Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tired Tears

Or alternately titled, "When did 9 o'clock get so late?"

Yesterday I had a full blown toddler meltdown. Except I was the toddler. I have spread myself too thin and I am way too overcommitted. It's my fault.

At about 8:30 last night as I was tearing up because I couldn't focus, I learned a valuable lesson instead of diving headfirst into the box of Cinnamon Chex cereal I was eating. Just go to bed. Even if 9pm sounds early, to my body it seemed so late.

I struggle with eating my feelings as I call it. When I'm stressed or overwhelmed or tired or sad, I'll eat. And that doesn't make me feel any better. Then I'm that feeling AND stuffed AND guilty because I overate again. It's a terrible, vicious cycle.  Last night, actually listening to my body felt good. It helped me make a good decision for myself.

I even got to practice that lesson this morning. My alarm went off at 5am to do my workout and I just was not ready. I knew it would make my long day longer and that I (and my students) would suffer because of it. So I slept and then took my time getting ready this morning and came to school earlier. I'll make up my workouts this weekend when I am more rested and I'm pretty sure my body won't mind. Sometimes your mental health trumps your physical health.

Here's hoping there are no more tired tears tonight!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fitmixer Assignment 1

These bootcamp kids haven't cut any corners with the online format of their program. I'm already sad thinking it's going to end. In seven weeks. We were given and assignment on Friday to write a love letter to ourselves in order to change our thoughts and discover who we truly are. This might be the most personal thing I have ever posted on here, so bear with me.

Dear Self,

Guess what - it's ok to be proud of the person you are right this minute. Not who you want to be tomorrow, but who you are today. These are the things I love about you (in no particular order):

-You are making this a nice, orderly list because you love things orderly and organized.

-You have created this blog.
-You are a fiercely loyal friend.
-You love God and your family.
-You have endured a lot of struggles and come out smiling.
-You haven't compromised.
-You got your Master's at 24.
-You took the difficult path after college because you wanted to serve even when others told you it was crazy.
-You love your students and all those around you.
-You constantly seek to better yourself - mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
-You love to read.
-You're a pretty darn good cook.
-You sometimes consider yourself pretty. (Start doing that more!)
-You have learned to accept a compliment.
-You try to always find the good in the world.
-You won't settle.
-You love to love.
-You're quite handy.
-You have personal style.
-You're part fish.
-You love to move - your body and your address.
-You have identified your flaws, but are learning to not dwell on them.
-You are independent.
-You are learning to be kind to your body.
-You have seen a good chunk of the world and yet...
-You want to see so much more of it.

I'm sure there are many many more things I will want to add to this love letter later, but for now that's it. Tomorrow I will get to be proud of the person I am then.


It's Independence Day...

in Mexico. And you thought that's what Cinco de mayo was all about. Sorry to burst your bubble. Sadly, I don't feel like celebrating much. Stomach ache, headache, behind in the to do list, and super tired. Not sure if I have the same bug some of my students had last week or my body is still revolting from Chipotle yesterday. After a week of eating super clean and healthy even Chipotle rocked its world. 
Totally worth it.

Tomorrow marks my the beginning of the second week of Bootcamp and I'm still loving it! I'm such a nerd about all things health related and I have finally found something that works for me, for now. I'm fueling my body for function not emotion. And let me tell you, working out at home is so much easier than hauling my stuff to the gym. Don't get me wrong, I still miss and love my fancy gym, but since leaving Austin I haven't really had one of those :(

I seriously can't believe September is half over. This week is another crazy one with the kickoff of my online teaching career, an away swim meet, a bake sale, the multicultural club kickoff and about a million other things! Good thing I love my job. Those babies make it all worth it. Yes, I call my high school students babies. Oops.

Now I'm going to go celebrate Mexican Independance by....wait for it....grading Spanish tests. Wooo!!!!Partyyyyyy!

Monday, September 10, 2012


So I've epically (that's not a word?) failed at many things blog wise lately. I was called out for my lack of What I Wear Wednesdays. I only made it three weeks with my Grateful For... list and generally haven't been posting much. Well, I'm sorry. School and coaching and projects and life have gotten in the way. However, what I am here to tell you is that I started something today that I intend on finishing. The awesome team over at have this amazing online bootcamp program. They provide nutrition plans (from a dietitian), weekly webcasts, weigh-ins, workouts, and most importantly an incredible support system through facebook and email. Many of you know I have struggled with food and weight issues for a long time and I am excited to see where this goes. I'll be blogging about it periodically, but just know that my lack of other posts is only temporary until my life slows down a bit.

Today we did a fit test and here were the results:

(Other than those listed with time were completed in one minute.)

burpees 15
superman 28
plyolunges 15/15
tri pushup 16
hover 1:16
chest push up 6 regular, 15 knees
wall sit 1:20
high knees 46
jumping jacks 66
side hovers 14/14

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Blue Moon

Warning: This post is a little sad, but I left out most of the specifics of the day for the squeamish. 

Once in a blue moon whales beach themselves for inexplicable reasons. Far less frequently do girls from Missouri get to help assist in the rescue process. Today during a delicious brunch at Captain's Galley, some friends and I found out about a pod of beached pilot whales nearby. Thank goodness for friends in the know. We hopped in the new (still-unnamed) car and went to go see if we could help.

There were so many people and so many whales! It was a little chaotic and we weren't sure of what to do so we grabbed some buckets and began filling them with water. In total, there were 22 whales and each had a team of about four or five people attending to them. At least one person sat up against the whale to keep it propped up and the rest worked to keep it cool. I ran into a friend who volunteers at Harbor Branch and joined their team. 

We worked with a young female whom they had named Margot. I've never seen a whale outside of an aquarium and here I was sitting next to one pouring water from a water bottle over her dorsal fin. The vets came around and instructed us to keep track of her breathing and over the next couple of hours that's all we could do. Margot's breathing became more labored and other whales were dying around us. At some point they sedated her. She began to shake and lift her tail and I felt entirely helpless.

There was a lot going on, people coming and going, but I was lucky they let me stay. It had become quite crowded and the park rangers were trying to control the crowd, the media, and all the volunteers. Eventually, the vets came around and began to euthanize the whales one by one. It was really hard watching them get closer and closer to Margot as they worked their way down the beach. It was even worse when they actually got to our tent. The vets and volunteers were incredible, though. Humane and understanding - they explained everything they were about to do as if she was "our" whale. She kind of was. And even more so to Sarah, Colleen, and Anna from Harbor Branch.

The actual procedure was the hardest part and I'm not going to describe it. Just know that the term "putting to sleep" isn't quite accurate. After that, I couldn't stay around anymore. Sadly, 17 whales died today, but thankfully five were rescued and will hopefully survive. 

Here are a few pictures from today.

Each tent is covering a whale or two.
The farthest south on the beach. They were spread all along.
There are two of the babies in this pool someone brought. They were saved!
Margot (and Sarah)
Another whale came ashore as we were working. Thankfully they were able to save it as well.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


God is totally at work in my life. I keep seeing the signs. You might not believe in signs, but I sure do. I began to "see" it as I read #SheReadsTruth Day 3 Proverbs 3:5-12. Here is The Message version of these verses...
Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
   don't try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
   he's the one who will keep you on track.
Don't assume that you know it all.
   Run to God! Run from evil!
Your body will glow with health,
   your very bones will vibrate with life!
Honor God with everything you own;
   give him the first and the best.
Your barns will burst,
   your wine vats will brim over.
But don't, dear friend, resent God's discipline;
   don't sulk under his loving correction.
It's the child he loves that God corrects;
   a father's delight is behind all this. 

This message of signs continued during our faculty retreat. Our speak spoke about signs and how the answers are always in the eyes of the beholder. Sooo true!So maybe the signs I have experienced mean nothing to you. That's fine by me, but I'm going share some of them with you anyway.

I've been thinking about going back to school pretty seriously for the past year, but couldn't find the perfect program. On the family roadtrip I found it while randomly reading stuff online! This program was absolutely meant for me and is in a place I will love. While driving in to St. Louis I saw a literal sign for the school. I then remembered a colleague's husband had worked there.  He actually worked in the department I want! Even stranger, a blog I recently started following mentioned it. Oh yeah and then about a million songs pointed me there. And of course, the more I have opened myself up to these signs and guidance, the more I have noticed God at work. 

So back to the verses above... I am still trying to figure out everything on my own at times, but I think God appreciates my efforts of trying to let go. I am working to embrace discipline in my life and allow for correction. Crazy how so many changes can come from a few words written so long ago. 

Do you believe in signs?

P.S. If you haven't heard of The Message, go google it. It puts the Bible in today speak for those non-biblical scholars like myself. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Extraordinarily Ordinary

Last night, I was thinking about this blog and how infrequently I've written of late. I thought back to how much joy I got out of writing the first month and what is different from now. I read a few of my favorite blogs and realized that what makes them so great is the ability to take a seemingly ordinary snipet of their life and make it extraordinary. Whether it be a spiral slicer from Yes, I want cake or a cartwheel from Mama Pea, I cannot wait to read their posts and truth be told am sad if there isn't a new one.

I need to embarce the ordinary. Be grateful for it and find the extrarordinary in every day life. I am so thankful to know there are so many other positive, God-loving, kind people (and bloggers!) out there to remind me of my many blessings.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I feel like...

a hamster.

Why? Those dang hamster wheels are the story of my life right now. Running running running with seemingly no progress. Oh well, at least I like to be busy! Speaking of, I'm off to swim practice.

Is coaching considered a workout? I sure hope so.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


If I believed in past lives I would say that I was Greek in a past life. Or maybe I'll blanket statement it and say I was Mediterranean. I've been cooking up a storm since I have been back in Florida and my most favorite thing so far has been a Pinterest-inspired Greekish quinoa salad (yes, that was an alternate title for this post).  I don't really have a recipe per say so just go with it.

1. Cook some quinoa, maybe a cup.
2. Chop up a boatload of veggies. For me this was a cucumber with the seeds removed, two giant roasted red peppers, one (or two?) bell peppers, and half of a small red onion.
3. Get your hands of some fresh dill then use whatever method you want to cut it. I prefer the snip with scissors method. I snipped about a palm full. Note - I have sizable palms. I also love dill.
4. In a small bowl, combine dill with a few tablespoons of olive oil, salt, pepper and some red wine vinegar if you have it.  
5. Mix quinoa with veggies.
6. Dress with dill/evoo mixture. 
7. Stir in some feta. You'll try to use only half of the container , but in reality you'll want to use the whole thing. Dump the whole thing in there.
8. Try not to eat the whole container in one sitting.

I ate this salad warm and cold. It was good both ways. I also served it on a bed of spinach. Can you tell how much I love vegetables? I also yelled "Opa!" after I ate it. And broke my plate. Ok...not really. You caught me.

This makes about six or seven Pinterest things I've done this week. How did my past-life selves survive without it?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sharpen your pencils!

I cannot believe it - tomorrow is my first day of school. How is that possible?!? It's like the Olypmic Committee knew that today was my last day of summer and decided to end the games just for me. Good thing the students won't be there for a week as I still have a lot to do before my classroom and I are ready!

I'm actually pretty excited, but worried I have said "yes," to too much this year. Will I be able to give my all to all of these things? I know that everything will eventually get done, but aghhh I'm gunna need a little help and support along the way. Thank goodness I have y'all.

Earth-shattering news: I have not had Diet Coke or any soda in three days. Three days! I treated myself to a Shellac manicure in celebration. My other celebration is supposed to be the performance by the Spice Girls. They better not be the last act.

Friday, August 10, 2012


I have a problem. It's not that I procrastinate...well that's a problem too, but rather what I do to fill the time when I should be doing something else. I bake. Or cook. Or coupon and make lists of things I need to make this or that. Lately I've been on a mug cake kick.

It started about 15 years ago when I went down to Ethel's house every day to visit her granddaughter and watch (then) forbidden MTV. Ethe,l at sixty something years, was totally ahead of her time. She made us individual cakes in bowls in the microwave way back then. She would spoon out some cake mix, a little egg, some oil and water without measuring anything and pop int in the microwave. Out came the most delicious chocolate cake I have ever had. She then proceeded to make a quick glaze and voila! This was back when I hated chocolate. It was so good I still ate it. Ethel never called it a "mug cake," or a "bowl cake" for that matter.

Back to the matter at hand - I have been making mug cakes the past few nights. Like this one and  this one.  I'm sure I'll make another one tonight. It probably has something to do with my to do list that just keeps getting longer! Or the fact that I keep spending too many hours not doing items on said to do list.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Mom Knows Best

This time it's not my mom, but still a mom who frequently mothers me. One of my dearest friends is also a coworker. We met for lunch yesterday and of course, jumped into all the things we we needed to do before school started. We were both on our way to school to get some work done. The thing is, "work days" don't start until the 13th. Meaning - this is still technically our vacation. Here is where the mom advice comes, "This is still your vacation, enjoy the last few days of it!" I had planned on going in to school today and working the whole day, but goshdarnit I'm not going to do that. I'm going to finish unpacking, watch a little HGTV (since our cable was out the whole time I was in Missouri - grrr), and ummm make to-do lists. Some habits are hard to break. Baby steps, people.

But I'll make my to do lists sitting at my table overlooking this :)

Sunday, August 5, 2012


It's hard to believe I have been back in the States for over a week. Life moves so quickly and we rarely stop to think about it.

If you read this post, you "heard" me mention a book about the Amish. I don't mean to sound self-helpy, but this book had a lot of really nice insights. Specifically, about how the Amish live their lives. They are not always looking for something out there, but rather live in the daily mastery of whatever is going on at the moment. I tend to fall in to the category of looking for the next great thing.

As the school year is quickly approaches, I'm getting nervous and excited about all that it holds. Will I be able to focus on the daily tasks? I'm teaching an additional class, moderating another club, coaching and working on that cryptic thing I talked about a few days ago, not to mention my normal commitments of Advocates, Youth Group, working out and some semblance of a social life. I am going to be way busy, especially for the first semester and I imagine stressed and frequently overwhelmed. But, I don't want to lose sight of my goals. I said yes to all of these commitments because they mean something to me!

In order to keep me a little more centered, I have decided to keep a Gratitude Journal. It will be a separate page on this site and I will jot down something I'm thankful for every day. Feel free to add what you are thankful for in the comments section. Some days I might have hard time coming up with things, so bear with me if you see "my morning latte" six days in a row.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

1/3 Chlorine

I'm pretty sure that a third of my body composition is chlorinated water. My mom is probably more along the lines of half and Briggs is maybe a quarter. Seth - not so much, he could care less about the pool.

A few examples to prove my point: 
1. Upon arrival at our hotel in Kentucky, Briggs and I went to check out the pool.  We walked in and both said at the same time, "I love that smell." Overwhelmingly chlorinated water. Yum.

2. We have been home for three days and this is how many beach towels we have gone through...
13 if you can't count from the picture. Never mind the scorched grass - proof of the extreme drought and heat that has pervaded the Midwest this summer.

Being around the pool gets me so excited (and nervous!) for the upcoming swim season. My first adventure as a head coach should provide some extremely entertaining blog posts!

Now I'm off to, you guessed it, the pool :)


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tuesday Things

1. I love being home. Florida has some nice sunsets, but to me seeing the sun set over a field of corn after a day at Sheridan is pure bliss.

2. My little brother is going to be a junior in high school - I cannot believe it!

3. Post-Europe mani/pedi was everything I hope for and more. This also may have been the best pedicure I have ever had in my life. Sorry, Lilly Nails.

4. To all my swimmer friends, Sheridan Swim Club is so amazingly different than when we basically lived there.

5. I have given up white flour for a variety of reasons. In my search for good recipes, I found this awesome site - Dashing Dish. I'm about to make their Triple Chocolate Chunk Muffins for my glutard brother.

6. Mom has been doing research on the Amish for a school thing and I read one of her books on the way home. Plain and Simple by Sue Bender was a very enlightening, easy read about an "English" woman's experience living with an Amish family. I highly recommend it.

7. Seriously missed blogging with regularity. It feels good to get back into it. I read a very apropos thought in the book I mentioned above. It said, "Writing taught me to believe in something and to continue to believe in it, even when a part of me didn't believe. 'STOP THIS,' my demons roared. 'You are wasting your time. You should be doing something useful.' A thousand hurrahs for that kind of wasting time." I 100% agree.

8. Tonight I made a massive plate of grilled vegetables, spinach salad, and a mountain of hominy. I am truly my mother's daughter. If you don't know what hominy is, you're missing out!

9. Ummm tomorrow is the first day of August?!?

10. I have a little something in the works, check back with me in about 3 months to see how it's going.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Family Ties

I do apologize for my absence. The past three days I have been traveling from Florida to Kentucky to Missouri with my mom and brothers.  Three hours into the trip we were rear-ended and spent almost two hours in the parking lot of a Gainesville McDonald's waiting for the rudest cop. We spent the night in Georgia before heading to my great aunt and uncle's house. These two are basically my grandparents and pretty much the cutest little couple. They have been married almost 65 years and I adore them so much!

My 84 year old "Ain't" Jane still plops down on the floor cross-legged to look at pictures. My 91 year Uncle Bill is by far the preppiest fisherman around. Not was, IS. His next big trip is in November. They are so kind and so generous not only to their family, but to everyone. They eat breakfast at Hardee's just about every morning and I've had the privilege of going with them a few times.  It goes a little something like this...

One slice of pepperjack cheese is wrapped up in a napkin before leaving the house. Upon arrival, a chorus of "Miss Jane's here!" rings behind the counter. They all know her and love her. She has received all kinds of trinkets from various employees' vacations. She knows their family histories and life stories. It's a family trait. My mom has it and I suppose I do as well. The order is placed - a three minute ham biscuit with the insides scooped out for her and a ham biscuit plus the aforementioned pepperjack for him and two coffees.  Uncle Bill preps the coffee while Aunt Jane gets the food. By the time Uncle Bill is finished prepping his biscuit, Aunt Jane has finished eating and caught up on all the "news." What would be a 15 minute breakfast for most is an hour and a half ritual of fellowship for them. I wish I could go every day.

Love them so much!
While being trapped in a confined space for most families would prove to difficult, we did pretty dang good in a car together for three days.  Now it's home sweet home for the first time since January. Plenty of time for: blogging, exercising, lesson planning, reading, and pooling!


Thursday, July 26, 2012

It's over?

After a whopping 30 hours of travel, I finally made it back to my house in Florida. There were some hiccups on the trip home, but no need to bore you with them. My family was sooo excited to see me. How excited? This excited.
I can't really believe the trip is over and I'm back in the life I left.  Since Tuesday night, I have been trying to get everything in order. I haven't yet succeeded. My house looks like a bomb went off in it. I have yet to move a single thing to my new apartment and my body still hates me. Not sure if it's from the seven pounds of bread, ice cream and wine I gained, or the fact that it has only had maybe three proper workouts in the last month. I'm sorry, Body, I really am!

Anyway, just to keep you posted, I will be in Florida until after the Olympic Opening Ceremony. Then it's off on the 2nd Annual Golden Arches Tour. Oh, you haven't heard about this epic event? It's the road trip from Florida to Missouri (or vice versa) in which my mom and I basically stop at every McDonald's for 1,200 miles to either refill our Diet Cokes or empty our bladders. Jealous?

The view from the 1st annual tour.
So on that note, I'm going to get to work on those seven pounds starting with P90x. Tony Horton, don't kill me.


p.s. Yes, I have started on those more elaborate posts about the rest of my travels. They will start appearing shortly!

Monday, July 23, 2012


I know I know, I still haven't written more about Barcelona or Granada or Sevilla for that matter and now here I am moving on to Malaga! I'll get there I promise. I'm just trying to keep you on your toes. Anyway, if we are Facebook friends (and if we aren't and you are reading my blog,  who are you?!?) you saw my status about unplanned days.  Let me tell you yesterday was a great unplanned day.

I slept until noon. Check on the Spanish bingo!
Just a little proof that this is the time I got out of my bed.
I didn't really have any plans for the day so I wandered around and found the Cathedral.
Got a shot of the busy shopping street before people were out in full force. And before the cruise ships arrived.
Found a massive hill to hike (in loafers). Then stumbled upon a castle and the best views in the city.  As luck would have it, after 2pm on Sundays it's free!
I thought this view was pretty good, but I was only halfway there!
Part of the Castle
From the top!
Malaga Harbour
Since I was a hot, sweaty mess, walking along the beach sounded like a great idea.  As luck would have it, I ran into the two Guatemalan girls I met the day before.  I will explain more on that later. They had just bought tickets for a boat ride. It was a special one that would be following a procession so I ran and bought my ticket, changed out of my sweaty impromptu hiking clothes and met them for one of the coolest experiences. Again, I'll elaborate more in another post, but here are a few pics to wet your whistle. Or do you used "whet" here?

P.S. I'm in the Barcelona airport waiting six hours for my next flight. Pray for me!


Sunday, July 22, 2012


It's been a few days, but as I near the end of my trip, it has been harder and harder to write blog posts.  I'm hoping once I get back and into my routine again that it will come a little easier. I am in Malaga now and it's such a great coastal area.  Not a lot to go see, but a lot of people watching and relaxing to do.

Yesterday, I went to Morocco and all I can say is I have never been so thankful to set foot on Spanish soil. A very long, very entertaining blog post is coming soon. Until then, I am going to sit in my air conditioned hotel room and rest until I get the motivation to go wander some more this afternoon. 


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Taize 2

My first full day at Taize was a Sunday and it was pretty neat to see all the buses full of people arriving.  Unfortunately, it was still raining and I wouldn't get my new room assignment for a few hours yet.  We first had Mass (in French!) and then I spent some time in the church and later chatting with the friends I had made so far.  After getting a room, I followed the normal schedule to start my week.

The church's design is unlike anything I have seen before. There are all these rooms with essentially garage doors so that the church can expand as necessary. There are no chairs and the floor is built on an incline, like stadium seating, so that people in the back can still see.  You see some people with prayer stools to alleviate the sitting on concrete thing.  I started bringing my travel pillow for the times I couldn't snag a prayer stool. I only took a picture of the altar because in all honesty, I really did not care for the church.  The colors were a little garish and overall it was too modern and ugly for my taste.
At least the candles are pretty.
I then explored the rest of the "compound."  Taize has a church, the dining pavilions, workshop/meeting rooms, a building for the brothers, a building for the sisters, dorms, and the welcome casa.
Lining up for meals at the dining pavilion.  Even though we were in France, this place ran with German efficiency.

Workshop room. Brother Paulo in the white shirt.
Oyak at night. Sorry for the crappy picture.
Oyak prices - yeah, you are reading that correctly.
As my Czech friend kept joking, "These are not Christian prices!"
Here was the daily schedule:
Monday - Saturday
8.15 am Morning prayer, then breakfast
10 am Introduction to the day with a brother of the community followed by quiet reflection or small group discussion
12.20 pm Midday prayer, then lunch
5.15 pm Tea
5.45 pm Theme workshops given by different brothers
7 pm Supper
8.30 pm Evening prayer, then vigil with songs in the church, followed by night silence
Friday - evening prayer is followed by prayer around the Cross.
Saturday - evening prayer with candles to celebrate the paschal mystery

8.45 am Breakfast
10 am Morning Eucharist
1 pm Lunch
7 pm Supper
8.30 pm Evening prayer

 You can read more here.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Eight Years Later

Eight years ago, I left the country for the first time as an "adult." After four years of Spanish at QND, I was on my way to Spain during Semana Santa.  We did a typical, guided tour through a few cities over 10 days.  If memory serves correctly we visited: Madrid, Toledo, Cordoba, Granada, Sevilla, and Malaga.  It was on this trip that my love of all things Spanish, and Sevilla in particular, was solidified.

Sevilla - the first time around. Can you find me?
So what have I been doing here? Well I took the train with an Australian girl I met in Granada on Monday (July 16th).  I arrived to my hostel around 3pm and just took it easy until the two of us met up with another girl we met.  We went to the oldest tapas restaurant, El Rinconcillo.  It was unbelievably delicious and cheap! However, this was not to be the high of the evening...
El Rinconcillo - seriously, the best tapas ever.
No the best part is not next.  Keep waiting. However, running into a procession (practice?) definitely ranks up there.  Remember I said I was here for Semana Santa.  Well if you aren't familiar, go Google it. Or come to my class right before Easter.  I nerd out and teach it for at least a week or two.
A typical "paso." Mary is up there.
No, I didn't zoom in. I could have touched it if I wanted.
I teared up at this sight.  The woman of this parish were following
behind the paso praying as they touched it. Such faith.
After the procession and the tapas, we mozied (go away red squiggle, that is too a word!) on over to La Carbonería. We heard there was free flamenco there. And there was, but that's not the point. I HAD BEEN HERE BEFORE! Yes, Corey, I am shouting and need all capital letters. I cannot believe it still. Out of all the bars in Sevilla, I end up in one we went to on our high school trip.  Un. Freaking. Real.
Hasn't changed a bit.
The view.
The flamenco.
It's one of my most vivid memories from the trip.  I was wearing a yellow shirt and jeans and I was the only one who didn't drink. We sat at the middle table and took pictures and a classmate who has since passed away kept shoving cigarettes into pictures of me because he knew I would freak out. Ahhh high school.  Too bad I don't have those photos on my computer, but that was back when we printed pictures!

Who knew returning to a bar could give a person a lump in her throat. Has it really been eight years? Here are the stats out of 15 - 6 are married, 4 are engaged, and one has passed away.

If only I had known then what I know now!


Monday, July 16, 2012

Friends at Last

A double meaning sort of title.

1. I really did make some friends and have enjoyed having company.

2. Granada and I made amends.  The last time I was there I thoroughly disliked the city. Now I quite enjoy her.

A few of the highlights...

Almost all of the above.


Alhambra at night.
I promise I will start writing more detailed descriptions soon!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Barcelona Recap

I just arrived in Granada so it's probably a good idea to give you the run down of Barcelona. Here is the brief overview of my week. (Sorry if this is repeat information!)

Monday - returned from Taize sick so I just wandered a little and slept.
Tuesday - Parc Guell, Casa Batlló, late lunch at Petra, more wandering.
Wednesday - cava tour, El Xampenet
Thursday - Sagrada Familia, Santa Caterina market (love!), long hike up to include Olympic Stadium, La Boqueria, Magic Fountain and tapas.
Friday - Cathedral, Camp Nou (FC Barcelona stadium), amazing menú lunch, beach, trenhotel to Granada.

Here are some highlight pictures from the end of the week:
Sagrada Familia
Main doors of Sagrada Familia
Santa Caterina Market - coolest roof over the building, but I forgot to take a picture!

Olympic Park - the Junior World Championships were going on at the same time.

I swear I'm wearing a shirt, but I just hiked up that hill

Magic Fountain - went with my host Miriam.
Found a store that sells Toms and the whole alley was decorated
Inside the Cathedral.  I walked by it everyday on my way to and from "my" house. Took until the last day to go see it!
This one is for the brothers. I went to the stadium for you. Love you :)
El Setial in Barrio Gótico - best menú by far! It included this salad...
this amazing salmon and another salad?

Plus this delicious lemon tart and a Diet Coke! Seriously for 9€ = $10.80!!!

Then I decided it was a good idea to change in their bathroom and go to the beach.  I tried going on this boat cruise, but it kept getting postponed due to big boats in the harbor :( I went back to shower and pack and lug my broken suitcase to the train station.  Thank goodness I was greeted by this room.

Coolest experience! I experienced a bit of loneliness on the last day, but it's much better now.

I'll do a little more of a reflective post later.