Back in the streets of Malaga tonight. Black and White.
Not a bad day. Just not a particularly special day.
I want to go to bed and not get out of it.
But that’s unpractical.
I have things to read.
Lots on my mind lately.
Things to learn. Things to think about. Things to question.
I want to drown myself in words and get lost amongst them.
I want them to surround me.
I want them to consume me.
I want to be consumed.
I heard the strangest thing the other day. I was with the ladies having our now ritual Monday afternoon Spanglish conversation over lunch. Amanda, one of the ladies said she doesn’t know how to do music.
“What does that mean?” I asked her.
She didn’t mean playing an instrument, or singing…because I suppose thats a reasonable thing to say. She meant that she didn’t know anything about it, or how to listen to it, or how to appreciate it. She said sometimes she forgets about music. She said she might listen to music in the car, or while cleaning the house, but it simply never crosses her mind.
I don’t really know what that means. At all. I can’t imagine life without it. I can’t imagine living here in Spain without it!
Paul Simon has a new CD out by the way for anyone interested in knowing. Im listening to it right now actually. Track 4- or “Rewrite” references a guy who works at a car wash. That makes 3 car wash songs I know. Just saying, I find that sort of stuff amusing now.
OH! I almost forgot to mention. Rajoy won the election.
Because people need to see the link too!!
Cairo, Egypt (CNN) — Egyptian blogger Aliaa Magda Elmahdy has become a household name in the Middle East and sparked a global uproar after a friend posted a photo of her naked on Twitter.
The photo, which the 20-year-old former student first posted on herblog, shows her naked apart from a pair of thigh-high stockings and some red patent leather shoes.
Her actions have received global media coverage and provoked outrage in Egypt, a conservative Muslim country where most women wear the veil. Many liberals fear that Elmahdy’s actions will hurt their prospects in the parliamentary election next week.
Elmahdy describes herself as an atheist. She has been living for the past five months with her boyfriend, bloggerKareem Amer, who, in 2006 was sentenced to four years in a maximum security prison for criticizing Islam and defaming former president Hosni Mubarak.
Here she talks exclusively to CNN in Cairo about why she posed nude.
CNN: Why did you post a photo of yourself nude photo on Twitter, and why the red high heels and black stockings?
Elmahdy: After my photo was removed from Facebook, a male friend of mine asked me if he may post it on Twitter. I accepted because I am not shy of being a woman in a society where women are nothing but sex objects harassed on a daily basis by men who know nothing about sex or the importance of a woman.
The photo is an expression of my being and I see the human body as the best artistic representation of that. I took the photo myself using a timer on my personal camera. The powerful colors black and red inspire me.
CNN: Who is Aliaa Elmahdy inside the body portrayed in the nude photo?
Elmahdy: I like being different. I love life, art, photography and expressing my thoughts through writing more than anything. That is why I studied media and hope to take it further to the TV world too so I can expose the truth behind the lies we endure everyday in this world. I don’t believe that we must have children only through marriage. It’s all about love.
CNN: How have your Egyptian Muslim parents reacted? How do they feel about you living with your boyfriend unmarried?
Elmahdy: I last spoke to them 24 days back. They want to support me and get closer, especially after the photo was released, but they accuse Kareem of manipulating me. He has been my support system and has passed along their text messages to me. I dropped out of AUC (The American University in Cairo where she was a media student) months back after (my parents) attempted to control my life by threatening not to pay the fees.
CNN: The press has labeled you a revolutionary but you were not in Tahrir Square during the 18 days of the revolution in February this year. Is there a political element to you posing nude?
Elmahdy: I was never into politics. I first joined the protests on May 27th because I felt the need to participate and decided I might be able to change the future of Egypt and refused to remain silent. I made it clear that I was not part of April 6th Movement (an Egyptian political group that came to prominence during the revolution) after the rumors were spread by remnants of Mubarak’s National Democratic Party who wanted to capitalize on the reaction to the photo.
What shocked me is April 6th’s statement clarifying that Aliaa Magda Elmahdy is not part of their organization and how they don’t accept “atheism.” Where is the democracy and liberalism they preach to the world? They only feed what the public wants to hear for their political ambitions.
CNN: What do you think about the forced virginity testsperformed by the Egyptian military on more than a dozen girls arrested in Tahrir Square?
Elmahdy: I consider this rape. Those men in the military who conducted these tests should be punished for allowing this to happen without the consent of the girls in the first place. Instead, the girls walk around feeling the shame and most of them are forced to remain silent.
CNN: Do you practice safe sex in your sexual revolution?
Elmahdy: Most Egyptians are secretive about sex because they are brought up thinking sex is something bad and dirty and there is no mention of it in schools. Sex to the majority is simply a man using a woman with no communication between them and children are just part of an equation. To me, sex is an expression of respect, a passion for love that culminates into sex to please both sides.
I do practice safe sex but I don’t take pills because I am against abortion. I enjoyed losing my virginity at the age of 18 with a man I loved who was 40 years older than me. Kareem Amer is the second man and the love of my life. The saying suits us: “Birds of the same feather flock together”
CNN: How do you see women in the “New Egypt” and will you leave the country if the ongoing revolution fails?
Elmahdy: I am not positive at all unless a social revolution erupts. Women under Islam will always be objects to use at home. The (sexism) against women in Egypt is unreal, but I am not going anywhere and will battle it ’til the end. Many women wear the veil just to escape the harassment and be able to walk the streets. I hate how society labels gays and lesbians as abnormal people. Different is not abnormal!
CNN: What are your future plans with Kareem and will you find it hard to deal with your new notoriety?
Elmahdy: I have discovered who my real friends are, and I have Kareem who loves me passionately. He works as a media monitor and I am currently looking for a job. I embrace the simple things in life and I am a vegetarian … I am a believer of every word I say and I am willing to live in danger under the many threats I receive in order to obtain the real freedom all Egyptian are fighting and dying for daily.
Today happens to be an exciting day in Spain.
The local tourist office is crowded with people, yet not the typical bunch…the ones who look confused by everything with oversized sunglasses, flip flops, pale skin or severe sunburn…its always one or the other. Nope today its filled with Spaniards voting in the national elections. The current Prime Minister of Spain (since 2004) is Zapatero, he’s from the Socialist party. Normally elections wouldn’t happen till 4 months later, but he called for early elections this term because Spain’s in deep shit. Leaders of Greece and Italy couldn’t handle things either and resigned.
Unemployment is around 21% overall, and 45% for young people, according to one CNN article posted today.
Its Mariano Rajoy from the Popular Party (conservative) vs Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba from the Socialist Party. Opinion polls suggest that Rajoy will win. I would bet that he does…but results won’t be out for a few hours yet.
The news channels have been covering the elections all over the country. Its been a very good turn out from what has been shown, despite the horrible weather not only here in Torrox, and Andalucia but in other parts of the country as well. There has been severe flooding in various cities. The Spanish seem to be taking this vote pretty serious. Many adults are bringing their children to show them the importance of voting. One woman on the news said she believes she must vote because that way she can protest when things fall apart later.
Also in the news, in Madrid an old man, almost 100 years old went out to vote. He then proceeded to die as he left the polls. The Spanish Crisis Killed Him!!! sorry. Thats not funny.
I admit to not following the Spanish elections as closely as I perhaps should be. It really all seems like nonsense and as if nobody has concrete ideas and propositions to something that is very serious. This is also very apparent in local Spanish politics as well. I’ll explain.
A few weeks back now I was in at the cafe sitting outside. I had just found out they have chocolate flavored tea!! Its my new favorite.
SO I’m having this tasty low-cal tea when I hear THE SONG. The one song that every child learns to recognize, regardless of economic, religious, or ethnic background. The Ice Cream truck song!!!! I actually stopped what I was doing to look up and search for what I thought must be a miracle…an ice cream truck in Torrox?!
It wasn’t an ice cream truck. Nope. No push-up pops, no drumsticks, no fudge bars.
It was a little red beat up car with cheap speakers attached to the top of it blaring a political ad set to the tune of the Ice Cream truck song!!!
What a dirty trick I thought. Get people all excited and listening and then sling them with your political propaganda! Thats not even the worse of it. The worse part is that it was just the beginning. That stupid red beater drives all around town, at all hours of the day blaring its crap. When you hear the song which is loud enough to penetrate the walls of your house, it causes you to momentarily stop whatever your doing to think, “what the hell is that? … oh its just the propaganda…” and then continue whatever it was you were doing. But the thing is, the car goes too fast, and the song is too long for anyone to actually hear the whole thing…you only catch little bits of it, like “education is important” or “we need jobs” and then it fades out.
I first noticed the car in Torrox but I’ve seen it down in the coast now too. One day after school I was walking to the bus stop to go home. I pass by a church, which on that day was flooded with people wearing black and following a hearse that had caused traffic to back up. I respectfully walked past the crowd, and as I did I heard that political song again,…blaring over the muffled cries of those grieving. I almost walked up over to the man driving the car to tell him to shut-up….but fortunately I think he realized it was a funeral and pulled the car over and turned it off before I got to him.
The man who is behind the political song is running for governor. He has the most notably funded campaign out of the few other candidates also running for the same position. He’s an older man, its hard for me to guess his age,..but 60 seems safe. There are large banners with his slogan hung up in the streets. His slogan translates to: Rebel! Somehow I’m not convinced by this 60 year old man. There seems nothing revolutionary or progressive about him at all, or the way he is trying to capture voters attention.
Then that got me thinking. I really don’t know his position at all. The only thing I know is that he has posters and banners all over, overshadowing the rest, and he has an annoying little song that plays non-stop multiples times throughout the day making broad claims. Has any candidate ever come out and said, “you know I don’t really care for children…or their education” or ” I have a job…and thats good enough for me…” ??? Of course every politician “believes” in health care, and jobs, and the economy…and that seems to be enough. To have an actual position or a plan for any of those issues seems to be irrelevant.
I was 18 when I worked for the Democratic Party. I made $10 an hour (which was big money!) and I went door to door and called people up and told people about Steve Kegan. The information I gave them was obviously biased but at least I was actually connecting with people and engaging in real conversation, one in which the people could question, or debate and disagree with me. From that experience I really witnessed the power of Ad campaigns. Many people I spoke with strictly got their information from the Ads they had seen on T.V. and were planning to base their vote according. Why would that be any different anywhere else? The T.V. news in Torrox is National. The newspapers don’t cover the local candidates. I haven’t heard any dialog amongst the townspeople. No fliers have come to my door. Just the ice cream truck song.
I asked the lady of the cafe about this. This all makes me curious, so I’m starting to probe around the issue. She confirmed that there really is no information about the candidates, just maybe once and awhile they might publish a pamphlet. She said it didn’t matter either way because everyone’s the same.
She said it didn’t matter.
Everyone’s the same.
Today’s post is a little shout out to anyone reading this who might be having a bad day, or just needs a little smile or a laugh. I would love to make you happy at my expense, and it wouldn’t really be laughing AT me,…but more with me. Because its impossible to take myself seriously.
Let me explain.
Last week. At school. Tina comes up to me. Tells me about a little interesting school project the director told her she and I were both expected to participate in. Ok. So far so good.
Its a song. A Spanish song…. That we are going to be singing. And recording. And making a music video of. And showing to all the parents.
At this point it sounds suspicious…and not very fun…
Tina proceeds to hand me the lyrics to the song. Its titled “Se acabaron las lagrimas” ( to the effect of the tears stop, or no more tears…)
Here are parts of the song roughly translated by me- my bad if its not perfect
Cuando sientes frio en la mirada ( when you feel a chill in the look )
cuando alguien a roto tu sonrisa de cristal (when someone’s broke your cristal smile)
y tu carita de porcelana se acuerda de su mano (and your porcelain face remembers their hand)
mano de metal (hand of metal)
escapa que la vida se acaba, que los sueños se gastan, los minutos se marchan (overlook that life ends, dreams are spent, minutes fly by)
salta que la calma te abraza, los momentos se pasan y se te muere el alma (jump! The calm or that calmness hugs you, that the moments pass and your soul breaks?)
ai el alma…..(ay the soul)
cuando sientes que nunca lo estrañas, ( when you feel that it never involves you?)
y la lluvia cae castigando la ciudad ( and the rain falls punishing the city)
ver algo tan loca en tu alma ( to see something so crazy in your soul )
sus barcas en tus ojos ( the boats in your eyes)
y tus escudos no podrán remar ( and your shields can’t row)
Those were more or less the parts of the song -lyrics and the translation- that really had me confused. One, as to what the song was about and how it related to anything dealing with the elementary school. Two, and more importantly, as to why the hell we had to perform this song for everyone. But I work 12 hours a week and get paid to not do much, so its really not my place to make a fuss. But I definitely thought the song was bogus.
So after secretly thinking this whole thing is stupid, the head director tells me I have to be ready for the next day because he’d be video recording Tina and I singing the song. Only then am I explained that we are singing this song for Dia de la Mujer- or a day for women, and to be against violence towards them! Only then does it make sense! …hand of metal…porcelain face…soul breaking…!!!! SO I felt kinda guilty for not taking it seriously at first, but it was nice that the whole school was getting together to do something. Juanma, the director then showed me on youtube the original song, and the music video which includes women sad at first, but then feeling free and happy… and so we would be doing the same thing, but using teachers and then having some of the mothers of the school children involved as well.
So it ended up being for a good reason. But that doesn’t mean it our performance wasn’t funny! Tina and I hadn’t studied the lyrics, and the song is kinda long and a bit fast at parts. Then we were expected to dance and act things out.
Im just going to leave it at that and let the video speak for itself. This is what I recorded,…hopefully when its all put together it will be put on youtube and I can share the link…
so enjoy,…and its ok to laugh! I hope you do!
Link to Original Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jkOxacyfwM&ob=av2e
Link to Tina and I: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teN1-HG96SI ( it should work,…someone let me know if it doesn’t!)
Ive been well. Thanks for asking. No really, I’ve got some very sweet responses on Facebook, and its appreciated.
Things have been pretty normal. Ya no soy llorona thats so thats good. Sunday was a pretty overall crappy day though,…besides the whole ex-boyfriend issue my wash machine broke. Maybe it over heard our conversation and thought it would be funny? I told the land lady about it, she gave me a number to call and said to arrange for someone to fix it, and then I can pay for it and she’ll pay me back. Whatever. So I had been calling this number twice everyday since Sunday, I didn’t get a response till yesterday. It was a woman, and she took my address and asked for my number so the technician fixer man can call me to make an appointment. I tried to give her my cell number. I had to say it nearly 10 times! I felt like I was in Spanish 101 again. She wasn’t able to distinguish my seis 6 between my tres 3. When I said tres 3, I then made it worse by saying, como 1,2,3…tres. So then she thought that the 1 and 2 came before the three as well.
We did get it straightened out. Atleast I thought,…but its been awhile and no-one’s called me yet. I’m getting a little concerned, I only have 6 pairs of underwear left. SEIS not TRES.
So I’ve been getting pretty ansy lately. I wanna protest and make myself useful. All this excitement on Wall Street, and in Oakland and other areas makes me itch to do something for something. I have been in one protest in Spain already,….a massive one in Madrid. It was for education. A great turn out, the streets were filled with people! I joined and took pictures. Its really wonderful to see people actively participate in their lives and society.
Torrox is a bit too sleepy and relaxed. I thought about various ideas for a movement…I have a few in mind. One that really stands out would be one against Vodafone,…my cell and internet carrier. You know they are really sneaky. Their little icon for the company is a little red raindrop. Atleast thats what I thought at first. THEN I came to realize that its NOT a raindrop…its a red bloody/tear drop!! It symbolizes the pain and tears shead after giving them your money and realizing that they are worthless company.Im currently making T-shirts and posters I can use in my protest against them. ;p
But I have had some activity this week.
Monday I went out to lunch with Encarna, the music teacher. She’s really sweet, I mean that…she’s just a really nice and sincere person. There a bit of an age gap between us, but we don’t think about that. We had been talking a bit awhile back and she was very honest and open with me and told me that now a month and half ago her boyfriend of 15 years died. I didn’t ask how,..I didn’t want to be too noisy, and she saw that when she told me I was a little speechless. But that makes me want to know her even more. Not out of pity, but because both her and I feel a sort of loneliness,…although on different levels of course, I wouldn’t compare mine to hers.
Wednesday I went to the Chinese restaurant and a nice but awkward looking Chinese man invited me to a shot of Peach Schnapps and gave me a free 2012 Calendar. I liked them both.
Also on Wednesday I had my first private English lesson. It was to the 15 year old son of the school director. It went really well. He’s a pretty smart boy and we were able to accomplish quite a bit, but he will still be a lot of work,but I like challenges. He is 15 though…and he offered me vodka to drink. He said it was good, and I should try it…. um. 15 years old. I told him I hadn’t even tasted alcohol till I was 18, which technically isn’t true…but was the age I first got drunk. My girlfriend and I made crazy cocktails with triple-sec at her house, and then locked ourselves out of the house…I think I streaked around the neighborhood and jumped on my car…and peed in her bushes. I left those details out. The 15 year old just replied that Spanish kids grow up fast. I left it at that.
Thursday was interesting. Well for Torrox at least. Lila gave me a call and invited me to come to an event that the 3 bilingual schools in the pueblo were putting on. The schools are bilingual Spanish-German. I guess I don’t understand why exactly that is. But regardless all the children from 3 years to 6th grade made paper lanterns and walked around the town singing German songs. It was pretty cute, and a nice thing for the town. The parents got to spend time with the children and all the community was out on the streets and looking on from their balconies.
Now for tomorrow I am giving another private English class. A teachers husband who wants help for his accounting business. But wait, it gets better. He’s coming over at 9:30am. That sounds like fun. Maybe if I don’t fall asleep first I’ll teach him something. Just kidding. I’m excited.
Oh! And another accomplishment I made was opening a bank account today. Doesn’t seem special, but its going to save me a lot in the long run not having to bother with transaction fees. Hopefully these teaching English classes will continue to go well and I’ll fill that account right up ; )
Blah…Im getting kicked out of the cafe now…
So basically lately its been more uphill than downhill. Thats good. I can handle that.
Well it has certainly been quite the week and its only Wednesday. Sunday I made the 2 hour there -and- back trek by foot to call my mom and wish her a Happy Birthday. I was trying to think of anyone who has ever walked 2 hours to tell me Happy Birthday,..and I couldn’t think of anyone. She apparently was cooking something delicious and wouldn’t stop talking about it. The mouthwatering aromas that were filling the house were almost making their way straight through the phone. It was just too much to handle. In my fridge I have olives. tortillas. 3 types of pasta. No sauce. booze. But that aside it was nice to talk to her. Its been a couple of weeks since we had talked so it was long over due. I also tried calling a few other people but hit voice mail and so I headed back to town.
I guess I have to decide whether or not how honest I want this blog to be. Its pretty easy to talk about the food, weather, people I meet, or the funny little stories that happen. But at the same time besides all that is the fact that I did have a life before Spain,…and although sometimes its not as appearant as other times, it I have not left everything behind and its still a very real part of my day to day here in Torrox.
My boyfriend was a special link between that real life and this one Im living now.
This past Sunday night it was decided that we would end our 2.5 year long distance (but still real ) relationship.
It was ended peacefully but of course its impossible to not have feelings. I cried pretty hard, even though its what I want…well that…and I was watching a “Lifetime” movie on TV about a woman who dies of cancer. The feelings of overwhelming sadness were only magnified with my temporarily raging hormonal state of being (special time of month) oh and the chardonnay I guzzled straight from the bottle.
My eyes and face hurt when I woke up the next morning. It was much to my surprise that I had woken up at all. That the world hadn’t ended and the sun was doing what it normally does every day at 8:30am. I was going to live and move on just as the day had done. Thats been my plan ever since, although Im not saying its not complicated still. Stupid things like Facebook help to make things complicated. Do I even need to go there?! Not only is it instantly publicized as if its some news report that I’ve gone from “in relationship” to “single” which for the person involved- is pretty significant -and its there. Just right there next to the other headlines like
“Last night was crazy. Tequila Tuesday was awesome!” or
” How will I ever finish all my homework, this semester sucks ” or
“Mmm I just ate a nummy hamburger 4 lunch. yay 4 extra pickles!!”.
My breakup is right there on the same level as the tasty hamburger with extra pickles. Great! Of course then to make it better, your left with the daunting task of going through all those kissy photos and “your the best in the world I love you so much” photos and figure out what to do with them. But thats just FB pouring vinegar into the hole thats in your heart :p
Well. Thats all Im saying about that. For now at least. Just wanted to put it out there and not be shy about how I really feel or tell some bullshit about Spain how is magical and nothing bad ever happens here.
…However the stories of flying unicorns and skittle rainbows in Spain IS true… :p
Had a hard time getting up this morning.
First thing to start my day off,…first thing I see when I open my eyes is this black spot on the couch. Make a grab for the glasses. Its 2 flies just going at it! Mating right there, no shame on my couch inches away from me. *rolls eyes* If I wanted to see that Id watch more cable. Needless to say I wasn’t taking one for the team. I broke up the party, and killed one of them. I figured thats gotta be one of the best and happiest ways to go anyways.
Also my back is stiff and my arms are sore today too. I did ‘aerobics class’ yesterday in my bedroom. Put on an electronica-house play list and fake jump roped, and jumping jacks, and danced around and did cardio kick boxing. I like to pretend Im bad ass.
So last night I met up with Lila a girl a few years older than me, from Greece and who is teaching German/English in Torrox. We met at least a month ago now, I don’t remember if Ive talked about her yet,…but we met at the cafe and walked around town with her dad while the fair was happening. She’s a really nice and sweet person and very pretty too. I find it very interesting that she’s from Greece, and not just any place either,…from Crete! Thats amazing! I think I’ve wanted to go there since always.
Lila and I checked out an Indian restaurant near her apartment on the coast. Before we ate she showed me a gym by her house. She had gone there before but doesn’t speak Spanish,..so didn’t really accomplish anything. We both went and had a look around. Seems pretty decent. It was clean and modernish,… smelled strongly like man. Sweaty man rather. Normal man smells good. They have pilates and spinning classes. Id go with Lila I suppose.
Indian food was great! Far better than the broccoli and yogurt I had for lunch. Those 2 don’t even go together?? I got some spinach dish and naan. Lila got Tikka Masala and rice. We shared. It was a good idea. Her and I might hang out again tonight. Leaving the restaurant though I saw the young couple I also met one of the nights I left the house during the fair grabbing some takeout. I wasn’t shy…and I really liked them, they were super friendly and cool people,…but I dunno I just walked out quick and didn’t look at them. I don’t know why I didn’t say hi. I felt bad about that afterwards.
Wow Leanne Rimes is on the radio. Spain offers the strangest selection of English music sometimes. Sunday nights one station has 80s music. I definitely listen to that. I used to jam out while I cooked and danced around.
That was before the new guy moved in across the street. My kitchen window looks directly into his. He’s always sitting down in front of the window writing, or reading I can’t tell. I haven’t really payed that much attention to him, but he’s 30ish early 40ish. I think he lives alone.
I only think about that because I had my headphones in the other day and I was playing this crazy electronic remix of songs sung in various indigenous or less often heard languages (like Pigmy). Yeah its crazy. Deep Forest. Youtube it. Sooo I was letting loose in the kitchen to this awesome music, then I jamed out in my interpretation in front of the window, totally oblivious to this man. Then I suddenly realized he was there and I kinda got embarrassed and just ducked down.
Stupid thing to do.
SO I squatted there in the kitchen…thinking that. That this is really stupid to feel silly in my own kitchen, as if he cares if crazy dance or not. SO I calmly stood back up…but did close the blinds. And continued with what I had been doing.
Im not particularily interested in his friendship. But it would be nice to make him something as a welcome to the ‘neighborhood’. I think its weird to live so close to people and see them all the time and not accoknoweldge them. I thought about this BEFORE my wash machine stopped working this morning. But maybe if I do bring him something he’ll look at it for me.
Just a thought.