Wednesday, December 23, 2009


I have been back in the states for almost a week now, although it feels like less than that since I've been all over the place. It is great seeing people and catching up and I am flattered that everyone is curious about what's going on with me. I do, however, seem to be answering the same questions many times. I thought maybe if I put the answers here, some people who read this will skip those questions and go right to topics much more interesting than me, such as the new health care bill, Tiger Woods' infidelity, or, I don't know, what they had for lunch that day.

So here are the answers to the most common questions.

- Yes, I cut my hair. In November. I just felt like it was time for a change.

- Spain is great.

- Yes, I love Barcelona, I'm having a wonderful time. It's a very cool city.

- Yes, I teach English. At language school. Various ages and levels, from three years old to adults.

- No, I'm not fluent in Spanish but it has improved since I've been there. I do need to work harder on it though.

- No, I don't have a Spanish boyfriend. The Spaniards don't seem to fancy me, but I'm a hit with vacationing Irishmen.

- No, I'm not staying forever. I'm planning to return to the US at the end of September, 2010.

- No, I'm not planning to teach when I get back to the US.

- Yes, I've traveled a little bit. Dublin, Sevilla, and a few towns about an hour or two train ride outside of Barcelona. I'm hoping to travel more when I go back and am probably going to Paris in May.

-Yes, in fact I have been eating more cheese and pastries than is normal or healthy, why do you ask?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sevilla, Que Maravilla

Exactly six years ago I was preparing to leave for a semester abroad in Sevilla, Spain. This was to be my first trip to Europe and I had a feeling it was going to be a life-changing experience.

Here I am now, six years later, living in Barcelona and I just returned from my first visit to Sevilla since I left in May of 2004. Obviously it turned out to indeed be life-changing, since it inspired me to up and leave a pretty great life in the states for an unknown existance across the ocean.

I need some time to gather my thoughts about revisiting my favorite city and will be posting more about it shortly. In the meantime, here are a few general scenery pictures:
Torre de Oro (Tower of Gold)

Rooftop garden in Barrio Santa Cruz

Fountain outside the Alfonso XIII Hotel

Plaze de Espana

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Old Ali "Prop Comic" Greco, Ladies and Gentlemen

I was putting pictures up on Facebook the other day and one of them was of me wearing a random hat I must have grabbed from someone. The caption I wrote said that someday I will learn to resist the urge to put on every wacky hat I see but that today was not that day. It made think about just how true it is that I cannot see a hat or prop of some sort without picking it up, putting it on, and usually not letting it go until I've been photographed.

I'm not sure why this is but see for yourself below, it's like a "through the years" of obnoxiousness.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Miss. v. missed, miss·ing, miss·es: To feel the lack or loss of

I can't believe it, but I'm going home in less than two weeks for a little holiday vacation. Getting so close to being there and seeing everyone is making me think about what I've missed most while I've been here and what I'm looking forward to seeing, doing and having. In no particular order:

- Wawa hoagies

- Bubble baths

- Overhearing (and understanding) people's weird conversations in public places

- My parents. Straight up.

- A heated home

- Häagen-Dazs Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream (they have Häagen-Dazs here and they have other cookie dough ice cream, but not Häagen-Dazs Cookie Dough- I don't get it)

- Sunday morning Greco family breakfasts

- Calling my sister whenever I want- usually about the most random things

- Yuengling

-Clothes dried in a dryer

- Sea Isle City

- Chinese food and wine in Montclair on Friday nights

-All my wonderful friends, who, now that I have to cross an ocean to see them, I realize I didn't see nearly often enough when we shared a continent

- Talking in my Levittown voice

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I'm On a Boat!

I think everyone needs a standby place where they know they can go to just have a good time, no matter what. For me and some of my friends here, that place is an Irish pub in a touristy part of the city (totally un-Barcelona, but it’s a guilty pleasure).

One of the best adventures here involved a pair of ruggedly handsome Croatian yachtsmen. Their names were Christian and Ivan and after we shared a few drinks with them, they invited my friend and me to take a tour of their boat. At 5am and after several giant glasses of Heineken, it didn’t seem at all out of the ordinary to respond “Sure, why not? I’ll go with you relative strangers to an unknown destination surrounded by deep dark water.”

What we saw was definitely worth the risk (which turned out to be non-existent). Their boat was a giant, beautiful luxury yacht. With a dining table for ten outside on the main deck, hardwood floors, plush white carpeting, comfy furniture, flower arrangements and vases full of decorative stones; which always strike me as fancy simply because they are completely devoid of purpose.

We had to take off our shoes and stow them in a cabinet, we were handed bottles of Perrier, we were even shown the owner’s bedroom closet (he wasn't there), which contained about nine baseball caps with the boat's name embroidered over the brim and three Tommy Bahama shirts. I guess when you’re that rich and just hanging out on your yacht, you don’t need pants.

My friend actually found the boat online. You can check it out and see some pictures here:

The guys were nice, the boat was cool, but the joke possibilities were endless, and I think that was my favorite part. A few favorites were:

- Calling Christian (the captain) Cap’n Crunch- which was mostly funny because he didn’t get it

- Telling people the next day that the captain let me sit in his chair and check out his equipment (ba dum bum)

- Insisting that they use the stars to find their way from the bar to the boat instead of taking a cab

- Exclaiming that we needed to abandon ship when we decided it was time to leave

- Followed by “Yeah, let’s go, I’m aboard”

- Too many references and questions (on my part) about the captain’s power to perform a wedding- it probably caused more discomfort than humor

- Referring to Ivan (the first mate) as Tennille