Thursday, December 13, 2007

Fancy shmancy

1. I bought a dress for the good-bye cocktail party (tomorrow night) yesterday. I bought it in an eccentric little shop with a sort of hippie aesthetic, and the owner had just gotten a tiny, tiny puppy. He was black and white and fat and smelled like a puppy and had razor-sharp teeth. I wanted to buy him, too, but I didn't. But I did play with him for a while. Today I cut out the underskirt of the dress to make straps...and it actually doesn't look bad.

2. I went to the pay-to-get-in part of the Alhambra for the first time today, after three and a half months of being in this city. I went alone, because everyone else had finals today, and it was not as exciting as I had hoped. It was sure pretty, but I could only remain engaged by making up stories in my head about the people who lived there a thousand years ago. It probably would have been more interesting with a guide. Also, my camera ran out of batteries the instant I got there, so I have no pictures. Fortunately, a million other people have taken way better pictures than I could. I'll try to put some of those up on my Picasa site soon.

3. I can't believe that tomorrow is my last full day in Granada. It's been a surprisingly comfortable experience, as well as new and exciting. I don't think I'll miss it too terribly, but I hope I come back some day.


Monday, December 10, 2007

I told a lot of lies today

I haven't really had any adventures recently, but I thought I'd write anyway (I'm procrastinating). I had my Arabic final this morning, which I think went reasonably well, but I told a lot of lies. Since our vocabulary is so limited, I had to describe the activities of me and my family in terribly, terribly inaccurate words. So my fictional dad works in a bank, and my mom is a first grade teacher. Sorry Jesse, you became Jessica because I didn't know how to pluralize the word "brother". Haha. Perhaps even more ridiculously, my fictional self studies African political science (???).

I was just reading in the NY Times a little bit about Barack Obama, and I got all optimistic and excited, which is probably a little silly. But he actually said our American "exceptionalism" shouldn't be based on military might or economic dominance! He said it! Maybe I haven't really been paying attention at all, but hey, that's just refreshing.

Right. I really have to go write this paper now. I now have less than a week in Spain. :(


Friday, December 7, 2007

Raptors are cool

Hey! I got a new charger in the mail today! I wanted to write about last weekend but I didn't have time. On Friday Callie and I went to the science center, which is directly adjacent to our house. There was a terrifyingly realistic moving raptor (dinosaur), a whole bunch of little activities to demonstrate physical phenomena, a butterfly house and, best of all, a raptor (bird) show! The men doing the bird show told us to stay still and had a hawk fly among us, to show how this particular species was agile in the forest. It was so cool to have it right in front of your face--Callie even got smacked by a wing! I'd like to go back there; we didn't even see the main exhibit, which is about poisonous reptiles, amphibians and insects (pretty sweet, right?).

On Saturday we took a bus out to the Alpujarras (mountain region near the sea) and stayed overnight at a sustainable farm. This Swiss-German family moved to this farm about six years ago. They grow olives for sale and a bunch of vegetables and fruits for their own consumption. They have never been on the electric grid and get all their power from sun and wind. They are tapped into a irrigation network that is more than a thousand years old (left over from the time of the Moors), and they produce one trash bag every month. Everything else is recycled. They are these nice hippie-types with these blond, blond children (two girls and a boy) who are so self-sufficient and responsible. It blew my mind, honestly. I have rarely felt so at peace in a place. There was no hum of power lines, no distant roar of cars, no light pollution, and it was warm as September in the Northwest. Their neighbor came over and taught us how to weave this native grass into baskets (legit baskets!), we collected acorns and shelled them and ground them and made them into pancakes, and I was totally uplifted by the evident possibility of living simply. They do it so happily, and I was happy there, too.

I've now had my last class, and finals start on Monday. I leave Spain in nine days. So soon!