Hello readers! It’s been a while since I posted, and this one has to be quick, but once finals are done in two weeks I’ll have much more time to write!
Two weeks ago, we hosted a Jewish potluck at our house. Several of my friends in the program are Jewish, and they wanted to host an early Hanukkah dinner, so they made a bunch of traditional food and it was so good. We wound up hosting it, though we didn’t do any cooking (minus helping bake cookies the week before) because we were the only people coming who had a functional oven. Best decision ever. Almost everyone in our program came, and we ate bagels and lox, potato pancakes, homemade challah bread, brisket, hamentashen (cookies), and probably a lot more things I don’t even remember. Best part is that, since we hosted, we kept the leftovers J
Later that same weekend I went back to Manzanares to go hiking—it was still as beautiful as ever, and a good way to turn off my brain and let it wander outside of the books/paper-writing/city streets and all that.
Last week, a strike led by the street cleaners/trash pick-uppers finally ended. There was going to be a huge cut in their salary, so they decided to strike, and it took the government two weeks to finally reach a deal with them that was at least somewhat satisfying. In the meantime, huge piles of garbage starting accumulating in the streets and a lot of it was really unpleasant to walk through for a while—imagine the things that restaurants, for example, have to throw out, and then they just sat on the streets. I think a private company kept the tourist areas mostly clean, but it was tough. So that happened—one of the bigger ways “la crisis” has made itself visible.
Last Friday I returned to Toledo! I have a few photos, but I have yet to upload them—my bad. It was fun to see what had changed (a few stores here and there), and yet how much the same it was. The inner city of Toledo still feels really medieval, cars can’t get through so it’s very quiet, and the buildings have been there for centuries. We visited an ancient mosque, two synagogues, and the big cathedral, which is one of the best, in my opinion (though I may be biased, since I spent a semester there J)
Later that same weekend the Notre Dame club of Spain hosted a Thanksgiving dinner at a Spanish restaurant, which was a ton of fun. The food was pretty true to life—we had turkey and mashed potatoes and carrot cake, but instead of cranberries there was some sort of blueberry jam, and a pumpkin/carrot soup thing which I’d never had, but it was closer to Thanksgiving than I expected to find!
And the people at the dinner were great—again, I may be biased, but I feel like the kind of ND grads who live abroad are literally the coolest people in the world. The leader of the club is a professor here in Madrid, and the folks I sat by at dinner included a woman who works at an organization associated with the Jesuits that helps refugees in Madrid, her boyfriend, a Spaniard who’s a pediatric cardiac surgeon, another woman who worked for the United Nations for something like 20 years—etc. It was an impressive collection of people, at least to me, and I really enjoyed getting to talk with them.
Time for me to be done now—like I said, two more weeks of class plus finals week and the semester is done. I can’t believe how fast it’s going by, but Spain and grad school are still treating me well, though for the next few weeks I’ll probably be sequestered in the library!
Be well, reader folks, and happy Thanksgiving!
- Big, lovely potluck with Jewish food
- Back to Manzanares to hike!
- Trash strike starts and ends
- Toledo day-trip
- Notre Dame Thanksgiving