20 May, 2006

Snorers

Okay, I am a relatively easy going person. I have put up with a lot of stuff in my adult years. I don't count my youth, since as children, most shit just happens and you deal with it because it's mostly beyond your control. Well, I'm now an adult (as much an I do not like to admit it) and I have learned to control pretty much everything in my life and that's the way I like it. Orderly.

Well, I am now living with a man who snores. This man is my roommate and although he's a relatively nice guy and I although he has many quirks, I can usually deal with them by retiring to my "sacred alone place" my bedroom haven. Well I now realize my bedroom is not safe from the inhuman sounds that escape his mouth at night.

After I finished counseling my stressed other male roommate on the trials and tribulations of having a relationship (like I'm the one to talk to???, I refrained from saying "dump her and move on".) Anyway I finished my unpaid counseling session at 2 AM an finally snuggled down in my soft bed. All of a sudden I heard it, a sound coming from the depths of hell. I had heard Ben snore before, but nothing like this. As I listened to these sounds I chuckled to myself as I imagined a lizard-like demon shooting out of his mouth and screeching at the top of his lungs and then retreating back into his mouth. That thought (with the images changing shape) lasted about 15 minutes and then I realized that I needed to get some sleep.

I tried to ignore it but, any of you, who are so cursed with sleeping with someone who gasps for air with a horrid sound, knows you can't ignore it. It would be different if he was in my bed, then I could just gently roll him over, nudge him, smack him with the back of my hand, kick him off the bed, etc. but this was different. I didn't know what to do. I got the idea to tape record him with my camera. ha ha, yeah that would be funny. Well, I did that and by 3:30 AM the humor in that wore off. I finally opened his door and yelled his name. That did nothing and being in his room in the dark kind of freaked me out, especially since that demon was so close! "what if instead of screeching it shot across the room at me?"

I called his name louder and nothing happened except the continuous snoring. I moved closer to his bed and kicked the footboard. nothing... I kicked it and called his name too. nothing... I grasped it with both hands and shook as hard as I could and yelled his name. I finally heard silence and I said "Will you please roll over or something since I can't sleep and I really don't want to kill you in your sleep. I though I would get a chuckle out of him, but really there was no sound. I stood there in the darkness for about 5 seconds and then got really spooked and ran out of his room shutting the door behind me and I jumped into my bed and laid there panting. I felt like a little kid waiting for the boogie man to get me. I realized that the demon wasn't coming after me and that I better try to sleep before it rears it's ugly head out of his mouth again. By then it was almost 4 AM and I finally fell asleep. I was not very happy when my alarm went off at 7.

09 May, 2006

Crazy Spaniards!

There's something I have learned about the Spanish; they lack a sense of time. For example, the bars here do not even open until 10 or 11 PM. That in itself is not so unusual because in Austin, most people do not go to bars until then. The main difference is that most bars here stay open until 4 and then others open at that time. Instead of crawling home exhausted at 4AM, you go to the bars that are just opening. Why waste a perfectly good morning by going home!

Last weekend I went out with some of my classmates, Robert, his Spanish girlfriend and couple of his Spanish friends. I ended up hanging with Robert and the Spaniards at the bar, dancing and drinking. Usually by 3 they stop playing the American music and convert to Spanish, so just when I got a little drunk and wanted to sing out loud the damn language changed! (In retrospect, I realize that this is a very good thing since it is a well knows fact that in general, a "Lies" cannot and should not ever sing out loud EVER.

We left the bar around 4AM and proceeded to go to another bar. We came to a cross road and my apt. was one way and the bars were another..decisions..decisions..the 5 of us discussed what to do next and were torn on the many options of bars to go to. I then suggested that we go to my (and Roberts) apt and continue the festivities there. They tossed the idea around. I then said that I had wine and BANG those were the magic words. We proceeded to walk the 15 minutes to the apt. We got there and cracked 2 bottles of wine, some bad whiskey, olives and a large chocolate bar with almonds. We were on our terrace and then all of a sudden I looked at the sky and something seemed strange. I then exclaimed "Look! That is the sun coming up! What in the hell time is it?" I got the response that I had received all night when I asked the time. "It is 2 O'clock". I said "2 O'clock" my ass, that's the sun!". I got blank stares and I could imagine them thinking: yes, you strange Americana, that is the sun; it sets in the west and reappears every morning in the east. But then I exclaimed "I have been up for 24 hours!" It was then that I learned the fact that the Spanish rarely sleep and it is typical for them to party until 5 AM or more and then go out again the next night.

At that point someone said "Hey should we go to the beach?" There were a couple of "I don't knows" and then from somewhere inside of me a firm demanding voice came out of my mouth "We must go to the beach" I said. I do not know why this crazy idea seemed brilliant to me. Maybe it was because the thought of the glistening sea or maybe the stillness of the morning air coming off the water, or maybe it was just because the wine was gone...

We walked to a cafe because I said I needed a shot of coffee as did the others. We stumbled into one near one of the guys apt. and there were about 20 people in there. As I studied them, I realized that they seemed kind of dressed up for a Saturday morning (by that time it was 8:30 AM). I mentioned this to one of the guys and he said "oh, they have been out all night like us. Anyone in a cafe before 9AM on a weekend has not been home yet." (Crazy Spaniards). We then all piled into his car and he drove us to the beach. Come to find out, his parents own a beach apt. in Benicassim (a town about 15 minutes north of Castellon).

We got to this place and it had the most gorgeous view! Now people were finding rooms and crashing, but I had just drunk a Spanish coffee (the equivalent being a triple expresso shot) and there was no way I could sleep. I lay on this couch on the balcony (14th floor) and became mesmerized by the ocean. I stayed that way for awhile and then suddenly woke up, realizing that I had slept for almost 30 minutes. I then remembered that I had a Spanish conversation session (called an intercambio) at 3PM that afternoon. It was now noon. I could not get anymore "real" sleep since I kept thinking that I would oversleep and miss my session. Everyone finally aroused around 2PM and we headed back to Castellon. I got home at 2:30, showered and walked to my session, where upon I had another Spanish coffee.

I got home around 5:00, finally got something to eat and tried to sleep. My body was relaxed, but my mind would not stop, so I got up, did some internet research and typed a page for my class paper. I finally went to bed at 8:30 PM after being up for over 37 hours. I do not think I will do that again for awhile...but then again, as my mother said to me "when in Spain do as the Spanish do....but I think she may have been talking about going to Church...

International Party...

The international party started at 8:30. After a long and agonizing decision, Robert and I decided on PB&J sandwiches for a couple of reasons:

1.) No one else was doing it.
2.) It was relatively inexpensive
3.) and the main reason: it was super easy!"

I used natural PB, because, since I was introducing this very American food to people, I wanted to at least try and make it as healthy as possible. After scanning the many jams, I realized that Grape Jelly was not to be found! Robert asked his Spanish girlfriend if she had heard of it and she made a face and said "no". I can only assume the Spanish use their grapes for wine.

To make this as authentic as possible, I needed to find white bread. In this city, there are incredible bakeries where you can get a large fresh baguette for only about 30 cents. I am addicted to this bread! I walked around the supermarket past the fresh bread area looking longingly at the baguettes as I passed them up for the packaged bread aisle. I didn’t even know if they had one, but I turned a corner and they had one row of “loaf” bread. I couldn’t believe that people would buy that kind when they could have this incredible fresh baked (sometimes still warm) preservative free bread for ½ the price. But, sticking to authenticity, I reached for the bread. Another package then caught my eye, "crust-less white bread!" I don’t know if they have this in the US since I didn’t buy sliced bread there, but it is actually kind of cool.

I bought a loaf and some strawberry jam; although once I got home, I found out that it wasn’t strawberry, it was raspberry. I assumed that if I didn’t know the difference, no one else would either. Robert and I made the sandwiches and cut them crosswise once and then again to make little triangle sandwiches.

At the party there was so much food...I was in Heaven! I have listed just some of the tasty treats:

Potato Salad (from US and Norway)
Blueberry Crepes (Norway)
some kind of tortilla filled with salmon and some kind of green things (Norway)
Hummus (from Palestine)
Many lentil dishes (from Palestine, Russia and Mexico)
7 layer taco dip (US)
Shepherd pie (US)
Deviled Eggs (US)
A kind of a sweet dumpling, which I can't pronounce from Austria
and many desserts too, from everywhere

It was pretty funny watching the faces of the people eating the PB&J sandwiches. My friend from Palestine was making the most awful face while eating it. I was cracking up. Then I saw a girl from India just looking at the one on her plate. I had no idea that practically no other country eats PB. One lady said she only likes peanuts whole not all mashed up. Ha ha. One Egyptian, said “vhat is peanut butter?” when I told him he then said, “Oh, I have heard of that, but I do not vish to try it.” Too funny! At the end of the night only 3 little triangles were left, which Robert promptly ate (after making his girlfriend eat one) ha ha

It was a really fun party and it was nice to see everyone outside of class