Now That I’m Less Surly…An Update

It’s been a while since I’ve updated and, sadly, I’m without a viable excuse. I can, however, confide that I’m feeling none too sprightly, witty, or effervescent of late, and I hate to translate such a mucky mood to a medium through which I (and others) can look back on my wretched, deplorably emo scribblings–and that, directly or indirectly, may have something to do with my absence from the blogosphere. So here. Now that I’m feeling slightly fortified by the glory of endorphins, and only 40% as blue as I was before my trip to Energym (my Chueca workout facility teeming with all kinds of spandex-clad otters and tanktop-wearing bears) I’m ready to make a small update. Joy.

This weekend was great, then incredibly shitty, then the shit, all in the space of about 72 hours. Unpredictability–revel in it! Thursday night, after a long week of kid-wranglin’, I met up with Ryan and his sweet wife, Emily, and my Spanish friend, David, at a bar called Taberna Encantada. As I predicted, armchair/Metro historian David got along tremendously with medieval history scholar Ryan, and we all ended up drinking and talking at Taberna Encantada (which was, indeed, enchanting with its surprisingly un-kitschy combination of decent house wine, strange wall murals, and musical selection of jazz, Spanish pop and American oldies) and then F.M. (a small dive bar featuring a poster of Samantha Fox, bottles of liquor that looked like they’d been conveyed directly from my grandma’s basement in CT, and a bartender wizened enough to have been 70 during the Second Republic). The night out was wonderful. The return home to a pot-smoke filled hallway and apartment to spontaneously call the deeply-missed boyfriend who was in the middle of a meeting and resultingly could not talk, then the come-down from an unfortunate ambient pot high (I don’t like weed highs, and have no interest in achieving one by just breathing my apartment but M, my RastaRoomie, leaves me damn little margin for choice) alone at four in the morning was not so cool. Unfortunately the not-so-coolness carried over to the next morning.

When I got stuck in a passel of spectators out for the Día de la Hispanidad parade. That sucked. Bodies were pressed in around me so tight I couldn’t move my arms and could do nothing but shuffle. For about twenty five minutes this was the case, until, that is, my pocket of people neared a clearing and started to move slightly faster. Desperate, the crowd grew rougher and suddenly I had a set of hands in the small of my back, delivering short bursting shoves over and over again. This was the last straw. I executed a passionate and irate aboutface to find an older Spanish woman wearing a black pillbox hat and an unappealing snarl. I scolded her for her literal pushiness saucily and effectively–in Spanish. Yes, I felt far better after putting her in her place (behind, two inches away and substantially lower to the ground than me).

My day continued to improve with an afternoon of Talia time and nearly three hours of walking around the city, first in Retiro (which is beautiful, if you weren’t aware) then later up to our neighborhood past Gran Vía. There we found a fair featuring cheeses, cider, condiments and baked goods from all over Spain. Happily, each of the stalls in the Plaza de Mella offered samples, so we passed through. Twice. That night we had delicious vegetarian food in Huertas and I came home early to cancel plans to meet up with friends at J&Js in favor of chilling quietly by myself–lame, but necessary in my ill-humoured and impoverished state. Saturday was extremely pleasant and involved eating a huge Cuban dinner with my roommates and their visiting couple-friends (who cooked some bangin’ Picadillo–little did I know ’til later that it was with my groceries, but let’s not go there), then wine time, 5 Kit-Kats, a bag of popcorn and hours of girly-dishing with Talia. Clearly, these are all good things.

Sunday dawned clear and bright–the perfect day for a trip outside Madrid. Enter David, his ancient black Audi and learner’s permit, and his two Italian friends, Lucia and Maria. 🙂 We spent the day at La Granja de San Idelfonso, about 90 minutes’ drive North of the city, tromping around the grounds of what was once the summer home of the royal family. We ate lunch at a small cafe outside of San Idelfonso, in what looked like (and I’m relatively certain WAS) someone’s front yard, only equipped with some tables and an old chocolate lab, too. We ate greasy, delicious tortilla of just the right texture and I had a revuelto of champiñones (mushroom scrambled eggs). David’s friends are very nice and it was good to get out in the sunshine, into a beautiful setting and to explore an honest-to-goodness labyrinth (along with some truly fucked up looking scuplture. Please see the examples below).

The “Country House.”

The FrogMan halfbreed in the sadly waterless fountain:

And some intensely beautiful paisaje that puts me in mind of Vermont, strangely enough…

Today, Monday, was another lovely day with my second graders. That’s really all there is on my end for now. A real update on what the Madrid school system is like and what my experience with school actually has been is on my mind and on the bench for the next time I’m feeling ambitious. ‘Til then!


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