Saturday, February 7, 2009

Who needs the Prado when you´ve got cows?

So all over Madrid there are these painted cows. Like the cows in Madison or lions in Appleton, cows are everywhere. They’re in Plaza Mayor, Calle Prado, some plaza I don’t know it is, Puerta del Sol….everywhere.

But, better than the cows, it The Prado.

Friday I crashed the art history class and invited myself along to explore the Prado. They went for class, but I got to wonder on my own. It was so amazing. Velazques, El Greco, Goya, El Bosco, and more. Paintings that I have seen pictures of in Spanish classes and in art history were literally 10 inches from my face. WOW!!! It’s so unbelievable to be here. They’re real. Sometimes when you learn about something like that, that’s all it, just a picture in a book that you have to memorize for some test. But to see it. To be so close. WOW!!! I think I stood in front of “The Garden of Earthly Delights” for a good 20 minutes just staring at everything. I’ve found that when I look at art, I like to start really close, like three inches and look at the brush stokes and all the things that someone just passing wouldn’t notice. The detail on the fork on the table. The shade of pink in the bubble. Then, I back up and take it all in. This is when I forget to breath for a second. Like, Las Meninas by Velazquez. In pictures, you’d never know it’s got to be more than 10 feet tall. It’s huge. It takes up the whole wall of Room 12. God, what a gift. To be able to see these things.

Oh, Also, I drank coffee at Starbucks. It was weird tasting. And over priced. Same price, but in euros, so like $4 US, and 4 euro, which is more like $5. Jerks. I also went to Corte Ingels and bought a book entitles Suenos Americans (American Dreams). It’s written by a Spanish author who was in to US during Obama’s campaign. I’m excited to read a little about the campaign from an international perspective. From my history class I am getting that there was bad blood with Bush and that Obama is kind of a god, but I look forward to reading this too. The author actually lived in New York for 7 years too, but then decided to come back to the US to cover the election for El Pais. It’s written in a blog style from October 2007 to November 2008. He visited a number of US cities for the story, he says looking to understand the influence of race, gender, religion, and the voting practices of “red necks” (yes, he uses the phrase red neck in the book) on Obama’s election. I’ll report back as I read.

So, that was Friday. Today is Saturday. Today I toured Toledo, and am now going to a movie in Spanish (Revolutionary Road), and then to bed.

Not going to lie, I miss home everyday. But then I think about all the great things I am seeing and learning that I wouldn’t be able to in the US, and remind myself to SUCK IT UP!!! This is a gift that not everyone gets, so I try to not be sad for what I am missing (people and things) and instead be excited for what the next three months will bring me. Hopefully that will include a little more ease in communication and a little less feeling of homesickness and frustration with life in general. I DO LOVE SPAIN! I don’t think I could have hoped for a better place to study. I almost feel like I don’t ever want to visit anywhere else. I mean, I do, but I’m content here.

Well, except for when I go to Italy for spring break. Then I will be content to not be in Spain for a week. I am actually flying into Rome the Friday before Palm Sunday. Going to mass there and then going to Sicily for 4 days. My friend Melissa has family that live there. We are going to tour and go to the beach. Then we will head back to Rome for Holy Thursday mass and then back to Spain for Friday, Saturday and Easter Sunday. It will be a whirlwind. Expensive too. I do not recommend Rome during Holy Week to budget travelers. But anyway, more on that as it happens.

I hope you all have had a good couple of weeks. Be safe. Stay warm. (Oh, it snowed here yesterday. It NEVER snows in Toledo. Madrid, yes. But here, never. So…it’s freakishly cold everywhere)

Un Beso y abrazos Fuertes!

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