Saturday, December 3, 2011

Hello Kitty Domination

When I was a child in Australia, Hello Kitty was popular in some circles. I collected Hello Kitty items.
When I went to Japan ten years ago, I realised Hello Kitty was Kitty Chan and was a staple, like rice, in Japanese culture.
And now here, in Spain, Hello Kitty is making a bid to take over the world. She's everywhere. I spotted her this morning peering out of this car window.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Cheeses of Catalonia

This weekend there is a cheese gathering behind the church.
I have to admit the aroma nearly had me dodging the display. I was grateful that Jett and Sarah weren't there to faint.
Albert tried a cheese spread but my appetite was opressed while in the vacinity of the market.
We'll head back in the evening for a small purchase.

Bank Cue Reform in Granollers

I went to the bank on Thursday. It's been redecorated and the previous system of 'who is the last one' didn't seem necessary.
Until people started cuing for the ATMs and the cue began to mis with the people waiting for the cashier. Hmmmm.
People standing around asking what the other one was waiting for and what position they were in the line. Scary confusion for something that seems quite easy to manage. Perhaps it's just in the DNA.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween Pumpkin

We're eating chestnuts and those dry heavy cookies they love so much here. Marina, Adela and Nuria cut out the pumpkin. I've never done it before.
We dressed up. Even, Montse had a long red wig on.
We had to celebrate today because the others are going away for the weekend.
So, happy what ever it is you celebrate and safe holidays.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

2:00 am, Madness

Maybe I should start with the fact that it's a new moon today. These were not just voices in the night, they were screams of a violent and wrathful nature.
Police cars, their lights flickering around the room, screams from a wretched woman laying on the pavement and men trying to wound each other with their fists.
It went on for some time. Australians can get violent like this. I've never seen Norwegians like it. And these people were not kids. They were mature adults in their 40's.
Last night people were on their balconies watching the drama unfold. It was impossible to sleep through, even for Albert.
And this morning, the day clear and bright, there is no reminder of the goings on in the night.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Breakfast Conversation

I just had the strangest experience!  There were a couple of women talking in the cafe, and they were obviously talking about clothing and quite seriously too.
I didn't realise I was staring, and then suddenly the lady turned to me and smiled and started talking to me about the same thing. Obviously I didn't catch everything and I stumbled out my ´no entenc' (I don't understand) but she kept talking and gesturing at her top and finally it was discovered that shirts were not comfortable but naturally I assured her it looked nice anyway and the colour was great.
That hasn't happened to me before.  That total strangers engage me in conversation. Well, it's happened in other countries, but not here.  Just yesterday I was saying to Xantal (a friend/student) that I was looking for positive things to love about Catalans. Very funny. And just now, as I'm writing, they said goodbye to me... and though they spoke to each other in Catalan, they spoke to me in Spanish. (Also quite typical from Catalans)

Coffee Treat

First of all, I am trying to send this via the flip out. It's a trial. I just went and they took 3 vials of blood. I'll know the results next week.
My health is much better. I'm not so tired. I cough, but it's much better than last week. Jett still thinks I'm about to die. I'm afraid he's suffered more than I.
So I'm having a little sweet (canya?) And playing with my phone. I totally understand the phone obsession. As they say, it's much more than a phone.
Good luck to this post.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Cyber Walk In Granollers

Today I thought I´d take you for a quick walk in Granollers to my favourite coffee shop/bakery.  Let´s go.

 These are the stairs from our apartment. We´re going down.

At the bottom of our building there are two elevators. Sometimes, if I want to get one last look at what I look like before I go out into the world, I open the doors of the elevator and there is a long mirror. Doesn´t show shoes, but I get a more flattering light than the one in my hall.  That´s me today.  (If you want, you can post me a picture of you today and I´ll add it to the blog too, just for fun)

Here´s our entrance. The weather has changed a bit in the last few days.  Today it´s sunny but with a few clouds. About 23 degrees, but cooler in the shade and breeze.  I´m still wearing sandals.

We turn left and that ´s what we see.  The building beside us is a bank with some surprisingly insensitive and politically incorrect advertising considering the  ‘occupy` movement going down.

So we walk to the end of the block (15 steps?) and turn left again. Yes, lots of graffiti here.

Our bins! This is still our block! Come on.

It`s marketday! It´s pretty late (1:30), so people are packing up. I haven`t been to the market for ages.  We have to get across here. Hold on to your bag. Granollers is usually pretty safe, but on market day every one has a better grip on their possessions.

I usually cut down here. There a less people. Especially on market day.

We`re almost there.  Love this old stone work. A student of mine just walked passed.  Smile and wave.

There`s the church! We`re sitting there.

Ferrer! Our coffee shop/bakery.  I think it has one of the best coffees in Granollers.  My sweet tooth has more or less disappeared in the last weeks, but you can order what you like. Today`s on me, so order  anything you like.

It was lovely to see you today! Thanks for joining me. 

This is the first post where I have used my new Toshiba netbook, our lovely fuji camera, my new Motorola flipout and done everything myself! (ok I did call Albert about some small details, but, I did the actual work!)

I´m even going to try to blue tooth this document to my flipout and send it from this coffee shop before I leave.  Am I not totally cool and clever, not to mention modern and dexterous?¿  That is my Spanish keyboard for you!

Hugs all and talk to you soon!

(edit - blog publishing disaster actually occurred but hopefully Albert can help me out with tech details. Learnt a lot though!) 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My First Class

I took my first class today after weeks of being home. Well, it was more like meeting old friends for the afternoon. It was tiring though! I'm fully knocked out now. And finally the temperature is dropping. 23 degrees today.

The Australian New Zealander Catalan Society's Blog: Go to the Sydney Opera House without moving from C...

The Australian New Zealander Catalan Society's Blog: Go to the Sydney Opera House without moving from C...: Do you want to see Giuseppe Verdi's Rigolleto but the Sydney Opera House is too far away? Next Thursday (20th, 20:30pm) you can go to the G...

Monday, October 17, 2011

My Birthday Present

Thank you Albert! I love it.

It's a Toshiba Mini NB500 series, in burnished gold! 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

40th Birthday Outing

So finally we decided to head to Mataro. We've been walking 15 minutes and I'm pretty tired already. But guess what? It's 35 degrees. Mid October and we're experiencing a heat wave. Lots of people about. Some in summer clothes but most of them in jeans and sweat. The boys would like to swim but I'm not up for it. The water is clear and clean. Really gorgeous day. Thanks to all of the birthday wishes every one. Appreciate it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Thoughts on Turning 40

From here to there and all that's in between. 

Tomorrow's my birthday. 12th of Ocotber, 1971. Mum called me today to check up on my health and reminded me that I was born about 3 in the morning. 

In Spain, it's the national holiday, so there's a holiday on my birthday every year. Last year we went to Sardinia

My birthday is a reminder that I was born into this world. Consciousness resides within me. And it's up to me to decide what to do with that. 

After these weeks of sickness, I feel as though I've been cocooned  within the walls of my apartment. And when I emerge, it will be with delicate wings of a new life. 

I will be a woman of 40. And willingly or not, it does make a difference to me. I find myself feeling stronger and more determined not to lose my way with 'soft addictions'. I feel my priorities have been stripped down to their bare minimum and these, I can handle. 

I feel prepared to start this new phase in my life. Once I stop coughing that is. 

Thanks to you all for helping to make my life, thus far, enjoyable and meaningful. Take care and love to everyone. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Introducing Montse's New Kitten Jazz

We're over for my birthday lunch. I'm languishing on the sofa watching Jett play with Jazz. Jett's very happy with him, but it seems to be a game of cat and mouse. Jett being the cat.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

On the Way Up

We went out this morning for a little pastry and coffee. My taste buds are not responding well though. There's a slight chill in the air. I've only coughed a few times. I think I'm on the way up. I went to the doctors yesterday and I need to get a blood test done as well as a lung x-ray. I'll keep you posted.

Albert in Khaki and Cream.

Design by Albert.

In response to my suggestion that cream might be a nice colour to go with those pants. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Health Update

Unfortunately poor little Jett had a stomach bug and he's been home with me yesterday and today. We've been feeling sorry for ourselves while watching Jason Momoa, I mean Stargate Atlantis.
Jett seems to be better today. No problems, just tired.
I'm still coughing but the frequency has significantly dropped in the last two days. I have my check up on Friday. Then I'll have finished my meds.
Now, some people have asked for more details, so if you don't want to know, now is the time to stop reading.
Sick Person details to follow:
I have two types of cough. A normal one that helps get the gunk off the chest, and a second one that is the whooping cough. That's the one I dread. It's about 30 seconds or longer of coughing but the throat closes, so it seems impossible to get air in, hence the whoop sound. There is also vomit and lots of body fluids involved in what seems to be a total loss of control of the physical body. The fits of coughing over strained the muscles in my back and chest, so there is pain to deal with there too. I also contracted a typical female reaction to the antibiotics which makes it a little more uncomfortable. So that's basically it. I'm sleeping about 10 or 11 hours most nights. The good news is I do really seem to be gettig better. So, wish me luck and send me your positive prayers/thoughts.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Whooping Cough!

What? Yes, you heard correctly. I picked it up in Norway and carried it back to Spain with me. I'll be non-contagious in 10 days, just before my 40th birthday. Most of the people here are enjoying an Indian summer. I'm not. But I am reading a lovely book, 'The Hidden Messages in Water'. I think it's time to do those house things I keep putting off. I'm sitting in a coffee shop while I'm writing and guess what!? An older man is giving me the eye! I'm actually flattered considering I feel like a wrung out used and abused tea cloth, including the kitchen stains.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Voices in the Night

Lately, at about 3 in the morning, I've been waking up to the sound of men speaking loudly, in English! We have quite a lot of native speakers here, what with so many English schools and Catalans bringing spouses back from their trips around the world. Last night I heard the words 'fast and furious' and lots of laughing. Yes, I'm sure I'm not dreaming.

Cheap Drugs in Spain

I've been to the doctors for my own health twice since being here. Today I finally went for my cough. Do you know that I haven't paid more than 2 euro for prescribed medication? It's so cheap! It's all under the CatSalut card. It's like the medibank card in Australia. But much cheaper.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Organic Carrots

We buy a box of locally grown organic vegetables every week. Some times there are bugs, spiders, snails, moths and dirt around the vegetables. Today one of the carrots had little gnaw marks in the top of it and I realised I reached my 'eew' limit.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sick for Two Weeks

So basically I've been coughing and laying around the house for the last 12 days.  I tried a couple of classes but the day after felt much worse. 
I've got some sort of 'flu.  I don't remember being sick for so long before.  I'm hoping this is the end of it now. 
It wasn't the best time to get sick with classes starting and Jett beginning school, but life is what it is.  
I think my biggest frustration has been the weather. It's so beautiful out. Every day has been gorgeous. The suffocating heat of high summer has gone and its just lovely out there. The clouds are soft and there's a gentle breeze. 
I know it will pass. 
I also joined Google+. But I'm going to keep it primarily for yoga/meditation/qigong information. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Milk Cafe with Vegetarian Menu in Granollers!

At number 4 Girona street there's a new cafe opened up with many vegetarian options. It's in the same place the unlucky Grinsen used to be. The waiters are friendly and fast and tonight we're watching Barça beat Osasuna on the big screen. Good luck Milk Cafe!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Koalas in Granollers

My brother visited us earlier this month and delivered a cache of sweets from down under. I forgot how much I liked Caramello Koalas. Mmm.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Linguistic diversity in Europe: the Catalan case

Linguistic diversity in Europe: the Catalan case

The above is a link!

Snake Prank

So I'm stretching in the yoga room after this morning's walk and the buzzer rings. I get up to answer it and there's a snake wrapped around the telephone. Yes yes, it's plastic, but tell my heart that.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Got the Flu

So finally the 2 months of hectic holidays caught up with me. I'm in bed with a chest cough. Tomorrow Jett starts at ESO and I start work. Good luck.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Anonymous Contributor

Jett: There's this guy on the internet called Anonymous Contributor, and he's really smart. He answers all of these questions on topics from yahoo questions. Sometimes he's really funny.

Wine and Nestea for Breakfast

Jaden just left us. Jett and I realised we didn't have breakfast! It's 4.17! Time for tapas then.

Bathroom Third Phase

The plaster is off, and the new stuff going on. Once Jaden started, it's all a go.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Monkey Pod

Jaden bought a new flexi tripod.

Day Trip to Girona

Of course we started off a bit late, but we're soon in Girona. It's overcast and rained quite hard this morning but the afternoon looks promising. We'll head back to Granollers this afternoon.