Los Cuarenta Principales
Posted June 8, 2010on:
The title of this blog probably means nothing to 99% of you reading it. But here in Spain (at least in Andalucia) we have a radio station called Los Cuarenta Principales, which translates to Top 40. We get this station on our TV so it’s the one I listen to most often. It plays a nice mix of American/British and Spanish music so I can hear songs I recognize but also learn new Spanish ones.
I wanted to do a recap blog and talk about some of the things I will/won’t miss about Huelva, the things I’m most looking forward to about coming home, and my favorite experiences of the year. And what better way to do that with a Top 40 (more or less…)? So I present to you, broken into 4 categories, my personal Cuarenta Princiaples of my year in Spain.
Top 10 Things I Won’t Miss About Huelva/Spain
1. Dog poop all over the sidewalks
2. People who don’t say “excuse me,” “bless you,” and other pleasantries we’re used to exchanging
3. Being reliant on DAMAS to get anywhere outside of the city
4. The crazy people who ride the buses and the often unhelpful and unfriendly bus drivers
5. Hanging my clothes out on a line to dry
6. Living next door to a construction site and all the sounds that go along with that (circular saw at 8am? nope, not going to miss that)
7. Having montaditos (little sandwiches) and kebab as my only options for to-go food
8. Having to check/light a bombona (little gas tank) before showering
9. Walking uphill the entire way to work so that I was always sweating by the time I arrived
10. Being stared at while running, wearing work-out attire, or being sweaty in public
Top 10 Things I Will Miss About Huelva/Spain
1. Living 15 minutes from the beach
2. The food: Jamon!!! Tapas in general, croquetas specifically. And Lays Receta Campesina chips! I’m not a big chip person to being with, but this flavor is amazing. I sent a bag of them in a box to myself so I can enjoy them in the U.S.
4. Being able to walk pretty much anywhere in town
5. My awesome (Spanish) roommate, Maria
6. Going out until 6, 7, 8am. Seemed crazy at first, but I know I’m going to miss it when bars at home close at a measly 2am
7. Caramel vodka and tinto de verano (red wine with Fanta limon)
8. My American friends I made here. The year would not have been what is was had it not been for the great girls I was lucky to have around: Alicia, Amanda, Ashley, Brittany, and Katelyn. <Os quiero para siempre>
9. Alto Conquero, the fantastic high school I was lucky enough to be placed in. And of course all the teachers I worked with there as well as my students
10. The view from Alto Conquero, especially on a day with a clear blue sky. I never got tired of it
Top 10 Things I Am Most Looking Forward to about Coming Home
2. Mexican food (specifically California Tortilla and Chipotle)
3. Cider (and any beer that isn’t Cruzcampo–definitely OD’ed on that)
4. Air conditioning
5. Central heating (okay maybe only appropriate for winter, but it was soooo cold in my apartment this winter I’d be happy to have heating in the summer, too)
6. Being able to go to stores (and get anything done) on Sundays
7. Being able to get a meal at 5 o’clock if I happen to be hungry at that time and people won’t look at me strangely and tell me the kitchen doesn’t open again until 8.
8. Stores open all day, and 24-hour Harris Teeter!
9. Real napkins, not thin small squares of paper
…and last, but most certainly not least…
10. Spending time and catching up with family and friends
Top 10 Experiences of the Year (in no particular order)
1. Watching my first Semana Santa procession in Huelva, there was a tangible excitement in the air
2. Jumping off the boat in Lagos into the fresh ocean water
3. The breathtaking ferry ride on Lake Como and experiencing Italy for the first time with my (1/2) Italian parents.
4. Sitting in a bar in Barcelona til 3am with Mike, Kyle, and Ryan pondering the mysteries of life (or something like that)
5. Successfully finding an apartment in Huelva on my third day there, major accomplishment of the year
6. Observing Feria in Sevilla firsthand (even if Amanda and I got ripped off by the waiter in the food tent…)
7. Hitchhiking a ride from a hippie in a big, blue van when my roommate, some of her friends and some of my American friends had taken the train to the sierra of Huelva and had to walk 5km to the closest town. (I don’t know why, but I don’t think this ever made it into a blog. Ask me the story next time you see me in person though, it’s a gem)
8. New Years in London. Enough said
9. Going to “Farm Camp” with the 1st ESO (youngest) kids in April. I think this one also never got a blog, but we had a fun overnight trip doing many outdoor activities like archery, zipwire, biking, kayaking, rock climbing (or attempting and getting halfway up the wall for me), oh and getting stuck out at the lake during a major thunderstorm then riding back to the main camp in a tiny Suzuki Samari in pouring rain on dirt-turned-mud roads convinced I was going to die on the outing with the kids…
10. My last night in Huelva. My roommate cooked an amazing tortilla de patatas and my favorite salmorejo and invited a bunch of her friends over. My last two American friends still in Spain (Brittany and Alicia) came into Huelva for the night. We ate a ton, danced a lot, went out to a bar until 3am. And as a gift they all signed a Spanish flag for me. I will say, being hungover and near vomitting the next morning in the McDonald’s at the Barcelona airport while trying to hold down a cheeseburger was not a “Top 10” experience, but my last night in Huelva was totally worth it