little sarah Big World

Tag: madrid

Behind

 

When I first moved to Spain my friend Laura was having boy troubles, caught between two guys that she was seeing at the same time without either of them knowing about the other. It wasn’t something she’d planned on, but like many things in life, the situation just sort of escalated.

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¡Hola de España! no.7‏

The epic conclusion!!!

New here? Catch up by reading these:

 ¡Hola de España!

¡Hola de España! #2

¡Hola de España! no.3

¡Hola de España! no.4

¡Hola de España! no.5

¡Hola de España! no.6

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This will be my last Hola de España. Que triste, ¿no? But I definitely have ganas to come home and be with my friendships and my family in Utah again. Being here has REALLY enforced my appreciation for how unique Utah and Salt Lake City are. No place like it in the world. Even if we do have ridiculous liquor laws.

So…I cheered up in Valencia. I started busquing again, making money, and that’s always nice. I played really well there, and maybe now I’m addicted to the thrill of performing in the streets. Hopefully there’s a patch for that, because no way is it going to be the same in Utah. I also went to the movies two nights in a row in Valencia, the highlight of which was seeing ‘Harold and Kumar: Escape from Guantanamo Bay’ in Spanish. Except here it’s called ‘Dos Colgados Muy Fumados,’ which I think translates to ‘Two Very Stoned Stoners.’

Then, on the bus from Valencia to Barcelona, I sat next to this Italian kid named Francesco, and we got to talking (in Spanish, because his English isn’t too hot. And I don’t speak Italian…), and he said that they had an extra room in his flat where I could sleep. So, now I have my own room in an apartment in Barcelona for free for the week. Awesome, no? The other people there are a Chilean girl named Viviana and a boy from Brighton, England named Josh. So it’s all very international, which is a pretty good representation of Barcelona, as a whole. Since I’ve been here (since Sunday) I’ve hung out with kids from Peru, Argentina, Chile, England, Spain, the US, and then a ton of Italians.

Oh, and I’ve been hanging out with my amigo Brett from the U of U. Viviana took us dancing last night. And of course all of this has been very good for my Spanish. (Carol: De verdad, chica, podemos hablar muchisimo en Español cuando yo vuelva, porque ya hablo tanto mejor . Podemos hablar TODO EL TIEMPO.)

Tonight I’m gonna go check out La Sagrada Familia with Brett, and some other Gaudi building. We already went to Parque Güell, which was crazy and beautiful. I’ve also been to the beach here, and I’ll probably go again before I leave. Then I’ll be back in Madrid on Friday, and then home on Sunday in time for supper (which had damn well consist of spicy cheetos, is all I’m saying…)

Oh, and we went and got pinxos and this dark red champagne-like beverage in a bar here that was SO packed. Like, think of when you go to a concert at a really big venue, and when the main band comes on and everyone rushes the stage, and you’re all pressed in together. It was like that. For, like, 45 minutes while we ate and drank, standing. Apparently this is typical in Barcelona, and I actually had a really good time.

People keep asking me which part of Spain I’ve enjoyed the most. It’s really hard to say. I mean, I’ve only been i n most spots for a handful of days. And they’re all so distinct. Barcelona is very Metropolitan, with wide streets packed with people from all over the world. The Gaudi stuff is just icing on the cake. And I liked Valencia, because of the park in the dried-up river bed. I rented a bike there on Sunday morning and rode for an hour and just thought my thoughts and smiled. I liked Alicante, because the beach is right in the middle of the city, and so is the castle, and it’s filled with shady pocket parks, and it’s just got something special about it. I guess La Mata wasn’t that cool, but I had a good time there. Madrid was amazing, but incredibly hot. And I met so many people there, and Laura and I became good friends. I already have plans to return to her. And being there when Spain won the Euro Cup? How can you beat that?

And of course, of course, I loved Oviedo. She’s beautiful, and very sophisticated, and utterly unique. And the people there definitely appre ciate their classical music. Add to that no tourists and a million beaches that are just a bus-ride away, and what else can you say? Oviedo will always be in my heart.

But soon I’m coming home, and nothing is better than home. I miss you all dearly, and I can’t wait to see you. It’s been great. ¡Hasta ahora!

-love, Sarah

p.s. Plus I am so freakin’ tan, it’s going to blow you away. Ha!

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And that was that. Then I came home, broke up with my boyfriend, started hooking up with another, younger guy, lived in my parent’s friend’s basement and anxiously began my last year of college. It made for a great diet.

Things I didn’t say in the emails:

-Kevin (the quiet boy) became my boyfriend of right now, after much drama and hesitation on both our parts.

-I came as close to getting sexually assaulted as I will hopefully ever come by the Italian guy in Barcelona. Just so you don’t think that traveling like this is without risk.

-I fooled around with Michael in La Mata, even though he was a dick to me. I normally don’t date jerks, but apparently in Spain I do, because Jorge was a dick to me, as well, though at least he was very upfront about having “la polla pequeña” (his exact words). Honesty can only get you so far, though, and it certainly won’t get you off.

-Also I don’t know if it comes across just how lonely and confused and cranky I was. I hated traveling alone. I hated being by myself, with only the guilt of my impulsive decisions for company. But now I love traveling alone, more than most anything. I guess it’s just…back then I didn’t know myself very well, or love myself, and now I do. Now I’m my favorite person to spend time with. And I guess we can call that growing older. I used to constantly wish to be able to go back in time, try again, start over. But I almost never wish that now. I’m happy to be where I am.

Which is to say: home.

¡Hola de España! no.5‏

…being the 5th in a series, preceded by:

¡Hola de España!‏, ¡Hola de España! #2‏, ¡Hola de España! no.3‏, and ¡Hola de España! no.4

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Hi, y’all. This’ll be short. I’m in Alicante now. I left Madrid on Thursday with Michael (the Irish kid from Cambridge) and we caught a bus to La Mata, which is a little touristy place, except all of the tourists are Spanish and Brittish and German (although it turns out they prefer to be called ‘English’ instead of Brittish, says Michael). It was fun. We mostly just hung around and he worked on Physics stuff and gave me crap for being American and we enlightened each other on different Englishes (They don’t say sidewalk! Wow! And a handful of other things I didn’t know, because I did know about flannel instead of washcloth and nappy instead of diaper and stuff like that from Chi’s family).

Except that we missed our bus, and that was definitely all my fault, and then I had to buy us two new bus tickets. So I wound up spending 90€ instead of 30€ which sort of defeated the purpose of skipping Seville and Granada to go to La Mata because I could stay for free and save money. Oh well. Moms and Dad: I am not in need of your money (which you have so kindly offered, REMEMBER)…yet. I’m gonna keep trying this busquing thing, even though I made almost nothing in both Madrid and La Mata. I’ll try Alicante, though, and see how far the money I DO have goes before I accept your oh-so-gracious offer. Wait, let me say it like this: I don’t need your money, I’d rather work the streets. Oh, that never gets old…

Pues…nada (‘So…yeah’). Now I’m in Alicante and I’ve officially begun travelling sola, which is alright…so far. We’ll see. Now I’m trying to think of a way to get back to Seville, but I just don’t know if that’s gonna happen. Maybe I’ll catch a plane. If I can do that with my maleta (‘suitcase’) AND violin. We’ll see. We’ll see, we’ll see, that’s where I am right now.

Love and miss you all! In my next e-mail, I’ll include a series of demands for the things I want to eat and who I want to see on the night of my return. But here’s a hint: spicy cheetos and friendships.

-love, Sarah

p.s. Hey, is anyone looking to move out in August? Or does anybody KNOW anybody looking to move out in August? Because I need to find someone to live with (what with the bottom end of housing being so expensive in Utah…) and right now I’m a bit effed. Keep your ears open. Thanks.

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I had forgotten about the spicy cheetos thing. I would never eat those now. Good times.

¡Hola de España! no. 4‏

New to this? Catch up here:

¡Hola de España!

¡Hola de España! #2

¡Hola de España! no.3

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Hola, no time for salutations. I have a lot to fill you in on and so little time so it’ll be brief and (sorry Mike) probably not very funny.

-San Sebastian was great. There was cuddling and topless sunbathing and hamburgers, though not in that order. Except I did get my shoes dirty and broke my mom’s camera. (Hi, mommy! 🙂 You can have mine now, no worries). Oh, but everyone wanted to talk to us in English, and I will not look on the bright side of this (Kevin): I don’t think they wanted to help, I think they doubted my mad-sweet Spanish-talkin’ abilities.

-Laura from Madrid came to visit in Oviedo and we walked all the way out of town to go to a carnival/concert/party, which was great, but then we only had two hours of sleep before that day’s excursion, which was canoeing down a river. Laura was Team Resaca (“hangover”) with Dashiel and I was team Aviator with Kevin, but then later we were Team Turn-Around. The twins were Team Desnuda (“naked”). It was fun, and I totally didn’t even feel like throwing up from my resaca at all…once we got into the water.

-The program ended, and I definitely didn’t even get to go to that, because I had the worst resaca of all time, except that Fernando says it was probably an actual illness made worse by drinking the night before. So we’ll go with that. Like, I couldn’t even keep down water. And so then I missed the last day of school, which means I missed getting my diploma and missed the goodbye fiesta, and I missed saying goodbye to everyone and all of my teachers, and of course it was a really lovely day so I missed one last chance of playing violin on the street. Oh, and I won an award/scholarship for making the most of my time in Spain for learning purposes. Sweet, eh? Except I missed receiving it. I AM BATHING IN REGRET AND DESPAIR RIGHT NOW, AND THIS ISN’T ME BEING DRAMATIC, THIS IS LITERALLY HOW I FEEL!

-Oh, yeah, so I played violin in the streets 4 times and averaged about 30 euro/hour which is $50/hour, which is AWESOME. In total I made over 100 euro and I’m so American for telling you about the money I made. Or jewish. Or both. Also I recorded a song in a studio with a Spanish band, for which I was handsomely paid. Yeah, who’s doing these things? Because it doesn’t feel like me doing these things. I guess it’s like how last summer I built confidence through sports, except now it’s through music.

-Then I survived the Resaca of Death just enough to take a midnight-thirty bus to Madrid to meet Laura. That was last Saturday. So now I’m in Madrid, and crazy things have happened here, and here’s what they are:   

~Laura and I went shopping, because in July all of Europe goes on sale, and I mean that literally. It’s called “Rebajas” and seriously EVERY store has a sign in the window about it and everything is, like, half off, and I’m not sure why. People shop like animals. It was great.   

~MADRID WON THE EURO-CUP!!! And I watched it from Plaza de Colón, IN Madrid, and it was nuts, and Laura and I almost got stampeded to death when I fight broke out and this guy got a huge glass bottle smashed over his head and there was blood and panic and that was only, like, 15 minutes into the game. But then we moved, and then WE WON!!!!!!!!!!!!! And then all of Madrid partied all night, and we got a ride home from these guys we met and it was the scariest car-ride of my life and I had to keep thinking of new ways (in Spanish) to beg the driver to slow down. (Kevin: at one point I told him that I had ganas to live to see tomorrow)   

~Also we met these two guys who go to frickin’ CAMBRIDGE and one is Irish and one is from Madrid and they’re cool, and we met them on the bus and then ran into them after the game, which was like, a one-in-a-zillion-trillion odds type of thing. That was a lucky night, actually, because we made friends with the scary drivers, who just happen to live in the same suburb as Laura, and we ran into our bus friends, and Spain WON, and we linked up with Dashiel and Dylan, and I found 20 euro in the street, which gave me enough money to call my bank and tell them to unlock my card (AGAIN. THOSE BITCHES. I HAD TO BE LIKE “SORRY TO BOTHER YOU AGAIN, BUT I’M STRANDED IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY WITH NO MONEY, AND THAT MIGHT BE YOUR FAULT. THREE TIMES.”)   

~And the Irish guy’s name is Michael, and I’m going to Alicante with him, because his family has a house there and I can stay for free. Huzzah!

The end for now. I miss you all. I hope you’re having a horrible time without me.

-love, Sarah

p.s. Also, Mike sent me a package that contained: a koosh ball, a politically correct deck of cards for “war,” a Tiger Beat magazine, and a Guns-n-Ammo magazine. So he’s my new most favorite.  

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I would totally not say that thing about talking about money because I’m American and Jewish if I wrote this today. Also I notice that I was a lot more exhuberant back then. Ah, youth. Stay tuned for more!

The Origins of littlesarahBigWorld

~OR~

¡Hola de España!‏

So here I am. In Buenos Aires. On my own. And I kind of dig it. It’s been a while since I’ve had an adventure of this magnetude–travelling alone in a country that I know almost nothing about, with only the vaguest of plans and intentions. It reminds me of the first time I did this, in Spain. Allow me to set the scene:

Summer 2008. I am 23 years old. I have been out of the country only once before, to visit whitney for 10 days in Paris. I arrive in Madrid, catch a taxi fromt he airport to the bus station, buy a ticket headed north, and am on my way to Oviedo. All within the space of about an hour. I feel good about this trip, because of course I speak Spanish, and of course I will make friends with whom I can travel for 3 weeks, after the 5 week intensive Spanish language course ends. Right?

WRONG. My Spanish was not EVEN what I thought it was. And I wound up travelling alone, making hostel reservations for only one city ahead. Kissing strange boys. Busking. And I kept in touch with mass emails to my family and friends, and then I came home and made a zine about it. So, if you put those two things together, it’s kind of like littlesarahBigWorld. The beta version. Now, for your viewing and reading pleasure, I present you with those original emails and pages scanned from the first ever READ ME zine (of which there are…two. Whatevs). Enjoy!

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Hi family and friends! Wow, already it´s a bit dificult to write in English. I am in Spain!!!!! I arrived in Madrid yesterday morning at nine (one am in Utah time). There was almost no wait to get my bags and change my money and whatnot (the exchange rate! ¡Ay! 50 US dollars is, like, 30 Euros). By ten I had already caught a taxi to the bus station, purchased a ticket, and I was on the bus to Oviedo. I wanted so badly to stay awake on the bus, because the scenery was gorgeous, but I literally could not force my eyes open. I arrived in Oviedo at 3:30 and had 4 hours to kill. Oh, Moms (or Dad): I will contact Mountain America, but if you guys could also call and tell them that I´m in Spàin and that I´m not a theif and to un-freeze me account, because right now I have NO MONEY!

Mi familia is a single woman named Beatriz. She lives alone, but she has a boyfriend that comes over to eat dinner and chat with us. His name is Eusepio. They both talk very fast (faster than the other moms, like Katrina´s), and I´ve already dug myself into a rut by pretending to understand what they´re saying and now I guess I´ll just have to go with that. I understand about half. Sorry, I feel like there´s so much to say, and I´m having a hard time expressing myself in an orderly fashion. Today was the first day of classes, and from now on we will have classes from 9:30 to 2, with a short break from 11 to 11:30. Today we took a test and they divided us into four levels. I am in the fourth level!!! Estoy en el nivel mas avansada. The Cutrubi are in the third level, but I don´t know why, because I think they speak as well as I do. Their friend, Daschel (who is now my friend, as well) is in level four, along with about 8 others, including a boy who already did this exact program two years ago and is so cocky that´s it´s difficult to even be in the same room as him. Tomorrow is the first REAL day of classes, and I´m a little nervous but mostly excited.

What else…? Well, so far the only totally crazy thing about life in Oviedo is that my house (and other´s, like Krystal´s) only has ONE GARBAGE, and it´s in the kitchen. So, you know, what if I have lady problems? Or what about my used q-tips and floss? Am I supposed to just tote those things into the kitchen? I guess so.

I really like Beatriz. She´s never been married and has no children. She´s 54, but seems much younger and is very metropolitan. Oviedo is absolutely gorgeous, and very clean for a city (not as clean as Salt Lake, but much cleaner than New York–sorry Judy). The weather pattern here (so far) is sunny and clear in the morning, and then cloudy skies and moderate rain from 3 to 8. Then it´s clear and a bit chilly at night. But it´s fairly warm during the days, even when it´s raining.

I get really tired in the afternoons, because that´s when it´s night in Utah. Today I had my first Spanish hot chocolate, and it was very thick (like a syrup), but not as sweet as you´d think.

It´s strange to be here–strange because it´s NOT strange, because it feels only a bit different, like starting a new job. My firs wow-I´m-in-Spain moment was today when Krystal, Katrina, Daschel and I went to a restaurant and ordered in Spanish lke it was nothing. Oh, and I keep getting lost, because–although the streets all have names–there are few street signs. So people will tell you to turn right on Calle Uria, but then you don´t know which is Calle Uria.

Mom and Beth, I need your cell number. For some reason, my cell phone won´t turn on (somebody spilled water on it…Cody…). Once you give me your number, I can tell you how to call me here. And don´t forget to yell at MOuntain America. Oh, and does anybody have e-mail for Natalie or Eric? I don´t.

Okay, I´m going to go now. It´s about 11:30, and I need to be at the school at 9:30. I miss you all so much (especially Sebastian and Rosie and, of course, Chi). Sorry for the mass e-mail, but if you send me (short) personal responses and questions, I will send you a (short) personal e-mail. Thank you to everyone who helped to get me here! My Spanish is already so much better, and I can´t even imagine how it will be in 8 weeks. I love you all dearly! ¡Adios!

 -Love, Sarah

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Stay tuned for more dispatches from the littlesarah of FOUR YEARS AGO. What?! Time’s a cookie, Friends.