little sarah Big World

Tag: new friends


~Friday, January 6th, 2012~

11:14 am – Drying laundry above the radiators all night has steamed up the windows while we sleep; flowers from Kevin still thriving

10:02 pm – Paul has a 6-hour layover in Madrid; we go out bar hopping in Sainz de Baranda: good beer and fried potatoes

A Night on the Town


One Thing Leads to Another

It begins with roscón

…roscón to celebrate Día de los Reyes Magos…

…to celebrate Día de los Reyes Magos as a way to say “thank you” to our new Swedish friends. Because they they lent us money on New Year’s Eve, and we want to pay them back. Because we want more than a one-night-friendship-stand. Because we’d been treated to a wonderful Christmas and then a wonderful New Years, courtesy of our international friends, and now it was our turn to treat, damnit.

But we were still nervous when we met up with Fredrik and Sigrid on Thursday to eat roscón and go see the cabalgata; it felt a little like meeting up for a first-second date after a one-night stand. Turns out they felt the same! We shared a good laugh and then got on with our friendship, starting with coffee and roscón.

In Spain, traditionally speaking, January 6th is the big gift-giving day. It’s when the Reyes Magos (the three wise men) come to town, bringing presents for all the good little children. They arrive by way of a big (brand-name-toy-sponsored) parade on Thursday night, and even though its a family-friendly (read: for kids) event, we happily marched our four grown selves over to see what the fuss was about.

Mostly it was about flashy colored lights and twinkles and sparkles and oohs and aahs.

And tons of people. People everywhere, climbing on ladders they’d brought or whatever else, to better see the parade.

I think we enjoyed the crowd-watching more than the actual parade. It was just nuts to see so many people come out, packed like sardines, toting ladders, to see the three kings arrive in town. I think it makes for a way more convincing scenario than the old “Santa will come tonight and sneak down the chimney while you’re sleeping” line. I’ve said it before, Spaniards take their Navidades seriously. I continue to be impressed.

Not wanting the night to end so soon, and eager for a warming drink and a place to sit, we followed Fredrik and Sigrid back to their neighborhood, Chueca.

Chueca is the gay neighborhood of Madrid, but it’s adjoined to the Hipster-type neighborhood. So it’s got the best of both worlds, with lots of cutesy boutiques and modern-looking shops and fancy places to nibble or sip.

…like the San Antón market, which is similar to it’s more famous cousin–the San Miguel market in the center of town–but, you know, trendier. More chic.

…and with a roof-top lounge, where the drinks are nevertheless cheap and the fires are toasty and the conversation turns to books and travel, to favorite films and living abroad. And I was grateful, for new friends, and new old traditions, and a sense of adventure, and wherever the night may lead us. Which in this case was to pizza, in some teeny late-night joint. Then a long walk home for Kevin and I, happy and full and excited about all the possibilities.

And to think–it all started with a simple, sweet, pink parcel. A bit of roscón and three kings, come to town.

A Very International New Year


Puerta del Sol again? YES!

We started the night out at home with a frozen pizza and some whiskey and cokes. Very American, but then Kevin’s roommate Elena invited us to join her, her husband, and their friend in a Romanian-style celebration: a big dinner, followed by little pastries and cookies from a Romanian bakery, and then an apple-caramel-chocolate-whipped cream cake, made by Elena, all while calling non-stop to as many relatives as they could get a hold of back home. Delicious!

“Happy New Year” in Romanian: An Nou Fericit!

Then we had a brief period of sitting in Kevin’s room and drinking while I played on the internet and he drew pictures of me playing on the internet. Weird. Then we headed towards Sol, metro-style.

And then…Sol! We made it! We even sneaked in a bottle of sidra huzzah!

In Spain what you do is you eat twelve grapes at midnight–one for each toll of the bell–and each grape represents a month for the year to come, and also you wish for things like “friendship” or “money.” There wasn’t an easily heard bell or clock or anything, though, so everyone just kind, you know, ate some grapes at midnight. And then we drank our bottle of sidra.

“Happy New Year” in Spanish: Feliz Año Nuevo!

Also in Sol we met some Swedes, and what started out as small talk turned into an invitation to join them for a night on the town! New friends excitement yesss! Pictured (L to R): Kevin, Sofia, Frederick, Sigrid, and Alex in a bar near plaza Santa Ana. We stopped there for drinks because we all wanted to keep hanging out and enjoying each others’ company, but Kevin and I couldn’t afford the entry fee for a nearby club, having foolishly left all but 20€ back at home. We thought that we’d just go to Sol by ourselves, get a drink by ourselves, and then catch the metro home. We were wrong!

And then guess what else?! Our new friends lent us money to get into the club, which is so kind. Like, embarrassingly kind. And we were so glad they did, because inside the club was like a party wonderland, and we got little gift bags with paper face masks and noise-makers and what-have-you, and then we danced to songs from Grease, and they knew all the words and we all laughed and drank and danced until 4 am and made plans to meet up to celebrate Reyes on Friday. Success.

“Happy New Year” in Swedish: Gott Nytt År!

In the end, Kevin and I walked home together, turning in somewhere around 5 am? Then today we slept in, hung around, ate crap at McDonald’s (best hangover cure), went to a movie, had chocolate and churros, walked around the center, and then came home. A very Happy New Year.

Thanksgiving in Brooklyn

Cousin Emily and I have spent many Thanksgivings together, since childhood. We’ve forcibly performed our home-spun rendition of Chantilly Lace on our much-annoyed family members countless times–a Thanksgiving tradition.

But this year we gave them a break and let them celebrate Turkey Day on the West Coast while we were living it up in the Big Apple. Cousins together in New York! YES! And we went to the parade, Friends! That very Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade from Miracle on 24th Street fame. We did that.

Later, we went to Em’s friend Talia’s house, where Talia and her brother had prepared an amazing spread (including 2 different types of stuffing), defying their 20-something status and delighting our unassuming palates. For our part, Em and I baked pies–one apple, one blackberry–from scratch. We drank whiskey, wine, and beer, feasted, and played Apples to Apples. A perfectly fine way to celebrate.

It’s nice to know that you can have such a homey feeling among old relatives and new friends in a place you’ve never been before. It’s a warm, fuzzy feeling.

Making Time

Time to read:

“Why they came East I don’t know. They had spent a year in France for no particular reason, and then drifted here and there unrestfully wherever people played polo and were rich together.”     —The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

Time for friends, for gathering:

And festivities–time to celebrate, get messy, laugh, be creative:

Time for new friends, and new beginnings, for soul-satisfying discussions and long runs through tree-filled canyons. For the crisp air and crunchy, fire-colored leaves. Time for nourishment:

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had the familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”     (Also Gatsby)

[Just like that, but with Autumn]

My Life in Pictures

Not too long ago, on a rainy night, I found a camera lying on the sidewalk, just outside the bar where Fauna was about to play. I didn’t want anyone to come along and steal the wayward little guy, so I pocketed it. Which I guess means I stole it.

Wanting very much to return it to its rightful owner and not be a thieving thief, I began looking through the pictures saved to the memory card. Which I guess means I’m nosy. BUT guess what, Friends? I recognized a certain dashing young gentleman from the pictures as my friend and former co-worker Patrick! What? YES. I texted him to confirm. Yup, Patrick’s camera, that I saved (not stole) from the rain-slick sidewalk.

And Patrick, being the creative gent that he is, suggested that I take some pictures my own self before giving it back to him. Done. Another person’s life, in 10 pictures or less.

This makes me want to do a project. This makes me want to mail disposable cameras to people who will use them up and mail them back. Then I’ll develop them and see the world through someone else’s eyes. I’m sure the whole thing could be done digitally, but that’s much less romantic, isn’t it?

So. Email me your mailing address at littlesarahbigworld [at] hotmail [dot] com. Let’s do this, Friends. Let’s get real.

…with a little help from my friends

Went to Powellapalooza to take my mind off of Kevin being gone. Also because my band was playing. It looked like this:

On the road

Various wristbands allowing me access to various things (backstage, shuttle, etc.)

Riding the shuttle to the beach

Further shuttle riding, with hula-hoops, why not?

Backstage, babies!

We were all allowed a plus-one, and since my standard plus-one is across the world, I took my Eric friend. Because I had a dream where Eric and I were riding bikes and having fun, and I took that to mean that Eric and I would become better friends and have lots of fun, easy times together. I put a lot of stock in my dreams, what can I say?

Eric, with his friend Ricky

It turned out to be the right thing, and I knew when he said on the phone that we’d go (“Yeah, okay, let’s do it”) that he was doing it for me. Because I needed a friend. Because I needed to get out of town.

So then there was a long drive through small towns, and shots of whiskey, loud music, huge crowds, psychadelic pattern projections, an early morning run over sand and redrock–hopping barbed wire, marveling at smoke stacks–and trippers and rollers everywhere, and sand in everything, and hot, hot sun and endless snacking, and then home.

And when I got home, there was this:

A care package from Whitney

So the trip was worth it, and coming back home to an empty apartment was a softer landing than I’d expected, thanks to my friends.

Funny, because I almost didn’t go. I didn’t decide until the morning that we left. See, I’ve been waiting on my big sister to have her baby (my presence is required), and I was worried that she’d go into labor if I left town, and I wouldn’t be able to make it back in time. But she called me the night before we packed up and headed out and said “We don’t want you to put your life on hold for us. Go have fun, get out of town. It’ll be good for you. We’ll be fine.”

I’ve never felt so loved, so lucky, or so lonely. It’s a weird time in my life.


New Friends, Part II

Last weekend we got invited to a dance party.

There was face-painting.

And drinking.

Probably too much of that, actually, on my part.

Remember also Melissa’s party? And last night I went to new friend/old acquaintance Stephanie’s house to watch My Girl and drink pink wine. Amazing.

But also exhausting. New friends are exhausting. I have been sick from too much new friendship and too much running, but still, tonight we are going to a farewell party for Paul friend, who is about to do the Camino de Santiago. I baked him my best chocolate chip cookies. Because Friendship is important.

To me, at least.

Last Night in Tours

A big dinner at a fancy restaurant (Au Lapin qui Fume) with the whole group of Utahns.

Silly times with new old friends.

Delicious toasties with chevre, followed by rabbit (I ate rabbit!) and fresh pasta.

Then down to the Guingette, one more time. Spontaneous art creation.

Looking up at the night sky, deep in this valley.

And drinking, of course. Celebrating, really.

Saying goodbye. Adieu.

Florence, Italy, in 10 Pictures or Less

What? I like to limit myself to a certain number of pictures per post so that I can be sure I’m offering you guys la crème de la crème, French-ly speaking. Does that make me a big dork? YES. And you love it.

(Scroll over the pictures for more info, friends; I don’t want to ruin the aesthetic)










Okay, so maybe it was 10 pictures exactly, no more, no less. Whatever. Did you see the part about the secret bakery, though?! It’s like a speak-easy, but for baked goods. At 3am. When I told Kevin this he freaked out as much as I had, and we might have to move to Italy as a result.