Monday, May 28, 2012

Spain as a Procrastination Technique

First and most important: I LOVE that hat! I would wear it in any color. Well maybe not any color, but you get the point :)

Congratulate Ben on graduation for me and thank him for the VSO tip. It looks like a great organization though as you said a bit selective about its American volunteers and being I don’t have fluency in any other language a longshot, but it’s nice to have options!
My Peace Corps interview went well – I should know if I made this quarter’s placement sometime in June. If I don’t get a placement in June I have to wait until October, but either way I’m ready to come back to the states and save up some cash so I can move into a bigger city – preferably NYC – and be self-sufficient. That means a bit of time in Oneonta, but I suppose there are worse places to be plus I can scope out places for our Book and Breakfast/Writers Retreat!!     

I’ve been working on my thesis and by working on my thesis I mean  contemplating the pile of material meant to be absorbed by my sometimes active brain into a brilliant thesis on citizen journalism taking the place of the watchdog role as predicated by the market failure of the fourth estate and wishing it would write itself.

No such luck.

It’s due on June 8th which gives me a few weeks to write 12,000 words that are coherent enough to earn at least a B+ so that I can graduate with merit. I think that if I’d taken a gap year this wouldn’t matter, but my undergrad self keeps comparing my 3.8 to my graduate 3.4 and shaking her head…

On a positive note in a premeditated celebration of my June 14th graduation I’ve been planning my final trip with some friends. We’re going to Romania and Poland. I’m really excited about Romania. We’re going to do the Transylvania area and besides the whole Dracula angle (which of course I’m excited about!) the country side looks breathtaking and there are all sorts of old castles just waiting to be explored.

Speaking of exploring I still haven’t told you how much I loved Spain!

Barcelona was rainy, but I saw a ton of Gaudi architecture which more than made up for the weather. The entrance to the park looked like it came right out of Candy Land!

It was very fanciful. I half expected to find myself transported into some kind of world with Victorian throwback costumes and candy three meals a day, but the rest of the city was quite beautiful as well.

This was at a subway enterance!!

Next I went to Valencia where I had my first taste of paella – delicious.

And my first sip of horchata – surprisingly refreshing!

I also visited the city of arts and science which were amazing! I spent a few hours walking around and I didn’t even go inside.

Oh and did I mention that I saw the Holy Grail. I totally would have had a Monty Python moment too if there had been coconuts available.

Alicante was a beach stop. Enough said :)

Granada was beautiful! I stayed in a little town outside of the main city right in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the scenery was magnificent.

I also got to see some live Flamenco dancing in the caves which is apparently where the Jews, Gypsies, and Arabs were sent after the Christians regained Spain from its Muslim occupation. It’s specific to the area and very passionate. It made me wish I had just an ounce of rhythm in my body.

Seville was in the middle of a festival so there were woman all over the place dressed in traditional attire. Here are a couple at the Place D’Espana – my favorite spot! I could have spent hours looking around at the mosaics alone not to mention the prime people watching opportunities.

Cordoba was just an afternoon stop on my way to Madrid, but I was told by several people along the way that it was a stop I had to make for the mosque (which is now an active church). They were right. It was majestic.

Madrid was my last stop. And though it was much like any other major cities it still had some treasures that just don’t pop up in the states. Like this statue of the fallen angel.

And free student admission to art museums like this

And some other must see attractions.

I underestimated the size of Madrid and didn’t see nearly as much as I’d wanted too, but that just means I have an excuse to go back, right?

Now that I've re-lived my lovely trip it's back to thesis time. Translation: Holding a book open on my lap and wishing I were back in Spain!  


P.S. Any feedback on Letters? Also, feel free to send the new draft and day after June 8th!!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Of Little Lambs and Rewrites

Dear Ashley,

Sorry it's taken me a month (a month!) to write back. You've probably already had your Peace Corps. interview today, but good luck anyway!! Also, Ben suggested that you check out the Volunteer Service Organization. He's known some people who have done the Peace Corps, and not had the best experience. Apparently, they have a less than stellar track record of support on the ground and keeping their people safe. And of course, we want you to be safe. He's heard nothing but good things about VSO- the only hitch might be that they consciously don't recruit from the western hemisphere- i.e...Americans. Can't really say that I blame them. Our country's not exactly the most devoted to really helping others without a hidden, self-serving agenda.  But anyway. Something else to look at, in case the Peace Corps. doesn't work out. I hope it does, though.

I can't wait to hear all about Spain! I'm sure it was amazing. From everyone else's pictures I've seen, it's gorgeous. And I think I could actually get around there. I do need to brush up on my Spanish- I understand waaay more than I can speak at this point.

The farthest I've traveled lately is West Friendship, Maryland for the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival a few days ago. No palaces or ancient ruins there, but there were little lambs,

 and border collies

and loads of glorious yarn.

 I came home with a small load of glorious yarn.

In other news, I finished my scriptfrenzy script, as you saw on facebook. It's not a great rewrite, but it's better than the original was, and there's definitely a role in it for you so we can both be rich and famous writer/actresses. Your plan makes it sounds so simple, by the way. Of course George Clooney will just telephone and ask to play the lead. :) If he did, I'd even consider saying yes, even though he's really not right for the part.

I'm also currently procrastinating on  revising Letters to Myself. The ladies at book club have agreed to be my focus group, and I need to get it to them by this weekend so they have time to read it, but I'm having a really hard time adding things to it. I'm going with the whole Ariah-finds-out-about-her-mother's-affair plot, but I think it's going to be almost impossible to add that, without making it seem like an excuse for her to start an affair with Tristan.

I don't know.

When this draft is done I'll send it to you so in your copious amounts of free time (sarcasm) you can read this version.

Ben graduates this weekend, speaking of free time. We're very excited. He might now have time to read books for fun and stay awake through a whole movie.

Finally, I finished a hat yesterday, and it might be my new favorite. I think you'll love it too. What colors do you want yours in?