Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Spain with a Hangover...ouch!


Hello global economic crisis!

Segovia, Coto y más....

Hola todos! Well to say the least it has been a very interesting past two weeks. So interesting in fact that I haven't had any time to write! So where to begin...two weekends ago Amanda and I set off on another adventure to Segovia, but this aventura proved to be by far the most hectic we have taken. Now what should have been a fantastic 2 days in La Granja (a town outside Segovia) for our friend Elena's birthday turned out to be my first tried and true experience with the Spanish health care system. So in true I-am-obviously-incapable-of-taking-care-of-myself form we left for Segovia on Friday night, with me blatantly ignoring the fact that my throat was KILLING me for some reason. Turns out on Saturday morning the ibuprofen that I had taken hadnt touched the pain at all and now my throat was so inflamed that it has swollen shut. Poor Amanda had to call 112 (spain's version of 911) and try and explain to the operator what the hell was wrong with me. I think between all the panting gasping and 'No puede respirar' she yelled they got the point. Anyway, the ambulance showed up in about 10 minutes and I was promptly placed inside, stuck with all kinds of thermometers, pulse monitors etc etc. Of course in all my non-breathing glory I manage to amuse Spanish people, since I readily took the thermometer and put it in my mouth and instead of them continuing to check me out I received about a 4 second period of blank stares then uproarious laughter, not because I was practically dying but because apparently in Spain you put the thermometer in your armpit not mouth. Go figure.

Once it was determined that I wasn't about to go into cardiac arrest I was lucky enough to recieve a WHOPPER of a cortisone shot in my left butt cheek that I think hurt more than anything. After this I was transported to a Centro de Salud where I was told to walk in circles (to make the coritsone absorb faster) and given some medication. I also had to remind the nurses about 15 times that I was allergic to Penicillin. Anywho, they say 'take this, wait an hour you should be better'. An hour passes. My throat is worse, so off I go again in another ambulance to the hospital! Get to the hospital, wait for about 4 hours, the doctor sees me, I mention to him that the nurses in the clinic had thought I may need an IV drop of coritsone, I promptly get YELLED AT PROFUSELY for even DARING to tell the DOCTOR what to do ( THE NERVE!), get blood taken, leave the office on the verge of tears (still unable to swallow due to the pain), wait another hour, get taken back into the doctors office and told that there isnt anything more that they can do for me and I should just do what they told me to do in the clinic and send me on my merry way.

The rest of the night was pretty much a blur since I was pretty wiped out from the days adventures and on Sunday we returned to Madrid. I spent all day Monday and Tuesday in bed (more from mental exhaustion than my throat) and managed to get myself back on track by Wednesday.


This weekend, Amanda and I (in GOOD health this time!) set off with our Brazilians to Coto! We left on Sunday morning and took the cercanias to Cercedilla and from there to Coto. WHAT A BEAUTIFUL TRIP! It really bums me out sometimes that I dont live in the pueblos outside Madrid because they are fracking precious! The train from Cercedilla to Coto looks like the train from CandyLand and despite the fact that it stalled at one point ('Hay que empujarlo! We gotta push it!) we arrived in one piece. About 5 minutes into the train ride up the mountain we started to see snow and when we arrived in Coto it was covering the tracks! It was FANTASTIC! Just imagine me in true Florida form freaking out about snow, hollering in English with about 12 Brazilian people all looking at me like I am crazy, it was pretty great. We walked towards the center of the pueblo, found a nice piece of grass and enjoyed our farofa that Junior had cooked us! Farofa is apparently a chicken dish, but in acutality it is fried chicken thrown into a tupperware of bread crumbs, with hard boiled egg, corn, olives and other things. It was damn delicious, so hooray to Brazlian food! Anyway we went hiking (aka walking on the side of the higway) for about 2 hours then made the long trek back to Madrid. All in all it was a lovely time and I am so glad that we went!

This weekend, we are taking it easy, staying in Madrid and enjoying the city! Events planned are : tonight! Spain v. Chile soccer match, tomorrow Bar La Frontera (country music!) in Villalba, Friday Prado Museum and Saturday picnic in Retiro...needless to say I think I am doing just fine here!

Sorry to write so much at once! I send everyone my loveeeeee and hope this post finds you all well! Until next time....


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Uy uy uy uy uy!!

Hello all! Once again I find myself apologizing for being so infrequent with my postings, but what the say is true, "If you think New York is the city that never sleeps, you've never been to Madrid." I have been going non-stop since I last wrote!

So first off, HALLOWEEN was a BIG success in school here. Everyone got dressed up from the teachers to the 3 year old kids. It was pretty interesting since the concept of Halloween here, albeit a Anglican holiday, has become quite the phenomenon here. What is lacking though is the ability to grasp the idea that Halloween doesnt have to be all about scary costumes. In Spain the more terrifying costume you have the better, in reality its almost a truer interpretation of the roots of the holiday than it is in the states. There are no 11 year old girls walking around in belly-dancer costumes or french maid outfits instead you get the Queen of the Vampires (with blood!) or the Princess Demon, all of which were pretty damn scary! The boys usually stick to ghosts/dead things/masks and anything else they can find that will scary the pants off the girls. Upstairs on the 3rd floor we made a Haunted House. It was pitch black, with scary music, spaghetti brains, eyeball grapes etc. The kids loved it! Some weren't that scared and would pass by me and shout out 'I KNOW WHO YOU ARE!' hahah it was funny. Some of the kids though were scared shitless (one kid peed his pants and another girl in 6th grade cried) so I would say all in all it was a success! As one of the other teachers, Alicia, said, 'This is the only time of the year we have to get back at them for all the shit they put us through the other 270 days'. How true that was.

Aside from the festivities in school, I was able to spend my All Hallows Eve in the campo with my friends Carlos and Amanda! AVENTURA! Let me explain.....So my dear pivón Carlos knows another Carlos who has a few 'houses' throughout Spain. Said Carlos happens to have a place in Alcocér, a pueblo about 1.5 hours from Madrid. So Carlos (DC) and Amanda and I set off on our merry way to find this town. About 2.5 hours later we arrived in the town to be greeted by 1 street, a church, a pharmacy (that was someones house) and 1 bar. Now I've been to some pretty small places before but BEJEEESUS there was NOTHING in this town, they didnt even have an ATM. Upon arrival we sit down at the bar to have a few beers and wait for the rest of the group to arrive. About 1.5 hours later eveyrone arrives and we proceed to the house. Ok first of all, this was not a house it was a CASTLE (kinda, close enough really). It has about 10 bedrooms, 4 salons, 2 kitchens, a basement, 2 patios and much more. So needless to say Amanda and I were a little flabbergasted. Although this sounds SUPER cool (which it was) it also should be noted that this house is not lived in, the caretaker died in it, and since there were no streetlights in the pueblo it was pitch black. Talk about the perfect place to scare someone shitless! And yes, Amanda got me good, took about 15 years off my life and also made me cry. (I WILL get you back woman, you just wait). We spent the night in the castle and went for a hike the next morning, the campo was beautiful (we were in Castilla y La Mancha) and the air fresh.

On Saturday night, Amanda and I went out with Leti and Ricky, danced our butts off til about 6am and then dragged ourselves home. On Sunday we went to my friend Fanderson's house to watch the Formula 1 champion race. Fanderson is Brazilian and so he and all his Brazilian friends were quite stirred up over the standing between Massa (BR) and Hamilton (ENG). In the end, Massa lost, Amanda and I pretended we knew what was going on and ate alot of delicious homemade lasagna.

This week should prove to be busy as always, and hopefully this weekend I will either be going to Segovia or to Toledo depending on what my finances look like! I hope you are all doing well and wanted to thank everyone who voted yesterday! No matter who you voted for the only thing that matters is that BUSH WONT BE PRESIDENT FOR MUCH LONGER. HALLELUJAH!!
Looking forward to a new chapter in our country under President Barack Obama (feels great to type that!) and to regaining our image as intelligent people here in Europe! Its a new era people, get excited!

Much love as always,