Friday, October 28, 2011

Care Package

I now feel like a true expat...this week I received my first care package! When I was packing to move to Malaga, I was weary of bringing two large rolling suitcases because I was going to be in a new city, and I was going to be by myself; so to make things easier, I only brought one bag. For most people, this would have been plenty of room for clothes. But for me, a perpetual "over-packer," I barely made it a month wearing those clothes ;)

After days about an hour of agonizing over what to bring, and what could wait, I packed a suitcase of clothes to bring with me, a suitcase of heavy winter clothes for my family to bring when they come visit me, and a box of clothes for my Mom to mail to me when I got settled into my apartment.



I knew that my Mom was mailing me some clothes, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that she had secretly packed some goodies into my box. 


Please note that hair products definitely count as goodies :)

Thanks Mom!!!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Vote, Vote, Vote!!!

For all of you readers out there who have FacebookI need your help! One of my Spanish friends (because now I'm cool enough to have Spanish friends), is in a contest to win a 1,000 euro scholarship to study abroad in the UK, and he needs more votes! 

My friend Álvaro will be traveling to the UK in the spring through Erasmus, a European-wide study abroad program, and if he wins this contest, he'll receive an 1,000 euro scholarship, that's almost $1,400 for all of my state-side friends!!

The contest is pretty simple, whoever gets the most votes wins, so I would really appreciate it if everyone could stop by and vote for him. You can only vote once, and the contest ends October 31st, so lets show him some love and try to help him out!!

I'll let him tell you how to vote in his own words:

"I need your help!

I'm participating in a contest and I need your vote. 

Just follow these steps:

Click on this link:


-Click on Like

-Click on "Aceder a Becas Erasmoos-blue"

-"Allow" the request for permission.

-Click on the green button "Votar" under Álvaro de la F

Please tell everyone to vote for me!

Thank you very much!!"


The community for international students. Can we help you ?
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"Real" Food

I haven't talked much about my apartment since I moved in (maybe a photo tour in the future?), but even though it's old, it's in a great location, and it's huge! The only drawback for me is the stove; It's not electric, we use butano, or butane, and it's not automatic so we have to light it every time we want to cook. While I have a gas stove at home, it turns on automatically, but here, I have literally been terrified to light this stove because I'm afraid I'm going to blow up the whole butano tank like a bomb.

The first couple of weeks we lived here I was too scared to even try to light it. While I didn't blow anything up, this also meant that any "cooking" I did involved the microwave. By the way, if you ever want to get looked at like you're completely crazy, cook some pasta in the microwave in front of some native Italians. But, after a trip to one of the largest grocery stores in town, I bought sooo much fresh food that I had to "conquer my fears" and light the stove (is that bad that my worst problem in life is lighting a stove?).

So here we are, my first "real" meal that I cooked in Spain....Chinese noodles with shrimp and broccoli!

Here's what you'll need: spaghetti noodles, water, broccoli, shrimp (I used langostinos, pretty much shrimp with the heads still on them), soy sauce, and olive oil. 

First you boil the water, and place the spaghetti in the boiling water for about 7-10 minutes. 

While you're waiting for the water to boil, cut the broccoli into smaller pieces, and shell the shrimp.




Sautee the shrimp and broccoli in equal parts olive oil and soy sauce (can't begin to describe how happy I was to find soy sauce in Spain). But, be careful with the soy sauce, especially if you're not using the low sodium kind because it can be very salty. 

This picture is from when I made a similar tomato based pasta so just pretend like you don't see the bacon,  thankyouverymuch. 

Lastly, when the noodles are done, drain them and add them to the shrimp and broccoli stir-fry. Add more olive oil and soy sauce to the noodles, but just enough soy sauce to turn the noodles brown.


Sautee the noodles in the stir-fry for about five minutes and then voila! You have Chinese noodles with shrimp and broccoli!


Buen provecho!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

***2,000***

*****2,000*****

I know I haven't done one of these posts in awhile but between getting settled in and starting work, I didn't even realize that I had passed 2,000 views!!! I remember the first day I started my blog, and how I was so happy to reach 100 views, now I have over 2,000!

Thanks to everybody for reading my blog and keeping up with my adventures in Spain :)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Scenes From Malaga


Not a cloud in the sky...






You have to love a city where you can still spend every afternoon at the beach in mid-October :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Processional...At Midnight???

The other day when we were walking home from la feria, we happened upon a religious processional...at midnight. The police had blocked off certain roads for people to view the processional, and there were people lining the streets for blocks. I still don't know what they were celebrating, and I'm still shocked that they were having a processional at midnight outside of Semana Santa ( the Holy Week around Easter), but the processional was beautiful, and ornate, just like all other Spanish processionals. 



Before the large float above came through, this woman sang this incredible opera type song from this little balcony above the street. You can kind of see her in the upper right of the picture below. 


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

School

As I reach the end of my second week of work, (tomorrow is a national holiday here in Spain, Fiesta Nacional--celebrating when Columbus arrived in North America), I wanted to share a few experiences from my first two weeks as a "teacher." I teach in a colegio, which is similar to an elementary school in that the school has children from ages 3-12. 

I requested to be in a colegio because I feel more comfortable around younger kids, and I haven't regretted that decision once. Every day when I walk into the younger classes, from the four year olds up to the second graders, the kids jump up and come running to give me a hug. On the first day, when I came to the school just to visit and introduce myself to the teachers, the kids reacted the same way. It reminded me of that talking dog in the movie "Up" that goes "I have just met you, and I love you." 

                                                                  Source

A couple of differences that I have noticed between the school I work in here, and the school's I've attended in the US are:

 In the US the students change classes every period, but here in Spain, the teachers change classrooms. The students stay in the same room, except for recreo or recess, and the different teachers, such as the English teacher, come to them.

Lunch is not served during the school day. The hours for the colegios here are from 9am-2pm, so instead of having lunch, the children bring a snack, like a small sandwich and drink, to eat while the whole school gets a period of recreo from 12-12:30. Lunch is served after school for those students who want it. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Spanish Word Of The Day

"Feria"
Feria (fair-e-ya): Fair

On Saturday, I made my first trip outside of Malaga, and I went all the way about 40 minutes, outside of the city by train to a town called Fuengirola. I have a few Auxiliares friends who live in "Fuengi" and they were all really excited about the Feria in Fuengirola. Even though I knew Feria meant "fair," I guess I was expecting some arts and crafts booths, and some food. But when we got there I was shocked to see an all-out "state fair" type carnival, with actual roller coasters, every type of food you can think of, and straight up bars in the middle of the fair. 


Legit coconut water. 



There were women and girls dressed in these beautiful, traditional  (I'm guessing) gowns. 

When I said there were bars at the feria, there were full service bars with music and everything! 
This girl was definitely enjoying the bar in her beautiful dress :)

Here are some of the rides and lights they had:




I had never seen this before, and I thought it was pretty cool. These were "bubble balls" (like you see at sporting events where people race across the field/court in them), but this time, they were in water!


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Best.Orientation.Ever

Last Thursday (three days after we started work) we had our orientation as Auxiliares de Conversacion in Malaga. There was a meeting where we went over the basics like our salary, how to get your NIE (foreign identification number), work expectations, and health insurance. I heard that afterwards there was some type of lunch, so I was thinking that we were going to have sandwiches, maybe some tortilla, and a few bottles of water. 

WRONG! As we headed to the lunch room, we were greeted by this beautifully dressed woman pouring glasses of wine before we even got into the door. 





After entering the room, there was a wide array of tapas spread over the whole room. The event was catered and there were waiters who came around with freshly sliced ham--Spaniards love their ham--, hot tapas, and of course...more drinks!


Just when I thought this orientation couldn't get any better, we found out that they had hired a live band! The band opened with Bob Marley and I instantly was in love. 

video

Just to recap, we had an open bar, unlimited tapas, paella, and dessert, and a live band....for FREE!

Have I ever told you how much I love Spain??

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

First Day Of School! First Day Of School!

While I live in Malaga capital, I actually work in a school in Cartama, a pueblo outside of Malaga. By car, Cartama is about a 20-25 minute drive, but by bus it takes an hour, and the buses only leave once an hour to make the trips between the two cities. Even though I went to visit my school last week and caught the 8am bus, and made it there right when school was starting with no problems, of course on my first day of work I missed my bus.

 I was supposed to be there at 10am, so I gingerly walked to the bus station to catch the 9am bus. Well, I guess I didn't walk gingerly enough because the bus was pulling away as soon as I got there, and to my surprise the next bus didn't leave until 10:15! So for my first day of work I was an hour and fifteen minutes late, but I live in Spain, so the only response I got from my school was no pasa nada, it's ok.

I haven't taken any pictures of my actual school, but the views are amazing. Here are a few pics I snapped while doing what else...waiting for the bus :)




Anybody know what movie the title of this post came from???

First Run

I've mentioned that one of my goals while I'm here in Spain is to run a half marathon; I've run a few 5k's before, but nothing as substantial as a half marathon. A couple of days ago I went for my first run here in Spain...and it was along the beach :) I'm really out of shape so I just did intervals-- 3 minutes running, 3 minutes walking, and even though I was huffing and puffing like the big bad wolf, during my run I couldn't help but think of how lucky I am to be here. Here are a few pictures I took during my run so you can see why I felt such happiness.







Have you ever had a moment that reminded you that you were truly blessed?