September 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

So Gabe and I visited Prague a few weeks ago.  We had a great time.  Here’s a video:


The Apartment

September 24, 2010 § Leave a comment

So, it’s been a little while (way more than that) since my last post, and to be honest I feel pretty bad about it.  There’s a lot of blame to go around, but it’s only right that I take the brunt of it.  I want to make sure that you the reader know that it’s not your fault that I haven’t been posting.  Please, I would feel even worse about the situation if you blamed yourself.  With that being said, there are probably a lot of questions, such as “Where are you living?” “What do you do with your time besides not keep up with your blog?” “Do you have any pets?”  The answer to at least some of these questions will be shown forthwith.  First, a quick recap if you will (and I think you will): I traveled for about two weeks with Wade and Jack through Paris, Rome, and Madrid.  I am now studying in Madrid until December.  Now, as to where I live…

Officially I live at Calle de los tres peces 21, primera ext. derecha, España, código 28012 in the neighborhood Antón Martín.  Since that means nothing to almost everyone reading this blog (I’m going out on a limb and assuming that people are still reading this) suffice it to say that I live in an old flat near the middle of Madrid (Fun Fact 1: Antón Martín is where Cervantes lived whilst he completed the first edition of his novel Don Quixote).  I live here with four roommates: Gabe, a friend from UNC; Gabriel, from Ecuador; and Felicitas, from Germany (Germans!).  To be honest, it was really easy to find the place.  Three days after Wade and Jack left for the U.S. I met Gabriel at a party in my hostel, we got to talking, and he informed me that he had two rooms in his flat that he needed to rent out (Fun Fact 2: Madrid is always empty in August, and it’s difficult to find renters.  So that worked out well).  It was a good price and location, so I checked it out the next day, and then moved in a day after that.  Gabe arrived a few days later and we were good to go.  At first there was a girl from Northern Spain living in the other room (which was crazy because she was never here.   Seriously, Gabe never once saw, even though they lived in the same apartment for almost two weeks.  Two weeks!).  Then she won the lottery.  Literally, she won the lottery.  I have no idea how much, but it was enough to move to a nicer apartment.  As a result, Felicitas moved in at the beginning of September.  Here’s a quick description of the crib (Fun Fact 3: You have to live in one place for at least a month before you’re allowed to start calling it “the crib.”)

It’s purple.  Very purple.  There’s a kitchen with an awesome gas stovetop and a gas oven that may or may not be broken.  Here is what I do know: it looks old, the door is falling off, and it’s a gas oven.  While I can hear gas coming out of the oven when I turn the knob I would be lying if I said I wasn’t more than a little terrified of waving a lighter around the inside of it.  We have two refrigerators, hot water, a washing machine, and a clothes line (you gotta love the low-impact lifestyle).  There’s one bathroom (which is a little annoying with four people, especially early in the morning when I really have to pee) a dining, room, a living room, and a balcony.  The living room has wood floors (well, fake wood floors.  It’s really linoleum painted like wood, but I feel like it’s a nice touch).  As I said before, the walls are a calming lavender color which is complimented by a very green couch.  We have several bizarre plants in the room, and the strangest collection of paintings ever accumulated in one location.  None of it is particularly good, but it’s all fairly awesome.  For example, my room has two pieces of art (the only word suitable to describe them) that were already in place when I moved in.  A giant (maybe 6 x 2 feet) framed poster of about 30 dolphins swimming through the cosmos (a Monet I think; one of his earlier works) and a picture of a gold Virgin Mary holding a tiny-yet-grown Jesus in her arms with angels above her head (think Eastern Orthodox iconographic art) placed above the doorway at the perfect angle for Mary to be staring directly at me while I’m (trying) to sleep.  The main painting in the living room sits above the green couch, and depicts two rundown houses and a derelict canoe sitting in the middle of a swamp.  I think that should give you a good picture of the apartment I’m living in (it really is fantastic).  There’s no TV, but we have something even better to look at: pets.

The living room also contains a decent-sized fish tank, and that provides all of the entertainment I could ever need, because it’s the craziest fish tank ever hashed together.  It belongs to Gabriel (he loves animals) who has a practice of buying random fish that he knows nothing about and throwing them together with little thought as to whether they could or should coexist together.  For this reason, our aquarium contains two Angel fish (who don’t get along) two small sharks, a large number of small colorful fish, a Picastamus (which we named Pablo), and a Beta fish.  That’s right a Beta fish, the one fish that you’re definitely not supposed to put into a tank.  Fortunately it’s calmed down some (the big Angel fish keeps it in line) but I think it’s killed at least two or three fish (including a second Beta fish which I think lasted a day in the tank before being killed by the first one).  We tried to explain to Gabriel that that’s what Beta fish do (destroy anything in their territory) but he shrugged it off.  To his credit, he takes great care of the tank (much better than I did with my fish tank, which was cleaned once in two years) and none of the fish have died recently.  He even has plans in motion to build (that’s right, I said build) another fish tank to put in the dining room.  This one would 2.2 meters by 0.8 meters, which doesn’t sound very big until you realize that’s almost 7 FEET BY 3 FEET!  Ridiculous.  Simply ridiculous.

The most recent development in the apartment has been the addition of a new roommate: Fiona, a Korean squirrel (Fun Fact 4: “Squirrel” in Spanish is “ardilla”).  I’m not sure why Felicitas and Gabriel decided to purchase the squirrel a few days ago, but I suspect it was a clever ploy to keep morale high while we dealt with not having any cooking gas for three days (the ploy worked—the squirrel is adorable.  Watching her clean her face was one of the most precious things I’ve ever seen.  The gas has since been refilled as well).  She (we think it’s a she, but the people at the pet store weren’t too sure) looks exactly like a chipmunk and sits in a cage in the living room.  She eats some kind of dry mix (but fruit) and spent the first two days sitting in a corner of her cage, terrified out of her mind.  Since then, I’ve made it my goal to befriend her, and to coerce her into loving me by feeding her small bits of fresh fruit.  I think it’s actually working because she doesn’t climb up the cage when I pet her anymore.  I give it a week before she’s sleeping in my bed and following me to school in the morning.

Well that’s about it.  We cook a lot (gotta save that money) which is good because I’m learning how to make some cool dishes (most of which involve some combination of chicken, rice, or eggs).  The apartment as a whole isn’t particularly new or fancy, but it’s clean and cozy and I definitely think we’re in the right living situation.  I don’t have any pictures of the apartment, but hopefully you can imagine it from what I’ve written.  Thanks for sticking with this terribly inconsistent blog, and I’ll try to write some more in the next few days.  Seriously, I will.

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