Sunday, November 30, 2008

Spanish word of the day

roast beef


I am thankful for old dear friends like Shawn who call me up on lazy Sunday afternoons to reconnect and commiserate.

I am thankful for new dear friends like Adeline who send me long facebook messages telling me how wonderful I am and helping me maintain my sanity.

I am thankful for creative friends like Amanda. She started this email chain a few weeks ago and has all her dearest friends sending out encouraging notes to each other every morning. (Ash sent out an email with this link the other day. It is a wonderful oral history site!)

And I am thankful for four-wheelers, Sam A. Baker State Park and cousins who love Harry Potter.

Monday, November 24, 2008


...made me happy. It was a risk. Would I need a second glass of wine at intermission just to cope with the overpowering optimism? No. Would I leave the theater resigned to a fate of cynicism? No.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Language Resources

When I got back in the states, my friends Tony & Hannah found me a great Spanish teaching gig. I've found I actually enjoy making lesson plans-a sign of things to come?

Teaching Spanish has kept me in learning mode. I am reviewing the basics every week and constantly looking for new teaching resources. I thought I would pass along this site, because the podcasts here are wonderful.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Super Obama World

This reminds me of my childhood. But better.

happy book

I just finished reading a collection of essays called Grammar Lessons: Translating a life in Spain by Michele Morano.

The first essay, Ca Beleño, describes the author's time in a Spanish class in Oviedo. Wow, I don't think I could have randomly picked a better book off the library shelves. Reading that essay was like reading the last year of my life.

And I never thought an essay on the subjunctive would captivate me! A great read, especially for those of you who have lived in Spain or taught English.
Today I met with a couple of extraordinary women. Though I feel constantly overwhelmed by my job at the Missourian, I have heard some of the most interesting stories. I love being a journalist because you get to spend your time learning about other people and hearing their stories.

Hopefully I will have this one in article form on the website soon.

As for now, I am trying to hold the pieces of my broken self together and remember that times heals all.

My friends and family have been absolutely incredible in my time of transition. I don't know what I would do without them. I live oceans or states away from a bunch of people dear to my heart. I am so thankful for the technology that minimizes those distances! And as much as I hate it for its coldness and darkness, my sótano bedroom with sketchy internet access couldn't be a better escape from the world when it overwhelms me. Especially when you throw in two parents and a brother who know when to leave me alone and when to take me out for lunch.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

new Missourian article

This morning I woke up super early to hang out w/ a DJ at KCOU/88.1FM in the basement of Pershing next door to my dorm from freshman year. I creeped on the DJ opening up the station and talked to him about his talk-show duties. The audio from that should be with my article today. Check it out!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Remembering Berlin

While in Berlin in July, Florian took me to this amazing café where we enjoyed a vegan buffet. The place was Café Morgenrot and it was incredible. Morgenrot to me sounds like morgue + rot. It means dawn.

My favorite was this cold lime & cilantro tofu. Here is the recipe, as best as I could recreate it. And I think it is more a lunch thing, no clue why they served it for breakfast.

Marinated Cilantro Lime Tofu

sliced tofu (1 8 oz package)
1/4 green bell pepper, finely chopped
some red onion, finely chopped (no more than the bell pepper)
lime juice (enough to cover at least one layer of sliced tofu, but remember, the more you put in, the stronger it will be)
a lot of cilantro, finely chopped
red pepper flakes, salt and pepper

Press the tofu to remove excess water
Marinate sliced tofu in this for about an hour
The tofu will have a very strong taste, pour most of the juice out and eat cold with rice.

Another reason I wish I was in Madrid:

Star Wars Exhibit! The traveling exhibit has a huge collection of props from the movie set including Queen Amidala's crazy outfits, the Darth Vader costume and Yoda! The exhibit is divided up by planet. Sweet.

I come from that family. The family that bought every single action figure. The family that has the deluxe edition DVDs. The family that doesn't recognize the prequels because we're such die-hard fans of the originals.

When George Lucas rerelease the original three films in theater, my dad took me to every midnight showing. I saw each of them multiple times. He let me stay up late again to go to the mall because they began selling the new action figures at midnight. Wow. What is it about those movies? When they first came out, they were unique-it was something new. But now, are we just nostalgic? I am nostalgic. But not for 1970s sci-fi. I grew up with Willow, Lady Hawk and Return of the Jedi. And that led to reading the young Jedi knights book series and learning way too much Star Wars trivia (It was originally entitled Revenge of the Jedi).

No wonder I wasn't one of the cool kids in middle school!

If you are in Madrid and you want to go:
Centro de exposiciones Arte Canal
metro: Plaza de Castilla
open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
more info

Friday, November 14, 2008


Earlier this year I read two articles about two women from completely different cultures who had one thing in common: they were the last remaining speakers of their native tongue. Marie Smith, a native of Alaska, was the last native speaker of Eyak before she died in January. Soma Devi Dura, a native of Nepal, is the only remaining speaker of Dura.

The stories of these women struck me. The process of globalization brings us so many good things. Kiwis in Missouri in November. The opportunity to understand humanity at a different level by experiencing other cultures. Travel. But what are the sacrifices?

Then, earlier this week, I read this article in the New York Times. It tells the story of a school in India that is preserving the native languages of the students.

I found it to be encouraging. Humans can be accidentally destructive and also purposefully constructive.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Spanish night

Tonight I spent the evening sharing stories with friends about Spain, Uruguay, Argentina and Germany. We traded Spanish music and listened to some Manu Chao & reggaeton. Ronaldo, from Buenos Aires, taught us how to make empanadas and Molly shared her maté with us.

It was a little slice of international heaven.

Matí and Pablo, my Argentine friends from Santa Fe, introduced me to maté while I was in Madrid. It is a very strong green tea with a whole culture behind it. I love the rituals behind this drink. You don't say thank you until you are finished, which may take awhile because it is meant to be shared with friends. You drink maté out of a gourd with a metal straw called a bombilla (bom-bisha). It is delicious and has a lot of téina (caffeine).

Molly added sugar to it, which I hadn't seen done before. Yum! Ronaldo told me that some people drink maté with cold orange juice instead of hot water in the summer.

The video is of my silly Czech friend Adam (wearing a Spanish fútbol jersey) teaching everyone how to drink Argentine tea in Aluche, Madrid. Unfortunately for most of you, it is in Spanish. But you may be able to get an idea of the drink by watching it.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Obama fans

El Pais just published a top ten list of Obama songs. I find that...strange. When did presidential fan videos become the norm? Is Obama just cooler than past candidates? Is this a product of my generation actually caring enough to vote?

I grew up with President Bush. I established my first opinions with him as my president. I don't know what another leader will look like.

Obama ran a campaign that spoke to my generation. He had a cool logo, catch phrases and used the internet to his advantage. What will presidential campaigning look like in four more years?

I am very interested to see what the next four years will look like. I think they will be groundbreaking for our whole country, but I think my generation will see things differently, after all, we can really only compare him to President Bush. All I really remember about President Clinton is Monica Lewinsky.


I was looking for a poem about goldfish and french horns that Lindsay and I talked about the other day when I stumbled across this. Billy Collins is one of my favorite poets and I think this poem will capture how I feel tomorrow morning. Happy Monday!

The Only Day In Existence-Billy Collins

The early sun is so pale and shadowy,
I could be looking up at a ghost
in the shape of a window,
a tall, rectangular spirit
looking down at me in bed,
about to demand that I avenge
the murder of my father.
But the morning light is only the first line
in the play of this day--
the only day in existence--
the opening chord of its long song,
or think of what is permeating
the thin bedroom curtains

as the beginning of a lecture
I will listen to until it is dark,
a curious student in a V-neck sweater,
angled into the wooden chair of his life,
ready with notebook and a chewed-up pencil,
quiet as a goldfish in winter,
serious as a compass at sea,
eager to absorb whatever lesson
this damp, overcast Tuesday
has to teach me,
here in the spacious classroom of the world
with its long walls of glass,
its heavy, low-hung ceiling.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Obama Reggaeton!!

This is incredible.


El Pais has an article today about SpY, a graffiti artist from Madrid. The author compares SpY to Banksy, the anonymous British street artist.

In the email interview SpY says he stays anonymous because for the same reason a magician doesn't reveal his methods-the audience would lose interest. He also argues that we all have graffiti artists within us-since we were little we've been drawing on bedroom walls instead of paper. He says the policemen don't give him a hard time, and that he even met a policemen who complemented him on his work.

The interview is entitled Madrid ya tiene a su Banksy, and while I agree that it is pretty cool that Madrid has a prolific street artist, I'm not sure we should compare him to Banksy just yet.

That said, SpY, like Banksy, has moved out of his neighborhood and did a project in Japan. He also did a project in braille. Here is some of his art, courtesy of his website:

The last one is in Madrid, just off of Sol near one of the original-language movie theaters & c/ Huertas, a neighborhood of jazz bars.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Anna and the X's

My friend Anna Fleischer has another CD out!

More on world reaction to Obama

My incredible French friend Vincent, who once for weeks on end made me watch a puppet parody of U.S. politicians singing a horrible little song ("We F**ked the World"), is elated about the Obama win. We studied together in Madrid and after hearing from him, I wish more than ever that I was with my ERASMUS friends from last year to share this moment. This truly is a a moment for the whole world to share.

Vincent's message:
Que contento soy ! De hecho, ahora, los estadosunidenses son as listos que los franceses :D Por seguro. Voy a exilarme en vuestro pais pienso :P

It says: How content I am! As a matter of fact, now, the Americans are as smart as the French :D For sure. I think I am going to exile myself to your country :P

The Vincent I know would NEVER admit Americans are intelligent! Haha.

Vincent, si estas leyendo esto, te echo de menos y estoy tan feliz como tú. No puedo esperar a ver como va a pasar nuestro futuro! Besos!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Also proud to be American

My dear friend Adeline commented today on the surge of proud Americans she found amidst her facebook friends. After Obama won last night, I changed my facebook status to 'proud to be American', mostly just to keep from being to 'ra-ra', as I am supposed to be an unbiased journalist this semester.

The first moment I realized I was proud to be American was while standing at the Obama rally last week when he came to campus. There was a volunteer handing out flags to the crowd, and I asked my friend, Hannah, to grab me one. I have never in my life wanted to hold an American flag. Not since I began developing my own opinions. I love the 4th of July as much as the next girl, but mostly just for the fireworks.

While at the rally, I stood next to people I don't usually hang out with. People of my parents generation. I stood behind a black woman and when Obama took the stage, I was in so excited to be seeing someone so important speak that I blurted out to her "I've never seen anything like this before!" She turned around to me and said something like, "That's because there's never been anything like this before."

This race has been impressive. I grew to respect both candidates so much. I, like so many Americans, was just thrilled that change was coming. Any change.

While I was in Spain, I constantly had to defend myself to people. I was thrilled when someone mistook me for German or Canadian because it meant I didn't have to explain my country to them. I always felt like I was on the defensive. When visiting my German boyfriend at the time's parents, I heard an almost audible sigh of relief when I expressed my discontent with President Bush. I was not proud to be American, and abroad, that was seen as a good thing.

After a year of seeing how deeply unimpressed outsiders are with American politics, a disappointment that resonates in my own mind, I came back to the States holding my breath for November.

I don't believe government can or should change everything, but at the very least, it will be nice to have regained the respect of many world citizens.


I don't want my whole blog to be about Omar Bin Laden, but just in case you want to an update, Spain does not heart Omar.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

a night to remember

Happy things:
-83% voter turnout in Boone County
-Scott throwing me in the air in victory
-My first time voting!
-Missouri: still a bellwether state?
-CNN's hologram
-I am proud to be an American

Happy New President!


aterrizar: to land, to touch down
aterrorizar: 1: to terrify 2: to terrorize

Another example of why spelling is important in any language. Omar Osama Bin Laden aterrizó ayer en el aeropuerto madrileño. He landed at the Barajas airport. He did not terrorize it.

Spain will decide soon whether or not he can stay.

BBC has what seems like a current picture of him. No more rastas.

To all the United-Statesians out there:


Monday, November 3, 2008

Omar: hippie black sheep of the Bin Laden family?

I just read an interesting article on one of Osama Bin Laden's 19 sons. According to Spain's El Pais, Omar Bin Laden, 28, arrived at Madrid's Barajas airport yesterday and asked for political asylum. He was en route from Cairo to Casablanca and had a layover in Madrid.

Sweet things I gleaned from this article:
-He is a self-proclaimed pacifist.
-He recently married a 52 year old British woman. It is her sixth marriage.
-He hasn't been in contact with his father since 2000.
-He likes horses. He met his wife while she was riding a horse and tried to organize a horse race in Africa to promote peace (also from the BBC article).

Check out the El Pais article to get a good look at his crazy rastas (dreadlocks).


I enjoyed blogging about my experiences living in Madrid last year, so I thought I would keep it up. I am also blogging at through the Columbia Missourian.