Friday, May 11, 2007

Hunger, shoes and looking Catalan.

We had a meeting at work last night, it was one of those times when cultural differences hit you in the face. It was scheduled from 7 to 9 PM, on a Friday night. No one had had dinner, and most of the women were straight from work. There was no coffee. There was no tea. No donuts, cookies snacks of any form. One of the ladies wandered out and got the basket of sugar free candies from the staff room.

About 8:30 pm someone flicked a switch in my head and I went from generally understanding the Catalan at the meeting to hearing nothing but garbled noise. I went and got some cookies. I offered them around, no one took any. I ate four, after which I started to understand Catalan again. After the meeting I suggested that we should order a pizza for those meetings. They actually laughed.

Can you imagine a meeting from 7 to 9 at night, when NO one has eaten dinner, and there wasn't even water to drink?


My Aunt took a choir group of teens through Spain, and they all nearly starved to death, no food when the kids needed it, and far too much either just before they had to sing, or so late they were too tired to eat....

I can so see it.

...and what a bunch of gossips...and politics, and well, the meeting was funny sometimes too.

Today the girls and I went shopping in the nearest biggish town...youngest needed new shoes...these are what we got....

She wanted sandals, that were colourful, but which were still good for running and kicking a ball, these seemed to fit the bill and weren't too brutally expensive.

I also ended up doing quite the Catalan assimilation thing today. I got one of these shopping baskets that everyone uses, even the men....although I got this one because most of them have what I consider to be a rather ugly quilted floral patterned lining. Just me, but I think it's ugly, it also means that you can't hose it off if the tomatoes get mushed inside your bag....

I like the thick braided leather handles and the leather clasp...makes the bag for me. The girls were concerned that it would attract pick-pockets because it doesn't close properly...I think no, it looks too local, and no one every has anything but beach towels and groceries in them. Which is also probably all I will have. I got it also partially as a bid to reduce the outrageous number of plastic bags we all use, and which are a serious hazard to marine mammals and reptiles. They eat them and die.

We got art paper, water colour pads for youngest and I, and an artists sketching mannequin for eldest....

Finally I got these, we would call them espadrilles, but the Catalan's call them espardenyes.....they are for wearing around the house in theory, we'll see what happens, the berks went off to a shoe maker...everyone cross your fingers please...maybe they will be in good form when they come back. Every has espardenyes, they are only 6 Euros each and are pretty much disposable. Starting to look more and more like a local. Dog, kids, espardenyes, and a shopping bag.

We also stopped at a place that had been recommended as having great chocolate and xuxos (pronounced choochos)....pastries, deep fried and sugared and filled with custard usually. Well, the xuxos were so good they got eaten before I got a chance to take a photos, but here is the chocolate, the Catalans make it very very thick, more like eating really good hot chocolate pudding....

The spoon wouldn't quite stand....

Good day for the beach, and we have movie night tonight.


click. click. click. click.

click. click. click. click.

Youngest is in the bathroom playing with the light...I am about to bellow out something loving and motherly like, "Leave the freaking light switch alone, you know better than that."


"Hey Mom,"


"Hey, this is cool! My pupils get smaller in the light!!!!!"

"Yeah, neat eh?"

click click click click click click click

"Do everyone's do that?"

I LOVE having kids around.


Beth said...

So you almost interrupted a learning experience with a motherly nag - that was close.
Of all the food things you have mentioned or shown on your blog, I was most blown away by the cup of chocolate. Here I thought you were always just having some hot chocolate (like the kind we have here) and you've been "eating" my all time favourite dessert. Chocolate pudding!

Helen said...

I SOOOOO want some of that chocolate!! It is pouring with rain here in wales, I have just come in from walking the dog and have dried her off and left her in the kitchen. My wet coat is dripping on the kitchen floor, my wet trousers are on the radiator (and yes, the heating is back on) and the wet dog towel is also on the radiator. Hey - this is spring! I need that chocolate!!

oreneta said...

Beth: At home I make regular hot chocolate, well I use cocoa powder, but if you go out...mmmmmmmm. When they do it well it has real melted chocolate in it....the cheaper places use corn starch, which is still really good.

2 tbls semisweet choc chips
1/2 ts sugar
1 1/2 cup milk
pinch of salt
1/8 ts vanilla extract (almond is very good too)

Put chocolate and sugar in a saucepan. Add milk and salt and vanilla, put over medium heat, stir slowly. About five minutes. Add whipped cream and cinnamon.

I like the look of this recipe, but would be tempted to take it further by adding cocoa powder and more sugar....

sorry about the rain. blech.

Beth said...

ooooh , YUM!!! Chocolate! any kind, any way, any how...YUM!

great shoes. god I love shoes.