back in jax.

home.  I have been in Jacksonville for  a little over a week and have just finished training at not one, but TWO waitressing jobs.  Immediately after returning home from my weekend in Columbia, I spent four straight days (Mon-Thur) searching everywhere for employment.  I even impressed myself with the effort and time put in.  Not to mention I was hungover from the game-day weekend, jet-lagged,  and sincerely depressed that I was missing my boy Bassnectar in my home town because I had to be up early to job-hunt.  THAT, killed me.  I am getting upset even now thinking of the fact I missed Lorin’s first Florida run and an epic first for Freebird Live AND Jacksonville to be hosting such a huuuuge EDM artist.  Ahhhhh alsn!#@*$!skjdg.  Life goes on though… besides, I technically did hear and see him at Freebird… I stood outside the door for half and hour and watched him set up, and do soundcheck between applying for jobs 🙂


I applied to jobs on Craigslist, spoke with friends, drove around town and applied to places as I passed… restaurants, stores, hospitals for receptionist work, even a tanning salon. I would fill in applications, schedule interviews, and then more applications, and more interviews. Literally back-t0-back. (2-4 being the crunch time- after lunch, before close) And it paid off.

Combined I probably applied to over twenty places in three days, and attempted many others that were not currently hiring.  I applied for anything I knew I was capable of doing, not necessarily wanting to be doing.  My goal was to find work that I could start almost immediately.  And, the first ones that offered, I accepted.  I started training at two different restaurants, one during the day, and one at night… and I really like both!  Honestly, even during training I was still looking for other part-time or full-time work to make sure I found the right fit (hours and money wise).   I also did not consider “training” actually working.  As far as I was concerned, until I was on the schedule, making that paper, cashing checks, I was still unemployed.

Even though I have been looking for jobs that are not within my degree, I have learned some things that I know will help me out when I do.

So far, I like the people I am working with and working for, so… fingers crossed, both work out.  Now all i have to do is rock them!

I start Friday night.

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cock > dawg

Thursday 4pm: landed in USA

Thursday 10pm: landed in Jacksonville

Friday 4pm: drove to Columbia

Friday 9pm-Sunday: PARTY NO SLEEP

Before condemning myself to the horrors of searching for a job so I can live at home and save money (eeek), I traveled to my not-so-old stomping grounds to see my fabulous wonderful friends that I missed so much while in Spain for the always redonkulous weekend of USC v UGA.

USCvUGA roomie pic

Lets just say… the weekend lived up to expectations, but was WAY too short.  And as usual, Sunday lunch at Pawley’s Front Porch (the restaurant my roommates and myself were featured on the FoodNetwork link:  gradually turned into… waters.. then mimosas, beers, rounds of shots….

I am still in alumni denial, and returning to Columbia without our green house… absurdly depressing.  But at least we will always be roooooomies. (that are incapable of ever taking a decent picture..)  Seeing all of my South Carolina and Georgia loves was the perfect homecoming before getting down to business…

oh, and beating UGA 17-6 was the icing on the cake.  Georgia fans are the worst, its always nice to knock em down.

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retiro. love. music.

I decided to wake up early this morning (10 am is early for me) and go walk around Madrid.  It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and not too incredibly hot.  I had no plans, no camera, and no watch.  I just wanted to go and get lost in the streets.

I took the metro to the Atocha station, this is the closest station near Paseo del Prado, the street where the Prado Museum, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, and the Reina Sofia Museum can all be found.  It is a beautiful area that I always enjoy walking around because it is full of history, breathtaking buildings, and it always makes me appreciate being in Madrid.  I walked past Parque del Retiro and continued for a few hours, getting further and further away from the tourists into mainly local territory walking in and out of shops as I made my way to Velazquez then went around Serrano to make my way back to Retiro to rest in the shade and read my book for a while.

Tired from walking, I didn’t venture far into Retiro to post up, but i was picky about my spot.  The grass was wet and slightly muddy so I started looking for a bench in a relatively quiet area in the shade.  It was about 1:30 ( I had checked the clock of a building) so it was getting warmer.  I found a nice shady bench and started to sit down, buuuut then…a child started screaming- hell no.

I kept walking and decided on a bench that was shaded and there were no kids in sight.  There was also a man playing an acoustic guitar two benches away- ah perfect!  I sprawled out on the bench and started to read the book that my friend Christianna just lent to me, Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri.   As I read, I found myself listening more to the man who was singing and strumming his guitar.  I soon realized that he was actually quite good, and I found myself enjoying the sound he was making more than my book.  I put my book down and just lied there with my eyes closed.  His blues/bluegrass acoustic style was captivating.  The closer I listened I noticed he was singing in English.  Interesting, I thought- I wonder where he is from.

He started to play “Hello, Goodbye.”  I started to smile.  He played it wonderfully, and nailed every lyric on the nose.  I continued to lie there, completely content with the weather, my day, and mostly the live, beautiful music that I was hearing.  Then I heard start “All the Way” most famously noted by Sinatra.  After a moment he stopped, and I could hear him talking with some people.  I sat up to look and to my surprise there was a bride and groom and their three photographers walking up, he had started the song when he saw them.  The photographers immediately took advantage of the situation and were asking him to pose in photos with them.  It was very sweet and so candid.  The man started playing the song again, and the couple started to dance, (the photographers directed them too).  They danced slightly awkwardly, but rightfully so, becasue like myself, others nearby were watching them.

The man then went back to the Beatles and started to play “Something.”

I LOVE that song.  As he played I started to fall into a deep state of happiness.  Sunshine, music, GOOD music, and it all happened so unexpectedly.   I started to cry.  As I sat and watched the man play one of my favorite songs, I was overwhelmed with what a great day I was having and how beautiful the moment was to me.

I felt so cheesy crying at such a moment, but I just could not help it.  It was just such a wonderful moment; the combination of my pleasant day with no plans, the unexpected ‘show’ while relaxing in the park and the intimate performance of one of my favorite songs.  It moved me.

The couple left, and the man just kept on with his playing.  I started to really wonder about the man; what his story was… why he was in Spain, if he came to Retiro often.  I wanted to let him know how much I appreciated listening to him.  I wanted him to know that he just made my day, one that I will remember forever.  I felt like I appreciated his entertainment and generosity to the couple more than they had, and I wanted him to know.  I think all artists want to know when they have touched someone with their craft in such a strong way.  I decided to go home for lunch, so I gathered my things and started off.

I decided not to say anything to the man.  I walked past and smiled.  I didn’t want to interrupt his singing.  I also didn’t want to ruin the mystery.

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its the weekend!

I am back in Madrid and it is the weekend!  FAAAABULOUS.  I believe that this shows my excitement the best:

i love it.

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me gusta…

Since I have been in Spain I have tried new things, and my tastebuds have been expanded due to living with a Spainish family.   Everything is made fresh with fresh ingredients. AND with a OVERLY GENEROUS amount of olive oil.  An absurd amount of olive oil.  But that would be a dislike, and I am listing the foods I now like…

  • gazpacho (my fav, and it is usually the first course of each lunch and dinner… yea. course. lunch and dinner come in courses)
  • tomatos
  • onion (since many spanish do not believe in spices or hot sauce- this was my fix)
  • octopus
  • chickpeas
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bad day.

For the past few days my head had been itching.  I thought it was either a sunburn, or a dry scalp from lack of conditioning.  So naturally… I conditioned more.  This morning however my head was itching much worse.  I didn’t understand.  The kids were being extra annoying/difficult…giving me a headache, and my head itself was driving my crazy because it was so itchy.

Yesterday I was talking to the British lifeguard at the pool whom I have befriended since my time in Javea and mentioned that my head had been itching and I had no idea why.  She suggested that it could be lice, because she had gotten it the year before when two of the girls at the pool had it.  “Sick,” I thought to myself.

So this morning as I sat playing Uno with the kids for the 9287350912874509th time I decided to go to escape to the bathroom, not only for a break from them, but also to check if it could be the impossible.  It was.  I could see what had to be lice.  WTF.

I immediately started freaking out, the parents were not home, I was absolutely miserable.  I could have thrown all my things in my suitcase and flown home at that moment.  I didn’t know what to do.  So naturally… I did the next best thing to calling my mom, and wrote her and email…wigging, and like the wonderful mother she is she just told me what to do, and not to worry.  However I could not help but worry and curse Spain.  Who gets lice unless you are in the 3rd grade and the red-headed step-child in your class gave it to you?  I just wanted to be home, I was already missing 3 nights of Tribe in Hotlanta, and now THIS.  Ahhhhhh!

I went down and told the lifegaurd my situation and started crying.  She was completely calm, told me it was not a big deal and that everyone gets it and that it is really common to get here.  (Nice to know now).  She offered to go to the pharmacy for me and was so sweet, but then I saw the parents come in so I ran up to the house to tell them.  I told them that I had piojos (lice) and I clearly could not hide the fact that I was freaking out.  They were completely calm and nonchalant, and told me I would live and be just fine.  They even had supplies on hand for me to deal with it.   They acted if I had just told them I skinned my knee.

I started to chill, since everyone had been so calm.  I decided against going to Valencia for the day and staying at home to treat and comb my hair.  I also bought more products to treat the lice, but quite frankly wouldn’t mind dunking my head into a bucket of bleach.  Hopefully all will be well tomorrow.  If not, I am seriously considering getting a hair cut, or maybe pulling a Mulan or Demi Moore circa G.I. Jane.

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Friday was a great day.

  1. I was able to sleep a bit longer
  2. the kids didn’t argue too much with me when I told them to turn of the TV (very rare)
  3. I found out that I was not going to have to take the bus that afternoon to Valencia, a friend of my Spanish family offered to take me because she was going there in the afternoon (thank the lord, ride=no public transportation!)
  4. I saw and OCTOPUS in the WILD!!!!

After playing with the kids for a couple of hours I went out onto the boat with the family. We went around a cape in the Mediterranean Sea just around the shore of Cala Blanca off the coast of Javea.  It was a beautiful day, not too hot and the sea was a very clear aqua/blue, and right before getting in the water to snorkel I was discussing with Javier (my Spanish ‘dad’) how I really wanted and needed to see an octopus since I had yet to see one.  So he said to me “Mary, today I am going to find you an octopus.”

But ohhhhhh no… I was the one that found the octopus.  Which made it so much better.  I was just swimming around and saw something moving below among the rocks… and at first thought it was a fish, so I dove down and looked…and there were tentacles! It was  an octopus!!  I was so ecstatic and knew I should have tried to grab it (since that what I was told to do) but instead I screamed and then got closer and watched it creep under the rock.

I quickly went to the surface and looked around trying to see if someone was neat that I could tell.  No one.  I had to tell someone, because I mean, I HAD JUST SEEN AN OCTOPUS.  I was legitimately squirming. I felt like a little kid.  So i swam back to the boat and told everyone.

They were actually very proud, and Javier swam back with me to try and find it again.  He wanted me to be able to see the ink spew out when you grab them.   However I was completely useless because as a result of my excitement, I had no idea where in the world I had seen it.

I am anxious to find my next one, but I am really glad that I can put a face to the ones I have had the pleasure of meeting… and eating

octopussy appetizer

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