Monday, November 29, 2010

Sirens Blaring

This morning, before I got out of bed, sirens pierced the muffled drone of traffic. Now I'm sitting here drinking coffee and two ambulances go by blaring their horns. Granollers is small, but its as noisy as a big city sometimes. The sounds of sirens blaring remind me of movies set in New York City. North American media domination.

My Catalan Class!

See, its not just me! Nobody likes the verbs or pronouns! Class is suppose to start now. Hmm.

Toast and Tea

When the boys have gone and the apartment is quiet, I love to sit with a cup of tea. On the mornings I have an early appointment, I have toast too. Simple pleasures that act like a comma in the events of the day.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mama Mia - the Best Pizza?

Well, we've tried to eat here a few times and it's always been full. Last night, because we were going to celebrate Montse's birthday, we booked in advance. My pizza was delicious. The others said it was good. But we all agreed that its reputation as a great pizza place was a bit exaggerated. Of course, the place is tiny, so they are shoving people in and out quite quickly. My favourite pizza is from Pulcinella. And that's only 5 mins from our apartment.

Magrana - Pomegranate

I've never had one before today! Never even knew what one looked like. They originally came from Iran and northern India. Interesting!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Friday, November 26, 2010

Where To Start?

These are from Jordi Farnes. These people don't even sell bread; only sweets! Albert told me it was his grandmother's favourite bakery. Well, let's see.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Recognition of Happy Times - Let's Give Thanks

As I said earlier, we've been here 18 months. The last two weeks have been amazing. At every turn, Albert and Jett have expressed happiness on all levels. My house is tidy and I'm doing what I like to do, and getting paid for it. 
Pause.  And wow.  Let's just sit down for a moment and look around and say thanks. 
I don't know what's around the corner. I'm not looking. I'm happy right here and now and that's more than enough for me.  
Thanks to Albert for being so thoughtful, kind and sporty! Thanks to Jett for being a sweetie and brushing himself off quickly to get back on the horse time and time again. 

Study Motivation

Just to recap: I'm Australian. I speak English and poor Norwegian. I do not speak Spanish. I live in Granollers. I go to Catalan class. I've been here for 18 months. I am repeating B2, in my course. I hit unit 4, and my head kind of un-assembled. (Did I say I spoke English?) What happened? The main problem I have is lack of vocabulary. There are many words that are similar to Spanish, so many of the other students just slip along while I'm fossicking in my dictionary. I am still not really close to my verbs. My brain slows right down in translation, and now there is haver-hi, the past tense of old verbs and the pronouns for shopping fruit, vegetables and all that jazz. Explosion. Lucky for me, I have a great bakery on my way home from class. Donut time! Yay! :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pouring Myself a Drink

I'm sitting with some locals after dinner. The after dinner drinks are on the table. Someone picks up the bottle and pours themselves a drink. The conversation continues. I'm the only one who feels that something 'wrong' just occured. Please let me know your opinion about this. In my upbringing, we must ask everyone else what they would like and serve them, and then we take care of our own wants. Opinions?

Mel i Mató

Well, its like ricotta cheese and honey. Its a common dessert here. Today we also had it with membrillo. Some fruit paste. I'm not sure if I like this massive amount of cheese with honey as dessert. Hmm. I think I have to practice this one a bit more.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Car Hunting

We're searching for a new car. Today we're looking at Opel's. So many gadgets!

The Best Donuts?

This is the best donut in Granollers? We're in Pbretcha, in the walking street. There is only one way to find out I guess. 'One donut please.'

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Church!

The bells are ringing. The Gra is infested with teenagers, people are rushing through the streets in search of their mid-morning breakfast (what the hobbits call elevenses). 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Shaking the Hand - Interpretation

Shaking the hand means 'Uff'. You can shake the hand when your teacher is super angry during class and afterwards you look at your friend and say nothing, but shake the hand. You can also shake the hand when you go to the bar to get a drink and they say 6 euros please. Then you shake the hand and say 'hoorder.' Hot girls also get the hand shake, with a different expression than the one displayed above.

Speed Cleaning

My Mum gave me this book a couple of years ago. I've been following some of its advice and it's helped me organise the apartment. My biggest problem with cleaning, apart from being lazy, was where to start. This book explains the sequence of tidying in a way that has penetrated my foggy mind. 1-declutter. Take away everything that doesn't belong in the room. 2 -dust walls, ceilings, pictures and wipe down switches with a wet cloth. 3 -dust stuff,then wipe down with appropriate cleaner. 4 - sweep and wash floors. That's the basics for each room, and it works for me.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Unusually Warm Weather in November

We're in the park again. This week has been so warm, its been impossible to know what to wear. Cold mornings but 25 in the middle of the day. People have been complaining but honestly, I love it. Sitting on a blanket in the middle of November in the sun! Ostres!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Yay Jett!

1500 meters.

Parets del Valles Running Meet

It's the first race of the day. Jett's is at 11. There are people in track suits and loud music being played. There is a bit of excitement in the air and even a few smiles for a Saturday morning.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Autumn in the Park

Its really quiet here today, even though is beautiful weather. Jett and I came for an after lunch treat of rice and milk. He's got his nose stuck in a Donald Pocket, and I'm considering rock fashion. You know Albert has just started a rock revival band? Of course, the question is, what to wear for the gig?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Potato Wedges and AliOli

One of my favourite snacks.

The Strange Thing with Ensaimades

Jett has a theory with Ensaimades. That is, if it looks good, don't get it. Only buy it if it looks dry. Many times this works. Its really impossible to tell if its going to be soft, buttery and melt in the mouth, or dry. Jett has good luck with his pastry choices. The one above was average.

The Church Square on Market Day in Granollers

We've got clothes, blankets, boots, towels and jewelry. People are calling out 'one euro!' and 'ba!'. Ba translates to something like come on! The sun is shining beautifully today. I'm sitting in the sun, waiting for my coffee. Then off to the Porxada to buy fruit for my new juicer.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


This is the cross on the pew in the chapel in Saint Steven Church. This chapel has a benevolent Jesus and a replica of Montserrat's black Virgin. I come here to pray every now and then. I'm still not sure of the times the church is open.

Christmas Decorations?!

Yes! The Viena (a sandwich bar chain) has christmas decorations up! Ho, ho, ho.

Amma Leaves Granollers

All that's left is my chocolate ball, some bruised flower petals and the last of the faithful. Thank you Amma.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Amma in Granollers!

She's here for three days. This is only the second year I've seen her. Lots of people! 

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Gra

Teenager scare me. And this is their den. It's where 'they' hang out. It is strategically placed across from the church. Coincidence? I think not.

See also K's Fears of Teenagers .

PS - A friend read this and told me they thought it was a bit too harsh and I should let people know I'm joking. Yes. I'm joking. Teenagers don't really scare me. However they do tend to embody the worst of self centered behaviour (as I'm sure I did). Long live the teenager. 

Fashion Clones Overrun Sleepy Granollers!

You'll know it when you see it. Black boots, tight blue jeans and a black jacket. The hair has to be straight, preferably with a fringe.

Jett's Donald Duck Obsession

My son has an obsessive kind of streak in his nature. For the last five years or so, one of his favourite activities is reading, collecting and learning more about Donald Pockets. His Norwegian grandmother sends him one or two a month. I only allow Jett to read them on the weekend. I'm afraid his prime mythology will be based on a greedy old man duck and a struggling and bad tempered donald duck. Not to mention Daisy's impact on his psychology!

Pushing People

One of the surprises I still have here is basic lack of manners/thoughtfulness on the streets. People push past while managing to have an expression on their face as if you didn't exist. It's true, teenagers are the best at rudeness, but most of my pedestrian encounters are marked by thoughtlessness. And if I happen to stand aside to let another pass me, it's never rewarded with a word or even eye contact. Of course. Nobody is right or wrong here. It's just another way of living together. But usually people I've spoken to appreciate the daily kindness and consideration they receive when they are abroad.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

El Xamfrà

The title is the name of this bakery on my block, and also the name of this type of corner. That is, its like a wedge that fits into a pie. I'm not sure if we have a name for this in English. Anyway, Jett says this bakery has the best donuts, and Montse says it has the best baked cheese cake. This is where I get my xuxus from. It's also the main reason I still can't fit into my old white pants.

Edit: As of the 24th of November, El Xamfra closed its doors after 24 years! The reason has not been established. I've only been here 18 months myself, but I will sorely miss the nice bakery ladies and the excellent xuxu's. The only good news is I have to try lots of other bakeries to find a decent xuxu replacement.

For the latest on the Xamfra

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Best Thing About Catalan Homework

Is, of course, the pastries! And this one is even yummier than it looks!

Granollers's Main Church

I was told, when I first came here, that the church was unfortunately ugly. But really, with the creeper red in the autumn, and the midday sun enticing people to sit in the square- the church has its moments. A marvel it may not be, but its what we've got.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Another Aussie on the Blogging Block?

Hey guys,

just found another Aussie writing about her experiences in moving to Barcelona. Take a look.

Picnic in the Park

Today is truly gorgeous. People are in t-shirts again! The perfect day for a picnic. Today is our first day back to work after the time change. We all woke up early and kept checking our watches, hoping we hadn't overslept. People say it seems too hot for chestnut season.