Archive | July, 2011

The End

10 Jul

June FLEW by! I kind of knew it would. My work schedule changed to half days, my tutoring classes were ending one by one and, after teetering between staying part of the summer to work at a camp or going home to search for a job in PR, I finally bought my ticket home. It’s hard to believe it’s over and while I know I’ve been here awhile and have felt that way at times, it seems like I just got here.

The elementary-age Marisa would’ve told you that she was going to travel the world (and got to college UNC-Chapel Hill). The college-age Marisa was telling people that she was going overseas for a year after graduation (even though she didn’t have a way to do so until the end of her senior year). Turns out I was right. Even though I was pulled in two directions—staring a job and in NYC vs. working abroad—I am happy with my choice. I have gotten to go to places I’ve always dreamed of visiting, made some amazing friends, learn more of a foreign language and grow up a little.

Personal reflection aside, June has been a good month. I didn’t do any more traveling except for a half day trip to EL Palacio del Pardo. El Pardo is just outside of Madrid and is still a fully functioning palace. Franco made it his personal residence while he ruled out of fear of possible assassination if he lived in the Royal Palace in Madrid. Now kings, queens and presidents stay there when they visit. The tour guide told us that recent U.S. presidents have had to rent out entire hotels in the city rather than stay at El Pardo because they travel with between 500 and 800 people! Somehow that didn’t surprise me very much. We couldn’t take pictures inside, but my favorite part was the 6-foot tall French chandeliers that hung in almost every room of the palace.

El Pardo, there must be a fire place in almost every room!

Other than that and job searching, my last month in Madrid was filled with hanging out, drinks and tapas, despiertas (goodbye parties) and a little rebajas (sales!) shopping. Now that summer is starting, there are tons of fairs around the city and people are making regular weekend trips to all the beautiful beaches around Spain. It might be kind of nice to be here for the summer, but I am excited to go home and to have air conditioning! Farewell, Madrid!



I’m Strange? Creo que no!

5 Jul

I wrote a post right after arriving to Madrid about things I would have to get used to. (Being tall, eating a real breakfast, being a vegetarian, not drinking ALL the time, etc.) I got used to some, and just accepted that some Spaniards will just continue thinking I’m strange when it comes to others. After being here for nine and a half months, though, I think the weirdos might be them.

  • Dear middle-age to old Spanish women, I know it was expensive and I know it’s pretty, but if its 65 degrees outside MAYBE a fur coat is too much. (This goes to younger people, too, who were still sporting pea coats, scarves and gloves!)
  • On the flip side: I know it’s necessary to be “en la moda”, dear annoying Spanish teenagers, but boots when it’s about 100 degrees outside is a little beyond commitment to fashion!
  • I eat dinner between 7:30 and 9pm. This fact should not result in an entire third grade class (including the teacher) to make exclamations and raise their brows about how unimaginably early that is. I think eating dinner between 10:30pm and 12:30am is much more shocking.
  • If food is free, I am going to eat it…A LOT of it. Free food doesn’t seem to excite Spaniards. Weird!
  • Peanut butter isn’t sold many places in Europe, and I have come to find that a lot of Europeans actually hate how it tastes. (I can understand that coming from the people of Belgium since they have Speculos spread, which is SO much better!) Obviously that makes pb&j sandwiches less than a big hit here, but with bocadillos stuffed with fried calamari or tortilla Española (potato-packed omelet/ carb overload), one can hardly call any sandwich strange.

I mean all of this with love, of course. Spanish culture is different from American culture in several ways (including efficiency of pretty much everything, haha), but I like it. Spanish people love to enjoy life, like to talk a lot and are very proud of their history. I am lucky to have gotten to experience it, but I do hope I can shake the chronically-WAY-too-late habit I have started to adopt (aka “Spanish time”, which is approximately 45 minutes to 1.4 hours late). As if I was ever all that great about being early anyway!


Sorolla, El Pintor

3 Jul

I had the chance to go on a field trip with the fourth grade classes awhile back. The trip was to the Sorolla museum, a Spanish painter I had never heard of but is very famous here. The museum was actually the painter’s old mansion that had been converted into a gallery of his work after he died, and was only a 10 minute walk from my apartment. Turns out, Sorolla maybe be one of my favorite artists, right up there with Monet!

"Paseo por la Playa" by Sorolla. Probably his most famous painting.


"La barca" by Sorolla. He was known for his beach scenes, which he copied from his own photographs of his family.

What I liked best was the way Sorolla captured light in his paintings and that despite only using a few colors in each one, they were still brilliant. (I also liked that I understood 97% of the tour, which was all in Spanish!) I thought I’d give this museum a plug because it is less known than the enormous Prado and Reina Sofia museums but worth the visit. Cheap, short and sweet.