Thursday, December 13, 2018

December 13 - Photography Show

Today after school, in place of the normal cultural activity, we had a reception.  A few of the students had submitted photos for a photo show with the theme Sevilla Surprise.  I entered a photo of a small green oasis in one of the city parks.  There was a prize (which I did not win).  But, as is usually the case with the cultural activities, the primary purpose was to learn some things about the city and practice listening and speaking Spanish.  Today, also had the extra bonus food.  Also, one student had a birthday - so we had a chance to sing in Spanish as well.  (Fun fact, the young woman whose photo won was also the birthday student.)
After the party, I met up with Albert, Rachel, and Taylor.  They spent some time at the Real Alcazar and then at a pizza restaurant for lunch.  There was a film crew shooting a scene on the corner where we crossed paths - they were an Italian crew, but I don't know what they were filming (TV, movie, commercial,...?)
We walked home and dropped Albert off so that he could do his run and get some work done.  Meanwhile we walked over to the mall and checked out a number stores - ending with the grocery store.  There were some nice decorations.  I tried to get a photo with Rachel and Taylor and the lit star at the front of the mall, but it was not exactly a success.

When we got home, it was time to get dinner, then head out for a quick gelato, and finally time to do some Spanish.    

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

December 12 - Keeping Things Moving

Today, while I was in class, Rachel and Taylor landed in Sevilla after flying overnight from Miami.  Albert met them at the airport and they all arrived home about a half an hour after I did - I was able to squeeze in a little Spanish homework before they arrived..

They settled in - they didn't bring much since they just had carry-on luggage, just the necessities.

Hoping to adjust more quickly to the time change, they decided to try to stay up until at least 9:30.  So we set out almost immediately for a late lunch (welcome to Spain and the 2:30 lunch time).  Then, we walked all over the city while Albert went off to class - just keep moving.

We visited the nativities of the world exhibit - no line today.  It is amazingly elaborate and even has light that fades from day to night.
Some more walking and then we visited the waffle structure and took in some great views of the city.  Rachel was armed with her new lens - so she experimented with a number of shots - I am sure that some of her worst photos are better than my best.... but I keep pointing and clicking and keeping track of our time here.

Next, even more walking and a visit to the grocery store.  At this point they had been going for A LOT of hours.  So, I went up and started dinner while they hit a cafe for coffee/tea.  After dinner, we did some planning for activities for the next couple of days that require tickets and finally showers and bed.... they made it until 10:30!  Hopefully, they will get a good night of sleep and be ready for their full day of Sevilla adventures tomorrow.

For me, some late night homework and off for my own night of sleep.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

December 11 - Quiet Tuesday

After school, Albert and I did a little shopping and then settled in for a pretty quiet afternoon.  I did some Spanish and baked some cookies. 

I also went online and bought tickets for a play for Albert and I for this Sunday.  My teacher has been working on the crew doing set painting and costuming.  I am not sure how much we will understand, but I have read the description and talked to her about it - so I feel like even if we don't "get it" all, we will know enough to enjoy it.

This evening, I went to Intercambio.  The hostel where it is held is all decked out for Christmas, with the regular Christmas tree...(and yes those are Santa Clauses hanging from the window bars)
As well as some less traditional decorations (nothing says Christmas like a snowman among cacti).
After a couple of hours of Spanish - I headed home.  It was a pretty quiet night on our street.

Tomorrow our first holiday guests arrive and I can't wait.  Probably not many quiet days like today until mid-January.  Hopefully the weather holds out and all of our guests will have a chance to really get out and see the city.  

Monday, December 10, 2018

December 10 - No Cream of Tartar

This afternoon, after Albert came home from school, I headed out in search of a few things to make a spicy oil for Albert to add to his stir fry.  I found everything (including sesame oil) - so in about 4 weeks, he will have the Laura Schueller version of Mongolian Fire Oil.

I also found a good source of sweetened condensed milk in case I don't feel like making it from scratch and superfine sugar for candy making.

Sadly, four stores, two metro rides, and lots of walking - and I still have no source of cream of tartar.  Tomorrow, I will try one more bakery supply store downtown, and then if I still have no luck, it might be time to order from 

In addition to my shopping, I did get to see some of the Christmas lights in the small town on the other side of the bridge. 
And, near the end of my adventure, I came upon a group of carolers near our home - a nice surprise.  I listened for a while, snapped a quick photo, and then headed in with the groceries and let Albert know they were there - he went out and took a careful video.  

Sunday, December 9, 2018

December 9 - Three Kings Vegas Style

Today it was sunny and in the 70's again, and it is probably no surprise that I do not miss the cold weather one little bit.  I know that lots of people like the change of weather, the passing of seasons, the cooling temperatures, the changing leaves, the snow..... I am not one of those people.  I would be just as happy to have weather that was sunny and warm (or even sunny and hot) every single day. 

I mostly just walked around and did some people watching.  This little boy was bowing after his performance on the stage that was set up for an evening performance.  It would have been a perfect spot for the no-talent shows of my youth.
I ran into another group of street carolers - they were really good.
Then, as I was walking past the cathedral, a parade of rollerbladers whizzed past.  They were mostly each holding on to the person in front of them like a conga line on wheels.  I was a little surprised when they ducked into a doorway - lots of screaming and laughing as they rounded the corner and flew down the slight ramp into the square.
I followed them into the square (it is my favorite square after all).  But they were long gone by the time I got there.  So, I enjoyed the decorations for a few minutes and then moved on.
After dinner, Albert and I headed out to check out the Three King Crowns.  They are very impressive.  

On our way home, we stopped in at Plaza Nueva - the book fair ended today and they were closing down and cleaning up.  The Christmas Market is due to open there next Saturday.
Tomorrow, back to class.  I did a lot of Spanish this weekend, so it will be good to get to class and try to practice using it.  

Saturday, December 8, 2018

December 8 - Productive Saturday

It was a little chilly this morning, so I stayed under the covers and finished my book until late morning.  It was not a particularly fast start to the day - but I ended up being pretty productive.

We did two loads of laundry - with sun and no workers, it was like old times getting clothes dry on the roof.

Last week Emily sent a picture of a meal that she had made for herself.  It looked good to Albert, so I made a version of it today.  Of course there were some small substitutions required due to lack of available ingredients, but in the end Albert seemed happy.  It was WAY too spicy for me, but luckily we had lots of other leftovers for my lunch.

I also managed to do a few hours of good Spanish review.  Some days are better than others, and today seemed really good.

Finally this afternoon, I needed to get out and do some walking.  So, Albert and I headed over to the Alameda and checked out one of the Christmas carnivals that I hadn't checked out yet.  It was hopping.

Then, it was directly out to Costco to get a few things - shampoo, toothpaste, peanut butter,... And, while we were there, we got Albert's card.  Now he can go on his own (ha ha ha) if he decides he really needs something; but more importantly, now he can go in the US when he is back in January.

I was feeling pretty good when we got home and did a little more Spanish.  

Now it is getting late, and I want to get up early and watch some Whitman women's basketball -so I am going to try to get to bed soon.

Friday, December 7, 2018

December 7 - Another Friday

This morning, the painters arrived at around 9 am and spent a LONG time trying to figure out which shutters went on which windows.  We noticed when they took them down that the different guys had different labeling systems, and this morning they realized it as well.  Luckily, I missed most of it since I left for school at around 9:30.

After school, I stopped off at the spice and tea store to get some spices that I can't find in the regular grocery store - then I met Albert to do our grocery shopping.  With the holiday tomorrow, we bought more than normal, but there are a few stores open tomorrow in case we forgot anything.  In fact, Costco is open tomorrow (but of course is closed on Sunday) - I will need to decide if we need anything for our visitors who start arriving next week - YIPPPEEEE.

This evening, we went for a walk downtown.  A crowd was starting to gather in Plaza San Francisco where the three large crowns are.  There were balloon salesmen all over the place.  This boy was making the best of a bad situation with his balloon.
We went online and found an announcement that indicated that the crowns would be illuminated  for the first time at 7:00pm with some accompanying music.  It was already after 6:00, so we decided to walk around downtown and come back for the lighting.

The chestnut roasters were in every plaza (sometimes competing for space.)
We checked out some more decorations and stopped to listen to a group of carolers outside the Salvador church.
The church was open - lots of folks in both for tourist and for religious purposes.  
It was about time to head back to the original square - it was not a trivial trip, there were people everywhere.  We finally found a spot to stand pretty far back from the crowns - there were still lots of people behind us.
At a couple of minutes past 7:00pm people started passing along a message that the lighting would not happen until 9pm - not sure if it was a technical problem or just bad info.  For us, it was no big deal, we are adults and hadn't really planned on seeing it until an hour before.  Sadly for the hundreds of people who had made their way to this square with families, it was a bigger misfortune.  But, they all seemed to take it in stride.  And, the place started to clear out with lots of people deciding to try again another day.  This little girl and I played peek a boo for a while; she seemed pretty happy, I am pretty sure she had no idea what she was missing with the light show delay.
We walked home, enjoying the nice walk and then had a dinner.