Sunday, February 14, 2010

The good, the bad and the blend

(One of Lindsey's photos she took during her visit)

There is nothing I love more in life than good food, fine conversation and great friends. And there is nothing I hate more than guided walking tours, fish and mixed foods.

And I have to say that Spain, thus far, has been a blend of both categories.

The prevalence of the guided walking tours on our various city excursions sometimes makes me feel like an Asian tourist group, but at the end of the day, I can’t deny the benefit. It is helpful to have someone inform me of the various histories of the ancient structures and from time to time something really resonates with me.

When I’m at Michigan I always feel like something big is going on around me. But when I’m here, it’s hard to forget that something big was happening here way before America, as we know it, existed.

It’s hard for my brain to grasp the fact that my shoes walk across the floor that was walked upon by Diego Velazquez or that I skip/dance/walk/trip down a cobblestone street that Christopher Columbus once hiked down.

But it has been my quiet explorations down these same cobblestone streets that have led me to some great conversations with food and friends.

My friend Lindsey Etterbeek, who is studying in Barcelona this semester, visited me this past week in Seville. Both luckily and unluckily, it rained a lot while she was here.

It was unlucky because she is a great photographer and we really only had a day and a half to walk around the city. But in that day and a half we were able to venture to parts of the city I have yet to see; we found a beautiful fresh foods market, walked through several of the city’s parks and found our way to the Plaza de Espana, where part of Star Wars was filmed.

It was lucky, because it meant that we spent a lot of time inside coffee shops and restaurants and just enjoyed the company and conversation. She is one of the few people I know that loves ice cream as much as I do and with said ice cream we shared hours upon hours of stories and laughter.

But it was a lovely few days of dining out, which I haven’t done much of here just because our house mom provides us with three meals a day.

Which brings me to my two other hates: fish and mixed foods.

I can’t tell you why I don’t like mixing my foods. I can’t eat a burrito — it’s too many food items in a single place. And I really don’t like mixing four separate types of meat and putting them on a piece of bread, and then eating it.

My philosophy is: if the food looks on your plate, as it does in your stomach … you shouldn’t eat it.

But Chencha loves mixing foods. So I’m trying to learn. Everything she has put in front of me, I’ve tried. Sometimes with a grimace on my face (and a strong sense in my stomach that what I’m doing is both repulsive and wrong) but I’ve tried it.

And if being able to explore this city means eating whole fish, I would say it’s worth it.

I suppose it’s something my father would call a life lesson and learning moment.

“You have to take the good with the bad.”

But really dad, you haven’t tried the raw squid here.

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