I fell down the rabbit's hole

Posted by Lori | Posted in | Posted on 12:31 PM

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I jumped off the blogging boat for a while, what with exams, papers, packing, and goodbyes, i couldn't find the heart to publish about it all.

And now I find myself in a new home, a new context, and really, a new world.

I left Oviedo (my midnight journey to the bus station accompanied by 6 friends) to spend one whirlwind week running around North Carolina, only to land in The Elsewhere Collaborative in Greensboro.

Initial culture shock felt more like culture daze as I tried to figure out what was going on. But I think I'm cheating. I'm immersing myself in another world far different from the norm.

Elsewhere is like no other place I've ever been. It's one of the only remaining alternative museum and art spaces in the states. It's a world in and of itself. And I'm living here, in an environment of constant curation. Every part of the museum is a part of the collection and can be rearranged in a way to make it something new. All that, plus a room sized wardrobe full of vintage clothing I can wear whenever I want.

So for now, in my new home, inside a thrift-store converted museum, I'll be finding new sorts of things to write about.

History Lesson: Part 3

Posted by Lori | Posted in | Posted on 8:41 AM

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Sitting in Malayerba reading through the 50 pages of class notes that I have serendipitously acquired and I come across:

"todos los productos estaban racionados, no se daba más de 200 gramos de pan al día por persona, no más de un litro de aceite al mes."

referring to the rationing of food during Franco's dictatorship.

And I think about how little a liter of oil a month is, especially considering the cooking style I've come to know as Spanish.

Considering Spanish cooking, I start to file through my mental photo album of the kitchens in which I have cooked while in Spain. One image repeats itself: that of a slightly dirty frying pan with remaining oil resting in the bottom. The pan is placed either inside the turned off oven or atop the stove. It appears in nearly every Spanish kitchen.

People are always saving their oil. Even the little bit that remains after cooking is left in the pan and used tomorrow.

One liter of oil a month, that isn't much.

And then I realized...

Posted by Lori | Posted in | Posted on 10:57 AM

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that for all the rain here, it rarely smells like rain.

And with that, I felt ready to go back to North Carolina.

Parece que las tácticas nunca cambian

Posted by Lori | Posted in | Posted on 9:56 AM

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-Quisiera ser amigo tuyo. Eres una 'peque' muy original. Si me prometes que algún día me llamaras por teléfono para salir conmigo, te dejo aquí. A mi también me gustan mucho las calles viejas y se todos los rincones pintorescos de la ciudad. Conque, prometido?

--Nada, Carmen LaForet

History Lesson: Part 1

Posted by Lori | Posted in | Posted on 3:09 PM

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My flat is filled with old things.

A family used to live here, then the children moved out and it was just the couple, and finally just the mother-now-grandmother was left. From the random kitchenware to the bits of newspaper clippings to the out-dated tapestries, you can tell she held onto things.

Then I discovered the buttons. In two tins tucked away in a closet, there is a wealth of buttons: round, rectangular, shiny, spotted, bumpy. I started putting them on strings and hanging them in my room, imagining the grandmother loving the fact that I was admiring all the buttons.

Some friends came over and we were sorting through them in the living room, showing each other when we found a favorite. Then Laura sees a lapel pin. She is shocked.

She holds it up for us to see. "Do you know what this is?"

We all shake our heads.

"This is the sign of the Republic. That means that the people living in this flat were Republican."

I act in awe with everyone else, but I don't really understand.

Later I find out that, during the Civil War, all of Asturias was Republican. Except for Oviedo. Oviedo was Fascist. I start to contemplate the repercussions of being a Republican in a Fascist city. And suddenly, my flat has a whole new history.

History Lesson: Part 2

Posted by Lori | Posted in , | Posted on 2:51 PM

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We're sitting in my room, Laura on my bed, and I on the computer correcting her recent attempt at a letter of intent to study abroad at Chapel Hill. She is reading "La etapa social de Blas de Otero en la trilogia que trata de Espana" that she found there.

I look over and laugh. "Te interesa?"

"Si, mucho."

"Quieres hacer el trabajo para mi?"

Laughter.

She reads me a fragment of one of the poems in the article about the post-Civil War Spanish poet. She gets excited. "Siempre con el doble sentido! Es tan buena."

I tell her that I have a hard time picking up on the double meanings in the Spanish language. She launches into an explanation of the poem she was reading. But then she gets really excited. She asks me of my understanding of the historical situation in which Blas de Otero was writing.

I shake my head, "muy poco."

One hour later, several poems, and a few webpages later and I not only have an understanding of Blas de Otero's situation, but I'm discovering more pieces of the Spanish Civil War and the oppression that followed.

A quote from Dolores Ibarruri. "Prefiero morir de pie que vivir de rodillas." (I'd rather die on my feet than live on my knees.)

Pictures of the Republican and Fascist soldiers.

And then start the stories.

Laura tells me that Asturias was completely Republican during the Civil War, with Oviedo as the only Fascist city.

"Do you know what they did to kill Asturias? They hired troops from Morocco and told them to come, kill, rape, and steal. Do whatever they want.

They came to my pueblo.

My great-grandmother was raped and then killed. She had eight children. My grandmother was the oldest one, and she ran with the rest and hid in the caves. There were a lot of people hiding in the caves."

"Ostia," is all I can manage. And I feel once again like I'm discovering this past I had no idea existed.

from a port-side bench in gijon

Posted by Lori | Posted in | Posted on 5:07 AM

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seagull's flying shadow
projected on the old light brown building
and I almost cry
for the beauty of it.
"do it again," I whispered
and the shadow flew once more
and then
away.