Greek food, movies and why I hate jelly bellys

This weekend was another beautiful sunny weekend. Saturday Andrea had a birthday party for one of her friends. The girls had a fun time gossiping and eating food. At least that is what I'm told. I wasn't there and when I went to pick her up she looked at me and asked me what I was doing there, as if she was going to magically find her way home. Ahh...the teenage years, we have arrived. I told her I was there to embarrass her. *grin*

Nick wanted to go out for dinner. We still haven't found any great Spanish places to go out for dinner. We started out going to the mall by the Aquarium where there is some restaurants. On the way Jess made a plea to head to the mall with the VOS movies. VOS is something like Version Original Soundtrack. That means, American movies are in English and, bonus points for education, subtitles in Spanish. Usually we have to wait for American movies to make their way across the pond but for some reason High School Musical 3 opened right along with you. Yay us. So, we changed plans and went to the mall with the movies and planned to have dinner there. Alexa had eaten at a restaurant there with one of her friends when they went to a movie. She kept raving about how good the food was so Nick decided to we'd go there. Then, Alexa said it was Greek food. A short time later it was decided that I would take Alexa and Jess who was up for a culinary adventure to the Greek restaurant. Nick took Andrea and Joe to Burger King.

The restaurant was great. The service was really helpful, which is really not the norm here in Spain. Usually they are really indifferent. But, they helped us pick out some food. We tried a cucumber soup, a beef dish and a chicken platter that included a hummus and something pureed but red...maybe with peppers or sundried tomatoes. I'm not sure but both spreads were amazingly good. The soup was good too but the girls didn't love it. The chicken was a hit. The beef not so much. It was fun trying the food and the girls were good sports and even complimented the chef to the waiter on the way out.

Before we entered the movie we let the kids pick some candies. Alexa picked an assortment of Jelly belly jelly beans. I didn't give it a thought. We settled in to watch the movie. It was very Disney. The kids enjoyed it. Half way through Alexa leaned over and said she just had a jelly bean that tasted like peanut butter and her throat was itchy. I took her out and we checked out her throat. As luck would have it, I didn't have the benedryl with me. I had taken it out when we went to a park and I wasn't going to bring my purse. But, we were in a mall with a Farmacia so we headed there for some antihistimine. She was worried but she was fine. We got her some antihistimine and actually went back and finished the movie. She was fine but a little shaken.

The benedryl is back in my purse and no more Jelly Bellys for us. I don't know why I hadn't thought about that before. Jessica is already talking about getting the DVD to the movie. It actually has some really cute moments. It totally reminded me of Footloose in certain parts though. If you've seen it let me know if you agree.

Sunday we woke up to our clocks all reading different times. It was all very confusing until we realized it was daylight standard time here. *grin* Oops. So, we fixed all our clocks. If you take a look, until you all have your daylight savings time we're only 5 hours ahead.

Good News on the Visa front that we just heard today. Our application has reached the embassy in Barcelona and it's all "positive". We hope to hear in the next two weeks that the Visa is ready to be picked up. Yay yay!!! I'm just so excited that we're not going to be illegal aliens. Thanks to St Jude for that...and the prayers (Mo!! you rock). Talk about quick service.

We're getting ready for a school party for Halloween. It's different here...no pumpkins, no decorations. I miss the lead up to the holiday. It's one of my favorite American Holidays. I love the dress up and pretend parts of it. I love the imagination of the holiday. So everyone have fun this Friday trick or treating!!! And eat some candy corn for me. ...drink a little apple cider too.
And....someone make some manwhiches!!!!

Love you all!!!


Field Trip

Hi Everyone,
I just got back from my first field trip in about ....way too many years to count.lol The Spanish class decided to go out into the real world and use some of our new knowledge. The instructor took us on a tour of the Barri Gottic. You remember the day we went in search of a festival and basically were wandering the streets of the city? That was the Barri Gottic. It's a beautiful day here in Barcelona. It's sunny and about 68 degrees. Perfect weather for walking about.
We met outside a small cafe called Cafe Zurich. It was were the famous authors of the day used to gather and discuss what they were writing. We didn't go in or eat...that we saved for another day. We set off first to a small Convent that now has been reduced to a church. It's amazing to go from a bustling commercial center, turn the corner and walk behind a wall into complete peace. But, that is exactly what it was like as we entered the courtyard. It was so quiet and peaceful. The convent dates back to the middle ages. We went into another church a little later on in our tour that was also about the same age. It had the most amazing altars all the way around it. Almost like some churches have the Stations of the Cross...only these were like the giant gold/painted altar pieces behind the altars of American churches. And they lined the walls. There was some gorgeous paintings as well. I really like visiting the churches around here because they all have such amazing history and art. We also found some places that sell the Churros and chocolate that Joe and I have been looking for. It's called hot chocolate but is basically melted chocolate bars. And you dip churros, long strips of fried dough into the cup of melted chocolate. Joe and I think that sounds divine but we hadn't found it in our travels yet. Now, I have a whole slew of places to take him so we can check that off our list. We found a shop that sells Turron. Turron is a nougat made with almonds. Our orthodentist in Massachusetts said we have to try it. She said it's the best in the world. Everyone here says we have to wait until Christmastime because that is when it's fresh. We also walked by the bagel store, which may not sound like much to you but...it's the only bagel store in all of Barcelona...or even this region so it's a big deal here. Alexa has been asking for Bagels recently. She is in withdrawl so now we know how to fix that issue too. There wasn't a lot of Spanish speaking happening on this field trip. Jorge spoke to us in Spanish though, most of which I understood so that's progress right. I had one opportunity to speak to order lunch and flubbed it...I chickened out and just ordered by the number.lol Oh well, it was a good sandwich.
Barcelona is a really amazing city. The neighborhoods are all a little different. There is so much to see. So much history just out there hanging on the street corners. There is art everywhere, in the way a building is made, in decorations on public fountains and even the tiles you walk along the street.
Have I made you want to come visit yet? Cause...you know...anytime you want to come...the guest room is waiting.
Love you all


Things and Pics...

Hey Everyone,
We're taking things day by day and pretty much have our routine set. Nick has work, which as you know, takes up most of his awake time. The kids have school and a couple of after school activities. I have my Spanish lessons and everything else that settling in entails.
I had a rough week last week when I was down with a particularly bad head cold. Nick has it now. The kids so far are ok. (knock wood)
We did get a chance to go to a park in Sant Cugat on Sunday. So, I've put up some pics of the kids and pups playing at the park. I know the puppies need to get groomed again. We have an appointment on Monday. So...here are some smiles from Spain.

Hope you enjoyed!! Love you all


Hey Phillies fans!!!

I just heard the news here!! I know we've got a lot of happy family out there so I just wanted to take a moment and celebrate with you!!
Go Phillies!!!!!!
Love ya


Lost in Translation

Hi Everyone,
I had an interesting day on Wednesday. We arranged through our landlord to have someone come in and help clean the house. She's a very nice woman who doesn't speak any English. We've had some humourous conversations. But, the great thing about her is that she laughs it off with me and we keep muddling through until we're sure we understand what we're trying to say.

Wednesday, she was asking something of me. I couldn't figure it out. She pulled out her train ticket. I thought she meant that she needed a ride to the station. She had worked a little later than we had anticipated. So, I thought she might have missed the bus she normally takes from the neighborhood to the train station. When I asked if she needed a ride to the train station. She said yes. So, I got ready to bring her and she followed me to the car. We set out only to find that due to the contruction around the town circle the main road was backed up past our neighborhood. It would take some time to get there so I thought, the next train station is in the other direction. I thought I had passed it on Tuesday picking up Joe from a friends. I offered to take her there. Now, remember we're speaking in one word sentences. "La Floresta?" pointing in the direction. "Si." she says. So, off I go to find the other train station, which is not where I thought it was. There was a big official looking sign for the train but no station. So, I had to stop and plug in the GPS to find out how to get to the station. Once we did that, I had to maneuver through several thin alleyways and onto gravel roads to get to the station. We found it rather quickly, thin alleyways and gravel roads aside. So, here I am sitting at the train station ready to have her leave when she looks at me again and pulls out the train ticket. This time she writes a price on it and says she needs for next week. Suddenly it dawns on me, she is asking for me to pay for her train ticket for next week. The whole time that was what she wanted. The poor woman got lost riding around with me trying to find a train station when all she wanted was to ask for the money for the ticket. *sigh* I really don't know enough Spanish yet. I hope she can laugh about this too.

I spent yesterday morning in my Spanish class, which I still very clearly need. It's going ok. They speak in Spanish so there are times I'm just completely guessing at what he is saying. We've got two teachers. One is a woman who teaches on Tuesdays. Her style is more by the book. She teaches in a very organized fashion. His style is much more laid back and kind of a "here's how you use what Laura taught you." kind of approach. I think it works really well together. I'm in the class with 7 other women. Three are from the US. Two are from Sweden . One is from Hungary. And one is from Brazil, which I always thought spoke Spanish but they speak Portugese. Still, she's the best in the class. The woman from Hungary is a general practice doctor. One of the US women is a teacher on sabaticle. Her and her husband work for a university/college in Gettysburg. They've heard of the George's School, Thom. It's a really interesting mix of women and we have some great conversations while we struggle through our Spanish lesson.

After class yesterday I finally made it to a Barcelona Women's Network meeting. I joined right away. I need all the help I can get in making the transition. I met another fabulous woman who has lived in Barcelona for ten years. She has worked around the world in various consulate positions. It was fascinating to talk to her. She's retired now but had a lot of good advice for settling into the city.

I'm still working on getting some pictures to you all. Hopefully this weekend.
love you all!!


A week that was...

Hi Everyone,

Sorry it took so long to update this week. It was a busy week/weekend last week. Nick was still away for most of last week. Last Wednesday, Joe, Andrea and Alexa went on the Middle School's cultural field trip. It was a three day trip to the area of Spain called Costa Brava. It's the northern most coastline. They had all sorts of fun activities.

Alexa's thoughts on her trip:

Costa Brava was so much fun!! All the 7th grade girls were in the same cabin because there are only 8 of us. We did archury, biking, sailing, and olympic games at the beach. The sailing instructer was scary. He threw water at people, threatened people, and made people scrub the bird poop of the deck. I thought biking was so much fun!! Me and patrick were doing stricks and on the way back from our bick ride we stopped and got chips and REAL WATER!!!!! The camp's water was disgusting! Archery was also fun. We took one turn then hung around for a while. Olympic games were ok. I didn't find them so fun because it was the last day, it was cold, and I was not feeling good. The food was pretty good, For breakfest we had toast, for lunch we haad pasta, and for dinner we had meat/fish. The first night we had a kareoke night. Half of the songs were in spainish so that was a little disapointing. The second night we went to a dance. I went to the dance with a boy named Patrick. It was so much fun! It was a fun yet hectic night. I loved the trip so so much and wished i could go back!!!!!!

Andrea's thoughts on the trip.

(Ugh..she is so busy and teenagerish right now. We'll get back to you on that one.) She wants you to know that the dance was fun. The 8th grade girls went without dates because they didn't want to. And she lost her voice, again, because of the Karaoke night.

Joe's thoughts on his trip:

I loved how we got to go on a glass bottom boat. On the boat i got soaked when a wave came up and hit me .We went on a bike across the beach and halfway through I got a flat tire, but I got to go with the next group. But for the dance me and my friend Ben raced to see who could get a date 1st and they had to get one before lunch.I won! I went to the dance with a girl named Lindsey. I loved the meals they were all (almost all) home made. my favorite was the lemon cakes we had the breakfast befor we left.I loved Coasta Brava i didnt want to go on Friday.

Jessica's thoughts on being home alone with Mom:
On Wednesday after school I had theater class. It was very nervous at first. And then it was very fun. They used my ideas for games to play. What we did was to do little fairy tales. We did about four girls getting lost in the woods and finding their mother's compass. Ps. She was dead and the dad too. After theater we cooked buttered noodles, chicken and corn. Then on Thursday we went into the city to go to Hard Rock Cafe. Then we went to a department store called, Cortes Ingles. It's got about 7 floors. On the very first floor was a candy store where we got some orange slices and chocolates. Then on Friday I had a friend come over. I had a lot of fun.

Nick came home early Saturday morning with a few bags full of "U.S.". It was great to have large tubs of peanut butter and cocoa for cooking and all my magazines that came in the mail.
Sunday, we went to a neighborhood party for some families at the kids school. It was a great mix of some of the other American families as well as the other nationalities represented at the school. So far all the people we've met have been so helpful and friendly. They've got a lot of advice for places to visit and ways to make the transition here easier.

We're back at school this week. After school activities started. We're scaling back on our usual activities. Alexa is doing jewelry making. Joe is taking a film class, and Jess is in a theater class. Andrea is on hold with the soccer. I'm working on getting her to change her mind about playing with boys. Right now, there are no girls on the team she'd be on. It's not helping that the 4 boys on the team won't let the girls play soccer with them at lunch.*sigh*

We're working on getting some more pictures together for you. I need to get out a tour of the house and Nick took some pictures playing with the puppies in Sant Cugat in the parque.
(((Hugs))) Miss you all!!!