Mondays. Garfield always hated Mondays. Now, why in the world did he hate Mondays? He didn’t actually do anything over the weekend or have to go to work or school on Monday morning. It’s not like he had to wake up at 7:30 in order to catch the bus at 8:30 in order to make the train at 8:45 in order to make it to class with just enough time to settle into the desk before the professor started at 9:30. Some of you may think that this might be me complaining about my morning schedule….and it sort of is, but in all reality I don’t really have a whole lot to complain about. After all, I am in a foreign country, getting to experience all sorts of things that I wouldn’t back home in California. So I have to get up at 7:30 every school day. At least I only have class four days a week. So it takes me a little less than an hour to make it from my front door to my classroom desk. At least I usually get to read a left-behind paper on the train (or let the gentle rocking motion lull me into a sleepy stupor, but that doesn’t sound quite as nice and studious, now does it?). Also, starting early usually means that I get to end my days fairly early too. At least I do on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Wednesdays aren’t quite as nice. And as for Mondays……well, on Mondays I don’t get home until after 8 pm.
After Professional Spanish is over at 5:30, Marisol and I walk over to History of Spain, usually late since there isn’t a cushioning passing period at all. Our History Professor tends to start a few minutes late though, so we slip in while the class is still settling down and get out our notebooks while he clears his throat and organizes his thoughts and papers. It’s really a pretty interesting class – no dusty dates delivered in the monotonous voice of an equally dusty old professor tottering around the front of the room. No, our professor is fairly young, with a strong voice that tends to reverberate a little around the smooth, boxy classroom. Admittedly, said echoes kind of confuse the clarity of his speech at times, but most of the little pearls of historical wisdom that fall from his lips are eagerly snatched up by us, his ready students. Or maybe they would be if it wasn’t so durn late in the day and half the class wasn’t thinking about what they were going to eat for dinner. At 7 we’re finally done with class for the day. We join the stream of people heading back to the train station. The platform fills, knots forming here and there with different languages floating out from each one.
Normally, the train comes through every ten minutes or so, but today for some reason it tarried a little while somewhere up the tracks, so by the time it got there, the people in my group had had plenty of time to enumerate all the different hunger pains they were experiencing, comparing levels of hunger and amounts of food eaten already during the day. “I’m so hungry!” “I’m about ready to die of hunger!” “I haven’t eaten a bite since lunch at 1!” (Since 1?! That ain’t nothin’! I haven’t eaten anything since….oh yeah, that’s right, I ate lunch at 2…..) On the train ride back, I sat with two guys from my History class, and we talked about various things, things like the benefit of practicing a musical instrument…..and food. Yes we talked about food. Glorious food. There’s so much to talk about when food is involved – meal times, favorite meal, favorite food, cooking vs. being served, food missed the most, food habits. Truly, foods can be an inexhaustible source of conversation, especially when you’re hungry.
When Marisol and I got home a bit after 8, our host mom wasn’t home yet, so we split off to our separate rooms to check emails or putz around until she came back and dinner was served. Not too long after we got home, we heard the jingle of Maria’s keys in the door (yay!). She hurried in, asked us if we were hungry, and then preceded to run around the house: Take off the coat. Put the groceries in the kitchen. Turn on the burner to warm up the lentils her sister-in-law had given her. Fill the frying pan with olive oil and turn on the burner to get it hot. Turn on the oven to heat up the bread. Scurry away to answer the telephone. Get out the silverware. The lentils are hot so take them off the burner before they burn. The oil is hot, so start frying the empanadillas. (I tried to help a little getting the table set, but there is only so much one can do to help in such a small kitchen when the cook is all over the place, here one second and there the next.) Serve up the lentils. The empanadillas are almost done. Oop! There goes the phone again. Quick! Get the bread out before it gets too toasty! Careful, it’s hot! The empanadillas are done, so put them on a plate and get them on the table. (Maria told us that after something heavy like lentils one can only eat something light like empanadillas, but if fried dough filled with cheese is ever light, you can call me a turkey and eat me for Thanksgiving dinner) Now slice the melon and serve it up for dessert before grabbing the coat and running back out the door to finish up one last errand for the day.
Marisol and I finished up and put our plates in the sink, lucky that she hadn’t had time to make us salad or do more than remind us of the other desserts that were in the fridge. She’s a marvelous cook (yesterday she made us a paella that was exquisite), but she sure tries to pack it into us! It’s kind of fun coming home from class each day and seeing what she has on the stove for dinner. Makes getting up early ok, because I have that much more time to look forward to dinner. Well, I guess I could still enjoy dinner just as much if I got to sleep in a little longer, but since I do have to get up at 7:30, I might as well make up as many excuses as I can to convince myself that I like it, right?