My boyfriend

Lorenzo, the homeless man who comes weekly to clean and repair things in my home-stay house, has become my good friend, or as I'd like to say boy friend. Never mind that he is an over 50, overweight, alcoholic immigrant from the Dominican Republic. My parents will understand after they hear of this prince's tales.

A month ago, he came by to give me a plant. I didn't ask questions, I just thought "Hey that's thoughtful."

Then for my birthday, a box of chocolates. "Okay, another nice gesture, and so sweet that he coughed up money that he doesn't have."

Last week, it was a used bike, so out of shocking curiosity I had to ask, "So, Lorenzo, where did you come across a cheap used bike for me?" He told me that he observed another drunkard park it and head into a bar for some drinks and when he came out, he hopped on the bike next to the one he rode in on. Lorenzo figured the original bike, likely stolen, was up for grabs. So it was a twice stolen bike. Not bad, but I had to refuse seeing as I have no storage space in this crowded island metropolis.  He seemed to understand my personal reasons for not accepting.

So he came around with gardening trinkets a few days ago and we got to talking more intimately about his family, 6 children from multiple women, and his own upbringing between different mothers and without a dad.  He taught me a few things about carpentry and house work, he has a vast skill set in being crafty.  We bonded over coffee (I take mine with soy milk, his with whiskey) while he puffed on his intricately hand rolled cigarettes and I asked him if he wanted to top off the afternoon with some chocolate from the cupboard. He said he doesn't care for sweets, and my Spanish madre hollered in from her lounge chair in the tv room that it's because he's an alcoholic.  I declared liking both alcohol and sweets to prove that I am not an alcoholic and left the house to run errands.

Today, I came home from school and there was a wrapped gift on the counter with a note "on behalf of Lorenzo".  A fat chocolate cigar.  A combination of his vices and mine.

So Clever.
            And sweet.

You think we'll get married?


A public passing of gas

The girl next to me on the bus this morning passed gas, spreading a smell so horrid that I think she herself made a stank face. In order to suppress my instinctual reaction, I thought of why we are repulsed by human odors, which are natural (sweat, breath, and, well, the current subject matter) but are turned on by other scents such as foods, herbs and flowers.

What if we fancied the smell of poop instead of lilacs or your mom's apple crisp? We would be attracted farting culprits, maybe even congratulate them for their sweet-smelling brew and take big whiffs.  Instead of saying, "Hey babe, you look great in that skirt," it would be, "Your scent is flavorful and unique.  Did you have cheese and mushroom omelet for breakfast?" We would spritz these excretory odors on our necks to let its musk linger on our clothing and impress the opposite sex.  leaving a smelly bathroom behind would be a feat, not something to run from.

This is what helped me refrain from making an obscene funk face on the bus this morning.  Meanwhile, the other passengers probably thought I was the guilty one for gazing out the window with a slight grin (in AnnieLand as usual, pondering an opposite-day-dream) as my neighbor pinched her nose out of embarrassment for her body's ability to concoct such a powerful stench.

Although she and I know the truth of who released today's lingering bus beast, let's just say I look forward to walking to school tomorrow.


Selena and her legacy

Selena had her own Coca-Cola ad on tv, movie starring J-Lo, and many hit songs that live in the hearts of girls throughout America.  As a newly discovered (bilingual) idol of mine, my friends put the lyrics to one of her famed hits on my birthday cake.  Please note the voice and body that Selena rocks. Not to mention the authentic moves and costumes that you can watch in this compiled video!

What a fox>>>

Fooled by sneaky soccer playing South Americans

A new crowd, a new cake. I had so many darn beautiful and delicious cakes during my birthday season! This one is me at the soccer field with my South American amigas celebrating after my twenty first and our victory that afternoon.

This was after they told me to take a small bite (I believed it was for good luck for the year) and they shoved it in my face. 

This is Amateur Annie, reporting live from the barrios of Palma.

Birthday Buddy

Fast friends>>>>>
Found this picture of me smiling with the taxista! What a night! I think our troupe of young American girls was the perfect way to ring in his 51st. Even if it wasn't my real birthday that day.

Taking it off

This Friday, my friends and I took a bus to Es Trenc, a long silky sanded beach on the southeast coast of the island, that is also nude friendly! All of Mallorca's beaches are welcoming to topless beach-goers, but this one invites people of all shapes, sizes and ages.  After a few hours of swimming, playing beach paddle and a long walk along the shore I was inspired by my inner island spirit to follow suit, and I went topless! It felt empowering and natural. The one boy in our group of students abroad was glad to know that we have such a close friendship that I could comfortably go topless with him.
(foreground: Bryana enjoying Spanish radio waves and UV rays
background: topless Annie praising the sea's salt air)

I can't say that participating in public nude activities is a new favorite of mine (i.e. nude sports, nude in the work place or at school or nude eating), but I find an occasional embrace of nudist culture to be healthy and fun, as long as the people I am with are comfortable and the beach isn't loaded with gawkers.  I will have to find some top-optional beaches in the U.S. to let the euro ritual live on.

For interesting articles and info on living in the buff, visit this adventurous site that publicizes nude restaurants, family ranches and hikes.


Cooking in a Spanish kitchen ain't easy

It is Saturday morning, you have just woken up after many hours out dancing and few spent asleep, and you must put on a dress and prepare a luncheon for Spanish women (who are champs in the kitchen and are born entertainers).

This was the reality my friend, Bryana, and I faced this weekend.  We are compiling a cook book/ restaurant guide as a year long independent study project and our two "madres" gave us cooking classes as part of it.  As a small thank you to them, we invited them to an American style meal at my apartment and to not worry or bring anything.  They expected us to fail or need their guidance in shopping and cooking, but we had them just where we wanted them.  We knew we could somehow pull off a few basic recipes and wow them with our common sense and creativity.

 (Opening a bottle of wine while the two mama's {Carmen and Antonia} pose for Bryana)
So that morning, we kicked my Spanish madre out of the kitchen, closed the door and told her not to return until one o'clock when we would serve and greet the guests. A little smoke and a slippery floor later, we had put together a three course meal that would make my mother's jaw drop.  As an appetizer to pick at were potato chips (store bought and a must have at all Spanish meals) and red wine. 

First course: Mango, avocado, mozarella salad
Second Course: Burgers seasoned with Worcestershire sauce and stuffed with bacon and onions with a side of grilled vegetables
Third course: Chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches.
(Bryana patiently and politely waiting to dive in for her first sandwich)

We enjoyed a sunny afternoon chatting and eating, but most importantly receiving praise for our talent in the kitchen. I have to admit that I was nervous up to the minute the doorbell rang, but the satisfaction of a hard-earned meal and their approval was worth the 45 euro grocery bill and the kudos we received from our madres.


prague-a-log in my blog

Prague is beautiful, ain't no denying that.

I flew up through Madrid Barajas to visit two childhood friends for a 4 day stay. These two girls were WONDERFUL HOSTESSES!
Sarah and Lauren on their way to class! Not so thrilled after a night out, but the sun was shining and we were reunited together in an the city with the most puppets per capita (fun fact)! We toured the shopping streets in the Old Town Square, visited the Lobkowicz Museum at the Bohemian castle, sunbathed in the beer garden of Park Letna, crossed the Charles bridge, ate at Clear Head vegetarian restaurant, drank blackberry brew... I don't think we missed a thing. Oh, but maybe the Jewish Cemetery, which my mom was upset about. In Old Jewish Town, it dates back to 1439 and is a must see (unless you are don't listen to your mother, like I did. But I'm sure I will see Prague again). 

We did all that AND went out at night. Oh to be young. 

We went to Radost, where Rhianna filmed her music video for "Please don't stop the music" and Sa Sa Zu which were both great places for drinks and dancing. I recommend Radost for funky beats and Sa Sa Zu for a Euro disco night out of dancing.

I left very satisfied to have seen where my two friends spent their semester, and experience the crown currency, pastel buildings and hop-on hop-off tram that were three characterstics of Prague I enjoyed the most.

April: in a flash

Now that it's May, I think I will recap April's birthday festivites!  According to Ke$ha (pop singer) "The party don't stop 'til I walk in", but my party requirement is that it don't stop 'til 8 a.m.

I celebrated with many friends on the island just like Lionel Richie has taught me well, all night long. Starting with the sun setting over Palma's port, we toasted to falling in love with Spain this year, our next year as seniors together and a promise to return to the island. We hopped in taxis (it was the driver's 51st birthday that day, so I lied and said that it was my actual birthday even though it was a week before as means of brightening up his shift and making a new friend)  and drove up, up, up to restaurant Na Burguesa at the top of a monument site that overlooks the bay. Breathtaking views and great food and wine were enjoyed. A short spout of acid reflux set my stomach awry, but with tricks from friends I was able to overcome that obstacle before eating a surprise cake from Scuarcia (reaction photo above).

We called up my birthday buddy and drove back down to the Paseo Marítmo where bars were filling with tourists from yachts and cruises.  The spanish locals made their way out to the scene around 1 or 2 a.m. and we were dancing along the port's boardwalk form bar to bar.

As the sun rose and the parties were still alive we headed home. Well, first we stopped for hamburgers and footlong sausages at Grillmeister with maybe a few rounds of fries to accompany the classic german delights.