Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Things I Can't Stand

For some reason I feel compelled to share this. In no particular order, things I really can't stand:

- Seeing kids in casinos

- Pleated-front pants

- Trying too hard (there are many manifestations of this throughout all areas of life)

- Being pushed in big crowds

- Holiday-themed ties

- Clear plastic strap bras

- Nervous laughs

- Cardigan sweaters intentionally left drooping down on shoulders

- Cell phone charms

- Couples walking with their hands in each others' back pockets

Hope I didn't offend anyone- it feels really good to get that out there.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Power of Love

As in many European cities, there is a large group of African immigrants in Barcelona who sell knock-off bags and sunglasses on the street. They usually travel in groups and yesterday a number of them, with their bed sheet bundles of fake Prada bags in tow, got on the metro right where I was standing.

Some were chatting and some were quiet and I didn't pay too much attention to them. Then one of their cell phones rang and the ring tone was this song, at about the 59 second mark. The ring lasted about eight seconds, I think he delayed answering just so he could hear as much of it as possible

The other passengers nearby must have been listening to their iPods or dead, because nobody laughed but me. I eventually had to turn around and face the wall because I couldn't stop laughing and was worried I was going to get a faux Chanel to the face.

They got off two stops later and I was able to continue my ride in tranquility, but I've had that song in my head for the 32 hours that have elapsed since then.

P.S. There were several video choices for this song on YouTube but clearly the one I used was superior to them all in every way.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Candy Man Can

I've always had a feeling that someday my insatiable sweet tooth would come in handy or do something to redeem a lifetime of detriment. Well, I think that day has finally come.

One of my four year old students had a bag of Gummi Bears in class today, and since he wouldn't share I was really craving something sweet and chewy on my way home. I decided to stop in the candy store close to my house. I got a bag of my favorite Besitos de Fresa. While weighing my candy, the shop owner commented on my choice and asked a question about what types of candy I like (ha, what don't I like?). Often I'm embarrassed by my Spanish and will avoid extra conversations like this with people who might otherwise not think I'm quite so foolish as they will after I open my mouth. Since we were talking candy, though, I didn't hesitate to reel off the names of my faves (got that vocab down real quick).

While he went to get me a new type of marshmallow to try he asked where I was from and what I was doing here. When I told him I was an English teacher he perked up and asked about the types of classes I teach, how much I charge, my availability etc. Turns out he has two kids who he'd like to have a leg up on English.

While we were talking and he was writing down my name and phone number, an old man walked in. He heard us talking and got into the conversation (all the while spitting out particles of the almonds he was eating), saying he might be interested in classes too. He asked how long it would take for me to teach him to speak English. I told him that depended on how hard he was willing to work and that it would take a long time to speak perfectly. He decided to turn it around on me and ask how long I'd been in Spain. I dodged a big piece of chewed up almond and told him eight months, to which he replied "well, and you don't speak perfectly." I told him that was because I don't have someone as good as me to teach me Spanish. I think that won him over and he took my number too.

The best part is that the candy store owner said if I teach his kids I can have free candy. So the moral of the story is that I'm never going to resist a craving again.