Friday, February 25


It is official. I renewed. If they accept me, I will be a Language and Culture Assistant for another year. 

Many have heard my internal debate on what to do next year, mainly relating to staying with my present school, staying in Andalucia or switching entirely. Here is My Decision: I am not staying at Al-Andalus, but hopefully staying in Andalucia  (I hope the Junta will understand the clues hidden in my motivation statement and put me in Sevilla - I want to row!), with Cataluna as my second choice and Asturias third.

I hope I made the right decision. I enjoy my school here, my coworkers are extremely nice and the students are good (aka they don't kill each other or get into many fights. I have also found a way to make them all be quiet). Almunecar is a beautiful little city by the beach with decent weather. However this is an opportunity to live in Spain, to explore what it has to offer. So I am taking it!

Monday, February 21

24 Amazing Things

I shall now count all the amazing things that I have done this month:
1 It was a beautiful day today. I am quite excited that summer is coming, that I will soon be able to go swimming. But some certain Spainards keep telling me that March is an insane month: One day it will be wicked hot and the next it will be wicked cold by SSS (Southern Spain Standards).

Cooking and baking here in Almuñecar 2-6. Valentine Snickerdoodles with Emily, chocolate chip cookies, yellow cake, strawberry pie, pork dumplings, soup of various kinds (todays is onion!) and kim chee (or soon to be... cross your fingers!)

From the Matisse show
7/8/9 I had some visitors:  Ted from Jaen, Emily from London, and Roxann from Malaga. Roxann, Emily and I met in Granada for a whirl wind visit. 10 Emily and I got to see the Alhambra and its Matisse exhibit (free!! You should all go. Yes you... even if you are in Minnesota, Toronto or elsewhere) and then we all went to watch the sunset in the Albizin, which we missed. However! 11 Some Bulgarians thought we an interesting and took a picture of it. The weird thing is that one of them lives in Almunecar.

12 One weekend I went up to Jaen to see Barb and others... and got to go on beautiful sunny hike/run in the mountains South of Jaen. It was like a run through an art gallery except with no security guards and it is uphill, outside.

Then back in Almuñecar I went to a wine tasting class 13 (Cata de Vino or something), which I understood about 20% of what the guy said. But I did get to drink some tasty wines from around Spain along with a food paring. I almost felt like I was at Top Chef, but it was in Spanish, and there was no Tom or Padma.

Early in the morning the next day, 14 I made my way up to Sevilla to see Prachi, a girl I knew back in Toronto. 15/16/17/18 We had fun with our British host, walking around the city, enjoying the sun (and 27 degree day!) next to the river, eating lots of tapas, saw a dj with silver
teeth play, drinking warm champagne in a doorway just because it was raining.

"Tomatoes are green
before they are red"
The Cathedral was beautiful, and people who live in Sevilla are lucky because they get in for free. I could spend hours in there.19+++ Some really good pizza there too: Goats cheese with Jalapeños. If you want to go, the pizzeria is near Cafe Central on the Alameda. It was fun to be able to communicate while traveling... it was the first time I actually felt somewhat comfortable with speaking Spanish. Took me long enough. I wouldnt mind living in Sevilla... I could start rowing again then!

Now for the future 20 I have many plans ahead for traveling: Valencia, Lagos, Paris, Amsterdam, more of Spain and London. 21 The Parents are invading Almuñecar along with the favorite daughter (Ana) and her husband in about two weeks now. I hope they enjoy my new home time and prepare themselves for a free tapas (still have to buy the drink though) marathon!!!!! 22 Annie-Bananie will be coming soon as well, dont know yet but it will be in March! Then 23, Semana Santa travels and visitors (Steph and Natalia right now), I hope Morocco is sane enough to allow for our visit.

Finally 24, which was what inspired this post was: Staring into fires It made me remember how I spent most of the day after New Years Eve. Staring into this fire:

Thursday, February 10

Grocery Store Adventures

There are two main grocery stores in my town, Lidl and Mercadona. Lidl is a giant German discount chain that I believe mainly caters to the large German pensioner population living here. Half the food is labeled in German, which often results in increased confusion while grocery shopping. I love that I can find lots of crazy German beer to subsitute in when I am tired of Alhambra or San Miguel, but I really have a hard time finding cream cheese since there are three types that have the almost the same name, carton, price, etc... I usually go by the picture and buy via trial and error.

While Mercadona is a Spanish company that plays their jingle all the time while you are shopping, which often results in you breaking out humming, "Mercadona, Mercadonaaaaa" while walking down the street, or while doing the dishes. (this girl's version which is pretty bad, but it is better than the hundreds of Mercadona house remixes).

Most of the time, I do shop with my eyes and don't even bother trying to read labels. Now I am trying to get a better understanding of the food available by studying the selections. The main differences I can spot are in meat and cheese. Cheddar selections are one thing I miss here, along with string, pepperjack and marbled cheese. Now I get to choose between Tierrna, semicurado, curado (all appearing to be a mix of goats, sheep and cow's milk) and what appears to be different types of American cheese. And the deli selection, I have no idea where to start. So I take one random sliced meat product each week... and this week it's a type of lomo embucado. Tasty.

Yo Quiero
Just discovered, Lidl's ice cream selection is sad.  Strawberries/Cream, Chocolate/Cream, Cookies/Cream and Caramel/Cream. While all good choices, I would love some Ben & Jerry's Phish Food.