Tag Archives: music

ya te lo contaré…

Imagine that this post was “pressed” (to use this websites lingo) a week ago. Which is hard to do since it includes post-Spring Break reflections.  But the idea was to write this up and publish it before the trip, its title (“I’ll tell you later”) signifying my current obsession with “things to come” [the future].

Have unintentionally started listening to my Summer soundtrack, which revolves mostly around DMB, dotted here and there with G. Love, Bloc Party, Grateful Dead and other eclectic tracks.  Regardless, it means I’m unintentionally entering Summer mode, with the following thoughts and memories dancing in my head each night as I lay down to sleep, or on the endless train/plane rides I just completed:

  • zooming around in my trusty PT Cruiser, said Summer soundtrack blaring, windows down and sunroof open, regardless of the weather.
  • strolling the Downtown Mall with M. and company, which this year promises to be full of study abroad stories, good beer and as always, laughter.
  • mornings spent pacing the stalls at the Farmer’s Market, accompanied by caffeine on ice and followed by a home-cooked meal with whatever I found that day.
  • planning my life with W. behind the desk at the boutique job on the Corner, in between bites of chicken salad on sesame or tuscan bean salad.

In short, my return home has finally become something to look forward to, not something that brings me to tears as it did in, say, November.  This change is due mostly to the fact that I know my stay in the states is not permanent; I was selected for one of the teaching jobs in Spain I applied for.  Starting in September, K. and I will be teaching English in a yet-to-be-determined location in Andalucía, Spain (the southern-most region of the country).  So when I run out of Summer thoughts to distract me, I simply fast forward to thoughts about the return to Spain.  And although the pull towards C’ville is currently at its strongest, as I sit here listening to my newly acquired Spanish music, I realize how strongly I want this place to be my future.

But for now, looming ahead of me, as ominous as the grey clouds that are rolling past my window, is this: exams, papers, and finishing my college career. So whatever’s playing in the background, what’s to come, cómo saldrá, is still unknown. Ya te lo contaré.


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Filed under spring semester, travel, Valencia

turn on, tune in, drop out.

And now that the past week/weekend has been recounted, onto something totally unrelated: music.  Unlike I., I have not broken down and purchased extra storage space for this blog, and therefore cannot put those cute little music players into my posts, which are most aesthetically pleasing.  Instead, I have to resort to old school tactics of sharing music with y’all: YouTube videos.  So if you have the interest or the patience, here are some of the songs that currently make up the sountrack of my life:

  • Depedro : Te sigo soñando
  • Peret (here with Billy Idol) : El muerto vivo
  • Joan Manuel Serrat : Mediterráneo
  • Joan Manuel Serrat : Tu nombre me sabe a hierba

Apart from the above temas I have now been introduced to, I have also taken up the habit of listening to the radio, a media form I have always been infatuated with.  I discovered Radio 3 (described in the previous post as the union of NPR and Charlottesville’s 91.9 WNRN) in my Mass Media class, for which I was required to listen to and comment upon a Spanish radio program.  I was skeptical, since the snippets of radio I’ve heard around my house have not been all that interesting, or, let’s be honest, discernible (what happened to that bilingualism from the post below?).  Between the talk radio D.A. listens to in the mornings, and the incessant techno that I put on while primping (for lack of knowing where to find something better on the radio), I have not been overly impressed with Spanish radio.  But Radio 3 has converted me: its shows are witty, easily comprehended, and include some great music from all over the world (American bands include: Grizzly Bear, Wilco).  And then of course there’s the joy I get from using and promoting archaic forms of anything (in this case, communication.  Others include using pen and paper to take class notes, reading instead of watching TV, you know).

And on top of all the entertainment these discoveries have provided me with, I’m also comforted to know that at least if and when the iPod finally dies, I’ll have some form of music to keep me company…

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Filed under spring semester, travel, Valencia

my morning

spur of the moment blogging bug. don’t want to read Don Quijote so instead, here’s what my morning is like:

-D[oña] A[dela] cutting squid with scissors as I make my cafe con leche

-pan tostada with olive oil, salt, and a touch of homemade orange marmalade from the lady next door.

-daily skype chat with I. in Paris.

-SUN, not snow.

-shopping lists for afternoon grocery store run, to feed friends at a group dinner tonight.

-Onda Cero radio programs penetrating all the walls of the house.

-job, mp3 and identity searching.

…que tengáis buen día, y’all.

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Filed under spring semester, travel, Valencia

movies, music, museums. or: cine, canciones y cultura.


I start my update this way only to mention that the American Rodeo has arrived in Valencia this week.  So periodically throughout the past couple of days we’ve spotted these rodeo cowboys wandering past us in the streets or, (no joke), eating at the Burger King.  There are some aspects of American culture I guess I’ll never be able to escape…

Over the past few days I’ve been focusing my attention on the people and places of Valencia, trying to find my niche.  This quest started with a mid-week trip to the movies.  I had heard about this one film called Gordos (literally: “Fatties”) by Daniel Sanchez Arévalo that had just come out; our cinema teacher at school had showed us one of his short films in class, which everyone enjoyed, so I thought it’d be interesting to see another work by him.  So a few friends and I embarked on a somewhat confusing walk to the center of town, unsure of just what exactly was awaiting us at the cinema.  Would we even be able to understand it?  Would it be funny? Depressing? Totally artsy and incomprehensible?  To our pleasant surprise it was an EXCELLENT movie on so many levels.

The plot basically centered around a weight loss group and its members, all of whom had un montón de issues (identity crises, infidelity, ambiguous sexuality, to name a few) revolving around food.  I picked this one since it dealt with issue of obesity in Spain, which, after being here a few weeks and checking the people out on the street, doesn’t seem to even exist (EVERYONE here is thin/healthy). Thought it would be interesting to see the contrast (or the similarity) to the American obesity problem.  And of course there was the obligatory damning statement about Fat Americans.  Another interesting element was how graphically sexual the film was; somewhat similar to the level HBO likes to take their shows.  But the audience didn’t seem to care; only we Americans were scandalized.  I’d say a large part of what was so interesting about this evening at the movies was being a part of the audience, right alongside Spaniards (as opposed to sitting in a classroom watching a film for class, or even renting a foreign film and watching it at home).  In the end, everyone loved the movie and the evening out itself, the perfect jolt of culture shock to get us through the rest of the week.

me 'n' Diego, at the concert

I’ve also recently been getting a taste of Spanish music.  Have been to two concerts now: the first in a smoky bar right next to my apartment, accompanied by some girls from the program and Diego (my exchange partner) and his friends, and the second in another neighborhood bar where my friend’s hermano (host brother) was playing.  A lot of Spaniards have told me they don’t like Spanish music, that the lyrics are really poetic and beautiful but the music itself is nothing special.  I’d say that’s true.  It’s much more “fun” music than anything else, but still enjoyable.  These bands also had an affinity for classic American/English rock, so between both concerts I think I heard selections from CCR, Rolling Stones, AC/DC.  It’s also great to hear them play what I think are the Spanish equivalent of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin” and all those songs you hear in bars and everyone starts singing along to.  The bar will erupt with slurred Spanish lyrics that I don’t understand but I know make people happy.  So again some cultural norms span many continents.

This weekend was our first one without class on Friday (3 day weekend woohoo!) so a lot of people went out of town.  This only helped me further my campaign to see more of Valencia itself: I woke up Friday morning and went to MuVIM, the Museum of Video and Illustration (I think?).  It was bizarre: a somewhat shabbily put together interactive tour through the entire history of western civilization, starting with illuminated manuscripts which would be replaced by the printing press, and ending in a video montage which was meant to sum up almost everything after industrialization.  The images on said montage were just looped segments from the Holocaust, the Vietnam War, the Spanish Civil War, etc. etc. Guess they don’t really have high hopes for modern society?  But the visit was free so I can’t say I lost anything by going.  Afterwards a few friends and I walked to the Plaza de la Reina, where the Cathedral is, and climbed to the top of the cathedral’s tower.  The view from the top was incredible.  A lovely mid-morning adventure.  To top of the weekend I went to the Museo de Bellas Artes, which houses quite a collection of famous works (Goya, El Greco, Velazquez, Sorolla, etc.) and later today I’m going to try and visit the modern art museum (hoping that the impending rain won’t spoil the rather long walk there!)

now, if that isn’t a cultured weekend, I don’t know what is.


Filed under fall semester, travel, Valencia