Spain? Meh

Maybe it’s me, but I’m not loving Spain. The weather here in Valencia is wonderful, that is true. But the people? Not so much. They do not speak English here, which is weirder than it sounds because everyone in Europe speaks English! I never realized how lucky we are to be the native speakers of the universal language! Sure, we kinda muck it up a little–I mean, we Americans are not exactly speaking the Queen’s English–but we do alright.

But here, if they don’t speak English, they are apt to actually shoo you away! Seriously, as that middle sister on that show that launched the Olsen twins used to say: How rude! I believe her name was Stephanie–so how can I remember all that and not the name of the show? Uncle Jesse, Bob Saget! Hold on, I’m gonna google it: Full House!  Sometimes, I feel I truly am “dumber than Dina:” and if you don’t get that reference, I cannot help you!  Right, Mike?!

Anyway, back to Spain. It’s beautiful here, no doubt:

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Reminds me of Palm Springs and Florida. I spend most of my time in Starbucks where at least the barristas have some English and give me yogurt and muffins and decaf mochas.

The real problem is that I have been sick, sick, sick the whole time I’ve been here, and apparently, they have no sopa de pollo in Valencia! I long for my little kitchen at home where I can open a can of Campbell’s, for goodness sake, and let the wonders of chicken soup work their magic on my concrete-infested sinuses and lungs! Seriously, I take every medicine I have, something’s gotta give!

Yesterday, I went on an interview to teach second grade; perfect, because I taught second grade for years and loved it. I wrote to the director on Saturday and she wrote right back; I sent my resume, she said come in on Tuesday, I said okay…and 32 euros later (taxi) I found myself in the middle of nowhere interviewing for a job that doesn’t start until SEPTEMBER!

Seriously? Who interviews in early February for September? It sounded like their need was immediate; what a waste of time and money. Ten euros for taxi/train on the way back and I’m cursing the gods that sent me on this wild goose chase for…what? I don’t even know what I’m looking for, but I sure haven’t found it and it’s not in Spain, I can tell you that much.

Anyway, the train station–Estacio Nord–like so many other buildings here, is pretty:

2010-01-01 244It’s right next to the Bull Ring: another place I can do without.

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I was so frustrated after that stupid waste of a morning, that I was forced to cross the street and do something I never do:

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That’s right, I had a McPollo, but I didn’t ask for those fries! Now, let me just tell you that I have lived around the corner from a McD’s for seven years and have never eaten there. That’s how desperate I have become, sigh.

I sat at the window and watched Valencia go by: guys on motorcyles who park on the sidewalk; young men wearing earbuds and backpacks with serious places to go; groups of giggling girls and too many women with hair that gleamed purple in the sunlight, dye jobs gone wrong. I saw Addidas bags and shopping bags from H&M, and t-shirts with English jokes on them and North Face jackets, and everyone wears scarves tied fashionably around their necks, even the men. And I thought again, as I have before, that people really are the same all over, we just don’t speak the same language…and that’s a problem, because communication is everything.

So I am frustrated in Spain because I don’t speak the language and I don’t understand the signs and even when I say “no Espanol” they continue in Espanol, just as I do in English, all of us trying to get our points across to each other and failing miserably and I miss Dublin, the weather aside, because at least I knew what the hell was going on.

But I guess the worst part is the food; I have seen sights in restaurants that no semi-vegetarian should see, have eaten meals with ingredients I cannot name, and am over the whole tapas thing. I never realized how wonderful the food is in America! Not that it’s so grand, but at least we have so much variety that you can always find something to satisfy. 2010-01-01 246

Thank goodness I found Finnegan’s Pub, right there in the middle of the Plaza de la Reina! That’s my sweet Australian friend, Angela, and me (looking sick and tired) on my second visit and I might go back again tomorrow night. It’s a little bit o’ Ireland here in Spain, and the only place I can read the menu!

Angela told me that the author of “Eat, Pray, Love,” says that every place you go has a word that best describes it, and that we each have our own words, and if the words don’t mesh, then it might not be the place for you. Well, I’ve been thinking about that a lot and I think she’s right. I’m still trying to figure out exactly what my word is as I write my own book, “Eat, Sleep, Worry: Confessions of a Harried Traveler.”

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