Happy New Year! Sorry that it’s been a while. There’s a post about my winter break in my drafts, and another post I still owe you photos for (blame dropbox), and that will come… but for now, I don’t want to get too far behind, so let’s talk about the last few weeks. January was not a model month if my goals were related to anything that’s the opposite of being lazy, but it’s been positive in other ways. Plus, if you accept the rationalization that I just got all the bumming-around out of my system and the rest of 2016 will be all hustle, then it was a success all around.
Anyways, it’s been a really nice few weeks since I got back from traveling and break ended. At the school, I don’t know what switched, but I’ve been feeling a lot more confident and assertive which leads to better classes for me and the students. It’s probably just that I’m spending more time in front of the classroom, rather than off in a room working with a few students like they had me doing before. Or maybe it’s some of the less behaved classrooms firin’ me up, pushing me past whatever public speaking issues I have, and forcin’ me to concentrate more on the students, and their comprehension, enthusiasm, and ultimately participation (and their silence for the ones who simply are past the point of giving a f**k about school). I’ve got plenty to learn but It’s a really good feeling to be able to notice progress, and definitely motivating to keep at it.
Also this has been a good few weeks at school in regards to gifts :p. A student brought me a keychain from her family vacation to the Philippines — I didn’t expect her at all to think of me and bring me a souvenir so it was incredibly sweet. Makes me feel like an asshole for coming back from 3 weeks of traveling with not a single souvenir (to be fair, all I had a overstuffed backpack, and I didn’t even get anything for maself). I was also given a page ripped out of a magazine (leftovers from some art project their working on) with a kitty on one side and a puppy on the other… new addition for the fridge! And there must’ve been a birthday everyday last week, because I’ve been eating a lot of cookies. In the US we bring cupcakes or donuts for our birthdays, here, those variety boxes of fancier cookies seem to be the #1 pick.
The past few weeks I’ve also made a few more friends which is always nice. For a while there, I wasn’t as excited or motivated to go out and meet someone new. It’s something I’ve experienced before, kind of a depletion of social mojo after the initial period of arriving, knowing no one, and consequently trying to meet everyone possible. Of course I still socialized with current friends, but would sometimes hesitate on attending on events where I don’t know anyone or joining a sport/club/class, the usual flood of excitement wasn't there. It’s a weird, foreign feeling! Meeting new people is usually my #1 motivation for doing anything, so it’s nice to have my mojo back.
Speaking of new things - this week I joined the dark side… I tried Crossfit. I went to one class on Monday and have been walking in pain all week. It’s Friday and I’m still sore. Overall I enjoyed the class, despite bailing 3/4 ways through to stand outside and deep breath my desire to vomit away (it worked!). I’m still not sure I understand cross fit, is it just doing circuit workouts together as a group? It reminded me of the workouts we would do with the trainers when I did sports in high school. FYI I played tennis all four years, played soccer fr. and soph. year, quit because I was not very good and not dedicated enough to play year round to fix that, and instead switched to running cross country for junior and part of senior year. Anyways, I didn’t know what to expect with Crossfit really, I still don’t quite get it, but it was fun and I’ll definitely try a few more classes next week. Also everyone was friendly 😃
One thing I have not been so lazy about this month… is cooking! Probably because eating goes hand-in-hand with laziness. I’ve still a long way to go, and an online class to finish*, but I’m getting more confident and trying more things. Also either my roommate’s taste buds are easily pleased, or I’m getting better too. At first I thought he’s just being nice to encourage me, but he’s been talking up my skillz to our friends so it must be true. This week I’ve made Salmon (simple, baked with lemon/oil/spices), Spaghetti Alfredo with Shrimp (Why Spaghetti? besides it being yummy, it’s because there wasn’t Fettuccine to be found at the store), Greek Salad (easy and delicioussss), Chicken Wings (these were sold raw but pre-spiced, is that cheating?), Tortilla (this one isn’t new, but experimenting with adding things like tuna) and more. One dish from last week that sticks out is Empanada de Atún that I myself will agree was pretty darn good, and equal or better to the ones I usually buy as my go-to mid-day quick snack at the bakery. It’s not the same ol lil pouch empanadas we are used to seeing in the US, though in the same wheelhouse. Peep some photos and the recipe I used here. I’ve also been practicing making Aladi, one of my favorite foods that my grandma makes (and she of course rent the recipe). My first week back I cooked Calamari for the first time, it was so easy and quick to cook! Cleaning it took more time than cooking :p. I just tried a simple lemon-y seared recipe, but look forward to getting a little more ambitious with the flavoring. Also took up Max’s advice to start playing around more with the cans of pre-cooked shellfish/seafood that are cheap and readily available and a easy way to spice up rice or pasta. So far my go-to is mussels.
Sorry I don’t have many anecdotes or specific stories from the past couple weeks, but I will tell you about today’s invigorating bike ride. It was the first one of 2016 and one of my favorite so far. Max’s mother visited during the holidays, and during a day in Sant Lluís, a city in the [N-S] center of Menorca just south of Mahón, and the surrounding areas, he spotted some bike paths he wanted to come back and explore. Good f**cking call Max! The trails he had in mind cut through farms, and eventually lead to the south shore. There was one trail that led to Binibeca, and another to Punta Prima. When I went long boarding in December, we boarded the coastal road in between those two… so Max and I decided to take the path down to Punta Prima, ride the coast to Binibeca, and come back up from there. Apparently in total we biked 22km (13miles).
Usually I gush about the [primarily coastal] landscape, but this time my highlight of the trip was all the friends we saw and made, especially the pigs. We came across: horses, cows, sheep, cats, dogs, hens/roosters, pigs, and mules (or donkeys?). Rats too, if you count roadkill. The sheep were by far the least friendly - there was a sizable field of them grazing, at least 30, and when I came up to the fence they all got startled and escaped to another field where the fence was higher and they couldn’t be seen. The pigs on the other hand, were the shit. and of course running around in a bunch of their own shit. They had light brown hair with black spots and were sooo cute. There were three of them, sniffing around, eating and pooping, occasionally fighting… occasionally, until after 10minutes of watching them, Max threw a rock to (not at) them and they were pretty interested in it, picking it up and walking around a bit... and then I remembered I had an apple in my bag. When the apple entered the game, things got exciting. One of the piggies got ahold of the apple, and from the other the other two ran in circles chasing him, occasionally halting to pretend like they were no longer interested while he snuck in a bite, and then starting the chase again. It was hilarious because although they would catch the first pig, they don’t really have the appendages made for knocking something out, or grabbing a hold, so the best they could hope for is that he/she dropped the apple (which was NOT happening). After 10min or so of this, the apple was finally devoured by the first pig and they resumed their sniffing around of the ground for any other signs of food. Did you ever notice how pigs feet look as if they are wearing high heels? Yea me neither… We also came upon a trotting stadium (or whatever it's called) where apparently they hold races every sunday. We;ll be back with money soon ;)
*edit: okay so here's an update: the two humping animals pictured below are most most likely donkeys. and they aren't actually having sex don't worry. We watched them for five min or so, concluding he's probably fixed but doesn't quite know it*
What else? What else? I might have mentioned that on behalf of Ded Moroz, along with some of my Chanukah Geld, I bought a ticket for the Primavera Sound Music Festival which will be June 2-4 in Barcelona. Well, a few weeks ago I got my “Primavera Pack” in the mail, which is basically just some swag for buying a ticket early… and last week the lineup was announced! I’m stoked!!! Tame Impala is the band I’m most excited about seeing… but LCD Soundsystem, Radiohead, Action Bronson (who I’ve seen before and is as energetic as he is big and high), and so many more. Also a ton of artists I don’t know, but I’ve been checking them out on Spotify and only getting more excited. Lineup and unboxing pics below:
If you saw anyone (especially of the smaller size font bands) that you recommend, let me know!
Oh yea, and I bought a guitar! Been contemplating it for a few months, hoping to find a used one, and finally gave in and bought a new one. Lessons start next week! I got it last week and had my first ever jam session with Facundo (my roommate) on percussion (i’ll have to get back to you on the type of drum he has, it sounds great though) and Max on Hermonica (he’s really good). I can’t say I contributed much, but they were both patient and encouraging… and apt enough to just play around whatever my muscle memory happens to remember from my lessons in high school.
In other fun news, I broke my phone this evening. Speakerphone + balancing act = facedown on sidewalk. The glass was already cracked so this time the shock musta messed with its insides, good ol' Otterbox couldn't save it. I'll go to a 2nd hand shop tomorrow and hopefully that can just swap out my lcd and i'll be back in business.
Stupid internet video lovers! I came across a Spanish social media personality who does those reaction-type “when X does X” video meme things. A lot of em are kinda corny (or maybe just a different cultures sense of humor :p) but I find it a great way to practice/test my Spanish and learn more colloquial / modern words.
Also, my roommate sent me this Argentinian commercial for Fernet. If you don’t know, Fernet is perhaps my favorite alcohol (at the moment at least). It’s also the most popular spirit in Argentina, where my roommate is from, so we’ve bonded over the fact (and a few glasses) of the drink. Anyways, this commercial is pretty funny but not PC. I don’t know if it actually aired in Argentina, but in the US their would be a national outcry 3seconds into its airing. The commercial starts with one of the guys reading a fact about how about 10%, or 1 in 10, Argentinian men are gay. From there you don’t need a translator to understand:
The rest of their commercials ("Fernet Cinzano") and Fernet Branca's commercials are worth looking up on youtube if you're up for a non-pc laugh.
Also, not Spain related, but I came across this video from my high school on Facebook. Makes me proud to have gone there. For those that don’t know, I was a part of as many extracurriculars during HS as humanly possible. Sports teams, yearbook, art club, Filipino club, school board, Dance Marathon, peer tutoring, the occasional detention for too many tardies, the list goes on. I was in school more hours than out. I don’t doubt that my experience, and the opportunities provided at Niles North High School are a big part of the reason I am who I am today (and part of who I will come to be).
Want to hear about my winter break? Too bad. That post is still sitting in draft mode. Want to see those pics from my last blog post that I promised? That one I could actually blame on someone else: Dropbox and the 3 days of uploading it took to free up space on my computer (which amounted to a week considering I couldn’t just keep my laptop open/inactive for 72 hours). I’ll get the photos up, and I’ll finish my post on winter break and get that up… eventually, but for now I’m fresh off a wonderful bike ride, the endorphins are pumping, and I figured I’d give ya a quick update one the past week or two.
Alrighty, that's all I've got for today. Talk to you soon ("soon").
p.s. I’ve been hesitant to say anything until the wheels are in motion, but I’ve got some exciting news! I’m going to be revitalizing Project Fixup! PF is the first startup I interned for, in the summer of 2013, and at the time it was going through the Techstars program too. I am so grateful for that experience, 'twas the best introduction to entrepreneurship one could get. As of late fall of last year, it’s been put on hold, as the founder Sarah focused on her new role at Sprig… but she didn’t want to see her baby just disappear... so I’ll be taking the reins! I’m going to jump into this full-speed for a month or two and then we’ll reassess, but I hope to accomplish a lot so that all that's said at that meeting is "let's keep going!" More on this in the future, but I wanted to bring it up because I’d love to chat with any single readers out there and get some general feedback. Especially gentlemen! You’ll be surprised to hear (at least I was) that there’s consistently been more female users than male, so guys are in need! Still trying to figure out how to make an advertisement out of that which doesn’t look/sound like a banner ad on an adult website. As I was saying, please leave a comment or reach out if you’re down to chat for 15-20.
p.p.s. You may have noticed the numbers reset in the title. I lost count. Blame all these half-finished blog posts that aren't published - my bad, that is. New Year, New Weeks!