Sometime between Sept. 22-23rd 2010.
So there is an interesting sort of beggar here, it's a well off looking middle aged woman, who approaches people at a cafe', and this alone is striking, with a little piece of paper with some chicken scratch on it. I'm not entirely certain what it says, because my reading skills are lacking, not that I couldn't read it if it was sitting still and in clear print, but small factors add up. Anyhow she approached me with a terribly fake 'crying' noise, and asked me for money, because she needed to buy milk for a baby. A baby, mind you, that was not present. In these sort of situations, I tend to blank out, so I reached into my pocket, grabbed what change I had, and gave it to her. Fortunately for me this was less than a Euro.
This is the incredible part, she took the change, and then asked for 20 euro.
I told her that the change was all I had.
She then insisted that I should give her 20 euro, and reminded me of her baby.
I had to tell her twice more that the change I had on me was all the money I had at the time.
Finally she sneered at me and moved on.
I should have asked for my change back.
Seriously there are more skilled pan-handlers here, who don't wear nice jeans and carry a decent looking purse, this woman looked better off than most college students I know.
By skilled pan-handlers I am referring to street performers.
Sure not anyone can be good at something, but certainly everyone has something they can offer in exchange for pan-handling. There are street performers everywhere here, and they don't seem to do so well, but I can't imagine they do worse than this lady.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying 'Are there no work houses, no jails?'
I do think there should be organizations, and what have you, to help the poor, and god knows I'm going to be among them soon enough, but I am of the opinion that many people pan-handling are doing so out of a lack of motivation or pride. The desire for an easy fix.
It's a delicate subject, and there are many exemptions from this broad generalization.
There are even buddhist monks who insist on living off of begging, what people will give them, and there are people who find themselves in a really shitty situation with no ability to even street-perform for money.
But demanding 20 Euro of a stranger is a bit audacious, isn't it?
Inappropriate at least.
So if there's anything I'm going to take back with me from this year from Spain, this really life effecting experience, it's going to be how to live in constant struggle. Not financial struggle, that'll come next year or so, but rather constant mental struggle. Everything is in a different here language, even my classes.
I took a midterm yesterday (I will be tackling three classes per semester, so I will have 3 midterms and 3 finals every semester.) I'm waiting to get the results to post anything definite, but I floundered on it, hard.
I become very frustrated because communicating what I want to communicate is quickly ditched for writing a structurally correct sentences.
It could be, that this Class-Room 'accuracy over intention' mentality is one of the major contributing factors to my fear of speaking in Spanish.That and my absolute knee-knocking fear of being wrong.
I hate being wrong just a little less than knowing I'm wrong.
A lot of the time, in Spanish, I forgo saying what I'd like to say, in order to say something that is structured well, and accurate in the use of language, which seems to have a less mailable quality to it than English does, or perhaps like all art, one must know the rules before one can learn when to break them.
Speaking of art, and this time I know I was, I bought some translated literature and am excited to pick it apart.
But, returning to struggling, even if I don't do so hot in my classes, and I am right back to floundering, I will learn what it's like to fuck up everyday, every moment, all the time, and keep trying.
Life should be a struggle, shouldn't it?
Maybe, I think so.
Either way as a ambitious and (currently) young director, mine will be.
Art class is particularly difficult, primarily because the Spanish is fast and advanced, and secondarily because I don't like much in the way of 'Question Art' as I'm sure you've all read in my post about the Gugg.
Or didn't read in the Gugg post.
But if you've read this far on this one, I bet you read that other one.
(Still mulling over my proposition? Take your time, we have a year.)
I am trying very hard not to stress out about being right, or doing well in class.
But letting go of that stress is difficult, especially when considering financial implications of failing, though it is comforting at times to remember I already have a degree.
I am a certified Bachelor.
Mmm, would you look at that, I just realized I had a composition due the tomorrow, and it's just after 9:00pm.
It is 1:46 Am here, and my paper is lacking 80 words, and sound general construction, but it is in process.
I have paused from this labor to share with you all a revelation that just occurred to me.
The reason this might be hard for me, is that I am not actually a Spanish Major, nor have I ever really been a student of Spanish.
I have only ever taken the classes. Which does by no means make me a student of the subject.
My passion for the language is amusement at best, intrigue in the reflection it offers into English.
I cannot image someone diving face first into the Theatre department, and expecting to be able to swim at 3rd-year level because they 'took four classes' of theatre in high school.
I'd expect them to struggle a lot, and I would be surprised if they did well.
Same with Math, Science, or really any major.
Particularly if they had been doing something else for the last four years.
Why then, do I expect myself to be on the same level as the students who clearly have devoted most of their college time to learning this language?
I should not be hard on myself, this is going to be difficult enough as it is.
But this is most certainly not an excuse to slack off or fall behind, in fact it's a reason to try to stay on top.
It's a crazy thing to try and do, fortunately I'm a crazy thing trying to do it.
I've finished the paper's first draft (on computer that spell checks for me, and adds in those irritating accent marks) and will soon be transcribing it to paper. Go me! I only have to be out of bed in 2.5 hours! Fortunately Thursday is a fine day to sleep all day after class.
I've got a Spanish Dopple-ganger.
I came from over the sea.
I hang around doing Tourist things, and the blame is getting pinned on he, the blame is getting pinned on he.
Or him. Whatever. He rhymes with sea.
A quick (poorly chosen) reference to Momus's 'Pervert Doppleganger.'
Moral of the story is: I look like someone who lives here.
The other day a man stopped me, began speaking to me, and then balked, and when I asked him what he had said, 'Como?' he looked at me, and waved me away, and then asked if I spoke English. He then explained that I dressed and looked like someone he knew.
At another occasion I was walking and a woman I don't know waved at me, smiled, and then squinted and looked promptly away.
I think there's another short dark-haired kid who walks around wearing hats and glasses, with a little chin beard-thingy.
I should try and meet this guy.
But I do think I blend in here, a lot. People keep asking me stuff way to fast, and about local things too. They always seem surprised when I bust out the U.S. accent with a slow and broken pronunciation.
Yay fitting in!
It helps that the youth here look a lot like they do in the states.
Only more mullets.
Did I mention that? Mullets.
Apparently it's a political statement.
I don't care if it'd bring about the Universal Buddha (A loosely held belief that the next Buddha will be an entire Society rather than an individual, which is largely debatable, and mostly metaphorical, and largely a discussion for another time) I am not growing a mullet.
There are other ways to express things.
Mullets express bad taste.
Not even if Amanda Palmer and NPH would marry me at the same time.
Throw Johnny Depp and Alyson Hannigan into the mix, and I might be convinced.
Today I contacted my school appointed local friend.
Her name is Eider, she lives in Spain, and goes to UPV.
That is all I know about her.
I am lead to believe she can read, and is interested in meeting someone like me.
I sent her an email, which was kind of awkward actually. I'm not used to asking people to go to coffee with me before I know anything more than their name. However, she signed up for this program, so I image an informal meeting is not uncalled for, as my facebook name would suggest.
'Mo-Lay' it's Spanish for OH-MY-GAUTAMA-BUDDHA-SAUCE.
Mole is a traditional Mexican dish, and I am the envy of my USACing friends, for they are beginning to miss Mexican food, I on the other hand, live with Carmén. Who is Mexican, and in case you haven't been reading along, a damn good cook.
Today she made Chicken Mole.
This is chicken that is sauteed in fantastic for about 24 hours, and becomes as tender as my pride.
This stuff is amazing.
I know I said this about everything else she's made, but the Mole wins.
It just wins.
Well... nothing beats Pop's cooking, but that just goes without saying.
Spanish for the Day:
ACTO V, ESCENA QUINTA
Un día u otra había de morir.
Hubiese habido un tiempo para tales palabras...
El día de mañana, y de mañana, y de mañana
se desliza, paso a paso, día a día,
hasta la sílaba final con que el tiempo es escribe.
Y todo nuestro ayer iluminó a los necios
la senda de cenizas de la muerte. ¡Extínguete, fugaz antorcha!
La vida es una sombra tan sólo, que transcurre; un pobre actor
que, orgulloso, consume su turno sobre el escenario
para jamás volver a ser oído. Es una historia
contada por un necio, llena de ruido y furia,
que nada significa.
Translation by Manuel Ángel Conejero Dionís-Bayer. (I think)
Anyhow, Homework calls.