Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"I'm Leavin' On a Jetplane..."

Trip home

First leg: Bus from Jerez to Madrid; June 21-22, 2010, 21:55 to 5:55

Almost didn’t make it. Waited until 3 hours before to buy my bus ticket, thinking…Monday night, no big deal. People should be working and not vacationing quite yet. HA forgot I was in Spain for a minute there. It was the last ticket. Booya (phew!)
Jessi 1 – Procrasination 0

My seat was in the back next to a Congolese man. He spoke French and his native Congolese tribal language. I speak English and Spanish. We communicated well enough for him to make a proposition – if I would be his Spanish girlfriend and accompany him through Madrid. Tempting, but I bought him a Coca-Cola instead.

Second leg: Barajas (Madrid airport); June 22, 6:30 to 11:05

The repressed memories are resurfacing. Not being able to find the baggage claim nor my parents that had come to visit me and the resulting shame from having to ask in English after 3 months of Spanish immersion (Study Abroad 2007). Arriving in Madrid, again, couldn’t find the baggage claim or where in the world – I mean, airport – I was supposed to be (Upon arrival for Teaching Assistant year 2009). Being homeless for a night and sleeping on the cold, hard airport floor before flight to Paris. Actually, the real homeless people had it better because they found the cardboard boxes, sigh. (Semana Santa 2010). 150 euros for my overweight luggage…pa-leeease! (Upon departure from Teaching Assistant year 2009) Barajas- ¿porqué me jodas siempre?

Third: Flight Madrid – Washington D.C., 11:05am to 2:50pm (calculate 7 hours for time change)

Went from lacking to luxury! I watched movies, tv shows (incl. Father Ted, mmhmm Emma, if you happen to read this ever), played computer games (not on my computer, either!), and stuffed my face full of airplane food (honestly, I don’t know why people complain about it). I sat next to someone who neither smelled nor proposed. It was probably the best 9 hours of this lengthy trip.

Fourth: Washington Dulles Airport, 2:50 to 6:06pm

For those of you who know the story about how disappointed I was when I got back from Salamanca underage (20 ½) and thirsty…I got my beer this time! Sam Adams summer ale – good, draught, and American. It came with an American price as well: $7.34, ahh, so expensive! (And don’t worry, I didn’t forget the tip) All the sudden the culture shock sets in. I keep saying ‘perdon’ to people I step on. I’m paying sales tax on my purchases. Not all is bad though. For example, I bought Skittles! And ate the whole bag within 5 minutes. American accents; so far I’ve racked up Texas southern, hick southern, ebonics, Latin American Spanish, western surfer-ish and everything in between. (I am notably lacking New England and the Northwest, though). And then there are the cultural nuances that I just can’t explain.

Fifth: Flight from Dulles to Charlotte, NC Douglas Airport, 6:06 to 7:31pm


Sixth: Charlotte Douglas Airport 7:31pm to present

More America, lo bueno: killed two birds with one stone (steak + quesadilla) and ate them for dinner.
Also FREE Wifi! And that is how I bring this blog to you in real time (almost).

I have been writing it as I go along today instead of from stale memory tomorrow, when all of this will feel like a weird dream. That’s my excuse, by the way, if some of the entries are a little off…I’m REALLY tired and currently in hour 30 of my trip, only 4 or 5 of which have been sleeping hours.

What I have to look forward to:
Flight Charlotte Douglas to LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS! 10:30 – 11:28pm.
*sigh of relief* that carries all the frustration, confusion, illusion, contentment, and excitement that I have felt for the past couple of days.

Trip TOTAL: 33 hours and more euros/dollars than I would like to count.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Tying up Loose Ends

Life is bittersweet in this summer heat and with all the goodbyes to left to say. In these last few days, before we all go our own way, we reflect on the good times and finish up the rest.

Beach Boppin'

Lisbon (Fall)
Cadiz (Fall)
Valdelagrana- hop on the train, hop off...suddenly at the beach!
Cortadura- with the big waves
Conil- cozy up to the beautiful cliff-side...careful though, the rocks in the water hurt
Rota- sand, 100 montaditos, water, cien montaditos, who can say 1-euro jarra de cerveza??
Still to go:
Caños de Meca

Spring Tapas
Pimientos fritos- Fried peppers take the number one spot. Feria food, but I've made them at home since then.
Caracoles- yes, snails. Fish 'em outta the shell with a toothpick and suck 'em down
Fideos con Langostinos- noodles with jumbo shrimp..not so much springtime, but it was on the Ruta (route) de los Caracoles
Whatever that delicious specialty was in Sevilla that my coworkers introduced me to...fried fish platter (but not pescaito frito) Wish I could remember how it's called

Still to go:
pescaito frito- fried fish

Helado Favorites

Double scoop winner- Plátano con caramelo (caramel banana) and chocolate

The go-to when the choices are overwhelming- Tiramisú

When I'm in a nutty mood- Carapinos- caramel-pine nut

Only found in Rota- Chocolate with Chocolate cookie bits

La Cepa de Rosa, Jerez fav- Vainilla con brownie- Vanilla with brownie bits

Lived in Jerez all year and still haven't done that?!
>Real Escuela de Arte Ecuestre

Don't forget about the work that inevitably comes with play
Go to Correos and send Flamenco dress home
Prepare last English tutoring classes
Shopping for regalos/recuerdos
Throw useless stuff away (eeeek, I'm a packrat so this will be painful)

What I will miss most:
Stinky cheese- manchego, viejo, payoyo
Jamón (literally translated, "ham", but it's so much more)
Spanish green olives and cheap olive oil
Fanta limón
Dressing up beer and wine with lemon fanta
Surprise birthday parties
Andalusian flowers and wildlife
Spanlish, Franglish, and Españofrénglideutch
Sitting at a terraza for hours with one café con leche/cerveza/tinto
"Is this really true about your country?" conversations
Beer at the movie theater
Chuches in the chucherías (gummy candy)
Spaniards singing in the Streets (random or not)
El Mejor Piso

Re-adjustments upon return to the States:

(Picture: Arkansas River from Cajun's deck)

Practice political correctness
6:00 dinner time
Driving a car instead of walking
Remember not to call people and hang up before they answer
3:00pm? Yes, stores are open, and yes I can get things done
Keeping up with American efficiency (while retaining the virtue of patience I have acquired here in Spain)
-These are the ones I'm ready for at least-