Saturday, July 3, 2010


Just cooked my first meal in Spain (up until now, I was surviving primarily on corn flakes). . .carrots, onions, and chicken, all liberally sprinkled with thyme and rosemary, with a side of buttered pasta. Nom.

Things I learned in the process of cooking:

In order to use the gas stove, I had to turn on the valve for the gas, then turn on the burner, then light the burner myself (no little convenient clicky thing is included in the burner). While there are several lighters in the kitchen, none of them seem to work, so I use a long rolled-up piece of paper instead. (There is a box on one side of the kitchen with a little opening through which you can see a little gas flame. . . I think it might be the water heater. . .)

Rosemary = Romero. Thyme = Tomillo.

Olive oil is (surprise!) cheaper in Spain (About $3 for a liter.) Veggies are normal-ish prices; meat is somewhat more expensive.

There doesn't seem to be a fire alarm in the kitchen, and I haven't found the switch for turning on the exhaust fan over the stove. I am mainly happy about this, as I had developed quite a grudge against the psycho alarm at Fenway.

I have quite a bit I'd like to talk about later. So far, my main observation about Madrid is that compared to Tokyo, everything seems. . . a little looser, a little less . . . tense? (I can't really compare it to home. That comparison just doesn't go when I try to run it through my head.) My room is a little bigger, with higher ceilings and a very small balcony. The washer is free; there are clotheslines installed either outside the windows or on the balcony, in my case. The bathroom is bigger; there is a tub with a shower instead of a rectangular box. There are trees growing in more places. My office is a little bigger, with a few less people working in it (five total, including me, instead of ten total, including me). People seem to work normal-ish hours -- 9 to 6 with an hour for lunch (although the 30-minute smoke breaks don't seem to be such a big thing here.) My two Italian coworkers worked nine hours a day this week, but they didn't come in on Friday because they were going home to Sardinia for the weekend.

I don't know if these little things are actually indicative of a more relaxed attitude toward life, or if they are just indicators of Western culture that I missed while in Japan, and so I feel more relaxed when they are present.

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