A New Do?

I think I might cut my hair.

I had this thought after my third cold shower in a row. In the first shower the hot water lasted until I had just applied the conditioner before it went cold. Ice water started spraying all over me. No medium temperature water. It went right from wonderfully hot to my being a member of the polar bear club. I psyched myself up and rinsed out the conditioner, although I am sure I didn't quite rinse it all out.

The second shower was stopped before it even got started. I turned on the water, a little skeptical at the facet's abillity to produce water warm enough to avoid hypothermia. I was right at doubting, and turned off the spout without even stepping foot in the tub.

The third shower was my breaking point. I came up with a game plan. Get in, throw shampoo on my hair, condition it, slather on some soap and get out of there in less than 5 minutes. No dilly dallying. So I jumped in, the water hot and wonderful, and lathered on the shampoo as fast as I could manage. Fourty-five seconds had passed. And then, I knew. By the 2 minute mark it was like the kind of water you'd kill for on a hot day in summer. I turned off the shower, my hair still full of shampoo.

That's when I decided to cut my hair.

Turns out the lack of hot water was due to the lack of butane fuel. My hot and cold showers were due to the last sputtering gasps of a dying butane tank. So my husband, the super hero that he is, switched the tanks and earlier today I took a hot shower. And I lingered there under the warm rain of a perfect shower longer than I probably should have. But I couldn't help it.

I still think I might cut my hair though.

Any thoughts?


Spanish Lessons

My husband brought home a newspaper today, Que!, that he picked up on the Metro. It contained a lovely article with some practical advice entitled "Te damos la receta para vivir 100 años." Roughly translated this means, "Here's the recipe on how to live 100 years." The secret's out.

This was just part of a greater 2 page spread (on pages 2 and 3) about how depression and anxiety will be the plague of this century. The basic gist is that optimists live 10 years longer and have better health than pessimists. But don't worry if you aren't yet an optimist. The paper has committed to helping us all overcome pessimism and negativity and will continue to do so with a weekly advice column on "how to be optimistic." And I will do my best to pass it on.

"Te damos la receta para vivir 100 años"
(First in Spanish, then the English translation with a little help from my husband.)

1. Limpia tus miedos y desecha prejuicios.

Cleanse yourself of fear and discard your prejudices.

2. Deja a un lado celos y rencores que te atormentan.
Leave jealousy and resentment to the side.

3. Mantén vivo el niño que hay dentro de ti.
Keep your inner child alive.

4. Ten paciencia con todo lo que te rodea.
Have patience with everything.

5. Ten energía y coraje para afrontar la vida.
Face life with energy and courage.

6. Añade una poco de generosidad a tu vida.
Add a little generosity to your life.

7. Ten una pizca de locura.
Have a pinch of craziness.

8. Es necesario que le pongas alegría a la vida.
It's necessary that you put happiness in life.

9. Amigos y trabajo pueden hacerte optimista.
Friends and work can make you optimistic.

10. Acompaña tu vida con la música.
Accompany your life with music.


It's times like these when I really missing banging a drum...

Here's a glimpse of some of the drummers that marched in the Santa Eulalia parade this weekend in Barcelona. I'm sure it comes as no surprise that I was right up front, dancing like a maniac.

P.S. Sorry if it's hard to see - just turn up the volume on your computer and enjoy.


A Good Day

Today was perfect.

I started the day out with no expectations. Maybe that's the best way to do it. I let myself be taken on any path presented to me without worrying about what would come next. Living in the moment is hard, but it is so worth it.

My husband and I set out this morning with a backpack filled with books, snacks, our camera and a plan of the city. We took the metro (subway) to the center of the city, Plaza Catalonia, and set off from there to La Rambla, a major pedestrian walkway. We saw street performers (video to follow), vendors, cafes, tourists, locals, century-old buildings right alongside brand new ones. It was sunny and cool; the kind of day where you need sunglasses and a jacket. Perfect for exploring.

Famished and tired we sought out some comfort food. Well, I sought out some comfort food. Yes, that means McDonald's. But, to my credit I ordered in Spanish and ate on the third floor - stairs all the way up. Refueled and rested we decided to seek out The Cathedral of Saint Eulalia, as it was the week of celebration Barcelona's co-patron saint. As we entered the 5+ century old church, we were overcome by the enormity of the Gothic architecture, the hallowedness of the building and the richness of the history and art within. Every corner held some treasure, some story to be told. We visited the sepulchre of Santa Eulalia and then rode the frighteningly old elevator up to the roof of the cathedral and were greeted by one of the most beautiful views in Barcelona. The mountains in one direction, the Mediterranean Sea in another, La Sagrada Familia (which we visited just the other day) in yet another. We asked a French family to take our photo and they happily obliged.

After touring the expansive cathedral and gardens, we set off to find the celebration for Santa Eulalia and we were not disappointed at what we found. What started off as a somewhat small display on the small, narrow streets of the old city of Barcelona turned into quite the festivity. Hundreds of small children were given firecrackers on sticks to wave around as they ran down the street, sending many an onlooker for cover. Riddled throughout the dancing torch runners were groups of drummers and large, sparkler-wielding dragons. The parade lasted over an hour and culminated in the large square beside the Cathedral de Santa Eulalia. As each group made their way into the square, the drummers broke off and formed a large circle, expanding as each group's drummers joined. More fireworks were lit, more jams were played, more dragons danced and each time we thought the festival was over, the festivities would start again with a renewed exuberance from both the crowd and from the performers.

Tired from the dancing to the drummers and dodging the fireworks, my husband and I found a somewhat quite corner in which to eat the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and oranges we had brought from home. Again rejuvenated, we set off for the traditional Sardana dancing (native to the region) at another square not too far away. As we entered the square we saw groups of old Spanish seniors holding hands and dancing in circles as a band of a dozen or so musicians played from a platform. On the other side of the square was a protest against the Spanish government's dealings with March 11. The two large gatherings proceeded, mostly ignoring the other, with the Spanish police waited on the fringes watching for any sign of trouble.

We learned how to dance the Sardana from two old Spanish men, along with a handful of others and were invited back for more. We listened to what we could from the protesters and then decided to venture back home.

It turned out to be a really great day. The kind of day you hope to have when traveling abroad. And perhaps best of all, we didn't even plan a minute.


Across the Pond

Well, we did it. We moved to Spain.

A week and a half ago my husband and I, with the help of my family, packed up all of our many, many, many belongings and put them in storage, which turned out to be no small task. Two full days of stuffing everything in boxes, taping those boxes, labeling those boxes, carrying those boxes into a moving truck and then carrying them up three flights of stairs in January in Minnesota. We ended up with 100. No more, no less. Thankfully, we hired someone to move our baby grand piano, which as it turned out happened to be two slightly older gentleman who put us all to shame. My husband would like to pipe in here, to mention that the he estimates the boxes weighed in at approximately 1,200 pounds and that I forgot to mention all of the massive teak furniture that we thought was a good idea to buy at the time.

We'd like to take a moment to thank the family and friend who made this trip possible: Biggie, Mom, Jay, Clay and Trey. You guys rule.

Since then, we have flown a total of 18 hours on 3 planes, have stayed in a variety of accomodations and lugged 225 pounds worth of suitcases and supplies back and forth across Barcelona on bus, on metro and on foot. The accomodations, we should point out, have varied from the very very nice...

...to the, how shall we say, less than desirable...

...to the closet we now reside in (230 square feet) while we look for a permanent apartment for the next 5+ months.

We have had a crash course in Barcelonian and are starting to get the hang of things. We will try our best to share with you as much as we can of all our crazy adventures while we're here. If this past week is any indication, it's going to be a trip.