Wednesday, February 24, 2010

You've got snow. We've got rain - and lots of it.

It normally doesn't rain much in Spain.  This year has been quite the exception.  Sergio told me this year is the most he's seen it rain here in his life.

It rained the whole time mother and grandma were here to visit.  Rained a lot in January.  And February.  The past two weeks it's been raining, raining, raining.  Today was the first day in a while with a rain-less afternoon, so I enjoyed the sunshine.

Southern Spain normally gets less rain than the rest of Spain.  In fact, they're usually short on rain.  Here's a video of what southern Spain looks like now: flooded.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Knock Knock

Who's there?

... Gregorio's mother.

She's coming to visit, and gets here Wednesday night.  Not exactly sure how long she'll be here, but it's funny to watch Grego try and get ready.  He's hiding all of his motorcycle stuff (she doesn't know that he owns a moto, let alone 3).  He's going to hide some of the helmets and stuff in my room while she's here. Hah.

Friday, February 19, 2010

rebe's word notebook: malabarismos

Just like in the US, I still always carry a little notebook and pen with me.  This year, however, I have two.  One's for the normal scribbles: maps, grocery lists, addresses, quotes, to-do lists, etc.  The other has turned into a list of new Spanish words: words I learn in classes, from my intercambios, roommates, tv shows, you know... words I learn while living life.

Since it seems like there hasn't been much "news" to blog lately, now that classes are up and running again (well, not quite all classes - one of my classes doesn't start until next Thursday...), thought I could start sharing some of the words that make their way into this notebook, and the situation in which they were learned.

That being said, a new word from Friday is:
hacer malabarismos: to juggle

And now the accompanying story.  Asad volunteers at the women's center on Wednesdays, and I on Mondays.  The women who run the center are Marta and Laura.  This Wednesday he told me that Laura was wondering if I could come on Friday this week, because Marta was going to be the only one with all the kids.  Fridays are "fun days" (non-homework days), and rather than two separate groups an hour each like Mondays and Wednesdays, everyone is together for an hour and a half on Fridays - so the older kids and younger kids are mixed.  I had gone to my first Friday volunteering the prior week; the kids made masks for Carnaval.  They had been quite rowdy and some bad-behaved, but since I had no plans this afternoon, I went.

When I walked in, I was surprised to see every other volunteer there... minus Asad (I couldn't convince him to come with me!).  But it ended up being fun - I finally know all the other volunteers' names!  Now I need to work on learning the kids' names...

Their activity yesterday was another art-project type thing.  They had to make a picture of a woman that has made a positive influence on their life.  There were newspapers they could use to cut out pictures, markers, glue, yarn, and (unfortunately?) glitter again... (Like last Friday, today I left the center with glitter on my clothes, hands, and in my hair.  Somehow, one of the containers of glitter always gets knocked over and spills on the floor or table).

After we finished cleaning up, when some of the kids had already left, us volunteers and the three or four remaining girls started playing "Veo veo" (It's the Spanish version of I spy).  This is how it goes:

Player: Veo veo (I see, I see)
Group: ¿Qué ves? (What do you see?)
Player: Una cosita (Something.. - literal translation: a little thing)
Group: ¿Qué cosita es? (What is it?)
Player: Una cosita que empieza con la letrecita... (Something that starts with the letter...)

Then everyone guesses the object, and the person to correctly guess the word is the next "player", and gets to pick the next cosita.

It was the best behaved I had ever seen the kids!  (Granted, there were only 4 left at this point, and all girls.) But two of those girls usually cause some sort of trouble, but when we were playing "veo veo", they were genuinely interested, trying to guess the right cosita.

During the walk with the volunteers from the center to the train station afterwards, Marta (one of the directors) told me that Marina (another volunteer) could juggle (yes, that's when I learned the word), and was going to teach the kids to juggle one Friday.  She then went on to ask me if I had any "special skills" that I could teach for an activity some Friday.  Nothing came to the top of my head, and I told her I'd think about it. 

And I'm still thinking about it.  Do any of you have ideas of an activity that would be engaging to kids whose ages range from 8-15 for an hour and a half?  Or if any of you know a "special skill" I possess that I'm just not aware of... hah

I'm trying to think of a fun game we used to play in elementary school or something.  I don't think we have enough kids for Heads Up-7 Up.  I thought about "Crocodile moray," but I'm not sure if that would go over well.  And you can only play that for so long.  Or what was fun in art class back then?



Wednesday, February 17, 2010

perífrasis verbales

Yesterday in my syntax class, we translated some rather entertaining sentences.  Thought I'd post them here, in case someone else gets a laugh out of them.  And the translations, in case anyone's curious:

1. I used to think I was indecisive, but now I'm not so sure.
Solía pensar que era indeciso pero ahora no estoy tan segura.

2. The average woman would rather have beauty than brains because the average man can see better than he can think.
La mujer media preferiría tener belleza que cerebro porque el hombre medio puede ver mejor de lo que puede pensar.

3. People usually get what's coming to them unless it has been mailed.
La gente suele recibir lo que se merece a menos que se haya enviado por correo.

4. A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.
Un clásico es algo que todo el mundo quiere haber leído pero nadie quiere leerlo.

5. You know it's going to be a bad day when your twin sister forgot your birthday.
Sabes que va a ser un mal día cuando tu hermana gemela se olvidó de tu cumpleaños.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


On Saturday I went to Toledo with two friends, Maggie and Vickie, which is only an hour-ish south of Madrid.

We planned to take a bus there, so we went to Madrid's south bus station that morning, only to find out none of those buses went to Toledo.  A woman at information told us that to go to Toledo, you had to use a different bus station, that I hadn't heard of.  So we metro-ed a few more stops to this other bus station, and bought tickets 5 minutes before the bus left.

After walking from the bus station 10-15 minutes to the central plaza, we headed into the Museo de Santa Cruz.  This museum is a 16th century building that used to be a hospital, orphanage, and probably something else which I'm forgetting.  It had displays of paintings, tapestries, and artifacts, as well as a patio.
Patio in the Museo de Santa Cruz

Bowl: Museo de Santa Cruz

On our way out of the Museo de Santa Cruz, we ended up in the middle of a protest parading through the town. It started in the main plaza, with a bunch of people chanting... something. The words weren't very clear - being shouted - hence I'm not exactly sure what they were protesting. Then dancers started making their way out of the plaza, dancing through the streets, the way we were headed. And the rest of the people walked behind the dancers, holding a sign in front and continuing their chants.

Dancers in the street

Protestors behind the dancers

We were walking alongside the parade until our next destination: the Catedral de Toledo. Unfortunately, you couldn't take any pictures inside, so I have none for you folks. Just this:

Catedral de Toledo

We ate lunch, then met up with my friend Lindsey from high school, who is studying in Toledo this semester.
Lindsey, me, Vickie, Maggie

After-lunch visits included: El Greco's "El Entierro del Señor de Orgaz" in la Iglesia de Santo Tomé, el Museo Sefardi, and the Sinagogue El Tránsito.

Then, we all tried mazapán, the sweet Toledo is known for, which is usually filled with egg yolk and sugar.

All in all, a nice lil' day-trip.