Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Dispatches from the East Side (which is still considered West...)

Well.... today I will tell you a little tale of a cooking robot. Yes, I already know what you are probably thinking. What could a cooking robot (which doesn't even exist in our conscience of reality) have to do with Spain? Well, just hold your horses because you are about to find out. So.. Miguel Angel is my incredibly gracious, fluent, Type A to the umph degree, straight-laced boss. He is great and is really a brilliant teacher; however he is extremely meticulous and speaks very formal British English with a mezcla (mix) of a British Spaniard. He takes me to work every morning and every morning greets me with the same accent I have come to know so well, "Good morning, Brittney. How do you do today?" And I respond with the usual (and casual, "I am doing great; and how are you doing?" Normally responded to with general formalities of the previous night's events and any topics to discuss relating to classes. Well, this one morning, I was in for a lot more than the norm. I didn't even see it coming. This all ensued just before Christmas, so he was informing me of His Christmas purchases when he so boldly and proudly pronounced to me the gift he had just purchased for his wife: a cooking robot. He said this with such assurance that I should certainly know what this was, but the only image I could muster in my mind was Rosie, the maid/robot from the Jetson's. I was certain he was just kidding (which he doesn't do often, and when he does they are somewhat awkward jokes just as this where you are left quite uncertain whether you should laugh or just say, "uh huh."). As I began my "that was an awkward joke, but I know I should laugh out of respect" laugh, I realized he was not kidding. He had bought his wife a 900 euro cooking robot (which he did not hesitate informing us of the price of this most coveted kitchen commodity). So my boss has bought his wife a robot. In my mind, this does not exist. There must be something being lost in translation. But it is not so. He further explains that "this robot makes ANYTHING. You just stick the food in it, and it comes out brilliant! It can make lemonade, and paella, and smoothies. You just put the ingredients in, and it does everything!" The way he kept saying "it" kind of freaked me out a bit like this was some form of artificial intelligence. As he further explains, I get the idea that he dropped 900 euros on a fancy food processor. I just am not quite sure what to think of this! Then, the best part comes. He is not "allowed" to use the machine until he is properly trained. There is a "robot meeting" that he will be having after Christmas that I am invited to. A sales representative will be coming from Madrid to show the machine and make some "delicious" meals. The party hasn't gone down yet, but I can't wait to discover what Miguel's Magical Cooking Robot does at his Cooking Robot Party!

And here are some pictures from since I have been back---

The clan out for Chinese in Linares (Chinese food is in every country I have been to so far)

Femke, Beth, and Auds out for tapas at Casa Miguel

Auds in the Rain (check out that fully functioning umbrella!)

Caroline and Auds takin' on Linares one Red Bull Light at a time.

Salah, one of Beth's AMAZING Moroccan flatmates that is gonna take us to his home in Morocco!!

Caro and Femkita in deep discussion at Long Rock

Mari Carmen (my flatmate) that acted like she hated this photoshoot, but I know she secretly loved it!!

Making Migas ( a mashed and then grilled bread dish with peppers, garlic, olive oil, and other things) at a professor's house

More Migas--gotta work for that food!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The rain in Spain falls mainly on the Plain..

Or in Linares, but whatever... There has, however, been some sort of phenomenon that has produced rain in uncharacteristic proportions this winter--so much so--that I have been flirting with the temptation of purchasing some 5 Euro pink polka-dot rainboots... for anyone that knows me, has probably already registered the three discrepancies in the previous description.
1. Rainboots--not really my dig. I'd prefer some swamp trotting gum boots :)
2. Pink--not so much my color of choice.
3. Polka-dots.. i choose to leave those in the 50s where their claim to fame and eternal grip in the patterns of high fashion were cemented.
The only hope these boots have for ended up in my closet are the continued downpours and the mere 5 euros they cost due to rebajas (major after season sales--they are awesome!)

A little mental image for my visual learners...

But, anyhow, life is still wonderful here. I loved being home, but I have quickly settled back into life in Linares. Spanish is coming in leaps and bounds now. As I have become more familiar with the tenses, I am quickly becoming more capable of using them. I am still so far from fluent, but i am learning to communicate and express more deeply and even understand more than just the superficial layers of their language, which is so dictated by their culture. And as with almost anyone learning a language, I have some tales of misused language that i think all may be able to sympathize with and appreciate...

Here is a story just so:
So, I am becoming more confident with colloquial and casual language and I have this desire to use it to "fit in.." In America we say, "High Five.." Well, here the translation is "Chocalo", which literally means to "crash into it or collide hands"... well, I was at school, trying desperately to develop relationships with my students, conversing and joking around. I remembered the phrase I had recently learned, and in the excitement of the moment, I help up my hand and announced, "Chupalo!" with a raised chin and proud grin of accomplishment. "Chocalo"/ "Chupalo": Quite similar, right? The kid just stood there a bit confused and seemingly a little embarrassed. Well... too bad for me, this conjugation also means something: "Suck or lick it." to be precise. whoops... Welcome to my world. I, the American language teacher has just told my poor little 14-year old Spanish boy to suck my hand. yeah.. good move, i know. But, he was gracious and when I caught and corrected my error, we laughed it off together. Still through the halls when we pass one another, he and his posse will throw up their hands with giddy smiles that only 14-year old boys can produce and jokingly declare, "Maestra, chupalo, chupalo!" I get inquisitive looks from other professors sometimes, but other than that, even my shortcomings sometimes help to forge relationships that my words can not construct.

Well, I will leave you with that for now. I think I have once again sufficiently managed to draw unnecessary light to my errors, but it's a story worthy of telling and deserving of a chuckle! One last announcement before I sign off...


And a very special shot-out today to Miss Aubrey Danei Lubojasky, my fabulously gorgeous sister who was born TWENTY-ONE years ago on 19 January 1987!! I love you and wish I could be there to celebrate with you. She is seriously one of the most tender-hearted people I know and every time we talk or I am blessed to spend time with her, I feel encouraged and uplifted and valued. She is so beautiful and I am so especially thankful for her today as she celebrates the turn of another year.

Next Post-- Spain is deciding if they will be re-writing their national anthem considering Madrid is in line to host the upcoming 2012 Olympics! UPDATES on their way!! Love you all; thanks for tuning in... *britt

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Cathcin' on like wildfire...

okay... 100 for 2008

1. I thought i would be this awesome lonesome traveler, but i really do like people.
2. I thought Spanish would be easy to learn, but God's given me a humble spirit--it's hard... but I am learning more everyday..
3. I am starting to really like blogs (writing, checking other people's, etc) and I kind of resent it.
4. I hate cell phones. Mine is broken and I kind of love it.
5. I can't believe how awesome my family is. It was beyond amazing to spend Christmas with them.
6. I am a pack rat and I hate it. I always try to be so diplomatic, but I always end up with more than I need.
7. I don't need as much as I want or think I need.
8. I really want to do something purposeful, but I am learning the most purposeful things are those I am doing right now.
9. I have a BEAUTIFUL sister with an INCREDIBLE voice, and sometimes I am a little jealous (in a not-so-bad way). :)
10. My parents are so in love and makes me so happy and believe in Love.
11. I love being single and young and free--as immature as that makes me, I am okay with it! :)
12. I sometimes feel bad for my mom because I know she wants grandchildren really bad, and she's got AUbs and I .. haha
13. I LOVE stationary and I buy cards all the time and store them for "that special occasion"!
14. I love playing the guitar, but I am not very good.
15. I love reading and have probably 60 lbs of books here with me in Spain. It's ridiculous, I know...
16. When I have been traveling, I have realized I would rather sit and talk with the people in the park or go to some random protest than visit the so-called "must-sees."
17. I was REALLY sad to leave home this time, maybe more than ever before.
18. Now that I am back in Spain, I am REALLY excited to be here, too!
19. I love flowers. Not bought--hand-picked...
20. I love the outdoors. Sports, walking, reading, talking... outside makes me happy...
21. I really don't like cold weather. I am just not very productive--all I want to do is nuzzle by my heater and read and drink hot tea...
22. I have a secret burning desire to act. I would probably suck, but i like thinking about the things those guys have to think about.
23. I love my friends, but I really don't let them know it--sorry, guys...
24. I want to be someone that people just like to be around like Dad, but I am just too prideful sometimes.
25. When I watched videos of me as a child, i realized i was a brat. My mom still calls me a turd.
26. My favorite movies are Pride and Prejudice and Ever After... I love strong, pure, intelligent women.. and the 18th century Romantic Movement
27. I love Philosophy. I don't really know very much compared to studied philosophers, but the thinking intrigues me...
28. One day I want to go to Everest base camp.
29. God makes himself known to me everyday--he takes my breath away and its amazing.
30. I sometimes cry. (Because I am happy or sad)
31. I miss my perfect puppy Bailey so much. I am scared she won't love me anymore when I come home.
32. I love shoes, and coats, and scarfs...
33. I would always rather be underdressed than overdressed.
34. I don't really get stressed too easily and i am glad because stressful people work me out, and i would hate to do that to myself.
35. I love taking pictures, but I really rather dislike being in them.
36. Grandma is precious and hard-working and humble. She makes me laugh when she talks about her "suiters"
37. Nannie is crazy awesome and has a ton of interesting stories. I also hear she's the most popular person in Treemont--get it, Nannie! :)
38. I love the idea of fixing up my own house in some small Tuscan village, but in reality, I also just love my family and feel most Me when I am with them.
39. I have a secret obsession (not so secret anymore) with the medical field and one day hope to at least be a W-EMT...
40. I love how God uses people who are completely unaware of it to accomplish His purposes... I hope one day they can look back and see His hand in their life...
41. I am sick of talking politics over here... i used to thrive on it.. I'm over it for the time being...
42. I am obsessed with the Planet Earth Series... We have a creative God.
43. Linares feels a bit like home now.
44. I love how proper my sister eats. it's cute.
45. I am so not proper, but I sometimes wish I could be more graceful.
46. I am a klutz. I have admitted it to the world. Accidents and non-functioning electronics are just attracted to me.
47. I still wonder what I will be "when I grow up!" There's a huge world out there and I just wanna do my part to make it a little better.
48. I wish I really gave of myself to people. Jesus did this so well, and I still hold so much back for me.
49. I am an introvert.
50. I LOVE to learn new things. I could sit at the feet of interesting people for hours as they lecture. Knowledge is so cool to me, even if I recognize it can be a bit pointless, too.
51. I start things I don't finish. I really hate that.
52. I really want to love God, but I am still learning how.
53. I am going sky-diving.
54. i sometimes do thing just because I am not supposed to or people think I won't. I am a secret, or blatant, rebel.
55. My rebellion is most ardently displayed in my passive refusal to wear my seat belt on airplanes; i just cross it across my lap instead of buckle it! :)
56. I am so proud of my little sister for being ballsy enough to move to New York at age 19 and survive. She's amazing.
57. I love my mom's cough--I sometimes hear it here in Spain and I miss her.
58. My Dad is the best man I know. He works harder than anyone I have ever seen in my life.
59. NIka's a turd and her bark scares me. It really does.
60. I wish I knew my Grandaddy John... I think we would have really gotten along.
61. I want to go to Israel. I love the Jewish heritage in our Christian faith.
62. I wish I could salsa.
63. I don't like TV. It hurts my eyes and makes me feel icky.
64. I have Euros, Pounds, and Dollars in my wallet right now. That's dumb.
65. I really want to work in the Peace Corps, but the two-year commitment really freaks me out.
66. I am non-commital. I wish I could change this, but I just enjoy flexibility, even if it is kind of flighty sometimes.
67. I don't expect much from people, so sometimes I forget other people do expect more and then I feel bad. I wish I could be better. I am gonna try.
68. I am sure I am pretty hypocritical. I have probably done all the things that bother me most. bummer.
69. My mom has become super tender and sensitive in the past few years and I am convinced it's the Holy Spirit consuming her. That's cool.
70. I said I sometimes don't finish things I start... this is one of those things. I am done. But thanks for reading!

And that was enough "I"s for the next month or so...! :) Feels weird to talk about myself that much. I am kind of exposed.

71. I don't like to feel exposed.

The end.

Sunday, January 6, 2008


A new year, accompanied by new realizations... It is truly not until you are away from something that you can appreciate what you had... Coming home for Christmas was such a blessed experience--and being back here in Spain only makes me value what I have back in the US even more. I have a beautiful loving family, who cares for me and knows me and loves me for exactly who I am.. No pretense; just me... We laugh together, act silly together, pray together, and even get annoyed with each other (but with each meeting, even this is diminished due to our increased appreciation for our special, short reunions). Anyhow, with whatever beautiful, growing, or exciting experiences I have here, they are only this wonderful because I know I have a home I can return to.