Wednesday, November 23, 2011

happy thanksgiving

T'was Thanksgiving eve
And here in Madrid
A girl sat in her kitchen
And stared into her fridge

She worried and fretted
Grimaced and sighed
Chugged OJ from the bottle
Sat down and cried

She reasoned and rathered
But no conclusion came
There was no other option
Than give into her shame

And in that weak moment
The great deed was done
She gobbled it down
And the chocolate was gone

T'was a whole bar
Family size, to be sure
It's a damnable craving
Only such lengths can cure

She roamed out to the street
Doubled over with ache
The pleasurable pain
She just could not shake

Drunk with her folly
Silly with crime
She welcomed this holiday
For the 24th time.

Friday, November 11, 2011


The other day a one-man english theatre show came to our school and put on several age-appropriate performances for the students. The guy was from England and coincidentally dances in Bollywood class with me. The world just gets smaller and smaller with each passing day.

Anyway, being a one-man-troupe, his performances consisted of heavy participation from the audience, with occasional volunteers who joined him on stage. He would shake their hand, ask their names, and then continue to dress them up and provide them with a one-liner and body language of some sort that would leave the rest of the children rolling on the floor laughing.

In one particular performance, he played an crazy explorer in Egypt who had drunk too much camel pee. His two volunteers were first a boy who would play Mohammad the tour guide and second a girl who would play a dancing mummy. After quite a bit of laughs (and confusion on stage), the story had clearly come to an end and the actor asked for a round of applause for his flustered but smiling volunteers. Being quite nervous, they were quick to jump back into the crowd, both accidentally giving their backs to his outstretched hand for a handshake.

In fact, all but one volunteer missed the cue. And of course, these are children we speak of: we cannot blame them for this social faux pas. Nonetheless, every teacher in the room anxiously yelled out half a syllable upon witnessing the event, and for a brief second, tension was high amongst us.

As we say with high-fives ("don't leave me hanging!"), there is nothing worse than a lone, outstretched hand, waiting for the grasp of another. I spent all day thinking about how I'd be okay never seeing a back turned on an amiable handshake again, regardless of age or culture...

But my days at school are filled with non-stop action and each moment could mean the wildest occurrence, from a kid projectile vomiting across his table to a three year old bellowing out something in english that I didn't even intend to teach him ("oh my god!" for example). I quickly forgot about the happenings of the theatre and my reflections on it.

Until today.

It's Friday and I worship Fridays. I've even taken to teaching my Friday students that one line from the song "Friday is my favorite day". In case you don't remember it, it goes like this:

Monday is a bummer,
Tuesday's getting better,
Wednesday is fair,
And Thursday's almost there.
But Friday, Friday, Friday is my favorite day.

They really love that last line, probably because it's super catchy, but I like to think it's because they agree with me. Fridays are holy, and I spend all morning day-dreaming about what I will do at 5 o'clock.

Sometimes I get so caught up with the details that I think about what I will do at 4:50, because being Friday, and this being Spain or something, it's an unwritten law that school gets out anywhere from 10-15 minutes early on this last afternoon of the week.

Today, I was in particular thinking about how I wanted to buy the newspaper, because I like Friday editions and also it's a special day, 11.11.11, and for whatever reason this is important to have written documentation of. Upon making this purchase, I would head to my balcony (where I sit now) and enjoy a nice warm tea. It's a beautiful, crisp autumn day:

But then, for whatever reason, I got to thinking about my departure from school only 15 minutes prior. The look on my boss's face when I sped out of there 10 minutes early, once most of the children from my class had been sent off with their parents at the front door. I had to squeeze through the crowd, and as I waved and wished a good weekend, she looked up at me with a sweaty brow and said in slightly confused tone (which I read as "Off so soon?") "Thank you."

I don't want to give the wrong idea, like my awesome boss is dying to hang out with me or something. But I will note that she often reminds me of their Friday afternoons at the corner bar, after a long week some of the teachers get together and end up downing several large beers...

And this is Spain, this is a school I work in, individualism is not part of the game. The principal of my school, God bless her, is probably one of the most wonderful people in the world, and goes to great lengths to make me feel welcome, as if I had just arrived in this country.

Anyway, I am clearly grateful, but I have never taken her up on the Friday afternoon offer, and I'm not really sure why. I guess I should blame it on my desire to be alone after work, which is totally understandable I suppose...

But nonetheless, I couldn't enjoy my afternoon plan today, thinking about how it didn't even occur to me to stay the extra ten minutes to at least chat for a minute with my co-workers. We had been so busy with the crazy atmosphere of the end of the week, that we didn't get the chance...

I am naturally a bit individualistic, even introverted at times, and I try to constantly remind myself to "cross the bridge", especially in a place where the bridges can be just a tad longer and wider.

But I just can't get it out of my head: why must I constantly turn my back to outstretched hands?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

happy halloween from bcn

Spent a long Halloween weekend in Barcelona with Jenna. Back to work for just a three day week...can't complain.