Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Spain is more than traveling

So, I've told you where all I've been, but that doesn't mean I've been sitting on my bum all the days in between awaiting the next trip. Here are some of the good times we've had in Jerez thus far:

Soccer Saturdays
This is a relatively new tradition that some fellow auxiliares and Spanish soccer players (I know, "Spanish soccer player", redundant right?) started up a few weekends ago. It's a great way to meet new people, both Spanish and foreign, and to run off the tapas we know we are going to enjoy later!

Maddie's visit (Jan 7-27)
3 weeks...my best friend...what else can I say? A lot, actually, so I might have to dedicate a blog to this one...

Salsa Dancing on the weekends
Well, a couple of weekends, anyway. I'm not a very good salsa dancer, but I've been to one or two lessons here. The advantage of being female is that I don't really have to know how, I just have to find a strong lead who is willing to get his toe stepped on once or twice!

Kim got to salsa with the cute dance instructor!

Nochevieja (New Year's Eve)
This is when all the good looking men in suits come out...they all wear suits! The question is, where are they the rest of the year?

One of the traditions for Spanish New Year's Eve is to eat 12 grapes the last 12 seconds of the year for good luck...almost impossible to actually accomplish!

Zambombas (carol singing in bars) at Christmas
The word 'zambomba' actually refers to the instrument that is typical here in Jerez and surrounding areas, it's not a custom throughout all of Spain. A lot of the villancicos (christmas carols) that we sang had street names and places we recognized from living in Jerez!

Thanksgiving Dinner
Teaching non-Americans how to eat like Americans!
The most surprising thing to Europeans was pumpkin pie...pumpkin is savory here, not sweet.

Barbara and Eliane learn how to cook stuffing

Mark with his homemade pumpkin pie! (Homemade as in pie crusts and canned pumpkin do not exist in Spain)

Dinner guests (We had it at Danee, Kristen, and Rory's apartment. They live in the apartment right under mine)

In contrast to the big dress-up parties we have in the States, our Halloween party was a little smaller and more intimate, but we partied just as hard! We also dressed up. Prize went to: Kim as Tio Pepe!

Catching the rays in Cadiz
I've never lived near the beach before! Cadiz is an hour train ride away and has some beautiful beaches. I'm looking forward to the Spring and Summer months when the sun will finally come out and we can hit the sand again!

So that's the then and now. This weekend we are enjoying Carnaval in Cadiz (pictures to come soon) and waiting out the rain so that we can return to playing soccer and all that!

Monday, February 15, 2010

What?! Halfway over you tell me?

Alright, so I said that I would keep my blog up and I haven't. Shame on me. It's been about four and a half months now, and the only excuse I had was valid through October and no later...the fact that I didn't have a computer 'til then. I'm not really sure why I chose now to begin my blog again. Maybe because I don't want this year to pass by without jotting a few memories down...maybe I'm in need of something to keep me occupied before the rain kicks me into a serious SADS-type mood...or maybe it really is just better late than never. Whatever the motivation, here I am now!!

I'll start off with an incredibly brief synopsis of what has happened this year. Then, believe it or not, I did write some journal entries/blogs of specific events in anticipation of publishing them, so I'll go ahead and post those as well. After that, I promise I will write about my future experiences in a timely manner. Scout's honor. (And if I don't, well, I was never a girl scout anyway ;)

So, here are the places I have traveled so far, starting with the most recent:

Granada, Spain (Jan 15-18)
Barbara, Maddie, and I
at the Alhambra

Caceres, Spain (Dec 23-26)
Christmas Dinner with my roommate Monica's family

Barcelona, Spain (Dec 11-13)
Emily and I on top of Gaudi's Casa Battlo

Tangier, Morocco, Africa (Dec 4-6)
Zoco market in Morocco. I came back with a tea set, a blanket, and a few other handmade trinkets!

Gibraltar, British territory (Nov ??)
Can you guess which ones are Kim and I
and which one is the real monkey??

San Lucar, Spain (Oct 23-24)
The boardwalk along the coast

Lisbon and Fatima, Portugal (Oct 9-12)
The CIEE crew (minus Mark)
on the beach in Lisbon
Our first trip together!

I have also been, relatively frequently, to:
Cadiz, Sevilla, Arcos de la Frontera
All are cities in Andalucia and within an hour train/bus ride away from Jerez (my city).

Upcoming Trips:
Paris! (Easter week a.k.a. our Spring Break)

The Hopefuls:
Amsterdam (Easter week, in addition to Paris)
Ronda, Spain
Salamanca, Spain, to revisit my alma mater (well, I guess Spanish universities don't technically have alma maters)
Cordoba, Spain
Switzerland to visit Isabel
and Fez, Casablanca, and/or Marrakesh, Morocco

Alright, since I'm a working girl now, the rest of this will have to wait. I have to get to sleep so I have enough energy to work with the chil'rens tomorrow.

Buenas Noches