Don’t you hate it when websites don’t get updated? I mean seriously, I have been waiting weeks for Aikida to be updated and that guy is just slacking off. What is up with that?
Can you tell that I’m back in Spanish class? Hence the lack of updates. Yeah. Sorry about that. Class is still about as good as it can get right now. Montse is a fantastic teacher and the students are pretty good. The best I could reasonably hope for really. ZERO Italians. Many Germans. A couple of Americans.
Sitting next to me is Auralie, an attractive eighteen year old girl who gets grossed out anytime we talk about where food comes from. She used to be a vegetarian but eats meat now. That was until class last week when we started talking about blood sausage, fried pig ears, callos (intestines) and calf brains. She was seriously getting sick so I kept trying to steer the conversation to another subject but the class was having none of it. Being Spanish (read, not politically correct at all) Montse thought it would be a good time to pull out a supermarket flier and show her the pale white skin of dead suckling pig on sale which almost made her barf. She’s since gone back to being a vegetarian. She is fluent in English and adds a lot to the class.
Sitting next to her is a German girl who… Let me explain something first. Montse likes us to practice Spanish by asking what we did the previous night or what our plans are for the weekend. The girl sitting next to her is party girl. Her plans every weekend are “I’m going shopping and then tonight going out to a discothèque.” Every weekend. Around the other side of the table we have laughing girl. She laughs at everything and it makes it hard to understand her.
“So ahhhahhahahha last night I was hahahah at the movies. And this guy hehehe, he came in and he sat next to me hehehehahahaha and I started to talk hahaha to him and he didn’t like that hehehahaha so he stabbed me hahehahahaha. I’m still bleedling hahahaha. Seriously, can someone hahahaha help me?”
She laughs at everything she says. I’ve rolled my eyes so much I’m starting to get grooves in my skull. Next to her is sound effects girl. A thoroughly pleasant German girl who makes a whistle or a click or a cluck with her tongue to add emphasis to things she says. “So, I was sliding down the banister, fell off(whistle) and landed (tongue cluck) on my ass.” It’s very amusing and she clearly is doing it unconsciously. She makes me smile.
We started talking about Jamon, the cured pork that Spaniards obsess over. Wendy got a plate of it when I first came to Madrid but I was sick. The marbled meat looked disgusting to me I was so nauseous. It looked like fat with tiny bits of meat in it. Wendy ate the whole plate. When I moved over here we tried again. We went to El Corte Englais to select a grade and asked the butcher what he would recommend.
“What is the Jamon for?”
“It’s his first time tasting Jamon.”
You would have thought she told him it was for losing my virginity. (There's an unpleasant image.) He got all solemn, yet happy. “Oh you are so lucky. I wish I was you, tasting Jamon for the first time. It is the best food on the planet. You will love it I promise you. You must have the very best Jamon. Take this beautiful woman, wait for the sun to start to go down, open a bottle of fine Rioja and savor every bite. Your first taste only comes once in a lifetime.”
We did as he bid and that night sat on the terrace and sipped wine and I tried Jamon. I didn’t really get it. Wasn’t that big a deal to me. The second time it tasted a little better. There was a tickle in the back of my head like the glimmer of knowledge. The third time I had Jamon, I got it. I couldn’t get enough of it. I now understood why Spaniards went so crazy for the stuff. Since then we have bought a Jamonera and I carve whole legs in my kitchen. They last months.
Montse tells the class her first Jamon story. It was Christmas and she wrote a letter to Santa. (Actually it was probably the three kings but Americans will understand the Santa reference better.) “Dear Santa, I have been a good girl all year and I only want one thing for Christmas. My very own Jamon. I promise to leave hay under my bed for your hungry reindeer. Love Montse.”
Christmas came and Montse got a bike and a Barbi and some new clothes and a few other toys. Her mother asked her at the end of the day “How was your Christmas Montse?”
“It was good mama. I got a lot of things I wanted.”
“You seem a little disappointed.”
“Well, really I only asked for one thing and I didn’t get it.”
“Did you look under your bed?”
“No!” And rushing to her bed, Montse finds a whole detached back leg of a pig under it. How wonderful! A Jamon all her own!
So, Wendy and I have completed our own personal goal of running fifty miles in four weeks. Go us. We run three and a half miles four times a week. We both stepped on the scale this morning and each of us has gained two pounds since we started. Some bad. Sigh.
The gazelle on the other hand has run fifty-two miles and that’s without updating her runs for the past week. Chatting with the gazelle this morning on IM.
Molly: Did Wendy tell you that my Ipod for running died...so none of my runs are being logged??
Molly: You just have all the challenge luck!
Jamie Wakefield: Yes! We win again!
Sadly, she got her Ipod working this afternoon and surged ahead of us by over twenty miles. Wendy and I will have to run more than a marathon in four days to win this challenge. I’m thinking we lost this one.
In other news her son Jesse is one of the nicest, smartest, well behaved kids ever raised. Despite the fact that he is only fourteen years old, when we have family gatherings, he stays with the adults after dinner and doesn’t go outside with the other kids. He sits and chats, help clean up and is a part of the adult conversation. What a geek huh?
Actually no. He’s getting straight A’s in school and playing football. This past week he ran in a twenty yard touchdown, became vice president of his class and started dating the president of the senior class. As a freshman.
Sorry for the short update. At the end of week we're heading to Rome so next week you get to hear my thoughts on Italians. I bet that'll be interesting.