Pa amb oli. If you say it really fast it sounds like baloney, like the sausage. Yet this Spanish staple is far simpler and has found a far surer place in my heart. Pa amb oli means bread and oil in Mallorquin (Catalan). This simple and delicious treat would not satisfy if it were made with what I often consider suburban staples, in the US. The inexpensive, shelf-stable, bread might crisp if toasted but the chemical preservatives would hide the rich taste of whole grains. The crust of sandwich bread could never imitate the crunch of fresh oven roasted, peasant style loaf bread (sold in Spain by its weight). Canola oil, butter or other cooking oils (inexpensive olive oils included here) can not imitate the rich flavor of good olive oil, nor produce the sweet and salty bites of sea salt sprinkled over the top. These three simple ingredients. Bread. Oil. Salt. So simple and so balanced in their flavors might seam dull to an american palate, which is so often flooded with bold flavors, but it is worth your time. Try. Taste the simplicity. Bread. Oil. Salt. Each ingredient rich in its own right, together create the subtle and tender flavors which are a staple in my diet here. Bread. Oil. Salt. Pa amb oli.
So this is it. My last academic week at The University of Iowa for the next 15 months. Wow… it really will be 15 months. Anyway I was going to write some ranting post about the visa application that I have been completing (don’t get too excited it is coming later), it has just been one of those weeks. Between finals and losing a blue bag containing among other things my makeup, favorite bra (ladies you know what I am talking about here) and my apartment and office keys. I swear the thing must have gotten up and walked away. ‘Cuz I cannot find it anywhere.
So feeling all down on the world and frustrated with traveling, (more on that in the visa blog) I was wandering around Facebook, avoiding studying like any other self respecting college student when I found this quote. I found it at the Palma de Mallorca Facebook Group. It was posted by the resident director and it lifted my spirits and sent my mind into a wonderful day dream.
”If you’re at your wits end, or think you are, which amounts to the same thing, if you’re dazed and confused by the noise of civilisation and the haste to get someplace where you find you have nothing to do, if busyness has swamped your brain with facts and science blinded you with gimmickry, then follow me to an island where calm reigns, where the men never hurry and the women never age, and even the sun and the moon move at a more leisurely pace” – like this begins ‘La Illa de la Calma’, the famous celebration of Mallorca by the modernist painter and writer Santiago Rusiñol
I was touched. I was moved. I was mesmerized. I have always said I am going to slow down (don’t roll your eyes too hard mom), but it always seams so hard. Everyone is always rushing everywhere. The days and nights pass faster than the blink of an eye. Maybe there really is a place out there where this is not true. Maybe I will live there. Maybe in the world of technology it is an impossible dream, but I dream none the less.
What do you dream about leaving behind from this fast passed world? Is there something you have left behind? Do you miss it?
Ok so maybe they are not the peanut gallery and in fact I asked for some advice, but it was the only creative title I could come up with this morning. After asking for some advice from past CIEE students from the Palma program I was inundated with friendly advice. This is what they said>
The General Advice
Have a great time! (etc)
- You’re going to love it (I am not sure how this is advice, but it was a common theme in responses.) This was often followed up with never leave. (which is advice)
- Apparently Agua bar is the place to be on ladies night.
- Explore and have an open mind
- Oh and travel
Some of my favorite pieces I didn’t expect
- Do whatever PePe says. (I don’t know who PePe is but I imagine he is one awesome dude.)
- Don’t pass out on thanksgiving (this one was also strange and confusing)
- Drink sangria on the beach whenever it is offered and never wish that you were home
a long and heartfelt response (or he was just sick of the updates)
This one I have copied word for word from the website. There was no way to cut it back and still have its integrity. this one is from Jillian. Thank you.
Hello lovely Palma people! I keep getting notifications about what to do so I’m going to write down my favorites. I spent 10 months in Palma an every single day I dream about going back, it absolutely changed my life. Suggestions for you:
1. Go to agua bar. Every Thursday is ladies night from 7-9.. Free wine and cava for the ladies.. Also the bartenders are awesome guys from NY and they have great live music on Sunday’s.
2. For active people: my FAVORITE activity was running along the med past the cathedral. Also biking to arenal (German hangout you will learn about) is a bit of a hike but a bike is 50cents and it makes for a great day.
3. HIT THAT PASEO! Clubs are so fun, but the people below aren’t kidding, prices are expensive. Surely go to titos once for the experience, but once is enough. La suite is free and fabulous. Also keep in mind (this took me months to get used to) don’t start drinking at 8 like we do here (you will die) in Spain it’s very typical to go out around to and come back around 6, I’m confident you’ll get the hang of it.
3. Hang with Erasmus kids! I have great friends I’ll never forget all over the world now. It’s so fun and you’ll learn so much about other cultures, while getting to practice Spanish. 2 of my best friends were Spanish and I still talk to them constantly.
4. EAT nomnom the food is so amazing, I learned how to cook from my host mom, and I use her recipes and tips ALL the time here. Gaining weight is what abroad is for.. The food in America will suck forever once youve eaten in Europe.
5. Travel– around Europe and on the island. Especially on the island. There are some beautiful places, I highly recommend cala varquez, my favorite beach, and also formentera. Take advantage of it. Also Dublin and Italy are amazing!
6. Spend time with and bond with your host fam. I absolutely loved my host family and miss them every day. You’ll learn so much about Spanish culture and your speaking ability will skyrocket.
7. Do the tapas route on Tuesday’s- 2 euro for a tapa and glass of caña (beer) or wine. Really fun and a great way to spend time with friends and meet new people.
8. Explore– get on buses, go on walks/runs/bike rides. There’s so much to see and it’s so different from America.
9. Immerse yourself– you will all bond so much in the CIEE group and will love Antonia and susan. But you need to hang with Spanish people your age too. It’s really the best way to learn the language, and they’ll be eager to help you.
10. Finally (promise I’ll shut up now) do not waste a minute. Go to the beach, make friends, go to all of Palmas awesome festivals and hang out at the cathedral at night (not alone) and take it all in. Whether you have a resaca (hangover) are tired, sick, don’t waste any time, because it flies.
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what advice would you give?
I received a message from a blog reader from Poland, who will be in Palma for the same year as me, and the final part of their last message said that they were “more excited than [me].” This is my response to that claim, both waking and sleeping (I will explain the sleeping part shortly).
My Waking Response
No way on gods green earth are you more excited than me! Seriously that is an impossibility! Well maybe at this minuet it is possible it is after all 2 am. Ok when was the message actually sent (checks WP) Ok so I would have been more awake then. AH! and there is a time change… (looks at time to figure out what time it would have been in Poland…gives us) ok so it was later there then it was here! I SO more excited then them. Wait… but I spent all day cramming for a midterm. OK they were probs more excited them me when the wrote it…(falls asleep thinking about excitedness)
What happened when I fell asleepI was decending…
I was on a plane…
I looked out my window and I saw… (<<<that over there)
I was in Palma, I had to be almost…
I was so excited I thought I would burst! (I have never felt so excitement)
I could smell the confined air and my desire to get out of this flying can.
Then I was driving from the airport and I saw the mountains (so is the jumpy quality of dreams)
White houses on hillsides flew by…
I was so excited I could hardly sit still…
OK I was actually bouncing up and down…
We never got there but we did get to the terminal…
Where I found my bag (which was out of it’s case weird)…
And then I realize…
I am an awesome packer and have everything I could ever need…
I only have the shoes I am wearing…
I am still so excited I am jumping up and down!…
This is the only evidence I need to know I am the most excited person in the world for my study abroad trip…
My alarm goes off…
I turn it off…
I cannot return to the excitement of the dream but, it lingers with me still!
To my new polish friend (Ok we are more of acquaintances but work with me here) I mean no offense and I thank you for the delight your message sparked in me. For this I owe you a drink when we are in Palma.
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I have great respect for unions, my dad has been an active member in his union since he graduated college, so this report gives me mixed feelings. 1. I am proud of workers for standing up for fair treatment. 2. on the other hand if, as the author seems to suggest, Spain is headed to protests like Greece’s I am worried about study abroad.
What are your thoughts on striking?
Today’s motto will be 29-M Huelga General.
A nationwide General Strike is scheduled for Spain for today, March 29th. Beware. 445 flights have been cancelled so far, between Iberia and Air Europe alone. Trains, buses, taxis, underground and ferry services will also be affected, as well as petrol stations, postal services, hospitals, TV and radio stations, court rooms, street cleaning services, public libraries, and many other facilities, including schools and universities.
Some minimum services will be maintained, it is said but, who really knows? The country may suffer a virtual standstill.
The strike was called by Spain’s largest unions in protest to the government’s recent change of legislation of workers’ rights and a cutback in compensation in the case of the termination of an employment contract. By 07h00 this morning, there had been 39 arrests all over Spain, in the main of pickets.
A demonstration will be held today at…
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