Un poco de esto, y un poco de eso...

6 marzo 2020
I finished my first week of teaching right on the heels of my first (let's hope only!) case of acute conjunctivitis. I am very grateful that the two didn't really overlap, because teaching with only one eye open and the other oozing pus isn't the sort of thing that tends to inspire confidence from one's students. The gift conjuntivitis gave me was noticing how much my idea of others' perceptions of me based on my appearance mattered. The day that my eye was nearly swollen shut I found myself hunching into myself as I moved around the city, barely able to make eye contact with anyone. Before moving to Spain I read a blog post about how Spanish women are very stylish and never leave the house sans nice clothes and makeup on point. I spent my first few weeks here measuring myself against every woman I passed. Then I had to start my week of teaching (and will have to continue for two more weeks) without wearing any makeup. And I love it. It feels so freeing, and it was immediately obvious that nobody cares. It hasn't made a difference in how I am treated/received/esteemed at all. (Update: two months later the only makeup I have worn is a little Burt's Bees tinted chapstick. It still feels great to go without it. And now I can go back to how it used to be, which was just wearing it occasionally for special occasions or when I want to dress up.)
las calles y los colores de Madrid

7 marzo 2020
I was walking home from the grocery store today, feeling anxiety scrambling in my chest: guilt that I hadn't done "enough" prep work for my week to come (choosing to spend some time talking to family and getting caught up on non-work tasks). And as I was walking, along came a beautiful classic spinach-green VW bug, with the pop pop pop sound of an old car engine, and the exhausty old car smell, and it felt like I had momentarily stepped back in time on these cobbled streets. The anxiety didn't disappear completely, but I think some of it caught a ride on that old car's back and rode away to have its own adventure somewhere else.

8 abril 2020
Overcast beachy morning, a little coffee that my roommate made, homemade butternut squash/zucchini/carrot bread I made yesterday...I am reminded of summer in Yachats, Oregon with my family. There are more mornings like this now, where it is not too cold to be on my cloudy balcony as winter lightens into spring. And now there are also days that are brilliantly sunny, and if I don't have work I will sit reading or just watching the street, shifting positions periodically to put different parts of my body in the sun, avoiding getting burnt and maximizing vitamin D absorption.

30 abril 2020
Y ahora, voy a escribir en español un poco, porque tengo ganas de practicar. Llevo cuatro meses en España ahora. Y aunque por más de uno de esos he estado dentro de mi piso, todavía no querría quedarme en casa en ningún otro lugar.

2 mayo 2020
Day 49 of our quarantine here. But now we can take walks! (I wish there was a version of highlighting text, like italics or bold, that captured little celebratory goblins dancing up and down and not quite sure if they can believe their luck. If there were, I would use it to highlight that last sentence.)

9 mayo 2020
Wine in Spain is not created equal. Like in California, where we are also known for our wines, there is great wine, there is good wine, and then there is wine that is really only helpful if your objective is a mild (or severe, I suppose) case of alcohol poisoning. I bought a bottle of organic Ribera del Guadiana wine recently for one euro fifty. Let's be clear: I don't know much about wine. I can't even really tell you what the difference is between "dry" and..."wet"? But I do know that in general, one fifty for a bottle of wine, whether it's in dollars or euros, is not going to get me anything to write home about. (Or will it? Because that is what I'm doing now!) But coming from the state that boasts Two Buck Chuck at Trader Joe's, I figured buying a bottle of vino tinto for 1,50€ would lead me down one of two possible roads: a) I'd discover a nice, or at least passable, bottle of wine for a very reasonable price; or b) I wouldn't, and I'd only be out 1,50€. The answer was B. This wine doesn't even boast enough flavor to fall into the "well, I know it's not that good, but I feel like being tipsy" category. Not worth it! Don't do it! Maybe I can use it for cooking? Or maybe I'll just save it to wipe down my cellphone after taking it out into the current Covid-19 climate. Next week, wine for 3€!

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