Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thankgiving in Spain - Spanish

Thanksgiving was a hit!  Trying to find the right ingredients or the brands I trusted in Spain was near to impossible.  Did you know that Spain doesn't have cranberries, just the juice (not very common though) and in one grocery store we found cranberry sauce, but they put it with the tobasco sauce?  I had given up looking when I just happened to look up on the top shelf and there it was next to mustard and spicy sauces.  Random.
I prepared a story in Spanish to read to my family (see below for my Spanish readers), skipped school on Friday and cooked up a storm.  Turkey, home made gravy, carrots, home made mashed potatoes, hot rolls (store bought and microwaved because Pillsbury doesn't exist here), my marshmallow yams, cranberry sauce, black olives and two hand made pumpkin pies (literally, i mashed the pumpkins!).  I started the day with Lola, Marcos's mom.  She was nice enough to pluck the few remaining feathers that were left on the Turkey and help me clean out all the grossness inside.  (Yuck!) Then on to the peeling of carrots and potatoes, and last my yams.  I have to thank my Mom for the email advice (and remembering her cooking in the past) as well as Youtube videos.  They were SUPER helpful.  Here are some pictures.
Boiling the pumpkin
Mashing the pumpkin
Home made crust
Pouring the pumpkin yumminess
Carrots, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy and Turkey.  Yams were still in the
oven, plus cranberry sauce, hot rolls, and black olives. 
The Thanksgiving Table
Paco says, "yummmmmm!"  Eat up friends!
Pumpkin Pie! YUM... though it didn't taste like homes! 
Thanksgiving Story in Spanish
El dia de Acción de Gracias se celebra en 1621.  Los peregrinos navegaron desde Plymouth, Inglaterra al mundo nuevo en el barco llamado Mayflower.  Había 110 personas en el viaje que duró 65 dias. El primer invierno fué muy duro.  Mucha gente murió.
El 16 de marzo de 1621, un Indio llamado Samoset se acercó a los peregrinos y les ofreció ayuda.  Samoset les enseñó muchos métodos de supervivencia.
En octubre la cosecha tuvó éxito.  Tuvieron mucha comida para el invierno.  Ellos quisieron celebrarlo con los Indios para expresar su gratitud.  Tuvieron un banquete que duró tres dias.  Comieron maiz, gansos, pavos, patos, anguilas, almejas, abadejo, cebada, pan de maiz y carne de venado.  Ellos tuvieron muchas razónes para estar agradecido.
Ahora, celebramos el dia de Acción de Gracias el tercer dia de noviembre.  Comemos pavo, maiz, zanahorias, panecillos, ñames, puré de patatas, relleno, arandanos rojos, cazuelas, y aceitunas negras.  Mucha comida, asi que siempre hay sobras.  En mi familia, es una tradición decir algo por lo que estar agradecido.  Por ejemplo: Estoy agradecido por mi Dios, familia, amigos....etc.
En este dia de Acción de Gracias, estoy agradecido por mi familia española y la oportunidad de estudiar español aqui durante tres meses.  Espero que os haya gustado mi historia y penseis en las cosas por las que estaís agradecidos.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A night in Seville

Last weekend I went to Seville for the night with Marcos, Vane, Mikki, and Paco.  Last year I studied here for a week and just loved this city.  This is where one of my favorite artists lives, Maria Ortega Estepa.  I missed her art show in October but she is going to have another show in Jan, and I am definitely going to go see it! 
We left Cadiz on Saturday morning and arrived to miserable weather.  It wasn't just raining, it was Ketchikan pouring.  Parking is really bad in Seville.  We parked a good 30 minute walk away from our hostel, so by the time we got there, I was drenched.  The boots I was wearing leaked water into my socks and I didn't bring an extra pair of shoes!!  I walked the city with cold wet feet.... :(.  I planned on buying some new shows in Seville, but no such luck.  I think I'm too picky.  Anyway, the rain finally eased up and we were able to roam the city.  We visited shops, walked by the Cathedral, got a chai from Starbucks, visited with Paco's girlfriend Lucia, and roamed the river.  Here are a few of my favorite pictures.

A very cute candy shop that I love.
The Cathedral

hmm....... ok there are too many! To see the rest, click here. (Most of these were also put on facebook!)

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Jerez shopping spree

Every day after school, I come home, have lunch, study, go to the gym (some days), study some more and go to bed.  Marcos decided I needed a break from this monotony and he took me shopping in Jerez!  There is a huge shopping center there, including Ikea, H&M, and cute clothing shops. 
We left Cadiz a little later than we had hoped.  We walked through some of the down town area, which on some streets reminded me of a fake movie set up because of how old and cute it was.... and then on to the bus to get to the major shopping area.  Upon our arrival, we realized we didn't have much time to eat a snack before we shopped, so we shoved two donuts down our throats (not one but two each) and started  in H&M.  The last store we were in was called Primark.  
Primark is like... well the craziest store I have ever been in.  Jodie, if you feel overwhelmed sometimes in Target or Fred Meyer, you would have had a heart attack in this store.  Merchandise is everywhere, and when I say everywhere I mean it.... the floor, on racks, hanging off doors, lights, EVERYWHERE.  They sell all clothes, from baby to adult.  It's smaller than an Old Navy but bigger than a Gap.  They have these tiered tables that look like giant laundry piles.  What humored me was there was actual employees trying to fold it all back up.  It would have taken an army of folders to conquer that mess.  I felt inclined to help since I can fold a shirt in less than 3 seconds, but only folded about 6 shirts before I noticed the check out line.  It was about 25 people or more long.  Even if I did find something here, who the hell would want to stand in that line??  I had to leave.  We then got Burger King and headed back to the bus station.  I felt like a walrus, donuts and Burger King, wow Cole, way to stay healthy in Spain!  
Jerez is a lot like Cadiz, in that it has a lot of history, old streets, character, etc but Marcos says I can't talk them up because Jerez citizens always think their city is better, and always try to one up Cadiz or other cities.  Jerez however doesn't have a beach, so take that JEREZ!

A statue in the city

Buildings in Jerez
The amazing sunset I captured
Marcos and I on the way home... 

Fotos de mi vida en Cadiz

Just a few pictures of my life in Cadiz.
Sign reads: For the employment in the bay of Cadiz (Cadiz and surrounding areas)
For the compliance of the agreements (contracts)
They were walking down the main street setting off fire crackers.
Lola enjoying her hobby of painting.
So orderly and neat.  I love the little kid undies in the upper right corner.
Boys stealing internet to play games online.  They do this quite often..
Sometimes they even move it down on the walkway instead of the hallway.
Daily sounds outside my window.
Vane's building

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

New Friends

Marcos is extremely loyal to his friends.  He is the type that has a few super close friends and he sticks with them for life.  He reminds me of a wolf with his pack, forever together.  Saturday we had a 6pm snack (since dinner is at 10pm) at his house and those really close friends of his came over for SMC candies, peanut butter on toast and tea/coffee!

Lucia (Paco's girlfriend), Ana (Jesus's girlfriend), and Vane (Miki's girlfriend)
Vane is shy and currently learning English.  She gets super nervous around me when trying to speak English but she is getting more brave.  She is my closest girlfriend here.  I try and tell her that I am just as nervous speaking Spanish but that in order to learn you have to try!  Lucia is what I think of as a typical Spanish woman.  She is super expressive with her face and hands when she speaks, so much that I usually understand her the most because she is practically acting out what she is saying.
Left to Right: Cole, Paco, Lucia, Ana, Vane, Miki and Jesus
The triplets: Marcos, Ana and Paco
This is just a silly picture of us at the park, eating candies and studying Spanish!
Tomorrow is my third week of school!!  Two weeks down, 10 more to go! Not that I'm counting or anything.  I wish I could stay here for a year and teach English and become a Spanish speaking Goddess!  Wish me luck this week!

Noche Sueca

This weekend was full of fun events!  Spain is definitely very social, and people are always coming and going in Marcos's home.  Friday night we went to "Swedish Night" at some of my fellow classmates apartment.  There are a lot of Swedish students at my school because SIC (Spanish in Cadiz) has a contract with the University in Sweden (or something like this) that puts all Spanish learning students at SIC.  The night consisted of singing Swedish songs, eating meat balls and drinking a lot!
I brought brownies and cookies (in the white bag!)
Frankie from Seattle!!  He is studying Spanish through Univ. of WA.
Elin, Swedish, pouring drinks
All the deserts
Elin had food coma! hahah
Teachers, students, friends = fun!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Janeen Koconis

My all time favorite artist has launched her new website and I feel the need to share it with everyone. Every year I buy her calendars, and I also have three of her prints up on my walls (two in Skagway, one in Seattle!)  Janeen creates art with words, and I absolutely love her work.  Check it out:  

Friday, November 12, 2010

Spain - 2nd week

I finished my second week of school.  I probably should have been put in the beginner class.  My grammar is intermediate, but my conversation level is beginner.  There is nothing more frustrating than to sit in class and everyone be laughing at something the teacher said, and me not understand any of it. Most of these students have been here for two months, but this week we got a new French boy and he seems to understand everything perfectly fine.  I have three Swedish girls, a Norwegian man, a Russian girl and the French boy in my class.  They are all really nice and can speak Spanish beautifully (or so I think, because really I can't understand them!)  Today I insisted they test me again to make sure I was supposed to be in this level.  After my test they said I could choose which class I wanted because I was sort of in between.  Next week the beginner class is starting past tense verbs, (which I have already studied), so I am choosing to stay in misery.  Such is life.  Poco a poco.  Little by little.  
Marcos has been super encouraging.  He sent me a link about language learning and it helped me realize that I am being too hard on myself, which isn't anything new.  I am so excited to see what I can understand and how I sound speaking spanish after my three months here...
.... and speaking of here, lets talk about life in Spain.  It's very different.  For example:

  • They eat a small breakfast, a huge lunch around 2-3pm and dinner after 10pm!  I tried this up until I eat lunch with them and make my own dinner around 7pm so that I can be in bed by 10pm.  (They all stay up til at least midnight.)  What I do like though is that everyday for lunch, they all sit at the table and eat together and, get this.......... sit and talk about their day!  They also eat a piece of fruit after every meal, instead of ice cream and chocolate like me! So much healthier.
  • There are no trucks.  Everyone drives gas friendly cars. Yesterday I saw thee ONLY hummer in Cadiz and everyone on the streets was shaking their heads and laughing at him.  "What a fool!" they were saying, because in all honesty, he does look like an asshole, blaring his music with the windows rolled down. (and his hummer is yellow, like a giant banana on the streets!)
  • Everyone smokes.  I mentioned this last year when I came, but it needs to be said again.  They smoke in cafe's, restaurants, right outside of schools with little children watching.  If I ever moved here permanently (or for a long period of time) I would create a movement.  The Alliance for a Tobacco Free Spain, ATFS!  I would be the biggest tobacco nazi in this country, shutting down smoking in all public zones and 100 feet from every school, hmm... make that 250 feet!  I don't know how I got so lucky with Marcos, one of the very few who don't smoke in Spain, and who also hates smoking.
  • The unemployment rate is over 30%!  YEP, THIRTY PERCENT!  I feel sooooo bad for this country and it's people.  Here is the latest article I found on their situation: click here.  Marcos and his brother Paco look for work everyday.  The other day, we heard a woman walk up to a construction site and asked "If my husband comes here tomorrow, would you have work for him?"  I am sure she has asked so many other businesses/companies the same question.
  • Everything they eat is in oil.  No joke.  Which is another reason I decided to start making my own dinners.  Most of the food I have had tastes good, but it isn't necessarily my favorite.
  • I joined a gym here.  It's would be call "the worst gym in the USA" if it was in the states.  It's dirty, packed full of equipment and has NO air circulation.  It smells like dirty sweaty men and armpits galore. When I jog on the treadmill, I have to be careful not to jump or I would smack my head on the ceiling.  No joke.  (It's not as bad as it seems, but definitely not USA standards.)
  • They greet you with two kisses, left side, then right, instead of a hand shake, for both hello and goodbye!
  • It's LOUD.  Dogs bark non stop here.  My neighborhood reminds me of one that I would see in some east coast movie in Jersey.  Where mothers are constantly around the house, hanging clothes, yelling at their kids to come in, phones ringing, TV's on full blast for the hard of hearing, and people are always hanging out in the streets.  I LOVE EAR PLUGS!
View outside my window
  • There is a law here in Cadiz that says you will be fined for littering on the beach but go on ahead, put your trash in the streets.  Ok, so the second part I made up, but seriously Spaniards, use the trash bins that are so nicely put throughout the city.
  • Siesta time.  America is all about buy buy buy with stores open from early morning til 9pm at night... but here in Spain, they shut down all their stores from 2-5pm just to go home and eat a nice big lunch and a nap!  I wonder what the stress levels are in Spain.  I would assume slim to none because of their lovely siestas. (Marcos just went to the store to get some eggs, as I want to bake some cookies for tonight, and the supermarket was even closed!)
  • Que mas? (what more?)  I am loving it here.  Although most of what I just said seems negative, I still love it here.  The history of this city is mesmerizing.  Every where I look seems to be a wall, a castle, a cathedral, a theater, all over 100's of years old!

I wish I had more pictures for you but I haven't been taking my camera out very much.  I will leave the house with my camera at all times starting right now. :)  Here are a few pictures of the house I have taken.

the kitchen :) (notice the washer machine, very common in Europe)

Marcos, always loving on me... such a sweet boyfriend.

Until next time......... xo

Monday, November 1, 2010

October... and now Spain

October was a crazy month.  If you thought for one second that September was busy with sales in Skagway for me, ha! October was three times that busy.  I jammed three months of work into one month (though I still have more to do), as well as, recruited 25 plus volunteers and helped raise more than $54,000 for Get Hitched Give Hope.  I would love to do an entire blog just on GHGH, but I will leave it to the blog website to fill you in.  The entire month I didn't stop.  I had Sarah and Jared in town, then right after Terry and Drew in town.... a short trip to Ketchikan, and then Mom and Michelle in town in Seattle.  My birthday weekend was a blast.  Valerie came to visit and we enjoyed every minute of it.  Thank you Ketchikan weather for being so amazing! Here are a few pictures of my October.

Hike with Matt (and Valerie) in Ketchikan

Home town, view from 3rd avenue trail

Beautiful Carol, Michelle and I at GHGH

Soooooo basically October was so busy that I hadn't even really processed the fact that I was about to leave to Cadiz, Spain for three months.  And here I am.
As I got off the plane in Madrid, the first thing I smelled was tobacco and.... well Spain.  Memories of my last trip flooded into my heart and I smiled with this giddy grin as I found my way to the next connection.  Then, with no apparent warning, this entire crazy idea of going to Spain for three months hit me, right smack in the head.  I hadn't been able to process it because life has been so busy.  I got panicky and thought.... WHAT AM I DOING??  But then I remembered this:  The majority of times I have felt this nervous fear in my stomach was when I was about to do something that scared me.  I felt this way last year and ended up having the time of my life.  And as Amy Spencer says "If you’re afraid of it…then it’s probably exactly what you need to do."  So I took that quote, stuck it in my pocket, took a few breaths and got onto the plane to Jerez.

After my 19 hours of travel time, I had only slept about 2 hours.  I even took a sleeping pill from Dallas to Madrid, but 2 hours of sleep was all it gave me.  Marcos and Paco (brothers) met me at the Jerez airport to drive me to Cadiz.  Seeing Marcos was surreal.  We have been chatting online multiple times a week, practicing Spanish and talking about life (since February), to see him in the flesh just felt unreal.  With many hugs, and tugging of 3 bags of luggage, we set off for the 45 minute drive to Cadiz.

By the time we arrived to Marcos's house, I was feeling sick from lack of sleep.  I quickly unpacked and took a small nap (love me some ear plugs, have I ever mentioned to you Spain is loud?)  I have my own little room, TV, internet, and a great family to keep me company.  Lola, Marcos's mother. doesn't speak any English, but we seem to be able to communicate.  She has a boyfriend Manolo that I met today too, very nice gentleman.  I also met one of his sisters, Chari, his best friends Miki, Vane, and Paco's girlfriend Lucia.  Marcos has five sisters, and one brother.  I have only met Chari and Paco.  Isabelle is the oldest, then Chari, then twins, Monica and Alicia and then the triplets, Marcos, Paco, & Ana.  Lola had seven children with only four pregnancies! 

Tomorrow I start school.  I'm excited, kind of nervous, but seeing as this is my third time in Spanish schools, I feel it will be great!  Marcos will walk me to school so I don't get lost and then this weekend we will go to Ikea to make my room more "me".  We have many little trips planned: Barcelona, Granada, Arcos de la Frontera, Seville, and the "white cities" that surround Cadiz.

It's good to be here.  I'll keep my blog as up to date as possible with many pictures.