Last Saturday my ring popped. According to Instagram, I finished it on May 1 - a month and ten days old. I felt it in my stomach. Anxiety that I made a faulty product. Worry that I’m going around telling people about my jewellery that doesn’t even last a month.

Then the rest of my brain kicked in.

I felt the ring on my pinky that I’ve been wearing since January (at least). I remembered the ones in my jewellery box that I’ve had since I started beading. I told myself to calm down. The ring that popped was an experiment. I decided to try a different thread and I used beads that my host mother gave me. The beads were bugle beads, which are longer and tend to have a rougher edge. Most beaders suggest that you use seed beads to buffer the bugle beads because the bugles wear down the thread faster. I learned that this is true so I’ll do things differently the next time.

I truly enjoyed wearing the ring and seeing it on my finger. I’m happy that I made it.

Three Fridays ago I crossed the Atlantic for the second time in my life. I felt it in my stomach. Excitement that I was going to see my friends at school. Relief that I would understand all the signs because they are written in my native language. Concern that my relationships with people would be different. Doubt about my decision to leave in the first place.

Then the rest of my brain kicked in.

I had been in this situation before. I did boarding school. I go to a university overseas. Just because this time I was in Europe doesn’t change the fact that many of the people I care about don’t live near me. I knew that I wanted to go to Spain. In the archives as far back as 2014, I’ve said that I’d like to be fluent in Spanish. And there was no way I would change the people I met, food I ate, mistakes I made and things I learned during that semester. It was an experiment. I decided to go outside of my university environment, to go 3600 miles away from my yard, to make a fool of myself so that I could learn more Spanish and to go to southern Spain and have fun.

I remembered that I am a homebody, that I like getting lost (but only once I know how to find my way back), that I can’t go too long without My People around me, and that I really and truly love my belly. I’m thankful for my time in Spain.

Tl;dr: I’m back and thinking of ways to think about my time in Spain and what it meant to me. Also, one of my rings broke.
-
The song is "Here I Come (Broader Than Broadway)" by Barrington Levy. 


I hope you're doing well wherever you are.

Thanks for reading,
Keren

Blogger Widgets

-English-

I like paper. In the majority of its forms. Plain paper, coloured paper, patterned paper, ruled paper (only college-ruled - I don't support wide-ruled), A4, legal, in books, around gifts, sopping up grease from food. I like paper. Which is why, coming up to finals period last year, I was lurking around the campus bookstore. And no, I was not being a waste and waiting until the last minute to buy a book. There was a lot going on and I knew being around books would be comforting. I found a book on nature journaling (Keeping a Nature Journal by Clare Walker Leslie and Charles Roth) and I bought it.

I haven't finished the book yet but the basic idea I got from it was practicing observation - using sketches and jotting notes. It isn't about whether the sketches ~look good~ or the notes are the notes are scientifically correct. It's a way to have fun and record the moments/places/people around you.

I applied that to some of our planned trips in Spain - namely to the campo in Granada, Ronda, Cordoba, and a half-hearted attempt in Sevilla (it was rainy and cold). I also visioned myself as an artsy-type who made sketches and sat in cafes and had people come approach and ask if the work was for sale. I mostly did it to stay engaged and to have fun. Truthfully, I don't remember a third of what our guides told us during the tours. However, I do remember how hard it was to accurately copy the patterns above the arch in the Mezquita (Cordoba), or how amused I was with the torso of the bull (Ronda), or how much I need to practice drawing hands (!) (Granada), or how easy it is to tear napkins when you're trying to fill in trees (Santiago de Compostela).

-Español-

Me gusta papel. En lo mayoría de sus formas. Papel blanco, papel con colores, papel con marcas, papel con lineas, A4, legal, en libros, con regalas, quitando la grasa de comida. Me gusta papel. Y por eso, durante mis exámenes finales el año pasado, estaba en la librería de la universidad. Y no, no había esperado hasta el ultimo momento para comprar un libro. Había mucho en la mente y sabía que libros me consolarían. Encontré un libro sobre hacer un diario de la naturaleza y le compré.

Todavía no lo termino pero la idea es que tienes que practicar observar - con dibujos y notas. No te importa que los dibujos no sean bonitas o las notas sean científicamente preciso. Es una manera para divertirte y recordar los momentos/lugares/personas en su ambiente.

Lo usé en algunos de nuestros excursiones en España - en Granada, Ronda y Cordoba. Pensaba que yo era una artista que hace dibujos y se sienta en cafes y la que personas se acercan y se preguntan si los dibujos son para vender. La verdad es que no recuerdo un tercero de que las guías nos dijeron. Pero, recuerdo lo difícil de copiar las marcas encima de la arca en la Mezquita (Cordoba), o como me divertí el torso del toro (Ronda), o como tengo que practicar dibujar las manos (!) (Granada), o lo fácil rasgar servilletas cuando quieres dibujar arboles (Santiago de Compostela).

Cordoba


Ronda


Santiago de Compostela


Granada





Y ya está. That's all I have for now. The canción is "Sandcastles" by Beyoncé. 



Thanks for reading//Gracias por leer,
Keren


A Story of Three Men


-Español-

Intentaré decir estas historias sin valoración y emoción. Tuve tres interacciones con hombres españoles que yo no conozco. A ver.

En el segundo parque (Lo mas extraño de los tres): Fui a este parque la semana pasada porque no quería quedarme en casa ese tarde. No lo había visitado pero mis amigos me dijeron que era un parque bonita para dar un paseo. Entonces, estaba caminando tranquilamente, mirando la gente y pensando en cosas que ahora las no recuerdo. Era un parque grande (y siempre pienso en el hecho que es fácil verme en la multitud - soy  una mujer sola y soy una niña negra) y decidí sentarme en un banco en el que tenía intimidad pero de el que podría ver otras personas. A ver, sabes cuando hay un parque normalmente hay un montón de bancos no? Y estaba sentando en el centro del banco - para mi, era obvio que ese banco era mío. Y sabes cuando tienes el móvil y estas mirando algo allí? Y - simple - sabes cuando no quieres que algo o alguien te moleste? Pues, nada de estos era obvio para el hombre que me acercó y me preguntó si él podría sentarse a mi lado. (Era mas mayor que yo. Supongo que tenía 40 o mas años). Como soy educada (o tonta, todavía no lo sé), le respondí. Dijo "Si" pero continué mirar el móvil. El hombre empezó a silbar (o pitar? No sé la diferencia). Me sentí unos minutos más y después, salí. Como soy educada (o tonta, todavía no lo sé), le dije "Hasta luego" y me respondió "Hasta ahora".

En el primer parque (Lo mas genial de los tres): Fui a este parque por la mañana del mismo día. Había comprado dos empanadas de queso de cabra y tuve ganas de comerlos en el aire libro. Este parque era más pequeño y sentía como había más gente - en parejas, con sus perros, con sus niños. Después de comer, decidí dibujar un poquito porque tenía mis cosas en la mochila. En un rato, vi un hombre (casi el mismo edad que yo) con su perro. Estaba mirando el perro porque me gusta los perros. A ver, sabes cuando hay un acuerdo silencioso entre tu y otra persona? Tuvimos uno y el hombre con su perro siguieron caminando. Y sabes cuando hay personas que - no sé como describirlo - parecen que tienen amas buenas o, a menos, decentes?  Un poco mas tarde, ellos regresaran. El hombre me preguntó sobre mi dibujo. Como soy educada (o tonta, todavía no le sé) le respondí. Era un estudiante de bellas artes y empezamos a hablar. Una conversación agradable, tuve la oportunidad de jugar con un perro, y al final, se fueron.

En el cafe (Lo mas gracioso de los tres): Una amiga mía de Jamaica me visitó en Granada hace unas semanas. Como ella no había probado piononos (un postre típico de Granada), fuimos a este cafe. Nos sentamos para hablar, beber infusiones y comer piononos. Había un hombre sentando al bar  (era la edad de un abuelo). A ver - sabes cuando hay un hombre de la tercera edad y él puede ser un abuelo o puedo ser extraño? Tuvimos el sentido de que era mas extraño. De repente, nos dijo "Perdoname" y nos preguntó de donde somos.  Como soy educada (o tonta, todavía no lo sé), le respondí. Dijo que somos de Florida - todos los ciudades de Florida. Y sabes cuando no quieres hablar con una persona y no quieres que la persona hable contigo? Dimos este sentido pero el no lo recibió. Al final, dejo de hablar con nosotros por un rato, y decidimos tomar un pionono más. El primer camarero hice un movimiento que no entendí entonces fui al otro camarero porque pensé que el primero estaba ocupada. Pero no era el caso. Lo que pasó es que el primero intentó decirme que el hombre nos ha invitado al cafe. En España, cuando invitas alguien a algo significa que pagas para la cosa. El hombre pagó para nuestros piononos! Le dije que no fuera necesario pero el insistió. Me dio dos besitos y me aseguró que los Estados Unidos es lo mejor país en el mundo. Tuvimos un hombre de azúcar.

Entonces, estos son mis tres historias. Que piensas? 

-English-

I will try to tell these stories without emotion. I had three interactions with three Spanish men who I don't know. Here we go.Those are my three stories. 

In the second park (The strangest of the three): I went to this park last week because I didn't want to stay in the house. I hadn't visited it before but my friends said it was a nice place to take a walk. I was walking nice and easy, looking at the people and thinking about things that I don't remember no. It was a big park (and I always think of the fact that it's easy to pick me out in a crowd in Granada - I'm a woman by herself and I'm a black woman) and I decided to sit in a bench that had privacy but from which I could see other people. Now look, you know when there's a park, there's usually a decent amount of benches right? And I was sitting in the center of the bench - for me, it was obvious that the bench was my bench. And you know when you have your phone and are looking at something on it? And basically - you know when you just don't want anyone or anything to bother you? Well, not one of those was obvious for the man who approached me and asked if he could sit down. (He was older then me. About 40 years old or something.) Since I have manners (or am a fool, I still don't know up to now), I responded. I said he could sit and continued to watch my phone. The man started to whistle. I sat a few more minutes and left. Because I have manners (or am a fool, I still don't know up to now) I said Goodbye and he responded . Hmm. How do I explain this? Both "Hasta luego" and "Hasta ahora" mean see you later but "Hasta ahora" has the sense that you'll see each other sooner rather than later since "ahora" means "now". And that made me feel quite uncomfortable.

In the first park (the nicest of the three): I went to this park earlier that same day. I had bought two goat cheese empanadas and I wanted to eat them outside. This park was smaller and felt like there were more people - couples, with dogs, with children. After eating, I decided to draw a bit because I had my things in my bag. After a while, I saw a guy (about the same age as me) with his dog. I was watching the dog because I like dogs. Now look, you know when you have somewhat of a silent agreement between you and another person? We had one (I was outright staring at the yute's dog) so there was a min headnod and he and his dog continued on their walk. And you know when there are people who just seem like they have good - or at least decent - souls/personalities? A bit later, they returned. The guy asked me about my drawing. Because I have manners (or am a fool, all now I don't know), I responded. He was a Fine Arts student and we started to talk. A nice conversation, I got to play with the dog for a bit, and after a while, they left.

In the cafe (the funniest of the three): A friend from home visited me in Granada a few weeks ago. Since she hadn't tried piononos (a pastry typical to Granada), we went to this cafe. We sat there to eat and drink tea and eat piononos. Now, there was a man seated at the bar (he was a grandfather's age). Now look - you know how old men can either give off a grandfather vibe or a creepy vibe? We got the creepy vibe from this guy. He said, "Excuse me" and asked us where we were from. Because I have manners (or am a claffy, all now I don't really know), I said we're from Florida - all the cities in Florida. And you know when you don't want to talk with someone and you don't want that person to talk to you? We gave off this vibe but he just was not picking up what we were putting down. In the end, he stopped talking to us and we decided to order one more pionono each. The first waiter made a movement that I didn't fully understand. I thought it was his way of signaling that he was busy so I went to the other waiter.  That wasn't the case. What happened was that the first waiter tried to tell me that the man had "invited" us to the cafe. In Spain, this means that you cover the other person's bill. This man paid for our tea and piononos! I told him that it was unnecessary but he insisted. He gave me two besitos (I still cringe a bit at that) and assured me that the United States is the best country in the world and left afterwards. We were openly confused, amused and in shock about what had happened and the waiters laughed at/with us. All we wanted was some refined flour and sugar and we went and found ourselves a Spanish sugar daddy.

Those are my three stories. Any thoughts?

I hope you're doing well wherever you are. Espero que todo este bien contigo. Song/Canción: "Everyone" by the Backstreet Boys. (My music was on shuffle and I'm not upset about it.)



Thanks for reading//Gracias por leer,
Keren


or Lessons on Listening


Friends. I have to sit down and be humble. I don't know why but it didn't click that I can write in Spanish and English at the same time. Thanks to an Aunty, I will do both. So, first in Spanish and then English.

-Español-

Amigas. Tengo que sentarme y ser humilde. No sé porqué pero no me daba cuente de que puedo escribir en español y en inglés a la misma vez. Gracias a una tía mía, haré los dos. Entonces - primero en español y después inglés.

Pero que me ha pasado? En general: creciendo. Cada vez creo que tengo cosas ordenado y arreglando en la cabeza, la vida viene para darme una piña. A veces son cosas suaves y manejable pero hay lo contrario también.

En marzo, estaba muy preocupada con la idea de viajar. No solamente la idea. Estaba confundido sobre qué quiero hacer durante mi tiempo aquí. Muchos de mis compañeros tuvieron* planes para viajar - Italia, Francia, Inglaterra, Alemania - y empiece a pensar "Supongo que debo viajar también". Entonces, hice planes con una amiga mía para París pero no me sentí satisfecha o 100%. Al final,  no fui a París con ella.

Luego, empezamos a pensar en viajar a durante la Semana Santa pero solamente tuve ganas para ver amigos (del primer mes en Granada) y comer. Y no sé exactamente come describir. No es que no tengo ganas para verlos pero lo que pasó es que tenía un sentido que el tiempo no estaba correcta. Era difícil explicar (y todavía es). Entonces, no fui.

Durante todo de este proceso, estaba confundida con mi mismo. Pensé que algo era equivocado conmigo porque prefería* quedar en Granada cuando hay mucho más de Europa para ver. No estaba segura de que [sea] tímida o floja o tacaña o si la idea de viajar me da miedo. Hable con familia, y amigos, y me dijeron consejos* opuestos. Por un lado, me dijeron que estar (esté?) en Europa es una oportunidad única. Debo viajar por todas partes. Por otro lado, me dijeron que estar en España es una oportunidad única. Debo quedarme y aprender que puedo sobre la cultura.

La semana pasada, fui a Santiago de Compostela en el noroeste de España. No sé porque pero tenía ganas de visitar Galicia. Oía que es una región preciosa y muy diferente de otras partes de España - con un sentido céltico u mariscos ricos. Fui sola - en avión a Santiago y para la vuelta - en avión a Madrid y un autobús a Granada después de tres/cuatro horas allí.

Estaba lloviendo y hacía frío cuando llegue a Santiago. A pesar de esto, era una de los viajes mejores que había tenido. Los miedos que soy demasiado tímido o que no me gusta viajar o explorar desaparejaron. La libertad para hacer lo que quise hacer fue aire fresco. No tuve que hablar con personas en el hostal - solamente si lo quería. No tuve que pasar más tiempo en algún lugar. No le importo a nadie si pase todo el sábado en el mercado, perderme por las calles y quedarme en un café.

En cuenta a los consejos, me di cuenta de que la conversación que recuerdo lo mejor era con Daddy. Estábamos hablando sobre París y después de mis razones y explicaciones y argumentos por y contra, él me pregunto: "Keren, quieres ir a París ahora? Si no tienes ganas de hacer algo, no lo hagas." (Yo sé, tengo un padre muy sabio.)

El foto es de mi diario - martes el 14 de febrero de 2017. Me tomó un más que un mes para entender algo que ya supe. Eso es, supongo.

La canción es "Fly" by Destra. No sé porque. Disfrutes! 

-English-

But what's been up with me? In general: growth. Each time I think I have things organized and arranged in my head, life comes and licks me for six. At times the licks are soft and manageable but there's the opposite as well.

In March, I was very preoccupied with the idea of traveling. Not just the idea. I was confused about what I want to do with my time here. Many of my program-mates had plans to travel - Italy, France, England, Germany - and I started to think, "I guess I should travel as well". So I made plans with a friend to go to Paris but I didn't feel 100% while we made the plans. In the end, I didn't go to Paris with her.

Later, we started to think about traveling during Holy Week but I was only interested in seeing friends (from my first month in Granada) and eating new things and pastries. I really don't know how to describe it exactly. It's not that I'm not interacted in seeing different places but I just had a feeling that the timing wasn't right. It was hard to explain and still is. So I didn't go.

Throughout all of this, I was confused with myself. I thought something was wrong with me because I preferred to stay in Granada when there's so much to Europe to see. I wasn't sure if I was being shy or lazy or stingy or if the idea of traveling frightened me. I spoke with family and friends and they gave me contrasting bits of advice. On one hand, they told me that being in Europe is a unique opportunity. I should travel everywhere. On the other hand, they told me that being in Spain is a unique opportunity. I should stay and learn what I can about the culture.

Last week, I went to Santiago de Compostela  in the northwest of Spain. I don't know why but I really wanted to visit Galicia. I heard that it's a precious region and very different from other parts of Spain - with a Celtic feel and good seafood. I went alone. A flight to Santiago and for the return - a flight to Madrid and then a bus back to Granada after three or four hours in Madrid.

It was rainy and cold when I got to Santiago. In spite of this, it was one of the best trips that I've had. The fears that I'm too shy or don't like traveling or seeing new places disappeared. The freedom to do what I wanted to was refreshing. I didn't have to talk with anyone in the hostel - only if I wanted to. I didn't have to spend more time in one place. It didn't matter to anybody if I spend all of Saturday in the market, walking around the streets and then chilling in a cafe.

Going back to the bits of advice, I realized that the conversation I remember the best was with Daddy. We were talking about Paris and after my reasoning and explanations and arguments for and against, he asked me, "Keren, do you want to go to Paris now? If you don't feel like doing something, don't do it".

The photo is from my diary: Tuesday, February 14, 2017. It took me over a month to understand something that I already knew. That's life, I guess. 

The song is "Fly" by Destra and I'm not quite sure why. Enjoy! [=


And thanks for reading//Gracias por leer,
Keren


Amigas,

La comida y yo siempre habíamos (hemos?) tenido una relación especial. Me gusta la comida y me gusta comer. Pero, gracias a España y a mi compañera de casa, la relación es más fuerte. Comida es la vida majas. La vida. Por eso, intentaré más recetas y cuando visite un sitio nuevo, es más probable que recuerde la comida sobre todo.


No sabía (supe?) la palabra "degustación" antes pero significa casi lo mismo como "cata". Definitivamente uno de lo más divertidas cosas he hecho este año. Mi compañera de casa es una amante de comida - la historia, las recetas, y - claro - la comida actual. (Y va a arruinarme en lo mejor manera posible o ya lo ha hecho. Y estoy ok con este.)

Read more »


Hola queridas!


Tengo una receta! Estoy aceptando que me gustan dulces y postres muchísimo. No vergüenza aquí. Pero, trataré poner limites y usar ingredientes mas sanos. El primer intento? Galletas de almendras y naranjas (porque tenemos muchas naranjas en casa). Entonces, busque por el Internet y encontré esta receta: “Galletas Cordones de Almendras y Clementines”//Almond-Clementine Lace Cookies. Pero, mis galletas se parecen nada como las galletas en las fotos. No pasa nada si?

Read more »



Que tal majas?

Esto es una entrada corta. Estoy cansada y tengo que comer. Pero todavía estoy en España. A veces no lo creo. Y el cambio de la vida es algo. Un día, me siento como todo esta ocurriendo al mismo tiempo y otro día, me siento como hay mas cosas que debo hacer.

Quise que escribir sobre algo diferente: mi practica, una receta, el partido de fútbol he visto ayer (!) pero la cabeza esta cansada y escribiendo en español no es una idea buena para esta noche. Así, aquí es el domingo actualmente.

Leyendo Estoy tratando de leer un periódico de jueves. Poco a poco, no?

Escribiendo Entradas para este blog. Creo que voy a escribir mas entradas durante la semana

Escuchando "Safari" by J Balvin featuring BIA, Pharrell Williams, Sky porque tengo el playlist "Viva Latino - Top 50" repitiendo.

Pensando Debo ordenar mis planes para las vacaciones

Necesitando Comer. Todavía no estoy acostumbrado con cena a las 9

Sintiendo Mucho amor de mi familia y amigos este fin de semana

Gracias por leer,
Keren


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