A check-in

To catch people up on computer issues, while I have a working computer, we couldn’t recover my data. So I’ve lost a month of pictures and have no music anymore. That’s pretty much the worst of it. And Pandora apparently does not work in Spain. Which is really too bad (any suggestions for free, not-illegal music sources? I like classical and folk and musicals and gospel and hymns and traditional ethnic and it doesn’t have to be in English or even have words).

I haven’t been doing enough interesting things lately to give a play-by-play recap, so I’ll just ramble about stuff as it occurs to me.

My host mother had decided that I don’t like sweets. I don’t know how to tell her than no, I have a huge sweet tooth, I’m just a whole lot pickier about sweets than about regular food. (I guess that it makes sense that I have higher standards for something that I’m eating specifically because I like it rather than something I’m eating because I’m hungry and need nurishment.) I did sort-of try to explain that it’s not that I don’t like chocolate, but rather that I don’t unilaterally like chocolate; this chocolate may have too much sugar in it, or I may not like the flavor of that one . . . but I think that that only reinforced her impression that I’m not a big fan of sugar. And while I can think of another way to try to explain it, telling her that I only like chocolate that I consider to be good seems very rude, since it implies that the chocolate she’s tried to feed me is bad chocolate. She also doesn’t seem to understand that in my house, a croissant is a dulce. And while I did try to tell her that it’s not that I don’t like sugar, it’s just that sugar is a food which has a high potential for me to dislike it if it’s not to suit my exacting standards, I don’t think that I’m explaining very well in English, so I don’t see why she would understand in Spanish.
Of course, the fact that I don’t like several of the options for sweet food is probably a good thing; it means that I’m not going to eat any of it. I don’t like the cordoveses because they have too much confectioner’s sugar and not enough flavor, and I don’t really like the stuff that’s like filo dough with crema inside because of what I guess is a texture thing; it sticks to the roof of my mouth in a funny way that’s unpleasant enough to make the so-so flavor entirely not worth the trouble. And hey, the croissants continue to be quite good to excellent.
Perhaps another factor is milk. I’m accustomed to eating my sweets with milk, and while I don’t dislike the milk here so much that I won’t drink it, it just doesn’t taste right. I have yet to decide if sweets without milk or sweets with odd milk are preferable. (And I can’t get over the fact that it doesn’t need to be refrigerated! It’s just weird to me that milk can sit out of the fridge like cans of fruit juice before it’s opened. Of course, they seem to be more lax about refrigeration here – or maybe it’s just Pepi. At any rate, she’ll make my lunch in the morning before she goes to work and then leave it sitting out on the counter all day. I usually stick it in the fridge when I get up, and then microwave it thoroughly. I have yet to figure out how this behavior can be compatible with the amount of mayonnaise that’s used here. Maybe the mayonnaise is different, too. Luckily Pepi seems to have decided that I don’t like mayonnaise, either. While this isn’t actually true, I do feel that mayonnaise is a condiment – to be used sparingly on a limited number of foods – rather than an ingredient to be applied with the same enthusiasm that Isaac uses for ketchup.

We played fútbol (and a bit of ultimate frisbee) on Friday night and had lots of fun. While I can’t even remember the last time I touched a soccer ball, most of the other participants seemed to have a similar level of skill. I, at least, had the advantage of four years of field hockey, which utilizes a similar set of team skills, if not ball skills (which while usually useful, also meant that I occasionally found myself in exactly the right place and still unable to actually perform the required action). It sounded like we may continue to have similar games; if that’s the case I will perhaps look into acquiring a cheap pair of sneakers.

Let’s see . . . we went out for ice cream yesterday. Instead of paying for overpriced ice cream in a cone, a bunch of us got two cheap containers of ice cream. While the ice cream wasn’t as good as it would have been from one of the artisan places, it was cheaper, and it was a nice group-excursion thing. You definitely feel closer to people when sharing communal ice cream than when each person has her own cone.

I’ve done a lot of walking of late. But I got plenty of sleep last night, and didn’t wake up with sore feet or feeling tense all over (my analysis: only-barely enough sleep coupled with computer worry and lots of walking/soccer). So that’s a good thing.

I should get around to doing homework at some point today. Also to downloading TeX or OpenOffice so that I can write papers when it’s next required of me.



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7 responses to “A check-in

  1. It really does suck about your computer, and I can’t think about any free legal music sources off the top of my head…
    Oh! Yes! I love the ultra-pasteurized milk. The stuff you can keep on a shelf in your dorm room until it’s opened. You get used to the taste. Or at least I did. It’s better cold? But anyway, it was just the coolest thing.
    I’m pretty sure that writing papers in TeX would drive me crazy, but I’m also going to try doing some of my homeworks in TeX, some of which involve lots of writing, so I suppose I can’t really be too weird about it…

    • As far as the milk goes, it’s not that I hate the taste (heck, I loved it when I was a kid and had it every day in my lunch until I got sick of it), it’s just not what I expect from milk. So while it’s an okay beverage, I don’t really feel that it’s a substitute for all the places that I would use milk at home.
      And re: writing papers in TeX, C has sent me one of hers to use as a template if it comes to that.

  2. You have a google account— just use Google Docs in the meantime.
    there are ways to spoof ips such that things THINK you’re in the US— or not. Is this something you’re morally okay with? If so, I’ll attempt to find it… I tend to not *have* morals when it comes to the internet, (not really true, but we’ll pretend), so I’m not sure where the lines other people might have are….

    • Depending on how desperate for music I get (it’s funny; when I have it I generally forget that it’s there and don’t listen to it, but I’m crazy missing it now), I may decide that the fact that I’m usually in the US would justify pretending to be.
      I’m going to the library this morning, though. They might have music.

  3. Anonymous

    I feel like there are a bunch of radio stations that put their shows online–maybe there’s one with music that does that?
    Perhaps the solution to the sweets issue is to locate some that you DO like now and then and use them for explanation purposes.
    Glad you’re getting enough sleep. Sleep is a good thing.
    If you need/want any of the tex files from IDLA as samples/references, I think I still have a bunch of them. Ooo–not that this will be remotely useful, I’m sure, but I discovered the other day that mathbb (which gives letters that double line thing, for R^n, for example), turns the number 3 into crazy cross-hatching. I was rather puzzled when, instead of R^3, I ended up with R^[insertcrazycrosshatchinghere]. For that matter, it probably turns other numbers into cross-hatching too–I haven’t tried yet.

    • Anonymous

      And that was me (erm… Emily) by the way. I forgot that an anonymous post is, well, anonymous. I may have done that once before too.

      • Re: Oops…
        The radio stations is a good idea. Of course, it depends on whether or not they believe I’m in the US . . .
        When you started talking about IDLA, I figured out who you were. And I guess that that was probably you who couldn’t find your Italian class, then?

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