Bruschetta, Football, and Spanish Soap Operas

This weekend was a ton of a fun, maybe too much fun. Friday was another typical day at work and the sweet satisfaction of finishing up with my last individual class at 6:30 really made it feel like it was finally the weekend. School this week went absolutely normal, except on Friday, Toñi, the woman that I work with in Getafe brought me some chorizo and cheese which is always absolutely delicious.

On Thursday, I met up with a woman that is in charge of one of my 1-hour classes that I teach Wednesday’s. It’s a lesson directed to the teachers at the bilingual school here in Madrid. I get with them from 12.30 to 1.30 once a week to practice their English speaking skills and the woman that is from the Ministerio de Educación, who sends me my lesson plans weekly, wanted to actually sit down and chat with me. She’s a really sweet woman and she and I had an actually surprisingly nice chat about language and language acquisition: Basically if you’re a language nerd like I am, you would have enjoyed the conversation as well.  Anyway, I left her and met up with a friend and we got tapas and gin tonics, which are now my new favorite drink, thanks to Marta. I feel so sophisticated with a nice glass with Schweppe’s and Bombay. Or maybe I feel like an old man, not sure which. Chloe and I were talking about our new favorite drink, the glorious Gin and Tonic and we are now afraid that we are going to drink so many of them that we are going to hate them. I sure hope this never happens.

Back to Friday, despite my anxiousness about it being the start of the weekend, I wasn’t feeling very animated. I wasn’t going to go out or do anything, even though we had a few people over to hang out, chat, and relax with cheap wine, rum and cokes, and of course, gin and tonics.  I was relieved that everyone decided to stay in Friday since it was so cold outside that no one dared brave the coldness. I could have managed because I’m from Denver and apparently that makes me tough or immune to the cold, but regardless, we all stayed in. And even though I wasn’t going to go out and I was going to call it an early night, we all ended up watching La Catrina which is this Spanish telenovela that I used to watch when I was in high school. It was this ridiculously hilarious and cheaply made telenovela for English speakers to learn Spanish. Of course back in the day, I highly enjoyed the videos for their comical content, but I didn’t really understand any of the dialogue. However, for some reason, I ended up locating it on Jorge’s computer and we all ended up watching the first 3 or 4 episodes of it and this time it was 20 times funnier than I remember since I could actually understand what they were talking about. All my Spanish/Mexican friends were laughing hysterically and asked me how I ever learned Spanish from the videos. Regardless to say, we all had a great time making fun of this totally awesome Spanish soap opera.  And of course, I went to bed at 5am, just as early as I wanted…not.

Saturday came too quickly. I woke up around 1pm not well rested, but I heard voices all over the apartment so I forced myself up and Julian said he was going to Carrefour, which is one of the large supermarkets here, and I needed to go as well since Saturday was our Appetizer dinner/Farewell to Jorge party. So from the moment I woke up, it was run, run, run. I took a quick shower and hurriedly got dressed and ready to go to the supermarket with Julian. We did our shopping: I decided to make goat cheese Bruscetta. I was just going to boil hot dogs and call that good since it was so easy, but I have a famous reputation for being incapable of cooking so I decided I would step it up and actually try to prepare an appetizer for all of my friends. I thoroughly researched how to make them using several websites and sending an inquiry to Jeana to see how she makes hers, and then from there, I actually kind of winged it.

The only problem was was that once Julian and I got back home, people had already started to arrive and the kitchen was packed with people trying to prepare their appetizers.  I found a corner to start cutting tomatoes and making a sort of Garlic/Basil/Balsalmic Vinegar sauce. However, the entire production was highly watched: Everyone kept watching me and laughing at me as I basically frantically ran all over the kitchen screaming to find ingredients and prepare the things correctly. I got things like, “Don’t cut them like that!” “You’ve got too much heat on that!” “You can’t put those in there!” and all these judgmental glares from everywhere as this novice tried to prepare a snack for 20 people. Eventually, one of Carlo’s friends came over and she being Italian, said that cooking was one of her favorite things and she ended up helping me out a ton. She helped me toast the bread and pour the sauce on all the pieces of toast and cut the cheese, etc. At the end, we took our picture with my masterpiece in hand and within about 8 seconds, all my Bruscetta went to applauds of everyone. Apparently it was really delicious, so I think I’ll have to try making it again some other time. I was pretty proud of myself. What will I cook next!?

Later on that evening, Carlo, Jose Luis, and I all escaped the festivities to go see the AC Milano soccer match. Carlo is a DIE HARD fan of AC Milano and I thought I’d go check out the game with him just to try to understand why soccer, or should I say “football,” is so highly acclaimed here. We found a chill little Irish pub and watched the game. I’m not sure I still understand the hype, but on Wednesday, AC Milano is playing again and according to Carlo we have to win. So let’s go AC Milano! (I mean, why not? I’ve got no one else to root for. It’s not like the US soccer team is playing or even worth watching for that matter…)

After Milano won 1 – 0, we returned back home and a few hours later we all went out to Rock N Rolla to dance and listen to Rock N’ Roll music.  En fin, we came home around 5 and all passed out from being so exhausted.

Yesterday, Chloe, Julian, and I went and got McDonald’s for breakfast (at 3 in the afternoon) and then since the weather was so nice for the first time in a few days, we all went for a small walk and hung out in a park for a bit until we decided to go see a film. We ended up seeing a movie called También, la lluvia, which was a film I had been wanting to see. Julian and I really enjoyed it, but I’m not so sure how Chloe felt about it, but no one was disappointed. Actually, we didn’t really know what to expect. Julian thought it was a Spanish film since the director and the majority of the actors were Spanish (and yes, in reality it was a Spanish film), but it all takes place in Bolivia. I thought it took place in Mexico so we were both wrong. But all in all, we left very satisfied. The film is really cool because it matches a parallel theme throughout the film. It takes place in some poor town in Bolivia where the government starts to control and steal the people’s water. The people begin to riot. Alongside this, there is a Spanish film crew attempting to make a movie about the arrival of Christopher Columbus in South America and how he treated and dealt with the natives that lived there. One of the main characters in the film was also the leader against the governmental oppression. There were two plots that mirrored each other: The oppression by Columbus on the native people, and the Bolivian government and the people of the city. It showed the frustrations of modern-life in Bolivia (and probably all of South America) and the ways of the past and the early Spanish settlers and their relationship with the native people. Overall I found it to be a very beautiful film.

Now it’s Monday, and this afternoon I’ve got 2 hours of private English classes and then tonight at 11pm, I have an “interview” with a tour company here in Madrid. I will be meeting with the director of the company and following him and some tour guide on their Pub Crawl. Hopefully this will materialize into an actual job this summer so I don’t have to come home…if I don’t find a job, I have to return to the US since I will be without pay for 4 months and that’s just impossible to survive off of, especially since I don’t have much money saved up.  So wish me luck!

Anyway, I’ll write more later.

Graham

 

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