It’s 4:00 in the Morning / Son Las 4:00 de la Mañana

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

IT’S 4 IN the morning and we’re off (we certainly are) to the airport for 10 days in Northern Norway. We’ll be as far south as Trondheim (which is not very far south) and as far north as Andenes (way above the Arctic Circle).

San Geraldo has research to do on his family history. I plan to explore, get some culture, and do some sketching… and of course photographing. And we get to see some of San Geraldo’s Northern Norwegian cousins — who are a joy. I’ll try to stay connected while we’re gone. Our house-sitter extraordinaire, Isabel, will stay with Dudo and Moose. We’ll miss the boys, but we’re sure to see lots of other moose in our wanderings. Sees snart!*

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SON LAS 4 de la mañana y estamos fuera (sin duda lo estamos) al aeropuerto para 10 días en el norte de Noruega. Estaremos tan al sur como Trondheim (que no está muy al sur) y tan al norte como Andenes (muy por encima del Círculo Polar Ártico).

San Geraldo tiene investigaciones que hacer sobre su historia familiar. Planeo explorar, obtener algo de cultura y hacer algunos bocetos … y, por supuesto, fotografiar. Y podemos ver algunos de los primos del norte de Noruega en San Geraldo, que son una alegría. Intentaré estar conectado mientras nos vamos. Nuestro extraordinario cuidadora, Isabel, se quedará con Dudo y Moose (que significa “alce”). Echaremos de menos a los niños, pero estamos seguros de que veremos muchos otros alces en nuestras andanzas. Sees snart*

Some Southern Norwegian cousins. They’ve moved north since we saw them in May 2017. So we get to see these little angels again!
Algunos primos noruegos del sur. Se mudaron al norte desde que los vimos en mayo de 2017. ¡Entonces podemos ver a estos angelitos nuevamente!
The rest of the family can’t contain their excitement.
El resto de la familia no puede contener su entusiasmo.

*“Sees snart” means See you later in Norwegian.
*“Sees snart” significa “hasta luego” en noruego.

Vacation Plans

We’re planning a September whirlwind tour across the United States, beginning and ending with the Dowager Duchess. Not lots of time in any one place, but some very special family visits that are long overdue. It’s still more than two months away and the days are already filled.

San Geraldo always acts as our travel agent and he does a phenomenal job finding flights, getting good seats, scheduling connections, getting in touch… He finally booked all the separate flights that will take us from Málaga to the Northeastern US to the Plains States to the Pacific Northwest and back again.

Even though the boys won’t be joining us, Moose has assisted every step of the way. He’ll be in big trouble when Dudo finds out.

FINALLY DONE AND HAVING A SIESTA
AFTER ALL HIS STRENUOUS … SIESTAS.

Confusing Camisetas

Camiseta is the Spanish word for T-shirt. Especially popular here are T-shirts displaying the names of American destinations, universities, and teams.

Most of the T-shirts are made in China. Printed in English. For a Spanish audience.

New York City — Manhattan, Brooklyn, [The] Bronx, and Staten Island are commonly featured. But rarely correctly. (The fifth borough, Queens, doesn’t get much play.) 

(Click the images. Some will get bigger. None will make more sense.)

WHOA. THIS MUST HAVE BEEN A REALLY TOUGH GANG…
THEY HAD THEIR OWN 100% COTTON, PRE-SHRUNK T-SHIRTS. (I WONDER WHAT THE CITY CREW DID.)

Just the other day I passed someone wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the name of that great American university, New York City State. Although I myself have never heard of it, I’m sure it must be huge. After all, someone made T-shirts.

THERE’S AN ADDRESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS “1978 BROOKLYN” SHIRT,
I DON’T KNOW WHAT WAS AT 235 MYRTLE AVENUE IN 1978,
BUT IT’S NOT THERE NOW.

One morning, while Judyshannonstreetwhat (click here for that post) was still here, we were having coffee downstairs at Cafe El Noventa when a little boy walked by with his mother. As you may remember, Judy is from Seattle, Washington, and so, apparently, was the little boy’s T-shirt.

JUDY HAD NEVER HEARD OF A ROAD NAMED ROUTE 306,
I QUICKLY GOOGLED IT;  IT’S NOT A ROAD BUT A CITY TRANSIT BUS LINE.
AND IT DEFINITELY WON’T TAKE YOU TO LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA,
WHICH IS 1,828 KM (1,136 MILES) SOUTH.
A VISITOR FROM MOROCCO, WITH HIS PARENTS AND BROTHER.
THEY HAD NO IDEA WHAT “CONEY ISLA ND BEA CH” WAS.
(NOR HAVE I EVER SEEN PALM TREES AND AGAVES GROWING THERE.)

DAVID (Dah-VEED), AT CAFE EL NOVENTA,
WEARING ONE OF HIS FAVORITE OLD T-SHIRTS.
I ASKED DAVID WHAT “WATCHING UPPER” WAS (OTHER THAN AN “HONOUR”).
HIS RESPONSE: “NO TENGO IDEA.” (“I HAVE NO IDEA.”)  HE ASSUMED I WOULD KNOW.

I don’t get it…

Your Spanish Friend

A few weeks ago, I told you about my long weekend in Madrid staying with Guadalupe (click here for the last of several posts on that trip).

Guadalupe and a few of her friends can communicate fairly well in English. Other of her friends are fluent — and probably have a much better academic knowledge of English grammar than I do… than do I… than I… In addition, some are also fluent in French, German, and Italian. One friend is even fluent in Hebrew. All I could remember how to say in Hebrew was, “What’s this?,” “I go to Hebrew school,” and “Koopy is a good monkey.” Phonetically, that’s “Koopy cove tove,” if it ever comes up in conversation.

Putting Koopy aside… The core group of five professional women started a business together called “Your Spanish Friend.” They host people in their homes and offer a few days or more of immersion in Spanish conversation while sharing the city of Madrid from an insider’s view.

This all sounds like an advertisement and I don’t mean it to be that. I just thought I’d let you know about it in case you’re interested. Although Guadalupe and I had recently become friendly, we weren’t close friends and really didn’t know each other very well. I agreed to go up for a visit and was kind of nervous about staying in someone else’s home (not my favorite way to travel) and spending so much time in such close proximity to a fairly new acquaintance. I also love to travel independently, so didn’t know how I felt about being taken around Madrid by someone else.

The entire visit was a revelation. First, the homes are large and elegant. I had my own beautiful room and private bath. I know people with apartments smaller than that. So, staying in Guadalupe’s house was like staying in an elegant B&B — with the added benefit of feeling part of a family (and being able to eat whenever I wanted). We spent the entire weekend speaking only Spanish. At times, my Spanish was comical, but I can’t believe how much I improved, and how relaxed I was the entire time.

YOUR SPANISH FRIEND(s).

You may remember the photo I shared of Guadalupe and her friends. They are all gracious, fascinating, classy, relaxed, warm, kind, funny, knowledgable. I could go on an on. I fell in love. I told San Geraldo even he (yes, even he) would have had a great time.

This is not a shameless plug since it’s not about me. Check them out at www.YourSpanishFriend.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/YourSpanishFriend. (You may recognize some of the photos. I sent all of mine to Guadalupe.)

AND JUST THINK, AFTER YOUR TIME IN MADRID,
YOU CAN VISIT THE COSTA DEL SOL AND WAKE UP TO THIS.
CLICK THE IMAGES TO FILL THE SCREEN WITH SUNRISE (AND FRIENDS).

Koopy
During your next trip to Spain I know you’ll be asked about Koopy the monkey (he comes up all the time, as you can imagine): When asked, all you need to say is:“Koopy es un buen mono,” because Koopy is a good monkey.