Monday, February 25, 2013

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!


*Insert lame excuse as to why I haven’t updated this blog in weeks* It is always terrible to wait this long to write the next blog post because I always have SO MUCH TO CATCH UP ON. So, if you’re reading this I suggest taking water breaks. The title of this blog is dedicated to the snow that has been falling intermittently for the past three days. The best part is that it doesn’t stick! Sorry to all you Nemo victims. I’ve got the best of both worlds. I have taken advantage of walking in the snow because it doesn’t snow frequently in Logroño. There is just something so romantic about walking around the city in the snow. Despite the cold, I can rarely ignore walking in the snow when I have the opportunity.

Okay, so I have to back up all the way to the beginning of this month to my birthday! I’m 24 now for all those that may have forgotten (shame on you if you did)! I had a fantastic time celebrating. On February 1st, I had friends over at my apartment for “Potluck Pincho Night” and our friend Katie who is working in San Sebastian made the trip down as well. Everyone brought over a homemade pincho and we had a makeshift dinner with many pinchos! It was delicious! Our friend Anita came down from Haro, which is about an hour away, with freshly made birthday brownies. They were incredible…. AND my friend Andrea made a surprise birthday cake for me! It was an EXTREMELY decadent chocolate cake. It was downright sinful. We had a countdown until midnight and then I blew out all of the candles. About 5 minutes into eating cake, I was able to skype with my mom and sister. February 2nd was off to a phenomenal start. We went to a Bodega in the outskirts of Logroño, Bodegas Olarra. We were a group of 7 and there was a couple from Madrid who were hitting up as many bodegas as they could in one weekend! They left earlier, so the seven of us indulged in cheese and chorizo with incredible wines. The tour guide learned it was my birthday and we got free cava! (Spanish champagne) Next on the birthday list was a lovely Italian dinner with friends at a nearby restaurant, La Mafia. Amazinggggg. I was so lucky to have my birthday on a Saturday, so what did we do?? Paint the town red, quemar la ciudad, or what have you. Of course very nicely dressed, curled hair and everything! We all had a great night.  I was very fortunate to receive gifts from awesome people I know here and thank you dear relatives that sent me lovely cards. I just gushed over them! It goes without saying that I love my birthday; although I know the popular opinion of February…it is almost everyone’s least favorite month. Well all you negative nellies…. February is almost over! Are you happy??
                                                                               
The next weekend was just as fantastic because it was CARNAVAL! We all dressed up, I went as a fortuneteller because it was so easy to put together. Instead of carrying a crystal ball around (which I don’t have anyway) I just made a ‘cootie catcher’ the easy-to-make paper contraption that tells your future. It was a big hit in the 5th grade. I wrote the fortunes in English and Spanish and made them funny. According to my fortunes, some of my friends met their future spouses in one of the clubs we went to, while others are doomed to lose all their money after winning the lottery.

Let’s see…what else? Here are some updates on some of my students…the reason I’m living here. In El Arco, I made a couple of appearances in the infantile classes this month. I don’t work with the 3-5 year olds. It was incredible, the second time I entered the class all year, they all ran up to me screaming, ‘Estephanieeee!!!!’ Hugs all around. It’s just the greatest feeling to make an impact on students without even trying to.  In my pueblo schools, we’re going to a play on Thursday in English. We’ve been preparing for it for about 2 months so I’m excited to finally see the play. I’m sure the students are too because it means no school for them. And finally, a story I’ve told most people I know here…. I have one student in particular in Ribafrecha that has really kept me on my toes. Two weeks ago he got pretty intense when he didn’t understand a game we were playing. He came up to me tugging and slapping my arm to tell him the trick to the game. It was the first time I got VERY serious in Ribafrecha and told him to get away and sit down. The class was pretty surprised I’ve got a serious side and they all quieted down. Last Friday, this student did a 180 on me, and pulled me aside at the end of class and professed his love for me. This student is 12 years old so almost an adolescent. What on earth do you say to that? It’s flattering, but extremely awkward. If I had a desk, he probably would have given me an apple. So, with the two incidents combined my interpretation is the age-old belief that when a boy is mean to a girl it means they like them…? Only problem with that tactic…I’m a teacher, not another student. That stuff doesn’t fly.

To enjoy a long weekend we had, a couple friends and I went to another bodega nearby. Let me say in my defense before everyone back home thinks I have a wine obsession (which might be debatable) I have to take advantage of touring wineries here, because let’s be realistic…. I can’t do that in New England. I can say for certain that next year I will probably have smoke coming out of my ears and will have a permanent mark on my forehead from banging it over and over again against textbooks from readjusting to schoolwork. So let me have this without giving me too much grief for it. This bodega was in a beautiful pueblo, Cenicero that translates to Ashtray. I can’t imagine entering any town in the US with the name ashtray. It misleadingly makes the town sound ugly, which it isn’t. We were the only three there and the tour guide was great!

Also, earlier this month I was invited to a dinner at my coworker’s house. It was delicious and my friend Andrea was also invited. We pretty much had to pick our jaws up off the floor because this dinner was more like being in a restaurant. You could pick your main course after a variety of appetizers we had. We were very fortunate. It made me feel embarrassed of the dinner we hosted in November at my mini apartment with one big main course. AMATEURS. They have set the bar quite high.

Finally, a group of us participated in the ‘Harlem Shake’ a YouTube phenomenon that has been spreading like wildfire across the United States. I only learned about it a week ago and then I received an invitation on Facebook to participate in Logroño’s own Harlem Shake in the pincho/tapas section of the city. I couldn’t help it. Life is short…carpe diem. So…I did it. Why not? In Palma I participated in a FlashMob. Of course, it didn’t take long for my family to mock me and call me crazy via Skype. Thanks guys, love you too.  

Oh, and I booked a trip to Rome for April vacation. No big deal. That’s all for now, I’ll try to be better at catching up on things so I don’t always have to write a novel. 


Carnaval

Birthday night

Birthday Bodega Visit

Andrea's chocolate cake

FREE CAVA

Birthday dinner

Most recent bodega visit

Harlem Shake Participants
The Harlem Shake