Wednesday, July 14, 2010

2 meses... ya falta poco!!

my ticket out of RDU is for September 14th. This means I am leaving the US in TWO MONTHS!

cue panic/excitement/nervous stomach.

hot dang, this summer is flying by!

so, here are some things I have thought of that I am bursting to do when I am over there:

1. go to a calçotada. And Bom Dia to you, Catalunya next early spring, I will be visiting you and eating your finest field-roasted mutant onions.
2a. visit Sevilla, preferably coinciding with when my stepsister is still there so I can take her to get the best of deep-friedness that Andalucia has to offer.
2b. Go to Bar Manolo (Plaza Alfalfa one) and eat 7000 olives. Buy at least 2000 more to bring home with me to Bilbao.
2c. Find Scottish Donald and get him to do his "upper Michigan accent." ("heeeey! YEEEOOOU. GIVE US A PIECE O' THET RHEEIIGGHT NEEEOOOW.")
3. Learn the words to the Athletic himno. Go to a game and sing them and then scream at the referee (I think it's safe to say he'll be out to get us.)
4. Come up with more reasons why Real Madrid is not so much a team as an institution created by the devil
5. Become capable of producing at least 3 Iberian accents on command (my andalu is all gone now, sniff)
6. Go to the Guggenheim some more. The OUTSIDE of the Guggenheim.
7a. Fall in love.
7b. But not with a Real Madrid fan.
8. Learn 8 new ways of cooking patatas.
9. Sanfermines??? That gets a "???" because my I'm not sure if my love for festivales is going to win out over my love for not sleeping in a park surrounded by a million drunk Australians.

ai ama! 2 months is feeling like a long time today!

Edit: I realized this is lacking in today's Euskera. So, from at random in my dictionary:

Artega. Restless, nervous, agitated, impatient. How I'm feeling on a daily basis.
Askaltiar. Guest for mid-afternoon snack (whaaaaaaaat?)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

viva la Roja!!!! (or, how i sold out and don't even care)

I have always thought that where I drew the line on Basque independence was terrorism. As in, yes to Basque independence, no to terrorism. The World Cup has changed that. As it turns out, it's terrorism and international soccer.

Backup: you should know that the Basque Country, as a whole, has historically not supported the Spanish national team. Much of Basque Country (yes, Catalunya too, don't worry I didn't forget you) was cheering on Holland in the finals.

After watching this World Cup and (at first reluctantly, see above- I was torn) cheering on the Spanish team the whole way through, I cannot help myself. Confession: I am hopelessly addicted to La Furia Roja. The team is fantastic: it is basically FC Barcelona with some randoms thrown in from other clubs. They play Barça style (focus on possession and clever, dizzying passes); they're full of dudes who doubtless feel nothing when the Spanish national anthem is played; and I will not even hold back by failing to disclose to you, dear readers, that I have a pretty solid crush going on Cesc Fabregas. I would have one on Iker Casillas too, but he plays for Real Madrid and that is a dealbreaker. I adore them. It is the perfect Spanish side: Spanish but not. I am so smitten that I will plan World Cup and EuroCup years around these events, I will leave Basque Country for odd weekends when Spain are playing, and my Basque friends will be puzzled and wonder why I have bits of red paint on my face when I come back.

Whatever. My Basque street cred died when I was born in Raleigh, NC, OK?

Anyway, as I just pointed out to my friend Tory, they said on NPR today that for the first time, Spanish flags are showing up in Bilbao and Barcelona in contexts besides government buildings. And usually, I would be all "UGH, sellouts," but not this time. La Roja has charmed me too hard. My heart is mush.

Euskera of the Day:
as in, Zorionak, Espainia!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Bilbo: not just a hobbit anymore

I'm sure anyone who is reading this knows how badly I have been wanting to move to Basque Country, and probably also that the Spanish government contracted me to teach English over there this coming year. The program is "Auxiliares Norteamericanos" and basically we are like TAs, we come in and help out local teachers by providing an immersion experience and letting the students practice with a native speaker. My puesto is at IES Laudio BHI... all I know so far is it's secondary education so older than 7th grade.

Anyway so this blog is going to be about all my adventures and adjusting to life as a new Bilbaína!

I went to DC to the Spanish Embassy to get my visa application this week, then this morning I bought my TICKET!! It's a one-way into Madrid (I'll buy my return ticket later when they have availability and I know whether I'm coming back in June or July), where I'll stay with some friends, who are returning for a second year of the Madrid version of the program, for a couple days, then taking the train to Bilbao. I debated between doing that and flying straight into Bilbao but I'm glad I'm doing this because 1) it was cheaper and 2) I think it'll be a lot a lot easier to go and meet up with people I know first than to drop myself straight into Bilbao, where I know no one!

And now, a list of things that causing me a little stress:
1) Will I make local friends? I am so afraid I won't! It is my dream to have a cuadrilla (group of friends who do everything together)- usually cuadrillas are made up of people who grow up together but sometimes not, I want to have a bunch of Bilbaino friends who I love and spend tons of time with! I know it is some peoples' style to get into expat communities and don't get me wrong, I'm sure I will appreciate my American friends like crazy once I'm there, but I really do think it would be heartbreaking if I didn't have some close local friends.
2) How will I find an apartment? Will my roommates and I get along?
3) Will I be good at my job?
4) Will I find a church to go to?

...aaaand what if I don't do all those things? Right now the lead-up to my trip is a roller coaster of turbo excitement that I'm going and nervousness that I'm not going to adjust, that I won't make friends, etc etc. It's a real struggle to let go and trust God with everything (I'm at about a 1 out of 10 in effectiveness with that right now).

But mostly it's not stress, mostly it's just excited jitters. I probably will make friends. I'll get to see matches of Athletic Bilbao, my favorite soccer team, in their home city. Scratch that, in their home STADIUM. I'm working in a pretty mountain town. Basque food is cheap and delicious. Maybe I can pick up a little travel writing work? Anytime a weekend is unseasonably warm I can hop on a bus to Donosti and play on the beach all day.

And (I hope): EUSKALTEGI! Euskaltegis are adult basque language schools and they run about 60 euros a semester which means hello, improving my Basque from "Is this the bus to Donostia? One small beer please. Good morning!"

which brings me to something I hope will be a staple of this blog: Euskera of the day.


Donostiako autobusa hau da? Zurito bat, mesedez. Egun on!"
("Is this the bus to Donostia? One small beer please. Good morning!")