Monday, April 18, 2011

Easter Time Festivites

        Here are some pictures of some Easter activities I did with my kids in Cenicero. We made Easter egg nests with chocolate, corn flakes, honey, and butter. It is a very easy activity to do and they loved it!

4th graders with the finished product!

Too cool for school

Marta is the cutest 4 year old ever!

Easter egg nests!

Cocineros, cocineros!

Mmmmm, delicious!

Oh how I love the first graders!

I Triple Dog Dare You

            I daresay that many people would say this statement is true for any city or country, but I believe that it is even truer in Spain: Try and not fall in love with Spain on a spring day. Spain on a spring day is like any college campus on the first nice day of spring; everyone is outside, talking, and overall enjoying themselves. We have had some beautiful weather here in Logroño these past couple of weeks, and it is clearly evident from the attitude of people and their overall demeanor. Everyone seems to be in a better mood and I don’t blame them! On a beautiful spring day, you can find everyone, of all ages, out and about, walking through town or having a caña or copa with friends at an outdoor café. You even see people, particularly old men, just sitting on benches, people watching and enjoying life (usually while smoking a cigar haha). The outlook that the Spanish have on life is more evident during spring than at any other time of the year. They take the time to enjoy themselves and life in general. They are in no rush and want to fully experience everything around them. So I double dog dare you, no wait, triple dog dare you, to come to Spain during the spring and not fall in love with the people, the life, the country in general. And passing on a triple dog dare is something extremely difficult to do!
View in Cenicero, one of the towns I teach in

La Grajera, a park near Logrono

Beautiful La Rioja landscape

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I Feel the Need... the Need for Speed!

             Only in Spain would it be fathomable and perfectly acceptable to get picked up to go to work on a motorcycle.  And that is just the experience I had on Friday with one of my private lessons! Our schedules were fairly tight, but he still wanted to meet to get a lesson in so decided that he would pick me up on his moto and drop me off, to cut down on walking time. So yes, I got to ride on my first motorcycle on Friday! And to be honest, it was amazing! I had always thought that I would be terrified, but I found it very exciting and exhilarating. And the fact that it was absolutely beautiful out helped in that aspect I’m sure. So now I can successfully cross that one off my bucket list!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Porto: City of Hills, Birds, and Pastries

This past weekend I ventured to the other part of the Iberian Peninsula and visited Porto, Portugal with Cait and her friend Amanda. We flew out of Madrid with Ryanair, as the flight including return cost 27 Euros! Certainly too good of a deal to pass up! I arrived on Thursday afternoon and Thursday night we ventured into a more local area for some seafood. The restaurant we stumbled upon was called ‘King of the Sardines’, so of course we had to try their grilled sardines! We ordered a total feast and the waiter even looked at us funny, as if to say ‘I don’t think you’ll be able to finish that’. We feasted on the grilled sardines, bacalao (codfish), squid, potatoes, vinho verde, and bread, and all for 30 euro!
            Friday was absolutely gorgeous in Porto, with not a cloud in the sky and in the mid 20’s! We walked around the old part of the town by the river (Ribeira) and then crossed the bridge and made our way to some of the port wine cellars. We stopped at the Sandeman cellar, one of the most well known port wines, and took a tour of the cellars. The tour was extremely interesting and the wine tasting at the end was even better! After the wine tour, we took a nice little train ride around the city to see some more places.  Saturday wasn’t as nice of a day outside so we walked around a bit then did some shopping. We also stopped at a wonderful flea market where we found some sweet deals such as scarves for 25 cents! Saturday night we had Indian food, as we have been craving different types of food besides pinchos (although they are wonderful and delicious). Cait and I left early Sunday morning and Amanda left on Monday morning.
It was a wonderful trip and a wonderful city and it is actually named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. I would highly recommend visiting Porto any time you have the chance. Even though it was wonderful to get away and travel a bit, it was certainly wonderful to get back to Logroño and also to be able to understand the language. Even after taking a year of Portuguese at Miami, I still cannot speak the language and can barely understand as well. It certainly made me determined to get back into learning it and I am considering taking classes here in Logroño next year at the Language School. All in all it was a wonderful trip: great food, great views, and great friends!
Views of Ribeira

Port Wine Cellars 
I love the old buildings!


Sandeman Port Wine!


Monday, April 4, 2011

Attack of the Killer Bugs!!

            If there’s one thing I hate more than slow walkers, it’s bugs, especially big, scary bugs! And of course I have been so wonderfully blessed with a piso that is home to these big and scary creatures; a breeding ground of sorts.  I woke up last Wednesday morning with the intent of taking a nice, relaxing shower, but  alas I had other things in store for me. I was quite surprised (and not in a wonderful way) and taken aback by the huge cockroach that was setting up camp in our shower! I stifled a scream so as not to wake my roommates and thought of a plan of attack. I figured I could just drown him, but I was sadly mistaken. This little bugger (pun intended, get it? get it??) was the Michael Phelps of the cockroach world. I blasted him with water for a good 4 minutes before he stopped fighting and flailing. He washed down the drain so I stepped in to take my shower, impressed with my bug fighting skills. I was not so lucky as to stifle a scream when he crawled back up the drain! I immediately jumped out of the shower, grabbed my towel, and ran into my room to find solace in my Rainbows as means of weapon. I returned to the bathroom with weapon in hand and since he was weak from his marathon of a swim, was easily killed by the impressive tactics of my shoe whomping skills. Seeing as I am not a fan of bugs, especially of this size, I was very impressed with the way I handled the situation and stayed cool, for the most part!
            However when I returned from a wonderful weekend in Portugal (more to come on that), and discovered that my roommate had encountered yet another cockroach roaming in the bathroom, I was not quite so impressed with our flat. I then discovered that the wall of my room that shares a wall with the bathroom was once again wet and starting to grow mold again. And that’s not the worst part! There were little bugs, gnats or something. I’m not exactly sure what kind they were since I am not a connoisseur of bugs, and never want to be, but regardless they were disgusting and everywhere on my wall! My landlady was in Barcelona for the weekend, so wasn’t much of a help, but I did buy ‘Raid Max Extreme Bug Killing Machine Spray’ and thoroughly fumigated our place today. So I’m hoping that between my newfound Terminator style bug killing skills and my landlady we can solve the problem. If my dream last night has any sort of truth to it (where I was THE bug terminator and went on a wild rampage), I will hopefully be bug free by the end of this week! Everyone just keep your fingers crossed please and thank you!