Friday, August 7, 2009


Today's Basque word of the day is "lasai" : take it easy

Well, I arrived Tuesday night to the hair-curling humidity that I call home. Mom, Dad, Mark, and two of my friends met me at the airport. I am really happy to be home, although I am sure my parents would debate how much time I actually spend at home...since I've been back I've either been riding bikes or hanging out with friends.

The last week in Bilbao was nice, I met up for the last time with several people I had come to know in town. I tried a blue cheese flavored ice cream with a girl from Oberlin College and had pintxos (tapas) with a guy from Germany. The people at my office threw me a going away party with tons of Iberian jamon (ham).

The journey to Paris was a bit nerve racking. I had to take the local bus to the border . . . which gave me an hour less to get to my train. Despite this, I was still able to jump off the bus and pick up some sweaters I had left in a town 3 weeks ago. The bus driver stopped to go into the dispatchers office. I hurried across the parking lot . . . dragging my fat, fat, fatty, fat, fat suitcase . . . and met up the very lovely woman who brought me my sweaters. We exchanged double kisses and I then ran back to the bus hollering at the driver to not leave. "Where you on the bus before?" "Yes" "Why did you get down?" "I lost some sweaters." "..." "I can show you my bus ticket. " "What?" "I have my bus ticket." "Just get on the bus."

Two friends from Rhodes met me at the train station in Paris. One of them, Ben, is in Paris for a year studying philosophy and french. The other, Halley, was in London for a summer program on creative writing and had some to Paris for the weekend. Saturday, Ben and I snuck on Halley's group's guided tour of Paris, we then walked around Notre Dame and explored the Latin Quarter. Sunday we went to Versailles . . . which was overwhelming in people and grandiloquence. That night we went up to Monmartre and looked out at the city. Monday, Halley and I went to the cemetery where Oscar Wilde is buried. That afternoon after not being able to sneak into the Louvre I watched Happy Days in French. That night, Ben and I were at a park near his house and I could hear a trumpet player so I followed the sound to see three guys walking down the street making music and collecting coins tossed down from windows. Tuesday morning I climbed the Eiffel Tower as far as they would let me and went to the Rodin Museum and then met up with Ben to go to the Musee d'Orsay. Wednesday I went to the Louvre and took a nap in the ancient Greek section. Oops. I also went to the Saint Chappelle. I walked up the spiral staircase and it was like walking into a story book. The walls are entirely stained glass and cover the history of Christianity. That afternoon I went to a photography exhibit of Henri Cartier Bresson. Google him. I did a presentation about him in my high school photography class so I was thrilled to see his work. That was my favorite museum in Paris. I then decided it was a good idea to walk the 45 minutes back to the Louvre and run through ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia in search of the code of Hammurabi. After I went up in a Ferris wheel in the Tulleries garden and got to see the Eiffel Tower sparkle.

Thursday I took the chunnel to London. I walked around from Westminster to Buckingham Palace and then met Ben at the train station. He, I and Halley then all met up across from the Globe Theatre and set our in search of Harrod's. We got lost a few times but finally found the mini-Las Vegas. It has themed rooms and one of the escalators was was done up like an amusement park version of ancient Egypt. Friday we went to Portobello Road, a market street, and then to the British Museum to see the Rosetta Stone and the Elgin Marbles. After a cheap 4 pound indian lunch, Ben and I went to the Tate Modern . . . which was awesome. That night we met up with some other kids from Rhodes who came up from Oxford. Saturday we went to Covent Gardens, a photography exhibit, the Imperial War Museum, had a picnic in the rain, and saw some stand-up comedy. Sunday we went to another market on Brick Lane, and then the National Gallery. I then went with Ben to the train station and we exchanged "see you in 12 months" before he caught his train back to Paris. I went back to the National Gallery and outside was a steel drum band competition and a guy teaching the dance to Thriller. Needless to say I joined in the dancing. Monday I went to Westminster and the Victoria and Albert Museum which had a cool exhibit on modern design inspired by fairy tales. That night I went to Old Vic, a famous theater where Lawrence Oliver performed and Kevin Spacey is now artistic director, and saw Shakespeare's "Winters Tale." Tuesday I went to the airport as cheaply as possible, taking the tube and a 7 pound train and it was smooth sailing back to Kansas City.

I have about 2 weeks at home and then its off to Rhodes . . . and the research paper I have to write for the internship. Eww, gross. This semester will be crazy with that, applying to study abroad in Buenos Aires, 3 intense classes for my major, 2 radio shows, my on-campus job, and my penchant for getting involved in environment and human rights action.

This summer has been very different. I have a hard time believing that I was in Europe. It was totally unreal before, during, and after. Its more like its something that happened to someone I know. Memory is a funny thing that way. Humans just really don't have the capacity to understand distance and time. I was in Europe for nine and a half weeks. My friend Ben will be there for another twelve. I was just half a world away and returned in a day. We are like children in that things happen to us and we are no more prepared for that then they are.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Today´s phrase of the day is "Garagardoa nahi nuke" : Can I have a beer?

My family arrived the 3rd and we have been running around ever since. Mark´s hair is poofier than when I last saw it and Laura´s about 12 inches shorter.

Saturday we went to Burgos which is know for its cathedral. There is a medieval clock with a sort of marionette-looking man on top. For every time the bell rings on the hour he opens his mouth as though he had just had dental work, very slowly and only barely. He is nicknamed “papamoscas” or “fly eater.”

Sunday we went to San Sebastian. In the morning we walked around the house and museum of Eduardo Chillida, a basque sculpture, who did massive abstract works usually out of steel In the afternoon we walked along the crescent shaped beach called La Concha.

Monday we had a nice lunch in the Casco Viejo, the old city. Then we took the metro up to the only UNESCO World Heritage site, a suspension bridge.

Tuesday we went to the wine country, La Rioja. We had an awesome winery tour and then went to the over-and-above wine museum with the world´s largest collection of cork screws. Through the day we bought 12 bottles of wine.

Wednesday we went to Gernika, the town from the famous Picasso painting. There is a peace museum and the seat of government next to what remains of the ancient tree under which the Basque lords held council

Thursday the other four went to the Guggenheim. Then with hair blowing in our faces we took Christmas card pictures. Okay, gang, look for someone who is too slow to run away and ask them to take a picture. The girl with the bike would have been perfect. That one is moving too fast. You ask, no you ask. Stop nagging. Uh, perdona, excuse me, would you mind? Click. Click.

Friday we set out for France. I was the map reader. We made it, but no one is very fond of Irún as a result. 1 Km to France. I don´t want to go to France yet. Traffic Circle. I think that was our turn. Is this going to put me back on the autopista? City Center this way. N1 that way. We´ll just turn around and go back and see if that was the turn. Trafic Circle. We can´t still be 1 Km to France. I don´t think you can go that way. I guess you can go that way.

Friday afternoon was the tour d´graveyards. Basque graveyards are highly cared for. Flowers, momentos, nicnaks. The churches have wooden balconies and ships hanging from the ceiling. We saw 3 graveyards in the course of the afternoon.

Saturday we went to markets in St. Jean-de-Luz and Biarritz. Yummy strawberries and pasteries. In Bayonne we bought chocolate at a store that looked like a pretty, pretty, princess perfume store. Then we had a picnic in a park. It was nice to have the whole family sitting in the grass in France eating bread and cheese.

Sunday we went to the coast and then returned to Bilbao. Laura went back to Memphis Monday. Yesterday we went to Vitoria, which has a cool art museum. One piece is photos of 100 pairs of underware with the names of 100 important artist superimposed. Dega´s underware was a tutu. There was another exhibit with a room filled with 3 inch tall clay statues of people. Then we went on a tour of the cathedral under going a 300 million euro renovation.

One week left in Bilbao then on to Paris and London. Crazy.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Cubierto y Caido

Today´s word of the day is "komunak" : toilets

Friday, June 26, 2009

Bilbao a Bordeaux

Today´s word of the day is "eskerrik asko" : thank you

Due to the massive nature of this post, I have divided it into sections for your reading pleasure.

I. Journey Bordeaux: Bus and Train through Green Hills and Fields

Well, last week was mainly spent getting ready for my weekend trip to Bordeaux. This time a week ago I was in transit. First I took a bus to Irún, the Spanish border town. As I got down I asked the driver where to catch a taxi to Hendaye, the French border town, and he told me to just climb back up and he would take me. I was ready for at least a little bit of red tape that comes with crossing boarders. At least a terse French soldier to ask for my passport. But no, I don´t even know when exactly I entered my second ever foreign country. There wasn´t even a “Welcome to France!” sign.

I had a little bit of time before my train left so I walked around Hendaye. I saw a war monument there. Not sure which war, probably WWI. It is a pretty lazy little town. I got the 4:00pm train to Bordeaux. The train hugged the coast so I could see the ocean now and again. The country side is very green and there seems to be a bit of logging. All the houses are white washed with red roofs.

II. Weekend in Bordeaux: Churches, Wine, Music, and Fireworks

I met up in Bordeaux with Ben Freed who came down from Paris. We spent most of the weekend dopily smiling at each other due to our extraordinary glee at seeing each other. We´ve both been kind of on our own in Europe, so it was treat to meet up. The first night we went to a corner café and then walked along the quai and through the center of restaurants in the old city.

We did a lot in the time we had there. Mainly because neither of us where able to sleep past 7:00am both days. Saturday we took a guided tour of the city. Good thing we left early to find the tourism office because we got all turned around. Then we went to the Museum of Modern Art which was redeemed by the Keith Haring painting on the wall of the elevator shaft. We walked along rue St. Catherine, the longest shopping street in France, and maybe Europe. That night we had the classiest meal ever, a particular treat since both of us have not eaten out much since being in Europe. The night ended with the dance festival and fireworks along the river. The closest thing I´ll get to the 4th of July.

Sunday we were the first to climb the 231 steps of bell tower of St. André to look out at the 8 churches that stick above Bordeaux’s sky line. Next we went to the Museum of Beaux Artes. After we went walking through the different gardens and plazas on our way to see the Roman ruins of the city. We wound up the trip by the quai listening to French children sing at the festival.

III. This Week: Portugalete, San Sebastian, and Oviedo

Tuesday, I met up with a the cousin of a friend and we walked across this world heritage suspension bridge that connects the town of Potugalete with the other bank. On my way back to Bilbao I got to see all a flood of teenagers streaming out of the subway heading to beach to celebrate midsummer or what is called the Bonfires of St. John. It’s one giant party on the beach that coincides with the end of the school year.

Wednesday, I went with a woman from my work to conference in San Sebastian. Very pretty beach. Can´t wait to go back with the family when they arrive in a week.

Tonight there is something at the Guggenheim and tomorrow I am going to Oviedo. Oviedo is about 3 hours to the West and the capital of the Spanish region of Asturias.

IV. The End: Boy, Emily writes too much.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bailando y Burbujas

Today´s word of the day is "zubi" : bridge

Friday night I went to the symphony. It was Mahler´s 5th. The director was an astonishingly short man from Japan. His arms moved like a nutcrackers--stiff and in unison as if he had lost the ability to use his elbows. He was also a loud breather, an increasingly growing disease among conductors. Its hard enough following the music when you are having thoughts like: "what should I do after this?" and "I wonder how many of the old people are here because they really want to be or just because its what old people are supposed to do?" and "why did I knock down that kid´s tower of blocks in pre-school?" Then I get to feeling so guilty because I know I am not paying attention. The movements come and go and I don´t pick up on re-occuring themes. I close my eyes and I listen better, but then I remember that I came to watch the symphony. I look at the musicians and wonder "do they have day jobs?" and "does the last row of violins feel lesser than the first?" and "coat tails are silly."

After the concert I walked along la ria starting at the Guggenheim. Along the way I saw preperations for Bilbao´s 709th birthday party. On the opposit bank were sculptures that looked plants and had lights. Then there was a film projected on the ayunatmiento. I think I met the artist, she told me to come back tomorrow for the real show. I walked on past another light sculpture and then two painted hot air baloons. I sat down outside the opera where I stage was set up and got to see the practice for Saturday´s show. It was like cir du soleil, but better. There were girls flying and two did gymnastics in bowls of water.

Saturday I had a bit of a mad dash to reach the noon tour of Biblao out by the Guggenheim. I met a girl from Belgium and another from Australia. We ended up sitting and talking for awhile and then Megan, the one from Australia, and I went to the beach. She has traveled a lot, all over Asia and Latin America. It was really nifty to sit on a beach in Spain with an Australian and hear stories about traveling. I asked her about "Flight of the Conchords" and apparently, her brother was roomates with Brett´s first cousin. Yeah, she´s met them. She told me that the women in Brett´s family are very accomplished ballet instructors, so that whenever there is a dancing show on TV, the boys all love to critique. Also, apparently Brett´s family is mixed New Zeland and Australian, so that´s why Australians have accepted the group´s humor.

Met up with the Henagers for the evening of festivities. Basque a cappella included. Yeah, I know. Walking back to my dorm there was also a crowd of people dancing in a giant circle . . . the band included. It was an upbeat traditional sounding music, heavy on the tuba and drum.

Doing laundry for the first time. So far so good. The only hard thing was trying to get enough .50€ coins. Tried buying fruit to get some change, but no luck. Asked a girl in the dorm and then finally a guy was able to make change for me.

Ever get the feeling you are wasting time? I just had an overwhelming sense of that. Maybe its because it is kind of grey and rainy. I am going to go read some of "The Sun Also Rises" and worry about when I need to check my dryer full of clothes.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Dos Decadas

Today´s word of the day is "zorionak" : happy birthday

Along with going to the bank and looking up information on Bordeaux I need to practice my lines. Ah, and don´t forget this show will be staged in two languages so your script also includes "Soy veinte." I´m twenty. I´m twenty. I´m twenty . . . Then the cameras are rolling and there´s a momentary pause while our hero forgets to take the safety off. Dead at high noon.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sirimiri y Miss Sellers

Today´s word of the day is "euri": rain

Bilbao gets a lot of rain, especially in the winter, which is why it is so green here. Well, had I not known this I would have used my Nancy Drew skills by noting this little machines at the entrances of many buildings, including my bank. These contraptions allow you to slip a plastic sleeve on your umbrella so you don´t go getting everyone´s knees wet. In addtion to the sleeves, you get to put everything though a metal detector, through which an umbrella look like the fossil of a prehistoric bird-dinossaur. Another sign of all the rain is that most of the baby strollers also have a clear plastic cover that pulls down to protect little Fulanita or Fulanito.

I hear it is torrential in KC today. I spent some quality time yesterday standing under a number of awnining as it just came down. I had an umbrella, but I liked just watching and waiting and avoiding the possibilty of my eye being poked by another umbrella coming at me down the narrow streets. It was actually very fun because standing right next to me would be three other people plus a stroller with backs to the wall of a men´s clothing store. awnings. If I lived here I bet I would have an alternate route to work that would allow me to go under the widest. On my way back to my dorm, after the rain, I saw my first rainbow in about a year. I just stopped and watched it, I wanted to point it out to people because no one seemed to care, but maybe they are common here. I don´t know though, I don´t think they would ever stop noticing them.

Speaking of rainbows . . . the color maroon is quite popular for hair here. Closely followed by electric pumpkin, and finally various shades of purple. These are not the usual suspects, not punks or people who ran out of dye. They are usually fully put together people who made a choice to do that to do that. And the thing is, with the exception of the traffic cone orange, it doesn´t look all that bad. But, I still imagine these women looking in ther mirror and having the thought "ah, yes, I think I want to look like I am out of an cartoon."

Igual Internacional

Today´s word of the day is "kaixo aspaldiko!": long time no see

Any time I tell some here where I am from they imagine the wide open prarie. I try to explain that there is some of that, but that I live in a city. But there are lots of cows, no? Why, yes, but there are a lot of cows in your country, too, it is sort of like that. At least some mayors of the region, who I met at a meeting, now know that people from Missouri draw the line at being considered from Kansas.

It is a comfort to know that politics is politics. Whether in Spain or the U.S. it comes down to votes and money. I sat in on a meeting on the topic of innovation in the municipalities in the region. Some of these towns still do stuff by hand, which is quaint and not bad in and of itself, but has economic consequences. The first thing that one of the mayors said, a mayor of a big city and is highly in favor of innovation, was "how does this get me re-elected and does it cost me anything?"

Saturday I spent time with a professor from Rhodes and his family. We went up to hill to look at Bilbao and it was very cool because rain was passing over part of the city and not others. I went to the Guggenheim on Sunday. There´s a room with these huge rust-red steele sculptures. Some of them are huge sheets on end and rolled up into curls so you walk in and around and around til you get to a big open center. I did a little dancing in one of them. That was my favorite room.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Apetito Atrapado

Today´s word of the day is bai : "yes"

So it has been exactly one week since I´ve been in Bilbao. Usually, this is where someone would say "gosh, it´s just flown by" well, in my case it has crawled along like walrus out of water. Oh, that is a species of giant lumbering adjustment, oh, and please, do not feed the animals, it only encourages them. So, my week circled around the one simple goal of feeding myself. Imagine an episode of Nature or the cable equivalent. It´s shocking how much of my life was spent worrying about my next meal.

First attempt. Our subject timidly enters and with apparent focus stares at the items listed on back board. Our friend continues to stare long past neccesary just to avoid having to make eye contact with anyone. Finally she makes the ever so dificult request for a salad only to be thwarted by the two and a half hours until normal Spaniards even think about eating.

Second attempt. Later that night, our now downtrodden and hungry friend goes out on the prowl again. She paces by a corner bar with lots of people and music. Backward and forward. In an attempt to approach by stealth, our subject pulls out her cell phone and slides it open and close for effect. Finally subject makes her move. A beer and a pintxo (a finger food that pretends to be more). Good. Subject breathes a sigh of relief and then discovers the ham on her food. Trying to pace herself, our hungry and nervous little friend eats her food quickly. But, one crucial mistake, as she tries to pay for her meal she uses the international symbol for "fill ´er up" by lifting the empty bottle and finds herself with another beer.

Our friend tried to cheat the system by grocery shopping, but that can only do so much.

The third attempt. Chocolate shop.

Fourth attempt. El Corte Ingles, the end-all, be-all department store of Spain. Decent success, though jaded by the fact that this a relatively tame environment and not really part of the wild.

Fifth attempt. Worst salad ever. See below for more

Sixth attempt. Pacing past 4 restaurants. Entering, exiting, cursing. Return to El Corte Ingles to eat lunch at 3:45pm.

Seventh attempt. Tonight. Falafel sandwich. There´s a donor kebab place on the street which is pretty sketch. It was brightly colored, which attracted our young friend. Sucessful falafel sandwich with a lot of veggies overflowing from two pieces of bread.

I don´t know, but I guess I don´t pass for Spanish. They guy at the kebab place knew I was English-speaking. When I was finished he asked in Spanish if I liked my meal and I responded in Spanish that yes, very much. Then, he, in english with a british accent said "It was lovely, no?" I said "what?" and he repeated himself and said "isn´t that what you say?" and I said "oh, umhum, yes." He asked if I was from England and then I had to explain that I was from the US, from Missouri, and he asked if it was big. He was from Morroco.

Well, good news is I think I am over the hump of finding food. There are a couple places I know I can go and I afew that look promising. So, hopefully this will be the last post dedicated only to food.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

¿Ensalada Española?

Today´s word of the day is zaldi : ¨horse¨

I had long known that the Spanish do not know how to make a salad. But for some unknown reason I decided to go the salad route today. What a bland waste of euros. Note to self: make my own salads.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sabado en Sandalias

Today´s word of the day is ¨barkatu¨: sorry

Today I ambled around Bilbao with the goal of getting a feel for the city and finding some toilet paper. A river runs through Bilbao, so I followed the board walk North as I knew I would eventually run into the Guggenheim. Snapshots from my explorations:

1. Team kayakers who chanted ¨E-T-A¨ followed by something in Basque. Terrorist kayakers? Hmm.
2. A man playing a gaite . . . the Basque bagpipe. I don´t know whether it was him or just the way it sounds, but it sounds more like a duck than a bagpipe.
3. It´s just plain disorienting to hear English music here. There was a man playing ¨Amazing Grace¨ on a trumpet outside the Guggenheim. Likewise, I heard non-descript 80s music, Simon and Garfunkel, Santana, and Lady Gaga while shopping.
4. I love Spanish children. I saw several over the course of the day and they are somehow universal in their kid-dom and thus less intimidating than adults. I walked behind this little boy who was making ¨vroom-vroom¨ noises as he glided a tin-foil car along the side of a building and it made me smile.
5. I´d be an okay gumshoe. I was sitting on a bench eating a snack when I saw one person and then another walk by with an ¨El Corte Ingles¨ bag. So, I went in the opposite direction. Then I saw another person with a bag so I imagined where they had come from and worked my way to ¨Gran Via¨ or Broadway. Jackpot: Zara and ¨El Corte Ingles.¨
6. The quest for toilet paper is an awkward one. I found the bookstore version of ¨El Corte Ingles¨ and while in the restroom I suddenly realized that I should just take some toilet paper incase I coudn´t find any. I was very proud of myself. I also figured the big ¨El Corte Ingles¨ had to be near . . . and sure enough it was a few blocks down. Once in the store, however, I didn´t see it in the pharmacy area and then realized I didn´t know what it was even called. I settled for asking for paper towels . . . I figured that would be in the same area, but that only led me to tissues in the¨perfumaria¨ section. I finally found the grocery store on the 6th floor and almost did a little skip when I found the aisle. I was down right giddy.
7. Packaging in Spain has a cartoonish character. Especially the candy.
8. Mr. Clean is ¨Don Limpio¨ . .. and you better believe I bought it.
9. I am intimidated by restaurants, especially the neighborhood-looking ones. I haven´t eaten at one yet. I´ll make this a goal for tomorrow.
10. Without people to talk to, my interior voice has become very loud.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Bienvenidos a Bilbao

Today´s word of the day is ¨bilatu¨ : search

I arrived in Bilbao yesterday after the run around in the Madrid airport. In short: My flight out of DFW was delayed so I missed my connection from Madrid to Bilbao. My shoulders are still sore from lugging my carry-ons, one of which was a lovely 25lb and sans wheels, all over that airport. I now know way more about the Madrid airport than neccesary. Anyway, I finally got a plane and was bumped up to business class which had the added bonus of 3 bocadillos and water out of a real glass. Classy, right?

As I glanced out the window as the plane into Bilbao landed my thought was ¨its so green.¨ This may only mean something to those of you who have been to Madrid and know what a dry wasteland it is. As I came around the curve into Bilbao I was suddenly greeted by the Guggenheim cresting infront of city. The thing that gets me about Spanish, and I supposed all European cities, is that all the building are equally tall and squished together. So it´s like . . . no city, no city, no city, BAM city.

I am staying in a so-so area of Bilbao. There are a lot of Afircan and Arab immigrants, who, whether rightly or wrongly, are considered trouble makers. I wouldn´t have thought to brush up on my Arabic before getting here, but it might not have been a bad idea.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Nada en la Naderia

Today's word of the day is "the day after tomorrow" : biharamun

I leave tomorrow morning for Bilbao. I arrive in Bilbao around one p.m. on Friday. My one checked suitcase is fifty pounds on the dot . . . so there will need to be some shuffling. I feel pretty good about getting everything into one, all be it large suitcase, and two carry-ons.

Tonight I went to a show at the Uptown with Brigid to see Blind Pilot + The Decemberists. I can't believe I got away with going out the night before I leave. It was worth it--the best show I've ever seen. Pictures and limited video available on my facebook. Best acoustics--surround without deafening. Plus the venue, a refurbished theatre is perfect with its bright colors and statues. The best part was when Colin Meloy asked the crowd and members of the band in the crowd to reenact a confrontation between the British and a sultan. The result was those on the floor riding piggy-back with one side on horses and the others on camels. I rode a camel named Brigid.

It's funny that I've known about this trip for months now and yet have no better grasp on the fact that I am leaving home than I did before. Sure, it is coming along the horizon, but it will never actually get here. It's this asymptotal relationship. You'd think it would become more real . . . it has been just the opposite. The packing process was oddly impersonal. I know I've been getting someone ready to go, but that someone is not me. For this reason I am not really concerned because I don't understand the implications. Perhaps I should be scared. I wonder how long it will take me to realize I am going to Spain for the whole summer. I don't think it will be real even once I am there. I'll let you know if I ever have a light bulb moment.

What an adventure this will be.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Vacilando al País Vasco

Today's word of the day is "amaze": harritu

It is finals week, so what better time to make a blog for this summer?

This summer I have an eight week internship in Bilbao, Spain where I will be working for the Association of Basque Municipalities (EUDEL) which works to support the autonomy and interests of towns in the Basque Country.

I have a lot of packing to do in the next month. From dorm to home and home to Spain. The fun hasn't even begun. I type this now as I look around at my thoroughly lived-in looking dorm room with baskets of clean laundry at the foot of my bed, books stacked jenga-style, and three umbrellas that have collected at the base of my desk due to a weeks worth of rain. Very soon, however, in a whirlwind of activity, I will fly from this homey little nest to the resounding silence of cinder block walls. The echoes at the end always get me.

Words cannot express the prospect of being home. I haven't really had time to think about it until just now and I suddenly get a dopey smile at the thought of the Plaza, the Park, and most of all, my people. I get two weeks and then it is off to Bilbao. After my internship I plan to travel to Paris and London for a few days before coming home in early August.

I think I will blog some in Spanish and some in English . . . but I don't quite know how that'll work out. At the very least we will all learn some basque together.