit we had in the house, such as apples, oranges, grapes and strawberries. She promptly made a face as if I’d just told her we made it with toilet water and vinegar, and insisted on showing me how to make Sangría the real way, no strawberries involved. I wasn’t about to argue. So last night we made Sangría. Delicious, tart, blood-red, citrus-filled Sangría with so much sugary goodness I had trouble falling asleep. We used red wine, fanta de limón, and a shot of cognac, with sliced apples, bananas, oranges and lemons coatedwith sugar. She said we’ll make it again (and learn to make Paella!) when the fam comes to visit, and we’ll put more shots of alcohol in it too... I’m mildly obsessed with her, even though she leaves moldy fruit on the kitchen table and stale bread in random places throughout the house.

3. Hay tanta libertad en las aulas
I have my first paper due this week and I’m getting some reading assignments too. So where’s the syllabus that tells me the due date of the paper and the readings? Oh wait, there isn’t one. There also isn’t an outline or instructions for my paper- my teacher just said to write an autobiography with a five-page maximum. How vague is that? As I struggled at first, staying after class to ask the teacher more specific guidelines, I realized there just weren’t any. I didn’t miss anything in class, we were just free to do what we thought appropriate. As a born and raised American, I’m so not used to this freedom in the classroom. But I think I could get used to it... but I shouldn’t, since I must, eventually, return to America.

4. El “wifi” es un mito
One of the things I miss most about America is free, public, wireless internet access (how stereotypical of me, right?). So you can imagine my excitement when I walked past a café that had a “WIFI GRATIS” sign in the window. I went in, got a cup of coffee, asked for the password, and was only dismayed to find that it didn’t work. No explanation really, it just didn’t work. Now, I’m no professional yet, but I’d say that’s false advertising. Would a company not get in trouble in the U.S. for advertising something they didn’t really have? And that café wasn’t the only one. Most of the little shops that advertise internet access only have it like one day a week for an hour if you sit in one specific spot while jumping on one foot. How disappointing. I also miss free, public drinking water, but don’t even get a Catalonian started on that topic...

5. No hay nada que se considera inapropiada
Anything goes here, really. I went out Thursday, Friday and Saturday night last week. And when I say I went out, I mean went to bars and clubs and danced and ran around Barcelona at all hours of the night. I know, I’m a complete lush but I haven’t met much judgment here. On Thursday, there was a costume party (a kind of belated Carnavale type thing) and we had a “botellón” session (basically pre-gaming/drinking before we get to the bars/clubs, in public) on Avinguda Diagonal, one of the busiest streets in Barcelona. And one guy was wearing a cow costume... with a bra. I still have yet to figure out why- maybe he got utters and breasts confused. Friday and Saturday also consisted of late night adventures and no one seems to think that’s inappropriate. Meanwhile, I am aware that this lifestyle (for me, at least) only exists for now in Barcelona, don’t worry...

6. Más palabras españolas
I’ve started a list of new Spanish words that I like. I love it when I find words that don’t have an exact English translation, like “aprovechar.” It means “to enjoy/profit from/take advantage of,” or something like that. I told the adorable (but possibly (go figure) gay) boy in my Literatura class that we don’t have a specific word for it in English and he was mildly appalled. I felt ashamed for the English language.
“Bofetada” is also a great one, which means (literally or figuratively) “a slap in the face.” I feel like I need to act it out every time I say it. “Bo-fe-TA(insert slap across the face here)-da!” My newest is “embriagada,” which means “intoxicated/drunk/delighted.” I like that it’s just a little bit vague...

bshafrin says:
omg you are going to have to pay it forward and bring your sangria knowledge back home. we'll have some sweet sangria-times in august! maybe i'll have some exotic recipes to share. more likely i'll just imbibe.

so happy you're happy! did you get my fb message about gavin degraw? he;s coming here on sat and it's sold out and i missed it!!! boo. also - marc broussard's new cd comes out in the next few weeks. it's a good time for music.

MWAH! hopefully we can skype soon.
Posted on: Feb 27, 2008
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me, Shannon and Laura as Charlie´…
me, Shannon and Laura as Charlie…
photo by: fivepointpalm