I MISS SUMMER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I think Donna Tartt must take drugs to write the way she does in “The Secret History” and then “The Gold Finch”.
I always tear when Jorge’s away on the weekend and I happen to read “The Time Traveler’s wife”, especially the last bit where he writes her a beautiful letter about their love, which she reads after he is dead.
I’ve gotten to the point where our beings are so intertwined, I can’t imagine living a life without Jorge. Today I read about an old couple dying within hours of each other and I always hope life will bless us that way, but when we’re 92 years old. Hahaha!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
(Inspired by Oh Happy Day!’s tree hanging love heart installation)
3 weekends ago, Cayetano invited to his house for an authentic sausage (chorizo, morcilla, salchichón, etc.) making session and it was AWESOME!!!! The weather was fantastic, blue skies and sunshine all weekend long.
Saturday morning, Cayetano was a drill sargeant, bashing on our doors at 9 am, saying “WAKE UP! WAKE UP!” Uff! Would not have said “Uff” if I knew of the spectacular treat that was awaiting - homemade churros (a fried dough breadstick that is the Spanish equivalent of you cha kway) with homemade olive oil, homemade jam, homemade tomato sauce, YUM! Was amazed at how lovely it was to be living in a self-sufficient farm. For example:
Said Cayetano’s mum during breakfast: ”Do you want some orange juice?”
Us: “Yes please!”
Cayetano’s mum: “OK!” (Goes outside her house to pluck oranges off tres to make them)
After breakfast, we headed over to the humungous warehouse that is Cayetano’s dad’s playpen to start making sausages! Cayetano’s dad is an industralist and his hobby is playing with food machines, kind of like a Spanish Willy Wonka, specialising in food rather than candy exploration. He stores in his warehouse machines that churn out fried sugared almonds, olive oil and wine corking gigantic iron production systems and a huge pantry of homemade heavenly goods (re: What we ate for breakfast). He gave us a thorough tour of the premises before we started getting down to business.
The traditional sausage making process actually begins with ”La Matanza”, which is the actual slaughering of a pig at dawn, something which I have heard is extremely brutal, graphic and best avoided altogether. Fortunately for us, we skipped that part because you need a proper license to kill the pig for higiene reasons. As such, when we began, the meat was already neatly minced and marinated, ready for the stuffing! I learnt how to tie knots required to string the sausage up while it cures and poke holes in the skin of the sausage to ensure that no air remains, which could contaminate the whole preservation process, We were well fed as we went along, snacking on fried chorizo, cheese and offal, which were fried on a big bonfire that was in a tiny corner of the warehouse. Chinese and Spanish have pork in common that’s for sure. My grandmother used to make me liver dishes all the time when I was a kid.
After a morning of kinky sausage references, we stopped for a filling lunch of lentejas (beans) and bread, during which the boys drunk copious amounts of chupitos and ended up semi-drunk by 7 pm in the evening. Needless to say, bellies filled and tummies happy, we all took heavy afternoon naps and skipped dinner for that day.
It was the sort of day I knew Jeffrey Steingarten would appreciate and I thought to myself, that fellow sure leads a charmed life. The weekend after, Cayetano brought 3 big boxes of produce to Madrid for Jorge and me. Am so excited to eat them all!
Oh! The full richness of life that is the countryside!!!!
Vintage Mother Goose rhymes I bought from a London flea market for the children I knew I’d have someday
And when I have a daughter, I will try to get my hands on one of these works of art to frame in her room.
(From my favourite series “Sea Life” by Tamar Mogendorrf)
There is so much beauty and creativity in the world it makes my heart sing.
While trying to find a beautiful toy mobile to decorate the baby’s nursery (had a very, very specific look in mind), I found these amazing bird cage mobiles made by the Brooklyn artist, Tamar Mogendorrf, which reminded me of this quote in the Time Traveler’s Wife, only my favouritest book in the whole world and the way Clare’s work as an artist was described, how she made these huge sculptural birds that hung from the ceiling and cast haunting shadows on the wall, for when Henry was paralysed and couldn’t walk, but he felt like he was soaring when she unveiled the curtains covering her work.
“”He made the boxes because he was lonely. He didn’t have anyone to love, and he made the boxes so he could love them, and so people would know that he existed, and because birds are free and the boxes are hiding places for the birds so they will feel safe, and he wanted to be free and be safe. The boxes are for him so he can be a bird.”
- Little Alba, Henry and Clare’s daughter
These works of art are exactly what I had in mind, only much better.
Rocket high prices of apartments in Singapore makes moving out to live alone an impossibly extravagant affair, but living alone in my own apartment (Sharing with husbands not counted) has always been a dream for me. I finally got the chance when I moved to Madrid 4 years ago and though rent was my biggest expense, I would say the whole “living alone” experience was priceless.
My first apartment was a bare little white room in Arguelles, along the road where Pedro Almodovar (director of Jamon Jamon and other Penelope Cruz movies) is said to live. It was a 15 story high apartment and I had magnificent views of Park Oeste, right in front of my window, though I never, ever walked in that park, as it was like a dangerous drug ghetto at night. I didn’t know Madrid very well and my house was slightly away from the centre. I purposely picked a house 4 metro stops away from Jorge’s as I didn’t want to be clingy. Who knew he wanted the opposite. The poor dude had to take a taxi every night to my house after work for the next 8 months and then back home.
So when I searched for my next house, the first criteria was that it had to be a stone throw away from where Jorge lived. I was so happy to find this litle studio in Alonso Martínez district of Madrid (kinda like the Soho of NYC). I had already visited over 10 apartments before I saw this one and when I visited it, I just knew I was going to be really happy living here for the next few years.
What made this apartment great was that it was sort of a big room, with just an American style kitchen and cute little washroom attached, so I never got scared while living here alone when Jorge wasnt with me. Also, I happened to live in one of the coolest neighbourhoods ever (though I didn´t know it at that time), with little Parisien like cafes, cupcake shops, clothing stores all around. It was also within walking distance of 3 central metro stops, hence making my getting around Madrid a whiz.
I filled the apartment with some of my favourite things, creating little vignettes of beauty- miniature art posters from museums framed by a stolen Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf menu holder (part of my 16th birthday present from my criminal friends), Vogue magazines, coffee table books of The Sartorialist and The Little Prince, Dipytque candles, treasured printed photos of Jorge and me on our very first vacation, books, a little owl my mother bought me from our Barcelona trip together, a little wood print of a girl praying that Tarn bought for me from a flea market, my white Nespresso coffee machine Jorge bought me one Christmas etc, etc.
Going home everyday was a very happy event. Ahhhh, I miss my little studio so much.
I think it’s time to revive this dead fish of a blog for a few good reasons!
Two different but equally compelling reasons- After Christmas, I now have in my possession a brand new spanking IPhone, which was Jorge’s present to me AND ALSO a brand new Leica, which was supposed to be my present to Jorge but I’m sure he’ll lend it to me. (Heehee) That’s the first and the second is….we’re having a little baby come April!! Yay!!! After the initial shock, (I nearly had a heart attack and Jorge’s reaction was one for the video camera, which unfortunately I did not have on hand), we are now super duper excited.
So, I want to take lots of pictures of the little well dressed cutie pie (I have already bought his entire wardrobe and am planning to buy tons more*) with aforementioned tech gadgets and stuff long,
rambling accompanying thoughts as captions to go along with.
And this sounds very much like what a blog’s for, no? So there you have it- GirlinMadrid revived in 2014! Hopefully with continuity.
My first revelation on motherhood- you know how they tell you that when you’re preggers, you’ll look back on all your old photos and go “damnnn, was I skinny”. It’s true.
Still, I love being this shape- the word “potato tuber” comes to mind, don’t ask me why.
* I’ve become addicted to baby clothes shopping. Petit Bateau, Bonpoint, Mi Pequeño Lucas and Zara Kids are some of my favouritest brands.