So long, Evan / by Nate Westheimer

For the second day in a row, I was at the Madrid-Barajas airport bright and early. Yesterday I was there to see my cousin Alex and grandmother Norma off after their two-week stay in Spain. Today it was to say goodbye to my friend, and faithful study abroad companion, Evan.

Today’s blog is dedicated to him.

On the first day of my study abroad program, last September 4th (perhaps?), I sat in a big room looking at a bunch of kids who I did not know. There were, during the firs information sessions, a few kids sitting around me stressing about how they would get cell phones, what the best service provider would be, and how the heck they would deal with salespersons, when their Spanish was fresh-of-the-boat “Amerikano.” Seeing a great opportunity to make myself Weber’s “Prince among men” – an opportunity to declare myself the alpha-male of Spanish – I offered my services, and after the final piece of (to me) worthless information, we all got up, summoned a group, and headed towards the cell phone stores. We were Ian, Steve K., Steve H., Dan, Evan, and yours truly.

Little did I know that it would be from this crew that I would forage two my most meaningful relationships from the year, and little did I know that the metrosexual looking “Frenchy” would end up being the person with whom I most shared such an excellent study abroad year.

So, as Evan makes his way to Texas, I feel like in a certain way my study abroad year has ended too. Last night we capped off that year in our highest fashion: We invited a few people over for a Nate and Evan cooked dinner party. Dinner parties were our specialty, and only done well when intoxicated slightly with wine and whatnot. Last night was no different, except that the company was especially good, with Willy and Silvina being first timers, and Steve and Eugenie & Friend as the encore participants. Most unfortunate it was that Gonzalo couldn’t join, but the recently romantic guitarrista stayed at home to care for his Ines, who wasn’t feeling too fantastic for the day. Of course the dish was Chicken Curry, the long awaited reprise from a historic success. Succulent chicken pieces soaked, sautéed, and boiled in a curry and coco milk base certainly brought to the table some happy tummies and hearty thanks from our guests. And I have to add this: I’m really liking the attention ladies lend your way after they’ve tried a delicious meal of yours. So here’s thank you number one: Thanks for the dinner parties. Fun times, good food, good people.

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Just like the words “Madrid” and “Night,” “Evan” and “Madrid” can’t quite be said in the same sentence if you’re not going to mention the clubs. Evan took Madrid by storm, and turned an acute awareness of style and status to a fun end. By the time Evan had left Madrid, he had joined onto a Barcelona based publicity and events company started by an old colleague and brought a Madrid office to life. By the time he left, not only was his contact list many pages long, but so was his contract list. Art.Galeria® had ten of Madrid’s top clubs signed in one week, all to the credit of Evan. This was a fun creation to watch, but even more fun to help out with. Being the good friend I am, I reluctantly went around with him, unfortunately getting free drinks and entrances and recognition at some of Madrid’s finest clubs. Oh, the hard-knocked life. But one thing I did learn, or rather admire, was that Evan has a true business spirit inside of him; an entrepreneur to the bone, he’s always on the prowl looking to strike a deal. He wouldn’t sell you the shirt off your own back, because that would hardly involve a sustainable income derivatives. Evan wants to rent it to you, fix the premiums to inflation, and mandate a weekly cleaning fee. Your shirt for only 15.99 a month, plus the service charge.

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The last comment I have is that I can actually say I like an elitist for the first time. Evan is French, so you can’t blame him, but he really comes off as an elitist. But, take another look and you’ll see that he’s just honest, not politically correct, and French. And that French thing seems to be a big one, because the one defense mechanism that seems to have always put this geeky kid in the limelight is his “I have a French passport. I’m half French.” Woopdidoo Evan. So you know how to open a bottle of wine and your green shoes just may be cool when you’re in the French crowds (although I’ll side with your dad and say they’re the fucking stupidest things I’ve ever seen). Woopdidoo.

Woopdidoo – but one finds out very quickly that he has another pulled up his sleeve, and he’ll tell you, “I’m from Texas. Yee-haw. My ex-girlfriend has a shotgun.” Another passport we could say. And that’s lesson three from the kid. We all have “passports” from many places. It’s just that when it’s purplish and says France on it you’re a fucking elitist and have a uncanny quick-draw on that historically over-used white flag.

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It was a good year Evan. I was happy to spend it with you, and it will always be defined by hangin out with some fake Texan, fake Frenchy, fake geek, and authentic friend.

Godspeed in all; you’re a good man.