Monday, November 14, 2011

I'm Famous!!

    As some of you may, or may not, have known, one of my private lessons wrote and published a book in English about wine. Last year he was working on the book and I helped him to correct and edit it. We spent several weeks of lessons going over corrections and thinking of better ways of translating certain sentences. After all his hard work the book was finally published about a month ago (and I got my very own signed copy, oh la la). Several newspapers interviewed him about his book and this is one of those interviews. And the best part is that I am mentioned in it! For those of you who can read Spanish, read on, but for those who can't, the article is all about his book and the unusual format of English/Spanish. It also talks about the contents of the book such as: how is wine made, qualifications of wine, weather, different types of grapes etc. And in the 6th paragraph my name is mentioned for helping him translate the book! The author of the article forgot to put my last name, but hey I know it's me so I'm happy! So enjoy! And now you can tell everyone that you know someone "famous" haha.

Talking About Wine: Rioja

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

It's Everywhere!

   Have you ever realized that once someone points something out to you, you seem to notice said thing everywhere? Well that has definitely happened to me the past couple of weeks as a couple of things have been pointed out to me and now I can't go anywhere in Logrono without noticing them!

  Firstly, someone mentioned something about the old men (or men in general) loving machinery and construction. Bam! Right after that was said to me, I was walking to one of my private lessons across the train tracks and saw a long line of old men just staring at the big cranes and construction! I thought maybe it was a fluke but they were still there when I walked past an hour later, and still there two days later, and a week later, etc. I find it funny that not only had I not noticed it until someone told me, but that it literally is 'the thing to do' for these men. They gather, and talk, and stare, and just have a grand old time watching the construction. Now if only them staring would make the men work faster and we would therefore have a nice, new train station pronto (instead of the old, bombed out looking one we currently have).

  Secondly, people from different countries use different hand gestures or sounds to say different things. It is no different in Spain. Yet again someone mentioned to me the unusual way many Spaniards say no to something. Instead of just simply saying no or shaking their head, they add in a 'tsk, tsk' sound (which I can't accurately portray here but if you have heard it you know exactly what I am talking about). Again I had never really paid attention to it or took notice of how they said no here, but once my attention was caught, I now hear it everywhere. My 8 year old private lesson student did it in class today when I asked him if there was a shower in his bedroom, my students constantly do it in class if something isn't correct, even my teachers will use it if a student says an incorrect answer. I hear it so much that I have even caught myself doing it a couple of times and have had to stop myself. Although I am considering picking it up to be more Spanish haha.

   It's little things like that that I find myself suddenly noticing, even though I have lived in Logrono for a year and have lived in Spain four separate times.

Madrid: City of Modern Art and Jamon

     First off I apologize to any avid reader of my blog (if I have any haha) for not posting in a while. I have been quite busy with lessons and class, so I will do a mass update/blog posts to make everyone happy. The end of October/beginning of November is a holiday here in Spain; what's called a puente (bridge). Since Spain is a Catholic country we get all Soul's Day off which is November 1st. And since the Spaniards love to party or have any excuse to have a day off work, they have 'created' this fabulous 'invention' called puente. They bridge the days off so instead of having to go to work on Monday and then having Tuesday off, they just give you Monday off as well... brilliant? I think yes!

   So since we had a 5 day weekend at the end of October, Cait and I went down to Madrid for a couple of days. We met up with some childhood friends of Cait who came in from Italy and the U.S. for a week to visit. It was definitely a wonderful visit and a much needed change of scenery, as we hadn't left Logrono since we arrived. We got in on Sunday and met up with said friends and walked around. We walked to the Palacio Real, but didn't go in (one palace is enough to see right??) since it was almost closing time. We did walk into the cathedral near the palace, which I have been told by several Spaniards is 'the ugliest cathedral in Spain'. I wouldn't call it ugly, but it certainly wasn't as breathtaking as the cathedral say in Sevilla. After walking around the city for most of the afternoon we were pretty exhausted so stopped for something to eat at Museo del Jamon. Now for a little 'Katie's a blonde' moment. I had been told by several people that I HAD to go see the Museo del Jamon and so was talking to Cait and Diane about what to do in Madrid. I mentioned that I wanted to go here right after Cait said she wanted to go to the Museo de Reina Sofia. Now mind you, the Museo del Jamon (unbeknownst to me) is not a museum at all. It is in fact a chain of restaurants. So I thought I was being all artsy and academic by suggesting we go to the Museo del Jamon, when really all I was getting at was that I wanted to eat large quantities of Jamon.

   And that is just what we did! While Museo del Jamon is not a real museum in the normal sense, it is a wonderful mecca of jamon! They serve everything with jamon, so we of course ordered two plates full of jamon and queso and chorizo and pan! After stuffing our faces, we left as happy campers. The next day we did indeed go to a real museum, the Reina Sofia. Guernica by Pablo Picasso is housed here and that was essentially all I really wanted to see. I am not a huge modern art fan, but do love museums and art and being a nerd in general, so the hour plus wait in line was worth it. That night was Halloween, but since this is not a special holiday in Spain we did not end up dressing up. There were people dressed up, but only as zombies or vampires or ghosts. Spaniards think that Halloween is only for dressing up as something scary or frightening, and use Carnival for dressing up however you please! We tried to go to a concert by El Guincho (if you haven't listened to him I highly suggest it... he's amazing!), but by the time we got there they weren't letting any more people in the door... bummer.

  The next morning Cait and I made one more stop before we hopped back on the bus up to Logrono... Starbucks! Yes that's right, we were extremely American and had to stop at Starbucks. But let me tell you that Chai Tea Latte was heaven and just what I needed and tasted like fall... ahhhh! It was a great trip, but it was definitely good to be back home where it wasn't so crowded or big or overwhelming (in my opinion). Madrid is a wonderful city and one I definitely want to go back to!

Palacio Real 
The 'ugliest' cathedral in Spain

Reina Sofia