Saturday, July 28, 2007

Not Bad

Nacho and I went to Hespen & Suarez today to see about getting those bagels. As you can see from the picture above we were succesful - at least in name. Would the bagels satisfy my craving? They did okay. For lunch we made bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches on sesame bagels and they were quite yummy. But for just a toasted bagel with cream cheese I'm not sure how they'll be. I also bought an onion one and am going to try it tomorrow with herb cream cheese (Philadelphia brand - they didn't have any ay H&S) and see how it turns out. For the most part the bagels were a touch dry on the inside and not as chewy as we would hope. But Nacho was quite satisfied. :) I was really tempted by the gorgeous carrot cake they had too, but... 45€!! I'm going to have to try and bake one! :)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Hah-ree Poe-tur

Ironically enough, the biggest chink in my Spanish armor (aside from the subjunctive, of course) is using English words. When a conversation includes an English word, you've got to put a Spanish twist on it or people won't understand. I remember when I first realized this - a friend and I were at a party discussing American TV with some guys. They kept referring to "Chungo," as best we could make out. It took us a good 10 minutes to realize they meant Chuck Norris (don't ask). I've more or less mastered my most commonly used words, like Red Hot Chili Peppers, George Bush, etc. But occasionally a new one pops up. This past weekend I went to buy the new Harry Potter and it happened again. "Harry Potter." "Qué??" "Hah-ree Poe-tur." "Ahh, sí." It's all in the pronunciation.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Spanish men, along with their Italian counterparts are famous the world over - or atleast in the States - for being, um... very outwardly flirtacious. It's something that you just get used to - especially if you're blond. But things took a surprising turn as I've been going to some job interviews (yay!) this week and last. As I've walked the streets in suits and heels, the catcalls have definitely multiplied. I mean, it's one thing to make a comment to a foreign-looking young lady in sandals and a sundress, but I was sure that they would decrease or even stop in the face of a professional, modern woman. I was wrong. Why is that?

Monday, July 16, 2007

On a mission

I have one major goal this week - find a decent bagel in Madrid. I woke up yesterday with a tremendous craving for a bagel. It was quite possibly the result of a minor hangover but whatever the cause the slumbering bagel beast inside me has stirred and cannot be satiated. So, I'm going in search of that scrumptious circle of bread. I have done my internet searches and have some clue of where to look. I already know where not to look. When I first arrived I was excited to see that one of the fastfood chains advertised bagels, but a small, round loaf of bread with a hole in the middle does not necessarily mean a bagel. Despite that, my expectations are not set too high. I have resigned myself to not being able to find a perfectly baked asiago cheese bagel slathered with sundried tomato cream cheese. But a nice sesame bagel, chewy on the outside and soft on the inside, will do. I'll keep you all posted on my progress.

Interestingly enough, in the eternal Madrid-Barcelona competition, the internet revealed that our Catalan neighbors might have the advantage. I found the link to a place called The Bagel Shop that almost makes me book a trip to Barcelona right now.

Monday, July 9, 2007

¡España! ¡España!

Patriotism in Spain, at least among the younger generations, is really only acceptable when in conjunction with a sporting event. The patriotic flags, t-shirts, and patches commonly seen in the States don't appear too much here. But when the various selecciones - national selection teams – are playing everyone’s a patriot. Same thing goes for whenever a Spaniard is competing in anything. The cause of this weekend’s outpouring of pride was twofold - Fernando Alonso competing in the Formula 1’s British Grand Prix and Rafael Nadal playing in the Wimbledon Championship. Spanish sports fans defend their compatriots to a fault. Alonso’s inability to win a race is not his fault, but instead is blamed on his sponsor’s favoritism (mental and equipment-al) of his British teammate. Rafa’s lost games and sets are not a result of incomplete play but rather a complicated strategy that only sometimes produces results (according to the extremely biased Spanish commentators).

Spain’s diehard support of anything Spanish (but only when in comparison to or in competition with anything international) is quite possibly a result of it being such a small nation, at least in contrast to the States – my only real basis of comparison. I certainly feel a stronger affinity to St. Louis than to the United States in general. A matter of size and intimacy, perhaps. But my pride goes deeper than just sports. So far, in Spain I’ve seen it just in sports. And maybe when it comes to food…

Monday, July 2, 2007

Feeling Sick

It's an illness from which all of us expats suffer. Most of the time it's in remission, but occasionally, and at the most random moments, it rears its ugly head. Today it hit me as I walked past a bridal store. Strange, I know, but not without logic. Two of my best friends have gotten engaged within the past couple of weeks and the bridal gowns made me think of them. Now, I'm not an overly girly-girl. Even during my own engagement my purchase of bridal magazines was kept to a minimum. But now that I am here I miss going dress shopping with them. Its moments like those that remind me of the distance between Madrid and Miami or Chicago - that remind me of how far I am from what was so recently home. Many things I don't even miss until some stupid little thing, like a bridal shop, makes me stop and think. It's good to be reminded, occasionally, of what we've left behind. After all, this was my decision and I knew that homesickness came with the whole kit-n-caboodle. The important thing is knowing where the temporary antidote lies - be it shopping the rebajas, having a clara on a terraza, or simply strolling through the park.