Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

We miss our family, but we are thankful for cruises with turkey dinners. I only got one small piece of sweet potato, but that was better than nothing. We spent the morning in Tunis, Tunisia. We are also thankful that we don’t live there and we survived 4 hours of bartering for taxi fares and other knick-knacks and walking through the tourist shops. It was overcast with a few sprinkles, so I didn’t get a lot of pictures. We have 2 days at sea now and the boat was really rockin’ during dinner, but it’s better now even though I heard there are 60 knot winds (did I spell that right?). Now we can say we’ve been to Africa and saw a camel there bu
t we’re hoping the girls will choose to skip Morocco, so we can go on our own. We’ll see.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Welcome to Venice

Thursay, November 20

I Woke up at 5am after 4 hours of sleep to catch our plane to Venice. Kevin says he never did fall asleep last night. We found our way to the Hotel Palazzo Rosa - the entrance seemed very run down, but the actual rooms are clean and nice, right on a small canal. The staff is very friendly. I find myself speaking Spanish in the shops and restaurants – I think it actually helped in one bakery. I can actually understand some phrases I hear in the street. It seems extraordinarily quiet here after living in Spain. Sydney says it was a wonderful day because she saw a whole field of grass while riding the bus from the airport to Venice. There is really no grass in Granada and if you find some, there will be a sign that says "keep off".

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bon Voyage

Wednesday, November 19

Aaah! We're headed to the airport tomorrow at 6:30am and I still have a lot of packing to do. I guess it's a little easier since we don't have much to choose from, just pack everything that's here. I think Sydney is getting a cold, she won't stop sneezing. Note to self - don't forget vitamin C and children's Tylenol. Not sure if we'll have an internet connection so you may not see anything here for a couple of weeks.
Two weekends ago we went to Córdoba, it was sunny and beautiful. We stayed right next to the Mezquita (Catholic cathedral and former mosque) and walked around the historic downtown area, visited some ruins and ate great tapas (hors d’oeuvres). That is how I imagined Spain would be. It helped that we were there for most of Sunday and part of Monday, less tourist activity since many places are closed those days in the winter. Click here for the photos of Córdoba

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Time's flying, but we're sailing

Sunday, November 16

Wow, we just got home from a beautiful sunny afternoon at the Alhambra. The girls were reluctant, but they didn't have a choice. In the end they decided it was worth it to leave the apartment and visit the most famous castle in Spain. So glad we finally made it - I will try to get some pictures posted soon. The week flew by and I haven't even posted about our trip last weekend to Córdoba. It made Kevin and I ready for more traveling after taking a two month hiatus. We head back to the US exactly one month from today! It seems like it will be here before we know it - the girls will be so happy. We wanted to take a little vacation now that Kevin has accomplished a lot with his research, but where to go? How can we see more of Europe and convince the girls it will be fun and not have to worry about cooking or finging the right restaurant? Have you guessed - we're going on a cruise? (see itinerary to the right) It's a first for us and I sure hope they don't charge too much for laundry because we don't have enough clothes to last us that long. We'll also be skipping any formal dinners, hopefully hubby's tan tennis shoes will blend in with his slacks for the dressy dinners (or whatever they call the ones between casual and formal). I'm going shopping for some black shoes that I can wear with slacks and skirts. I only have three days to shop and do laundry. Ahhhhh! I sure hope Sydney goes to school this week. On Friday I bought my first Barbie to give to her as a reward for going to school five days in a row. Sometimes y' gotta do what y' gotta do.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Exploring Accents

Wednesday, November 12

You thought I was going to talk about Spanish accents didn't you? Well the accent here can definitely be a challenge at times, but there is this setting on my camera called "color accent" which I like to experiment with. Sometimes the pictures don't turn out that great, but it's still fun to try. Here is a picture of Kevin with his then new grill up on the terrace of our apartment building. This pics a little blurry - it was getting dark out.

Cooking is always a challenge for me, but even more so in a foreign country. I'm not good with meat and would rather avoid selecting, buying and cooking it all together. I really miss you Trader Joe's, no gourmet, frozen dinner's for the cooking impaired. You really have to plan ahead because there are no stores open on Sunday and the nearby markets close at 2pm on Saturday. Kevin had quite the adventure with the grill - they don't really have briquettes here, just real pieces of charred wood, kind of like cooking on a campfire. Why were we on the roof you ask, well we didn't want to offend the neighbors with our smoke so it seemed the most polite thing to do even if it was four flights up. It's a good thing he grilled for several hours - four different kinds of meat that kept us fed for a week. I don't think we'll be trying it again though. OK, back to the pictures. Too bad you can't see her face in this one - what a cutie.

OK, here are some color pics of Sydney wearing a flemenco dress while mopping the kitchen floor. Hmmm, the name Cinderella comes to mind. If any Spanish people are reading this, please don't be offended. (I think they tend to save these dresses for special occasions, but how could a girl resist all those ruffles).

She was really hamming it up with the mop, but I really love these next pics.

I'll conclude with an old favorite from summer '07 when the cousins got together for a camp out on Gma & Gpa's "farm".

Note: This post was written in response to the theme "Exploration" proposed by TotalMomHaircut. It seems like that could be the title of my every post since I started it in preparation to keep my friends and family informed of our summer travels in Europe and living for a semester in the south of Spain. If this is your first visit to my blog - Welcome!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Getting Closer

Wednesday, November 5

We spent the first month settling in, the second one working and studying Spanish and now I feel like we only have a few weekends left to make it to the Alhambra castle, shop for souvenirs and hopefully travel to some nearby or not so nearby places for our last chance at some sightseeing. Last weekend we walked up to the Alhambra, but didn't have time to go inside - you have to buy your tickets in advance.
All that rain last weekend made some beautiful snow on the mountains. It's starting to get cold here, thankfully the heat magically started coming on Nov. 1 even though we could have used it the week before. On October 11th there was a high of 82 degrees and on the 30th the low was 32. Crazy. Please send my winter coat!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Dragon

Tuesday, November 3

A new Chinese school just opened at the University of Granada and there was a Chinese dragon complete with drums to help celebrate. Kyla was so excited when she came home from school because her class got to go outsise to watch the show.

Today I am home with the girls. Kyla has a fever and a sore throat and Syd is pretending to be sick so that she can skip school too. I have given up on trying to make her go now that my class is over. I passed to the next level and it feels strange not to be going anymore. Thank goodness I have the internet and laundry to keep me busy.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

This year..

Saturday, November 1
The costumes were simpler, the pumpkins were smaller, and there was no trick-or-treating, but girls had a wonderful Halloween in Spain. They don't really celebrate it here, but of course some of the kids at school dressed up and I'm sure there were Halloween parties. I can't really say for sure what they do here since we had our own little party for a couple of friends and stayed in for the night. So glad we did because it was raining pretty hard by the time it got dark. We worked on Halloween decorations, bobbed for apples and played pin the tail on the cat. We usually make soup for Halloween, split pea with ham & potato/leek/broccoli, but I had to give up on that this year since I couldn't find dried peas at the grocery store and we don't have a slow cooker or a blender. Luckily everyone was happy with turkey vegetable. At the end of the night we handed out a few pieces of the good stuff - I found mini Snickers, Twix, Milkyway and such that I found at the fancy department store in town. Which is where Sydney and I had to walk down the hill in the rain just to buy 2 of the last 5 pumpkins in town. One thing about small pumpkins is they only take about 15 minutes to carve - now that was nice. Just in case you were wondering - yes, Sydney is the ghost.