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Two Fridays ago, I put some of my plants on display at a Black Arts Gallery at school. I showed four of my plants and half (or all, depending on how critical I am of myself) were unfinished. I enjoyed myself (despite/including moments of tripping over my awkwardness) and the responses from people were encouraging. It was good to spend the night admiring work from other beautiful and brilliant black people on campus.


It reminded me of last year, when I showed my self-portrait (my baby picture surrounded by beads and the phrase "Pretty for a black girl"). I was nervous about showing that piece because it is so personal but the response from people helped me realize that at times art goes beyond me. Wow - I sound dramatic - but I hope you understand what I mean. I spend more time than I should wondering if there's any point to me making work and sharing it with people. I wonder if I'm selfish because I enjoy spending time in the studio obsessing over the right shade of green. I wonder if I'm vain when I talk to my friends about a new project or ask for their opinions on it. I wonder if I'm insecure when I post things to Facebook or Instagram. I know these are questions I need to tackle for myself and I know that they point to things I need to consider about where I find my validation and worth. But that's why it's nice to have moments when my work really speaks to people and they tell me that they appreciate it. The Black Arts Gallery last year reminded me that I have things to say and things to share and that many of those things will connect with people.



That's why it was nice this year to see people appreciate my plants.

The semester is wrapping up and I have paintings and projects to finish up. But it's all good because that's how it goes. I hope you're doing well, wherever you are.

The song is 'Fettucine' by 1K Phew



Thanks for reading,
Keren



Plot twist! Keren cleans before she does her weekly post. I won't say much because it's late and I'll ramble so let's get to the point.

Reading Bio lecture PowerPoint slides.

Writing Emails and text messages because I'm rubbish at responding to people when they send me messages.

Listening "Go Buck" by Flame =D Legitimately the song that introduced me to Christian hip-hop/rap artists.

Needing To wash my dishes (why I so dutty? It come like every week is clean I haffi clean sumn).

Hoping To meet up with more people this week.

Loving My friend's sermon this morning on Being Cured vs Being Healed.

Yes yes. I'm going to wash my dishes and then sleep friends. I hope you're doing well wherever you are.

Thanks for reading,
Keren



The plan was to write a few blog posts throughout the week but I didn't because life. It was a busy week (if you couldn't tell by the state of my desk). I also can't focus right now. I'm trying to do a reading but there's a strange country-rock music thing going on where I am. I'm bobbing to it though. I need to clean my desk - it's bad. And under my bed. And clear up storage on my phone. And my laptop. It's all good.

But! I did have energy-receiving moments related to things I made. 1) I met with a real life science illustrator to get feedback on my work. The meeting went well. I can draw. (I have to keep saying it to myself because I forget and I talk myself out of it and compare myself and and and.) I need to work on making the plants look more life-like though (more contrast, making closer things larger, more vibrant). I should do more drawing from observation - not just plants - for practice. 2) I finished a commission for a friend - a choker in a lovely brown-cream colour palette. (I used that bead mix to make a ring at an unearthly hour of the day.) She liked it and I'm happy.

Reading Some form of reading for multiple classes.

Writing Notes on those readings.

Listening "Nasty" by Vic Sage

Thinking Whether I could be a rapper and what my name would be.

Needing To clean. Jah know.

Feeling Kinda nasty. I need to clean myself as well as my room.

Loving That the weather has been decent and we had sun for most of last week.

Thanks for reading,
Keren



I'm rebranding! Nah. Not really. I just figured that "The State of My Desk" is a lot more realistic and true to who I am as a person. (Plus it helps me call myself out when I realize things like the empty cookie box had been on my desk for a week.) My Sunday Currentlys had a good run though.

I have to keep this one short and sweet. Last week was busy and I'm still catching up on work and readying up for this week. I have some ~deep and insightful~ posts in the making though. (Don't get your hopes up.) Once I ensure that I don't fail my classes. Thoughts about my interests and trying things that are intimidating and how life unfolds and being thankful that I can't see the future because I would just assume the fetal position fast fast. (Now that I think of it, I'll probably keep most of it in my journal and write a post about how many shades of green I've discovered in these past few weeks.)

Reading The readings for my conservation class once I post this.

Writing Notes from said readings.

Listening "Take Off"  by Derek Minor featuring Canon, KB and Ty Brasel

Thinking I'll probably need to eat before I sleep. (But I have a hard time telling when I'm hungry (!) I think I'll make some tea then.)

Needing To trust myself and my decisions.

Feeling Hype because of this song.

Hoping It doesn't take too long to fold clothes. (Not really a hope still. It really depends on how quickly I fold.)

Loving The love and jokes from people I spent time with this past week. (Good friends are a good thing.) +ginger mint tea because it nice like sugar and spice.

Thanks for reading,
Keren



Is it okay if I say that it's still Sunday somewhere? Of course it is. This is my blog.

It takes a certain number of days to make a habit. I don't remember the number but I know it's not a week so I'm here writing. I had some encouraging moments in the past week - related to the project and life in general. I didn't do as much drawing because I underestimated preparing for classes last week would take but it's all good. I shared a photo of a sketch I did over summer so there's that to look at.

And now for the things.

Watching Hitch because you don't need any pizza if they have food there.

Reading My journal entries from a retreat with my Christian fellowship this weekend.

Writing A progress report for a class.

Listening "Vibes Vibes Vibes" by Social Club Misfits featuring Chris Durso and Aha Gazelle

Thinking About whether I'll wake up early to wash my hair or just wash it in the afternoon.

Needing To clear my bed so I can sleep.

Feeling Excited about the ways I can incorporate the project into other classes.

Hoping I fall asleep before I get hungry again.

Loving Community

Thanks for reading,
Keren


Hi friends,


Bet you didn't know that I spent time in the bush again this summer. How could you if I didn't tell you? But it's true. I'm working on a project through school looking at plants in the Blue Mountains and their uses and trying to fit art into the whole picture.

Can I be real and tell you that it's an intimidating prospect? That impostor syndrome is hitting me real hard right now. That I'm doubting whether I can do what I wanted to do, whether I should do what I wanted to do, whether I even know what it is that I want to do? To the point that I made a first draft of this post in August but didn't put it up on the blob.

But wise people told me that I need to reframe my thoughts. What I call anxiety can produce the same feelings as excitement - it depends on how I look at it.

So can I tell you that it's an exhilarating prospect? That I'm thankful I get this chance to work on a project at home. That I'm enthusiastic to see what the project turns into, how my thoughts change, what I'll learn from the process, and how people will respond to the work.

So what is the project?

The best summary from my proposal is this:

"My ideal product will be a series of illustrations of plants that also highlights their cultural and scientific significance."



So far I've written many emails, done a number of Google searches, realized that there are more books about Jamaican plants than I thought, had thought-provoking, spirit-filling, energy-renewing conversations with people, reread my proposal many, many times to remind myself of what I want to do and why, accepted encouragement from family and friends, seen a part of Jamaica I've never seen before, had my insides rattled on some real country roads, tried to pretend I didn't have to do this project, asked Mommy to pull over so I could pick some oil nut and try to make castor oil at home (still need to do this) and learned that peaches (!) grow in Jamaica.


Ramgoat Dashalong

Carrying plants home from a trip


Now I'm back at school and I get the chance to draw plants and write about them. (And now that I've broadcast it to the whole wide world, I actually need to do something about it.) 

I'm excited to share what I'm doing and hear what people think about these lovely ~plants~ and culture and art and all the intersections.

The song is "Avocado" by Jah9.




Thanks for reading,
Keren



(Watch me try and come in like I haven't been (slightly) trifling and erratic with my posts.)

Maybe this will be the start of me coming back to the blog, posting multiple times a week, finding a way to get revenue from this place and going full time with this blog once I graduate. Or maybe the next time I post will be December. WhO eVen KNoWs??

I do want to say a quick thing about what spurred me to be active on the interwebs this past week.

Last year I wrote a term paper about the Cockpit Country and Maroons and the importance of defining the boundary for my class called "Race, Gender, Ethics and Environmental Justice".

Monday morning, a friend made a post and put Cockpit Country as the location because he wanted to let people know about a petition to get the Prime Minister to define the boundary.

Monday night, Hurricane Maria hit Dominica and affected some of my family members and friends.

Tuesday morning, communication from Dominica was down.

Tuesday afternoon I drafted a post talking about Cockpit Country and asking people to sign the petition.

Friday night, the petition made the 15,000 signatures needed*.

I felt helpless with hurricanes and natural disasters and had to tell myself not to go down a rabbit hole of things I can't control but to focus on something that I could do.

I was sad because of the impact Maria had on Dominica. I was also upset that more people weren't talking about it. But then I realized how much of what I do is motivated by self-interest. I didn't feel nearly as much for Houston, Florida, Mexico, Montana, Antigua and Barbuda, Puerto Rico, St Martin, Sint Maarten and all the other places with things going on that I don't even know about. Why should I feel upset about other people not knowing about Dominica?

Between Tuesday morning and afternoon my head cleared a bit and I got some clarity on those confusing feelings. I don't think that everyone needs to care about everything. That's too much for anyone to handle. I do know that there are some things I care about and the bush is one of them. So sharing the petition was something I could do then and there.

*I'm not implying that I made that happen and thank you to anyone who signed the petition. Since it only means the PM will consider what they called for. We'll see what happens.

Now for the Sunday Currently.

Reading The newspaper article that Daddy sent me about the petition reaching 15,000 signatures. (Okay, not really, but it went so well with the post. I did read it this morning though.)

Writing Things in my calendar for this week.

Listening "Elevate" by Phil J.

Thinking About how/whether I'll keep this blog and What I'm Doing With It.

Needing To bathe.

Feeling Tired but good.

Hoping The sun stays out for the majority of this week.

Loving Being able to dance in my room. My roommates just walk in act like it's normal. (They're good potatoes.)

Thanks for reading,
Keren


“Popcorn always reminds me of home. We make it from scratch. We buy the kernels, put some olive oil in a pot and then add the salt, maybe pepper and butter once they’ve popped. Before you know it, it’s gone and someone has to make another batch.”
-Emma, my housemate in Spain.
---

Everybody is Indian.

That’s one of my roommate’s favourite phrases. In Guyana, where my Mommy was born and raised, the statement is true (39.8% true to be exact). As a Jamaican who was not exposed to the complex racial dynamics that have shaped Guyana over the years (and as a person who seriously loves her belly), I sometimes think of it as there being those who can make roti and those who cannot. My mother joined the group of roti-makers when my sister was born thanks to help from Kezia’s nanny. (I’m also going to brush over the politics of domestic help and the informal sector in the Caribbean because that’s another set of complex factors that academics devote their theses to and I can’t tackle that in this story).

This skill is a blessing and a curse in Jamaica. The roti supply and demand curves don’t result in equilibrium because there’s a shortage of roti-makers but a wicked surplus of roti-consumers. I remember carrying roti to school and having children ogle over my lunch kit. Mommy now approaches potlucks with caution because once Jamaicans learn that you can make roti, they take that with them to the grave.

While roti is one of the flashier by-products of being raised in a country where (almost) everybody is Indian, knowing what to do with chickpeas is another. Chickpeas, channa, or garbanzos, as I learned to call them in Spain, were on the list of my least favourite foods (along with raw onions, black olives, and feta cheese).  It mostly had to do with the smell when they are soaked. I wish I could describe the scent but I just knew that nothing that smelled like that could be good.

Mommy never made chickpeas for me because I made it clear that the smell was offensive to my six-year old olfactory nerve. But my particularities with the scent of the soaked peas never stopped her from making her fried channa. Whenever I entered the kitchen and saw a big bowl with a paper towel covering it, I knew she would be frying channa. I never stayed in the kitchen long – I had probably just entered to find a tomato or see if we had any Ribena left in the fridge - but I knew that the next day Mommy would stand by the counter and patiently shell her channa  (an activity I couldn’t understand because the smell would get all over her fingers). After they were all peeled, she would dry them, fry them and enjoy her treat. She would offer some to my sister and me. My sister would accept. I always refused.

Two and a half months into my semester in Granada and I was obsessed with food. My obsession was mostly focused on desserts and finding ways to substitute avocado for eggs or oatmeal for flour. But one day while I was hacering my compras, I bought a bag of dry garbanzos. I don’t know why but I knew that I needed to make fried channa.

I went back to the house and poured some chickpeas into a bowl to soak and covered it with a paper towel. Over the next few days, I sat at the dinner table with a towel spread under the container holding the channa and a bowl for the discarded skin. Netflix at the ready, I sat and peeled channa until my fingers became prunes. Once I had peeled enough channa (read: become fed up with myself for soaking so much at one time), I fried them. Around 11 pm that evening, I stood over a saucepan with hot olive oil and my channa.

When I ate the channa the next day, I realized that I was eating home.

Buying the pack of dry channa was Mommy listening to my music with me (even through my quasi-angsty Simple Plan phase)
Soaking them overnight was Daddy never denying me a ride on his shoulders
Shelling and separating the channa was my sister texting me essays when I ask for advice
Drying them in preparation to fry was siting on the couch of my dorm parents’ living room watching NBA Playoffs
Standing over the hot oil at 11 pm was staying up late playing Monopoly or Uno with the squad
And patting off the excess oil was my roommates walking with me in the snow to get a salad and a tub of ice cream

As I ate my channa I realized that I was homesick. I had been away from my physical home before but I’d been in places full of people who became home. I don’t want to say, “Home is where the heart is” because I know my heart is currently in my rib cage. (Can we pause and acknowledge that the saying has so many messed up Edgar Allen Poe vibes to it?) But home is where my people are. And two and a half months into Spain, I was missing my people.

---

The week after I made channa, the smell of popcorn greeted me when I got to the house. Emma motioned me over and we sat down to eat straight from the pot.


I made a lot of new pieces last week. More than I've done in a long while and it felt good. I actually managed to post each day last week (except for Sunday) so take a look at my Instagram page.

It started with cleaning and coming across old pieces that I hadn't finished or made mistakes with. I decided to re-do a bracelet from a while back. (I realize I didn't post about it so I don't know when I made it.) It was a series of peyote circles joined by beads.


I almost ran into problems with the toggle closure. I made it a bit shorter than I should have so it's not the easiest to fasten and unfasten



I started another set of peyote circles, planning to make a bracelet, but ended up making earrings instead.



 That sent me on an earrings-spree but I experimented with using wire and bigger beads and buttons.




 I came back to my seed beads with a spiral rope bangle (the same design as this one from two (!) years ago).



 I did more experimenting with cords and beads and made a simple choker that doubles as a bracelet (you wouldn't believe how many tries it took to get the clasp on. I also added a pendant I made a while back to cord - I'm testing my knots because I'm interested in making more simple necklaces like that.





On Thursday evening I found my crochet things and decided to work on some wire crochet jewellery. I started out with a bracelet. I moved on to make another but I didn't cut myself enough wire so I took what I had and turned it into a pendant.





To wrap up the week, I repaired a friend's bracelet. It was a macrame bracelet and some of it came undone. I knotted it back up as best as I could, added a new stop bead, and just need to find some fabric glue to seal my knots properly.



It's been a week. Let's see how this next one one goes.

I hope you're doing well, wherever you are. The song is "The Traditional Jamaican Happy Birthday Song"(according to this person's YouTube channel) because I've had birthdays on the brain for a bit.


Thanks for reading,
Keren


Hi friends,

(This is becoming a trend but watch me connect something related to beads to life lessons for myself.)

I'm back home and was gently encouraged to do a bit of Spring Cleaning (if having my mother threaten to throw away half my wardrobe is gentle). But I don't wrong her - I have a lot of stuff. I started with my clothes and then decided to tackle my beads.

While I was cleaning I found a lot of old projects. Let us pause and look at this aesthetically pleasing aerial shot of some unfinished projects:



Looking back at those projects was like rereading old journal entries or blog posts. I've changed since then but I still love making things. The same goes for writing.

I tend to wonder why I keep this blog up and what I should write and whether I should try to become blog-famous. I still don't have the answers to those but at least I know that this matters to me. I guess I'll have to try a few different things.

---

Last weekend, I saw many beautiful people that I had not seen in a while. One of them has been a friend since my eye was deh at my knee. Like the creeper that I am at heart, I sat and listened to a conversation with him and another friend about movies (because he reviews them and records a podcast). At the end of the conversation he got up and dropped some knowledge that I was happy to pick up. Putting your words out there (in written or recorded form) is not easy but consistency is important. If it matters to you, keep at it.

The song is "Just One Of Those Days" by Sizzla.



As always, thanks for reading,
Keren



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


-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


Buenas noches/tardes/dias!


Me gustan las plantas. Es posible que he les gustaba desde una nina pero estaba segura de mis sentimientos por las plantas en el verano de 2016. Había un chico que me pregunto si me gustaría trabajar en un jardín con el. Y yo le dije “Si”. Me gusto el sensación de suciedad en los dedos. Después, fui al Península Olympico en el estado de Washington para trabajar con el tribu de los Quinaults. Hice un proyecto sobre dos plantas especiales por los Quinaults  y combiné la información científico con la información cultural. Entonces, puedes decir que tengo plantas en la cabeza. Así me gustaría trabajar con las plantas en Granada.



Tengo un practica con el Herbario de la Universidad de Granada. Pero, ellos sugirieron que trabajo con dos estudiantes con sus proyectos finales de la carrera. Por una semana, trabajé con ellas y con algas. Aprendimos un método de preservar algas para verlas con un microscopio y identificarlas. Las chicas eran muy amables y me ayudaron cuando no entendí algo o no supe como decir algo.



Al fin, me di cuenta de que no me gustan las algas mucho pero estoy agradecida por conocer las chicas y saber como preparar muestras de algas. Tengo fotos y dibujos con las cosas que hicimos durante mi semana en el laboratorio filología.


tl;dss*: I got to work with algae for a week and met some lovely people and did a small sketch of it.

La canción es "Mi Roca" de Hillsong en Español.



Gracias por leer,
Keren
---
*too long; don't speak spanish.


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