Playlist for World Travel

    If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past five months, it’s that anything is possible if you dream big and trust God to handle all the important details. Last year, Josh and I never would have dreamed that we’d get the opportunity to visit one country outside of North America let alone visit seven gorgeous European countries and even live in one for a short time. Now that the trip has been reduced to memories, I can’t help believe that we will find a way to continue traveling in the years to come.

    After all, anything is possible.

    Odds are that the embedded YouTube playlist won’t work very well regardless of what you do, although you may better luck playing it on YouTube than in this little viewer. On the bright side, I added a bonus ten songs to this global playlist embodying the wonder of travel.

    1.  “Whenever, Wherever” by Shakira
    2. “Life Is a Highway” by Rascall Flats 
    3. “LDN” by Lily Allen
    4. “Al Improvviso Amore” by Josh Groban
    5. “Seed to Sow” by Michael W. Smith
    6. “Autobahn” by Kraftwerk
    7. “No Dudaria” by Rosario
    8. “Travelin’ Prayer” by Billy Joel
    9. “Africa” by Toto
    10. “Go the Distance” by Lucas Grabeel
    11. “Where the Streets Have No Name” by U2
    12. “Jai Ho” by A. R. Rahman 
    13. “We Danced Anyway” by Deana Carter
    14. “Waka Waka” by Shakira
    15. “Resten Av Dit Liv” by Timbuktu
    16. “Traveling Light” by Joel Hansen and Sara Groves
    17. “Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake
    18. “Come Fly With Me” by Michael Buble
    19. “Tekitoi” by Rachid Taha
    20. “Land Down Under” by Men Without Hats
    21. “Amsterdam” by Coldplay
    22. “Traveling Song” by
    23. “Marakesh Express” by Crosby, Stills and Nash
    24. “I’m Gonna Be” by the Proclaimers
    25. “Love Song” by Bigbang
    26. “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien” by Edith Piaf
    27. “Maps” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs
    28. “American Boy” by Estelle feat. Kanye West
    29. “Hoppipolla” by  Sigur Ros
    30. “I Will Always Return” by Bryan Adams

    Spain in the News

    Photo credit

    I’ve been reading the New York Times lately. I feel that’s a good hobby for an aspiring author to pick up, don’t you? Well, it just so happens that when I went to the NYT website (yeah, we’re on a nickname basis), the first post under “Travel” was about Spain, the first post under “Art” was about Spain, and the first post under “Most Popular Right Now” was about Spanish!

    I figure it’s a sign. You should all read (or skim) these articles to learn about the waves that little old Spain is making in the world at large.

    Prado Researcher Finds Insights Beneath Copy of Mona Lisa

    The Benefits of Bilingualism

    Minorca: Off the Coast of Spain is a Tranquil Biosphere Reserve

    I really do love this country, but in a sense very different from how I love the US. The cultural, economical, and academic activity here is buzzing and exciting but relaxed and in no rush.

    That being said, I would never live here, haha. More specifics about these sentiments after we get home.

    My English Interpretation of "Silencio"

    Josh and I often have slightly obsessive tendencies when it comes to new favorite things. For example, I am currently on my fifth time in an hour listening to this song by Nelly Furtado and Josh Groban. 

    Not only is “Silencio” a stunning example of Spanish music and poetry; it is a beautiful blend of the talents and styles of two very different artists meeting in the enchanting medium of the Spanish language. 

    Nelly Furtado is famous in pop circles for using Spanish as a hip and sexy vehicle for dance anthems and hits more commonly found in the club than in the iTunes playlists of nerds like Josh and I . . .  

    Josh Groban, on the other hand, sings in Spanish, Italian, French, and other aptly named romance languages in a classical and dramatized manner that emphasizes poetic lyrics and melody more than a catchy beat or breakup angst. Much more popular with nerds 🙂

    Who would have thought that the infusion of these two styles could create such an emotional, rhythmic, and vocally electrifying piece of art?

    To bring my own personal art form of choice into this ever-so-inspiring song (and to get in some Spanish practice) I decided to translate the lyrics into English. I took some poetic license in the sense that I tried to stay as close to the literal Spanish meanings as possible while still creating a lyric that sounded beautiful in English as well.

    I hope you enjoy it!

    by Nelly Mendez Furtado and Julio Reyes Lester
    (English translation by Jessica Thurston)

    Air, wind, and in my soul–
    The fire drowns it,
    and only the cold remains.
    Very slowly and without destiny,
    I weakly carry the weight of anguish

    If you’re not here,
    There is no way to exist.
    I have to wake up.
    I have to come alive again.
    It’s an immense void.
    There is no love here anymore.
    Maybe I should surrender
    And suffer in silence
    Silence . . . Silence . . . Silence

    Before, the sun was my blessing
    Now its rays burn me for no reason

    Before, I believed without a doubt in my gut
    Now it’s as fragile as a wounded animal

    If you’re not here,
    There is no way to exist.
    I have to wake up.
    I have to come alive again.
    It’s an immense void.
    There is no love here anymore.
    Maybe I should surrender
    And suffer in silence


    Where the sun doesn’t hurt anymore,
    My soul goes free.
    I‘ll wait for you,
    And it will be until eternity,
    My love . . . 

    If you’re not here,
    There is no way to exist.
    I have to wake up.
    I have to come alive again.
    It’s an immense void.
    There is no love here anymore.
    Maybe I should surrender
    And suffer in silence
    . . .
    Silence . . . Silence . . . Silence

    ‘High on Avila,’ a Poem

     High on Avila

    Maybe the altitude is getting to me
    Or maybe there’s a little more than smoke in the fumes
    Of ancianos forming clumps along the cobblestoned streets
    Canes and furs and a refusal to freeze
    Having grand old times with their whiskeys and wines
    While I climb the winding way up between the moon
    And the buildings lacking elbow room
    But possessing an excess of tombs (like mine)
    Tiny and always for rent

    They say that nothing happens here

    Then what’s happening to me
    When this tree with bronze branches and fiery flowers
    Is a lamppost—the same one that’s been here for hours
    Pointing my way back to the bug jar where lights flicker
    For hours and hours after they’ve gone out

    I’ve gone out
    And I haven’t found my way back home
    Though I’ve known the winsome, lonesome road
    More closely than it knows its spouse
    I’ve known the hostel of a house
    And loved each poorly heated nook
    Each leaking hole and ancient tile
    Each smile and stiff, unopened book
    Cacique and Coke can’t hide the truth
    The other ruthless spirits might
    But vodka and Sprite won’t keep me from getting in out of the frost
    They can’t keep me from getting lost
    I’ll follow my breath and the cloud of frozen dew
    You’d think that I’ve been smoking, too
    Enraptured by the way I’ve walked
    So many times before

    They say that nothing happens here
    But only here

    Only here when a kid slaps his skateboard down
    To the ground like another does in Central Park
    Or some slum in Milwaukee or a sidewalk in Sayre
    Is the sound suddenly the best talk I’ll ever hear. I swear
    Only here do his wheels clatter along gray-gold cobbles
    Like a caballero to the rescue of some maid in La Mancha
    Only here is the tiny, green cop on patrol—
    Chirping at me to cross the calle now and not later—
    Just a peregrine sparrow scaring me away from her nest
    Of history wrapped in cathedrals and beer
    And the rest of the birds? The cigueñas bringing babes
    But not enough to renovate—
    To satisfy a city
    Don’t cry. The old ones don’t need your pity
    I swear they’re all just jumbo jets
    Too big to be pets but purring their promise to take us away someday

    Away to the exotic zones I’ve dreamed of one day touching
    Like the kids selling crack in Teresa’s plaza
    Who’ve thought about taming but settled for naming
    The places they’d find if they vaulted these walls
    For here?
    Nothing happens here but historia
    No one lives here but the living
    And I’m giving up my dreams of reaching beaches
    And boudoirs. Fantasies
    Like Fantas in Aquarius cans
    Pour elixirs of gold and jewels so old
    That just sniffing them quenches a dynasty’s thirst
    For conquering thrones in some tropical clime
    Conquistadors all, for in no time at all
    They’ve captured my heart
    Not the islands or kingdoms with gaping, Gothic domes
    They’re somebody’s home
    But not mine

    They say that nothing happens here
    And to me, that’s fine

    So let the Ziploc bag pass by
    Sin buzz, I dunk my head in the sky
    Clear and skimming mountains without their help
    Paris, Milan, Morocco, Taipei will one day
    Be just chapters in a tourist guide
    And I know that I may never taste or sniff their sultry wares
    But who really cares?
    ‘Cause me I’m already high
    As high as Avila

    I’m high on a night in Avila

    Spanish vocabulary:

    ancianos- old people
    calle- street
    ciguenas- European storks (found everywhere in Spain)
    historia- history (or just story)

    Pablo, Gonsalo, and Loopy Lupo

    Last weekend, our home had a visit from Carmen’s son Pablo and his roommate Gonsalo. They are both incredibly nice, incredibly smart, and the cutest preppy hipsters you could imagine 🙂

    Since the first time meeting someone I don’t necessarily want to bug them about signing a model release form, I decided to keep the photos focused on their adorable dog Lupo. He’s probably not worried about being stalked or getting his identity stolen; and if he is, his eyes are always covered, so I doubt anyone will be able to recognize him.

    Lupo is such a smart and funny dog! He knows a lot of tricks (in Spanish) such as sit, shake, roll over, etc., but he also knows some unique and hysterical moves.

    For example, if you point your finger at him and make some sort of ‘bang’ noise, he will fall over and pretend to die! Also–and this creeps me out just a little–when Pablo told him to go into the next room and bring back the pillow from the living room couch, Lupo ran off and came back dragging a big yellow throw pillow which then proceeded to become his favorite toy in the world.

    Luis’s feet . . . sneaky, huh?

    Also, get this! Pablo is very nearly the coolest person ever! Remember that poster of the Violator album cover?

    It isn’t a poster. It is a painting by Pablo!

    Turns out he majored in Fine Arts in college, especially painting and photography. We had a ton to talk about! He thought it was so cool that I had a blog. But wait, there’s more–

    Guess what he’s going to graduate school for? Spanish philology and ancient literature!

    It’s almost like he took every single one of Josh’s and my interests and decided to devote his life to them! Haha, it was such a coincidence, and it was really cool to talk to him. Hopefully he’ll come back in the future when we know more Spanish . . .

    For Your Inspiration: You’re Gonna Kill Me That Way!

    This adorable guy apparently having the time of his life is Michel Telo, a young Brazilian singer who has become a sensation with the help of some fans who just happen to be world-famous soccer stars. 

    Telo’s cover of the Portuguese hit song, “Ai Se Eu Te Pego,” was apparently a favorite of Brazilian soccer player Neymar, who appeared on YouTube dancing to it in what seemed to be a joking manner. The song later caught on in Spain, where soccer idols Marcelo Vieira and Cristiano Ronaldo danced a few bars of Neymar’s choreography to celebrate a goal. After their victory dance was televised, thousands of Espanoles flooded the internet to find out what this oh-so-catchy song was all about.
    Now, you can’t go for a night out without hearing this song played in at least one establishment, and if it begins to play in a nightclub–well, you’d better hope that you know the dance, because everyone in the entire building will start doing it.
    This is the source of all the hype:
    I’m trying to think of a song that has popularity equivalent to this one in the US, but the best I can come up with is “La Macarena” or the “Numa Numa” song. You know, those songs where no one knows what they’re saying, but everybody knows the dance?
    Well, here’s what “Ai Se Eu Te Pego” is saying:
    Saturday night party
    Everyone began to dance
    The hottest girl of the place passed me by
    So I got up the guts to say to her
    Wow, wow
    You’re gonna to kill me that way
    Oh, when I get my hands on you (poor you)
    Oh, oh, when I get my hands on you (poor you)

    Delicious, delicious
    You’re gonna to kill me that way
    Oh, when I get my hands on you (poor you)
    Oh, oh, when I get my hands on you (poor you)

    This is obviously a very sexually-charged song like all of the clubbing favorites in the US. In fact, the lyrics wouldn’t be at all out of place over top of a catchy back beat and booming bass.

    I’m not sure how I feel about these lyrics, but I love the traditional Brazilian melody and the much more artistic style of singing (hey, he’s actually singing, not just grunting an animalistic rap of some kind). This strikes me as a very classy and fun clubbing song that is still exciting because of its themes of partying and snagging a dance partner out on the floor, but it doesn’t really lend itself to bumping and grinding.

    Know what I’m saying? How do you like it?

    Flashback: The Dance of the Cucumber

    Please tell me you all remember this?

    I have woken up singing this song every single morning that I have been in Spain. I guess it’s the only concrete Spanish from my youth that my tired brain has to cling to 🙂


    El Baile del Pepino

    Miren al pepino.
    Vean como se mueve
    Como un leon tras un raton
    Miren al pepino,
    Sus suaves movimientos
    Tal como mantequilla en un chango pelon.

    Miren al pepino
    Los vegetales envidian a su amigo
    Como el quieren bialar
    Pepino bailarin, pepino bailarin, pepino bailarin,
    Baila, baila, ya!

    Miren al tomate
    No es triste?
    El no puede bailar.
    Pobre tomate . . .
    El deberia poder bailar
    Como el pepino–
    Libre y suavemente.
    Pero el no puede danzar.

    Escuchen el pepino
    Oigan su voz fuerte
    Como un leon listo a devorar.
    Escuchen al pepino.
    Que dulce as su canto
    La voz de su garganta perece un triar.

    Escuchen al pepino
    Los vegetales envidian a su amigo
    Como el quieren cantar.
    Pepino cantador, pepino cantador, pepino cantador,
    Canta, canta, ya!

    Escuchen al tomate
    No es triste?
    El no puede cantar.
    Pobre tomate . . .
    El deberia poder cantar
    Fuerte y ducle como el pepino
    Pero no puede . . .
    Ni siquiera da un silbido.