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Guernica by Pablo Picasso in Museo Reina SofĂ­a. Credit picasso.com
Warning to all readers: I love gallery assistants, but do they really have to hate on me trying to actually prove I saw something amazing? The following are my sentiments towards a fashionable gallery assistant at El Museo Reina Sofía.

Dear Museum Man: 

Here's my beef I have with you.

Number one, you are never smiling. My question is why? You get to stare at gorgeous pieces of art all day, that sounds like a great time to me. You are even provided a chair to sit on if your legs get tired, life can't get better. 

Secondly, you and your co-workers all wear the same black-on-black outfits and stick out like sore thumbs against the museums white walls. Why can't you get all jazzed up and match the intellect and jaw dropping art that you stand by all day? Don't pretend like I didn't see those Italian leather dress shoes you had on along with that tailored blazer.  Share your wardrobe with Joan Miró and Juan Gris, because Mr. Museum Man, you've got style for a gallery assistant. 

Lastly and most importantly, why must you yell at me from across the room when I am taking a picture while others are interpreting a piece in silence? There was no sign to say I couldn't take a photo, there were actually signs that said I could take a photo as long as it didn't use a flash - and I made sure I turned my flash off. 
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Gallery assistant saw me taking a photo of this Picasso.
I'll be sure not to bother you next time if you politely tap me on the shoulder and explain this room is off-limits. No one responds to yelling, no matter how cute your shoes are. Well, maybe if you had the really cute Kate Spade Nadira flats I would respond… But that's besides the point. 

On a happier note, I am pleased you allowed me to stay in the museum and look at the remaining Pablo Picasso paintings, including the one and only Guernica. If you had not allowed me, and the other student who took a photo as well, to stay we would have been greatly disappointed due to the fact that I could stare at this painting for hours. 

Enough about my "beef" with the gallery assistant. For those who know me you will know I really don't mind that much, he was just doing his job. I am actually slightly jealous of his occupation. 

The other night one of the guys in the group asked us all this question: What job would you have if you knew you couldn't mess up? I immediately said art restoration. 

My dad would be proud with this answer, my mom would jerk her head back, crinkle her nose and say, huh? But it is the honest to goodness truth. 

You would have the talent to restore pieces of work that have been seen by thousands, if not millions of people depending upon the painting. You recreate the brush strokes someone put on a canvas years ago, you remove surface deposits via cotton swab and it makes you wonder how vibrant the color was when it was first created. Just think if you had the task of restoring Diego Velázquez's Las Meninas it would be time consuming and make your hands shake, but the satisfaction of fixing a splotch of color and no one being able to notice, how awesome and rewarding would that be? I would love to say one day, "Hey you know La Infanta Margarita in that one really famous painting Las Meninas? Yeah, I made her white dress a little more white." OK, maybe I wouldn't tell people like that but you get my drift. 

Personally, I think Mr. Museum Man wants this job too. After all, he does need to fund his wardrobe. 

In summary, I thank you dear Museum Man, you made me recount my trip to Museo Reina Sofía countless times, engrained into my memory that I should not take photos in a gallery - regardless of the signs - and helped me dream a little dream about having a job in art restoration. 

Yours truly, 
Andrea Anderson

 
I'm sitting across my bed, feet dangling aimlessly over the edge like when I was younger and I think back to the simple times when I was five years old. There was no worry in the world about what you were going to wear the next day. You didn't question if those black flats you wanted to wear really went with that navy dress, or on a more serious note, you didn't wonder where in the world you may end up come fifteen years from now. 

Oh, how being a five year-old with a broken arm from rollerblading was so easy. Now I think about those things almost every day - maybe not the black flats and blue dress scenario, that's only every once in a while. This all has a point, I promise. 

Fifteen years ago I knew I wanted to travel. I knew I wanted to speak another language and see the world outside of what I knew at that age. I still want that same thing, the only difference now is I don't have a broken arm and I'm a lot older. Some would say wiser too. 

Tomorrow I begin my journey to Madrid, Spain with nine other Marquette students. Each of us comes from a different background but all have one thing in common, we are going to the same city, most of us are on the same flight, and I guarantee you the majority of us are peeing our pants, whether they want to admit it or not. 

For three and a half months I will be living with another Marquette student and a woman I can only envision to be like my grandmother. Her name is Señora Irene Romero, who is supposed to be a great cook (a trait my grandmother sadly did not possess, unless it was baking), and lives near the university I will be attending, Universidad Complutense. (My grandma Frances lived in St. Paul, Minn., maybe Irene isn't much like my grandmother at all...) I will be attending school, taking an art history class at el Museo Nacional del Prado, and stumbling over my words left and right, but that is all part of the fun, right? 

The correct answer is: Right.

Follow that answer up with the question, but what will I do without my family and friends when I need shoe advice? That one is harder to answer.

When the reality of leaving my family and friends began to creep into my consciousness I didn't like it one bit. I would shew it away from my brain while at work and when my mother became a little choked up on the phone I would drastically switch the topic after saying to her, "It's OK ma." I wouldn't accept the fact that I wouldn't be in contact with the peopleI grew so close with these last two years or have them right down the hall of my Schroeder dorm room. But alas, last Sunday came and I said goodbye to my friends at Marquette and co-workers at the Journal Sentinel. On the six hour drive home I may have listened to a few maloncoly Whitney Houston and Taylor Swift songs and put "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" by Taylor Swift on repeat.  Then after about twenty minutes I hit a torrential downpour to match my tears and smudged mascara. I had a few choice words for the weather man at that point. Shortly after though I realized that when you take a leap of faith on yourself to be independent for this period of time, your friends and family are letting you go because they know you're strong enough to do this, and that they will be right where you left them. Well, hopefully not right where I left two of my best friends, they were in the rain. 

Fifteen years ago I guarantee you I was asleep in the same twin size bed I am sitting on right now. I have ditched the Pooh Bear sheets (not the pillow though, it's too cute) and I still have the same bear my brother made me in Home Economics on my bed stand. The difference is tomorrow morning I wakeup for a flight that leaves for Madrid, Spain and not for a day at summer camp. You can plan your life as much as you want, but you just never know where you may be fifteen years from now. 

As a dear friend of mine would say, traveling is the only thing that makes you richer. I wholeheartedly agree with that statement and hope that through my adventures this semester I only grow to be someone I look back on and can say, "Dang, I'm awesome." No, but really, fifteen years is a long time, so my mantra for this trip is to take each day as it is and hope my travels make me a richer person in all aspects of life. 

Ciao for now!
- Andrea