wingolog

spanish diaries

25 January 2005 3:35 AM (spain)

So it's been a little while. OK, OK, fine, but let's get down to it.

A lot of things have changed since my last posting. Saw my peoples again in the Raleigh / Chapel Hill area, which was wonderful. Good people. And I hung out with my folks a bit at home, which was nice too. Then I frantically packed, got on a few planes, and here I am in Barcelona.

spanish notes to self

Everything's two hours later here than in the states. It's a general rule that applies pretty much across the board.

Men and women kiss cheeks when meeting, and sometimes when leaving. I must figure out how to do that without poking peoples' eyes out with the corners of my glasses.

Although the Spanish have a reputation for being not on time, it's an overblown clich´┐Ż compared to African time. As in, West African Internal Time (WAIT). Spanish people generally do things on time, at least in this town.

other things

The folks at work are good people. And, I've stayed with all of them -- first at Thomas's place, then at Christian's, then at Wim's, then at Christian's again... Man. These folks are nice, but I'm about ready to sleep in the same bed for a week straight. Which is something that I haven't done in almost two months. It gets a bit old after a while.

The good news is that I found an apartment, finally. I'm very happy about it -- I was beginning to give up, to consider substandard living arrangements -- in crappy neighborhoods, or with boring people, but I got it now. I'll be living with four other people, very open and friendly folks, in a beautiful two-level attic apartment with two terraces. I'm happy. It's going to feel nice to wake up somewhere, feeling consciously lucky you're there.

And speaking of consciously lucky, work is going well. It was a frustratingly slow start, but I'm getting dangerous in Python. It's good to hack in a dynamic language. A shame I couldn't come before Johan left.

Oh, and my sister came up this weekend. It was cool, because it was both my dad's birthday (Saturday) and mine (Sunday). And also there's the fact that I hadn't seen her in two and a half years, or perhaps more. I knew she was going to be better at Spanish than me, having been here for longer, and like making it her life's work (she got into monterey for translation, which is apparently a huge deal), but in some ways it was frustrating. In Namibia I felt like I was really on the ball, I knew how things worked, I was very comfortable. And North Carolina is of course the "old homeplace", the place my bones know without my brain thinking. I used to know Spain decently well -- I spent a year in another town, studying -- but things have been very rusty. Oshiwambo comes out when Spanish should.

I think self-image suffers when its context erodes. A general-sounding statement that I mean to only apply to me, of course -- tricky little rhetorical device. The good news in that situation is that I'm becoming more comfortable here, my Spanish is improving, and hey, by this weekend I'll actually have a home.

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