Un Veranito de Calor Part 2

After spending 2 painful weeks of sending my CV out, meeting with academies, and being offered summer camp counselor positions, I decided that I was just going to continue with private English classes.  Since I have zero work permission here in Spain, many academies and summer camps won’t hire you.  If they do offer you a job, it’s usually for 5 euros an hour which is impossible to live on.  Some of my friends were lucky and able to find summer camps outside of Spain, but I really wanted a Spanish summer.

Many of my students wanted to continue with me through the summer, so I only had to find a few extra classes.  Since school was over, many of the parents requested that English classes be fun and exciting.  I was lucky enough to find a family that wanted me to be with their children every day for 2 hours.  So that meant I had to make sure they didn’t get bored with the activities or with me.  Each day had a special theme, cooking, adventure, pool, and one day where they got to be the teachers and teach me English.  THEY LOVED IT.

Yes we did bake brownies at 10 ing the morning...

Yes we did bake brownies at 10 ing the morning…

We made codes on candies and we had to take turns solving the riddle.

We made codes on candies and we had to take turns solving the riddle.

Go Fish game within the card game of Go Fish. I got desperate sometimes.

Go Fish game within the card game of Go Fish. I got desperate sometimes.

While I wasn’t in my classes I was definitely enjoying a real summer.  That means beach, beach, and more beach.  Also it meant more time for travels and visitors!  I, of course, did my annual trip back to Bollullos, where I spent my first year here in Spain.  I brought Cris along so he could finally witness how beautiful my little county town is.  There was also a weekend in Cris’ town, Dalías, for the “spring dance,” baile primavera, even though it was June. I quickly learned that these dances are not just casual, they are SUPER classy.  And, of course, the party lasts until 7 in the morning.

Spending the morning with my Spanish moms in Bollullos.

Spending the morning with my Spanish moms in Bollullos.

We clean up pretty good.

We clean up pretty good.

The dance was held in the town's Casino.

The dance was held in the town’s Casino.

As I stated before, I spent a lot of time at the beach during the summer, I basically lived in my swimsuit.

Punta Umbria beach in Huelva

Punta Umbria beach in Huelva

The beach in Cabo de Gata

The beach in Cabo de Gata

the sunset in Marbella

the sunset in Marbella

an occupational hazard of the beach: Jellyfish stings. Marbella has a million of them.

an occupational hazard of the beach: Jellyfish stings. Marbella has a million of them.

More of Cabo de Gata

More of Cabo de Gata

the beach in Pedregalejo

the beach in Pedregalejo

I also had the opportunity to travel around the south of Spain.  First my Aunt Heide and Uncle Tom were in town, so we went to meet them in Cordoba.

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We did many day trips, such as Torremolinos and Marbella , for the beach.  A night in Mijas with Cris’ family, which is know for it’s streets with candles at night.

Still think its a safety hazard to have all these candles in the street.

Still think its a safety hazard to have all these candles in the street.

On our way back from Merida, we also stopped in the pueblo of Osuna. Its famous for a commander who sailed the first Spanish ship into the San Fransico Bay.  Nowadays, it’s even more famous because the WHOLE CAST OF GAME OF THRONES was there for a few weeks for shooting.  The church there is the fictional town of Dorne in the TV show.

I was hoping the cute Prince of Dorne would open up for me.

I was hoping the cute Prince of Dorne would open up for me.

Probably the most important stop was while we were visiting Bollullos and Huelva.  We stopped in the city of Rocío, home of the Saint Rocío, and the celebration of the Saint in May or June.  Saint Rocío is also the patron saint of the province of Huelva.

Finally got to meet the Rocío. No words.

Finally got to meet the Rocío. No words.

There was even time for a Daddy Yankee concert with Cris’ friends.  I have to admit it was the longest concert of my life…it started around 6 and went until 7 in the morning.  Click here for some videos.

It was more of a little music fest...but it was a long night.

It was more of a little music fest…but it was a long night.

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There was even some time to explore more of the amazing museums that Malaga has.  As well as, take advantage of Cultural Sundays were many of these are free.  Now as most of you know, Malaga is the birth city of the famous painter Picasso, but it is also home to many fabulous art museums.  Two newer ones are the CAC, centro de arte contemporáneo, and the Centre Pompidu Málaga, which is even more contemporary.

These are done by the same guy who did the election poster for Obama's '08 election.

These are done by the same guy who did the election poster for Obama’s ’08 election.

There was an exhibit about the Chinese Zodiac. We all happen to be snakes.

There was an exhibit about the Chinese Zodiac. We all happen to be snakes.

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The Pompidou was different. Still thinking about a few of the pieces I saw.

The Pompidou was different. Still thinking about a few of the pieces I saw.

Like this one. Yes, that painting is painted upside-down.

Like this one. Yes, that painting is painted upside-down.

Then, since the teaching program I worked for placed me outside of Andalucía, in Extremadura. Now, this was a surprise to me and everyone else in the program…but I was told it was because I had been in the same province 3 years and after that you need to leave the province.  I took a weekend trip to explore the new city I was placed in, Mérida.  First things first, where in the world is Extremadura?

Andalucía is the southern province. Look to Portugal and right above Andalucía to the left. The dark greenish blue is the province of Extremadura.

Andalucía is the southern province. Look to Portugal and right above Andalucía to the left. The dark greenish blue is the province of Extremadura.  The capital is Mérida.

The most direct way to get to Mérida is to go towards Sevilla, and then head north for two hours.  So in total, one-way was 5 hours, so in one weekend that would be 10 hours of traveling.  Strike one against Mérida. We arrived pretty late on Friday after stopping for dinner in a small town, so it wasn’t until Saturday we got to walk around.  My first impressions of Mérida were that it isn’t a super small town, but it also isn’t as big as one would think a capital would be.  Mérida is special because it use to be the old Roman capital back in the day.  So there are old Roman ruins everywhere.  However, it was the middle of June, so the weather was unbearable.  Why?  Because Mérida is land-locked, there is no beach, no wind, just heat.  Strike number 2 against Mérida.

Just a Roman temple in the middle of a city.

Just a Roman temple in the middle of a city.

These are the ruins of an old Roman temple, that is under an old Catholic church, which are now under a monastery.

These are the ruins of an old Roman temple, that is under an old Catholic church, which are now under a monastery.

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The old Roman aqueducts that was used to transport water back int he day.

The old Roman aqueducts that was used to transport water back int he day.

There is even a huge Roman History museum full of real artifacts!

There is even a huge Roman History museum full of real artifacts!

However, a positive note of Mérida is that because the roman ruins, there is tourism side that helps Mérida have a city life feel to it.  There are many delicious restaurants, like entrecanas, shops, and of course jamon. Extremadura is the province that makes the most delicious jamon of all of Spain.  Mérida is also the home to Nico Jimenez’s restaurant…now who is Nico you ask? Well Nico is the the man who holds the Guinness World Record in 2008 for the long slice of jamon. 13 meters and 25 centimeters to be exact.  He is known as the Maestro Cortador, or the master cutter.  Anyways, his restaurant is super nice, crowded because its popular (we saw and met a famous worker’s party politician there) but also has delicious food.  And they sell jamon platters in an XXL size.

Look at that slice.

Look at that slice.

Look at that platter of heaven.

Look at that platter of heaven.

During our visit, there was the annual Roman theater festival.  Which means, very famous Spanish actors perform classic Roman plays, such as Medea.  I have to admit it was breath taking, to sit in an ancient Roman theater and watch a drama take place.  I do have to say that it was very difficult to understand everything in the old school Spanish.

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Even though I know I could have survived a year in Mérida, I just didn’t want to start over once again.  I am finally comfortable in Málaga, I have my “Spanish family,” my students, and even my cafe.  I felt there was no reason for me to start over again.  So, I rejected my position with the Language exchange program, and decided to just continue with private tutoring class until I have permission to legally work in Spain.

Another big part of my summer was continuing my adventures learning how to cook.  Now, I can cook for myself, but I found myself just cooking the same things with no desire to learn more.  I have also told many people how I don’t enjoy cooking and that even sometimes it even stresses me out.  So I took my copious amounts of free time and tried to learn some easy new dishes. Let’s just say that Pinterest was my best friend this summer.

First I had to master how to successfully cut jamon.

First I had to master how to successfully cut jamon.

We tired to make a gigantic tortilla, like they do in Cordoba...it as a fail.

We tired to make a gigantic tortilla, like they do in Cordoba…it as a fail.

I created a salmon, mozzarella, and spinach pizza.

I created a salmon, mozzarella, and spinach pizza.

We even went as far as to learn how to make our own sushi!

We even went as far as to learn how to make our own sushi!

Por fin, I found and created the best homemade mac and cheese!

Por fin, I found and created the best homemade mac and cheese!

Homemade egg muffins

Homemade egg muffins

Literally the best brownies ever: Chocolate chunk cheesecake brownies

Literally the best brownies ever: Chocolate chunk cheesecake brownies

Now this finally brings us to August.  Probably the craziest month of our whole summer.  This usually the month that people here in Spain have for vacation.  It’s also the month of Malaga’s fería, or fair.  One whole week of craziness.  August was also the month that Cris and I went to Minnesota for a two week vacation, and then after to his own pueblo for their fería.  WOOF, all of that needs it’s own post.  Hasta luego!

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