Entonces…

October 27, 2010

Like B said, enormous love and hug to everyone at home.  We love it here but we miss you.

Retiro Park is like Central Park. Landscaped, some bodies of water, lovers, street performers. It’s a nice place with lots of trees where people go to scrape the urban off.

But there are some differences. Parents are more liberal in the park (and in general) with their children. Little Juan Miguel- a wildly popular name- is left to his own devices, allowed to play with grass or bite a stranger’s leg. The whole country embraces the Montesorri ideal. Thus, the young ones here are more independent- more lonely even- and when they do act out, it’s deflating because I realize how much more advanced their vocabulary is then mine and B’s. In the US, when a kid cries, I think, oh man, poor kid but knock it off already. Here I think, ‘Wait, scream slower. Did you say you want to choke your brother, or eat him?  Give me more gestures!’

I’ve run at Retiro a few times. Humbling experience. There are not nearly as many leisure runners as Chicago, so the ones who do run tend to be incredibly fast.  I used to pride myself on passing one or two people (usually senior citizens) when I went for a jog. You cannot stop me, I say to myself, passing the man battling lung cancer. I am strong-willed.

No such luck here. I was lapped by this one dude the other day. He was doing five-minute miles while smoking a cigarette. Self-esteem check: an 8 on the ‘damaged ego’ scale.

Speaking of cigarettes, every single human here smokes.  At least 92% of Spanish men guys grow beards. There’s a wide range: scraggly, manicured, and my personal favorite, savagely unkempt (hoop fans, think Pau Gasol). 87% of the women are dressed beautifully in places like the supermarket or the metro. A full 100% are dressed beautifully in any formal setting, regardless of age.

And the cafes, guys.  Dag. Feel like I’m part of some underground revolutionary groundswell.  Pockets of like twelve people arguing over philosophical giants like John Locke and Damon Lindelof.  It’s great stuff: all the smoke and urgency and palpable mistrust of authority.  Having always been susceptible to the interests of peer groups, I want to quote passages from polemic political literature or obscure Spanish philosophy.  But I still can’t remember how to say things like ‘society’ or even ‘some.’  I did learn how to say peach though.

Baby steps to learn the language.  To those who have (Gib Diggy, Em-inem-ily, KT, Sonia Q, etc.), wow.  I think I could live here for 100 years and not really know what’s going on.  There is one word though.

Entonces…

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3 Responses to “Entonces…”

  1. Anonymous said

    Guys looks awesome, never move home. And entonces is one of my favorite words. That, and desechables (to go containers). -bg

  2. Constance said

    Os vais a aprender mas que yo. Happy Halloween- we’re at home handing candy out! Get ready for April! I want to come visit!

    And get ready to learn awesome slang, like, puta madre= big insult.

    de puta madre= something is so wicked awesome, it’s like saying, that’s the shit!! in a good way

    la pasta= pasta, and money. no tengo la pasta probably doesn’t mean someone is short on italian food.

    un rato= a short distance, or maybe a fling, a flirtation, they had un rato, they had a something…..

  3. Sarath said

    Love the descriptions. While you are there, you should grow a beard and pick up smoking. Embrace the lifestyle! Also, we need to see more pictures!

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