Happy Purim! Although I'm not exactly in a city with a large Jewish population (I know one other Jew here and she's from the States), I still observed and celebrated the Fast of Esther and Purim.
My host mom was a little concerned at the idea of me not eating for 24 hours for the fast, which wasn't surprising as she seems concerned whenever I don't eat seconds at comida. But she did pack me a sandwich to eat when the sun went down. Which I did, in the LIBRARY in my facultad. That's right, you can eat in the library here. It was magical.
I also told the story of Purim a couple of times, most of which were in Spanish. Since I had my language exchange during the start of the fast I taught Melanie and Sheila the story and the English to go with it. Now they know words like King, Queens, Jew, Party, Fast, and Ahashverosh. Very useful for everyday life. Ends up the word for fast in Spanish is ayuno. Breakfast, as in the first meal of the deal is desayuno in Spanish. Interesting how the meal has the same exact meaning in Spanish as English.
After breaking the fast I went to Melanie's house and we made chocolate Hamentashen. They turned out surprisingly well. A couple of things made this a baking adventure. I couldn't find a recipie I liked/felt like following or reading online so I winged it. I konw the general theory of baking sweets: flour>sugar>>salt. Plus vanilla, eggs and oil. Plus I come from the Shay-Lavin tradition of cooking which says if it looks like you'd eat it, it's probably done*. I also didn't use any sort of measuring device, which made sense since it's not like I knew how much I should have used of anything in the end, plus I don't know my convertions to metric of cups and stuff. Sometimes I forget the whole different units of measurement thing. Melanie asked me how high to set the oven and I said 350. She said it doesn't go that high...oh yeah, Celcius. We ended up putting it around 110, the number was at about the same point on the knob that 350 is in the States. Oh, and this was the first time that I can remember that I've ever made Hamentashen.
Also, this was so surprising it deserves its own paragraph, they don't have chocolate chips here...I'll let that sink in for a second. Ok? You good, got back in your chair after falling out from shock? Yeah, they don't have chocolate chips. I ended up buying some slabs of chocolate and broke them into tiny pieces, but it just wasn't the same. I live in a country without Chocolate Chip Cookies.....They have Chocolate Chunk Cookies, but no chips. I told Melanie that it's hard to figure out how much chocolate to put in the Hamentashen, but putting in a Hershey Kiss is about the right amount. She asked me what was a Hershey Kiss. I said it's like a big chocolate chip, which didn't help since THEY DON'T HAVE CHOCOLATE CHIPS!
Not in Spain
The Hamentashen turned out pretty good and giant. I showed her a picture of what Hamentashens are supposed to looking like and she pointed out that ours didn't exactly have a strong resemblance. Oh well, they tasted great and that's all that matters.
While we were waiting for them to bake we told jokes. Elephant humor works in Spanish except my delivery wasn't as good because I had to translate^. But I found out that Spaniards have their own version of "A man walks into a bar, ouch". It's "un hombre entra en un cafe, plaf" which means I man walks into a cafe/coffee, splash. I need to work on my onomonopias since they are different here. Things dropped in water go plaf, not splash, footsteps are camf, not clomp, etc. Weird. This is the Spanish they don't teach you in school.
*or at least that's what my mom has said occasionally
^why do elephants paint their toenails red? To hide in cherry trees. Every see an elephant in a cherry tree? (no) It must work.