Bought a portable halogen heater for cheap. It didn’t keep me warm and cozy enough, so I returned it and sprung for one of the radiator variety.
Bought a toaster. Went for the Moulinex – stainless steel toaster which comes with a two year guarantee and 30 Euro price tag. If a certain friend of mine had bought it (instead of opting for the cheap ones from the mom-and-pop shops that were at 9 or 10 Euros), I would have taken it upon myself to seize the opportunity to say,”Nothing but the BEST for [insert name of friend]!”
And when giving shopping advice, she would so eloquently deliver,“When it comes to [insert commodity or product here], don’t be a cheap -ass!”
Wondered why it gets so loud at night in my neighborhood. Found out last night that there is a club nearby -right next door. Literally. My apartment building’s street number is 53. There is a club at 51.
Did laundry and hung up my clothes on the drying rack on the terrace – in Barcelona no one seems to use dryers – all go the line-drying route.
And then it rained in the middle of the night. So now they’ve been drying for a total of 30 hours.
Bought slippers for 5 Euros! Go me. Bought towels, too.
Not sure why towels here are so pricey. Maybe Target and JCPenney need to set up shop here and make a killing. But – that would be an ethnocentric and American thing to say. Went to Muy Mucho, Casa Viva, Zara Home, and La Perla Gris, and came out from that trek with a pair of towels. On to the asian supermarket with the sign that made me cringe.
Normally, I’d eschew these things, the attitude of just going in and making monumental changes and converting an expat life into one as American as possible. But, I can only be myself; I don’t know how to be anyone else.
Incredibly difficult not to go clothes shopping right now, what with the rebajas and all. AND the segons rebaixes. So help my savings account balance.
So. Here’s the thing. The many things.
I live in a piso, with a roommate, in an old building in the Eixample barrio. It has an electric water heater, and tonight the hot water ran out before my shower ended. Water pressure is nonexistent, and the shower head is quite the quagmire to adjust so that you can get under the water without being plastered up against the wall. The bottom of the shower curtain keeps blowing in on your ankles.
All water in the entire piso takes a moment, mas o menos, to heat up.
I hang up towels on the hooks in the bathroom, but even after 24 to 48 hours, they are not fully dry. So I must figure something out. If there’s anything I hate, it’s wet towels.
The elevator has a maximum weight limit of 300 kilograms, or an estimated 4 people. A set of double doors must be pushed (vigorously) open inside the elevator for you to enter, and then fully closed behind you to begin moving.
The gas in the oven keeps going out a couple minutes after I light it, so I have to keep re-lighting it to keep the oven on.
There is no heat in my room, in the bathroom, or the kitchen. It’s cold. There is no insulation and the windowpanes are thin, so the effect is drafty and somewhat bitter.
And then I realize that I could be dreaming about all this. Walking on these sidewalks. Drinking this hot chocolate. Hanging up my clothes on the drying rack, clothespins and all. The floating sounds of music filtering in from the music school on the first floor of my apartment building. Shopping with my roommate at Mercat de San Antoni and watching her pick out farm-fresh eggs and fresh cuts of salmon steaks. Passing the museum that houses the most works by Pablo Picasso on the way to work.
But this is not a dream; this is real.
For a split second, a flicker of incredulity. This flashes when I see the adorned sidewalk tiles that my boots click upon as I hurry to work. Incredulity that my life has led me to this, to this spot in this city in this country in this part of the world at this very moment.
Time to jump down the rabbit hole. What’s down there? What lies on the other side? Well, vamos a ver.
Today’s rabbit hole included having a beer with the entire company at work. On a Thursday afternoon.
I’m a thinker and I’m a woman (don’t those get synonymous?), so I get to pondering the course of these things. You know..the what-am-I -doing-with-my-life, what are my goals, those almighty questions of life, etc., etc., et freaking cetera. And contemplating what lies on the other side.
Sometimes you take a long moment to answer a question. Not because you’re thinking of the answer. A question can tell you a lot about a person; of what they think about you, what they already know, or assume, and a bit of their perspective. For example, when I was in flight, a passenger sitting next to me asked if I had any kids. Assumption of age, place in life, perspective on people and the age they should normally have kids; all this comes into play.
“Have you ever been engaged?”
When someone asks you this, what do you do? You quickly answer – cut-and-dry. I found myself thinking for a moment. I thought briefly about my dating history, my current answer to the question, and then about the future, and when and what it will feel like when I receive that question again and have a different answer. And then I answered the question.
Yep. Real normal.
You have to jump down the rabbit hole to find out what lies on the other end. You’re not really sure, but you know what you believe and hope lie on the other end. You take leaps professionally: what lies on the other side is a bazillion dollar salary – that’s right, a bazillion. (Hello, creative liberties.) My own assistant is on the other side of the rabbit hole. My own published books. My own film. My own free time to write and travel and eat. The love of my life. A stronger faith. Patience in abundance.
There’s sometimes an attitude that you encounter in other people: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” (The fact that it’s grammatically incorrect bothers me, too.) If everyone always accepts things the way they are, how would anyone improve life for the better, or offer the possibility of change? Of challenge, of adventure ? How would you have discovered that your favorite dessert is nutella on toast if you never let yourself give it a go?
Because that’s what it’s about. The nutella on toast.