About Me

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We are Familia FIG. We are a bi- lingual, blended family. Belalu was diagnosed at 9 months with hypochondroplasia.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

La Regatta de Cadiz 2006

During our last few days in Cadiz, the city underwent a transformation. Due to the sailing regatta, thousands of vistors from all over the world descended onto our little Cadiz, filling the streets and cafes. It brought a new energy to the city. Walking around, it was very common to see roving bands of sailors, many in uniform.
The ships themselves were beautiful and so cool to see up close. It was a really nice way to end this month.

This morning we all flew to Madrid, where we will be until the students fly out on Wednesday. Hard to believe it's almost over- there were days when it seemed like this month would just go on and on and on... But now, only three days left!
Despite all my complaints, I will have good memories of this month and the program in general. I love my co-workers, and these kids have been great. However, I am also ready to be done and to see my husband (!) again. My parents are coming to Spain on Thursday, and then we'll be going to the country in Northern Spain for our second wedding. Afterwards, we'll all be traveling around Spain for a while. But that's for other entries :)

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Knitting and City shots

Since my entry was so crabby yesterday, I wanted to include some pics of the city, because it really is a beautiful place. Cadiz is considered to be the most ancient city still in existence in Western Europe, and the legend of Herculus is strongly tied to here, as some believe that one of the mythical pillars was here. These pictures are from La Plaza de la Catedral, where some lovely restaurants are located, as well as our students' favorite: Ben and Jerrys.

We have been doing some major knitting here in Spain, which is pretty funny because all the students are knitting scarves on the beach in 90-something degree weather. Here are some of the knitters in one of our afternoon meetings.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

If I have to go to the hospital one more time, I will scream

Everyone has been asking me how things are going here, and I have to say, it really depends on when you catch me how my answer will be. Yesterday, for example, we had a really fun class where the students broke into groups and had a certain amount of money to spend and then a certain amount of time to buy food and prepare it. Everyone's dish was then rated on taste, presentation, etc. Then, me and some of my co-workers headed to the beach, where we scored some free lounge chairs by the hotel (avoiding paying the usually 4,50 euros fee); got some tintos de verano and great food at a bar/restaurant there, and then headed back later in the afternoon for knitting and a tour of the local cathedral. That night was the students' free time, so we all (the "counselors" as they call us), went to a really, really nice dinner. We were just thinking about getting dessert when two of us get simultaneous calls from a student's dad and the watchman at the residence that one of the students was throwing up in the bathroom from severe dehydration. This is the same student we all saw on the bus earlier heading to the beach, and told on four separate occasions that he should put on sunscreen. Not only did he not put on sunscreen, but he also did not drink water or eat anything except an ice cream during the six-hour period at the beach. We took him to the hospital last night, and I have been there with him all day. This is the sixth student we´ve taken for one ailment or another this month. So, don't ask me right now how things are going :)

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Cadiz is trashy these days, but Gibraltar is worse

The garbage people of Cadiz are currently on strike. Which means that there are piles of trash growing everywhere, and the city is starting to smell pretty bad. This is all taking place a couple of days before the big sailing regatta gets into town later this week.

The other day we crossed the border into Gibraltar, which is a British territory in the south of Spain. This is my third trip there, and I have to say, I have never really liked Gibraltar very much, but after Friday, I swear I will not go back there. Ever. Due to its geographic location linking the Mediterranean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean, Gibraltar for centuries has been a major strategic point, both economically and militarily. Tourists go there to see vestiges of military history; ride the cable car to the top of the rock; eat fish and chips and spend way too much money for everything. Especially ice cream. (More on the later). There are actually some amazing caves in the rock that are really cool to see. Everyone´s other favorite part (present company excluded) of Gibraltar are the Barbary Apes that roam freely all over the rock area. While they may at first appear cute and seem interesting for being the only wild monkeys in Europe, they are actually pretty shady characters these apes. And let me tell you why: they steal anything they can. But most importantly, and most cruelly, considering you are on top of a huge rock with no shade in 90-something degree weather, they really like ice cream. Now, everyone tells you to be careful with your newly acquired Wally´s Mint Magnum, but you think, "well, duh, obviously I will not be walking towards a monkey with an ice cream in my hand." But what you do not realize is that you don´t have to be anywhere near one of these buggers to lose your ice cream. They will simply swoop down from the trees, grab your ice cream, use your chest as a diving board to jump back into the trees, and then sit just out of reach, eating your nearly-$5 Mint Magnum. Of course when this happens, you let out a scream because you almost just got knocked over by a freaking money, and you no longer have your ice cream, but you do still have a 20-minute walk uphill without shade awaiting you. And you have just become the amusement of all the women, men, and children in the area. Not to mention the monkeys who are also laughing at your stupidity. So, there´s nothing left to do but find a cool pub, get a pint of Caffreys and a plate of fish and chips and get yourself another ice cream for dessert, far off the rock and away from those darn apes. And never, ever, go back there.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Wedding Pictures

My photographer, Michelle Stapleton, just send me a link to the digital shots from the wedding. We have a lot more coming in print form, but for those of you who were there, you'll want to check these out, because you probably appear a couple of times. She and her assistant Hannah did such a great job, and I am very excited to see the rest when I get back next month. They were a lot of fun to have around, too.

To my secret pal: I did get a package- thank you so much! I can't wait to see what it is. I hope my mom will bring it with her when she comes to Spain, so I don't have to wait another three weeks to see it.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Still Here in Cadiz

So, the days are going by, and for the most part I can say I am enjoying myself. I am missing my puppy and husband and quiet life in Winona, but this is a beautiful city and I am working with great people, so I really can't complain too much :)

Here is my baby before I left, just begging me to take her with me. She is doing well and being taken care of, though, so I can't let myself feel too guilty about abandoning her for the summer.

I have been teaching some people here to knit- we have quite the little group now. I have also been working on a summer knitting project with yarn purchased in my last Spain trip. However, I ran out of yarn today with only a little left to go, which is horrible because I can't find another store here that sells it, and I think the one in Madrid will be closed for summer vacation when we go. This is very frustrating, and I don't understand why this keeps happening to me lately.

Cadiz skyline from the beach

View from my room

My knitting project that may never be

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Wedding Pictures! (Last ones, I promise)

Ok, so I finally got the picture thing straightened out. So, here are a few more pics, and these will be the last because really, how many pictures of the same people, same day, same place does one need to see? (Note: these are in reverse chronological order because I am paying by the minute and don´t want to take the time to switch them)

My family

The best man (Juan's friend Alfonso) and maid of honor (my sister Meridith)

The bride and groom

The kiss to seal the deal

"Unity sand" during the ceremony- sand from both our shores

Vows and rings and such

Details: We were married on Sunday, June 25th at 11 a.m. at the Dockside Guest Quarters in York, Maine. The reception followed at the restaurant there. It was a gorgeous setting: a small peninsula in a harbor full of fishing boats and sail boats. It didn´t rain, either :)

Happy 4th of July

Ok, so I am little late with that. Obviously, they don't celebrate the 4th in Spain, but we did so by going to the beach and having a picnic and soccer game that night. The program has been going really well (we knock on wood everytime we say/think that :) and tonight is their first "free night," so we'll see how that goes. So far we've had a lot of fun things planned- a tapas night on the rooftop terraza here at the residence, beach day, watching the World Cup game last night in a main plaza here with the rest of the town, lots of gelatto breaks... tomorrow we're taking a day trip to Tarifa, the southernmost point in Europe. On a good day, you can see Africa across the strait. Tarifa is also the windsurfing capital of Europe (maybe the world?- not sure how official these titles are :) and has a cool vibe to it- it's like a mix of Spain, California, and Morocco.

I'm still working on pictures. I have found a really cool cafe with a computer where I can download my camera files to my jump drive, but I can't seem to open the files here. I'll keep trying, though. I am also working on a fun summer knitting project that I hope to post pics of soon.

My friend Chris who I am working with here in Cadiz just spent the last month in Morocco, and included lots of details and info on his blog (see the Peripatetikos link to the right)- if you have some time, check it out. He is the paragon of travlers.

Monday, July 03, 2006

In Spain again

For those of you who don´t know why I keep going here, I´m actually getting paid to go to Spain twice this summer. My last trip was with college students who are here for the summer. I just showed them around, dropped them off in the town they´re studying in, and went back home. This time I am with 35 American high school students and 4 other staff members for the month. We live in a residence, they take classes and then we have activities and trips. I´ll include photos of Cadiz when I find a computer that lets me upload them.

We got in yesterday afternoon. The only mishaps so far were quickly resolved. One student from NYC left his passport at home, and his parents were also at JFK because they were about to get on another flight to Europe. So, they called the doorman who went up and found it. Then the student´s friend who was also going on the trip went by and picked it up for him and brought it to the airport. Then, the other staff member who was going to be there got in three hours late, and since she doesn´t have a cell phone, I wasn´t sure if she was going to make the flight and couldn´t talk to her to find out where she was. But she arrived with a half hour to spare, so issue solved. We´ll see as the program progresses if the good luck continues.

Below I have posted the only pictures I can at the moment. I hope to be able to get some clearer shots of us together up soon.