Monthly Archives: June 2011

España photos – day 19

Hey y’all!

It’s been a busy work week here, so I don’t have too many new photos. But I do have a couple of good stories for you. Welcome to Kristy’s Life in Spain: Volume 5.

In my first post from Spain, I showed y’all a photo of the view from my balcony. (If you missed it, click here.) If you look at that photo and imagine the panorama extending a little more to the left, you would see a bit of the Mediterranean Sea.

Usually there is a haze that hangs over the Sea and I don’t get to see much of the water, unless you count the fuzzy blue shape off in the distance where there are no more buildings as being water…

Personally, I prefer my ocean/sea views to be crystal clear. ‘Cause that’s what I’m used to seeing in Kansas, you know.

Anyway… the haze cleared off for part of the day on Saturday and I got my first real view of the Mediterranean from my balcony. I was so excited.

I even saw a ship!


A real ship!

We don’t have ships in Kansas.

We have combines. And tractors.

But no ships.

So this was a pretty big deal.


Also… I did laundry for the first time in Spain on Saturday. It was an interesting experience.

Washing machines in Spain are funky. Observe.



Does this remind anybody else of a Walkman?

Those were the days. I remember I had a three-cassette collection of instrumental music and I listened to them all the time. Chariots of Fire and Music Box Dancer were my faves. Saying that makes me feel old.

I’m not old enough to feel old.

It’s a problem.

Anyway, I loaded the Walkman washing machine with bed sheets and towels and consulted my handy dandy guidebook on how to actually operate the thing.

I selected a program with hot water that would be appropriate for towels and sheets and other things that you normally wash in hot water. My momma done taught me right. Mmhmm.

But what Momma-dear didn’t teach me (because it’s not an option in the US) is how to select a spin cycle speed.

This is what a spin cycle speed selector looks like. (I totally just felt like I had super powers while typing that out. Spin cycle speed selectors to the rescue!)


I was all ready to start my towels a’washin’ when I realized I hadn’t set the spin speed. I consulted the handy dandy Walkman washing machine guidebook, but there was no guidance to be found on how to choose the right speed.

So I had to make an educated guess. Enter Kristy’s thought process…

Towels are pretty resilient. You are supposed to wash them on a hot setting after all.

And bed sheets too. To kill the mites and stuff.


Gross. I sleep on mites? Or are they bed bugs? Is there a difference?

Focus, Kristy.

Hot water. Yes.

Spin speed? Uuhhhhh????

Let’s decide this with an analogy.

Hot water = tough. Tough = high spin speed (to kill the mites and stuff, of course). Highest spin speed on the Walkman washing machine = 1000.

1000 what?

I don’t know, but that’s as high as it goes. Let’s go with that.

Spin those mites right out of my sheets. Suckers.

As it turns out, that wasn’t exactly the best decision.

Remember several months ago when I had a consecutive string of fails and flops? I baked my first ever pan of bad brownies (but that was so not my fault, it was the corn oil), I colored Snow White with vampire teeth (again, not my fault, the colored pencil was defective), I embarrassed myself into eternity and beyond by mucking up a drawing of my home state (totally not my fault, the Sharpie was dry and I was trying to hide the fact that I was taking paint off the wall of a brand new coffee shop).

All ridiculous moments in my life where things just didn’t go well for me. (If you missed them, click here to revisit the fiascos in all their agonizing glory. Agonizing for me. Not for you. Funny for you.)

Anyway, the Walkman-washing-machine spin-cycle-speed-selector went down with a similar fracas.

I set the spin speed to 1000 whatever, thinking I would end up with the cleanest, most mite-less sheets known to man and went on my happy, merry way.

About an hour and a half later (wash cycles in Europe seriously take about two hours, sometimes more) I heard a terribly loud, repetitive noise that at first sounded like gunshots.

I followed the noise to the bathroom where the clamor got worse, because as I discovered, the washing machine was not only in the throes of the most violent spin cycle I could have ever imagined, it was shaking so violently that it was propelling itself out away from the wall and banging itself into the door frame next to it.

I wish I could describe what I felt in that moment. It was truly something else.

My heart was about to explode out of my chest because I had been so startled by the awful onset of the spin cycle commotion.

My heart was about to explode out of my chest because I was mad at the dumb washing machine for making so much noise and scaring me right out of my skin.

My heart was about to explode out of my chest because I was laughing so hard at the whole absurd situation.

My heart was about to explode out of my chest because of the “oh-crap” adrenaline that filled my whole body when I remembered there was a ladies meeting occurring at that very moment right below my apartment.

My heart was about to explode out of my chest because I was laughing so hard at the thought of what those poor ladies must have been thinking when they heard this terrible racket.

I basically had a myocardial infarction right there on the spot.

But I survived.

Now there are no dryers here, so once the laundry is washed, you have the option of either hanging it outside on a clothesline or on a drying rack inside.

Well, my little country girl heart opted for the outdoor clothesline (it’s so Little House on the Prairie, and I am all about nostalgia.)

Once the Walkman washing machine quit trying to launch itself into orbit, I pulled the towels out and pinned them to the clothesline on my balcony like a true Spanish Laura Ingalls Wilder. Observe.

The laundry hanging had gone off without a hitch. I had enough clothespins, I didn’t fall off the chair and die when I hung the towels on the higher line, the breeze was blowing, the laundry would be dry soon.


I went on my happy, merry way and came back to take the sheets and towels in a few hours later.

I got down to the very last daggum sheet before I noticed it.


Bird poop.

All over my clean laundry.

Good grief. This would happen to me.

I just laughed and shook my head and took the laundry inside to start the whole process over again.

But this time, I set the spin cycle speed to 400 and that’s as low as it would go.

I love Spain.

And all its adventures.


Until next time, much love,


España photos – day 12

Wow. Wow, wow, wow. Some days I still can’t believe I’m actually in Spain getting to do and see so many amazing things. That thought hit me again this weekend when I went to Granada to help shoot video footage for a project some people here at the center are working on.

I learned how to record audio, shot some great photos to accompany the video, got to tour lovely Granada and it was all in a day’s work!

I love my internship.

We left Thursday morning and it took us about two hours to travel from Málaga to Granada. Here’s a map for all you visual people (like me).


I absolutely loved seeing the countryside during our drive. There are mountains! Big, tall mountains. The Sierra Nevada Mountains to be exact.

I never would have guessed there would be such diverse terrain in this area. Málaga is right on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, but drive north an hour and you’ve got beautiful hills and olive groves, drive another hour and you’ve got snow-capped peaks.

This Kansas girl is used to flat, dry land as far as the eye can see. New experiences abound everywhere in Spain.

Here are a few shots I took as we walked around the city.






It’s just like Holes!

And let me tell you, Granada was just about hot enough to feel like the desert in Holes. Málaga has been hot, but not compared to Granada. Málaga usually has a nice breeze blowing in off the Mediterranean which keeps it about 10-15 degrees cooler than inland cities like Granada.


Plants are a big deal. Obviously.


Plants may be big, but doors are not. This was seriously the front door to a house.


I just had to throw in a picture of the tapas we had. The cheese was amazing. And the wine. Not the olives. I don’t like olives. But I like olive oil.

I don’t understand myself sometimes…




This guy is the reason we went to Granada in the first place. He is a graffiti artist with a pretty cool testimony.

And if I knew Spanish, I would tell you about it.

But I don’t, so I won’t. Sorry.

I’ll just show you more photos.






So that was graffiti in Granada.

It took us all day to get our footage and photos. Half of our team went back to Málaga at 10 that night, but myself and another girl stayed behind to go to feria.

Now, I don’t exactly know what a feria is other than it’s some sort of Catholic thing and people dress up in flamenco dresses (well, women dress up, I should say) and go dancing. There’s also food and rides. Kind of like the Kansas State Fair.

Minus the Pronto Pups.

And the giant butter cow sculpture.

If any of y’all have been to the Kansas State Fair, you know what I’m talking about. If not, you need to go. It’ll change your life.

My friend scored some real flamenco dresses for us to wear to the feria and they were super fun!

I might have looked Spanish for the night, but I still felt like a guiri (pronounced similar to the English word giddy). Guiri is the slang word Spaniards use for non-Spaniards.


Forgive me. It was dark and I am totally, completely, 100 percent against using my built-in flash, so the lighting is horrible in the following photos.

But you get the gist.


You must have a flower in your hair for feria.

Real Spaniard women wear their flowers directly on top of their head, dead center.

I opted out of that. I like my flower where it is.


My lovely friend.


At feria!



Welcome to feria. There are lights everywhere.



This was cool. There were people in giant hamster balls running around on the water. If I hadn’t been in a super tight flamenco dress, I would have tried it out myself.


These are legit flamenco dancers. Notice the flower dead center on the top of their heads.


Now… story time.

We got to feria at 1:00 in the morning. We left at 3:00. We didn’t get back to our hostel until 5:00.


We took the wrong bus.

It was a disaster.

The city runs special buses during feria that are just for feria, so I guess we assumed that as long as we got on one of the feria busses, it would take us back to where we got on.


We ended up way far away from our hostel in some really quiet part of town. We got off the wrong bus and walked for a long time until we found another bus stop. We thought it was the right bus stop.


We walked some more. And some more.

And some more.

And then we saw a bus. We flagged it down, hoping it would be the right bus.


The bus driver told us to wait at a nearby stoplight for the right bus that would be coming by there in just a few minutes.

Red flag anyone?

Why would we wait for a bus at a place that was not a bus stop?

Because the bus driver was wrong.

We waited at that stop light for over half an hour.

That same wrong bus passed by again twice, but still no right bus.

And then finally, finally!, we saw a taxi.


We ran out in the middle of the street and waved our arms and flagged that blessed taxi down.

Surely it would be able to take us to our hostel, right?


Or so the driver said.

He had to go switch out his car. That’s all I got out of the conversation.

And then he drove away.

I almost died.

But then my friends kept walking. They were following the taxi.

What in the world?

Turns out, the taxi driver only had to go a couple of blocks and meet up with another driver who was going to take the car for his shift.

Thank you Jesus, praise the Lord. We had a taxi.

We got back to the hostel we were staying at at 5:00 in the morning.

And the hostel is a whole ‘nother story in itself.

Let me show you.


This is a picture I took of a stairwell in the hostel earlier in the day. The building was 400 years old and in the middle of being renovated.

Now, as cool as it was to be staying in a building older than my home country, I saw a fiasco looking for a place to happen.

And boy did it ever.

Let me set the scene for y’all…

It’s 5:00 in the morning. I am deader than a doornail tired (so tired in fact, I’m mixing idioms) and I haven’t peed for hours.

My bladder is about to burst.

(Sorry, but it’s the truth. I’m not ashamed to tell you that I was about to pee my pants.)

I have to make it up six flights of stairs before I can get to a bathroom.

In a tight dress. That means no running.

So I waddle/skip/potty-dance up the stairs and have to fiddle around with two separate keys to unlock two separate doors.


Finally, I get the doors open and try to quietly find my way to the bathroom.

Mind you, it’s 5:00 in the morning. People are sleeping. It’s dark. I’m in a strange hostel with furniture placed in places that I don’t know it’s been placed in. I’m bumping into things, knocking things over, the whole shebang.

I really am trying to be quiet, but I gotta go… if you know what I’m saying.



I find the bathroom.

I go in, shut the door and flip the lightswitch.

It doesn’t work.

Yeah. That’s right… the lightswitch doesn’t work.

Sweet Jesus, help me.

I take 0.43 seconds to evaluate my options.

Girl’s gotta pee.

For real.

So I feel my way around the bathroom like a blind person until I find the toilet. I make sure the lid is up (gotta cover all my bases, otherwise things could have been bad-news-bears) and I shimmy the zipper down on my dress.

I’ll stop there and save y’all from being scarred for life, but let me just throw one more kink in the wrench (yes, I know that’s another mixed idiom, but it’s what I’ve always said, so it stays) by mentioning the fact that there was no toilet paper.

I’m sorry.

That’s gross.

I’m done now.

Sort of.

I’m done with horrible natural human function stories. (I’m sorry, that was gross too wasn’t it?)


This hostel just kept getting better and better.

After the bathroom disaster, I wanted nothing more than to go to sleep on a rock.

Wait, what?

I wanted to go to sleep on a bed.

But the bed might as well have been a rock as hard as it was.


My pillow was covered in stains and hair (not mine).

I had to shove a nightstand in front of the door to keep it closed because it kept swinging open on its own.

There was a vicious cat fight outside my window at 6:00. I’m pretty sure one of the cats died from the sound of things. I was six stories up and I had earplugs in and it still sounded awful.

And that was my hostel experience.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad it happened. I love having crazy adventures like that. Plus, I feel like everybody needs to have one or two bad hostel stories in their lifetime. Now I’ve got mine.


Welcome to the Ritz Carlton.

We have dirtied your pillow and carved your mattress out of cement. Compliments of the house.

Also, we will provide you with gruesome animal noises just as you are about to finally fall asleep in order to provide you with the finest luxury experience.

Thank you for staying with us, we hope to see you again soon.

I may be exaggerating just a little bit, but like I said, it wasn’t that bad all things considered. The view outside my window was even kind of pretty.



But it sure felt good to get back to Málaga the next day.


All in all, I had a great trip to Granada, and I will definitely remember it for the rest of my life.

Now… bring on more adventures!


Culture de España – food and drink edition


The past few days have been work days again. I’m loving my job. I do different things everyday. So far I have photographed a wall mural that is about to be painted over, learned how to use Final Cut Pro and edited a home assignment video for a missionary, and planned out a couple of upcoming shoots, just to name a few things.

Since I haven’t been out and about much in the past couple days, I thought I would show you a few photos of what’s in my apartment.


Ok well, I guess I lied. This isn’t actually in my apartment. Shocker, I know. I bet I had y’all fooled into thinking they’d built an entire grocery store in my living room.

Sorry to burst your bubble.

This store is called Eroski and it’s kind of like Walmart, Spain style.

The store had an entire aisle just for international products. I thought it was neat.


These are fun. They’re cookies I picked up at Eroski this weekend and the have a slab of creamy dark chocolate layered on top of a simple butter cookie.


I love dark chocolate. I love it so much, I would bathe in it.

Or not.

But I could definitely eat it all day long.

So naturally, I love these cookies for the chocolate, but I also like them for another reason.


They have random letters of the alphabet on them!

I picked through the package and there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to the letters printed. They are what they are.

I’m thinking of collecting about ten packs of these and playing a game of Scrabble with them.

And I’d use a giant waffle for the game board.

Now, I’ve told you I’m fond of the dark chocolate, non-bathing material, but definitely word-game-playing-piece material cookies, but this next thing might just save my life while I’m in Spain.

Let me explain a little bit first.

I may be a midwest Kansas country girl, but I have a soft spot in my heart for some good ol’ southern sweet tea.

For real. It’s pretty much my life long goal to live in an old southern tidewater-style home with a porch that wraps all the way around the house with an old creaky porch swing. I’m going to sit on that porch in that creaky porch swing in the evenings and watch the sun go down and drink sweet tea all the live-long day.


Anyway… Spain does not have sweet tea.

I knew this before coming here, but I didn’t know it was going to be such a problem.

I even rationed myself the week before coming here in a futile attempt to break my addiction to my precious nectar from heaven.

It didn’t work. I think I was in Spain for maybe an hour before I started craving a tall, cool glass of sweet tea.

Needless to say, I was a tad bit worried about what I was going to do. Six weeks without sweet tea might have drove me crazy.

But then I found this.


Tinto de verano.

Don’t ask me to translate. I have no clue what this says. I think verano is summer… or veranda. One of the two. But hey, verandas are associated with summer, so it’s all good.

This is how I decipher Spanish. Word associations. They’ll getcha far in life.

Anyway… the tinto.

I don’t exactly know what all’s in that bottle. I do know there is wine and some kind of semi-carbonated lemon fizzy liquid something. But it’s good. Not as good as sweet tea. Heavens no.

But it just might get me through five more weeks here until I can get my hands on a jug of Red Diamond.



Mucho amor (much love),


España photos – day 4

Well it’s day 6 of my internship in Spain, but this post is all about photos from day 4. I’m getting behind already! Thankfully (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it) the last two days have been work days so I haven’t had a chance to take many more pictures.

Back to day 4…

Some of my wonderful co-workers/friends took me downtown and showed me around on Wednesday afternoon. I had a blast seeing downtown Málaga. I am definitely a country girl through and through, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a big city every once in a while! Wednesday was definitely one of those days.

So without further ado…


Roommate! This one is for you! It’s just like Cali!


This stuff is the bomb. I know… it looks like plain cherry jam, but for real. You can’t know how good this stuff is until you taste it.

I’m in love.

I eat it at least twice a day.

Sometimes without the bread.


And then sometimes I tell myself that cherry jam straight out of the jar is not a sufficient breakfast so I make myself a proper meal.


Most people in Málaga live in apartments. To me, this looks like a high-rise complex straight out of 1970s America.


Now this is downtown Málaga. The building on the far right is a hotel. I’m not sure about the other two, but they sure are purdy… I mean bonita. (I’m having issues giving up my country slang. It’s a problem.)


This is Málaga’s official statue. Sadly, I can’t remember the story behind it… something about buckets and fish. The end.

Howdy y’all! Mah name is Kristy and I’m fixing to be y’alls tur guide through this here fine city of Malagie, Espana. That’s “s-pan-uh” folks. Let’s git ‘er done!

I’d make a fantastic Spanish tour guide, can’t ya tell?



This wall is in the middle of a parking garage. Wild, right? It was built by the Phoenicians to protect the city over 3000 years ago and got buried and forgotten about until modern technology brought about the need for this newfangled thing called a parking garage. Lots of dirt, some shovels and a few bulldozers later and voila! Houston, we have an ancient wall.



This is city hall. No big. Our city halls look like this in Podunk Kansas too.


Well hello there tree. I almost thought I had discovered a new species when I saw you, but then I remembered you actually do exist. In every other place except Kansas, America. Thanks for reminding me there is more than flat land and dead grass out there in this world.


My, what big roots you have!


One of my lovely new friends was kind enough to ask if I would like her to take a picture of me with the tree. It felt strange being on the front side of a camera for once.

Always the photographer, never the photographed. That’s my life story in a nutshell.


Poinsettas grow on trees. Who knew? Not this Kansas girl. I didn’t even know what a tree was until about two pictures before this one.


This stone is from the time period when the Romans had control over Málaga. I’m not sure what it says. It’s written in Latin. I’m having enough trouble with Spanish right now. I think I’ll save the Latin translations for some other time… like never. That’s good too.

By the way, I hate the CD case in the shrubbery. It ruins the picture. But  my arms weren’t long enough to grab it. Sad day.


This is a Roman amphitheater that was also constructed during ancient times, forgotten and buried and later unearthed.

It’s the circle of life. And it moves us all. (Name that song lyric!)


France had to throw it’s flavor in the Málaga melting pot too.

And just fyi, I hated the Louvre. I thought it was kind of boring. And I got lost. But I do like to pronounce the name, “loo-vrah.” Makes a stuffy art museum way more fun.


I was genuinely impressed by Málaga’s creativity when it comes to renovating buildings. They put up a giant sheet that looks like a fun house and go to work behind it. Very cool.


I’m a sucker for old houses. Plus, I like the cross hanging from the top floor on this one.


Another picture of myself in front of another tree. I see a pattern developing…


Look at the branches on that thing! How amazing! We are definitely not in Kansas anymore, Toto.


I’m afraid this is my artsy-fartsy creative side coming out but I absolutely LOVE the perspective and the lighting of this photo. And I love how it gives you a sense of the narrowness of the streets. Totally serious on this one.


I’m definitely a fan of this door.


They really, truly had a bar named Cheers in downtown Málaga.

As I walked past it, I could almost hear Woody saying, “What’s shakin’, Mr. Peterson?” And Norm replying, “All four cheeks and a couple of chins.”

Favorite quote of the whole series right there. One of the many.


This is the most-walked (and in my opinion one of the most pretty) streets in Málaga. It’s called Calle J-something. Sorry. I forgot. But I got the Spanish word for street down pat. Calle.



The anti-government protests that started in Madrid a few weeks ago made their way to Málaga. And they’re still going on.

Except of course, when I asked the protestors in my bueno Español to go play hide-and-seek for a minuto so I could snap this picture.

They said they’d love to.



My friends took me into a couple of Spainsh clothing stores. I admit I was really curious to see what kinds of clothes they would have. They say whatever is popular in Europe will show up in the States in a year or two… but if this full-length denim romper pantsuit (is that even what you would call it?!?) is a preview of what’s to come, I think I would rather walk around naked, thank you. Just as long as I could wear my beloved boots.

Oh my dear, precious heaven for my feet boots… how I love and miss you so.



This, however, is a part of Spanish culture I embrace with open arms. Espresso. Mi amor. My love.

It was so hard for me not to chug that whole glass.

Side note, the restaurants print diagrams of the strength of their espresso on napkin containers. You just tell the waiter which one you want and he mixes up just the right amount of espresso and milk. Muy bueno!

Side, side note, the orange juice in the background was literally squeezed right when it was ordered. It was unlike any other orange juice I’ve ever tasted before. So, so good! Muy, muy bueno!

Side, side, side note. there are churros behind my espresso. Churros are basically fried pastry dough, which are best when dipped in hot pudding-like chocolate. Spaniards like to eat them for their metial. Metial is an afternoon snack, which in Spain happens around 4:00-5:00 p.m.

I’m a fan.


These are my lovely new friends and I at a bar that was built in 1840. The barrels behind us contained all different kinds of wine. I had one that was aged five years and very sweet. Muy bueno!

Sorry for the bad picture quality. It was so dark in that bar, this was the best possible result. I thought about scrapping it altogether, but my little not-legal-in-the-States-yet self couldn’t bear to delete my ever first photo taken in a bar.


This is a ginormous ferry that sails across the Mediterranean to a little town on the northern coast of Africa that is evidently still owned by Spain. Very cool. I want to go!


Speaking of the Mediterranean…


Now, this has nothing to do with downtown, but it was my first official purchase in Spain. Well, besides groceries, but those don’t count. Well, besides the churros and espresso too. Those do count.

Anyway… the fan.

I’ve always associated decorative fans like this with Asian cultures. But they are actually quite common in Spain. A lady’s gotta stay cool somehow in the hot summers of Southern Spain and no air conditioning!

I’m a fan of this too.


No pun intended. Maybe.


And these are boys that go to the school I can see from my balcony.

They have been practicing the actions to this song ever since I got here. Evidently this school always has some big end-of-the-year shebang with lots of song and dance.

Can you guess what song they are dancing to?


Not even kidding.

I asked the people I work with if they can understand the lyrics and they said no, Spaniards just like 80s music from America.

Fun fact… that end-of-the-year shebang is going on right now. No joke. The YMCA is blaring through my windows. And it’s 1130 p.m. here. That’s Spanish culture for you. School programs end at midnight here. I would have loved that when I was a kid! I was never allowed to stay up past 10.


Thanks for hanging in there with me through all those photos (and ridiculous captions… I don’t know what’s gotten into me tonight). There will be more to come in a few days!


Much love,




España! Day 3 photos

Hola from España!

Today is technically the third day of my trip, but it was the first chance I had to take some photos.

Nobody speaks English here, but other than the frustrations of a communication barrier, I’m having a great time!

Here are a few photos.

This is the view from my own private balcony.


The pretty sitting area of my apartment. I’m in love with the red wall. For real. The other three walls of the room are that same fantastic color. Spaniards don’t do accent walls. I love it.


Spain has ducks and geese. Just like my little Arkansas college town. It feels just like home. Sort of.


I’m across the pond. Literally. Get it? Across the pond. As in I’m across the Atlantic Ocean!

Sorry I had to explain that. I’m pretty sure I killed it.


I’m responsible for cooking most of my own meals while I’m here. Tonight was the first night I cooked a real meal. Please note that this was at 21:30… I mean 9:30 p.m. Sorry, I’m a fan of military time. So is Spain. And Spaniards like to eat late. Dinner/supper/whatever you call it in Español starts at 21:00, I mean 9:00 p.m., at the earliest.

I’m usually starving at 16:00. I mean 4:00 p.m.


This is the finished product. Rice, peas, sausage and cheese. Not bad.


And now it’s 23:23. (I promise I didn’t plan that.) And I’m tired. Estoy cansada. So I’m going to take a 2.27 minute shower (unfortunately, that’s as long as my hot water lasts. I really love long hot showers) and hit the sack.


Hasta luego y’all!

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