Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Bolillos, Güeros y Gringos, ¡Ay Mio!

I asked to get off early from work yesterday to go pick up Mark and Katrina at the airport in Dallas. After deciding on a plan of action, my boss started asking questions about if I usually stop anywhere and how long I stay in the Metroplex when I go. After a few more questions, she asked me if I ever went to the Mexican bakery. Of course, I said no and she just couldn't believe it. Not going to the Mexican bakery when in the Metroplex did not fit into her world view. When she got over the shock of me never having graced a Mexican bakery with my presence, she started talking about how her family always goes when they're in town, because apparently the bread at the Mexican bakery here in Abilene isn't near as good or long lasting. At that point, I knew what was coming. Sure enough, she asked if I wanted to stop by a store and pick her and some others a certain kind of bread. She wanted some "pan bolillo". Her and a couple waitresses started giggling. They started talking rapidly in Spanish and laughing so that I couldn't understand what they were saying. Finally, they came out and said that pan bolillo loosely translates to "white bread" and "bolillo" is also slang for a white person. For instance, once might say, "Trabajo con dos bolillos", meaning, "I work with 2 white people". She quickly defended herself saying that she doesn't use the term. I guess it's not a nice thing to say. Nevertheless, she and the other servers were giggling away. Sending a bolillo to pick up some pan bolillo. Very funny. So I agreed, and she told me where in Ft. Worth the bakery is.

I googled it and found it using Street View, then headed out. As I exited 820 and made my way south down Main Street, it was as if I drove into another country. I was not aware that part of Ft. Worth was so steeped in the Mexican culture. Most of the signs were in Spanish and there weren't many gringos in sight. I easily found the store and wondered around inside until I found the baked goods. There they were, just as my boss had described, labeled "Bolillo". I tonged 20 bolillos into plastic sacks and headed to the register as confused customers looked on. Sadly, the cashier spoke English and I didn't bust out my Spanish. Mission accomplished.

When I brought the bread into work today, they all started smiling and giggling again seeing the bolillo carrying bolillo. When I told them I bought some for myself, they were all pretty interested in telling me how to make tortas, which are sandwiches, and what I should put on them/how I should prepare them. It's so funny to see them get excited about me taking the smallest step into their world. I even got invited to go down to Mexico with them the next time they go. I told them that of course I would want to go. Not sure if they were really being serious or not, because they were laughing when they asked. Don't be surprised to hear I'm taking a trip down there in the coming months.

P.S. Güero also means white person, literally "fair-haired". I get called güero all the time by the cooks and occasionally by customers. I guess it's nicer than saying bolillo or gringo. You just don't learn this kind of stuff in school.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Two Steps Back and a Step or Two Sideways/Diagonally

If you haven't heard, yes, I'm moving back in Greyskull. For those of you who weren't aware, that's the name of the house I lived in my junior year of college which spawned He-man Nights, many a game of Smat, Greyskull Ride, the Pirates vs. Ninjas party, the 4 Room Challenge, and yes, the infamous Greyskull Soundtrack (featuring the hit single "Jezebel"). As of June, James, Brandon, Jonathan and I will inhabit this most modest of dwellings on E.N. 12th. James, Brandon and a few other guys (who are moving out come end of May) are already living there. It's pretty funny to think about. It seems that every move I make these days is reverting backwards. Watch out Mom and Dad! You're next (not really I hope)!

This upcoming Sunday, I'm flying up to Seattle to hang out with Ross. Happy birthday to me! Not only is it exciting because this will be my first days off in 6 weeks, but also because I really miss that guy. Our friendship is something I value deeply, and it'll be great to have some face-to-face time. I can't wait to see what kind of trouble we can get into this time around!

Aside from that, I got a new phone a couple weeks ago. I had my last phone for nearly 3 years. They've made a few advances since then. My new phone has a camera, mp3 player and pedometer. So fancy. It even came complete with a pair of little speakers. Don't be surprised if you're around me and I suddenly bust them out. I'm a little excited.

Also, I broke my personal bike record again. I hit 63 miles yesterday. Man, was I tired. Only 4 more months of training left!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

From "Rider" to "Biker"

I feel like I can officially say that I am a "biker." I'm not longer just a casual "rider" meandering through city streets or doing a Ride and Decide. The reason: I hit the 50 mile mark for the first time today, making a total of 90 miles this week. I think I'll always be more of a runner than a biker, but there's a slight possibility that, as I train for the ride in September, I might be won over. I don't think I've told everyone about what the ride entails, so here it goes. My dad and I are going to ride from Canada to Mexico down the west coast this September. As you may know, this is the kind of thing my dad does from time to time. He's been from Seattle, WA to Portland, ME, from Montana to Alaska and various other trips all over the U.S. I'll be the rookie on this trip, but I'm counting on my youth (and a lot of training) to aide me in keeping up with the ol' man. I've never been to the west coast before (unless you count AK or the Seattle airport) so I'm pretty excited about seeing some new ground. If there's anything I absolutely must see in Washington, Oregon or California (somewhat near the coast), please let me know. Needless to say, this is going to be a sweet man trip.

Riding 50 miles would have been a great way to spend 3 hours of my Saturday if it weren't for the fact that I had work 20 minutes after I arrived back at the house. Oh dear. Upon arriving at work I scarfed a taco salad and went along my way cleaning and filling "the new section." I wasn't looking forward to my 6 hour shift being as tired as I was, but I found surprising clarity and spiritual focus. It was great. There was a kid going crazy and screaming and his parents were getting mad at him. I prayed that peace would overtake the table, and seconds later the kid stopped crying and soon after the whole table was laughing and having a good time. Realizing I was in sync with God, I took advantage of it, and for the first couple hours, I had a great time of prayer for my coworkers and friends. It ended up being a moderately busy night, so I'm exhausted now. I'm going to sleep hard tonight.

Sunburn from bike ride=bad. Cookies and cream ice cream from the paleteria=good.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Money In the Dryer

You know how sometimes you find money in the dryer and you get excited about finding 50 cents. Today I found 50 dollars. I had left my tips in my work pants.