Camino Cancelado

I don’t have the mental energy to do a bilingual entry right now, and barely have the mental energy to do it in English. Perdonad.

Something has felt off about this Camino and trip ever since I bought it.

I arrived to O’Hare yesterday with the recommended three hours to spare, made it through security and stuff, and did a few laps around Terminal 5 to get my steps in for the day.

My flight with Aer Lingus with a connection in Dublin was scheduled for 15:50, so around 14:50 I made sure I was in the gate area.



About a half hour after the scheduled boarding time, they said there was a delay for mechanical issues.

Uh oh.

New flight time was 17:50. I was confident they’d rebook my connecting flight and found a nice secluded area to watch movies and read.

They had said to be back by 17:15, so I was.

About 17:50 they made an announcement that they flight had been further delayed. I went back to my secluded area, then about 18:45 went back for the vouchers which weren’t enough to buy more than a Pepsi or Coca Cola or something…didn’t even get to use them.

At 19:30, they finally said what we all knew, that the flight was cancelled.


It took an hour for them to put the luggage on the luggage return.

Then another two hours waiting for vouchers for the hotel which they ran out of, so I had to book my own hotel which I am supposed to be reimbursed for.

I had been asking for a sign from the universe if I should go on this Camino or not. A cancelled flight (and the rebooked flight was a nightmare flight with companies that make RyanAir look downright POSH) is a pretty big sign.

Feeling so disappointed and like a let down right now.

Also, this is why I get everything refundable.

Going to see what’s up for this autumn for Caminos…sigh.


Niagara Falls 2022

Last week, my boyfriend and I started what I hope is a new tradition–a between Christmas and New Year’s trip. As Christmas was such a huge deal to my mom, who passed away in 2021, I had this idea to honour her and create a new tradition. Unfortunately, the arrival of Omicron and snowy and icy forecast caused us to cancel our planned Lake Michigan circle tour in 2021. (Neither of us have had COVID, and we want to keep it that way.)

This year, the weather and COVID tried their best to deter us, but we decided to take a chance and go. (We’ve been back long enough to be able to say wearing our KN95s indoors helped us stay safe.)

On Monday, we set off on our journey. Our plan was to go to Niagara Falls, stopping in my hometown near Cleveland on the first night, spending two nights in Niagara, and coming back through southern Ontario and staying in Ann Arbor.

Well, the Buffalo blizzard caused us to change the itinerary. My friend from high school was recovering from COVID, so we didn’t even get to see her. Tuesday morning, we backtracked through Toledo to cross into Ontario at Windsor. It was my boyfriend’s first time in Canada, and I hadn’t been since 1998. 

It took about four hours to reach the falls from Detroit/Windsor, and we rested a bit before seeing the light shows at Niagara. We parked at the Casino, which is $15 Canadian at that time of night. The Falls were as beautiful as I remembered them growing up, though it was weird not doing the Maid of the Mist (closed in winter) or not seeing them from both sides of the river.

Wednesday we drove up to Toronto to see Casa Loma and check out High Park. We stopped in Hamilton on the way back, and that evening tried poutine, which was every bit as delicious as I imagined it would be.

Thursday we said goodbye to the Falls before hitting up the Floral Clock (very empty at 9 am on a winter day!), which was one of my mom’s favourite things about the falls. We then explored Fort Mississagua and Niagara-On-The-Lake before heading back.

We stayed in Ann Arbor and explored a bit of the campus. I found the Barnes and Noble, and we tried Shake Shack for the very first time. I recommend it.

We got back home on Friday. It was a good trip, and I want to explore Canada more and more. I have a goal of visiting all the provinces and territories. So far, I’ve only been to Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. That’s a good start though! 


I’m alive. Estoy vivo.

Just a quick note to say I’m alive and well.

I have left the Ph.D program, and I have a lot of trips I’ll be writing about soon, as well as a new Almodóvar.

I’m looking to do a “soft re-launch” in June to commemorate the eighth anniversary.

See you soon.

Una nota corta para decir que sigo vivo y estoy bastante bien.

He dejado el programa del doctorado, y tengo muchos viajes de que voy a escribir pronto, y la nueva Almodóvar, desde luego.

Voy a relanzar el blog oficialmente en junio, para celebrar el octavo aniversario del blog.

Hasta pronto.

2022 retos y esperanzas

Much like 2020, 2021 had other plans that derailed my goals. I thought my mom would 1. live forever like we all do 2. had another good five years left. However, after gallstones sent her to the hospital in February, she kept getting weaker and weaker until eventually passing away from kidney failure. This meant I spent four months cleaning and preparing her house to sell (it sold very quickly) before having to relocate to start a Ph.D. I chose this program because I thought my mom might need assisted living, and it would be easier to move her close if I stayed in the US than accepting offers from programs in Canada and the UK. Cómo el 2020, 2021 tenía otros planes que han cambiado mis retos y esperanzas por el año. Pensaba que mi madre iba a 1. vivir para siempre, como todos creemos 2. tenía al menos cinco años más de vida. No obstante, después de una infección de vesícula biliar, tenía que ir al hospital donde cada día se encontraba más débil, y dos meses después falleció de problemas con los riñones. Tenía que pasar cuatro meses limpiando y preparando su casa para vender (al menos se vendió muy rápido) antes de trasladarme a Nebraska para empezar un docotorado. Elegí este programa porque pensaba que quizás mi madre tuviera a ir a una residencia para mayores y sería más fácil moverle a ella si estuviera en los EE.UU. Me aceptaron también en programas en Inglaterra y Cánada.

Biggest mistake of my life. Fue el error más grande de mi vida.

So 2022 will be a year of rerouting my life. As I recently turned 40, it’s a good time to do so. Entonces, 2022 va a ser un año de reconstrucción. Como cumplí 40 en diciembre, es una buena época para hacerlo.

Looking over my 2021 goals, I did manage to accomplish a few: I lost more than 15 pounds–and I probably should gain 5 or so back. I started The Wire, but I’m apparently the only person on the planet who couldn’t get into it. I did finish Friday Night Lights though. I also got to travel some and did some hiking, although not as much as I wanted to. My Apple Music/iTunes is pretty organized. Mirando mis retos para 2021, logré mucho más que pensaba. Perdí más de 7 kilos–y probablemente debería subir de 2 kilógramos. Empecé a ver The Wire, pero no me enganché para nada. ¿Soy el único? Vi toda la serie Friday Night Lights. También viajé un poco y hice algunas rutas de senderismo, aunque siempre quiero hacer más. Organicé la biblioteca de música.

Here are my goals for 2022, in no particular order/Mis retos para 2022, no hay orden:

  1. Repeat from 2020 and 2021: Figure out what I’m going to do with the rest of my life. Investigate transitioning to either translation or editing. Back to Spain? Teach high school Spanish? Somehow become a published writer? How can I get paid for writing, reading, travelling, hiking, and playing with dogs?Hacer una decisión sobre el resto de mi vida. Investigar como ser un traductor o un editor ¿Un regreso a España? ¿Ser profe de español en un instituto de secundaría? ¿Ser un escritor publicado? ¿Hay curro para escribir, leer, viajar, hacer senderismo y jugar con perros?Una repetitición de 2020 y 2021. 
  2. Repeat from 2021: With that end, I’m going to focus on writing as I await the grad school decisions and focus on my novels. I have three buzzing around in my head, and I need to resubmit my first one and edit the second and third. I also want to put together a Setmeravelles e-book of the Spanish provinces. At any rate, I won’t be around the blog much until I can travel again.  Por eso, voy a enfocar en mi escritura mientras espero los resultados de los programas de doctorado. Tengo tres ideas flotando en la cabeza, y debo intentar otra vez mandar mi primera novela a un editorial y editar la segunda y tercera. También me gustaría hacer un e-book de Setmeravelles sobre las provincias españolas. Por todo eso, no voy a escribir mucho aquí en el blog hasta que pueda viajar otra vez.
  3. Another repeat, although I did do Yoga maybe four times this year? Meditation is a complete loss. Continue work on a positive ascent out of the abysmal hole that depression and anxiety can take me. I started meditating in 2017, and I lost track of that in the summer. I plan to get back to it and try yoga for real. Otra repeticiión, aunque creo que hice yoga cuatro veces este año. Meditar es una gran perdida. Seguir en la ascensión positiva del agujero de depresión y ansiedad. Empecé a meditar en el verano de 2017, y durante el verano, lo dejé y nunca volví a hacerlo. También, voy a probar yoga de verdad.
  4. Continue exercising and incorporate yoga into it. To this end, I want to walk at least 7 km a day (10,000 steps according to my iPhone) and continue with my other weight and cardio. Doing it from home is a lot easier. Seguir haciendo ejercicio y incorporar yoga. También quiero caminar al menos 7 kilómetros al día (10.000 pasos según mi iPhone) y seguir con pesas y cardio.
  5. Learn to cook more things and start to meal plan and eat healthy. Another I say every year. También desde el año pasado. Aprender a cocinar y empezar a planificar las comidas  y comer sano. Otro que digo todos los años. 
  6. Finish all the books on my bookshelf. The Champaign-Urbana library system is fantastic, and I get caught up in finding new books there while the books I own sit there waiting to be read. Also, a new-to-me Dickens, Hardy, Shakespeare, and Unamuno. Terminar todos los libros que tengo. Hay un sistema genial de bibliotecas en Champaign-Urbana, y siempre encuentro algo nuevo para leer mientras las libros que ya me compré hace tiempo están allí sin leer. También, un nuevo libro para mi de Dickens, Hardy, Shakespeare y Unamuno.
  7. Along those lines, I want to read/re-read: The Giver series by Lois Lowry (only read the first one), the Sookie Stackhouse novels, The Cat Who…mysteries, and the Little House on the Prarie books. También quiero leer o volver a leer la serie de The Giver de Lois Lowry (solo me he leído el primero), los misterios de Sookie Stackhouse y The Cat Who…y los libros de La casa de la pradera.
  8. Try kayaking. On the list since 2015. Ummm. Might as well add rock climbing here too! Probar hacer piriguismo, en la lista desde 2015. Umm, bueno, voy a añadir escalar también. 
  9. This one may finally happen this year: ADOPT A GOLDEN RETRIEVER. Puede pasar este año: ADOPTAR A UN GOLDEN RETRIEVER.
  10. Journal daily. I recently started trying to write in my old Livejournal, as writing by hand cramps it quickly. Escribir en un diario cada día. He empezado escribir en mi Livejournal antiguo, porque me duele la mano escribir por mano.
  11. A new hike at least once a month. Covid dependent: By the end of the year, either return to Spain for the Camino Aragonés OR go to Machu Picchu. Una ruta nueva al menos una vez al mes. Depende del Covid: Antes del final del año, o volver a España para hacer el Camino Aragonés o ir a Machu Picchu.
  12. Find a decent therapist or life coach. Encontrar un buen psicologo o life coach.

2021. The Review

2021 was a shit year. 2021 fue un año de mierda.

What more can I say? ¿Qué más puedo decir?

My mom died. Two really good online friends died. I lost two of my closest friends due to political issues and/or they couldn’t deal with my depression and anxiety from all the shit going on in my life. I stupidly accepted a Ph.D offer in a state I’m miserable living in that doesn’t even pay my monthly bills. Mi madre falleció. Dos buenas amigas de internet también fallecieron. Perdí dos de mis mejores amigos dado una ya es antivacuna y el otro no pudo aguantar mis problemas de salud mental. Hice un gran error por aceptar la oferta de doctorado en un estado donde estoy miserable y no llego a finales del mes.

Let’s just get to the good stuff.

Setmeravelles’ Brightside Awards for 2021:

Best Artist: The Killers
Entertainer of the Year: Cast of In the Heights.
Best Movie: In the Heights
Best Actor: Ben Platt, Dear Evan Hansen
Best Actress: Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos
Best Supporting Actor: Gregory Diaz IV, In the Heights
Best Supporting Actress: Olga Merediz, In the Heights
Best Director: Pedro Almodóvar, La voz humana
Best TV Series, Drama: Cobra Kai

Best TV Series, Comedy: What We Do in the Shadows

Best Limited Series: It’s A Sin

Best Retro TV Series: Devious Maids/Friday Night Lights (tie)

Best Rewatch: Scrubs

Best Lead Actress, Comedy Series: Jean Smart (Deborah Vance), Hacks 

Best Lead Actor, Comedy Series: DeRon Horton (Lionel Higgins), Dear White People; Kayvan Novak (Nandor), What We Do in the Shadows (tie)

Best Supporting Actress, Comedy Series: Laurie Metcalf (Jackie Harris), The Conners

Best Supporting Actor, Comedy Series:  Brett Goldstein (Roy Kent), Ted Lasso 

Best Lead Actress, Drama Series: Jennifer Aniston (Alex Levy), The Morning Show

Best Lead Actor, Drama Series: William Zabka (Johnny Lawrence), Cobra Kai

Best Supporting Actress, Drama Series: Mädchen Amick (Betty Cooper), Riverdale; Georgina Amorós (Cayetana Grajera), Élite (Tie)

Best Supporting Actor, Drama Series:Brian Geraghty (Ronald Pergman), Big Sky

Best Actress, Limited Series: Sandra Oh, The Chair

Best Actor, Limited Series: Olly Alexander, It’s a Sin

Best Series Finale: Superstore

Worst Acting: Genie Francis (Laura Collins), General Hospital, Ingo Rademacher (Jasper Jacks), General Hospital (tie)

Worst Artist: Adele

Best Female Artist: Mariah Carey
Best Male Artist: Álvaro Soler

Best Discovered Artist: J.C. Stewart

Album of the Year: Pressure Machine, The Killers 

Song of the Year: 96,000 from In The Heights

Single of the Year: Dustland by The Killers f. Bruce Springsteen 

I always do these memes, since 2003 (and the awards started in 1997) to commemorate the end of the year. Siempre hago estes memes, desde 2003 (y los premios empezaron en 1997) para marcar el final del año. 

The first, the places I slept in 2021/ los sitios donde dormí en 2021: Champaign, Illinois; Mt. Washington, Kentucky; Lincoln, Nebraska; Green Bay, Wisconsin; Ellison Bay, Wisconsin; Galena, Illinois; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Lawrence, Kansas (I was supposed to have gone to Michigan this week, but no, omicron everywhere and snow cancelled that…)

1. What did you do in 2019 that you’d never done before?:  Sell a house, spread ashes.

2. Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?: I watched Friday Night Lights if that counts for anything…

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?: I don’t think so.

4. Did anyone close to you die?: My mom. Plus online friends Esther and Margaret 😥

5. What countries did you visit?: Only US 😥 FU Covid.

6. What would you like to have in 2022 that you lacked in 2021?: A golden retriever and no Covid worries.

7. What date from 2021 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?: April 7, the day my mom died.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?: Getting accepted to three Ph.D programs.

9. What was your biggest failure?: Chosing the wrong one and will be forced to leave next May leaving everything in my life a huge ???

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Depression and anxiety.

11. What was the best thing you bought?: I paid off my mom’s car so it’s mine.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? My aunts for helping me. My boyfriend for always being there.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?: Donald Trump and his supporters. (keeping from 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020. Scary!) Adding ALL REPUBLICANS for 2021. At this point, if you support him, you support bigotry and everything the US stands for. If you’re a conversative who is also appalled, though, I still respect you even if I disagree with you. I do not respect Trump and his minions. Keeping from 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020, 2021. I will keep Pablo Casado, Albert Rivera, Mariano Rajoy, and all of VOX and their supporters.

14. Where did most of your money go?: Travel, café con leche, books (kept from 2015 and 2016) (and 2017) (and 2018) (and 2019, 2020…)

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?: Travel that didn’t happen.

16. What song will always remind you of 2019?: 96,000 from In the Heights.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Sadder
ii. thinner or fatter? Thinner
iii. richer or poorer? Richer because life insurnace…

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?: Writing, travelling.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Dealing with anxiety.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?: I spent it with my boyfriend and hiking.

21. How will you be spending New Years? Eating grapes at 5 PM Central Standard Time, which is midnight in most of the Iberian peninsula.

22. Did you fall in love in 2021?: I continued to be in love.

24. What was your favorite TV program?: Cobra Kia. I also watched Devious Maids and Designing Women for the first time.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?: My best friend became an antivaxxer.

26. What was the best book you read?: The Meaning of Mariah Carey, The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls, Trespassing Across America and Walden on Wheels by Ken Ilgunas, Sing You Home and Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult, A Time for Mercy by John Grisham, The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub, Los perros del paraíso by Abel Posse, Euskadi en Llamas by Ramón Belaustegigoitia, Seva de Luis López Nieves, La colmena de Camilo José Cela, Los girasoles ciegos by Alberto Méndez, El beso de la mujer araña de Manuel Puig, El color de verano de Reinaldo Arenas

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?: Umm, Lil Nas X? It was the worst year or music.

28. What did you want and get?: Coffee. A Democrat President.

29. What did you want and not get?: A golden retriever, stability.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?: In the Heights

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?: 40, travelled from Nebraska to Illinois.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?: No Covid.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2019?: Preppy-casual

34. What kept you sane?: My boyfriend, Netflix, travel, and Jordi (my iPod).

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?: David Villa…I really didn’t fancy anyone?

36. What political issue stirred you the most?: The lack of protocols over Covid and how one party politicized a virus.

37. Who did you miss?: My mom, Fallon Fey, my golden retriever, and Spain

38. Who was the best new person you met?: I guess some of the grad students are pretty cool.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2019: Don’t apply to a Ph.D in a red state.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year: “I missed a lot of life, but I’ll recover” Petals by Mariah Carey (1999).

The 40th season begins…

Interviewer: ¡Hola! It’s been a while, but we did want to congratulate you on your 40th season!

Setmeravelles: Thank you, gracias, gràcies, graças, eskerrik asko, obrigado.

Interviewer: I know you’re busy, so I’ll keep this short. Congrats again on making it to 40 seasons!

Setmeravelles: Thanks again.

Interviewer: Season 39 was incredibly rough with your mother passing and you mistakenly accepting a Ph.D offer from a place that has a good department that you like but is in the worst place you have ever lived.

Setmeravelles: Yeah, I’m trying to forget pretty much this whole entire year. Can I Eternal Sunshine it?

Interviewer: If only. Any plans for Season 40?

Setmeravelles: If Omicron and weather permit, I’ll be doing a Lake Michigan tour with my boyfriend the week after Christmas. If Covid permits, the Camino Aragonés in May. I’m not taking the risk of buying a plane ticket just yet. I had plane anxiety BEFORE covid so…just taking advantage of having a car.

Interviewer: I understand you took a few trips that you haven’t had time to write up yet.

Setmeravelles: Yes! I went to Sioux Falls in October with a pitstop in the Loess Hills for a hiking trip. It was a great weekend away. Over Thanksgiving I explored Lawrence, Kansas.

Interviewer: Sounds great! And you never did get around to posting Door County.

Setmeravelles: I know. I don’t have time for anything with the Ph.D, but holidays are here! 

Interviewer: Other than the MI trip, any other spoilers?

Setmeravelles: The writers are keeping spoilers locked up tight, but I am considering options.

Interviewer: Sounds very interesting. We won’t keep you longer, but happy 40th!

Setmeravelles: Gràcies. 


My mom passed away April 7th. (Más abajo en español)

She went into the hospital on Feb. 7th with gallstones, and other than a week at my aunt’s, she never got to come home due to more and more complications related to her age (she was 76).

Yesterday three of her siblings and I drove up to Eastern Kentucky, where she grew up, to spread some of her ashes at her mom’s grave.

I picked my uncle up around 8:30 and we made arrived to her hometown around 1 after brief stops in Lexington and a gas station Arby’s for lunch. We parked at a nearby gas station and hiked up the hill to where my grandmother is buried.

Two dogs were in the cemetery to great us, and we believe that my mom and grandmother sent them to be with us at that moment. They seemed to appear out of nowhere, and disappeared after the ashes were spread.

My mom loved Pepsi, and she wanted us to have a Pepsi in her memory, so we did.

The weather was beautiful, and the mountain views were precious. Eastern Kentucky has tons of mountains I would love to hike, by the way.

After that, we went to the house my aunt grew up in, which burnt to the ground in the early 2000s. I hadn’t been that way since 1989 when I was 7 and my grandmother passed away from lung cancer. We tried to find her father’s grave, but we couldn’t.

It was a special day to honour my mom.

Mi madre falleció el 7 de abril.

El 7 de abril ingresó al hospital con cálculos biliares, y fuera de una semana en la casa de mi tía, nunca tenía la oportunidad volver a su casa porque tenía más y más complicaciones relacionadas con su edad (tenía 76).

Ayer, uno de sus hermanos y sus dos hermanas y yo fuimos a la parte este de Kentucky, donde creció, para esparcir las cenizas en la tumba de su madre.

Recogí a mi tío sobre las 8.30 y llegamos a su pueblo sobre la 1, después de hacer algunas paradas breves en Lexington y un Arby´s (restaurante estadounidense de comida rápida) para comer. Dejamos el coche en una gasolinera que estaba cerca y subimos la colina (ok el monte) donde está la tumba de mi abuela.

Había dos perros en el cementerio cuando llegamos, y creemos que mi madre y mi abuela nos los enviaron para estar con nosotros en este moment. Aparecieron de la nada y después de esparcir las cenizas desaparecieron.

A mi madre le encantaba Pepsi, y le brindimos con Pepsi como ella quería.

Hizo muy buen tiempo y las vistas de los montes eran preciosas. Hay muchos montes en esta parte de Kentucky que me encantaría subir, por cierto.

Luego, fuimos a la casa donde creció mi tía, que ya no está dado a un incendio al principio de los años 2000s. No había estado allí desde 1989 cuando tenía 7 y mi abuela falleció de cáncer de pulmón. Buscamos la tumba de su padre pero no pudimos encontrarla.

Fue un día especial en memoria de mi madre.

How 2021 is going…

I’ve been on a social media and blogging break for the most part this year. 2021 has been tough, but it also has brought some good news. He estado tomando un descanso de las redes sociales y los blogs. 2021 ha sido duro hasta ahora, pero también me ha traído notícias buenas.

The tough part is that my mom has been in the hospital for a month, minus one week at my aunts between visits. It started with gallstones, then a parasite, and now kidney issues. Last week I had to make the trip believing she was on her last legs, but she is in the hospital recuperating very slowly. She is 76 though. La parte más dura de este año es que mi madre lleva un mes en el hospital, salvo una semana en la casa de mi tía entre visitas al hospital. Empezó con cálculos biliares, luego un parásito y ahora problemas con los riñones. La semana pasada tenía que hacer el viaje largo pensando en lo peor, pero ahora está en el hospital recuperando muy lentamente. Ya tiene 76 años. 

During all this, I was also waiting to hear back from grad schools for Spanish literature programs. In the end, I was accepted at Durham in the UK, McGill in Montreal and the Uni of Nebraska and am on the waiting list at Penn State. Durante todo eso, estaba esperando notícias de los programas de doctorado de literatura española. Al final, me han aceptado Durham en Inglaterra, McGill en Montreal y la Uni de Nebraska. Además, estoy en la lista de espera en Penn State. 

While I was nominated for a scholarship at Durham, moving to the UK is probably out of the question now with my mom in such precarious health. Montreal and Lincoln, NE are about equidistant from her (around a 13-hour drive). Montreal is farther from my boyfriend, however, and I’m also debating substitute teaching and working on my writing career so I don’t have to leave him and I would have more time to travel, hike and could adopt a golden ‘triever. Me han nominado para una beca en Durham, creo que ahora no es el momento para trasladarme al Reino Unido con la salud de mi madre tan irregular. Montreal y Lincoln, NE, están a unos 13 horas en coche de ella. Montreal está más lejos de mi chico, sin embargo, y por eso, también estoy pensando en ser profesor de sustitución y trabajar en mi carrera como escritor para no tener que irme lejos de él. También me daría más tiempo para dediciar a viajar, senderismo, y podría adoptar a un golden ‘triever. 

However, Montreal and McGill would be an amazing opportunity. That said, I feel somewhat more of a fit with the department at Nebraska, who seem like great scholars doing great things. So I’m pretty much torn. No obstante, Montreal y McGill sería una oportunidad genial. Pero creo que encajo mejor con el departamento de Nebraska. Los profesores allí parecen catedráticos increíbles haciendo cosas increíbles. 

I have a week to let McGill know. Solo tengo una semana para hacer la decisión sobre McGill.

Coming out. The trips that made me realise I was gay.

During my first two years of university, I went on a few short trips that changed my life, for better or for worse. Durante mis primeros dos años de universidad, hice algunos viajes cortos que me cambiaron la vida, para bien o para mal. 

My first one was to Nashville, about three hours away from my undergrad institution, the University of Kentucky, with the Honors Program to visit the replica of the Parthenon. I think it was a group of ten or so, and we stayed the night after visiting. Mi primer viaje fue a Nashville, a unos tres horas de mi universidad, la Universidad de Kentucky, con el Programa de Honores para visitar la réplica del Partenón. Creo que éramos un grupo de unos diéz, y nos alojamos en Nashville por la noche. 

I don’t remember much about this trip unfortunately, but I do remember hanging out with this guy I couldn’t recognise my feelings for, Ben. I’m sure he was straight, but I was attracted to him despite being convinced that I was straight as being gay was a choice. I was a stupid freshman. Lamentablemente, no recuerdo mucho sobre este viaje, pero me acuerdo de salir con un chico, Ben, y no podía reconocer mi propia atracción hacía él. Seguro que era hetero, pero me atrajo aunque estaba convencido que yo también era hetero como ser gay era una opción. Fui un estudiante de primer año estupido. 

The second trip is a bit more difficult to write about, as I am somewhat ashamed. I was a member of Campus Crusade for Christ, and I was already ostracized because I had voted for Al Gore in the 2000 election…while I participated a lot my freshman year, it was because I was lonely, and as cults tend to do, they prey upon lonely freshmen. And I was always on the outskirts of them, but even to this day I am unable to enter a non-Catholic Christian church without some for of an anxiety attack. El segundo viaje es más difícil para explicar, como me averguenzo. Fui socio de Campus Crusade for Christ, y ya estaba condenado al ostracismo de ellos porque voté a Al Gore en las elecciones de 2000. Aunque participé mucho durante mi primer año, era porque estaba solo y, como las sectas suelen hacer, aprovechan de los de primer año que sienten solos. Siempre estaba algo aislado de ellos, pero hasta hoy en día no puedo entrar una iglesia cristiana, salvo las catedrales católicas, sin pasar un ataque de ansiedad. 

It was an evangelical trip to Daytona during Spring Break. We drove down in one day and stayed at a decent hotel on the beach. It was packed of tons of activities. One night, a bunch of us went skinny dipping in the Atlantic and were later almost caught returning–but nothing happened other than being embarrassed at award night the last night. They also had a retro Prom where you dressed down. Era un viaje evangélico a Daytona, Florida, durante las vacaciones de primavera. Hicimos el viaje durante un día y nos alojamos en un hotel bueno por la playa. Había muchas actividades. Una noche, muchos bañamos sin ropa en el Atlántico y después casi nos pillamos por la vuelta–pero nada nos pasó salvo la vergüenza durante la noche de premios. También había un baile alternativo y nos vistimos en ropa barato y cutre. 

However, one night they made it quite clear that homosexuality was a “sin”. A shiver went through me, although I had yet to admit that to myself. I thought for sure everyone was looking right at me, but it was part of a guilt trip to remind us what horrible people we were. Sin embargo, una noche lo pusieron muy claro que la homosexualidad era un “pecado”. Me sentí un escalafrío por todo el cuerpo, aunque todavía no lo me había admitido. Pensaba que todos estaban mirándome, pero querían que todos se sentían culpables para algo como un recuerdo que éramos personas horribles. 

Luckily the day we were supposed to evangelize on the beach, it was raining so we went to the mall, and I hid and refused to do it without anyone being the wiser. Por suerte, el día que querían que hablaran con personas por la playa sobre el cristianismo, estaba lloviendo y por eso fuimos al centro comercial. Me escondí y me negé hacerlo y nadie se lo enteraron. 

We visited Downtown Disney during that trip, a mere year after my previous trip to Disney. I haven’t been to Florida since outside a layover in Miami on one of my flights to Spain. También visitamos Downtown Disney durante este viaje, solo un año después de mi viaje anterior a Disney. No he estado en Florida desde entonces, salvo una escala en Miami en uno de mis vuelos a España. 

Crusade had another trip that autumn, which was my sophomore year in 2001. It was a mission trip to convert the wayward New Yorkers a mere three weeks after September 11. Once again, I hid and didn’t do it. It was one of the last things I did with the group. Luckily I had one more trip to NYC in me that would have better memories. Había otro viaje con Crusade en el otoño de 2001, mi segundo año de la universidad. Fue un “mission trip” para convertir a los neoyorquinos caprichosos tres semanas después de 11/S. Una vez más me escondí y no lo hice. Era una de las últimas cosas que hice con este grupo. Por suerte tenía un viaje más a Nueva York con mejores recuerdos. 

I also met the 2001 cast of SNL, including Tina Fey! We were walking around New York and happened to be near 30 Rock when the cast was leaving. También conocí al elenco de Saturday Night Livede 2001, que incluyó Tina Fey. Estábamos caminando por Nuevo York y estábamos cerca de 30 Rock (Rockfeller Center donde rodan) cuando estaban saliendo. 

At the end of the month, I had a journalism conference in New Orleans. We flew Southwest from the Lexington airport. It was a cheap flight in the weeks after 9/11. Al final del mes, tenía un congreso de periodismo en Nuevo Orleans. Volamos con Southwest desde el aeropuerto de Lexington. Como solo hacia una semanas desde 11 S, el vuelo fue barato. 

I remember seeing a lot of New Orleans, including the Belfort Mansion where The Real World: New Orleans was shot. Every night we went down to Bourbon Street. It was Halloween. I snuck away from the group, “getting lost” and went to the gay bar at the end of the street. I knew from that instant that I was gay after questioning for a few months. Recuerdo ver la ciudad de Nuevo Orleans, incluso el “Belfort Mansion” donde rodaron Real World: New Orleans. Todas las noches salimos por Bourbon Street. Era Halloween. Me escapé del grupo, “me perdí” y fui al bar gay al final de la calle. Sabía desde este instante que yo era gay después de unos meses de cuestionamiento . 

It was a great trip, but it started a depression, as I had to quit Crusade lest they find out I was gay. I ended up leaving the school newspaper (and nearly transferred out of my university) and felt extremely alone. It’s something I never really got over, that wasted college experience, as I never found a niche to replace Crusade. I couldn’t deal with all the homophobia, and I had no idea where to meet other people. Maybe that’s a reason why grad school is important to me, to replace a sucky undergraduate experience. Fue un viaje genial, pero empezó un bajón tremendo, como tenía que dejar Crusade para que no se supieran que yo era gay. También dejé de trabajar para el periódico de la universidad (y casí cambié de universidades) y me sentí muy solo. Es algo que aún no he superado, esta experiencia perdida de la universidad, como nunca encontré un sitio donde pertenecía. Había bastante homofobia, y no sabía como conocer a otras personas. Quizás es por eso porque me importa tanto seguir con hacer un doctorado, para hacer mejores recuerdos y olvidarme de los de mi universidad. 

At any rate, in the summer of 2002 I would return to the road with my mom…pero bueno, en el verano de 2002 volvería a viajar con mi madre. 

A continuación.

El practicante (2020).

I’ll admit it. I’ve always had a crush on Mario Casas, ever since seeing him and his abs in A dos metros bajo cielo. It inspired me to go join the gym. Lo admito. Siempre he estado infatuado con Mario Casas, desde verlo y sus abdominales en A dos metros bajo cielo. De hecho, me inspiró apuntarme al gimnasio. 

However, my crush does not prevent me from being objective about his talents. He has made some really bad movies, and he relies on his looks to coast through life. I saw him at a press conference at the FNAC in Callao in 2013, and he came off as egotistical and not that bright. Sin embargo, mi deseo por él no interfere con ser objetivo sobre sus talento (o falta de talento). Ha hecho algunas pelis horribles, y depende en ser guapo para ganar la vida. Lo vi en persona en una rueda de prensa en el FNAC de Callao en 2013, y parecía muy egoista y no muy inteligente. 

Still, I usually end up seeing his movies. When I saw El practicante, translated as “The Paramedic” in English-speaking markets, trend on Netflix, I knew I had to see it. No obstante, suelo ver todas sus pelis.  Cuando vi la película El practicante estaba tendencia en Netflix, tenía que verla. 

I wish I hadn’t. Fue un error. 

The 2020 film from Catalán director Carlos Torras is about a paramedic, Ángel (Casas), with stalker tendencies. After an accident involving his ambulance, he is no longer able to walk and requires the use of a wheelchair. His French girlfriend, Vanesa (Déborah François) leaves him. Months later, he conspires to see Vane and later kidnaps her. La película de 2020 de director catalán Carlos Torras es sobre un paramédico, Ángel (Casas) con inclinaciones de ser acosador. Después de un accidente con su ambulancia, no puede caminar y tiene que utilizar una silla de ruedas. Su novia francesa, Vanesa (Déborah François) lo deja. Conspira a ver a Vanesa meses después y luego la secuestra. 

The film is every bit as misogynistic as it sounds. There is nothing empathic about Ángel, and Vane is just a mere prop in the movie. La peli es tan misógino como parece. No hay nada sobre Ángel que genera empatía, y Vane no llega a ser más que un accesorio del argumento. 

Another detractor of the film is that it doesn’t follow one of the most conventional rules of writing, the one about how you don’t introduce a gun in Act 1 if you’re not going to return to it in Act 3. The film clearly sets it up to take place in 2020, and Ángel hears a radio report about a virus killing people in Wuhan, China, that is not mentioned again in the film. Otro detractor de la peli es que no sigue una de las normas más convencionales de la escritura. Si introduce un arma en la primera parte, la arma tiene que disparar sí o sí en la tercera parte. La película tiene lugar en 2020, y sabemos eso porque Ángel escucha a las noticias del radio que menciona un virus que está matando a las personas en Wuhan China que no vuelven a mencionar después. 

Why? ¿Por qué?

I have a better idea for the film. What would it be like for a strong woman to be quarantined with this psycho? Spain had an extremely strict lockdown in the spring, and this would have been at least an interesting plot, even with the wooden acting and lazy direction. Tengo una mejor idea para la peli. ¿Qué pasaría si una mujer fuerte estaba en cuarentena con este psicópata? Había un confinamiento severo en España en la primavera, y este sería un argumento interesante, aunque la actuación y dirección aún serían malas.

En fin…don’t see this movie. No la veas.

Rating: D