The Short List of Things I Learned in the Foreign Land

  • Having large, black, wooden bull signs randomly placed all over the countryside is one of the most fantastic things I have seen in my life.
  • Mullets, contrary to what many a twentysomething Spaniard thinks, are NOT acceptable hairstyles. Unless, of course, it is Halloween, Carnaval, or any other holiday on which one is supposed to look completely foolish.
  • Bullfights are interesting, but when a matador has not lost a fight in x number of years, one should realize it is not quite a fair fight.
  • The window of opportunity to drink and do drugs and take advantage of young girls is getting smaller by the day. Live it up. (Okay, so maybe not the do drugs part. And you must be careful how young the “young” girls are, but still… Live it up.)
  • On the topic of girls: Spanish women tend to be at a good level of hotness from ages 16-30, at which point all their skin begins a sort of melting-off process similar to that of the nazis at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Not attractive.
  • Pulling all-nighters is not quite so bad when one is riding a bus on the way to places such as London or Rome.
  • Having coins worth 2 euros is dangerous. Having a pocketful full of such coins on a Saturday night is utterly treacherous.
  • On the topic of money: Withdrawing 200-300 euros at one time to “beat the ATM fee” rarely actually helps one’s situation. When amounts of money like this are in one’s possession, they tend not to stay there for long.
  • Real Madrid might rule EspaƱa, but the Sacramento Kings still rule the US (as well as my heart).
  • No matter what country/city/town/etc you may be in, count on seeing at least one Irish pub. Not-so-hidden meaning: the Irish are known—everywhere!—for drunkenness.
  • I’m proud to be Irish!
  • Just because someone has never done it before, does not always mean it is a good idea. Case in point: garlic beer. Beer, but with little pieces of garlic chopped up into the head. Not cool, Zeus.
  • Sharing a room with 6 strangers in a youth hostel, one of whom is a strange middle-aged Middle Eastern man who sits in a corner and watches us like a hungry (or horny?) hawk certainly makes one long for home.
  • Sharing a room with 12 strangers in a youth hostel, one of whom does some serious self-fondling in his bed while people are in the room, certainly makes me long for the time when all I had to worry about was a strange middle-aged Middle Eastern man.
  • Despite my ignorance of how to use it properly, the bidet is a magnificent invention.
  • German chicks are cute. British chicks are attractive. Italian chicks are hot. Spanish chicks are hotter. Swedish chicks are hottest. And Scottish chicks are downright ugly.
  • The wine and cheese diet works fabulously. Or perhaps it is the 2-3 miles of walking per day that works. Same diff.
  • On the topic of weight: Almost every guy I know has lost weight here. Almost every girl I know has gained weight here. I will let you draw your own conclusions so I do not accidentally say something sexist.
  • Scarves get a bad rap in the US. Comfortable. Stylish. Sophisticated. I am certainly taking mine home with me.
  • Dancing kicks ass. Flamenco dancing kicks more ass. Latin dancing kicks even more ass. Tap dancing, however, still kicks the most ass.
  • When someone wishes you “mucha mierda” (literal translation: “much shit”), it’s not always a bad thing (figurative translation: “Break a leg”).
  • Scottish English, is, in fact, it’s own language.
  • Churros… (drool)… I cannot even continue my thought process.
  • Just because you met the man that made your shoes, does not mean that they will not give you blisters the size of Massachusetts.
  • Disney songs are way cooler in Spanish. And way funnier in German.
  • On the topic of music: Germany has, by far, the best Karnival music. Probably because nearly all of their music sounds like it should be played a carnival.
  • Nearly all Italian stereotypes are accurate—and I love them for it.
  • Kilts are, hands down, the sweetest form of dresses for men.
  • David Bisbal, the American Idol of Spain (or Spanish Idol, I suppose), is the god of my universe. For the next few months, at least.
  • Learning to country line dance in a Spanish bar at 2am is cool. Being better at it drunk than the sober Spaniards in the bar is even cooler. Yee-haw!
  • Classes? I took classes here?
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