Sunday, January 27, 2013

Home Sweet Second Home

I’ve neglected this blog for far too long. Needless to say I’ve been keeping myself very busy after having a less than perfect Christmas holiday. Since my return to beloved Spain, it’s been a whirlwind. I went to work the day after arriving in Logroño and therefore I was jetlagged! But, I did pretty well considering the circumstances. I was thrilled to be back at work and really busy again. I’ve been throwing myself into activities that I would not have had the opportunity to participate in if it weren’t for my coworker Elena. The next weekend after being back, I went to play ‘padel’, the combo (in my opinion) of tennis and racquetball, with Elena and some of her friends. I had never played padel before, but I was willing to give it a shot. What I wasn’t aware of was that ‘playing with a few friends’ meant a tournament! I was pretty shocked, but I rolled with the punches… apologizing to my partner, who seems to be an expert at padel, in advance for my lack of skill. We played for a solid 2.5 hours and my partner and I did NOT win but it was all for fun anyway. I had a great time, because I’ve played tennis before and I’m not saying I’m great at tennis, but I’m also not terrible…my hand-eye coordination is pretty decent so this game of padel wasn’t an entire failure. After the tournament, all 12 of us went to get a beer at 1:30pm. So Spanish of us. Elena’s friends asked me questions about the US and the winning team gave me a bottle of cava, which is like Spanish champagne, for coming out and playing with them! I didn’t deserve it, but I didn’t refuse it! So nice! Elena also kept me busy this weekend by inviting me and my other coworker Nuria on a hike with a couple of her friends. We drove about 30 minutes north of Logroño into Pais Vasco and we hiked the ‘Carboneras’ and it was a relatively easy hike that eventually led us into a pueblo called Bernedo. We arrived in Bernedo about 2pm and the small town was dead, there was nobody around. We walked through the town, looking at the small school, the church, the houses and the playground. It was really very fun. The rain held off for us until we were in the car, how fortunate!

Last weekend, I went with my friend Emma to Palma to celebrate San Sebastian! We met up with another friend and his girlfriend to enjoy the festival. We stayed with my former host family and I have to say that they really took to Emma and vice versa. Revisiting Palma this time, unlike the previous times last year was for me a very fulfilling experience. The last two times I visited I felt a little out of place, but this time I was with friends and enjoying the festival. It made Palma feel like home again. This festival has concerts in every plaza in the city of different genres, and numerous grills, torradas, randomly scattered throughout the city where people bring their own meat from home and roast them on these open grills and eat all together.  It’s pretty terrific! This year due to the poor economy they took out the big fireworks display that is usually on Saturday night. Regardless, we had a great time. Our favorite ‘concert’ was in the Plaza Mayor, listening to traditional Mallorcan music and watching them dance. Emma tried to join in and she wasn’t bad! Other amazing times on our trip were buying pearls (nothing too crazy for me…studs), eating Coca de Patata at one of my old favorite places C’an Joan d’Saigo (where we met up with Eva and David the newlyweds), and entering the cathedral during mass. I can honestly say this was one of the better trips I’ve taken despite the rain! The night before leaving I caught a dreadful cold and when I landed in Madrid it turned out that I had to make a beeline for Terminal 4 to catch my bus. I literally sprinted to catch the bus just as the bus driver was starting it up. Thank goodness I didn’t miss it, but man it was not fun to run that fast with that cold.

Things with the schools are still going great, last Wednesday I went to see Pinocchio with the infantile students of all 4 schools in the CRA. We had about 60 students from ages 3-5 (excluding the San Roman students who are older) wandering around the center of Logroño. We saw the play, which was very good at capturing and maintaining the attention of the students for a full hour. After the play we saw the old fortress wall in the city. You can carefully climb up the stairs and see a pretty awesome view. The kids loved it. Of course navigating them back to the bus stop was no easy feat. Some would complain we were walking too slowly and suggested that we run. NO CHILDREN, NO RUNNING.

Anyway, I think I covered all the main points since I’ve been back. Below are the photos from Palma and today's hike followed by a video of the Mallorcan dance! Next weekend is my birthday and I haven’t quite figured out what I’ll do, but I am going to have a great time! Hasta pronto.

True Love

La Torrada

Mallorcan Dance

Emma dancing the traditional dance

Xisca's Paella yummm!
Field trip to Pinocchio and the Fortress Wall

School painting found in Bernedo