Friday, July 29, 2005


My method of packing currently involves me putting an article of clothing into a suitcase, walking over to the computer to check if the Kodak Picture Gallery website is working, and then cursing it to hell because it's down "temporarily" for "maintenance" so I can't put pictures up on blog.

They're not even my own pictures, but still. You could get an idea via Katie of what it's been like for me here.

Right now I'm listening to some songs that I last listened to over Christmas break. Christmas break sucked, because every Christmas break is only slightly better than getting wisdom teeth pulled out without anaesthesia. I've got a bottle of my roommate's vodka sitting next to my left elbow, so this means that I could take a swig after each sock I put into my suitcase and check-up on the Kodak Picture Gallery. This way, I might have fun packing while enjoying the Christmas music that's playing.

Website working now
But to continue, I mean, if someone could get this excited over a drink the first night here:

there's no telling what she might do when she's packing the last night.
Those there girls up there are my roommates. From left to right, Katie Wilhelm (goes to St. Louis University), Sheila Baxter (goes to UC Santa Cruz, has been here since last August), and well, I suppose that grinning, satisfied idiot in the right side of the picture would be Adrianne Gyorfi.

This was the beginning of the surprisingly short downward spiral into utter corruption. Not really.

So, here's Samantha. Kind of.

That's Samantha on the left side of the picture. I don't know what she was thinking when that picture was taken, or in fact if she was thinking. If I were to guess, though, I'd say that either she was thinking about squirrels or the really cheap beer that flowed through the streets of Granada. The guy in the middle was someone we met at the hostal in Granada from Singapore. He had an impossible name to pronounce, so he told us to call him John.

That picture is from my recent trip to Sevilla. From left to right, Michael, my kind of sort of roommate Ludi, Katie, Juan (who was the guy I actually talked to on the plane), me, and Jose María.

And finally, just to round it off, a cute picture of my roommates again where I'm not getting a drink shoved into my face:

These past few days I've been INCREDIBLY paranoid that I'd get my wallet stolen. Several kids at school have had theirs stolen over this past weekend, including Samantha, so I've been very vigilant.

I would like to take this time to tell Samantha how sorry I am that I'm not going to see her before I leave, but that I'll be seeing her plenty in Chicago since she is one of 4 cool people living there. The other three are my roommates. And I also hope that she has a lot of fun here with Cedo. By the way, I did not go to Templo Debod the other night because, well, ummm, I thought it would be pretty cool if Samantha and Cedo went without having to babysit anyone.

So, I've got to pack now. Tomorrow, I'm off for a few days, will be back the third of August, then move on the 4th to Hungary, where I will update much less frequently.

I love everyone.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

And that laugh...

I´ve had a breakthrough.

I AM ABLE TO APPRECIATE THIS. Nay, not only appreciate it...LIKE IT!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Guys don´t make passes at girls who wear glasses

In the past, I have been known to sleep through anything. I slept through probably a huge chunk of the Gulf War, most of the 6.5 or whatever earthquake in 1994, I´ve slept through psychology tests, through national holidays, meals, wars, New Years´, and airplane crashes (I didn´t say I was on the plane). Granted, I was NOT able to sleep through Julie´s 300 layer obsessive 20 minute taping of a 5¨ by 5¨ box last year, but I think everyone can still agree: I´ve got a knack for falling asleep.

However, even I surprised myself Saturday night when I sat down and managed to fall asleep in a discoteca at 5:30 in the morning with the music playing at one decibal level below what would actually break your eardrums. This means I´ve got more than a knack: I´ve got a TALENT.

So this weekend was spent in Sevilla with the guy I met on the airplane. If you´d like specifics, don´t hesitate to ask. What I´d much prefer to update about is part of the bullfight I went to see yesterday in Madrid.

Some people I know here seem to think it´s the ultimate cultural experience. Much like you can´t leave Spain without eating a bocadillo (it´s a fact: the chickens here actually do lay eggs filled with the sandwiches), you can´t leave Spain without seeing a bullfight.

TimeOut Madrid describes bullfighting as ¨certainly [not] dying out. Over the last few years the number of events held throughout Spain - and the number of people attending them - has been rising to record levels.¨ The rest of the article goes on to describe in very Hemingway-esque terms the beauty of the bullfight, the ¨dance¨ of the matador in the ring alone with the wounded yet still fierce bull, and the¨the extraordinary emotion transmitted from the matador, charged with the terrible task of dealing death¨ infecting the crowd. All in all, a pretty poetic picture is painted.

One small paragraph does mention that hey, it´s not always quite like this, but, you know, that´s life.

Katie and I arrived at the arena 10 minutes late, so we had to wait outside the rink to take our seats for about 10 minutes until they finished killing the first bull. First of all, I was not expecting to be infected by an extraordinary emotion. TimeOut is the mother of all guidebooks, but I´ve been here long enough to realize that hardly any Spaniard would want to show his face where there´s more than 5 families from the American South.

So when the doors shot open to let us take our seats, I was not too disappointed to see that the huge arena was hardly 1/4 of the way full. Katie and I took our seats on the front line at the top (sitting next to a couple from France and in front of a family from Germany), and proceeded to watch the slaughtering of the next 4 bulls.

I don´t know the first thing about bullfighting, so I can´t tell you if these guys were made of the stuff TimeOut Madrid describes, but I do know that I couldn´t have done what they did.

However, in between the time with the bull was dragged off the arena and the workers raked sand over the blood to clean up, I couldn´t help but feeling a little sorry for everyone involved. The matadors´uniforms still seemed to glitter like it was supposed to, the bulls were still fierce, and the death was still goary, but everything seemed to be shining with just the former glory of a desperate attempt to keep a tradition alive and people entertained. I´m sure most of the people there yesterday, like me, didn´t have the slightest idea what was truly talent and what was just show, so the applause at the end of each bull might not have seemed so spectacular to the men.

After falling asleep through one of the bulls (yep, I fell asleep AT A BULLFIGHT. I had a long weekend people) I woke up to Katie talkin´ to one of those sweet Geooooooooooorgia families who spent their last evening in Spain crammin´in as much culture as possible during a bullfight. After making some comments about animal cruelty, oh we´re in a study abroad program, and yeah, everything is so different and weird here and look, I´m just going to make some intolerant comments about how things work differently here and how the service isn´t performed at top speed in restaurants or in opening doors at bullfights, they eventually, naturally, got around to talking about food. Which got around to talking about bocadillos and how they´re so damn sick of seeing the same sandwiches around in the store windows everywhere.

So bocadillos and bullfights. Looks like I´ve seen it all.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


I'll update everyone about the food situation in the apartment.


There are these 2 French girls living here right now. Lutti and Camille. Lutti is cool. She does not eat my food.


Let's talk about Camille today. I had to confront her today about eating MY yogurt and MY jam. We already told her in no unclear terms that a simple "please" would probably suffice in most cases, and I wouldn't mind so much if she deemed it advisable to actually wash her hands after she used the toilet. Gross. Anyway, back to the main problem. The confrontation went something like this this very morning after I discovered that she ate my most expensive, yummiest yogurt purchased by ME the night before so I could have something to wake up to:

ME: Hey Camille, did you eat one of these yogurts this morning?
KLEPTOMANIAC CAMILLE (looking around frantically for the fire escape): Weeeelllll...

After that, I took her, stuffed her in my t-shirt drawer, and kept her there for the rest of the day. I decided the only punishment that would be appropriate is to make her sleep standing up in my closet and locking the dog in there with her. That way she'll get a concentrated whiff of dirty dog whenever she wants to breathe.

Tomorrow for dinner, we're having deep fried dog and cooked Camille. It will be better than anything our señora vomits out for dinner every night.

Sunday, July 17, 2005


Before I left for Spain, I checked the weather a few days in advance to see what kind of weather it would be here. I decided it would be rather warm.

So how hot is it actually Adrianne?

Well, today after I drooled during my nap (admit it! everyone does it from time to time), I decided I'd continue lying in my own pool of drool because it happened to be a few degrees cooler than the oppressive air surrounding me.

Gross, no?

This weekend was, well, as far as recuperating goes, semi-successful. Thursday night I went to a drag queen show, then afterwards was accused by Samantha (probably fairly) of not being able to resist my tourist tendencies as I attempted to take pictures of my first and probably last botellón experience here in Madrid. It took all the effort I could muster to resist taking pictures of a group of drunken Spaniards rocketing down the stairs of a plaza in a bathtub. TimeOut Madrid described this plaza, called Plaza Dos de Mayo, as moving from heroism to heroin. And TimeOut guidebooks are ALWAYS right.

In California, good striving A-grade kids like me take to the street to terrorize the neighborhood by playing hide-and-go-seek in cars. Or pouring soap suds into the spa to give the Home Owner's Association Committee something to wag their fingers at and give them front-page news for the next monthly publication created on Microsoft Word by one of the many local moms eager to point out the flaws in their neighbors' kids. Here, kids take the street to mix their rum and coke together while running around in a plaza with millions of roaches and leftover sausages everywhere.

On the way back from there, I met a group of drunken American guys in my neighborhood. I might not know too much about Madrid, but I do know that this area around my apartment isn't the hip and happening place to be running around drunk and shouting in the street. After I hoarsely pointed out to them that they were acting like a group of idiots and mutely pointed them to the huge row of taxis parked in front of a subway station close by, the leader told me proudly that they were just "fulfilling their role of being the obnoxious American tourists."

The next night, after I went to a free Beethoven concert and futiley sitting with some people like a bump on a log trying to make conversation, I decided I'd walk home. My walk home consisted of stopping in at every store that made tea only so that I could drink the cup of tea to have enough voice to ask for the next one at the next store. So the walk that normally would take 45 minutes took around 2 hours as I also grew inexplicably sleepy at the sight of every bench and had to sit down on nearly every single one. Sleeping on the street like an American tourist seemed like an excellent option right then.

So that brings me around to wondering if right now I am doing an A-grade job of being a great American tourist. An strong desire to sleep in the street AND take pictures of people I don't know here. An American in Madrid. Everything minus the disposable camera.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Some girl here keeps on eating all my jam

I was walking today and a bird plummeted down to earth and died from heat exhaustion right next to me.

Matt Damon and Heath Ledger are going to be in a movie together. THE Matt Damon from Good Will Hunting (<--a good movie) and THE Heath Ledger from A Knight's Tale (<--a bad movie).

The sky is definitely falling.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Instead of sitting here twiddling my thumbs

I thought I'd do a quick update complaining about my very minor cold that makes me feel like I've got cotton stuck in my brain and that I swallowed a gallow of sand. However, since I haven't been sick all year, I think that gives me permission to complain to make up for the lost time.


There, now that that's out, I can wait in peace for something to download. Only 11 minutes and 10 seconds left. That's not enough for anything. Checked over my homework quite a few times. Still think I screwed up, but Julio will correct it soon enough tomorrow.

(Have I mentioned that I can't swallow?)

I need to choose 2 paintings for my art history paper. Hooray. 3-4 pages of why I chose the paintings in the first place. I'm getting pretty tired of trying to analyze my feelings about everything I see. But, at least I got to go to the cool lectures with my teacher. I almost fell asleep in both of them.

Ok, I've exhausted all topics to talk about except for the pain I'm feeling in my throat. I completely forgot how much it sucks to have a cold. I had no compassion for anyone this year, since I wasn't sick at school, but now that I am, I feel bad. What goes around comes around.

52% left yet.

One month and a day ago, I was leaving my first year of college to go back to California. That means that one month and 5 days ago, I was bitching about missing my art history final. That was a long time ago, and the funny thing is that I haven't yet checked my grade for that class. For that matter, I haven't checked any of my grades in any of my classes. I'm just that bitter about it still. Actually, not really, but I guess I'm odd.

I can't wait until I can watch the final season of Roswell. That would indicate that I can't wait to go back to Chicago, but this isn't the case. I'd prefer to stay as far away from there as possible for as long as possible, and just see a precious few people I can still tolerate there. Such as both my roommates. Julie is working at Scoops, an icecream store, and Mary Kate is waitressing at some uppity restaurant in Pacific Palisades. I'd prefer the icecream store. Speaking of ice cream, I got some for the first time in a long time today. I don't count frozen yogurt as ice cream (which I did have right before I left), and since I usually give up ice cream for the summer, it's been a long time indeed.

Ok, 92% left. I'm going.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Because I care about my reader(s). Really.

Today I kind of sort of had a request from a potential reader of this to, in effect, "spill the beans," write the "down and dirty," the "low down" about my life here. I aim to please. And I can't afford to lose a reader. However, I failed to attend church today, so that means that if I actually DID decide to write about my life with an airhead (shit, that slipped), I would be struck down by lightning on the spot.

I just got back from a weekend in Granada. I'm glad I went, I don't really know about Samantha and Katie though. Them together I mean. Even before we left to go on the trip, I feared there would be a reenactment of the battle of 1492 between the Moors and Christians in Spain. However, this time it would have been between Katie and Samantha. They managed to agree on one thing: that they did not want to walk around the Albaicin in the midday heat with me.

We stayed in a hostel right across the street from the Alhambra with a pool on top of the roof, and for 14 euros a night. Breakfast was supposed to be included, but alas, no, because the bitter old man decided to charge us. The coffee was really good though.

So we got there Friday afternoon after a 5 hour bus ride. I was dead on Friday. I was out all night Thursday for some reason, got back in time to finish packing for the morning bus, then went to Granada. So we took yet another amazing tour bus around Granada, stopped in at La Cartuja and the Cathedral, then went back up our big hill for a swim and hang out.

Ok, I'm bored from writing about a schedule. I'm SUPPOSED to be aiming to please my readers. Mission: Keep Readers Entertained has failed in this undertaking.

I will instead proceed to describe who I evidently kept entertained this weekend. My new business partners Goh Di Kun (John) and Abraham Gonzáles Ponce. The latter bears a remarkable resemblance to Ponce de Leon . (Speaking about resemblances, I think this movie bears a remarkable resemblance on Garden State) Well, it has been discovered this weekend that all I ever do is ask questions in Spanish. Occasionally, I am too busy being so proud of myself for forming an inteligble question in Spanish that I fail to actually listen to the answer, and then I have to ask the same question again. Then when I do comprehend the answer, I just feel so good about myself that I have to ask another question and go through the entire routine again.

Anyway, two people gave me their business cards this weekend after I talked to them for a while. I think this means I'm moving up in the world. Instead of being, say, invited for a drink later, I'm being given business cards. This can only be going up everyone.

Just as a sidenote, I fear the death of the purring of Adrianne has begun. I had to purr to myself the other night just to remind myself of my natural instincts. This part can only be going down.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

A moment of silence:

Madrid is not going to be the home of the 2012 Olympics. Poor guys. They've been doing so much work around the city.

Congratulations London.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Saying no

My roommate, Katie, went to Morocco this weekend. Before she left this weekend, she got a warning from one of her friends:

"Watch out for what they try to sell you there. One of my friends wound up with 12 goats."

Well, as fun as 12 goats would have been, Katie and the rest of her friends only ended up with a rug each. Not just any rug, but one of those rugs you'd stick in your family room. They went into a store with a whole bunch of rugs, were given tea, and then shown the "magic rugs" where if you touch it, you buy it. Hence, the purchases made of around 200 euros each for one of these magic rugs.

Which brings me around to the subject heading: saying no. Saying no in a foreign country, rather. After the marathon mass I went to with my señora (mass was only 35 minutes long), we went out for beers. I knew it was coming, it didn't really bother me by now, but all the same, I said no yet still wound up drinking whatever she put down in front of me. Today I looked up "How to say No and still be cool," one of those teaching guide websites for teachers. These are the steps:

To say "no" and make it stick, try this three-step technique. Ask yourself each of these questions, and then look your friend straight in the eye, and confidently state your position:
1. What's the problem?
Be very specific about what is wrong. Give it a name. Say "that's stealing," or "that's dangerous," or "that's mean."
2. What could happen?
a] Could anyone be harmed by it (including you)? How?
b] Could it get you into any kind of trouble? What trouble?
c] Would it make you feel bad about yourself if you did it?
3. What could we do instead?
If you suggest something else to do, it makes it easier for your friend to go along with you.
If you can't change your friend's mind, walk away, but let your friend know he or she is welcome to join you. Say something like "I'm going to the park. If you change your mind, come on over."

That's pretty cool in America. I'd feel cool saying no like that in the US. The problem is when you're confronted with a woman with only one good eye who keeps on saying"Bebe, bebe" and you're TRYING to say that the problem is that you don't feel like drinking right then, but by the time you get to "what could we do instead" that means that you're trying to use a minimum of 3 verb tenses, and the meaning is a little lost. Also, back to the glass eye, you're trying to look her straight in the good eye, which is inevitably already looking for the waiter to get another beer, while the glass eye deceivingly looks at you as though it can see. The long and short of it is, it's hard to get your point across in the matter of beer, rugs, and goats in a foreign country.