Insomnia, anyone?

It is now 12:22 a.m. At exactly 7:00 a.m. Spanish time I am going to loathe myself and probably everyone else. Despite lying in bed for an hour and a half, sleep would not come. The delightful cocktail of a cold, a miasma of generally icky premenstrual feelings, and deeply aching hips forbid this poor young lass from hitting the hay. So here I am, updating at 12:22 a.m. and already fearing tomorrow.

The truth is that the first graders are far more like animals than like anything remotely resembling human. Endeavoring to teach them something is like throwing 23 flailing cats into a bag with 24 balls of yarn and knitting needles, tying off the bag, then trying to teach them how to make a sweater. The majority of these children have what I would identify as behavioral problems. From violent, to sexually over… over…well…something–to just plain distracted to the point of vacancy, I’m shocked that the fiftyish kids in first grade can learn anything at all–and still have little evidence that they, in fact, can. I spend most of my time yelling over a babbly din of giggles and Spanish and not only does it exhaust my poor, cysty voice, but I am forced to be bitchy to little children. I do not enjoy that. I do NOT.

Plus, on my first day in first grade, my co-teacher restrained me as I ducked near to the gypsy children, Mara and Felix. “Be careful,” she said, a look of wry caution in her eyes, “they have some…eh…some animals? Yes, animals–on their heads.” There are no mandatory lice checks in Spanish public schools.

But anyway–I really ought to be tired, dammit. It’s been a full weekend which, come to think of it, felt like it started on Wednesday. Wednesday evening Amber, Liz and I dined together at a delicious italian place I highly recommend if ever you’re in Madrid. Pizzaiolo makes glorious, thin-crust pies with delicious and inventive toppings like ham and arugula (Amber’s choice), and ham and mushrooms (mine). They also do a mean cannoli and a passably bangin’ tiramisu. The girls drank beers and I nursed an agua del grifo, and we chatted for almost two hours, nonstop. Amber saved me from being hit by a bus (or, rather, just theatrically reacted to a bus she thought was a little too close to me for comfort), and we parted ways joyfully for the evening.

I and the same Lady who saved me from an untimely public transportation death had plans for a Saturday night in, cooking something delectable involving setas (mushrooms) arugula and goat cheese, but at the last minute, dinner party plans were hatched, amber resuced me from wallowing in my own sad nostalgia and yearning, and I met some absolutely lovely people. Among the party that commenced around ten at a vinoteca in Plaza Santa Ana and adjourned at 1:30 at a restaurant down the street were a two of the most delightful non-straight men I have ever encountered–one named Raoul, the other Chad (short for Am-Chad)–two creepy Spanish men, and Amber’s sweet (but tardy), animal rescuing friend Roxana. My first glimpse of Raoul yielded a black fedora and a pink and black houndstooth scarf which, in my mind, is the recipe for immediate love, and Chad promised over the next morning’s breafkast date to teach me and Amber how to cook an authentic curry and daal. Roxana was generally sweet, the short creepy Spaniard bought me a glass of wine, and I laughed a lot with lovely new people and one familiar and much-loved newold friend. Amber woke me on Saturday morning in time for our breakfast date with Chad using a tap on my door, a huge grin, and a cup of Bengal Spice tea. Who could ask for anything more? Oh wait–I did. Her pants, sneakers, and a squirt of fig-cassis perfume before we left. 🙂

Last night our dinner-in dreams came true with mixed results, and a final, weary stop at a criminally good ice cream parlor by the name of Giangrossi.

Argentine ice cream in quirky flavors is right up my alley–as is really any ice cream–and I enjoyed a small halfsie tureen of the yoghurt with dates and honey and chocolate almond. Good christ will I need to hit the gym hard this week.

Despite the cold and general glum I’m experiencing, today was good and involved a date with people I like, and I’ve begun a book that intrigues me. Now, the task is to make it through the week so as to enjoy a four-day weekend. My appreciation for Spain’s multitude of Saint’s days off is almost enough to inspire me into an ecstatic religious experience.

22 days ’til Christmas, alone in Madrid.
20 days ’til my last school day for the 2007 school year.
11 work days ’til my last school day for the 2007 school year.
24 days ’til Greg gets here.

Also, I’m taking a poll: do I buy a fake Christmas tree from a eurobazaar for 9.50, which I KNOW I can carry home without too much effort, or do I wait ’til next weekend, hope the Christmas fair thing is still in Sol, and purchase a 15 euro, hip-height real tree which I may or may not be able to carry to my apartment? My instinct and my New England snobbery dictates that I splurge on the real one, but I really don’t know how practical it is. Either way, as I begin to pine (ha! pine!) more for Christmas at home and for decorating the tree with my mom, I realize I need one of my own, whether it be real or fake. What say you?

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