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In a New York State of Mind

June 30, 2010 in Ex-Patriate Games, Oishii, spazarific, The Odd Siblings, WanderFood

Dinner with Diego at Caracas Arepa Bar in the East Village. Four arepas – the Playera (white fish with onions, peppers, and herbs), the Guasacaca (guacamole with paisa cheese), the De Pabellón (beef, black beans, white salty cheese and plantains), and the Los Muchachos (chorizo, spicy white cheese, jalapeños and peppers). Pacifico beer for him, Negra Modelo for me. We’re digging in. The arepas are crunchy. The chorizo is succulent. The guac is everywhere.

Diego: So what do you want to eat for dinner tomorrow?

E: Not sure.

Diego: Man, we’re talking about tomorrow’s dinner while we’re eating tonight’s dinner. What kind of a**holes are we?

E: The best kind.

This post has been brought to you by WanderFood Wednesday.

Just In Case There Was Any Doubt That We Are Related

June 30, 2010 in spazarific

Back in New York City, in Diego’s apartment.

E: Hooray! We’re both awake – now we can listen to Duran Duran! [cranks up "Girls on Film"]

Diego: NO. Turn that off. Cut it. Forget it.

E: But!

Diego: No. We’re listening to something else.

E: Fine.

Sits down on the couch, pondering the idea that anyone could possibly listen to any other band.

Diego turns on his iTunes. It’s Billy Joel. An “Innocent Man.”

Blood is thicker than water.

Let Them Eat Cereal

June 27, 2010 in Ex-Patriate Games

Nothing tells you what the people want like browsing their country’s supermarkets. Japan: every single part of the fish. Ireland: industrial-size burlap sacks of potatoes. And America? Sugar-coated goodness as far as the eye can see.

Are We There Yet?

June 25, 2010 in spazarific

We’re driving to Bumblefork to visit some family friends, and my parents pull in at a bakery to buy gifts – pane rustico for Sofia, pastries for Tim. It’s 97 degrees out. My mother puts on the Mutefish CD I brought her from Dublin and we head down Dale Mabry. We’re barely out of Tampa before my father starts.

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2010: Baby Boomer Odyssey

June 24, 2010 in spazarific

As soon as I’m in my parents’ house – seconds after I drop my bags in the guest room and eat a cookie – they say: “Good. Now fix my computer.”  I lost my Facebook friends list. AIM says I have to upgrade but I don’t know how. Why is the toolbar on the side now? I don’t know how to click.

Maybe you also have Baby Boomer parents who are struggling to doggy paddle in an ocean of digital technology. In which case, you’ve probably also watched them while they’re working at their computers and had this thought:

Except the space shuttle never comes.

Got Crabs?

June 23, 2010 in Ex-Patriate Games, WanderFood

Ladies and gentlemen, the following collage of photos illustrates why I continue to return to Florida after all these years*. Florida seafood – there ain’t nothin’ like it. Git yerself to a crab shack, sit yerself down, and git dirty. Last night, my parents took me to a crab shack on the side of the highway between Tampa and St. Petersburg. This is the food I dream of wherever I am – Japan, Guatemala, Italy, Dublin, in bed. Anywhere. The meal of champions. The meal of foodlust.

*I mean, apart from family, friends, and bare-assed cats that hate me.

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Paraguay Versus Whatever

June 23, 2010 in Ex-Patriate Games, spazarific

My father – who grew up playing fútbol with homemade balls in the streets of Guatemala City, who played the sport for the University of Rome -  has been keeping a World Cup score card on his coffee table at his home here in Tampa, Florida. It’s a makeshift thing; the match list printed on the front and the scores neatly written next to each team pairing.

“His journal,” my mother says.

“Dear diary,” I recite. “Today the U.S. tied England. It was a very exciting day!”

Despite the fact that I am the child of two athletic parents and the sister of a sports-obsessed brother, I’ve always much preferred sitting on my ass. Genetic recombination fails yet again! Pass me the laptop and watch said ass expand. Thanks to Facebook status updates, however, I’ve recently picked up certain things – such as the fact that someone called Drogba sucks and broke his arm, or that there is a country called Australia which failed in its attempt to win the crown. Since arriving in Tampa, I’ve thrown out these pieces of information every so often for my father’s benefit.

“What?” he says. “How do you know about Drogba? I thought you didn’t give a chit.”

“Well, surprise!” I say. “I know about Drogba. Happy Father’s Day!”*

*I don’t know about Drogba. What is he – an evil umpire?

I also know that Shakira sang this World Cup’s anthem and that it is called Waka Waka. My father loves Shakira. The family owes her a great debt; she saved my father from heartbreak after his first love, Selena, was murdered.

“Dad,” I say over lunch. “What do you think of the World Cup anthem?”

“I like it,” he says. “I like it.”

“Ha!” says my mother. “Shakira. She’s not so sexy. What does she have that I don’t have?”

My father looks her up and down.

“You have more than she has,” he says.

Home Super-Sized Home

June 21, 2010 in Ex-Patriate Games

Returned from Ohio yesterday; my first foray into the flat, green fields of the American Midwest.

Quite beautiful… as was the smorgasbord of chain restaurants. Taco Bell. Wendy’s. Chik-fil-freaking-A. Golden Corral. Bob Evans. Steak and Shake. Cracker Barrel (!!!). At the groom’s house the day before the rehearsal dinner; hamburgers, beans, macaroni & cheese, and Bisquick strawberry shortcake. For breakfast in the morning, Cinnamon Toast Crunch. And in the hotel convenience store, Hot Pockets and Teddy Grahams and Snickers ice cream bars and Chex Mix and Lifesavers….

America the processed, America the Super-sized. America the beautiful. America, home.

To Think I Clicked My Heels Three Times For This

June 16, 2010 in spazarific, The Odd Siblings, True Fairy Tales of New York

So yesterday was 70 degrees in New York City – sunny, clear, and mild, the first lovely weather I’ve seen in months. Obviously the perfect day to prance around in a new dress. I dug through my suitcases, pulled out my recent Grafton Street purchase, and paired it with a nice slick of red lipstick. QUITE SUMMERY, if I do say so myself.

I went to Washington Square Park and watched the jugglers, the dogs, and the spray of fountain water arching towards the clouds.

I bought a new digital camera from B&H – God, I missed the US dollar.

I met the gorgeously pregnant Koko for lunch and Erma for dessert + dinner – dessert first, because Doughnut Plant closes at 6:30. Overall, a long, lovely day to chill me out before heading to Ohio today for Alexandra’s wedding.

And then I got back to Diego’s apartment.

“Hi,  Diego,” I said.

“Hi, sis,” he said, his mouth curved in a malicious smile as he regarded my lovely new dress.

Some selections from his monologue:

“Did the tourists enjoy the Norwegian display?”

“Did Lucy and Ethel f*ck up the chocolates again?”

“Where’s your hair net?”

“Ring ring – Disney called. They want their It’s a Small World dress back.”

Yep. It’s good to be home.

Your Hiberno-English Word For the Day

June 15, 2010 in Ex-Patriate Games

Today’s secret word is eejit. Its meaning will be pretty self-evident to any English speaker, but let’s see how it works.

American-English: Rush Limbaugh is a big, fat, idiot.

Hiberno-English: God, Jedward are a pair of awful eejits, aren’t they?

Jedward; the tone deaf eejits off X Factor. Image brought to you by The Sun.

Eejit: a word to be uttered with equal measures of passion and disgust. Just look at that eejit. God, Ben – I’m such an eejit; I put the shorts on me head!

Note: eejit is not to be confused with 鹿やろう”:

The question shouldn't be そんなの関係ねぇ - it should be, "Why does HE still matter?"

But then again, an eejit by any other name is still as deserving of a slap in the face.