Thursday, March 10, 2011

things i am loving

let's talk about some things that i'm loving right now...

1) spanish teenagers' conversations
    For those of you that don't know, i've been doing about 5-7 hours of tutoring a week here in valencia, ages 9-16 (and every age in between) SO that means i get to hear a lot of kids talking. kids talking to me, kids talking to their parents, kids talking to each other. the last type is the type i like best though. i love it. it's literally like im a fly listening in on a convo in another world. i know that sounds really obvious because duh, they're not speaking english, but everything about their interactions is different... and it's hilarious. for example spanish people are much more blunt than americans. they don't worry about being overly polite with their please's, thank you's, and i'm sorry's. they just say "pass the bread." "you took my woman." etc. so the same thing goes when spanish kids talk to each other. they're really blunt. what you see is what you get and what you say is what you mean. sometimes when the guys want to make comments about what im saying, they'll whisper really low & fast to each other cuz they think i cant understand them. i chuckle a devilish laugh in my head because i can understand every word! also, the spanish teenage boys looove having girlfriends. i think its because they don't realize american boys "can have their cake & eat it too" --which is quite sad/pathetic. (so let's not tell them and corrupt them though). they also call each other tio and hombre (which literally translates to "uncle" and "man") but they call girls that too. it's kinda like saying dude. except they use it every third word. so a little excessively. it's really cute. one day ill get a pic with them and put it on here

2) fallas/churrería's
    Go to google images right now and type in "Fallas." Pretty neat, huh? those things look like they belong in an alice & wonderland world, with all their exaggerated features & weird-looking shapes. I would describe Fallas as a rough mix between Mardi Gras/New Year's Eve/Macy's Day Parade. It's basically this week-long festival in (and only in!) Valencia that happens every year (march 15-20). For four days they have parties in the streets, music, pretty lights, fireworks, little girls in funny-looking costumes called falleras, those float thingies called fallas (they literally work on these things from the day Fallas ends to the day it starts the following year) and then on the last day they light them all on fire. FIRE! these fallas things are allllll over the city so basically on the last day it looks like the entire city is up in flames. There's no school & pretty much anything goes during this week. "Petardos" (think firecrackers) are legal even though they are illegal everywhere/anytime else. Drinking in the streets is rampant. a city of normally around 800,000 people turns into a city of 3 million. there's kids flyin everywhere with those petardo thingies. it's pretty much debauchery but everyone says its the best week in valencia. but let me tell you why it's really the best week. besides all this really cool traditional stuff with the dresses & the outfits & the music, they also have a tradition of putting churro stands on the corner of the streets. literally every street, just casually baking up millions of churros & chocolate for people to snack on while they're partying all over the place. let me just tell you- the city smells like a giant bakery. like im living in a baker's oven. and it's torture! torture i tell you because i can't stop at every street and get a churro (trust me, i want to but i need to fit into my jeans still). bottom line: the smells here are amazinggggggg. i die.

3) food blogs
    this is rather a new obsession of mine that i've picked up on since i came here and realized i can't just go into the kitchen and make what i wanna make, when i wanna make it. it kinda feels like food jail. (hence when me and sarah had to SNEAK into the kitchen & then later got caught.....and punished....). anyways, so first i started with this blog. This lady Joy knows what she's talkin about. she makes a good mix of sweet & savory recipes that are all pretty easy and then even some really cool ones like homemade almond milk! also she makes eggnog pancakes so i mean, c'mon, how could i not be intrigued?! her blog led me to this blog which is currently my favorite baking blog because the things Jess makes, makes me drool over my keyboard. then that led me to this one and this one and this one and most importantly this one. Do you see my dilemma here? before i knew it, it was 2 in the morning the night before my exam and i was still bookmarking recipes. this is actually a little embarrassing to share now that im typing it out but you get the picture. this also leads me to my next thing i love...

4) MY CARE PACKAGE!!!!! :)
    So a couple weeks ago, amidst my 15+ blog repetoire, i came across this little recipe and my mouth dropped. anybody who knows me knows chocolate chip cookies are my ultimate, absolute, for better or for worse weakness. like i cannot i repeat cannot help myself when im around them. ive never heard of this bakery in nyc but fat, cakey choco chip cookies are my absolute favorite (even though the flat ones will do also). so naturally, i desperately emailed the recipe to my kind, huge-hearted sister Christina. Guess what came in the mail today?
DO I NOT HAVE THE SWEETEST SISTER IN THE WORLD OR WHAT?! she literally read my mind and put together this cookbook of all these amazing, old, secret, family recipes that is the PERFECT start to all the cooking/baking/creating i am going to be doing this summer (i've been inspired to turn this into a food blog when i return to america). and dulce de leche girl scout cookies?!?!? i died and went to heaven. needless to say i remembered to snap this shot after i shoveled 5 cookies into my mouth. did i mention she also put these in the care package too??! are you jealous yet?? don't worry i'll make you some too this summer. or better yet- you go make them! right now! you have freedom to walk into the kitchen (unlike me) so go do it! and send me a pic :)

last but certainly not least.....

5) Granada!
    You may or may not have seen my status this weekend BUT we went to Granada last weekend! since time is limited and we wanted to make the most of it, we decided to catch an overnight bus on Thursday night that arrived in Granada at 8am Friday morning. when we got there, the skies were grey (gray?). like really grey. and rainy. and cold. ick. BUT we had pre-purchased tickets to the alhambra that day so we were determined to still go. granada's a much smaller city compared to valencia so the gals and i wanted to walk everywhere and instead of catching the bus to the alhambra (that is uphill...) we thought itd be a great idea to walk. well besides being rainy & cold it was a great idea. but right before we scaled the mountain we decided to stop in a little cafe for a round of beers and BS (the cardgame). we trekked up to the top and after wandering around the whole thing finally found the entrance & went in. pretty neat place. it's amazing that people could build things like that hundreds of years ago!! so anyways, later we go back to the hostel, shower/change, & meet up w/ one of anna's friends who is studying abroad in Valencia. She took us to this amazingg tapas restaurant called D'Cuadros where you order a drink and a huuge plate of tapas comes out. FOR FREE. we ended up getting 3 bottles of wine, 6 plates of food, and only paid 7 euros each. amazing. then we hit the town for a couple hours until eventually heading back to our hostel where sarah broke the bed. (dont ask).
The next day we woke up and sun was brilliantly shining! we were soo excited that we insisted on going back up to the alhambra to retake our nasty pictures from before and walk around the city some more. it was a great idea. on the way down we stopped for lunch and i had my very first donor kebap. the owner was soo nice & it was so fun chatting with him about granada. after showering/changing back at the hostel, we headed out for dinner, and stopped in a restaurant that was recommended by someone we asked on the street. then we had to leave because every dish was over 20 euros (we forgot to look at the menu before). then we went into another place...not good food. then we went into another place...really crowded. after 6 failed attempts at finding restaurants, we threw the towel in & just went into a crepe place at midnight. it was pretty good & we shut the place down. typical us.
ridin solooo in this shot
sarah & jean had decided that they were going to go skiing on Sunday & since the cold and me are basically like water & oil, i decided to stay back with yacks. after dinner, we all headed to a discoteca called El Camborio that sits across from the Alhambra. its suuch a cool place. the dance floor is inside of this big glass dome so the view out the window is the Alhambra all lit up! its pretty amazing. me & yacks stayed there for a couple hours dancing the night away with loots of teen-tourists & then went back to sleepy sleep. Sunday morning we woke up feeling wonderful (Sarah & jean left at 8am for their ski trip) so yacks & i had a loong breakfast, chatting over café & tostada. We didnt exactly have a set plan for the day so we just started walking. and walking and walking all over the place, through neighborhoods, and plazas, and the albaicin (all the houses are white & antique-looking -- kinda reminds me of santorini). anyways at the top we stumbled onto the most amazing little patio staring directly at the alhambra!! amazing views of the entire city-yacks & i were freaking out. on our way down the mountain we passed by this really cool turkish restaurant so we decided to stop in for an afternoon delight of hummus, Moroccan bread, and hookah. niice.

cute swimsuits, huh?
Sarah & Jean got back just in time for our special excursion that yacks & i planned while they were gone- an appointment in the ARAB BATHS! how cool! these are what the arab people that used to live in spain used to bath in. there were 7 pools, each with different water temperatures. it was soo relaxing. yacks snuck her camera in and managed to snap a shot before the masseus (massage lady?) came scurrying over to tell her "¡no fotos!" hahaha. anyways, we decided to go back to d'cuadro's for dinner because we knew it would be delicious & cheap & fast. after dins, we headed back to the bus station, popped some tylenol pm's and before i knew, i was back in valencia :)

sorry this post was a novel...i congratulate slash thank you if you've read this far. i'm off to bed-
¡hasta luego!

1 comment:

  1. Yay I'm glad you liked your package!!! Did they give you those swimsuits at the baths? I went to some baths like that in Budapest but they didn't care what you wore...some people were even naked (for some reason, always the ones you never want to see naked...)! Which is why they enforce the no photos rule. :-P