Monday, December 13, 2010

Monday blues.

So it's Monday. Not my favorite day of the week. I woke up feeling sick and had my temperature taken with the slowest thermometer in the history of the world. I spent literally ten minutes waiting for it to beep. No fever, but I stayed home from class anyway and now I feel completely fine. I was supposed to hand in a paper today, so María went to the university at the beginning of my class and handed it in for me. She is so cool.

This weekend Irene and Eva went on an overnight trip with a group they are part of, and the house was so quiet. Diego isn't very noisy, especially when he's alone. Irene and Eva left Saturday morning before I woke up, and when I walked out of my room I found their easel chalkboard parked in front of my door. It said something to the effect of "Good night Elise, for tonight and the rest of the nights this weekend. From your flat mates Irene and Eva." Beside her name, Eva wrote "Writing this was my idea".

They make me laugh. On one hand, they are so obnoxious sometimes, because they're kids, but they can also be so sweet. It is obvious that they love having me around, and it makes my life much happier. Diego finally stopped being shy a few weeks ago. Irene spends a lot of time avoiding her homework by talking to me, and Eva is just Eva. Kind of rambunctious and extremely quick to fly off the handle, but when she's done she calms down quickly. All three of the kids think I am hilarious, but mostly when I'm not trying to be funny. They think I make funny faces and the gestures I make when I talk send them into fits of laughter. Like I said, they're kind of obnoxious ;) I can understand why they find it amusing, so I tend to forgive them. Besides, how can I not when they do cute things like write me notes before they leave for overnights?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Gambas y gulas

Tonight we had gambas and gulas for supper.  Gambas are prawns.  Prawns are basically a larger version of shrimp.  In Spain, or at least at my house, they are cooked whole and then you remove the meat from the thorax (kind of like eating lobster I think).  I’ve never been much of a fan of seafood, so I was quite wary of the little prawns and their beady black eyes and antennae. 

Then there were the gulas.  They are quite weird-looking.  Refer to the picture below for proof.  As I found out from a Wikipedia search, gulas are imitation baby eels.  In Spain, baby eels are a delicacy, and are cooked in olive oil with garlic and some kind of spicy red pepper.  Unfortunately for the majority of the population, it is difficult to fish for baby eels, so they are extremely expensive.  Thus, we were eating imitation baby eels.  I think they creep me out much less than the real thing would—at least the fake ones don’t have eyes!

The verdict?  The shrimp were disgusting, but the fake eels were pretty good.  We had a really funny moment when I asked how I was supposed to eat the shrimp and I didn’t know the Spanish word so María told me in English.  She said I should lick them, and I couldn’t help it--I burst out laughing. I had this mental image of me licking this dead shrimp with its eyes and antennae and it was equally disgusting and hilarious.  When I demonstrated what licking was, they all burst out laughing.  Then we figured out that what María meant was “suck.”  So I peeled off the hard shell and sucked out the fleshy part, and immediately wanted to spit it out.  It tasted so gross, at least to me.  I was also mentally transported back to dissecting crayfish in high school.  Gross.  Normally I am not a picky eater—I’ve tried quite a few things here, and have liked almost all of them.  I have eaten a lot of fish, even though it’s not my favorite thing.  I just think seafood tastes disgusting.  So I swallowed the shrimp as quickly as I could and declared that I was not eating any more.  Antonio is convinced that the shrimp was undercooked and insists that if I try them when we have them at Christmas I will change my mind.  I think he’s wrong but I am game to try them one more time.

The fake eels were really good.  In reality, it is probably because they don’t taste like anything, except olive oil and garlic.  It almost feels like cheating, but I am glad we can’t buy the real thing.  I don’t think I would like real baby eels.

Today was the first day of a six day weekend for me!  Monday is the Day of the Constitution, when Spain signed its constitution, and Wednesday is the Immaculate Conception, so we have Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday off.  I will have class on Thursday, and another three days without class.  I am glad to have a break and also a chance to catch up on homework a little. 

Tomorrow I am going to bake chocolate chip cookies with the kids.  Eva and Diego have are going to run a race in the morning and Irene is going to meet with her friends but in the afternoon they will all be home to bake cookies.  They are excited, and so am I.  We’re going to have to improvise a little since María couldn’t find chocolate chips.  Instead we’re just going to cut chocolate bars into pieces.  We also don’t have brown sugar and will be using raw cane sugar instead.  I’m hoping it turns out because I love chocolate chip cookies.

There are only 20 days left until classes end, and then we have finals.  I am nervous but also excited for the break.  I’ll have three weeks without classes before the next semester starts, and it is going to be amazing.  Until then, I will be studying like a crazy person..