friday favorites, spain

Things I’m Loving in Bilbao

It’s now my third Friday in the land of España. I’ve been in Bilbao for two weeks, which is hard to believe. I’m settling into my room, walking around the city a lot, and relaxing (ie, watching lots of tv – they show Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother here!). I’m coordinating some extra tutoring hours and looking into joining a gym or taking a dance class. Oh, also I’ve been fighting a cold with a mysterious and irritating cough. I’ve been shopping a few times, which is practically impossible NOT to do when all my favorite stores are on the way to where my other errands are! 😉

Generally I’ve been so caught up in following the Spanish news (which means trying to understand it all) that I nearly forgot about September 11. It was surreal and sad to see it on the news here and realize that I’m in a different country on this anniversary. It made me realize how much has changed in the last 12 years.

Despite some rain and some bureaucracy a la applying for the NIE/TIE, this city is really beautiful and I’m so fortunate to have a gracious flatmate that has been showing me around. I live near a cathedral from the 12th century whose bells ring each hour, as well as a huge selection of pintxo bars. Yes, there are a lot of tourists in my area, but that’s because it’s so cool.

cathedral santiago bilbao casco viejo
St. James Cathedral
pintxo spain food basque
This was as good as it looks.
getxo sunset water bilbao basque spain
Sunset in Getxo, a short metro ride away

Now, on to my favorite things of the week.

What I’m reading:

Castillos de carton (Coleccion Maxi) (Spanish Edition) by Almudena Grandes. What can I say? Spanish reading is great for the vocabulary practice, even though I’m kind of slow at reading it. Apparently it’s also a movie, so if necessary I can cheat and watch it. 🙂

I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi. HIGHLY recommend. Although I’m a nerd about personal finance, so naturally I would love it, it’s more than that. Great tips for young people just getting started and those who want to get a grip on their finances at any age. It incorporates a healthy dose of humor and I actually read it in the voice of Aziz Ansari/Tom Haverford because the writing just sounds like him.

Flight Behavior: A Novel by Barbara Kingsolver. I just finished this one after starting it on the plane to Madrid. Interesting fictional story about the migration of monarch butterflies and their impact on a family and a small rural Southern town.

Best Food Discoveries:

I live near the most amazing fresh meat/fish/produce market called Mercado de la Ribera. I haven’t figured out my grocery routine yet, so I basically go shopping for food all the time. And bonus points for eating like a Spaniard: my olive oil consumption is through the roof as I’ve already used half of a giant bottle in my first two weeks here. I’ve also learned to make huevos rotos con txistorra. Txistorra (or chistorra) is a spicy Spanish link sausage, which is mixed with potatoes and two fried eggs. Que rico! I’m not craving sushi or Thai or McDonald’s (don’t judge me) or In N Out YET. I’m sure that’ll change soon. But Spanish food is wonderful.

huevos rotos txistorra
Finished product. It tasted better than it looks!

Best Spanish Faux Pas:

If you’d spent more than five minutes in Spain this week, you would have heard about how the mayor of Madrid speaks terrible English. During Madrid’s 2020 Olympic Bid conference in Buenos Aires, which they lost for the third time, mayor Ana Botella read from a teleprompter in English about how amazing Madrid is. (And how you can have a relaxing cup of cafe con leche…) The internet and TV are having a LOT of fun with this. All the more reason for us auxiliares to be here, verdad?

The actual video:

Chuck Norris’s take on it (because of course, Chuck Norris):

And photos like this are going viral:

ana botella gif relaxing cup
“As I don’t know English, I don’t express myself well”
ana botella relaxing cup
“We don’t have “relaxing cup” just normal coffee”

Favorite Spain blog post:

Cat of Sunshine and Siestas writes about her six year anniversary in Spain. I like reading about where people came from and their journeys. Especially when my story could end up being similar.

Best father to son advice:

Seeing a Woman: A conversation between a father and a son is a lovely post about seeing women as people, not objects. I’d like to see more fathers encouraging boys this way.

Yet another Generation Y post:

Why Generation Y Yuppies are Unhappy is a bit oversimplified and whiny, and doesn’t take factors such as oh, the economy and student loans, into account. But… unicorns! Also, they should definitely come up with a new acronym, as the one they’re using is offensive. Come to think of it, I don’t know why I’m posting this in my favorites, but it’s something I read this week.

Feliz fin de semana!