Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas Eve!

My first Christmas spent anywhere other than my parents' home in's a strange feeling, of not being there to do all the usual traditions. Since it's Christmas Eve, I should be helping my dad make the kipfel (the favorite Stremme cookie) in the kitchen, and finishing wrapping up my gifts. To help sort of follow this tradition, I'm going to go bake another kind of cookie that involves jelly and is German (I think), a linzer cookie. Plus, I do still have some wrapping to do! It's nice to know I can procrastinate in any country :)

One of things I'm most sad about missing is a Christmas Eve church service. The church I'm attending doesn't have one, nor do any of the other churches that we've found. Maybe some of the cathedrals have mass? Anyway, I'll sing Silent Night on my own if I have to!
Christmas is most definitely celebrated here, but the bigger holiday happens on Jan. 6th, el dia de los Reyes Magos (or something to that effect). King's Day. I've been told on the 5th in the evening, there is a parade where the kids dress up in costumes and throw candy into the crowds...I don't know, I'll blog more when it gets closer and I can see for myself!

One thing I have enjoyed is seeing a few different nativities around Alhaurín and in Málaga. There's one outdoors, in front of the main cathedral in town. It has full size figures, and since the floor is filled with hay all the homeless kitties around town have taken up residence beside the baby Jesus. It's really cute, actually! I got a picture of them...
You can see the two curled up together in front of Mary. There were more along the sides of the creche, probably 5 or 6 in all. This was the only life size belén (nativity) I saw.

The others were all in miniature, but were entire villages...the stable was just one part of it! We went to one that was inside a...not a church, I'm not sure what to call it. A place where they store the floats and saints for Santa Semana (Holy week, the week before Easter when they have tons of parades with their favorite saints/icons) Anyway, inside this building they had a little village set up, but when we looked closely we saw that there were little scenes from Jesus' life in different parts. One of him as a boy, while Joseph was working as a carpenter, one of Mary while she was riding on the camel, pregnant, with Joseph was neat, actually. You could always pick the 3 of them our because their figurines had the gold circle/halo around their heads. I didn't get any pictures, because I wasn't sure if it was allowed, but it was fun to look at. And the nice church ladies inside were playing tambourines and singing. Not so much in a performance way, more like they decided to stand in a little circle and sing together, And they offered us drinks. Like, shots of the anise flavored liquor...I don't know what it's called. But these Spanish ladies knew how to party!
The last belén I saw was yesterday, at the main cathedral in Málaga. It was...confusing? It was in miniature, like the other one, but the scene was more like 18th century. The figurines were dressed more 17th or 18th century, I'm not really sure. One guy had a white wig like he should have been in parliament in the 1700s...then we did see the creche at the end of the scene, but it wasn't really a stable. There were animals, and a decorative fountain in the wall behind them..umm..okay. An interpretation of Bethlehem perhaps? was interesting!

Well, the cookies won't make themselves so I better get to work. I hope to blog tomorrow at some point, but if not, then please pray for me as I prepare for my trip to Fez, Morocco! I leave on Sunday the 26th, and I'll be back in Málaga on the 30th. Just a few days, but I excited to see Morocco! Who would have thought I'd ever go to Fez??
¡Feliz Navidad!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas in Malaga

Last Friday I had the chance to go downtown with 2 friends, Lily and Theresa, to see the Christmas lights. Let me tell you, they know how to do lights here! It was beautiful! Around the main plaza, la Plaza de la Constitucion, there is a big pedestrian outdoor shopping area, and they went all out with Christmas lights and more Christmas lights, hung from building to building. Plus, as we were standing in the plaza, a marching band came through, just sort of pushing their way through the crowds. And further down there was an excellent string quartet playing off to one side. It was loud, crowded, bright, and much as I like living in a smaller town, I equally enjoy getting out into the city! After walking around and taking many pictures we found a good sushi restaurant and really, when have I ever refused sushi??
Pictures of the lights...

Friday, December 10, 2010


Last night I had the chance to go to a flamenco show at the local cultural center. It was so much fun to watch! It was put on by a local dancing school, and it seemed like a recital of sorts. Which made it all the more fun, because there were dancers of all ages and skill levels- from a 4 year old that stood completely still and just played with  her dress and smiled, to the adults who danced  and moved their hands beautifully. Flamenco is fascinating to much of it is in the hands and how they twist and turn them in the air. There were several different styles of flamenco, which I never realized there was more than one style. Some involved castanets and soft shoes, and others were more about the stomping and clapping rhythms. And the costumes! Some were wildly inappropriate for little girls to be wearing on stage (gold bikini-like tops? really?) but most were what you would picture for flamenco dancers. Mermaid style gowns with big ruffles that trailed behind on the floor, hair in tight buns and big flowers pinned in. I didn't get any pictures of the adults, but I couldn't resist these little ones in their orange ruffle dresses...they were so cute!
We all had a really good time watching the recital...and at the end they all gathered on stage and had what I refer to as a jam session. Dancing improv, as they clapped to the beat and called to each other to come forward and dance in the semi circle. Oh, it looked like so much fun, it's tempting to find some flamenco lessons! And, at the end of each performance people from the audience shouted "Ole!" Ah, what a Spanish experience.

Tonight I'm headed into downtown Malaga to see the Christmas lights in the shopping/pedestrian area. I saw them up last time I was in town, unlit, so I'm excited to see them all lit up. Pictures will come of that! I did take a pic of my mini-tree. I like it! And it was only 6.49 Euro. Not bad for a little tree :)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Hello, December!

Felices Fiestas!
I've seen that expression in lights around town, and the closest I can gather is that it is the equivalent of our generic, secular Happy Holidays. (Literal translation is Happy Parties...) I prefer Feliz Navidad!

I decided not to go home for Christmas this year. I was going back and forth about it, which meant I waited until flights got to be rather pricey. I finally decided to take advantage of being on this side of the Atlantic and fully experience Spain during Christmastime. It'll be weird to not be home for making cookies with my dad, Christmas Eve dinner and church service, and all the traditions that Christmas brings with it. But I have a wonderful group of people here who are more than welcoming and will gladly draw me in to join in the Christmas festivities. And, I even bought a little tree about 2 ft. tall, and little inexpensive ornaments to decorate it with. Can't have Christmas without a tree :) I would post a picture but I haven't take it out of it's little box yet. Soon, though.

One thing that made it feel like Christmas was going shopping this weekend. There was Christmas music, mostly in English...the mall was all decorated inside with lights and a big tree, and there were huge crowds- just like back home. A mall is a mall, no matter where you are. They had an H&M, Sephora, Claire's, and a few other common stores. The main difference I would say is the food court. Well, I wouldn't call it a food court, because the only fast food option was McD's (of course), then the rest were all little cafes/restaurants where you need to sit down and order. It's just much more common to take time to sit down and eat, especially for the main 2:30ish meal. It's a good thing, to slow down and enjoy each other's company.

That's it for now...I will try and blog more frequently this month!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Water, water everywhere

Things are getting a bit soggy here in southern Spain. The rains have come, which means Winter is upon us! It doesn't get cold enough to snow where I am living, but it does get to be quite chilly. And rainy. It has rained 3 of the past 4 days. I like rain, but not in my bedroom...
I think my family water curse has followed me here. Water is trying to seep in through the bottom of my door that leads out to the patio. Then I started hearing a drip-drip-dripping sound over the weekend, and saw my roof was dripping in 2 spots. (luckily, not over my bed or anything!) I only mention the water curse because these water incidents are on top of my toilet not flushing properly at the moment, the lack of hot water for a week until we had the hot water heater replaced, and the kitchen sink upstairs that is leaking in the cabinet below. I'm not complaining, just realizing that perhaps my family does have a water curse! At any rate, I'm still feeling thankful and blessed to have hot showers after a few days of trickling, cool water showers in the chilly mornings!
On Sunday it did not rain. In fact, it was gorgeous and clear, and I took the opportunity to walk around my neighborhood. Below is a photo of the view from the top of my street. I am living in one of the pinkish houses you can see in the near distance, to the right a bit. So blessed to be here!!
The Mediterranean in the distance. I can't get enough of these views!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Living outside of the US doesn't stop us Americans from taking time off from work/school and stuffing ourselves full of turkey and mashed potatoes! Sure, there were a few elements missing (the Macy's parade, football, the snow that apparently fell in Philly...??) but those aren't what really makes Thanksgiving a great holiday. As much as I love eating all the food, one of my favorite parts of the day is the time spent cooking with others in the kitchen. I like the chit chat and time spent together as you do even the most mundane tasks, such as peeling potatoes or chopping vegetables. At least this year I didn't have to fight off 4 cats who know how to jump up on the counters :)
Our little community of 11 came together yesterday to have Thanksgiving, and it was a really great time of fellowship and laughter, with a few small cooking missteps (ovens in Spain are weird. Though from what I hear, it can be normal for a house/apartment to not even have an oven.) But the turkeys came out great, as did all the side dishes. I was in charge of mashed potatoes and broccoli salad, naturally. The kids had all made little Pilgrim and Indian dolls from toilet paper rolls, and created a little village! I love the creativity these kids have.
There is just so much to be thankful for right now...thank you to everyone who has been praying for me and supporting me. I'm truly thankful for God's provisions for me here and everything he has done in the past few months. Amazing! 

Happy Thanksgiving, and Happy Black Friday shopping to you all!!
And now I can start listening to Christmas music ;)

Our village people!

Ready for dinner

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Discount Shopping and Hot Engines

Today I went shopping! There have been signs all over Alhaurin and Malaga for a huge discount shopping weekend at the Malaga Convention Center, where vendors come and sell maybe their overstock? Or items that are out of season? Anyway, it involved clothes, shoes, children's clothing, housegoods, and even some kitchen appliances. My friend Lily invited Doralicia (mom of my students) and me to go, so the 3 of us ladies piled in the car and headed over this afternoon. After we exited the autovia (highway) and were approaching the convention center, suddenly the little screen in the middle of the console beeped and flashed a message at us to inform us that they engine was too hot and needed coolant. Sure enough, the little gauge was all the way over in the red, and in the middle of the area in front of the driver there was a red light and kept flashing STOP STOP STOP over and over at us...yikes! Luckily, we were already there so we were able to keep going long enough to park safely and let the engine cool while we shopped.

And shop we did! It was overwhelming...we realized we came right after siesta, so there was a huge rush of people that arrived the same time we did. I had expected a crowd, and it was a bit crazy at times. Sometimes just walking down the aisles I almost started throwing elbows just to get through :) But they did have some good deals..I realized it is a tad chillier here than I had anticipated, so I bought another long sleeved blue cardigan. I also found a pair of green flats (shoes) that were on a good sale. I was tempted to buy a pair of cute boots, but I restrained myself. (Well, plus the ones I tried on didn't zip all the way up my leg. Boo for having fat calves :( But the ladies at the shoe booth were friendly and patient with my broken Spanish!
Also, we got a microwave for my little kitchen area. hooray! After doing a little research in the past few days, we got an idea of the prices of microwaves in the main stores around here. They had a nice looking microwave today for 39 Euro, which was by far the least expensive we've seen. It wasn't fun to carry it all the way through to convention center out through the parking lot to the car, but hey, we got it there!

We pile in the car and go to drop off some people who met us there and sure enough, after about 5 minutes the car is again yelling at us to STOP STOP STOP! and we're in the red again. Lily's friend points us in the general direction of where she's pretty sure there's a gas station and after a scary 5 minutes of not seeing anything, the bright BP sign is like a haven. Thank you Lord! We pull in to where you get air and water, and luckily there is a guy there who had just finished putting air in his tires. Dora (who is fluent) goes up to him and asks if he knows anything about radiators (like, where they are under the hood...?) and explains the situation to him. He very kindly helped us out by not only finding the radiator, but filling it with water for a quick fix to get us home safely. We got in the car and again said thank you Lord for sending us this guy! We made it home safe and sound and tired from a long evening of shopping. But it was a good time :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I feel like I say that a lot to people here! I had the chance to practice my Spanish a little more today...and I discovered I'm still horribly out of practice! I had to send a fax from a store in town, and it didn't go through. The man said something to me that I didn't catch, but I was able to understand that the line was busy and I'd have to try again later. I'm hoping that that overwhelming sense of panic and deer-in-headlights look on my face when someone speaks to me in Spanish will eventually diminish as time goes on :) I suppose it's up to me, though, to get out there more! I've also been able to interact with employees at IKEA and the supermarket to ask basic questions, but I feel like I communicate like a 5 year old. "I want, I need, where is..." etc. I think this needs to on a list of goals for my time become more comfortable with the language and actually use it in the community! It's just a challenge for me when I'm not really that chatty to begin with, even in English :) 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Field Trip!

Life is rolling along nicely here in Alhuarin de la two students are still eager to come to school, so that's a good sign! I'm enjoying getting to know them and their unique, fun personalities. Sometimes I forget that they are in the midst of such a huge transition in their lives- moving across the Atlantic to live in a new country. They are adapting well so far, and in fact the whole family has been a huge help and support for me too, during this time. They are living here in the same house as me for now, while looking for a house to rent. They're a blessing :)

On Tuesday of this week, we went on our first field trip of the school year! A group of people here that work on CRM's staff care team planned a trip up to the city of Granada and we decided to go along. More specifically, we went to visit the Alhambra, which was (insert history lesson here...) a huge palace, fortress, and small town that was built by the Moors in the 13th and 14th centuries. Granada was the last Moorish kingdom left in Spain by the end of the 1400s, and the Alhambra was the center of the Moorish rule there. In 1492 the Reconquista, led by Ferdinand and Isabella, reached the Alhambra and the Moors surrendered and left Spain. (Sorry...I studied and taught all about the Alhambra with my girls on Monday, so I need to spread my knowledge somewhere. ;) I even had them make a foldable to help them learn the basic facts, with a little help from my dad on Skype! Thanks, Dad!)

Anyway, we woke on Tuesday to a sunny day here on the coast, but as we drove inland the rains descended. And cooold! It was the cutest thing, the girls had gotten their first pair of winter gloves before coming here to Spain and they were super excited about them! Coming from Costa Rica, gloves were not a winter necessity, I suppose. They were fuzzy, muppet-like gloves and by the end of the day I was wishing I had had my own pair!
We had a fun time anyway, despite getting rained on throughout the day. The gardens around the Alhambra are beautiful, as is the Moorish design and architecture. I can't even put it into words, I'll just be attaching some pictures below to show you! You can't even wrap your mind around how much work must have gone into building this place, with all the intricate tiles and designs carved in the walls and ceilings. I highly recommend a visit if you're ever in Spain!

I highly enjoyed the city of Granada as fact, I'd like to go back and do some more shopping. In addition to all the twisty little alleyways we visited, filled with Moroccan goods and teterias (tea shops, many filled with hookah things), I also made an exciting discovery as we were driving out of the city....a Sephora! Woohoo! Bare Escentuals makeup, here I come! (it's the small things, okay?)

View of the Alhambra, on the left, from the gardens

Waiting to go inside...getting rained on...with the village Albaicin in the distance

The beautiful columns inside with intricate arabic designs

This is a ceiling in one of the cool!

Hanging out in one of the courtyards, by the reflecting pool

This is just a sampling of the Alhambra...I can put more pictures in a Snapfish album, if anyone is interested..let me know!
Thank you for all your prayers and support for me while I'm here. Please know that I am thinking of home often, even if I'm not able to call or write as much as I'd like. But please feel free to email me or try me on Skype! It's just my first and last name. Even if you don't have video, I can still use it as my phone! It just gets a little lonely here sometimes, though I know I am where I'm supposed to be :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Eating nutella straight of the jar can only mean 2 things....1- nutella is awesome and delicious and 2- I desperately need to go food shopping.
As a small jar of peanut butter costs about the equivalent of $5, nutella is making itself a fine replacement. Not the same, but also delicious!
Life suddenly got rather busy, which is why I haven't blogged lately (and why I'm getting down to eating nutella a la carte), but I will very soon put up pics about our field trip yesterday to the Alhambra in Granada!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

El parque de las palomas

Pigeon Park! That's where we went yesterday on a little outing, because Nov. 1st is All Saints Day here, which means the kids had off from school. Since my littlest student turned 6 today, we took the opportunity to celebrate her birthday yesterday while everyone had off from school. We had a little picnic and spent the afternoon at the pigeon park, which is a really pretty park right on the coast. Like, you could see the water from the top of the hill where we ate our snack. The weather was gorgeous- sunny, blue sky, a bit windy, but still nice... and we were surrounded by nature. Literally. There were free roaming chickens, roosters, and giant bunnies!
So, we're walking to the entrance, and I'm hearing roosters crowing and I'm like...where is that coming from?? Apparently, from the roosters wandering around inside. And they're not afraid of you. They're not aggressive or anything, they're just not afraid to start cock-a-doodle-do-ing from a foot behind you while you're sitting on a bench, trying to have a conversation. :) I found it all delightful, actually. And of course, there were pigeons down by the little lake. And little turtles, swans, seagulls, ducks, etc. Also a place to bring your non-traditional pets, because we saw 2 ferrets on leashes, and a small 5 month old piglet! Needless to say, the kids had a blast with all the animals.

Below are some pictures from the day...

The pond below

From where we ate lunch you can see the Sea!

And I forgot to mention the decapitated heads the children could climb and play inside. Hm.

Aforementioned chickens and roosters, looking for food.

One of the free bunnies, enjoying some peace before being chased by children.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

That boo is me boo-ing being sick, but I guess it also fits today..happy halloween! Halloween isn't nearly as big of a deal here in Spain as in the US, but it is celebrated. From what I can gather, it isn't as light hearted, like the fun costumes and candy we're used to. Of the little bit of costumes or makeup I've seen, it celebrates the darker side...lots of blood, ghouls, skeletons...dead things I suppose. The girls in the one family who was living here last year said they got one piece of candy last Halloween! Disappointing, I'm sure. So, I have no real halloween plans for today, other than trying to feel better.
I felt this cold coming on two days ago and tried to fight it with my Zicam as best I could...but alas, I failed. I woke up stuffy yesterday and overnight last night I got headache-y and a little feverish. I'm feeling better this afternoon, as I took something for my headache and ate some homemade chicken soup made by the mom of the family I'm staying with. She made it a few days ago, but was kind of enough to offer it to me! So delicious. But I think its a good day to pop in a movie and curl up for a bit.
Have a safe and fun Halloween!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Up in the hills

Well life suddenly sped up! I moved to another house and started teaching in the past few days. I had been staying with members of the team in town until the house where I am staying became available. I tell you, I'm getting good at packing up my belongings into suitcases and hitting the road! First from LA back home, then across the Atlantic and around a small town in Spain :) Keeps life interesting, right?

I think I'm settled though, at least for a while. I am staying in the bottom level of a house up on the side of a hill. I spent 4 years living in a valley in LA, looking up at the hills and now I am up on the hill, overlooking a huge valley in Malaga! Technically, I am in the "basement," but being on the side of a hill, its really just the bottom level. I have windows and a door that leads down to the lower patio and garden. I hope to spend this weekend arranging and setting up, then I will post some pictures.

I've also begun teaching this week! I have 2 super sweet, very eager little students! I wasn't really planning to begin digging in with academics until next week, so they'd have a week to adjust to this huge transition in their lives, but they couldn't wait to start school! We had a good time playing and getting to know each other the first day, Tuesday, and each day I've slowly started introducing each subject. One girl is 4th grade, and the other is kindergarten. I'm already discovering the challenges of having 2 different ages at the same time, but once we figure out our routines and get to know each other better I'm sure things will fall in place.

And apparently Monday is some holiday here, so the schools have off...3 day weekend!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Market Fun

It's a beautiful 70-ish degrees outside today, and I am going to venture out to the market to do some food shopping. I am currently staying with another member of the CRM team here in Spain, Lily, and she's been kindly feeding me for the past 24 hours. We actually went to a large mercado (market) in Malaga on Saturday, and had fun exploring the stalls that sold fresh fruit and veggies, and whole aisles of fresh fish and seafood, then aisles of meats and cheeses. It was crowded and loud and overwhelming, but that's what makes it fun! Thanks to my lack of knowledge of the metric system, I almost bought over 2 pounds of bananas, but luckily Lily stopped me and pointed out how many bananas that would be! So I told the guy to stop at less than 1 kilo, instead of getting 2 kilos. Then he asked me questions about where I was from, what I did for a living, was I married!? All in Spanish, which made it the longest exchange I've had with a local in Spanish thus was a little stressful! I'm hoping the feeling of slight panic when someone speaks to me in Spanish will subside eventually, as I get more comfortable with the language!
Anyway, after we were finished at the market, it was lunchtime so we walked a little further into the main pedestrian area to get some bocadillos for lunch. A bocadillo is basically a sandwich, and I like getting some of the Spanish jamon (ham) and cheese on the yummy crusty bread they have everywhere.  I'll have to start taking some more food pictures, because I'm one of those people who likes to remember everything I eat when I travel...I've had some really yummy tapas as well!
I don't know if I'll actually start teaching this week, but I will spending some time with the girls setting up our classroom space, and getting to know them a bit better. Jet lag hits hard though, so it may be a few days until everyone feels back to normal.
Here is a picture of the main entrance to the market. I know the building has some history to it, from the time the Moors were in Spain...much of the architecture and tile patterns have a heavy Moroccan influence here in southern Spain. ( I know this is rather vague, and as I educate myself more on the history of the region, I will become better at providing details!)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Alhaurin de la Torre

Something-of-the-tower is as much translation as I can get for the town's name, Alhaurin de la Torre. It's such a cute town! I walked around the other day with the family dog, Yogi, and took some pictures of the streets and plazas....
The Torre! In the middle of town on the main street, I suppose this is official tower.

This is the street where I was staying temporarily. (In a house, not on the street of course.)

One of the many little courtyards, or plazas, in town, surrounded by apartments

Fun shop I passed by...but didn't get to stop in because I had the dog with me. I'll go back, if I can find it again...

I took this picture because I love the pedestrian alleys in town, and how they're made of that red tile and stone designs. Very cool.

On nearly every building there is a tile design...I may go around one day and take pics of all the different patterns!

Yogi was ready to go home.

 On a side note, the family I will be working with arrived in Spain today! I'm looking forward to getting to know the girls, and having a fun school year. Tomorrow we may be going to get churros and coffee (my sombra doble), and of course hot chocolate to dip the churros in...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Wrapping couches in IKEA (ee-kay-uh)

So as my plane was landing last week in Malaga, we flew in just after sunset over the Mediterranean. I soaked it all was light enough to see the outlines of the mountains, the ripples in the water, and the coastline...but dark enough to see city lights dotted along the coast, up the mountains, illuminating the..ooooh IKEA! Who knew?? I was excited to see something so familiar and useful, really, when settling into a new place for an extended period of time. Tonight I had the chance to go to Ikea Malaga, and it is...the same as in the US. Well, I pretty much expected that. But it was still fun to walk around the model living rooms and kitchens and sit on multiple couches and watch fake tv. My friend Lily was in the market for some new furniture, and was successful in finding a pair of nice leather couches in the as-is section, at a nice discount! When we finally made it to the front of the line for delivery drop off, we were informed, however (after a few translation missteps and looks of confusion), that since they were not purchased new and had been final sale items, they weren't responsible if for any damages incurred (is that the word I want?) during delivery. Well, that's a bummer, but they've already been paid over we go to the rolls of brown packing paper to wrap them to the best of our abilities! It was an interesting experience...(see picture below)
By the time we were done gift wrapping her couches, it was 9:30pm...which is dinnertime! So, off we went to have some tapas at a nearby shopping plaza. Yum!

Tomorrow, maybe some pictures of the town I'm living in...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Yesterday I had the pleasure of joining a small group of people on a trip to Marbella, a beach town about 45 minutes from Malaga. This was my first trip to the beach here, which I definitely wanted to do while it's still warm! We left the house in later afternoon, and got out to Marbella around 4:00pm. The weather was ideal...warm enough to enjoy the sunshine, and as the evening went on we were still able to sit outside comfortably with a light jacket. We walked down to the water, had some coffee and pastries at a cafe on the walkway by the beach (comparable to a boardwalk or strand) and walked around a little shopping center that was a maze of little narrow alleyways and courtyards. It's definitely a tourist spot, as most of the people I walked past were conversing in English. Many people from the UK vacation down here actually. Even here in the smaller town I'm living in, Alhaurin, there are a number of people from England. are some photos from our trip. First of the Mediterranean Sea, then the shopping alleys...

Sombra doble, what's that?

Coffee is very important to me. I don't drink it so much for the caffeine (as I have been known to often indulge in a cup of night coffee) as for the warmth and comfort it brings. Here in Spain the coffee is espresso based, which is rather strong for my tastes. One of the first things the family I am staying with taught me is how to order coffee locally. Cafe con leche is half espresso, half milk. A nube (cloud) is about a quarter espresso and the rest milk, and a sombra (literally translated = shadow) is in between these two. Since we Americans like our portions big, I like to order the doble (double), which is a large. So, there it is! My coffee drink of choice (so far) is a sombra doble, or a double shadow :)
(sidenote- they also informed me this is a regional thing, so if you find yourself anywhere other than the southern coast of Spain, don't follow this advice!)

Bienvenidos a mi blog! Welcome to my blog! My first entry...I feel pressure to impress with eloquent ramblings of the beauty and splendor of the Spanish culture and countryside. It is beautiful, but alas, I am not very eloquent or articulate in my writing. Or speech. But I will do my best to keep an updated log of my life and adventures here in Spain.

As many of you know, I am staying on the southern coast of Spain, near the city of Malaga. I will actually be living in a village just outside of the city called Alhaurin de la Torre. I have been here for a full week as of today! I am staying with one of the missionary families that has been living here for about a year and a half, the Galloways. They have been kind enough to open their home to me and my 4 pieces of luggage. (hey, you try packing your life into suitcases for 10 months. not easy!) They have a beautiful home right in town, within easy walking distance of the market, a park, and any little cafe or shop you could want. If you picture a cute, charming European town with narrow one way streets and little cafes on the corner, that's Alhaurin de la Torre. Either today or tomorrow I hope to just walk around and take pictures, so they will be up on here soon!

The family I will be homeschooling for arrives on Saturday, and I am very much looking forward to meeting them! At that point I will probably be moving to stay in another house, a little bit outside of the main town. My living situation is a bit up in the air, but rest assured I will always have somewhere to stay! There are just a few possibilities at this point, and we just need to wait and see which one will work out the best. It is a good practice in being flexible and go with the flow...

Yesterday we went a beautiful coastal town called Marbella, and I will soon make another post with picture from there. Since it is nearly 2:00pm here, it's almost time for lunch. (biggest meal of the day) I think we are having homemade gazpacho with fresh baguettes...mmm...bread...