Archive | Open Letters

Open letter to squatters who took over the building near me

Posted on 16 August 2011 by American expat!


Dear squatters who took over the building in the plaza near where I live:

I have a few bones to pick with you.

First, I know you think you are making a statement by breaking into and occupying private property. I know this because I actually dated a few boys who squatted when I went to University in England oh so very long ago. I thought they were cool and edgy and sometimes I even stayed in them with said boyfriends and the rest of the punk rockers or otherwise who lived in such establishments.

But I can forgive the old me for these beliefs and actions because I was 17 and liberal and, it goes without saying, ignorant. Sure, many of you may be in your early or mid twenties, but more than a handful of you appear to be well beyond that.

sqatters flat in barcelona

I understand the feelings of camaraderie and maybe even power of a group that believes it is “beating the system”. But you guys, you are too old for this. You don’t even have any system here to beat. The state gives you money every month even though you have never had a job in your life (at least not that you told the government about) and your healthcare (albeit at standards far too low for my taste) is free. You will also get retirement money, having never paid taxes in your life. It won’t be much but enough to buy that nasty beer I always see you drinking and the occasional baguette that you will share with your dog on a rope.

You steal electricity and water and even hang your laundry out–so that we see you actually DO laundry–but the entire neighborhood still thinks that you are dirty and an eyesore and are pissed that you just lowered their property value by hanging those ridiculous signs off your balconies. Like any of us in the neighborhood give a shit what you think you stand for. All we notice are the booze bottles and trash piled outside your doors every day.

Second. A word about your adopted hair-dos. I know you believe you are being edgy with the business in the front, party in the back hair, but I hate to break it to you (OK that’s a lie, I’ve been dying to tell every single one of you this) –mullets are not progressive. You did not invent this hair-do. The Germans have embraced this contemptible look for nearly 30 years. Mullets are, in fact, passe. They have had their heyday, and just because you were little kids during it’s near decade in the spotlight, you can’t lay claim.

Oh sure, you fancy them up by making them more disgusting than a straightforward, brushable shag by adding dreadlocks to the party in the back. Sometimes, you only have a clump growing out of the middle of the back of your head. I have to tell you that either way, the dirty clumps of hair sprouting out the back of your cranium resemble sprouting long, uncoiled poops. Hiding beads and metal bits in the them does not distinguish from plain old poop coming out of the back of your head, it just adds to the effect.

And that is really all the time I have for you.

Sincerely, Me.

Edit: here is a shining example of the hair style in this post…

the popular catalan mullet

And here is a spy shot I took while waiting in line at the market of one the squatters nasty feet:

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An open letter to girls in Barcelona

Posted on 23 January 2011 by American expat!


Dear 20-something girls in Barcelona:

Hello there girls, you all don’t know me but I see you every day. In fact I see a little too much of all of you. because, well, it seems you are forgetting to put you skirt on before you leave the house.  Your stylish sweater, fancy leather jacket, scarf, and sometimes even a sassy hat all look great together. And the leggings too, the leggings would be perfect – if you wore them as leggings.

You see, those leggings, they are not pants. They are meant to be worn with something over them. It doesn’t matter if you pair them with a knee or even thigh high pair of boots, we aren’t looking at your legs. See, those leggings, they are slightly sheer.  So when I, and every student in the classroom or stranger on the street you traipse past turns their head to look at you, it isn’t because we all think you are especially cute or fancy. It’s because the glow of your white butt cheek is shining right through those “pants”.  It’s especially disturbing to all of us on the Metro when you are standing and we are seated, so said ass cheek is right at eye level. And sometimes that cheek is less than smooth. It’s disturbing.

Your friends would all be fired, except they are guilty of the same crime.

Also, not sure if you noticed, but even if your leggings are black, we can see all the details (shape, size, pattern, color, lace, bows…) of the underwear you are wearing, or if you are going commando. So,just a friendly word of advice- next time you wear your “pants” with no underwear and a short sweater, you may want to a get a wax first. Just sayin’.

Thanks for not taxing anyone’s imagination,

Leggings are not pants

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Open Letter to Aging Spanish Ladies

Posted on 15 November 2010 by American expat!


Dear Wealthy Aging Spanish Ladies,

I know that cosmetic surgery is a rite of passage for you all after your children are out of the house and your seasonal wardrobes have been perfected.  You have the money and the time and want to take care of  yourselves, and I appreciate that. Hell, I often marvel at how perfectly coiffed your hair is at any given time of the day, how well fitting and beige and identical your autumn wardrobes are, and how your make up always looks freshly applied. You want to try to retain your youth and beauty and that is your right – I don’t fault you for that at all. In fact I applaud you.

But the fact that I know cosmetic surgery is popular among you gals should be the first red flag. You see, good plastic surgery is supposed to enhance you. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I see the ridiculously large breasts and the telling grimaces of face lifts like one does in California (the Southern part in particular). The surgeons here in BCN seem to have a reasonable boob size limit, as I have seen in the gym locker room, which has been to your advantage. But it’s something else you all are doing that isn’t doing you any favors, to put it mildly.

You see, I’m not sure I see the enhancing value of the lip implants you all are getting. Perhaps these are the only remedy for the deep, vertical troughs around your mouth from the decades of smoking and sun over exposure.  But while these implants raise and stretch smooth the skin of the lips, they also raise and stretch the skin all around the mouth as well. This creates a giant, frightening clown mouth. Especially when you outline it in dark red or even brown lip pencil. This oversized mouth, along with the untreated deep wrinkles on your cheeks, foreheads and around your eyes, well, it just isn’t cohesive. Especially when you are pushing 65.

Maybe you should invest some of the clown mouth money in some Botox and a few facial peels or micro-dermabrasion first, heck even a mini-lift, and see how that goes first. Just a suggestion.

With love,


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An open letter to Spain about winter

Posted on 18 March 2010 by American expat!

Dear Spain,

Would you stop with the winter already?  There is a reason I did not move to Austria or say, Finland. And you know what that is? I HATE BEING COLD. I hate it so much, that after skiing my entire life and 20 years of snowboarding, I’m now OK if I never touch snow again. Seriously.

Spain, you are not equipped for cold weather. There just isn’t the space or ventilation for it. The bars are too small and there are no smoking restrictions so when 300 people are jammed into a place with a capacity of 40, and 299 of them are smoking, it makes breathing a little difficult.

What I find especially spiteful is how you tease us with a day of sun or two, that has us sweating in the park while playing ping pong  (and ping pong isn’t exactly anaerobic), only to lure us down to la playa along with the 700 thousand other people who have been absolutely pining for Spring, and then commence in blowing arctic wind across the sand and boardwalks and blast it in our hopeful faces. I can hear you laughing, Spain. It’s not cool, not cool at all.

But what I really want to kill you for, the absolute icing on the cake, was what you did two days later after one said day of sun! Friggin snow. For the first time in what, 40 years there was snow on the ground? Seriously.

See this photo here. This here is my sun terrace. For sun. Not for collecting snow.

And this here? Is the park. The one we were sweating in two days earlier. Oh, and in the distance is the SEA. But you cannot SEE it in this photo because of all the SNOW falling.

So here’s the deal, Spain. Get your act together or I swear to god I am moving back to Hawaii where I will never have to wear pants again. And the day I get there I will strip naked and frolic in the 88 degree weather in FEBRUARY (hopefully without getting arrested) and then I will eat a mango and pass out on the beach.

I’m leaving for Italy until you warm up a little, then we can discuss your decision.


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Open letter to Spain: I’m back

Posted on 05 September 2009 by American expat!


Dear Spain:

When I left you the first time, you knew I would be back, didn’t you.  As much as I complained about your glacial pace of getting things done and how you wouldn’t let me own a vehicle, you knew what Italy had in store for me better than I did. I know I threatened to leave you for Italy before, so when I came running back to you, you could have made things really difficult just to punish me. In fact I was expecting it. I thought I would have to live in a rat hole (and there are oh so many to choose from) until finding a decent place to live after three months of searching. And sure, my wallet got stolen again pretty much the second I returned.

But you came through for me in the end, didn’t you? You gave me a room with my own bathroom and some pretty decent flatmates, the very hour I arrived back into your arms. Oh, and this view right outside my room’s french doors:

barcelona view

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is… thanks, Spain, for welcoming me back.  I promise I won’t ever take you for granted again. Just keep these sunsets coming.



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