España 2011

All posts containing stories and photos from my internship in Spain, 2011.

Recaps, reviews and resolutions

Everybody’s doing it. You know, writing a “Here’s-what-I-did-in-2011-and-here’s-what-I’m-going-to-do-in-2012” blog post. And I’m finally jumping on that bandwagon. I’m only four days late.

I run on my own schedule.

 

2011 was a fun year! And because I’m sure y’all have already read a bunch of these kinds of lists and I don’t want to bore you, I’ll just rattle off a few quick highlights. I’m sure this is probably more for my benefit/nostalgia/enjoyment than yours anyway.

–2011 saw more snow days for my little Arkansas university than it had seen in 30+ years.

–Said snow days occurred as a result of one heck of a crazy snowstorm everyone dubbed, “The Snowpocalypse.”

–Then came, “The Rainpocalypse.”

–I failed at baking brownies, coloring, cards, and drawing the state of Kansas.

–The highlight of the year was definitely completing an internship in Spain!

–I decided to take the LSAT and possibly apply to law school.

–I started my senior year of college.

–I got to TP a basketball court.

–2011 closed out with a (semi)-winter storm and plenty of Christmas and New Year’s parties.

 

Now… for 2012.

I’m not much for resolutions. It’s not something I’ve ever really done and I’m much more of a go-with-the-flow person as opposed to making a plan and sticking to it tooth and nail.

I jokingly told a friend that I had made a one-day resolution to cheer for the Denver Broncos when they played the Kansas City Chiefs even though I am a huge Chiefs fan. I only did it because I didn’t want the Oakland Raiders to go to the playoffs, which they would have if Kansas City won. A few minutes after the game started though, I figured out that if Oakland lost their game to the San Diego Chargers, it didn’t matter if Denver won or lost; Oakland would be denied a playoff berth. (If you’re unfamiliar with the NFL playoff system, let me tell you, it can get a little crazy!)

So I said heck with the Donkeys, uhh… Broncos, and cheered all-out for my Chiefs!

And it all ended up working out ok. The Chiefs won and Oakland lost! Yay!

But, I digress.

Back to New Year’s resolutions.

Which I don’t really make.

With the exception of sarcastic one-day resolutions pertaining to football games that I actually make for selfish reasons.

And then break ten minutes into them.

I have problems. I know this.

But for real. A couple days before the new year, I downloaded a year in photos app for my iPhone. Y’all know what I’m talking about. Take one picture a day, every day, for 365 days.

Now, I’m really not a fan of such long-term commitments, mostly because I don’t like planning and being tied down, but also because I’m pretty sure I’ll break them. Nevertheless, I’m attempting this one. And by attempting, I mean keeping up with it as long as I can and not caring too much when I miss a day.

I’ve kept up with it so far though! Four days… impressive, I know.

Here are the first three photos and captions. (I haven’t uploaded the fourth to my computer yet. It and subsequent photos will hopefully follow.)

 

New Year’s Cookies! This is a family tradition. Every year my aunt makes these delicious German treats. This year I had at least six of them. I lost count after that, so the final tally isn’t exactly known. Oh well, it’s better that way. I’d probably rather not know how many I ate. I tend to overindulge a bit during all the holiday parties.

I have problems. I know this.

Being a cat is rough. Just ask my cat, Turvy, and he’ll tell you all about it. He gets to spend all day inside and stick his head in the bag of cat food and eat whenever he wants. And he’s supposed to be an outside cat. Pshhh. My mother spoils him.

Family Christmas supper at the local restaurant. This was like the twelfth (and final… thank goodness) family Christmas we’ve had this year. I love my family. I really, really do. And I love get-togethers and parties! But we like to eat in my family, so there is always tons of food at our get-togethers and my stomach has finally said enough.

The flip side is that in a week, I know I’ll be back at school dying to have a home-cooked meal again, so I really shouldn’t complain.

And that’s all for now, folks!

I hope y’all had a fantastic Christmas and New Year’s with your friends and families and that you can approach each day in 2012 as it comes, with a smile on your face!

The rain in Spain…

There is nothing about rain in this post. Sorry.

But it is about Spain!

It already feels like it’s been a lifetime since I was there. But every once in a while I get a happy little reminder about my summer in Spain.

The other day was one of those days.

Let me preface this by explaining that websites in Spain were all in Spanish. (Makes sense, right?) Luckily, my computer would automatically translate the website into English after a few seconds and the next time I visited that site, it would remember the language I last viewed the page in and it would pull the site up in that language without the translation delay.

I read Google News a lot while I was in Spain and for some reason I guess I haven’t read it that much since I got back to the States.

I didn’t realize how long it had been since I visited the site until I pulled it up the other day and this is what I saw.

It’s all in Spanish!

After a few seconds it switched over to English, but it was a sweet memory of a wonderful place.

Today I’m missing Spain.

Ellipsis list…

I miss…

…my blog. It’s been over a month since my last post. I’m so sorry about that! I’ve missed y’all.

…Spain. I found this picture on Pinterest yesterday. (you can find the original here:)

This is Sunflower Valley in Valencia, Spain.

Holy cow beautiful.

I never knew Spain had such beautiful sunflower fields. I was only six and a half hours away from this place while I was in Málaga this summer. Why didn’t I know about this?

I love sunflowers. They remind me of Kansas.

Minus the whole cliff in the background thing. That’s not like Kansas at all.

In this past month I have…

…started my senior year of college. And come down with a major case of Senioritis, which I’ve actually had for the past three years. I put off my homework and all I want to do is have fun times with fun people. Can I major in that please?

…not studied for the LSAT. And I’m taking it on Saturday. Is there a problem here? My logical reasoning skills say yes.

…got an iPhone! Actually, I did that this morning. It’s fantastic. And a time waster. But hey, I don’t care all that much about my homework anyway so we’re all good, right?

Which brings me back to… I miss…

…my Kansas phone number. I had to get an Arkansas phone number with my new iPhone and I just realized that for some reason I was really attached to my old Kansas phone number. Is that dumb? Yes? Ok, I’ll get over it.

Thanks for loving me even though I miss trivial things like phone numbers and don’t blog for a month.

Y’all are wonderful. I’ll be back soon. In less than a month, I promise!

España – the final photos

I am home. It is wonderful.

I love you, America (in spite of all your national debt problems).

My flights went well all the way back. In fact, I’ve never had flights go so smoothly. There were no delays and my layovers weren’t long either. Sitting on a plane for eight hours was the worst of it all and even that wasn’t too bad.

Thank you Lord for traveling mercies.

Anyway, as promised, here are my last photos from Spain documenting the Camino de Santiago.

But first, a brief rundown of what the Camino actually is.

The Camino de Santiago is a pilgrimage walked from wherever you start (one trail starts in France, one in Portugal, others in various Spanish towns) to the city of Santiago de Compostela. It is believed that the remains of St. James are buried in the cathedral there.

The Camino de Santiago (literally translated to mean The Way of Saint James) is seen by Catholics as a sort of penance for their sins. They believe the suffering they incur on the walk is a result of their sins and upon arriving at the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, they confess their sins and are pardoned.

Of course, not everybody walking the Camino is Catholic or believes in the pilgrimage as penance. People come from all over the world to walk the Camino, and while some do it for religious reasons, others do it simply for the adventure or the challenge. But (fun fact) everyone must claim some sort of “religious purpose” when checking in at the Pilgrim’s Office at the end of their journey, otherwise the compostela, or certificate of completion, can be denied.

I went on the Camino as part of my internship. My co-workers and I went to scope out footage for a possible documentary on the Camino. And that’s about all I can say regarding our work. I’ll let you know more as the project develops.

Now for the photos.

 

This is my credencial. My pilgrim’s passport. The stamp on the left was my starting point. You can see I started in the town of Sarria. That’s 112 kilometers (70 miles) away from Santiago de Compostela. As we walked, we would stop in cathedrals and restaurants along the way to get a sello, or stamp. When you get to the Pilgrim’s Office, you must present your passport and it is checked to make sure it has the correct stamps. Now I’m not sure exactly what that means, but I know if you miss a stamp somewhere, you don’t get the compostela, so they’re kind of a big deal. (No worries, I got all my stamps.)

This was towards the beginning of our journey. As you’ll see in the upcoming photos, most of the Camino was out in the wide open spaces, winding through fields and trees, but as you can see from this photo, we also walked through towns.

If you read the bottom of the big brown sign, you’ll see the word, albergue. Albergues are hostels along the Camino for pilgrims to spend the night in. Because we were part of a large group, we never stayed in an albergue. We spent the nights in tents at campsites or in public gyms.

These markers were all along the Camino. The told you what province you were in (located at the bottom of the marker) and how many kilometers were left to walk until Santiago de Compostela. At this point, we still had a long, long way to go. People also put rocks on top of the markers. I never found out the reason for that. I assume it’s just rite of passage.

There was beautiful scenery along the way.

This reminds me of Colorado.

This reminds me of home.

Poor girl needs to be milked.

More cows!

And sheep!

Northern Spain was very agricultural. There were corn fields all over the place along with quaint little farms and dairies. It almost felt like home.

I love this shot of the trail.

I don’t remember the Spanish name for this monument, but in English it’s called the Mountain of Joy.

I was joyful in front of the Mountain of Joy because I thought I was almost to Santiago de Compostela. It was the last day and I was tired. And as it turned out, I had another 5K to go.

It hurt, but I made it.

The whole walk was a lot more painful than I expected it to be. In my mind, walking would be no big deal. If we were running the Camino, that would have been a different story, but walking… pshh, piece of cake.

Ha.

Take 70 miles in five days, add a 20 pound backpack, some not so awesome shoes and hilly terrain and you’ve got one tired girl… with nice calves. There’s always a plus side to everything!

The Camino was definitely different than anything I’ve ever done. And while it was a lot harder than I thought it ever could be, I’m so glad I did it.

And now I’m so glad to be home.

Thanks for hanging with me on my crazy journey through Spain. I appreciate y’all reading and following along.

Much love,

kskristy

Audios, España. Hello, America!

My last post from Spain.

This is the kind of moment where a normal person would get all fancy and poetic and say some sort of emotional farewell about how it’s bittersweet to be leaving, how part of their heart will always be in Spain… blah, blah, blah.

I’m not that kind of gal.

Nope, my fond farewell sounds a little more like this, “Hasta la vista, baby… I’m going home! And God Bless America!”

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve loved my time in Spain. I really, truly have. But I’m so ready to get back to the States.

My wonderful, blessed, familiar, Walmart-shopping, sweet tea-drinking, cowboy boot-wearing, beef for dinner-eating, red white and blue, English-speaking country. Amen.

So, so ready. You have no idea.

I’ve been going crazy this past week, chomping at the bit for this moment. The moment where my apartment is clean (ok, well that hasn’t happened quite yet), where my bags are all packed (y’all have got to be out of your precious minds if you think that’s already happened! Anybody who knows me knows I’m still packing two minutes before I’m out the door), where I’m on that plane and headed home (and obviously that hasn’t happened yet either).

So basically I’m still waiting for “that moment.” But in my head, I’m so there.

 

And switching gears now for a sec… gotta take care of business, you know.

I know I haven’t posted Camino photos yet. I’m sorry. I’m ashamed. I’m a bad blogger. Forgive me.

I’ve been busy preparing for “that moment.”

Unfortunately, photos won’t be up for several more days.

I think I have something on the schedule for tomorrow. Hmm… I can’t seem to remember what it was. I think it might take me all day… what could it be?

How about spending 24 hours on a plane/in an airport? That part I am not excited about, but I’ll take it if it gets me home.

And then right away I’m heading up to one of my favorite places in the whole wide world. THE LAKE. (I just want y’all to know that normally, I’m totally against typing words in all caps. It makes me feel like a 13-year-old girl. I’m not ok with that. But the lake is a big deal. It warrants all caps.)

I’m going to spend a few days at the lake with my wonderful, wonderful family who I haven’t seen in two months. No internet. No kskristy. Sorry about ya. I’ll be focusing all of my efforts on wakeboarding, kneeboarding, skiiing and eating. I love y’all, but that’s just the way it’s gotta be.

Girl’s gotta live it up, ya know?

Anyway, then I’m driving nine hours back to Kansas. And then I’m going to die. For two or three days at least. I’m willing myself to hold off the jet lag until then. No jet lag allowed at the lake. There’s time for that later. That’s the pep talk I’m going to give myself. What? You think I should be named Motivational Speaker of the Year? Why, thank you, I accept. I always knew that speech would touch people someday…

Sorry. Back on track.

But for real. I’m going to be tiiiiiiiiired. (This also makes me feel like a 13-year-old girl. But again, it was necessary for proper emphasis. Or maybe I’m already a little too tired…)

I’ll post the Camino photos sometime during the week that I’m home.

Until then, here’s one to tide you over.

Dreamy, ain’t it?

I can’t wait to share more with you.

But right now, it’s a quarter after midnight in Spain and I have a million things to do before heading out to the airport in just a few hours.

Catch ya later in the States. Much love for now,

kskristy

España miscellany – road signs

If this isn’t a typical tourist thing to do, then I don’t know what is…

I’ve succumbed to taking pictures of Spanish road signs.

Maybe succumbed isn’t the right word. I’m not completely ashamed. The signs are kind of amusing. I just feel like I might as well put a sign on my back saying, “I don’t belong here!” whenever I snap a shot of something so ordinary.

But in the end, the photographer in me always wins out.

Take this sign for example.

I’ve seen numerous signs like this along all the highways in Spain, but never stopped to take a picture of one.

I always just scoff at them.

Tractors and horse-drawn carriages, huh? In Spain? You’ve got to be kidding me. We ain’t in Kansas anymore. Do Spaniards even know what a tractor is? And who would drive a horse-drawn carriage down a major highway? Are there Amish people here?

Now I have to say that in Málaga my scoffing is perfectly legitimate. Málaga is one big cement and concrete jungle. I can’t even remember the last time I’ve seen a patch of nice green grass around here.

But up north in Galicia, where I walked the Camino de Santiago, now that’s a different story. Not only were there tractors in Galicia, there were dairy cows and corn fields and the whole shebang. It felt a little like home. But that’s a story for another day.

I’m just glad the signs finally started making some sense.

But here’s one I don’t think I’ll ever understand.

This was at a beach in a little coastal town in northern Spain called Combarro.

Interesting beach policies in Combarro.

You are welcome to take your daily shower at the beach. But you must never play tennis (all other sports are permitted) and you cannot bring your… goat?

Your guess is as good as mine on that one.

I saw this and immediately thought of The Supremes.

“Stop! In the name of love…”

It’s actually just meant to prevent unauthorized persons from entering whatever was behind it, which didn’t look like anything top-secret enough to warrant such an intense sign, but whatever.

The Spanish are dramatic people.

Case in point.

I believe this sign is trying to tell me that there is a high suicide rate among automobiles in Spain.

So hide your Fords and hide your Hondas ‘cuz dey all gon’ down tha drink up in here.

I’m sorry. That was bad.

But for real. What else could this sign be saying? Don’t drive your car into the ocean?

I’m pretty sure that’s rule #1 in driver’s ed. It was in Kansas anyway. Because we have so much water, you know. It’s a real danger to beginning drivers.

Anyway, your guess is as good as mine on this one too.

And now I’m off to go ponder the deeper meanings of life.

Much love,

kskristy

España day 27 – the beach!

I just watched a cruise ship sail off into the Mediterranean from my balcony. (Hello misplaced modifier.)

That really has nothing to with this post. I just had to tell ya. So you could share in my excitement. In order to really feel it though, you should probably squeal with excitement and clap your hands a couple times. Got it? Good. I would hate for you to miss out on the full experience.

Not that I would ever do that.

Ok… moving on.

Does anybody else hear crickets chirping? Hello? Hellllloooo?

Sorry.

But, speaking of the Mediterranean, I had the chance to swim in it about two weeks ago. A couple friends and I went to a nearby town called Nerja and spent a glorious day at the beach.

It was my first time at the beach. Any beach. Ever.

I’ve been to San Francisco and saw the Pacific, but never touched the water. And I visited the Gulf of Mexico once, but it was right after Hurricane Katrina and there wasn’t really a beach left.

So by my processes of elimination and rationalization, the coast of the Mediterranean at Nerja was the first beach I’ve ever been to.

In my mind, I had such a glamorous view of what the beach would be like. White sand stretching on for miles and miles. Palm trees waving free and easy in the breeze. Super Guapos surfing and showing off for the girls. (For the definition of a super guapo, see this post.)

Nerja wasn’t quite like that.

This was my first view of the coast.

Where’s the beach? Where’s my luscious white sand?

Getting closer. That sand isn’t exactly white but…

…that’s fun!

And crowded. You mean I don’t get the beach all to myself?

That’s ok. I’m still at a beach! I’m a happy camper.

How could I not be happy with views like this? So pretty!

Eventually my friends and I found a secluded, shady spot underneath some cliffs at the very end of the beach.  We definitely didn’t have the beach to ourselves, but it kind of felt like it.

But there was still one little issue.

This was the sand.

In Kansas we call that gravel. We put it on our roads. And drive on it. Not lay out on it.

I may be exaggerating a little bit.

The sand really wasn’t that bad. Once you put a towel down, you could hardly tell you were laying on rocks.

All sarcasm aside, I really did have a good time.

I laid out in the sun.

I got hot.

I went for a dip in the Med.

I went back to my towel.

I laid out in the sun.

I got hot.

I went for a dip in the Med.

I ate an apple.

I took a nap.

I laid out in the sun.

I think you get the picture. It was the life.

And to think, I can almost do the same thing in Kansas! We do have the gravel after all.

But not the Med. Or any large oceans/seas/lakes/rivers/ponds/puddles/H2O in any way, shape or form.

I think it’s about time Kansas got around to inventing water…

España day 25 – James Franco, Ian Somerhalder and Spanish flamenco

Welcome back me! I’ve been back in Málaga for two days now after traveling to northern Spain the previous week. I went up there to walk a 70+ mile stretch of the Camino de Santiago in just five days. It was an incredible experience, but I’ll save that for another post. I’ve got some catching up to do first.

Before I left, I meant to post photos from a flamenco dance show I had the privilege of attending. Well, life happened and I never got around to posting them. I’ve just gotta share the photos with you though, so here they are!

 

Actually, this isn’t flamenco quite yet. (Bonus points for you if you figured that out before I told you.) It’s the cute little town where the flamenco show was held, called Mijas. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places (or whatever the Spanish equivalent of that is) because it’s an all white town. Evidently they aren’t very common in Spain anymore. I thought it was lovely… historic register certified or not.

Ok, now for the flamenco dancers.

They came out in very traditional flamenco dress and performed a traditional flamenco dance.

I’m qualified to tell you this because I am very well-versed in the history of traditional flamenco. It’s how we dance in Kansas all the time. Castanets and everything.

This is called chemistry.

Flamenco is all about chemistry. And passion. And stamping your feet.

More chemistry.

I may or may not have had a major crush on Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome on the right there.

He is what you would call in Spanish a “Super Guapo,” or SG for short.

Then Super Guapo left and the ladies did some interpretive dance with baskets. I think they were doing laundry.

They obviously have very different feelings about doing laundry.

Red polka-dot woman has found her true calling in life and blue polka-dot woman is unimpressed.

Now both of them are happy.

So happy their skirts are flying up.

Laundry isn’t exactly the sort of thing that makes my skirt fly up, but to each his own I suppose.

Then Super Guapo came back and they all had a party.

The guy on the left reminded me of Vince Vaughn.

Don’t ya think? Minus the guyliner and the difference in skin color, they’re practically twins.

Regardless, this guy made some pretty great faces throughout the whole show.

He meditated.

He just about had the heavy metal rocker thing going on in this one.

I’m not sure what’s going on here, but I think the woman’s expression is just as good as Vince Vaughn’s. Wonder what she’s looking at?

Vince Vaughn is about to fall over. Super Guapo is happy.

Hi there, Super Guapo.

Since I’m naming Spanish flamenco dancers after American celebrities, let me just say that I think Super Guapo looks like a mix of James Franco and Ian Somerhalder.

Oh dear. Someone catch me because I am going to faint. Or my skirt is going to fly up. One of the two. Both would be bad.

Three super guapos are just too much for me.


Super Guapo has his own girl anyway.

I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.

España day 22 – the Alcazaba

Last Sunday I went to a Moorish castle in Málaga called the Alcazaba. It was great! The castle was built in the 11th century so I loved the archaic architecture. And I got some fantastic vistas of Málaga from the top of the castle.

I’ve got a bunch of photos to share with y’all, so I’ll let them do the talking and keep my sarcastic commentary to myself today.

 

Now I have to explain the photo above because it is clearly the odd one out.

After touring the Alcazaba, a friend and I were heading downtown and we passed through Calle Larios, one of the prettiest and busiest streets in Málaga. The city had hung up shade cloth earlier in the week to try and keep the street (and the people) cooler in the heat of the day. I had seen the shade cloth before, but I was amazed by the new decoration that seemed to be hanging from the heavens.

Paper cranes. Hundreds and hundreds of them.

They were so beautiful.

There was a banner hanging a little way beyond them that said something about, “We don’t know what to do with all the paper,” or something to that effect.

In America, we shred paper. In Spain, they make paper cranes.

Point for Spain.

There are more photos to come! Check back soon for legit flamenco dancers.

Until then, much love,

kskristy

My 4th of July… without America

The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays, second only to Thanksgiving.

I love everything about the 4th: summer, red, white and blue everywhere, classic car shows, small town parades, barbecues, friends, family, homemade ice cream, sweet tea. Oh yes, I love it all.

Yesterday was my first time to be out of America on Independence Day. It was a strange and sad feeling.

We had a party here at the center with a lot of people and a lot of food (for real… I’ve hardly eaten today because I’m still so full), but still it wasn’t the same as celebrating America’s independence in the good ol’ U.S. of A.

I found some pictures on my computer of the fireworks show my hometown put on last year. I loved looking at them and reminiscing.

Out town actually wasn’t even allowed to have a fireworks show this year because we’re under a burn ban. Maybe I’m selfish, but it made me feel a little better knowing I wasn’t missing out on as much of the fun 4th festivities all my friends and family were getting to partake in.

Here are a few of my favorite fireworks photos. Enjoy.

(I’ll be back to Spain photos later this week. Moorish castles, cityscape panoramas and flamenco dancers are yet to come!)

 


Much love and God bless America,

kskristy

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.

Mites?

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.

Success.

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.

Poop.

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,

kskristy

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…

 

Anyway…

 

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.

Why?

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.

Wrong.

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.

Wrong.

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.

Wrong.

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.

Hallejulah.

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?

Wrong.

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.

RE-diculous.

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.

So.

Finally.

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?)

Anyway…

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.

Also…

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!

 

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