Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A little bit of update

Our first two and a half months in Costa Rica have been...interesting. About two days after my most recent post, we discovered that someone had copied P´s credit card. We traced it back to a hostal where we stayed our first night in Manuel Antonio, turned the info and our suspect over to the police, and now we´re waiting on "Tico time" to find out what will happen next. As for the money that was stolen from the account, we´ve been waiting since the first week of October for it to be returned by the bank. We had a rough first month spending what little money was left in my own bank account to live on, and then finally a new credit card was delivered last week. This means as soon as our money is returned, we´ll have instant access to it, but we´re still waiting on the bank to return it, and because it´s a French bank we have to wait extra long, apparently.

All of this has greatly overshadowed any warm welcome we first felt when we arrived, and also prevented us from doing anything of interest. Our meals have consisted of pasta, rice, and whatever vegetables we can buy for cheap at the local weekend market. We´ve been able to get drunk a few times for cheap, but had to seriously justify the expense when we were eating bread and butter for two days straight. Since the credit card has arrived (with a loan from both of our parents behind it), we´re back to square one and it´s like we´re just starting out here with a new perspective. Money trouble has meant we´re not able to fly to the States for Christmas, as I had really really REALLY hoped we would, but I´m telling myself a trip in January or February isn´t too far off, once I start earning money.

And money has been trickling in: I´ve been occupying my time teaching Spanish to a few gringas we´ve made friends with, and P´s busy with several job ideas he´s got in the works: dealing poker is one of them; another is working as a consultant for an eco-friendly hostal project here in Manuel Antonio. Time will tell, and hopefully money will start flowing in TWO directions instead of just one....

On the job front, I´m three-quarters of the way through with certification and training for Open English, an online teaching company here. I´m excited about learning a new way to teach and expanding my teaching experience into the online realm. Everything I´ve learned so far has been really interesting and, from a job standpoint, fantastic: working from home - or anywhere!, in your pj´s if you want, making your own schedule, bi-monthly pay direct-deposited into my bank account, lessons of no more than 4 students per class, 45-minute classes, plus I´ll be teaching the same lesson/theme each day, more or less, so prep time is dramatically reduced. It really couldn´t be better, especially considering where we live there are virtually zero English academies or schools (the Ticos are really, really good at English; almost everyone here knows at least 100 words). Also, transportation to and from work could easily become a hassle in Costa Rica, even more so in the remote-yet-touristy area of Manuel Antonio. None of that hassle from me, I´ll be teaching from my bed (if I damn well please!).

In the meantime, we´re learning about Costa Rica little by little. There are good things...and there are bad things too. We´re not sure, but the bad might outnumber the good slightly. First of all, it´s expensive here. Like, more than either of us were prepared for, especially since I´ve been living outside the U.S. while prices have surely been rising there, and thus, here in Costa Rica. Also, although I knew Costa Rica had close economic ties to the U.S. (the dollar is accepted here, lots of American tourists come through in huge numbers, etc.), I wasn´t prepared for the unusual mix of cultural discrimination here - which goes both ways, in fact. Case in point, P was offered a job at an American-owned luxury 5-star hotel here a few weeks ago. They offered him 48 hours a week, for an hourly salary of $2. They announced the salary with the disclaimer of, "We know that isn´t much for Europeans who live here, but Ticos are delighted to work for that rate." We were disgusted - how can they be so honest and unashamed about abusing the local culture?! The receptionist job they offered P earns the same as a bellboy; the bellboy receives tips and doesn´t have to say a single word to the customers, while they wanted P as a receptionist because he speaks 3 languages. Where´s the balance here?? We were indignant about it, and of course P rejected the job, but later I reflected on something that happened our first week in Manuel Antonio:

As if the financial problems weren´t bad enough, I took my portable hard drive to a cyber café to print out my resumé for job searching, and when I got home I realized my hard drive had been infected. We took it back the next day to the cyber café to see if I could trace the virus I´d picked up and recover the data (which is somehow still on the hard drive but inaccessible due to a virus), and it was closed. Same thing the following day. So we went back and finally they were open. The owner listened to my problem and let me sit on the same computer as before to try and troubleshoot the virus problem. About 30 minutes later, it´s apparent he knows nothing about his own business (or computers!) and he tells me I´ll have to check with his technician tomorrow; then, he tells me, "That´ll be $1.40 for the use of the computer." Was this guy kidding me?! As P and I argued our very justified reason for refusing to pay - it was his effing computer that caused the problem, and now I´ve lost tons of megabytes of data, and the only reason I occupied the computer was to attempt to fix the problem HIS computer caused. I said I could understand him charging us if there were a line of people waiting to use the computer and I was occupying it, but there were only 2 others in the shop. When we refused a final time, he said, "Come on, $1.40 is nothing!" So I said, "Then why do you want it so bad?!" And we left. We knew he meant, "$1.40 is nothing TO YOU, because YOU are RICH." The guy couldn´t get that it was the principle - why should I pay him? If anything, he should return the money I paid him for the use of the computer which implanted a virus - that was his defective service I paid for! Infuriating. On several occasions after that, we became aware that Ticos who own businesses are very casual about overcharging foreigners. They see no problem with it, I guess in the same way that Americans see no problem with coming here with all their money, stealing business from Ticos and paying them close to nothing - meanwhile not learning Spanish even once they´re granted resident status in Costa Rica.

Another disillusion relates to the environment. We foolishly expected a tropical utopia where people actually get excited about recycling or at least don´t mind it, where everyone knows the simple routine ways to save energy and water and reuse it, where the whole community works to defend and protect the beautiful spaces here. But I guess my naiive assumption didn´t account for the poverty issue in all of Central and South America - poor people don´t really give a damn about anything other than getting by, and lack of education compounds the problem. Costa Rica gets props from us for having so many protected areas, of course, but they´re a far cry from environmentally conscious here. It´s sad. I feel like a kid who´s found out about the Easter bunny :(

I guess it´s normal to feel disappointed with these types of lessons - we´re certainly not in Europe anymore, but we´re not in the place we´d imagined for ourselves, either. The food here, while hearty and filling and is more to my tastes than Spanish food (cilantro, lime, sour cream, onion, avocado, mango, pineapple...mmm!), is very basic and not too diverse (lots of beans and rice, blegh!). I miss red wine, and I miss Granada where it´s easy to enjoy things on a budget. I miss people there, and going out for tapas. I miss shopping (guilty girl pleasure, sorry)!

But at this point, at least Costa Rica still feels a bit new, so we´re not running back to Spain just yet. But it´s been talked about. It´s been thought about. It´s a possibility, perhaps. We´ll leave CR for a few days at the beginning of December - probably Nicaragua! And we´ll see how we feel about that country, since it´s definitely a lot cheaper than Costa Rica. If we fail to make it work here, or don´t find what we´re looking for, there´s a lot of other central-American countries we could choose from. At least with a job teaching online, I can jump ship if need be, anytime at all, and take my work with me!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

From tinto to guaro in only a month!

Good to know: I prefer the tinto hangover to the guaro - at least I know a good cure for the red wine hangover (eat a raw tomato before bed, licopene, apparently)!

Well...a LOT has happened since Semana Santa. The spring and entire summer has come and gone, and with them a swarm of changes - all of which have led me to a new here and now, which is Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica on the 4th of October, 2011 :)

How did these changes begin? Long-story-short, somehow between April and June, the plan for Costa Rica became more or less solidified when I discovered the Spanish company I´ve worked summer camps for in the past actually, in fact, DID have a job for me - a guaranteed 6-weeks of work, and a lot of dough for it! That meant, in addition to the savings from my previous year in Granada, I was able to pack up and ship out of Granada by September. Basically, a job changed everything. Which is interesting, because here and now - 2 and a half months after that last job was completed and paid - I sit frantically searching for another job, one that could change everything all over again. Interesting part of all this is I did kind of a reverse of the natural way to move to a different country (if there is a natural way): I bought a ticket, got here, and now am looking for a job. I´m hoping the spirit of adventure that I had when "planning not to plan" this trip will carry me through the humiliating process of job searching.

What´s been left out since my last post, thus, is the finalizing of my last months in Granada, saying goodbye to people and places one by one, until I left Granada for good to head for summer camp in Alcantará, Spain (in the extremadura, near Portugal). I spent 6 weeks there in a surreal luxury summer camp with my nearest and dearest, enough time for us to remember why we´ll miss each other, and then left Spain for a final 3 weeks in France to finalize the trip and get last minute details in order. On September 3rd, I flew an exhausting 45-hours to arrive in San José, Costa Rica, where the plan was to float on our savings for 1-3 months before finding a place we liked, renting an apartment, and look for work. The most recent development has proved Costa Rica to be far more expensive than we thought, so we´ve rented an apartment after only 3 full weeks of being here.

Why Costa Rica, then? Truth is, it wasn´t my first pick of places to go after Spain. I´ve had a yearning to return to Mexico one day, and felt it calling me once Granada started to feel too familiar. But talking it over with the folks and friends, thinking about the current state of the economy and society there, I got to thinking maybe now isn´t the best time for Mexico. A few people mentioned Costa Rica in several unrelated "cosmic" moments, moments that seemed all linked together, pointing me towards Costa Rica, and after that I couldn´t deny that it was definitely a good in-between destination for someone leaving Europe and wanting to move to Latin or Central America - the economy´s stable, tourism is growing there, and I shouldn´t have much trouble thus finding English teaching jobs. So that´s how I got here, three weeks ago, at the current moment deflating from the newness of it all and trying to find that elusive job that will mean I really do LIVE here.

Upside is our apartment and the location, Manuel Antonio, are perfection; there are monkeys that visit twice a day in the trees at the back of our private yard; we go to the beach every single day, rain or shine; today I saw my second WHALE at the beach, so close I could have swam over to it but of course was too terrified to do so; we have everything we could want, except one important thing: WORK.

On that front, I´ve got one major lead on an online English company - small world: an American girl I met through Craigslist when apartment-searching actually works for them; she and her boyfriend have been amazing, inspiring friends throughout our move here, and we´re so fortunate to have found them. So I´ve submitted my application (twice!) and all I can do is wait. Something I´m admittedly terrible at. Meanwhile, I´ll just sit and watch the monkeys doin´their thing. In paradise :)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Lessons of Semana Santa, Fourth time ´round

Well, this time of year is always a bit...nostalgic for me, as it represents my first trip to Spain. The days leading up to Semana Santa are full of memories, my first impressions of Spain and the adventures I had with oh-so-open eyes when I got here. In addition, as I experience the holiday differently each year, I´m confronted with the strange phenomenon that is this traditional, religious Spanish "holiday," if you can call it that.

My first year here, I remember forcing myself out of a hostal bed with Matt, my travel companion, on Easter Sunday of all days, just to get to the main cathedral and see the procession and mass there (once in a lifetime, right? I guess we can make this one exception and go to church on Sunday!). I remember it was the coldest day of the year (people in the crowd told us), and I remember the incense smell so thick it made me almost want to vomit. I remember feeling no spiritual or religious inspiration from any part of the ceremony. I remember being inconvenienced more than once during the week leading up to Holy Sunday, from shops all being closed or ridiculously expensive, and fighting crowds everywhere we went. But it being first time, it was all kinda fun too.

The next year, I remember getting the hell out of Dodge: in anticipation of 9 full days off work, I booked it to the beach and never looked back. There was almost no sign of Semana Santa that year where I was, which I now realize is because the Costa del Sol is full of British retirees who´ve eradicated (intentionally or not?) the Spanish culture all along the coast. I remember sand and sun, and not much else, from my second Semana Santa.

The third Semana Santa, last year, I remember staying put in Granada and trying to save money. I remember the inconvenience of the shops all being closed again, not having food readily available. I remember the hordes and getting to know my new friend, Simone, who lived with me at the time and had just arrived in Spain a few months earlier. I saw Semana Santa through her eyes a little, as we searched for pizza one afternoon and were surprised to find ourselves smack in the middle of a procession. She smiled and played with the people, darting her eyes around and taking it all in. Seeing Simone so entranced by her first procession, I felt a little guilty for wanting to simply escape the crowd. She gave me a bit of patience, just by enjoying it all a little.

And this year, my fourth and perhaps final Semana Santa (I plan on leaving Spain and Europe at the end of this academic year/summer), I notice more the inconvenience and crowds, the prices shooting up, and people becoming just a little bit more uptight. I realize now, reflecting on my previous Semana Santas, that my place and mental perspective at the time plays such a huge part in my emotional response to the memory. At the moment, I´m stuck on a rainy day, the 2nd to last of my 9-day vacation from work, in my apartment which is cosy but bored to tears and without money to do anything about it. The people in my life are mostly out of town, and I´ve got all this time on my hands but no productive ideas to put it to use. I´m cursing Semana Santa, but that´s only a coincidence because I happen to be bored and in dire need of SUN.

Yesterday we got an unexpected surprise when two friends who live super close to my house came over, and we drank and played a game for a few hours while discussing all the Semana Santa mayhem (a procession was going on just outside my window at the time). My friend Pourri, a Spanish girl, told us in some pueblos and even here in the city center, after some processions, there are people who go crawling on hands and knees after the idols, repenting and grovelling before their God. She says they do this for themselves, that it´s not a part of "making a show" of their repentence - hence the reason for not participating in the processions themselves. It made me remember my first Semana Santa with Matt, standing in Tarifa in the freezing cold, watching a procession of only children carrying an idol, barefoot in the streets. I was shocked: what do 10-12-year-olds know of repentence?? Is contracting an infection a worthy price for their spiritual well-being? It would appear so. I´m humbled by the hold that religion, in particular traditional Catholicism, still has on (some) people here in Spain. My Spanish friend, MariMar, told me the other day that when she was young, even a teenager, her parents always forced her and her sister to attend mass - they didn´t have to go with their parents, but they had to show up, and if they didn´t, the neighbors and people from the pueblo would tattle on them to their parents. I wonder if there are still parents who do this, or if that´s something that changed with the last generation - most of the young Spanish students I teach aren´t even remotely religious, something I attributed to perhaps the globalization of Capitalism since most of these students are born of wealthy parents who don´t need God anymore now they´ve got the "dollar." It´s interesting, anyway. The generation gap here, from all the 2nd- and 3rd-person accounts I´ve gathered in my 3 years in Spain, seems much bigger than in the States. It makes sense, given Spain´s relative young "age" in the non-dictatorial world.

Well then, writing a blog was a useful achievement for Semana Santa. Maybe I´ll pick up the guitar here in a bit, maybe take a walk. Holy Week is good for leisure, this I´ve learned above all. Now if only I were a person who knew what to DO with leisure time ;)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Lessons Not Only Taught

I woke up today with nothing particular to do. P*s at his first day of work in a long while, on a Saturday of all days, the sun is shining, and I´m sat here on my sunny terrace with time to spare. This is a positive take on what´s seeming more and more like a rather lackluster year-and-a-half spent still living in Granada. The days are so simliar sometimes they blend together and I find myself wondering where entire months have gone. Sure, I can look closely and see all the amazing experiences I´ve had and people I´ve met, see the mountains we´ve literally and figuratively climbed, the beaches we´ve camped on and continued to haunt for entire summers. But the bigger picture, the one that comes to me on days of extra free time (too much time to think!), often confuses me - I see many days or even months spent in confusion, time spent lost in foreign languages and trapped inside myself like a child. I see a young woman who´s often so insecure as to push people away by instinct, keeping them at arm´s length, while paradoxically looking for only a little recognition or reward for simply being herself.

Maybe this need for appreciation I´ve got is innate or human; surely it´s got something to do with my mother; but nearing 30 years of age feels like I´m on the edge of a cliff. Do I jump in heart-and-soul to the decision I made 2 (or 3??) years ago, to travel the world and not put my feet down until I feel truly at peace? Doing that would mean that I eventually must invent what I´m lacking now - some sense of permanence in a foreign land, some kind of HOME - but can people really do that? More importanly, could I? I´ve spent my twenties a bit differently than a lot of people, but what are the products of my sacrifices (family and friends, familiarity and my own culture)? What have I been so eager to set aside who I am, in exchange for...what?

The answer to this has to be that I´ve gained things, learned things, on my journey of living abroad. I´m taking my blog in the direction of these "lessons" that I´ve picked up since leaving the States, and today´s blog is about something I´ve learned to do quite recently.

I´ve learned to listen, and I´ve learned to hear. After several months when I first arrived in Granada, I always walked around town, earphones plugged into ipod. Then one day, after reading an internet article on "noticing" and how you can change your luck by being more spontaneous and breaking normal routines, I conducted an experiment. I unplugged. All at once, I was tuned in to the people I pass every day on my way to work. You can hear so many conversations and sounds in any given walkabout in Granada - lost tourists, people arguing in any language, new lovers´whispers and giggles, young, fresh backpackers unashamed to marvel out loud at things they never dreamed they´d see. I wondered that first day how I´d ever made my way to work without this. It literally puts a smile on my face to marvel at the sweet, confusing music that is a foreign (to me) language. my brain activates and engages my ears; I try to decipher first the hand gestures and the body language, then I take in the rising and descending tones - are they joking or ranting, arguing or making small talk? Somehow by putting all this together, I formulate the little life stories that happen ever day in Granada, the things that to me are the color of human civilization itself - relayed through linguistic communication. It´s probably very far from accurate, my interpretation of what the people are saying, but that doesn´t really matter. I feel relief when I´m hearing or listening to another language and there´s no real pressure to understand everything (to the contrary, it´s quite unnerving if you need to understand). Walking to work becomes an escape when you put so much attention on the external.

That´s a lesson I´ve learned that I couldn´t have experienced had I not left the States. What was the point in studying linguistics if my future was only in the U.S. of A, where principally only ONE language is spoken? Recalling these little gems of experience make me feel a whole lot better about my decision to move so far away from home. I´m going to recall them more often :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

N.O.L.A. or BUST! (as in, my waist line : )

I´m planning my first trip home to the US of A in over 2 years (less than 2 weeks away)! I´ve been on auto-pilot while lots of stuff has been changing and going on (the end of the academic year, the booking of my flight, the finding of summer work, the starting of summer work and a completely different work schedule, two two-week-long visits from out of towners who don´t speak Spanish OR English, the World Cup, etc etc etc...), and I´m just now realizing how soon I´ll be home. (This of course means I´m just now starting to get freaked out about it.) I´m nervous and don´t really know why. I´m worried I´ll get bored, or gain 15 pounds, or there´ll be a hurricane and I´ll have to evacuate for my whole trip. I´m worried everyone´s lives will have changed so much and I´ll feel guilty for not being there. These are somewhat valid although irrational fears, but instead of letting them take over, I´m going into happiness overdrive and focusing on all the great stuff I´m gonna be doing in just 10 days!!

Having been asked many times in the past month what I want to do when I get home, I hadn´t had time to really think about it and I´ve just told people, "Ehhh, relax and see everybody, I guess." Today is the first time in over 3 weeks that I´ve had to myself and I miraculously have the energy to think about and try to plan my upcoming trip. Turns out, come to think of it, I´ve got quite a lot of stuff to accomplish in just two weeks - almost all of it revolving around FOOD (big surprise from a New Orleanian, eh? NOT).

I´ve started creating an official list of what I want to do in the States/at home, and I was thinking it´d be funny to post what I have to far. This list says a lot about what I miss back at home, about food for which there is absolutely no comparison in Spain. It also says a lot about how unhealthy my favorite New Orleans food is, jaja!

Of course included in my food tour is visiting absolutely everyone that I can since who knows when I´ll get to come back. I´ll need to get creative and incorporate visits and food since I´ve only got 2 weeks...omg, I´m gonna gain 20 pounds!!

Anyway, here´s my list of food I want to eat and stuff I want to bring back to Spain, for your viewing pleasure! What I´ve been missing for almost two years:

Eats & Drinks USA:
Eat Out:
Mushroom & Swiss Burger - Cooter Brown´s
Fried Chicken - Popeye´s
Fried Crawfish po-boy - Domilese´s
Boiled crawfish (probably not possible)
Oysters and crawfish etouffe - Acme
Chinese - Fong´s in Metairie
Thai - Sukho Thai on Royal St.

Eat In:
Fried fish and bbq shrimp - Matt´s house
Lasagña - Gramzie´s house
Gumbo - my Mawmaw´s house
Pizza - anywhere (pizza sucks in Spain!)

Mochasippi at CC´s Coffee
Snowball at Audubon Park
Pointsettia at Mimi´s in the Marigny
Hand-grenade in the FQ
Hurricane at Pat-O´s
Thai bubble-tea anywhere

Shopping USA:
Vintage clothes
Okra seeds
DVDs from the dollar bin at Wal-Mart

Dr. Pepper
Kool-Aid watermelon-cherry mix
Abita beer
Liquid smoke
Curry paste
Hand-made tortillas
Classic Goldfish crackers

Monday, April 26, 2010

Keep On the Sunny Side

I feel too much like a whining retard to admit this, but I think I´m getting bored in Spain. Things are humming along this Spring quite nicely, I have nothing to complain about, and yet somehow I´m full of unrest. My mind races at night when I´m trying to sleep, about things I must get done before the summer gets here, about activities I´d like to start up, about what this summer is actually going to be like once I get everything finalized.

Lots of things are up in the air (i.e. my summer work, my summer trip to the U.S., my next academic year...wherever (most likely in Granada)), but that makes this Spring no different from any other since I´ve started teaching EFL. I think the problem is more on the relationship front than I´m willing to admit.

Since moving in together, things with P* have been good...and bad. Ups and Downs, right? Isn´t that what it´s always like? The first few weeks I was in homemaking bliss, happy to discover that my cleanliness and his, though they are thankfully both quite high-standard, are also complementary - I care about where things go, everything in its place, while he actually cares about dust and dirt and streaks on the glass/mirrors. I was happy thinking we were in near-perfect balance with housekeeping, when suddenly one night P* exploded on me without warning. He´d come home from work tired, and because I hadn´t started cooking dinner yet when he arrived, he threw himself into doing it while giving me the cold shoulder. When I got up the guts to ask what was wrong, it came to light that he didn´t think I was cleaning enough! Can you imagine?! ME!!! This was the first time in my life anyone had EVER found fault with me not cleaning enough. (In case you don´t know me very well, I´m quite well-known for being a cleaning control freak and thus a pain in the ass to live with, for most people.) I´ve clearly made too much progress in letting go of my cleanliness control, something I´ve been working on since moving to Spain.

Anyway, after about 2 hrs of struggling to understand one another, I gave up and fled outside to the terrace, where I dropped into a fit of sobbing, gut-wrenching tears more intense that any in a long, long time. I felt like a failure. I felt like all the hopes I´d been building up for my new life here, for this new relationship, this new living situation...all of it is ridiculous and pointless if I keep making mistakes without realizing it. And that´s what this argument was - a list of things that P* had piled up all week long, things that I was doing wrong or simply not doing. I felt like the typical man in the argument, while P* was playing the typical woman - pummelling me with a long list he´d unfairly been storing up. I had to explain to him - I can´t avoid doing something he doesn´t like, or do things that he does like, if he doesn´t TELL ME he wants me to (not) do them! I´m not an effing mind reader! And he was frustrated too, the whole ¨I shouldn´t have to TELL you what I want! I ¨just want you to think about ME and just be considerate!¨And then I´m thinking, ¨Yeah, YOUR idea of what a considerate person is must be different from my idea. That´s why you have to COMMUNICATE!¨ Oh god, and it went on and on like that for another couple of hours, and we didn´t really make any progress.

The whole time I was crying, I kept thinking about the dream I´d had the night before - it was about my ex-b/f, I*. It was the first time in a loooong time I´d dreamt about him, and I wasn´t sure why I had. In the heat of the argument, I realized why: maybe it´s residual guilt feelings from the way that relationship ended, but I´m starting to see myself in this relationship with P*, except I´m seeing me as I*, and P* as me. I feel like all of a sudden I can understand a lot of the things I* used to complain about, the way he used to react when I got upset - he always tried to please me, to do what he thought I wanted, but most of the time I was never very clear about what I wanted and I expected him to somehow just sense, or magically know, what I wanted. Looking back, I wasn´t very fair during these arguments. It was my failure to communicate what I wanted, not his inability to give me what I wanted, that was the problem. I had this epiphany during my crying spell on the terrace, and I wanted to vomit from feeling so guilty. Karma is a bitch, eh? At least the realization of all this helped me to communicate to P*, as if I was talking to myself. I think he learned a bit about me, and maybe I figured some stuff out. It ended well, at least.

Of course there have been lots of other arguments since we moved in together in March, but none so mind-fucking as that one. I think we´ve more or less recovered, but the future will always bring further challenges - many of which to me feel like looming storm clouds which will inevitably burst when I´m not paying attention. But of course that´s only today´s perspective. Tomorrow´s forecast is sunny; gotta hope for the best, eh?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Holy Enchilada

February flew by, and there's little to mention other than my unfortunate laptop incident. We were watching something on P*'s computer while my laptop nearby was downloading something, and in one swift move, wherein I was intending to be slick and romantically ease my boyfriend into a horizontal position, I knocked the laptop off the bed and it landed gently on its side, on the floor. I picked it up and the only thing wrong was that end of the adapter cable was bent where it plugs into the laptop. I straightened it manually and re-booted. Strange flashes appeared on the screen, and I started freaking out. I bought a new adapter on ebay and waited for it to arrive. In the meanwhile, I did what I shouldn't have and tried to find ways to rig the broken adapter cord into working - I stuck it into the power source as firmly as possible and propped it up for as long as it would last. Then the new adapter arrived, and when I plugged it in, everything worked fine. Except...the keyboard wouldn't allow me to type more than one letter without rebooting. So I sent it off to be inspected, and the problem was small, just a lack of power for the screen to function, which the new adapter took care of. Except the guy wasn't able to find the mechanical problem connected with the keyboard malfuntion. And the mouse pad doesn't work either. Great. So now I'll probably buy an external Spanish keyboard and use it until I get enough money scraped together for a new computer. NOT a good thing for my savings plan.

Other than that technical dificulty, this Spring has been good. The weather is absolute shit - rain, hard winds and cold, cold, cold all the time. 2012 is coming. (Since the film, Spanish ppl say this a lot: "Viene el dos-mil-doce!"). But somehow keeping myself so busy with work, and also with my recent move into a new apartment, I don't dwell too much on the lack of sun. The new apartment came as a surprise - P* was looking for single studios when he got notice that he had to move out before March 1st, and he came upon a 2-brm attic apartment just 20 meters from my house. There are two bedrooms, two terraces (one communal, shaded, with a view of the Alhambra and Sierra Nevadas, the other private and uncovered), a big salon, and tiny but functional kitchen and teeny bathroom. We're having a party this weekend to warm the new piso, plus it's my birthday :) It's weird to think of myself as 28, and to think this Wednesday also marks my 2-yr anniversary of living in Spain. Time is a weird thing.

Anyway, not much else to report. I'm cold.