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Posts Tagged ‘whoops’

Oh, Spain.

Dear Spain,

I have been super naive coming here without a real plan. It seemed like work would be, if not plentiful, then at least forthcoming. I thought that I spoke enough Spanish. I thought I’d be able to do this bilingual, bicountry thing. But I can’t. So while I wait to find out whether I’ve been approved for a position teaching English to students in your public schools, I’m going to be with my boyfriend in England. It’s been too hard. Your natives speak too rapidly. Your jobs are too hard to come by. Your nightlife is too late for me. Madrid doesn’t have any water, nor any mountains.

I’m bored, I’m lonely, I’m isolated and I feel useless. Not having a job is terrible. But I’ve still got money saved up, will have more come tax time, and I’ll be with my guy, planning my next moves in the coming months.

See you in September!

Love,
Me

P.S. No, I’m not talking to my blog readers. I’ll still be posting semi-regularly.

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Rabo de Cerda

You know all those mistakes I’ve been telling you about, regarding food and not knowing what it was? First, there’s a phenomenon here that I am shocked and appalled by: restaurants give you bread and then don’t tell you they’re charging you for it. The boyfriend says, “Whatever happened to free bread?”, and, “You didn’t have to put that.”

But really, whatever happened to free bread? I suppose we’ve probably had free bread at some establishments and just not noticed it because that is the way it should be, but I’m not sure now. Wracking my brain, I can’t come up with a single definitive instance of free bread here in Spain. We grow up with that! Go to any Italian restaurant, free white bread with the little flat knobblies on the bottom from where it’s been baked. Go to any restaurant, really, in the States – free bread.

Also, no tap water. If you ask for water, you will pay for it. It comes in a bottle and is delivered graciously to your table by your smiling waiter.

But back to food mistakes – here in Madrid, or I suppose anywhere you don’t fully know the language, it is supremely easy to make expensive mistakes when dining out. Witness the 39€ mistake in Toledo, Spain, which included two unasked for pieces of bread and two bottles of water and what amounted to two starters. To be fair, that was Toledo, where we were warned that because of its Tourism Destination status, it would be quite expensive (remember, children, the 6€ map we bought when we could have had a free one had we waited just one plaza longer).

Now, I don’t want to complain unnecessarily, so I’ll tell you the hilarious tail, er tale of our excursions into dining in in Madrid. Tonight, we bought habichuelas at Carrefour Express, some toothpaste, and rabo de cerda (to flavor the beans and rice) because I was “translating” too quickly and these looked enough like the little rib bits you’ll sometimes see in Chinese or Korean barbeque.

The boyfriend put them in with the beans and minutes went by wherein we were distracted, until a smell wafted over us we weren’t very happy with. The pig smelled funny. Bad funny? I didn’t think so, and to that end I asked him the name on the package again. “Rabos”, finally looked up, yields images of tails. Oh, great. We’ve just flavored our beans with pig tail. Man! We are Americans not accustomed to this type of thing. So he fished them out and the beans smell much better. If we become rampantly sick, I’ll tell you all about it later.

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