Lisbon

Our Lisbon apartment is located in the old town, and it just might be our favourite rental yet! Which is super as we’ve spent a lot of time indoors because I’ve been feeling sick. Being sick on vacation is the worst. I remembered Bri of DesignLoveFest’s experience of being ill on vacation. I guess sick happens.

Our neighbourhood is wonderful. At the end of our steep, narrow, and pedestrian only street is a restaurant called Zapata. Zapata has a tiny window full of seafood: barnacles, octopus, squid, clams, etc. The service is a little slow, but the portion size and the price is amazing.
About a block away is lovely Italian ice cream, Nannarella, that has a basil ice cream, cream ice cream, and a milk flavoured ice cream in addition to vanilla. Cream or nata flavour seems to be very popular.

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Marco Zorianna Barcelona

…where there is smoke…

Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona suggests that love is not supposed to make sense. Each character who seems to have a committed relationship is tempted by a passionate, senseless love. And, it not the committed love which lasts, since it ends up being corrupted by passionate love, but it is passionate love which persists in a ebb and flow of partnership between two. Barcelona is a tertiary character, a back drop. Allen’s position on love, and passionate love, may be supported by his autobiography. His own passion lead him to leave a sensible love, for a less sensible, yet clearly sustainable one.

My details are very different. Marco and I enjoyed a quiet day on his birthday punctuated by loud firecrackers. From about noon until the next morning Marco’s birthday or San Juan, as we later found out, is one of the biggest party days in Barcelona. San Juan marks the start of the summer. And, it is an excuse to toss firecrackers at people, and to let little kids light them on their own. The attitude around lighting and enjoying firecrackers is pretty cavalier. Marco is not a fan of celebrating his birthday, so we had a low key afternoon of gluten free sandwiches at Bread and Circuses, followed by some avant garde cinema at the Cultural Center, and another quick trip to Bormuth for tournedos. No fireworks for us.

At about 5:30 I awoke to the smell of burning. I walked into our kitchen which was full of smoke. It smelled not of wood smoke, but of plastic smoke. I could hear people banging on doors, evacuating our neighbours. We grabbed our passports, and left. Outside, the bombers (the Spanish firefighters) were already working on putting out the fire which had erupted next door. Only later did we find out that the tarp from the construction of our building had caught on fire too. The tarp was aflame from the first to the fourth floor; we were on the fourth, and only a few feet away from where the flames were (given the melted remnants). When we returned to our apartment everything was coated in soot, not even the adjacent rooms were spared–even our toothbrushes were black. We missed the fireworks, but I guess they did not miss us. Javier, who we were renting from, was very apologetic; he is Latin American and explained that he expected Spain to be more…perhaps civilized, or more responsible. Barcelona was not just our back drop, it made its passion known, in its own way.

A highlight of our time in Barcelona was a trip to Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion which was built as the German Pavilion for an international exhibition in 1929. I love modernist structures. I enjoy visiting churches, and ruins (especially Roman) etc. but modernism gets me every time. The multidimensional, gilded, highly decorated surfaces of other styles tell you what they are; they dazzle you, and move you. Modernism does not offer any tricks of the eye, or tell any stories. It gives you space.

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Gluten Free in Barcelona

Here are some suggestions for eating gluten free in Barcelona, in no particular order:

1. Gocce di Latte. El Born. All of the ice cream is gluten free, most of it is egg free, and they make a gluten free pancake. AMAZAmazingING!

2. Dusa. Carrer D’Avinyo. El Barrio Gotic. A dedicated gluten free section filled with bread options, etc.

3. Bread and Circuses. Blasco de Garay 59. Poble Sec. A great gluten free sandwich bun. I’ve been twice, and they ran out of buns and made me an enormous salad instead. Wonderful.

4. Gelateria D’Asturies. Carrer d’Asturies and Cerrer del Torrent de L’Olla. Gracia. Fresh horchata, and gluten free cones! Try adding a scoop of ice cream to your horchata.

5. Mercad de Santa Caterina. El Born. This food market isn’t too busy, and most of the stall owners will gladly take their time to chat with you. Lots of products listed sensa gluten or sin gluten on them, but everyone was happy to direct me to the best products. There is also stand featuring organic food, and gluten free dry goods near a side exit (sorry, I don’t recall the name).

6. Just passed the intersection of Via Laietana and Aviendo de la Cathedral on the east side of the street is a huge organic shop that features gluten free options. I can’t recall the name, sorry. But, you can’t miss it.

All in all, most of the waitresses have been super helpful in picking out the right options. On more than one occasion, fish has not been battered before its been fried for me. Though, its been rare that we’re encountered batter fish at all.

On being allergic

I’ve known about my gluten sensitivity since I was 19. I didn’t really know what to do about it, and couldn’t afford to do much until I was 25. Not eating gluten was an expensive, difficult, and hard to explain thing. “Everyone gets bloated” was the response I used to get. Maybe, but not everyone has other unmentionable side effects that last for up to a week. I’ve been very strictly wheat, and gluten free for about two years with no regrets.

In December, my body started to react to everything. Or, that’s how it felt. I was coated in red and pink patchy, itchy, painful, achy, bumps. My face and my arms hurt to move. If you felt my skin, you could feel the layers of skin swollen. Inside everything felt foggy and aggravated. A visit to my dr, then an allergist and I was told I was allergic to citrus, chocolate, cheese, mushrooms, all tree nuts, mango, cherry (cross reactants to tree nuts), tomato. I should have mentioned that I also noticed awful reactions to eggs and soy along the way, so I stopped eating those too. Soy gives me terrible anxiety, and eggs make me feel like I’m loosing control of my body. No joke.
So, there I was, a happy Christmas indeed.

After diligently removing all those allergens, and nearly all the food in our house, I was still reacting. I had three large pink circles of rash around my eyes and mouth still. I started noticing what else I reacted to: figs, sunflower, apple, turmeric… I went to accupuncture to ease the pain of the rash. I met with a new naturopath and a new family dr. The naturopath asked about my latex allergy, and suggested that I remove cross reactive foods. The new doctor mentioned the low histamine diet. After three months of pain, confusion, and lots of frustration, we finally got it. the low histamine diet includes lots of foods that must be avoided. Buuuuut, actually, I had already been avoiding most of these. The few extra steps made an enormous impact.
I don’t miss foods allergens like avocado or lemon. I’m too happy not to be rubbing my eyes every two seconds because I’m so itchy. Moving my hands in a full rotation without pain means more than a chocolate bar. And feeling anxiety free can never compare with a frittata (which, I’ve never liked anyway).

Two Weeks!!

In April I became ABD ( all but dissertation) with the completion of my comps, and in June I became an Mrs. My name is getting bigger and bigger. As soon as paperwork gets filled out, it will be even bigger.
Meeting Marco as a student in a workshop, then again in a bar was not what I expected. Finding myself continually happy was not what I expected. I keep being surprised by how wonderful things are. I’m pretty lucky.
You’ve mostly been hearing from me on this blog, but he reads through everything before I post it and reminds me to add things. This is pretty much how we work: one person takes the lead, the other helps out.
There so many little details about our elopement or “little wedding” or “Gib wed” that I didn’t yet share (in no particular order):
1. Marco is an incredible driver. Perhaps it’s because he doesn’t get stressed or upset. When we on the top of the rock the morning of E.D.(elopement day) surrounded by macaques and the four tour buses ahead of us stopped on a super steep hill, he just pulled the parking break and sighed.
2. We made dinner. After the photos were done, we drove back to Catalan Bay and made dinner. We love cooking together, and just wanted to spend time together not waiting around in a crowded place.
3. The shoes! We’ve received lots of compliments about M’s shoes. I won’t reveal his source, but we found them on Queen St. after attending the wedding show, with the tickets that we won from Erika, with Becca, our photographer. The shoes came with the blue laces, and brown laces.
4. Making stuff! Marco wore the blue laces to match the pocket square and bow tie I made him. The bow tie got mangled in his suitcase, but oh well.. I brought some of the extra fabric as a something blue to tie around the bouquet(which I anticipated making). I had wanted to find a vintage veil to match the dress, but when nothing was turning up I bought a comb and some fabric and made my own. While I was in Glastonbury I found an art nouveau lapel pin with an M that I added to the bouquet.
5. Amateurs. I love blogs, pintrest, tumblr etc. I love looking at professional crafts, and put together photos. So, I was a little worried when I had to do my own hair. And more worried when the first back up photographer had to take her son to the hospital, and we our second back up photographer was an amateur. Poor guy was having an awful allergy attack, and couldn’t tell if the shots were in focus! But, all in all, things dont look professional, but they look like us.

So, the tiny details:
Location: the Alameda Gardens
Witnesses: Melanie G., who we rented from, and Pat, the garden director
Photographer: Assym, a co-worker of Mel’s
Grooms attire: frank and oak, and borodawka and friends
Brides attire: vintage pop up shop, shoes purchased on a trip to Romania (something old)
Flowers courtesy of the Rock and the parking lot near Catalan Bay 🙂

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Looking back

We’ve legally been wed for two weeks now, at least in Gibraltar and hopefully other places (I kid, I kid. About the at least part anyway). It’s felt pretty special to be able to enjoy each other’s company for this long. And, it’s been so incredible to receive messages of support from everyone. Thank you all so much for your encouragement and your understanding. It really means so much to both of us to have everyone’s support.
Eloping is often that event that people threaten to do when wedding planning becomes too much. Or, actually, for us it was the thing that my parents joked about, and the destination wedding that some wanted to join. For us, it was a way to celebrate our relationship between us, and to solidify the commitment that we had already been living.
Choosing Gibraltar was easy. It’s the only place in Europe where you can show up and be married. Spain requires you to live there for 30 days, so does Hungary and France. And there were awful stories about paperwork being lost in Italy. The tiny room and running around the neighbourhood was a one day fiasco, but it was only one day, and we got to see macaques and caves which was awesome.
We were married, but we haven’t had a wedding. The date was shifted, and Z has sent several emails to solidify the date to no avail. Sometime next spring there will be a wedding during which we will get to share and bring together our family and friends. We are so excited for this. We’ve planned lots of fun things for the day!