29 November 2010

Cataluña: Bringing a Whole New Meaning to the Yule Log

Things I'm excited about
+Seeing my family
+Going to Bravo for Christmas Eve Dinner
+Having adequate cold-weather clothing
+Showering for longer than 30 seconds
+Playing cards
+My dog

Things I miss about home
+My grandma's Christmas party
+Our advent calendar
+Making cookies and buckeyes
+Getting a Christmas tree

But none of this [okay, some of it, but definitely not showering] compares to how in love I am with Cataluña's Christmas traditions. This is a land obsessed with 4 things: pigs, fire, olive oil, and poo. Christmas wouldn't be a real holiday without at least two of these things figuring into the celebrating somehow.

Maybe you've heard that instead of Santa Claus, the 3 Kings come on January 6th to deliver presents, but they aren't the only ones. On December 8thish, everyone pulls out their Tió de Nadal. He's a log with a face propped up on two sticks and he looks like this:

Terrifying. Every night until Christmas, kids bring him food (ham, probably) and drinks and cover him with a blanket to keep him comfy. When Christmas morning comes and he's nice and full, they sing "Caga tió!" which means "Poo, log!" and hit him with a stick so that he'll poo. According to Carme Bach, world's most adorable Catalán teacher, you can make the tió go faster if you light the sticks on fire first. When it's finally had enough abuse, the log then poos out candy and little presents for everybody.

Cute shit. Literally.

But wait, there's more! For all you skeptics out there who think that the Christmas story is just a little too good to be true, check out the Catalán nativity. It's exactly like a American nativity except for one extra guy: the caganer/pooer who's included to make the scene more realistic.

Should you choose to subscribe to Wikipedia's alternate theory that the caganer is only there for kids, you should take into consideration that in 2005 there was an outcry with the city didn't include him in the public nativity. Due to protests, he was included again in 2006.

p.s. Barcelona's not completely poo. They've got giant pasta Christmas lights all over the city which is more or less all I could ever want in a holiday decoration decoration.

p.p.s. DAD, I know you're reading this. Do not even think about telling Ian about the pooer or the log. He's getting one for Christmas, obvs.

03 November 2010

You Wish Young Eyes Could See You Grow Older

Do you remember that episode of Pete & Pete when Pete hears the best song he's ever heard but can't remember how it goes and know one knows what it is and he's worried that he's going to lose it forever? I didn't think that story was relevant anymore because all you have to do is type "lyrics" and "whatever words you remember" into google and you instantly know what it is. A few weeks ago though, I was in H&M not really paying attention to the music until I realized that I had been listening to the best song I've ever heard in my life. I tried to remember some words but they were too hard to understand and there were only 20 seconds left in the song so I hummed the part I remembered and hoped I'd figure out some way to type that into google. This, asking people if they've heard a song that sounded like a mix between Coldplay, Patrick Wolf, and Sigur Ros, and looking for an H&M playlist didn't work but spending 4 hours on this did. There's not really any moral to this story, it's just something to say about a song that I like so much that I don't have anything to say about it.

01 November 2010

Harry Potter, Adult Pleasure, and Leggings

This is a popular sign that you can see all over the city. It says something about everything fitting but not everything being worth it but I have no idea what this has to do with peeing. Also is it possible to pee with your hands on your hips like this?

My grandma used to mix up my cousin Aria and I so she would just call us "Lauria" collectively. There's a hotel in Tarragona called Hotel Lauria. Cute ish.

Wouldn't it be exciting if you got a free condom with churros? Because nothing says "I want to have sex right now" quite like eating a vat of oil dipped in a gallon of chocolate. Unfortunately, it's just sugar to add to your chocolate. I wish I know what made it special for adults.

Why are all the stop signs in English? If you taught me how to spell "nevera" last week, maybe you know and can help me out.

Clever graffiti transcends language.

Here's the part where I brag about my trip to Madrid. We took the AVE train which goes 315 miles in 2.5 hours. Suck on that, Amtrak. Four of us somehow got the VIP compartment with magic doors and without Draco Malfoy. Just to remind us that were were living the HP dream, AVE decorated the doors with little golden snitches [you can rain on my desfile if you want but I already know they're just the AVE emblem] that you can see in the upper left-hand corner.

In other Potter news, Elbow Street is decorated with a picture of a quidditch player's arm.

Museo del Jamón. Disgusting. Only Spain would have a chain of ham stores that turns into disturbingly full bars at night.

What do you do when you really want e. coli for lunch and your friend wants ebola? Go to Eboli.

I have no words for Panty Fantasia.