Moto Chicas and Chicos

May 14, 2009

I think it’s pretty well known that a popular form of transportation in Europe, even more so than cars at times, is riding a scooter/motorcycle (motos here). And there are absolutely no shortage of them in Barcelona, that’s for sure!

Always the first in line at stop lights, as if they too are lined up to start the Mario Kart race, the moto drivers are pretty interesting to observe. I can’t help but laugh a little when I see a woman driver wearing a tight skirt and heels, smoking a cigarette, talking on the phone, and wearing a helmet as the final accessory. It’s just weird. Then of course there are the people who are really small for such a big bike, the people who think they are complete bad asses, revving their motos engines and all, and then the little jalopy type scooters that people ride proudly. I’ve seen everything from the Ferrari of motorcycles, Ducati, to nicer scooters like Vespas, to ones that remind me of the scooter Lloyd and Harry rode in Dumb and Dumber (see below for an image that hopefully depicts what I’m talking about).

I have yet to be offered an official ride on a moto, which probably makes my mom happy, though I did get close, relatively speaking, a few weeks ago on my friend’s bike. We didn’t actually go anywhere, or even start the engine for that matter, but those are all just technicalities!

030 - Copy

David, Hoolia and Jos ready to go to the Danger Zone


Lloyd and Harry from Dumb and Dumber on their moto

Lloyd and Harry from Dumb and Dumber on their moto


The Birds and The Bees

May 12, 2009

Never in a million years did I think I would come to Spain and have to teach a 10 year old girl about the birds and the bees, but later today, I will be doing just that. I’m bracing myself for impact, to say the least.

I have been teaching Paula for a while now and the past few classes, we have been reading and doing activities in her science book. Her mom wants us to read the book, which is all in English, then test understanding. Easy enough. We’ve been reading all about nutrition, the digestive system, the cardiovascular system, etc. I explain what arteries are, she shows me where her heart is, ladida.

Last class, within the digestive lesson, we read about “faeces.” She asked, “What are faeces?” and while trying to keep a straight face, I explained in no uncertain terms what they are. She then giggled and continued to giggle each time she read the word. It took all my strength not to join her, not because faeces are funny, but because it sometimes is just so darn awkward! And if I thought that was awkward…

The next lesson is all about the reproductive system. Ay yi yi. I looked ahead in the book so I knew what was up next and after seeing the naked diagrams of both men and women, I needed to look no further. I know what I have in store for myself tonight and it’s not pretty. I guess someone has to do it, but why me?!


First Steps

May 10, 2009

Pardon the delay (how British does that sound?!), but I’m still thinking about the historical events from last Sunday, I thought I would share. Better late than never!

Some pals and I went to the beach in a small town called Ocata, about 20 minutes outside of Barcelona, and not only did we have a blast, but, get ready….I took my first steps in the Mediterranean! Granted, in doing so, I screamed like a little girl because it was so cold, but after four or five waves rolled in, I got used to it and loved it. And speaking of firsts, Sunday was the first time I was in a bikini in Spain (yikes!) and the first time I had a proper go at tanning. In fact, my legs were so white that I probably could have scared a ghost away (I wish I was kidding). And not that a few hours in the sun darkened them by much, but a little color goes a long way.

Besides all the tanning, the four of us played frisbee and then one friend and I played a silly geography game, but it was great and I can’t wait to repeat it. Unfortunately, my plans today to go to an even cooler beach were canceled because the weather is not all that nice. Last Sunday, the weather was only about about 73 degrees, but 73 degrees here feels really hot. A normal summer day though is apparently in the 90’s, so I plan to bake.

At last, I couldn’t write a blog post about my first real experience at the beach without following up on all the nudity. In plain sight, without moving, I saw at least 10 topless chicas. And out of surprise, I couldn’t help point them out to the guys, but they had already noticed them all on their own 🙂 Figures.

The Beach Scene

The Beach Scene

Action shot with Torval and the frisbee

Action shot with Torval and the frisbee

Yet Another Trip to the Hospital

May 8, 2009

But again, not because I was sick, thank goodness. Unfortunately, little Neus, who is no stranger to THB, is in the hospital this week suffering from pneumonia. But nothing stops English lessons and let me tell ya, hospitals and I are slowly becoming like peanut butter and jelly!

When I heard the news, I quickly went to a store to buy her a stuffed animal. I bought her a Gund teddy bear because when I was little/now (but shh), that brand was always my favorite. When I arrived to the hospital, my jaw dropped. I was confused for a second, thinking, “Is this a hospital or a 5 star hotel?!” It was very hard to tell the difference and upon entering the lobby through the lush gardens, I thought again, “Is this an information desk or is this a concierge desk?” Regardless, up I went to Neus’ suite, yes, suite.

First things first, we had to pick a name for the bear. I suggested Bob, then Princess, to which she said her famous, “Nooo” and later decided on “Gol” with no aid at all (goal in Spanish). Point Neus, great name! Her mom said she was asking all day when I was going to be there, but when I arrived, she didn’t want to do anything I brought to do. So in true Neus style, she invented her own games. First, a pseudo puppet show behind the cushion of her mom’s bed, then hide and go seek with her three animals, Gol being one. She also put stamps all over my arm and when I gave her one as well, she licked it off, saying her mom says it’s bad to put stamps on skin. Ay yi yi 🙂 And so the lesson continued with Neus strapped to an IV and tubes, but nothing stopping her big spirit from shining.

In the end, she asked if I was going to come back the next day, to which I had to sadly tell her no. Talk about heart wrenching, but next Wednesday will come soon enough and hopefully she will be all recovered!

Clinica Teknon, aka, the hospital

Clinica Teknon, aka, the hospital

Gol at the park, to which Neus asked, "WHY did you take Gol to the park?!"

Gol at the park, to which Neus asked, "WHY did you take Gol to the park?!"

Bring It On!

May 6, 2009

Oh, it has already been brought! Need I not explain more with a simple quote: “Barca, you just beat FC Chelsea at their home stadium, what are you going to do next?!” We’re going to the championship game!!

After a season full of watching all the Barca games, I was a proud fan tonight. Unfortunately, the timing of the game didn’t cooperate with my teaching schedule since it began 45 minutes into my 2 hour class, but as soon as my class ended, I began a frantic search for the closest bar showing the game. It didn’t take long before I saw people pouring out of a bar, which was a clear sign the game was on, so I made my way through the crowd and planted myself, standing up. I arrived about 10 minutes into the second half only to see Barca was losing 1-0. The score stayed as such until the last few minutes of the game, where, out of no where, Barca scored! And because Barca scored more goals at the opposing field than did Chelsea at Barca, they win!

I have never seen such excitement and chaos at a bar like I did tonight. After Barca scored, the whole bar went crazy, with random people hugging each other and a lot of screaming. It was a strange sense of unity among a group of strangers and I thought it was pretty cool to be a part of it, even if I was alone. On my way home, there was cheering in the streets, a lot of honking from all the cars and motos and even fireworks going off. Needless to say, I walked home smiling, sort of laughing and feeling like Barca truly brought it on! Gooooo Baaarrrccaaaa!


How to Clean Toilets

May 5, 2009

Since I moved into my humble abode, so 5 months ago or so, I have been strictly following a weekly cleaning schedule. On the fridge, there is a list of all our names and all the chores we are responsible for each week. In fact, one of my roomies even put the English translations on the fridge as well the Spanish descriptions, just on the off chance there is ANY confusion. In other words, no excuses!!

Week after week, I throw on the rubber gloves, white ones in fact, and tackle my “set” for the week. The first set includes the toilet, the entry and the mini hall outside two of our rooms. I take out the sweeper, then mop and subsequently wonder if I made the area dirtier than it originally was 🙂 The second set is the long hallway and the common area, including the coffee table, the mirror and the dinner table. And the third set is the one I look forward to because it requires the least amount of effort: our little kitchen and that’s it.

What I find to be pretty funny is that for roomies who put such an emphasis on weekly cleaning, we have been using a broken dust pan for more than a month, the same end of the mop for longer and cleaning products that seem to have come from the 80’s. Given this situation, I probably don’t need to wonder if I make the room dirtier than it was, I most likely do!

More importantly, I thought I would share a couple lessons I have learned. 1, you can’t get away without using “products” for cleaning the toilet because they will notice! 2, each dish you clean has to be spotless every time or you will receive a note from the cleaning police informing you of repetitive misdemeanors.

Awww, the things you learn when in Barcelona…


Break Out the Bubbly…

May 3, 2009

Because this post marks my 151st on The Hoolia Blog! And that’s a milestone, if only in my little blog world, so I wanted to recognize it with a self-given toast!

In August of 2008, Iwrote a Facebook status update something to the effect of, “Hoolia is thinking about starting a blog, but is not sure she will maintain it.” A week or so later, I went in for the kill, carpe diem as one might say, and wah lah, THB got started. To be honest, not that I ever am not, I didn’t put all that much thought into the blog or what the focus would be before starting it. However, given my pending move to Spain at the time, I figured I would share a few ideas and go from there. Well, 150 ideas later, the ideas are still flowing and I still enjoy sharing them!

I have always enjoyed writing, so chronicling my journey via a blog seemed appropriate. I definitely had my doubts about whether I would keep it up or whether I would run out of ideas and inspiration, but I’m glad, and hopefully you all are too, that I maintain it on a regular basis. If anything, I hope I have been entertaining and/or somewhat interesting (maybe even motivating?!) through such a memorable and personal experience in Barcelona.  

So a toast…to the next 150! Chin chin!