Wednesday, May 20, 2009

awkward feelings of olive-smelling emptiness

Upon checking my email today I found this gem from Javier, it outlined grade procedures and technical stuff like that which I won't bore you with. But while reading the final paragraphs I found myself laughing out loud while at the same time trying not to cry:

"If you are inclined to drinking heavily on Friday [*we have a special IES end of the program dinner*], please do so after the reception.
And not heavily.

LOOKING AHEAD: Make sure you stay in touch with your IES friends when you are back
in the States. Only they will understand those awkward feelings of olive-smelling
emptiness that will haunt you for years. And please stay in touch with us too. I
will love to hear what you are up to, and I will be delighted to support you in your
future academic and professional endeavours, so feel free to ask me for letters of
recommendation, or simply for advice. I may also be able to catch up with some of
you on my travels to the States.

Use the next few weeks to reflect on your experience—how you have grown by
simultaneously riding on a wave of euphoria and coping with adversity; feeling proud
of your accomplishments and feeling like an idiot the next day; wishing you were a
true Spaniard, and not quite finding the American you used to be. And even though a
good no pasa nada may not be too efficient in your stressful American lives,
uttering such granadino words sparingly will be a powerful, intimate comfort tool.

I must end by saying that I have thoroughly enjoyed sharing these months with each
one of you. May you all have wonderful lives as committed world citizens, and do
never forget the days of wine and jasmine under the Alhambra hill.

All the very best,

None of us know what emptiness smells like but apparently in Spain it smells like olives, and it's awkward? Oh, Javier. It's going to be hard to leave, as I've said many times before...

Today it's about 93 degrees thanks to some Saharan winds' decision to visit Granada for the day. I forgot what this kind of heat feels like, dios mio. The upside is that there is no humidity here, so the temperature is surprisingly bearable and borderline enjoyable, especially in the shade. Trini's apartment is cool too thanks to the shade that I was so bitter about in January.

I had my first IES exam today which I think went pretty smoothly, I was only really unsure of one question, which is a nice reversal from the midterm (oops?). After the exam Joya and I had lunch at Dio's homestay in the Albaicin (he invited us over). We brought his hostmom, Mar, a bottle of vino, which we all drank during lunch.

Dio's Mar is borderline hippie (she was wearing overalls and a nose piercing when we got there) and her house is really quirky and awesome. There are all sorts of Arab-influenced rugs and pillows around the house, and she has a garden in the back yard (a yard!!) where she grows aloe, tomatoes, and lots of other plants they use all the time in their food.

Mar has a guy named Hector staying with her indefinitely (platonic friend) who speaks perfect English and was fun to talk to also (in spanish, obvio). Hector made us some apple/orange/carrot/ginger homemade juice while we waited for lunch that was really refreshing on a day like today. Their dog, Senda, is possibly one of the ugliest one's I've ever seen, and should be the spokesperson/dog for the "omg it's so ugly it's cute" association. It was fun to be able to play with a dog who LISTENS and UNDERSTANDS commands though (cough cough unlike Beau and Sidney).

The back yard is my favorite part of the house because you can't tell you're in the heart of a city! There are huge leafy plants everywhere, and the neighbors have an enormous palm tree covered in ivy towering over everything, and also frames a piece of leftover wall back from the Albaicin's days as an ancient city (medina). We ate lunch in the shade on the back porch and just talked and relaxed. Mar made some fish, organic tofu rice/plants from the garden patties (in a cold wrap like some thai spring rolls, so yummy) and soy sauce, and a salad of homegrown sprouts, tomatoes, and cucumbers with spices and oils. With a few glasses of wine each. This is probably the reason why I am in no mood to do the last of my work I have for the day.

Wednesday is hump day, halfway through the week. I have two more IES exams, Cine tomorrow and my Grammar on Friday. It's really strange. Amanda is starting to pack up as I type this, which is awful for the reason that it means I have to leave soon and everything, but also awful because it means I'm never going to pack (I'm relying on a packing party to motivate me to pack, all those who have been around me during packing situations know it is 1. my least favorite activity in the world and 2. something I epically fail at doing). I am also realizing that I should have packed Space Bags to make this hellish task more plausible ... gah.

Tonight I think we're all (the resi-IES kids and a few others and some Spanish kids) going to go out to dinner in Biv-Rambla and eat outside. Afterwards we want to get ice cream, and either go out or go back to work (my choice is going to rest on how much I get done today ... which isn't looking good. gross.).

Vamos a ver, hasta luego mis amoressss

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