Friday, December 24


There are a few differences between US and Spanish Holiday seasons:

1.      Holiday decorations in Spain go up on Halloween (in most places), while US the rule is after Thanksgiving.
Street in Malaga
2.       Santa doesn’t put gifts under the Christmas tree on Christmas in Spain. It is the Three Kings (Melichior, Vaspar and Balthasar) put them in either shoes or by the Nativity set (Belen) on the Day of Epiphany, which in January.
Balthasar in the Flesh and asking for Money.

3.       Candy canes and chocolate Santas are replaced by Pulvorones, Turrones and Jamon.
4.       Houses are not usually decorated with lights, they are usually restricted to all the streets. However, recently, pisos began buying Santa decorations where Santa is usually hanging from a balcony or parachuting in. I did see one such decoration, but with the Three Kings, which I really enjoyed.

Almunecar's Santas have problems traveling.
5.       Spanish work holiday parties are usually dinners that last from 3pm until 8, then there is a bar/disco afterwards for copas and dancing until 3 or 4am. Even though my last US holiday party at the Tap was pretty amazing (yay for brewery tours, open bar and Cossettas!), but this year’s was pretty fun.
The only foto I got that evening

That is all I can think of right now. And here are some details on some recent events here:

Spanish Baking MacGyver Style - Wine Bottles work better
Gingerbread making à I felt inspired after returning from my Puente travels and decided to make gingerbread houses with my students. Thanks to a video sent by a friend, I found this idea for mini houses. Therefore each student can try to construct their own houses. Thus, I enlisted the help of Roxann, a friend and fellow auxilar in Malaga, in making the 30 houses x (2 sides + 2 fronts + 2 roofs) = 90 cookies plus some extras. That afternoon, we began mixing the dough, making templates and cutting out the cookies. Some other professors came over to have dinner (curry!!! Yummy!!!) and make the gingerbread house my mom sent me. They then learned how to make gingerbread. It was my first time making the bread too, so I wasn’t much of a teacher.

About Half the Blurry Houses
After all that work, figuring out icing, decorations and how to explain it to the kiddies, it was go time! I had 33 houses with a couple extra cookies, icing doled out (despite having to run in the pouring rain sin umbrella to J’s piso to retrieve the forgotten icing in the fridge), and a vague plan. Overall, despite the chaos and insanity, it turned out well. The majority of kids were able to construct a house but eating was another problem. The cookies were a bit hard… but they said they liked them! The professors also liked the cookies, so much so to snack on them before I brought them to class. Which was my fault, I shouldn’t have left the box on the table! The next day, some students and professors (mainly me) ate the other fancy gingerbread house.
Trader Joe House
One of the Kiddies House

The Aftermath

Institute Holiday Dinner à Yummy food and fun company. Good way to explain it. Al-Andalus held a holiday dinner at a restaurant in the center. Consisted of three courses: shared first course of pate, stuffed peppers, (interesting) omelet, salad with avocados, cheese, mangos and yummy. For the second course, many people got the duck but I decided to go safe with pork in a port sauce (too bad I was soo full of wine and the first bit). Then finally I got a bright green, lemon cheese cake. One Spanish tradition I do enjoy greatly is a chupito of orujo after the dinner. Its free too usually! Then after eating, everyone went to Missisippi (that is how it is spelled outside, but inside they spell it right) and suffice to say, it was fun and I saw sides of people for the first time.  I want another Institute Dinner.

Holidays à Right as I am writing this, I am attempting to make lemon bars and snickerdoodles for a Christmas dinner on Saturday. Lemon bars will be interesting… but I hope the cookies turn out [EDIT: they didnt, they too are hard :( )!

This will be my first official Christmas season away from the family. They are all gathering in Milwaukee with the snow, while I am sitting here on a terrace listening to the surf pound the beach. Instead of snow (or sleet at times), I get lots of rain and 60s temps. It doesn’t feel like the holidays to me at all. Even though I have a stocking here full of presents (I still haven’t opened them! Now I did and my favorite: Sample size medical Blistex, hahahahha), holiday decorations,  am going to a Christmas dinner… it still just feels like any other day except I am baking.
No Snow Forcasted in my Holiday Season
What is she going to do?
What I am planning on doing is the following:
1.       Malaga on Friday (Nochebuena) and hopefully find a carnaceria open so that I can buy a ham to roast
2.       Christmas Day there will be a dinner at Spanish Times and then going out
3.       Madrid or Cordoba on Sunday or Monday
4.       La La La Fun Fun Fun TBA
5.       Linares for New Years Eve (noche vieja) and probably day.
6.       Exploring somewhere until the 10th when I start work again. 
And yes, my Grilled Cheese can beat yours. 

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you've had a pretty great pre-holiday season! I wish I could've partaken in some of those dinner and drinking parties with you. I also love the picture of the parachuting Santas. Have a wonderful Christmas!! I'll be thinking of you here when we all meet at the Blue Door or the Tap for a beer.

    Also, GENIUS idea to use a bottle as a rolling pin. I ended up using my hands when I made pie crust the other week. Kind of pathetic...