Thursday, July 1, 2010

En Casa

So this is my 50th post, and probably the last...

I'm now back in the States.

Saying goodbye to everyone was very difficult...I cried so much. Coming back is such a joy to see my loved ones, but I've found that everything is right where I left it. It's like time stopped here and I was the only one to continue in time.

The food isn't the same, the language isn't as romantic, there are hardly any kisses at all...

but it's home. The only difference is that it's just one of the two I now have.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

San Juan

Last night was the El Día de San Juan, a holiday that traditionally celebrated the summer solstice (like Christmas with the winter solstice) and is basically an excuse to party on the beach.

So first they burn the Juanillos, giant paper puppets, similar to the Fallas de Valencia. Then everyone writes down three wishes on three pieces of paper and collects three coins. Then at midnight everyone burns the wishes and tosses the coins into the water backwards and jumps three waves.

Everyone lights a fire, there are fireworks, and everyone has a good time jamming on the beach. Fun fun.

And today I got my grades. I passed everything! Even friggin' French. Très bien!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


So it's late June, which means everyday gets continuously hotter. Now, I started sweating in March, so that's just a little reference point for you.

Heat makes me lose the desire to move and talk and breathe, so naturally I try to spend as much time as possible at the beach.

Unfortunately, I'm already a gamba, because on Sunday we went to Conil, one of the pueblos blancos. They're gorgeous, they look like little white mountains. But the beaches are bitches cause if you don't put on sunscreen three times you end up like a gamba like me (the Spanish have a hard time with English vowels, and often same beach as bitch. Tanget GO!

In Spain,
Shoot is shit
Six is sex
Socks is sucks
Sheet is shit
Luck is lick

As you can imagine, many humorous phrases are often created by otherwise normal lucky trips to the beach with six people. Tanget STOP!)

And today I went to see my German friend dance El Vito and Sevillanas in concert. Together we are the foreigner gambas.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


So school is coming to a close and that means I'll be coming home very soon. But like any awesome professional bodybuilding slash mediocre actor slash horrible govenor could tell you,

And I mean I'll return to Spain, or at least to Europe. I'm definitely thinking about studying abroad in college. Why?

College in Europe is super cheap.

How cheap? The most expensive colleges get close to €1000. I know, hold onto your seats folks.

Which is super unfair. I'm used to the idea of these dreams schools that cost upwards of $40.000 a year for just the tuition. In Europe, this is unthinkable. Which is nice, because that means everyone can go to school. Money is never an issue.

So I ask myself why it can be so damn expensive in the States. Why does it feel like our universitities are more intuitions of lucrative education than just, education? A degree isn't a privilege for the upper-class, especially, (sorry in advance for saying this..) in these hard economic times.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Me tengo que quejar un poquito..

So after Semana Santa, it would seem that I could get some sleep, right?
Haha, hoo hoo haha, good one, Patrick. But you forget, you're in Spain...

There's a little something called, Mayo de Cruces, which is more or less Semana Santa Dos, except the pasos are just crosses, and most of them are lifted by kids.

Oh but May is over, you say. Yes, my dear, dear foolish friend. But Spain is not over with me, as it seems.

As I type, there is another celebration that is suspiciously similar to Semana Santa; Corpus Christi.
It's very pretty, but still a pain in the ass, volume wise. And all these three celebrations seem to use the e.x.a.c.t. same repertoire.

I'm SOOO over Jesus right now...

Friday, June 4, 2010

La Cucaracha

So last night's graduation party was awesome. After the ceremony, I went home, ate dinner, swam in the ocean a bit, slept for two hours, then redressed and went out to the party. And yes, I went to school today. ¡INTRAX SUPERSTAR!

Of course, five of my teachers were there. And one of them was kinda tipsy! But it's all cool, today is Friday and we can all catch up on sleep during la siesta.

Now, it's very hot weather here. And very common visitors during the summer, are cockroaches.

But they won't come into your room if you have a light on. But if you have a light on, the mosquitos come through your window. And if you close the window you'll die of heat exaughstion.
I try to make myself feel better about this Catch 42 by singing my parody of 'La Cucaracha' when I eat soup: La cuchara.
Naturally, I'm the only one who laughs.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


So today I went to my school's graduation. It was pretty different: indoors in the theatre, no student speeches, no awards, no scholorships, no gowns, and lots of people (that graduated) didn't even show up.
Oh, and 17 of the 25 kids of the graduating class have to repeat the year.

But all in all, it was pretty nice.

Right now I'm resting up cause later there's a graduation party at 2am even though today is Thursday, but I can't complain, we all have our duties.

It looks like I'm going to pass all my classes, even science and gym! I aced the gym test today and did very well on my presentation on superpopulation in science. Cheers.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


The dialect in Cádiz is very distinct, not just because of the pronounciation, but because of the, for the lack of a better word, 'tendency' to swear.

This tendency is very well known in other regions of Spain, and by many, not considered very polite. Although it is kind of hillarious at times.

Just to give you an idea...
Instead of dude, they say jackass, penis, or vagina.
If you're mildly upset, you'll probably scream cunt.
If someone gets a good grade, you'll congratulate him by calling him a son of a bitch.

It's very typical here, and though I think it's funny, a lot of Spaniards outside of the area think the Gaditanos are rude because they speak very dirty. And it's EVERYbody. A three year old girl scream at her friends for being a gilipollas whilst her grandmother tells Zapatero to go to carajo.

A warning; it's really catchy...
If I insult you when I come back, be comforted by the fact that'll be in a language you don't understand.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


So apparently the States have recently recovered from the recession, more or less. And Spain, ha ha hoo, well, no.

The country with the highest desemployment rate in Europe?
The community with the highest desemployment rate in Spain?
The providence with the highest desemployment rate in Andalucía?

Ii guess it's a wake up call for a white kid from Connecticut.

Now, Spain will recover in it's due time of course, but in the mean time, a lot of uneducated fingers are being pointed at Zapatero (the President) because as I was so intelligently explained, "When the recession happened, Zapatero said, 'COME ON IN!'"

Though I'm no fan of the Bush administration, it's basically the same thing that happens in the States. Economy? DAMNIT, BUSH. Lost job? DAMNIT, ZAPATERO. Dog got run over by a dog? I TOLD YOU TWO TO KNOCK IT OFF!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

El Día de las Madres

So before I talk about Spanish Mother's Day, I have a rant saved up here that I gotta let out...

I am NOT, German, nor Swedish, nor British, nor Irish, nor Austrian. I am from THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, and although I may look to you as any of the NUMEROUS nationalities I have been foolishly labeled, I can assure you, that I am AMERICAN.

Thank you...

Now, Mother's Day is here is pretty exactly the same. Making breakfast in bed doesn't seem super common, but it's pretty the same economic excuse to get rid of expired chocolates and flowers.

I went to the beach today, got buried in said beach, and got sunburned on said beach. So pretty much same old same old.

A few weeks ago there was a charla with a bunch of the foreigners and politians. I got to read a poem to everyone, IN SPANISH, THAT I WROTE, and it tottttttally rocked. Like, not your regular run of the mill rocking chair rocked, but Spanish rocked, which I can assure you, is at least twelve times more rockin' than your usual rockingness.

Friday, April 30, 2010


So apparently I'm old fashioned because I don't shave my legs. Little exposition: my 73 year old host mother told me this. That I, the 17 year old, am old fashioned, and she, the 73 year old, is modern. EXCUSE ME for trying not to reveal how white my upper legs truly are (my kryptonite)

So I did really well on the last Lengua exam (highest grade in the class!)
Which turned out to be a BAD thing, because as I was one of the two people that didn't fail, and as I don't speak Spanish natively, this was seen as some sort of shame for my Lengua teacher, and he made me read my exam to my class so that they would know what a good exam was like. Embarrassingggg.

I'm reading Interview with a Vampire, IN SPANISH, and I love it. I can't wait to start the second one, IN SPANISH. Sometimes Anna Rice kinda drags out the depressiveness of being a blood sucking immortal being, which is pretty dumb, because there are clearly no down sides. At all.

And I've been getting all morenito, (poco a poco) since March, cause you know, I just HAPPEN to live across from the beach rated the most beautiful in Spain, the country that is already the Miami of Europe. Sigh, my life is so hard.

Monday, April 19, 2010


So television here in Spain isn't quite as popular in the States. Everyone has a TV, but spend fewer hours watching it.

I however spend a fair time watching TV. It's really good for practicing my Spanish when I don't have someone to talk to. Howeverrrr....

Everything is American. Almost all the shows are American with dubbed voices, or knock-offs (Gran Hermano = Big Brother, La Ruleta de la Suerte = Wheel of Fortune, etcétera)

The Spanish voice actors... I don't know if they record in outer space or something, but they're always so gaspy-for-breath and dramatic. Imagine that the script is written in all capitals and tears, and you get an idea.

And all the titles in English are translated just as badly. Hocus Pocos = THE RETURN OF THE WITCHES, Brokeback Mountain = TWO COWBOYS DOIN' IT, etcétera.

Also, even though I get to enjoy the Simpsons and Family Guy in Spanish, the commericals begin in the middle of a sente-





and then come back ten minutes later. TEN.

And I don't know why, but during Christmas season, there are so many cologne/perfume commericals. I counted 30 different ones. And on the 6th of January, the biggest shopping day and gift day (LAST MINUTE SHOPPERS, ALL OF THEM), there were 60 in a row. IN A RO-

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


So like I've already mentioned, I miss Jewish people. But I'm the only one.

Now, it's not that Spaniards are Nazis.....afterall, in the Midwest there's a huge Nazi movement.

Most of the desks have a Swatzika drawn on them. Or an anti-swatzika sign. There seems to be some graffiti war going on or something. Maybe I'm just dumb and never noticed it in the States.

But the other week I started writing on the desks with Statzikas: (in Spanish, of course)
The King of the Jews
Is YOUR God.
Respect the differences,
Realize the similarities.

And then a Star of David and a cross that joined together to make an anti-Swatzika sign, yayyy.

One of my classmates today told me that Hitler was God, and crossed out my acceptance tolerance love stars horse shoes and rainbows pictures with heavy black marker.

He was laughing when he said it, but stillll, that's not really anything to laugh about, especially when we're studying WWII in history at the moment.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Today is Thursday of Semana Santa, the most important day. After I eat dinner, my friends and I are going to see some more pasos, which will end at 10am. Wheee.

Today is the saddest day, since Jesus dies and all the stuff. Some pasos have flowers thrown on them. Others glide in the darkness because everyone turns of their lights as they pass by. And most of them, when the people carrying the pasos rest, have a Saeta sung to them, which is basically a branch of Flamenco, but it's a solo in the middle of a street with no instruments. It's basically an eargasm.

Semana Santa is obviously extremely religious, but at the same time it's not. The people who carry the pasos do it as repentence (it's at least 8 hours, no easy task) but the people who watch do it out of custom, whilst others break down in tears and pray. It's a very big cultural mix of tradition and leisure and religion. Which brings me to my main point:

Spaniards are very tolerant of religion. Or at least, they're so used to it since it's ingrained in their culture. Most of my friends are Atheists or non-practicing Catholics, but that doesn't mean they're unaccepting. One of my friends has shown me every single church, explained the history of every single brick, and has attended Mass with me. Yet he's an Atheist.
This is something very few Americans would do. It's pretty typical for an American Atheist to shun a cross like a vampire, but a Spaniard never would, because it's frankly intolerant. They understand that personal religious affiliations and interactions with others in religious terms have no over-lapping.

Oh, and a common Semana Santa treat is the Pirulí. A cane of sugar that even I can't finish. Shame. And the little kids collect wax from people carrying these enormous candles along with the pasos, on little aluminum balls. Fun AND logical, right?

Friday, March 26, 2010


So today we got our grades for the secod trimester. I failed French (which I expected) BUT also science and gym.
Uhm, the hell?

I was supposedly one of the only people that was going to pass science. And then the prof gives me a 4. He hasn't been in class for three weeks. Asdfghjk.

And my gym teacher is an idiot too. Everyone told me that if you're a boy and play soccer, you pass the class, if you're a girl, you pass the class. Guess who is male and doesn't play soccer with the other males?
I mean, I still participate, just not soccer with the boys. Every Spaniard is born with soccer ball and they all play so brutely. I don't even keep up with the girls. Tears.

But anyhoodles
Now is vacation. I'm really looking forward to Semana Santa. The other day my class went to all the churches in the Old City looking at Los Pasos. They're huge and beautiful and I'm so excited to see them in action with the music. Semana Santa in Sevilla is the most famous, but I'm staying in Cádiz. Los Pasos technically don't end. There's always one out during the week. People don't sleep for a week, supposedly. Sigh.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

¡Hoy es mi Santo!

So here in Spain, since practically everyone is named after a Biblical character, everyone has a Saint Day.

Before, gifts weren't given to you on your birthday, but rather, on your saint day. Now it's more like America, but it's still not uncommon to get a small cake or a little gift or go out with your friends for dinner on your Saint Day. And EVERYONE wishes you a happy Saint Day.

Mine was today. I got a hat! Some people wore green, but because Patricio isn't a very common name, and Irish blood hasn't touched the Spanish gene pool, it's not as big as in the States.

And nobody pinches you.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Hey, remember that science exam I was soooo sure I had failed? Turns out I was the only one that passed. Go figure. Also turns out that our teacher randomly isn't coming in for 8 weeks. Would have been nice to know that I could have slept in rather than show up to an empty classroom. This is the fourth time that's happened to me.

Anyways, preparations for Semana Santa are becoming more prevalent. In La Plaza de la Catedral, there's a huge wooden ramp that was built for Los Pasos as they go into the cathedral. If you're not familiar, Semana Santa is a very beautiful and lachrimosic (does that word exist) religous procession, the most important part of which, is the huge structures of the scenes of The Passion built onto thes huge like, table things that are carried by hand through the Old City into the Cathedral. Oh, and typical part of the dress for this week is a hat called a capirucho, which looks like a KKK hat. Sweet.

Anyway, yesterday there was a charla, which means skipping three hours of class to listen to journalists talk and take questions about current issues facing Andalucía, such as education, standard of living, unemployment, etc. We got to be on TV, so that was cool.
And OBVIOUSLY this charla had to be opened up with El Himno de Andalucía. sung by your local peer!, and an unbearably long paper on how wonderful Andalucía is, read by a chiquilla in typical flamenco dress. Absolutely necessary.

Lately I noticed something missing in my life: Jews. They're always my favorite people (don't ask me why) and in Spain, there aren't ANY. I've asked everyone here if they even KNOW a Jewish person, and they all said no. Not a single synagouge, not a single Batmitzvah, not even a single Briss. I guess the Spanish Inquisition kind of took care of that.

So this Monday I started going to the gym with a friend. Everything hurts. And they don't have any weights lighter than 2.5 kg, which is an embaressing realization when you see middle aged women bench pressing twice your weight.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


So (I think at least half my posts have started with that word) I've noticed much less dependency on cars here.

Here's something spooky: Ever since I got back to Cádiz from Madrid during Christmas break...I haven't been in a car.

In part, because I can't drive here. But also because:
I walk to school
All my friends are within walking distance
I have a bus system and train
Groceries are bought, at the largest frequency, once a week, eliminating the need for a car to carry groceries

None of these are true fo me where I live in CT.

My science teacher was explaining to our class that most Americans are more dependent on cars than Europeans, an odd concept for them.
Sure there are cars here, but there are lots more bikes and motos than in the States.

It's healthier, and greener. But it's just that Europe is really old, built upon a small city system, whereas the States is the contrary.

Funny American stereotype here: Everyone owns a car bigger than a house.
Which is only true in Texas. (I think that's three Southern jokes now. Rah!)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Por fin, se acaba...

So Carnaval is finally over. Thank youuu. Now I can get back to sleeping before midnight.

The last week or so was lovely sprinkled with my head in the toilet and diarrhea. (yeah, you didn't need so much detail, I know. Deal with it) Nothing to miss school for, but enough to skip meals, which is, for me, unthinkable.

There's a school trip to Rome tomorrow, and will last a few days. I'm not going, cause it cost waaaayyy too much, but I still have to go to school, even though my class size will be six students. According to the words of my history teacher "We will not do anything in class, but you may not skip class."
Ohhh, there's that Spanish logic again.

On Friday, when I got back home after a rather dissapointing night of partying, I couldn't enter the house. I have a key. Most people have just one lock. But my house has three locks. Two of which can only be opened from the inside. Yes, quite hillarious, I'm sure you can imagine me laughing at 5am about not having a bed to sleep in. A real knee-slapper, really.
Oh but Patrick, why didn't you just ring the door bell to wake up your hostmother?
Good idea, Reader! In fact, I did that several times. And called the house. Deaf hostmom drugged up on fever pills = not waking up for crying Patrick.
So I spent the night at a friend's house, so not really a big deal, but still, you know,

I got a bunch of exams back, and I didn't fail any! Well, probably the science recuperation one I did. (the exam asked me to identify a picture of a pigeon, explain global warming, describe the effects of AIDS, and match scientists to their contribution to evolution. My science teacher = An idiot.)
I should explain recuperation, if you fail a trimester exam (they do trimisters here) you can take it over again. Yeah, I know. That's like, not even pretending to try.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


So last Saturday, Carnaval started.

Technically, it starts on January 10th when the competition in Gran Teatro de Falla (here in Cádiz!) starts. Which is conviently when Christmas vacation ends. Very clever, you lazy Spainards...

Anyways, the competition ended last Friday, and I stayed up 8 hours watching it. Is it just luck that I fell alseep right before they announced the winners?

It has four types of groups, coros (lots of people, guitars, percussion, basses, trying to sound pretty) Cuartetos (fiveish people putting on a short funny musical with no instruments) Comparsas (15ish people with guitars and percussion, sounding pretty and singing critiques of society) and, my favorite, Chirigotas, (15ish people, guitars and percussion, being absolutely hillarious.)

They all wear funny costumes and it's just awesome.

So the following Saturday night, half a million people from all over the world, came and partied in the streets. In costume. I went as Patrick Star. GET IT? HAR HAR HAR!

And no I did not wear a shirt and yes I did paint my body pink.

I went home pretty early, at like 5am (which is early here)

The Sunday is the day for the kids, so there was a parade and all the niños were dressed up beating drums and running around eating candy.

Except the parade could've past for a Gay Pride parade in the states: Spanish men have no shame in dressing up as a woman, especcially during Carnaval. And they all shave their legs. Sissies.

On Monday we didn't have school so my friends and I went out in the afternoon listening to Chirigotas in the streets. One of them made fun of SuperNanny. Yeah, take the Brit down a peg!

And then when we returned to school on Tuesday, it was pretty much a waste of time.

-Students! Pay attention!

-But it's Carnavaaaal =(((

-Oh all right. We can learn next week.

My peers have been singing and dancing in class with more frecuency lately. Also, there's Carnaval music outside my window until way after midnight everyday. Haven't slept much recently...But whateva, it's Carnaval!

Monday, February 8, 2010


So coming from a small wealthy town, I only encounter homelessness when I visit New London, not in my own town.

The other day, SEVEN homeless people were sleeping outside my front door.

As if that weren't bad enough, lat night I saw a homeless person sleeping outside; but he was only about 14 years old.

Sometimes I give them my lunch, but I know it doesn't really change anything. No food will turn their lives around.

Andalucía is the poorer part of Spain, so I have to get used to seeing such dolor on a daily basis. I hate admitting when I can't do something, but the truth is, what can I do to help these people?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


So my birthday here was pretty sweet. SPANISH STYLE, CHECK IT!

So no cake. Tears. Cake is served at birthday parties, but not normally for adults or teens. More tears.

I was having my party at the beach/park/pub sense everyone kept moving around and only 12 of the promised 40 came. Bummerrr.

But I finally got another debit card, which means I CAN GO BACK TO MY HELADARÍA AND ENGORGE MYSELF. Tears (of happiness)


The other week I learned that Macarena (the line and a two and a three Macareina) is a NAME. Of this chick that a guy is talking about. In Spanish it's super sexual, talking about giving your body to her. Then it segues into the background story of her boyfriend. Spainards are weeeird.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


So as I've already mentioned, Spanish schools aren't as competative as I'm accustomed. But here in Andalucía, the level is even lower.

I had noticed that one of my friends has repeated. Twice. I then asked another friend of mine how many people in our class is repeating a year.

She counted.

Eight. Out of twenty-four. That's a third of my class. I actually started to cry.

The thing is, I go to the BEST school in the area. And some of the other classes in the school have rates up to 50% of the kids repeating.

It's hard to explain, but this made me so sad. Education is so important to me, and to see such blatant failure of the educational system made me so angry at the people in charge that do nothing, the parents that don't encourage education, and so sad for my classmates that are losing out on opportunities.

I didn't really realize how lucky I am to attend the school in the States that I do. Really really lucky.

But enough of that stuff...

So now it's CARNAVAL SEASON!!! Currently, in El Teatro de Falla, there are all these theatre groups singing original compositions in a competition. It last a couple weeks, and the finals are coming up. After the competition, is the week of partying and dressing up and all that jazz.

Of course, our school this year decided to screw us over and only give us one day of the week off. Not that they expect anyone to come. A flyer was sent out, reminding everyone that we don't have Carnaval off, but by the tome of the flyer, you could tell it was more of a suplication than a mandation. (I wonder if those are words in English...I keep translating from Spanish to English and sometimes it doesn't work too hot)

And now another topic completelyyyy.

So as anyone that has taken Spanish 101 should know (you can skip this part, Frenchies) there are two forms of you singular: Tú, and Usted, the prior being informal, and the latter being formal.

In theory, which is of course what we're taught, tú is used between children with eachother, family, friends, and Gods, and Usted is used between children with adults that aren't family members, strangers, and coworkers.
In practice however, this is completely different.
Almost all my teachers refer to me as usted, whilst I can call them tú if I please. HOWEVER,
some teachers want to be called usted, to show respect, but others want to be call tú, to show familiarity and warmth. Head desk.
As my friend Rubén has told me, Usted, though technically more polite, can have a very rude implication. It can easily implciate I DON'T LIKE YOU AND DON'T REALLY WANT TO TALK TO YOU, YOU ARE NOT MY FRIEND
Which just shows how well we've been taught in school.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Obviously there are aspects of a culture that are merely trends, not absolute truths, and always have their exceptions. But one trend that I've noticed is slightly more inequality between the sexes.

It's nothing extreme. However, in Spain, compared to the States, it's more common for a women to not have a job, to be the caretaker of the house, and for the man to not know how (or simply not want to) clean and cook. Sort of like the 50's. (or the South)

As a male minor, I honestly don't have to lift a finger. My only job is to keep my clothes off the floor. Mamí makes my bed, washes my clothes, has lunch and dinner ready for me when I get home, etc. And little things, like bringing me a blanket if I look cold, making me a bocadillo if I look hungry, clearing my plate after I finish eating, closing the door for me when I leave the house, etc. All things I'm perfectly capable of doing myself. My mother raised me to be more independent, something I plan to teach to my own children, so to have someone do everything humanly possible for me, well, actually irritates me at times.

When I vistited Madrid the other week, the friend I was staying with insisted on making my breakfast, and indirectly dressed me by nagging me to death (but with good intentions, of course) She and her mother did little things like this. The father on the other hand, was also being waited on.

The men do far less in the household. Granted, my first hostfather was 'the chef' of the house. But even still, half of my meals were made by my hostmother. Which means that if a man does his share of the work, he's exceeding expectations.
Sweet. (for me)

If you look at South America in countries that had been conquered by Spain, the culture is much like what Spain used to be; even more machista.

But perhaps the story in Spain is in part due to Franco. Under his rule, a man could kill his wife, and a boyfriend his girlfriend, if infidelity was even suspected.
Franco, for you silly Americans that don't know your history, was a dictator in Spain. And yes, that law existed, up until Franco's death in 1974. That's not even 40 years...
The scary thing is that he's really popular with some of the people here.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


So one awesome thing about Spain is that Christmas break is a lot longer. It starts on the 23rd, and ends on the 1oth. That's over two weeks. SUCK IT.

Anyways, Christmas is a lot different here. Instead of all the fun and partying happening in a relatively short time, it's all spanned out.

Christmas dinner is eaten on Christmas Eve, with lots of seafood and lots of ham.
SOOO ham is bassically to Spainards what the cow is to Hindus (other than the fact that they eat their coveted furry God...sort of like Catholics. Mmm, the flesh of Christ...) because it's like the biggest treat. Every household, and I mean every househole, has ham during Christmas time on this wooden block thingy where one cuts the ham. It lasts for over a week, not in the fridge, but on the kitchen counter, with the only visible attempt to protect it from bacteria is a feebly strewn across hand towel. And it's not cooked. It's litterally a leg of a pig that has been chopped off, dipped in salt, cured, and then served. There's still the hoof and little hairs and everything. I get so sad just looking at it. Fortunately tears are a great sauce with ham. Mmm, Spanish Jesus.
Then all the leftovers are eaten during Christmas day. Everyone goes out to clubs and bars pretty much everyday until work or school starts again.

On new Years Eve, everyone wears a pair or red underwear that was recently given by a friend or lover. Trust me on this: Red underwear while drunk = closest sensation to being Superman that exists. (At least that's what the people who drink tell me. I'm a good little Intrax Superstar)

Instead of watching the ball drop in Times Square, people watch the clock in Puerta del Sol in Madrid. On the last twelve seconds, twelve giant chimes ring, and everyone pops a grape into his mouth with each ring. Grapes here have seeds in them (I don't know if my mom buys some seedless brand or American grapes just don't have seeds) and I made the mistake of not taking them out. Three minutes of grape juice, and crunching seeds is so not grapealicious. Oh, and instead of saying Happy New Year, everyone kisses eachother. And yes, the grapes are still their mouths whilst they do this.

On the 6th of January, Los Reyes Magos come (the magical wizard kings...aka, the Three Wise Men. The Bible is a LOT different in Spanish, apparently...) and they give gifts to all the good little boys and girls. Aka, Santa Claus, except one is black, one is Asian, and none of them are at risk of diabetes. (Spain, being a mostly Catholic nation, follows the advent calender more closely than America, thus, gifts are exchanged later)
My friend's little sister, the age of nine, still believes in Los Reyes Magos. The whole family prepares the house, hiding gifts, and buying extra ones for her that claim to be from Los Reyes Magos, so as not to tarnish her innocent and fragile childhood. At least, that's what the family thought until they figured out that she always knew they weren't real and kept quiet so she could get more gifts. Smart kid.

And that's about the Spanish Christmas season.

On the 3rd of January to the 10th I was in Madrid, stayed in a friend's house and visited everyone. It snowed, ALMOST NOTHING, but it snowed, and to see those beautiful white flakes of angel dandruff made me so happy that I insisted on wearing shorts. Oh, and someone stole my wallet. SO NOT COOL, SPAIN. That's the last time I put valuables in the back pocket of loose jeans in a crowded Metro.