little sarah Big World

Tag: proud to be an American

¡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

*       *       *‏

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.

*       *       *

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

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A Very International New Year

~OR~

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.

23 Candles

~OR~

“Happy birthday / Happy birthday, baby / Oh, I love you so”

— The Crests

Yay, Kevin is 23!!! That means that for nearly two whole months, I will be a mere two years older (numerically speaking) instead of the standard three years older. Then in February I turn 26 and I suppose we’ll return to the sweet cougar action to which we’ve grown so accustomed.

I took him out for a (belated) celebratory dinner at Alfredo’s Barbacoa in Cuzco. The boy has gone nearly 3 months without a decent burger, Friends. And that is a crying shame. An eagle-shedding-a-single-tear-in-front-of-the-American-flag-style crying shame.

We had crazy-rare burgers–I ordered medium rare, which came out red and juicy in the middle, and Kevin ordered rare, which was so un-cooked that the meat barely held together–plus fries, onion rings, coca-cola, and apple pie. Here’s a picture of me eating all that:

…and here’s a picture of me from two years ago, doing pretty much the same thing, in a Madrid McDonald’s:

I come to Spain and eat hamburgers. Deal with it.

But I digress–we were celebrating Kevin’s birthday! We finished the night by trying to get drunk at a nearby bar.

But we were too full to allow that much liquid into our bellies. So after one drink we called it quits, headed home on the metro and said goodnight.

*       *       *

Happy birthday, Kevin. You deserve all of the good things.

Peach Days

Yesterday I ran a 10k, for the second time in my life. I finished in 59:07, which is about 9 1/2 minutes per mile. That’s 1/2 a minute faster per mile than I ran it last year. I call that a success.

I ran the Peach Days 10k in Brigham City, UT. It’s a small town, and I think we all know how I feel about Small Town America. With so many smaller cities and towns going to way of Wal-Mart and Starbucks, it’s satisfying to bathe oneself in nostalgia in a place where there’s still a main street with old buildings and little shops.

But I have no pictures of this. Not of Brigham City. Not from yesterday, at least. None of the race, or the parade, or the diner that’s been open since 1929, where we ate home-made sausage and eggs. I call that a fail.

Not the end of the world, though. Because I have pictures. Peachy pictures. End of Summery pictures. Americana pictures.

Pettingill's Fruit Stand in Willard, UT

And what better way to celebrate Peaches/End of Summer/America than by baking a cobbler. I used the Peach-Raspberry Cobbler recipe from the Joy of Cooking. If you don’t have the recipe, then it means you don’t own your own J.O.C. And you should remedy that.

We start with fresh peaches and raspberries. Sliced, then splayed, in a pie dish.

Sprinkle them with sugar, then plop on some buttermilk biscuit dough. I even made the buttermilk myself, by adding lemon juice to almond milk and waiting 10 minutes.

Then bake it on up, Friends! It will be delicious and not too heavy, promise.

Sweet, fresh, homey, quaint, imperfect…just like small towns, like Brigham City. But I guess you’ll have to take my word for it on that one.

 

Road Trippin’

There is more than one school of Road Trip philosophy. Some people pack their snacks and lunches and plow straight through to their destination, stopping only to gas up or take a leak.

I prefer to stop for lunch, stretch my legs, and see a small part of this country that I wouldn’t have otherwise visited. Small Town America, I guess it’s called.

On this trip–Salt Lake City to Deckers, Colorado–we took I-15 eastward towards Cheyenne, then turned south, crawled past Denver (worst. traffic. EVER.), and headed into Pike National Forest. On the way there, we stopped in Rock Springs, Wyoming, where I hoped to find a quaint, road-side diner. (I live for quaint, road-side diners).

And there was quaint-ness to the town, sure, but no diner to be found, and no people out in the hot mid-day sun. It was eerily quiet, with church bells chiming noon, giving a very Sunday feeling, though really it was only Tuesday. In the end, we settled for a colorful but dingy Mexican restaurant, which, come to think of it, is probably just about as representative of Small Town America as anything else these days.

On our way back home, we stopped in Laramie, Wyoming. Say what you will about its reputation, Laramie is charming as hell. Kevin said he felt like we were closer to the sky, high above the mountain ranges we normally look up to from down in this dry salty valley.

The sky was astonishing–electric blue with bright white clouds–and with no mountains to cut it off in either direction, it was immense. Here’s further proof:

Road trips are such classic American fare, something I’ve never been able to duplicate elsewhere. The wide open spaces (even in this modern, developed year, 2011), the small towns, the gas stations with public restrooms, the rest stops with travelers and visitors from all over, stretching their legs, walking their dogs, refilling their water bottles.

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Some day I would like to travel all across the US, and write about it. Because blue sky like this, and church bells on a Tuesday, and listening to the Beatles, and books on take, and NPR (while you’ve still got the signal)…well, that’s something worth sharing.

I’m Back!

K, so maybe we actually got back Friday night, and I just haven’t posted a damned thing. And I have so much to post! Here, a list about it:

-on the road (Rock Springs, Wyoming AND Laramie?!? What WHAT?)

-cabin eats (mmm…bacon…)

-mountain vengeance (I shot a gun, friends! And liked it!)

-lazy days, long walks, and wild flowers

Hey, speaking of lists…remember my other blog? I don’t, most of the time. But I’ve got some collaborative ideas in the works. Stay tuned for that, friends. Also for the afore-mentioned posts. I’ll try to get one up tonight, but my time is being re-devoted to practicing stringed instruments, and also I have to read, like, AN ENTIRE BOOK IN SPANISH by tomorrow evening. Ah, lack of foresight…

Oh, and July is over. This means school people are getting ready to head back to school. And Kevin is leaving for Spain in less than two months. But let’s not think about that now. Let’s remember the good times, and the patriotism.

p.s.

Many, many thanks to Ms. Whitney. That was awesome. That blog about Korea, I mean. I want more already.

 

p.p.s

Also thanks to Rachel Getts, Librarienne Extraordinaire, who came to my party and took both of these pictures.

O Pioneers!

July is King in Utah. July means camping and swimming and barbecues (all that mountain folk stuff I talked about), and it also means fireworks and parades and parties. Twice.

See, we have the 4th of July, just like all good Americans, but we also have Days of ’47, or Pioneer Days. July 24th, to be specific, is Pioneer Day, and there are parades and fireworks and festivals all over the state. Oh, except when it falls on a Sunday! Like it did this year! This is Utah, friends, and that’s Heavenly Father’s day, so we celebrated on Monday. Which meant two days off of work as part of the official state Holiday, so I’m not complaining.

Here’s how we celebrated:

Home-baked Banana Cake

Pioneer Day Parade in Ogden

Lunch w/ Melissa @ Rooster's

Melissa asked if they have anything like this in Spain. “I’ll bet the parades there are way better,” she said. But the parades there are like this:

Kevin is leaving for Spain in late September. Watching him get ready for this big adventure, I see him going through much of the same stuff that I went through. You really do start to appreciate where you’re from more, to realize how unique it is. The Americana. That pioneering spirit. You can’t find that just anywhere.

My Day Off

…will never truly be a Day Off. There is always so much to do! Oh, well, I suppose I like it like that.

And some of it was fun, like breakfast at Blue Plate with Dad.

It’s in sort of a weird spot, with lots of businesses around, but still close to a very residential area (the suburbs), and far enough away that I’ve only ever been there twice. It’s not downtown, is what I’m saying, but something about the busy road going right past and the surrounding strip-malls make it that much more quintessentially American–a good ol’ fashioned road-side diner. But with vegan stuff, too.

Also on the agenda for today is moving all of our crap from the house we’ve been house-sitting for almost a month back into my tiny studio. Yes, the boy and I are going to try sharing a studio. After never having lived together previously. Except for house-sitting, which is generally way more spacious. Moving looked like this:

But it’s not all ours, I swear! It’s just the glass recycling, which I went and dumped/crashed/smashed/recycled this morning, as a favor to the family. Because their cat died while we were on duty. Because throwing glass into a big dumpster filled with already glass is fun.

Wow, this is certainly going nowhere. Let’s make a list, that will seem productive, and then I have more work to do (rehearsal, weight lifting, burger eating…)

Up-coming Things on littlesarahBigWorld:

-new page layout! yay! more widgets!

-finally posting about Portland! and Boise! and Long Island! this is kind of a travel blog, right?

-pictures of my “new” apartment, where I’ve been living maybe since late March. but it’s still new. to me.

-you! having a nice day! enjoying the sunshine! eating burgers, why not?

Happy 7/11 Day!

I’m sure people must think that I’m this world-travelling, America-hating, wanna-be Ex-pat. One of those fiercely independent types who will never have children. Actually, that part’s probably true…

But I do love America. In fact, the more I travel, the more I appreciate the little luxuries we enjoy here at home, like a quick trip to the grocery store in pajamas–no big deal–or being able to have a pleasant sit-down meal of bacon, eggs, hashbrowns and coffee, any time of the day or night. You can’t have that just anywhere! That’s something really special.

What about apple pie? Haven’t you read On the Road? Didn’t you crave apple pie afterwards? Didn’t you love America? And fireworks, guys! FIREWORKS! In Utah, we have the 4th of July, sure, but then we have Pioneer Day–July 24th–which means more fireworks, and parades, and barbecues, and this is the West, guys, so we have mountains, and camping, and hiking, and wide streets.

Also: delicious micro-breweries. So American. Chocolate-chip cookies. Rootbeer floats.

And I love that I can go out in public, fresh from the gym, sweaty hair plastered to my forehead, and get a free Slurpee. Because it is July 11th. Because nobody cares if I am wearing running shorts. Because it is perfectly acceptable to treat my self to sugar slush after a work-out.

Because this is America, damnit. And I like it.