Monday, August 30, 2004

The One with My Address(es)


So departure is tomorrow, and while I'm waiting for my copious amounts of laundry to finish I will give you my contact info. Boo, laundry!

In the extremely rare and totally unexpected case that any of you should want to send me snailmail, you can send it to either my homestay address or the Duke in Madrid office address, I think. I'm going to pref the Duke in Madrid office, if only because I'm not sure if my homestay lady will be mad that I'm getting mail at her house (though my absentee ballot is being sent there - oh well). I DON'T HAVE THE DIM ADDRESS YET. THAT SUCKS. However, I'll ask when I get there and will have it up for you ASAP (probably around the 3rd or so).

Allison Clarke
c/o Pilar Cerrada
C/ General Rodrigo, 5 2o ( not 20 - two oh, as in segundo) B
28003 Madrid

My cell number, for those who don't have it, is *phone number removed as per the advice of one overprotective but appreciated uncle, and I'm sure you all already have it anyway* - though I have NO idea how or whether the dialing will change once I'm there. I know that if you have a cell and put a +1 before the number it'll add all the appropriate prefixes for you (or that's what my dad says, anyway). If you don't have a cell...sorry.

Photojournalism...yeah. No. Copious amounts of rain + laziness + FINALLY FINISHING FFIV at 11 last night - camera = no photoblogging. However, I have many mental images (and smells. It's too bad you can't take pictures of smells, isn't it?). Surprisingly enough, I am very sad to say goodbye to Western New York, with its cute little industrial economy and leaves that were already turning when I got here and Mayer Bros apple cider. Not so sad to leave East Aurora, with its faux-upper-class and Bush/Cheney 2004 bumper stickers and font.

(As a side note, a conversation something like the one Nooree and I had when he decided to come visit me here:

Nooree: No, I really want to come see you in East Aurora. It'll be cool to see your family and where you live.
Allison: Don't come to East Aurora. It's the most hopelessly pretentious place on Earth. I hate it here. I don't want to subject you to it.
Nooree: Oh, come on. It can't be all that bad.
Allison: The town has its own font.
Nooree: *long silence* ...oh.)


Time to pack!


(Oh, and if the plane crashes or something, I love you all.)

Saturday, August 28, 2004


Photojournalism entry upcoming, depending on three factors:

1. Reduction of *see title*

2. Can I get a digital camera? Or, more to the point, can I get a digital camera without being yelled at?

3. MUST FINISH FINAL FANTASY IV. Now. Before I leave. Or I will cry. close!...

Only three-or-more-like-two-and-a-half days left *gasp*! To celebrate, I am making pad thai. On that note, I have to go chop a gigantic bunch of cilantro (sorry, Becky).

Oh! Thank you for the card, Aunt Carrie and Uncle Bob! (If you were wondering how long it takes mail to get out of a sort-of-hurricaned takes a while. But it does get here eventually).

Monday, August 23, 2004


Mom Says: Get rid of all the crap you've been hoarding since 7th grade.

Allison Does: *dabble dabble, take apart Fisher Price banking safe...oooh, Study Abroad Handbooks!*

The Duke Abroad Handbook, Faye's donation of Let's Go Spain and Portugal (now with Morocco!), and the Duke in Madrid Travel Guide have given me an overabundance of information on many things. Of note:

1. According to the Duke Abroad Handbook, foreign men could interpret "the friendliness of American women" (you could have fooled me on that one) as "romantic interest". "Some women feel they are forced to stare intently at the ground while they walk down the street." Well, shoot. My natural and overwhelming exuberance should make me a prime target! Perhaps this is the time to experiment with Goth culture. But seriously, folks - could it be worse than traveling with a group of 9 other girls (and one guy) in Mexico for several weeks? Could it? No. It couldn't.

2. Also courtesy of the Handbook: the four stages of culture shock. Initial euphoria - Irritation and hostility - Gradual adjustment - Adaptation/Biculturalism. "Anyone who goes overseas demanding that everything be the same as what (s)he is accustomed to in the United States will be sorely disappointed and probably better served by staying at home." The fact that they need to include this staggers me. Really. Love Duke and Dukies. I also wonder how long you're expected to get hung up on the "irritation" stage (aka. how long I can milk it for).






I would be equally surprised at numbers 3-7 were it not for The Vicki Story, which many of you know by now. It proceeds as follows:

On the Mexico trip last summer, I split off from the aforementioned group of 9 girls to study at UDLA, a private university in Mexico. We all know this. Well, while I was staying there, one of the girls (Vicki) in the group stopped by Puebla (the city UDLA is closest to) and was going to visit for a couple of days. Since she was trying to save money, we decided the best idea was for her to sleep on my floor, even though it was against the rules and all.

One night, Jackie (my suitemate and awesome person), Joe (another Dukie), Adam (Dukie #3), Vicki, and I - and maybe Chris (Dukie as well), I don't remember - were sitting around our kitchen table, laughing and joking and generally having a slambamming time. During a lull in the conversation, Vicki busts out with "Anybody want to smoke a joint?". After a several-seconds-long exchange of *is she crazy or kidding?* looks, we all declined - and I, like the gigantic idiot I am, STILL LET HER SLEEP ON MY FLOOR. Whoops. This episode raises a couple of important questions:
1. Where did she get it? Did she bring it over from the US? If she had, do you think she was ok with having put everyone she traveled with (aka. ME!) in legal danger?
2. WTF was she thinking?
3. Why did I not kick her out of my room?

but it also allows me to understand that yes, people really are stupid enough to do illegal drugs in foreign countries, which probably means that they're also stupid enough to get wasted and invite sketchy men back to their host-houses. Lovely.

And this, my friends, concludes the tale of why I am a misanthrope.

Saturday, August 21, 2004


The most wonderful part of my compulsory-butt-parkage here in EA is all of the time it gives me to worry and/or muse. I have developed three primary trip-related habits:

1. Pull passport out of purse, where it really shouldn't be but is anyway. Turn it over and over, occasionally opening it to stroke visa lovingly. Try to avoid looking at terrible picture of me. Finis.
2. Realize how absolutely shameful-and-elementary my Spanish is after four months of atrophy. Try to formulate mental Spanish conversations in preparation. Realize too late that all my grammatically-perfect responses will be useless if I DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT. Give up.
3. Keep spending that cash, girl! Despite the fact that I'll need to exchange buxx for Euros at the airport and don't have an ATM nearby, it is all right to spend, say, $1.19 on a Diet Coke with Lime and then $1.09 on a Diet Coke and then $.65 on a Diet Coke. We will worry about breaking the three-can-a-day Diet habit AFTER I get to Spain and realize that it's that nasty "New Coke" crap. Also, plans to go to the Fair (for Dukies: the Erie County Fair is the second-largest county fair in the country and rivals/exceeds the NC State Fair in awesomeness) and spend $25-$50 should not be curtailed. It's the FAIR! COMEON!
3b. Cash-related: Keep thinking of things to buy/bring (ie. slippers, GRE study book, Cam's suggestion of the Dark Tower series) and then realizing that I DON'T HAVE A JOB (and, by the way, that the Duke Store is unlikely to mail me either of my last two paychecks. Which they need to do. That's like $130 right there). Boohoo. Allison does not equal budget.

Actually, at this point I am the most worried about the Coke thing. Oh, the headaches that result from caffeine withdrawal! Oh, my disgust with Pepsi! Oh, I miss Duke and vending machines on points!

Friday, August 20, 2004


It workth, it workth!

Yes. Well. As I'm sure you all know, I am much better at blogging than postcard/letter/email writing. (today's suggestion from Cam: "Allie, when you buy postcards, you need to get two so you have one to write on and one to hang on the wall." Yes. Well. I would have thought of that myself...eventually) Therefore: Spainblog! Welcome!

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step and all, except this first step is more like a first plop. Anything that results in or involves East Aurora is a plop. Those of you who live here understand. I am here mentally preparing for my journey, and by mentally preparing I mean playing a lot of video games. And spending money I don't have. AWESOME. Also on the agenda: much random wandering around town for multiple consecutive hours, alone and accompanied. And sleeping 12-13 hours/night. And watching all my friends leave for school tomorrow. You jerks.

As I'm sure you can tell, it is very exciting to be me right now!

More updating action later!