Monthly Archives: December 2012

Birds Eye View

I’m slightly behind.

Yes we’re home, we arrived late Sunday night greasy and exhausted. I don’t know if I have met anyone who looks like a model after 20 hours of travel. If you’re wondering, that’s definitely not me. I wish I could say my sisters didn’t even notice, but that just wouldn’t be them. Sister: why does your hair look darker?, “oh yeah its greasy,” “you smell like another country,” (aka. you smell like b.o. and tiredness). Aww thanks guys it’s great to see you too! Except that isn’t sarcasm, it is soooo nice to be back!

But before I get too carried away, here is the last batch of photos from our time in Valencia, a little of this and a little of that . . .

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Plaza de la Reina5.IMG_8421

The big domes belong to the Mercado Central.6.IMG_8422

A view of the modern part of Valencia.7.IMG_8423 8.IMG_8425 9.IMG_8429 10.IMG_8431

A look at the Catedral from above.11.IMG_843312.IMG_843413.IMG_8437

The tower we climbed, it was a good reminder of how out of shape I am . . .14.IMG_8438

The before and after . . . 🙂 lookin good babe.

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Mario the cutest little fart. He was so entertaining.14.IMG_839515.IMG_8398

A picture with Mercedes!10.IMG_8407

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More reflections.

In a semester full of being homesick and missing all of my friends, family, and comforts back at home, I thought it would be a great exercise for me to think of all the incredible things and people that God has given me this semester that I will miss here in Spain. I’ll start with the things that I’ll miss.

Most of all, I’ll miss the soccer. I’ll miss the fun environment in which everyone here is crazy about soccer. I have loved the opportunity to go to two different games and watch many more on the tv and in restaurants and bars. Also, I’ll miss the closeness of everything in the city. Even though I love to be lazy, it’s been great to walk everywhere. Unfortunately, due to the large quantity of food that we always had to eat in our host home, we still didn’t lose weight, but atleast we didn’t gain as much as we would have had we not walked a lot every day.  I’ll miss being this close to such beautiful, history filled buildings and monuments. There is so much history here with so many different unique architects who have created really cool buildings and cathedrals. I will miss the closeness and the accessibility to the rest of Europe. It’s crazy to think about all the different countries we’ve been in during the passed four months. Better yet, we haven’t had to spend all that much money (definitely a lot less than it would have been from the U.S.) I’m not going to miss very much about the food, but I will miss the tortillas de potatas here. I will also miss the ice cream here. It’s great! I made a pact with myself not to eat anymore a month ago, and it is going to be really hard not to break that pact in the last 4 days here.  I’m also going to really miss all the dogs. I’m not going to miss the terrible smell that their little poops bring to the city, but I will miss seeing all of them everyday.

I will miss a lot of people, too! Obviously, I’ll miss our host mom. There have been moments where it has been a little difficult with her as it can be very difficult to communicate still, but she has been great and is so helpful and easy to get along with. Next, I’m going to miss my teachers. I haven’t always loved all the work that we’ve had to do, (especially since in my mind I had already graduated, it was a bit difficult to come back into a full load of classes. I actually had more classes this semester than I’ve ever had before- going out with a bang!) but I have definitely loved getting to know them. I have had three very distinct, but all brilliant teachers. It was a great experience for me to be here and develop a love for learning. I’ve never liked school, but this semester I have really developed a desire to learn. This is a great thing for me because it will be very useful for me to continue on as I have a desire to learn and grow in my knowledge about God and His word. Hope you enjoy the pictures of all of them  They have been great! I will finally miss my intercambio, Rafa. It has been great to meet with him on a pretty regular basis. He is a devout catholic which is very rare here. It’s rare for anyone to consistently attend any type of church, so it was fun to be able to talk about God and the difficulty of living in a very pagan place. He also loves sports, so obviously that was a huge plus! It’s awesome how God worked it out for me to be with a spiritual, sports lover and for Jak to be placed with a sweet, married photographer. God truly does know what He’s doing!

I’ll also miss the guys from the gym that I have been working out with. I haven’t really talked to them very much as they’re always hitting on some girl in the gym or consuming their “get huge” drinks, but when I have, it’s been great. I have never spent much time in the gym, so it’s been fun for me to go to once everyday and be surrounded by huge dudes that I really don’t fit in with.  Since I have always loved sports, I’ve always been around jocks, and I suppose in some ways I am a jock, but I’ve never regularly been around this type of jock and it humors me. It’s fun to watch them look around to make sure no one else is looking and lift up their shirt to look at their abs or check out all angles of their bodies in the mirrors thinking that no one is watching. It’s a world I know nothing about as I look in the mirror to be depressed about my man chest or my love handles, but they look in the mirror because they have great bodies and simply like to look at themselves. It’s a crazy, different world that I will never be in because I don’t think I could ever devote myself for the time it would take to eat nothing and work out that much. I did develop a toleration for running here though, so hopefully, it will slow down my track to being fat

Hopefully, hearing me say some positive things has helped show the great aspects of this semester. It has been one of the hardest of my life, but it has been so beneficial and the things I’ve learned and the awareness I developed about areas in which I need to mature has been invaluable! Can’t wait to see you all in the very near future!

God bless!

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P.S. Here’s a couple pictures from our closing time with our school teachers. The took us to a typical Spanish lunch, yay paella! I’m so glad we’ve met all these special people!1.IMG_8362

From left to right, Carlos our business prof., Jarque Gray’s history prof., and Christine our lit. prof.19.IMG_83644.IMG_8370

Below is the man who keeps everything going and the secretary who was also my personal teacher, Isobel.7.IMG_83805.IMG_8375 6.IMG_8377

P.P.S. We officially have an apartment in Greenville now! Yay!

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Guilty, that’s me.

I already had my first wave of nostalgia. I’m thinking that in the next couple of days Valencia and I are scheduled for a couple photo shoots.

Sometimes leaving opens your eyes more than staying. I’ll miss big city life, I enjoy the hussel and bussel and the many people you avoid eye contact with on the sidewalk. I really like looking into all the tiny shop windows. Lorno’s the corner bakery always makes my mouth water. Pure torture is having to walk past that pastry shop going to and from school.

Walking, I’ll miss that too, not that I can’t do that in Greenville, but lots more of my time will be spent in a car. Thinking about cars, I think it’s been about 6 1/2 months since I spent a significant amount of time behind the wheel. Beware Xenian’s . . . 🙂

I definitely won’t miss feeling anxious every time I walk into a store as I anticipate buying something. Learning Spanish has made me jumpy. It will be liberating to walk into Walmart and know that I don’t need to wrack my brain and try to figure out what I need to say (and if I know the words). It’s “mas facil” to speak in English.

I am also aware that going home will mean changing some of the phrases I have on autopilot back to English. For example “thanks” instead of “gracias,” and “I don’t know” instead of “no lo se,” just to name a few. But hey, maybe I’ll change things up and just make those normal words in my vocabulary, I’ll just have to wait and see.

I guess in the midst of all these free flowing thoughts I’m trying to say:

Valencia, spending four months with you has been life changing and even though I am not sad to be going, I will always look back with fond memories. One day I promise to tell my kids about you. I will reminisce and laugh at all the things we learned about each other. Hopefully we can visit again as long lost friends in the not too distant future, we will have lots of things to tell because with the passing of time comes change, and though it is bittersweet to say this, we will not be who we once were.

So here’s to moving on and growing older with the ever present collection of experiences and memories that shape who we are!

Five days left (I’m not counting today, it’s basically over . . .)

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Learning new things.

The master of anything involving sewing and making decided to share some of her knowledge with me this past week.

Mercedes has been busy making scarfs for all of her friends as Christmas presents. She likes to knit while watching her evening television shows. And because Gray and I like spending time with her we plop down on her love seat lift up the table cloth so that it covers our legs (she jerry-rigged a heat lamp up under the table, it keeps your body nice and toasty) and relax.

We used to play games a lot, but lately its been nice to chat, drink tea :), knit, and watch the voice/varios shows.

We often laugh about her cat, Nici (knee-see), who comes skulking, trying not to be seen, as she sneaks up under the table and onto Mercedes lap. If there ever was a scaredy cat, Nici is it. We make sure not to draw attention to her presence or she’ll hightail it out of the room. Grayson’s new project, code name “making friends,” has been unsuccessful until today when Nici let him pet her for 3 min. I tried to take a photo, but she ran under the bed before I turned it on. Maybe next time?

All that to say, nights with Mercedes are always diverting and enlightening. Since she made me my own scarf (which I love) I thought it would be nice to learn how if I ever decide to share the love with some unsuspecting friends. 🙂 The blue baby scarf was my test run before she gave me the pink and white yarn and let me loose (I think she thinks I love pink and I guess I don’t mind it). I’m still not sure if she’s letting me keep the scarf, I missed that in the midst of the Spanish directions . . .

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