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.

Scenes from Barcelona

Posted by Lori | Posted in | Posted on 10:53 AM

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It's 7:55 and I need a snack. My window is open. It's rainy and gray and and I feel like it should be making me miss sunny Barcelona but I'm finding myself quite content in my little nook of a room.

I got back to the flat I was staying at last night at around 3:30 AM and decided to skip out on sleep for the night, since I had to catch the first metro at 5. So today is feeling like a non-day, since I got home at around 10 and then slept until 4 and it is strange to be back home anyways. Strange, but good.

I really like my home here.

But, Barcelona, Barcelona could be a future home. I decided this on my last day there as I was wandering around the streets in the old part of town and kept on finding hidden cafes and bars each different from the other and I said to myself, "Yes, I could live here."

It's a combination of the movida in the street, the international hodgepodge of people, the artistic and theater life, and the ocean, that confirmed my prior suspicion that I would love Barcelona.

_________________

3/28
Slacklining for five or so hours in Parc de la Ciutadella and people and beauty and life. Twirly things and percussion circles and music and capoiera and tree yoga and jugglers.
And then later, the hidden - well, I guess not so hidden, but I would never have known it existed - bar. We were late and the fusion flamenco had already ended.
But the jam session was just starting.
And I managed to make my way through the narrow crowded bar and ended up on the floor right in front of the musicians. It was music and movement. And then the Spanish women in their normal clothes who got up and danced flamenco and pulled at the tops of their jeans as if they were flamenco dresses.

_________________

3/30
Being alone in a big city is more acceptable than being alone in a small city and this feels like a general rule and it makes me like big(ger) cities.
Placa de Sant Vincen de Sarria I am in. And the wind is blowing these little golden feathery seeds all around. And the dogs are out to play.
And making friends with the security guard at the embassy. I can do that joking with a stranger thing in Spanish now.

_________________

3/31
So as not to forget. The best little apple tart I've ever had followed by searching for the MACBA followed by finding the MACBA with Guillem's help.
Interesting exposition "I am making art" and the canvas with it's own story and the one that had purged everything but art...the kiss/panic..and some.
Then lunch in a secret-society courtyard that you get into with a fingerprint reader...and delicious food and sun and then the old library upstairs with the frescos.
Then Sergi's antique store and hidden treasures and the gold of the bottom room.
Then in moto up to Parc Guell.
And my first turn diriving a moto and now I want a mint green one with a white helmet.
Then to watch the Barca game at a friend's flat and I pulled the tradition's card (what respect they have for tradition!) and got to run away to the grocery store...the game and they flipped over a mediocre bean dip and que va pues nada ya esta y estamos en casa bien cansados y joder que dia.

_________________

4/1
And then I look to my left and there's a naked man some 50 meters away. Tomando el sol. Completely naked. He doesn't hide his dark body hair or spilling over stomach. It's just out there for the ocean and sand and birds.
Good morning, Beach. Good morning, Barcelona.
The two little Asian women selling massages have found a customer. A 60-something man with a beret and a tattoo on his right shoulder. He could easily be a sailor. I can smell their massage oil more than I can smell the ocean.
(For that matter, I don't smell the ocean much. And I'm not sure why. I don't smell salt; I don't smell sea. But if I close my eyes and breathe slowly, I can smell it. Just a hint, but it's there.)
So I bury my feet in the sand. Just a few more moments.
And then I realize, I think I could live in Spain.

"Entonces, tu eres una rompe corazones."
"No! Pues, no intento de ser una."
"Entonces es natural. Mejor, mejor."
And all laughter.

_________________

4/2
Hidden little cafe with mismatched vintage chairs, art on the walls, and at least one item each color and shade therein. And I"m especially proud of my losing it, wandering, and then finding it again. I take this as a Good Sign, as is the little red teapot and the friendly attractive bartender and all in all I'd say I could live here. I want to learn Catalan and move here.
I want one of these teapots. I wonder if I can discreetly take a picture. Flor de desierto. That's good tea.
My particular chair is a faded yellow green with a worn floral seat cushion. It used to be - well still is - a soft velor like fabric, but on the arms there are threads showing.
Pretty sure almost everyone here is Catalan (language so surprising!) and I like it.
I wonder if they're hiring.