Hello dear, lovely readers!
I’ve been gone for a while, yes, I know. Bunches of things have happened, and I probably won’t be able to remember every single tiny detail, which is probably a good thing for your eyes and your brain. Let’s get cracking! (Please note that this is not an allusion to the occasionally hilarious www.cracked.com).
From Madrid we drove down to the Sierra Nevada, which, according to my translating skills, literally means “mountains that are snowed upon” or something along those lines. “Snowy Mountains” perhaps. As we were zigzagging and spiraling up the mountains, I noted with glee the dropping temperature and the increase of white that surrounded us. As soon as we got out of the car, SNOWBALLS.
Anyway, Marian had rented out this little three-room apartment domicile (bathroom, hallway-ish thing with a bunk-bed, kitchen and living room) for 4 days of freezing fun on the slopes. Luis and Laura threw up a huge fuss over who should sleep on the top bunk, as Laura called it first and Luis denied any interest. Then when we discovered that the only bed I actually fit in was the long black couch, making Luis completely P.O.ed because “Mamá, Laura siempre duerme arriba y nunca puedo dormir dónde quiero y siempre estás de lado de Laura y no quiero turnarme! Mom, Laura always sleeps in the top and I never sleep where I want to and you’re always on her side and I don’t want to take turns!” and a bunch of other random stuff, and the whole time I was thinking MY KIDS (if I ever have any) ARE GOING TO BE THE MOST WELL-BEHAVED CHILDREN ON THE PLANET BECAUSE WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM CHILD LIKE SERIOUSLY.
Eventually we figured it out and Luis was crabby for a while but that dissipated rather quickly, thanks to all things good and pure.
My only complaint about the place? Radiators in every room but the bathroom.
We had some days with wonderful weather (I eventually started sweating just standing in line) and days with lots of fog and snow and hail. On the day with hail I bought myself one of those neck-scarf things that you can pull over your face. Because ow.
My ski-teacher was very amiable and hat some sort of accent to his Spanish. He also had the most enormous fingernails I have ever seen on a human being.
The first two days or so there weren’t a lot of other people in our ski-group, but once more joined I really enjoyed talking to them. In Spanish, obviously. I have improved so much in Spanish that I’m starting to wonder if I should continue Spanish classes in America when I return. Because I’d like to learn sign language…
I think my only real complaint about the entire ski-trip was that I wasn’t able to eat the food I wanted to. Being in a salad phase of my life, I was disappointed a bit having to eat white bread and meats and pasta and fried things for lunch and dinner. I occasionally scored a salad, but could never make my own in the apartment because fruit and vegetables are expensive up on the mountain. Ah well, you can’t have everything, I guess.
The only thing I sunburned was the tip of my nose. I’ve removed the dead skin already and it seems to be healing nicely…
I wouldn’t say I’m a beginner to skiing, but I wouldn’t say I’m really good at it either. I would put myself in the “advanced beginner” category. Despite this I’m proud to say I only fell one time. YAY.
Noteworthy things; the two men who skied out-of-bounds and produced a mini avalanche. Well done, my fellow human beings.
After Sierra Nevada it was off to MARBELLA. This is probably a kind of equivalent to Miami, Florida, for Spaniards. It’s coastal, there’s palm trees, sandy beaches, shells, pretty houses/apartments for rent and tonnages of tourists from every country ever. I heard German, French, British English, American English, and a bunch of other languages that I can’t identify.
We were living in the house of the grandparents for four days. I got a room all to myself with huge windows through which I could see a fantastic view of the ocean. The bathroom was sort of cramped, but whatever.
The weather… I suppose I could describe it as late springy (for you Michiganders). Marian obviously did not think so and was wearing sweaters and long pants. And so was I, being an obedient sort of human. On some days I did need the extra coverage, but on others I was perspiring like… like an Inuit in a polar-bear suit in the desert.
Okay, maybe not that profusely.
It was a rather nice time. The one thing I remember the most would probably be an occurrence at a family lunch of paella… I had to go to the bathroom, but there were three tweenish girls in there being… girly, I suppose. I asked the parents if there was another one, and this little girl called Alejandra takes my hand and runs to a free bathroom. I would judge her to be about 4 years old, but I’m a terrible judge of age…
Okay, the following might be slightly cringe-worthy to some of you readers (silly prudes you may be), so be warned.
So this little girl enters the bathroom and does her thing. She’s obviously used to going to the bathroom with a parent, because she leaves the door wiiiiidddee open. After she finished I entered and attempted to close the door, but she didn’t leave and I really didn’t want to try to explain the confusing concept of “privacy” to a four year old. The thing is, I was wearing a swimsuit underneath my clothes in preparation of going to the pool later. So of course I had to remove my shirt and pull the suit down and the little girl’s eyes bugged out of her head because breasts. I smiled at her and said that she would eventually have them too. Being a child, she was understandably curious about these strange wobbly things attached under my chest.
Now, I’m of the belief (having read Petals on the Wind) that children shouldn’t be taught that genitals are something to be ashamed of. This just leads to weirdness later in life. And so basically that one scene from the book happened (where Catherine Dollanganger’s son Jory asks his mother why his friend was slapped by his mother for touching her chest) and the little girl reverently placed a hand on my breast. I couldn’t stop laughing because it tickled and because I had never imagined something like this happening before I had children.
We went to a bunch of restaurants. I can recommend Picasso’s Pizzeria. Yum.
Possibly the worst event was when we were returning from Marbella to Madrid. We stopped for a late lunch along the way in a tiny restaurant bearing the name “Los Caballos/The Horses”. I had some sort of fish on white bread because the salad was out. The water in the bathrooms was not potable and so I bought a huge 1,5 liter bottle of water to drink. I think it was around 6, and I understood Marian to say we would be in Madrid at about 8. So I drank most of the 1,5 liters, probably at least one entire liter.
Around 7:30 I started to get the toilet feels. Just small ones. Thinking we would be in Madrid soon, I repressed any comment.
At 8:00 it was starting to get dark outside. Marian commented “Una hora más y estarémos en Madrid/One more hour and we’ll be in Madrid!”. The urge to urinate had become stronger then, and so I asked if we could stop to use the restroom. Marian replied that she absolutely loathed driving at night (with the passion of a thousand burning suns!) and that I’d have to hold it.
I don’t know if any of you have ever drunk a liter of water and had to pee and be unable to use the restroom. It’s not fun. Not fun at all.
Long story short, I asked again at 8:10 or so if we could please stop to use the restroom and Marian got really angry and the answer was no. I’ve experienced her yelling at her kids a few times, but it had never been directed at me before. Being a doormat and unable to take part in basically any kind of fight, I held my tongue and waited in agony. There was silence in the car.
At 8:45 Marian left the highway and pulled into a gas station. I don’t know if it was for my sake or for gas or for Kit Kats or chips, but I was outta there. I probably was in and out of the restroom within 20 seconds. After this the mood lightened considerably and the kids and I spent the rest of the trip speaking in English (because Marian had quite forcefully pointed out her dissatisfaction with my English-teaching) and singing the doughnut song.
“Oh. I. Walked around the corner
And I walked around the block.
And I walked right into a doughnut shop.
And I picked up a doughnut.
And I licked off the grease.
I handed the lady a five-cent piece.
Well. She. Looked at the nickel.
And she looked at me.
And she said, ‘This nickel is no good to me.’
‘There’s a hole in the middle.’
‘I can see straight through!’
Said I, ‘There’s a hole in your doughnuts too!’
‘Thanks for the doughnut, so long!’”
Ah, childhood memories.
Marian and I have apologized to each other and everything is okay.