Blogger.com tells me that one person reached my blog by searching google for "sevilla worst nightmare". I'm not sure how I feel about that, but I hope that person found whatever it is they were looking for. :)

In other news, dear blog, I just wanted to tell you that I would like to revive you. Or recreate you. I haven't entirely decided which. This is my dilemma -- that even a menial task, such as creating a new blog, brings with it philosophical complications that I cannot entirely resolve.

Anyway, we'll talk shortly.


If at first you don't succeed...

Last Friday night, after a nice sunny day, Regina Spektor singing to me all afternoon, I decided to do something special to make it an over-the-top good day. I looked up a recipe for Solomillo al Whisky, (pork in whiskey sauce--my favorite Spanish tapa), and I ran to the supermarket to pick up the supplies that I was missing (and I don't know, maybe an alcoholic beverage or two.) If all went right, it was going to be a great Friday night.

Before I even began working on the recipe, before I took the solomillo out of the refrigerator or started separating dientes of garlic, I thought I'd be smart by getting a head start on the fried potatoes to accompany the main dish. It occurred to me that the Mandoline slicer would make perfectly even potato slices, so I got it out and got to work. One and a half potatoes in, I caught my knuckle on the blade and found myself stunned by the wound it left on my middle finger. I couldn't believe what I had done! After wrapping it in a paper towel and holding it for a minute, I called my brother in to take a look. I needed a second opinion. He suggested I call my mom, the nurse. Without question, she recommended a trip to the ER. Being a hand wound, I couldn't very well drive myself, so my neighbor kindly gave me a ride to the hospital.

The verdict? Stitches. Three of them. The first stitches I've ever had. (I'd post a picture here, but I figured I'd spare you the image. Those black little stitches look so menacing on my daintily painted finger.)
Needless to say, my cooking ventures were put on hold.

Undeterred by my injury, I decided to try again last night, though this time I left the potato slicing to my mom. I'm happy to report that we incurred no injuries the second time around.

The solomillo turned out splendidly. (Okay, so it didn't exactly compete with Los Coloniales... but it wasn't bad for my first time.) The only thing missing was the ice cold Cruzcampo.

If at first you don't succeed, (even if you find yourself being stitched together in the ER), try again. This second attempt was totally worth it.


'Eso soy yo, que al acaso
Cruzco el mundo, sin pensar
De dónde vengo, ni a dónde
Mis pasos me llevarán.'


When Life Gives You Lemons...

Metaphorically, I've encountered many lemons in the midst of a gloomy Pittsburgh winter. But I find it a little ironic that the only time life has literally given me lemons was while I was living in Sevilla.

One early spring day, I unexpectedly found myself in possession of some homegrown lemons simply because a coworker had pulled them off of her tree and thought to bring them to me. (A gesture that strikes me as so typically Andalusian.) In the literal sense, life handing me lemons was a welcome and friendly surprise that forever changed the meaning of that overused refrain.

When I received those lemons, my first thought was to pour a strong gin and tonic. I could definitely go for one of those right about now. ;)

...But don't worry, I did make some lemonade, too.


I don't know if this post has a cohesive thought or purpose.

Sometimes it's refreshing to hear the older, wiser people in your life reassure you that you're doing alright, and that good things are on the way... even if it's hard to see it at the time.

I have to say that I'm rather happy with the decisions that I've made in my life. I'm happy with where those choices have taken me, and who they've allowed me to meet. But as my life currently stands -- underemployed, living with mom, minimal social life, no romantic life -- it's easy to feel defeated. I can't help but feel that while I was out doing my own thing in Spain for 2 years, everyone else was moving forward in their lives, starting careers, getting houses and cars, husbands and babies, and all I have to show for it is a deeper sense of adventure, a bigger Spanish vocabulary, and an ever-growing collection of scarves.

At this point, I am finding it hard to admit even to myself what it is I want in life. One moment, the American dream life sounds so appealing. But really, I think I'd drop it all in a minute if someone told me I could realistically go back to Spain. (Any offers?)

It's not that my last two years weren't full of wonderful things... it's just that everyone else has stayed in one place. They can see the linear progress that they've made in two years, and I've seemingly left all of my progress somewhere on the other side of the Atlantic. People see the same person I was when I left, but they don't see my mind and all of the new ideas it holds. They will never really understand all of the love, loneliness, joy, frustration, peace, and beauty that I experienced in the last two years. (And granted, I won't really ever understand their experiences either.)

My life in Spain was definitely not perfect. Just ask my mom how many times I called her in the middle of the night because I needed to vent about the foreigner's office or any number of problems that only your mother's insight can mend. I just feel like the small triumphs were so much more rewarding over there. And these days, it's hard to find even the smallest of triumphs.

I had so many aspirations for what my reentry would look like, and by no fault of my own (okay, maybe a little fault of my own), things haven't gone according to plan. But I'm resolving to get things going. I am trying to effect change in my life.  I want to find the me that I loved being in Spain and transport her here to Pittsburgh. I want her to do all the things she loved -- make things, learn things, meet new people, and spend time with people she loves. It doesn't sound that difficult, but for some reason it is.

I'm hoping that the reassurances of my elders are true and that good things are, indeed, on the way.


(still) the best day ever.

Lindsay suggested that I share a story about funny mistakes I've made in my second language. There have been many, certainly, but one of my most mortifying language mistakes happened to take place on the Best Day Ever-- when Jero Romero played a show in Sevilla. (Disclaimer: This is probably hopefully the most teenybopper post you will ever see on this blog.)

If you spoke to me at all this spring, you were probably aware of the excitement that was building for that day. To say I was looking forward to it would be an understatement. It was scheduled to be the best day ever, and boy, did it live up to my expectations. I had waited for months to see Jero play live in Sevilla. Even though I had gone to Madrid a few months earlier to see him, the Sevilla concert was always meant to be something special.

The concert couldn't have been any more perfect. The crowd was kind of small, which made for a more intimate setting, always better when it comes to musicians you love! You could tell the band was having fun and enjoying the music they were playing. Of course, I was enjoying it all and singing along to every song. In my own, totally unbiased opinion, it was a perfect show.

What made it an even more exciting night was that Jero came out to hang out after the show. It was my moment. My fandom had been building for years, escalating each time I saw him from a distance in Toledo. For every chance sighting that I didn't say something to him, his celebrity would only increase in my mind. But at the Sevilla show, when he came out afterward, I knew it was now or never! I decided to buy a poster from his merch table, which would be the perfect recuerdo for my time in Spain, (afterall, the music of Jero Romero and The Sunday Drivers is pretty much the soundtrack for the last two years of my life). The poster was kind of big and awkward to carry, so I decided to ask the guy at the merch table for a rubber band. I don't claim to have an exceptional vocabulary of office supplies, but I was pretty sure that the word for rubber band was goma. I asked the merch guy if he had one, and he looked at me with a rather surprised expression on his face. So I asked the question again, this time signaling that I was going to roll up the poster. He answered me, kind of relieved, and told me that he would just give me some paper to wrap it in, that a rubber band would ruin the poster. I thought the exchange was kind of bizarre, but it wasn't until I walked away from the table that I realized that goma, literally meaning rubber, can also mean condom. I was so embarrassed. When I thought about my question in regard to the setting, I all of the sudden understood his initial aghast reaction. In my defense, the word goma was correct, but sometimes context is everything.

A little language mishap couldn't ruin the evening though! I did end up meeting Jero, (finally), and he signed the poster for me, and we took a picture. And then we walked away, letting the next people in line have their turn. As we were getting ready to go, I couldn't help but think that it was going to be my last chance to talk to the guy. I mean, in a few days, I would be heading back to the US, with no definite plans to return to Spain. I decided (with much encouragement from my dear friend Katie and that last gintonic) that I had to talk to him and tell him how much I loved his music. After the crowds dissipated, I had my chance. He was about to walk away when we called him over, and I spilled it all -- how I had been a fan since The Sunday Drivers, how I had lived in Toledo, how I was always sharing his music with everyone, how we went to his show in Madrid, and how this concert was the last hurrah before my return to the United States. In retrospect, I can't tell if it was a creepy exchange or not. The gintonic clouds that perception in my mind, but as far as I know, it was awesome. He said it was a beautiful story, and he thanked me for sharing, and told me to come say hi the next time I see him around. And then he gave me besos, which pretty much seals the deal as far as this being the Best Day Ever. My expectations were exceeded in every way, despite my embarrassing exchange with the man who sold me the poster.

And in case you still haven't heard it, you can listen to Jero's album here. I don't think you'll be disappointed. ;)