This afternoon after class, I climbed the three flights of stairs to Mabel's apartment and eased the door open. No one in sight, I tiptoed to my room as quietly as my clunky boots would allow as to not wake Mabel, the hellion that is our sleeping lab puppy, or anyone else who may be dozing. I spent the afternoon planning a trip to Barcelona with my American companions and perfecting my procrastination skills. Eventually, guilt drew me out of my room and onto the couch next to Paula.
While Paula studied the 15 verbs her English teacher had assigned her, I used her as a human dictionary for the words I didn't know in my own homework.
"Brogaht," she'd say. Without raising my eyes from my lap, "brought," I'd correct. She'd roll her eyes in an "English is a stupid language with extra letters" kind of way. A moment later, I'd ask "mancharme?" and she'd mime spilling something on her shirt.
When 8 o'clock rolled around, it was time to take the deranged puppy to the dog park. I use this term lightly, as the dog park here is simply a plaza with a low fence where Spaniard canines and their human companions come to socialize. Yorkies sniffed the tails of Pomeranian while French Bulldogs tumbled with terriers, all sans leash. Our Lola, practically their size at three months, remained leash-bound, more for the safety of the smaller dogs than for her own. She leaped playfully at a French Bulldog and caught one of its jowls in her sharp puppy teeth. Part snapping turtle, Lola releases only when she wants to - the reason my sweatpants are torn and the frenchy had her doggy butt kicked by a puppy.
When Lola was good and tired, we headed home for ham and cheese ravioli. Starving by 9 o'clock, I cleaned my plate and mopped the sauce with the french bread we have at every meal. Now I'm sitting contently on the sofa with Paula, writing this instead of finishing my homework. A Nickelodeon show featuring teenagers in all forms of undress and partaking in all sorts of illegal activities plays in the background and Paula is captivated. I don't think the FCC would let the Nick back home get away with this, but vidiot Paula is unfazed.
All in all, I'm getting very settled in at my new home. Paula already saves me a seat next to her at the dinner table, Lola bites me less than the mopey French girl, and Mabel seems genuinely happy to see me in the morning. I'm waiting patiently for the wave of homesickness and Spanish vexation to bring me down, but until then I'm as content as a shrimp on a paella.