Sunday, September 30, 2007

oh, what-a-day!

so. i had a fantastic guest blogger yesterday.
today, you're not so lucky!
but today, i'm talking about yesterday.
we went to the beach. the glorious playa. the weather was perfect. the sun was shining, and there was the most perfect sea breeze. oh, aren't we lucky?!

anyway. we enjoyed the beach. we enjoyed the water. it seemed a little chilly, but i think that was the perfect sea breeze and not the water temperature. nonetheless, we were able to play in the water... at the very end of september! while hangin' out on our beach, we met some americans who are studying abroad in alicante. maybe we're not forever friends, but i'm definitely interested in hangin' with some weird valerie types on our quest for real friends (perhaps spanish friends)... just in case you didn't catch the link, i totally stole "weird valerie" from my sis-in-law whose blog is ridiculously entertaining all the time.

the beach was rockin', but we had plans for dinner... that's right. we had plans for dinner. okay, i'll out myself: paul's co-worker's last day was on friday, and all of his co-workers took pity on us and invited us out. oh, holy moly. are you kidding me?! a night out with only native spanish speakers -- none of whom speaks english?! well, it turned out to not be that bad. i spoke some ridiculously broken spanish, but 3 people were ridiculously nice and pretended to understand me while telling me that -- no, my spanish is good. i called these individuals liars (in spanish), and we all laughed. oh!!! itotallyalmostforgot! i ate spanish food and liked most of it! for those of you who don't know -- i'm not typically a lover of spanish cuisine, but we had tapas, and i did very well... thAnk you!

i was the life of the party... okay, i'm totally lying, but i had a good time... and i am forever indebted to those who were nice enough to continue speaking to me despite the most umms and wrong verb conjugations ever.

language update: words i learned while with the spanish peeps: cresca = mohawk, máquina coser = sewing machine

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Collector's Edition #1

Publisher's Note: This issue of lavidasteffa is being brought to you by a special guest contributer! His once renowned publication paulinspain fell silent over a year ago and he seems to have vanished into internet obscurity. Well, given my recent success here, I figured I could use my clout to help get him on his feet again....just don't blame me if this post is the worst ever!

I'm really glad to be back in Spain, but somewhat reluctant to be back in the world of online correspondence. But here goes...

I'll try and keep this short, as I've heard how most of you feel about my general long-windedness. I'm going to share a couple of photos and not too many stories about what life is really like here when we aren't shouting at purse-snatchers or narrowly escaping a drowning in a restaurant.

This photo best encapsulates Alicante for me: Spanish charm on a beach vacation. This is a view from the Explanada that runs between the city and the marina and, if followed, will take you to the Playa de Postiguet (that's the BEACH, fools). The Edificio Casa Carbonell (a local fave with no real architectural reputation) looks so dignified amongst the palm trees, like a businessman dressed up on the beach. Oh wait!!! That's me everyday at lunch! Though, as mommie pointed out, extreme casual is permitted.

So as you can see, living here is AWESOME! We may have a few hurdles before we're on easy street, but they're nothing compared to lunch breaks on the beach.

Speaking of all these lunch breaks, one might wonder what it is that I do in between them. Yes, I do work, and quite a bit! Arquitecturas Torres Nadal has been an amazing first career move. There have certainly been language hurdles much larger than even attending architecture courses in Madrid, but communication eventually gets hammered out and then I go back to work. Work right now means furiously racing against the clock and several conceptual changes to a very complex competition project. I am part of a 3-man design team for a large building for the University of Alicante's extension campus. When work gets tough I think of this picture above, or rather, I see the picture above. I snapped this photo on one of our office's balconies. I can gaze out a window and see this all day while I'm plugging away at my computer station.

If you think that staring at that from an office desk would be a tease, you obviously haven't seen the pictures from Steph's previous post!

Did I mention that life here is AWESOME?

Friday, September 28, 2007

calm down!

i'm a full week in now... oh-my-super-craziness!
it seems like so much more time has passed and yet somehow so much less at the same time.

hubby and i met for lunch today -- as usual.

side note: the siesta thing is brilliant b/c getting to hang out for 2 hours in the middle of the day really rejuvenates a person... plus, it makes the rest of the day just fly by!

back to lunch.
everyone already knows that my spanish skills are sub-par at the moment. if i'm really honest... i literally freeze up every time i'm expected to speak spanish... in front of hubby!
this is probably because i just wish he could speak for me... since he's the spanish language superstar of the family... but alas, i need to learn to speak for myself.

well, hubby introduced me to 2 more co-workers today...
and what happens?! i tense up and lose any spanish vocab that i once possessed.
hubby tells me (once we're alone enjoying our lunch) that every time he sees me in a "need to speak spanish" state, my body stiffens, and i look petrified. the way he tells me, though, makes it look like what he's really trying to say is that i look constipated when trying to conjure up the spanish language.
he assures me that while i don't look constipated, i do look sufficiently freaked.

moral of the story: i need to stop freezing up when attempting to speak spanish.

p.s. i really do think that i tense up more when hubby is around. it's not his fault; i just think, "shoot. he can speak spanish better than i can, so he should just speak for the both of us!"

Thursday, September 27, 2007

bad blogging and attempted purse snatching!

i don't know how to tell you this, so i'll be gentle.
i'm not a great blogger...
you'll never get much detail from me.
i get bored too easily with a long story.
so, this makes me a less-than-stellar story teller.
plus, i'm terribly inconsistent.
oh, and i go off on random tangents and then forget the whole point i started with...

fast-forward 2.5 short hours...

now, i have a story to tell.
(sorry that it won't be told in all of its glory)

so i met hubby o' mine for lunch around 3pm.
normally, i always have some physical connection w/ my purse (even while eating).
whether the strap is around my arm, or the purse is on my lap or under my foot... i always have it.
well, at lunch, i let my guard down.
i set my purse on the seat next to me.
1/2 way through lunch, i see it fall on the ground out of the corner of my eye.

i look over -- some dude's walking away with it.
"hey!," i exclaim.
the end.

just kidding. i was trying to prove that i'm not a great story teller.

so after i holla at the not-so-nice fella, he drops my purse.
he just continues walking as if nothing happened. jerk.
some brit couple is standing in front of me holding my purse.

oh! i forgot some important info!
further proof of the less than adequate story telling ability!

we were sitting inside of the restaurant -- at least 5 feet in from the door!
that's right; fella had some cajones to just walk into the place and grab my bag!
sucker didn't realize that i got some mad, cat-like eyes and reflexes.

anyway. all is well; i still have all of mis cosas and my ever-so-cute bag.

just in case you're wondering (and i know you are!):
purse snatching is a somewhat popular pastime here...
but violent crimes are not! no worrying, please!

anyway, back to the original post.
i am not a great blogger, but if you love me and you want stories...
then you'll just have to stick with me anyway!

p.s. if you ask me about this story in person or over the phone, it'll probably last 10x longer. i'm much better when speaking.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

vacation or everyday life?

so, i LOVE it here... but it feels like i'm on vacation. or maybe on a business trip as paul's travel companion. while we TOTALLY live here, we're currently in a hotel and every meal is eaten in some sort of restaurant (except maybe breakfast b/c we purchased juice boxes, breakfast breads and granola bars). hotel/vacation life is expensive, though, so we're stoked to move on to the real life portion of our adventure... in a place with our own kitchen and washer!

on monday, i think life will settle in a little more b/c that's when we move into our piso. what's funny is that after all of the piso hunting that i did, none of it mattered! paul's co-worker's mom's tenant is moving out of this awesome place on sunday, and it belongs to us next! it is smack dab in the middle of the city -- right next to the mercado with a panaderia on the corner. plus, we're still less than a 15 minute walk from the mediterranean.

ya know what, though?! i take it back. piso hunting did me some good after all! i was SOOOO afraid of the language and SOOOO intimidated to walk into places by myself... but i did it. i worked it out! go me!

have i mentioned that life is awesome?

seriously, i hate to brag, but i feel that i must. i have the world's greatest hubby! i live in a sweet city by the mediterranean! what's not to love?!

actually, don't answer that! i only want to hear about what there is to love! so tell me: what do you love? why is your life awesome?

p.s. this is my photo. it's a cloudy day, but it's still warm, and there's a beautiful breeze!

Monday, September 24, 2007

is this just a dream?

what have i done today, you ask? i have done some piso hunting... a lot o' piso hunting, and i think i'm quite proud! remember how little spanish i actually know? remember how the last time i actually spoke spanish was 5 years ago? remember how passive and easily embarrassed i am? well, if not, just take my word on it! i kicked some serious piso-hunting-tail! i have seen 1 place, and i have 2 appointments lined up for tomorrow, and as soon as i'm done blogging (you know, important businesss), i'll be calling spaniards to ask about their places. word. i have been to many an inmobiliario today (apt hunting agency). i have spoken tons o' broken spanish, and i will get better.

to top it off... durante la siesta, mi esposo y yo walked on the beach, in the sand and felt the mediterranean sea wash over our feet. what?!?!

wow. life is good. the language thing is tough, but i'll get there. for the experience, i'll go through many an embarrassing language moment, but it'll all be worth it!

in case you're wondering - the sun is shining! it's 30 degrees celsius, which is nice and warm - hot, even! no more wrinkly toes!
song of the day: just a dream by am sixty (very beachy tunes)

so to answer the question: nope. it's our reality.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

it NEVER rains in alicante...

so i'm here living my adventure! wow, life is awesome and so surreal.
quick update: the flight was easy, and i arrived on-time and safe!
side note: my flight stopped in dublin, and i was there for 4 hours, and it was FREEZING! seriously, someone needs to get dublin the memo about it still being september and therefore not quite so cold yet.

mi esposo picked me up from the airport, and the skies were grey (weird for alicante). straight from the plane, i was starving - like dying starving (only not dying but over-exaggerating). we decided to walk towards the beach to get some grub... it started sprinkling. we had no umbrella. then it started raining. we stood right next to a building to shield ourselves before we jumped into a restaurant's terraza where we figured we could eat... first, the power went out (which we felt was safer since the rain was leaking through the roof and over the light fixtures). next thing we knew, we were trapped inside the terraza sitting on top of our table (never even getting to order, mind you) b/c of flooding... ridiculous flooding... a foot of water flooding. we're starving, remember? we decide to take off our shoes and roll up our jeans to escape the flood and hopefully get some grub... well, we escaped, but after about 20 minutes of waiting, the restaurant decided not to serve anyone else. nice.

my first meal in alicante, you ask? a big mac value meal. how authentic!

anyway, we made it home after waiting the storm out a bit.
¡nunca llueve en alicante!
all day saturday -- raining! well, until dinner time, so 10pm. we had our fun though, and we have some good piso leads, so maybe we'll have our own home next week - yippee!

you think that's enough excitement for the first 2 days? think again!
we went $150k into debt yesterday, too! i transferred some money around in my bank accounts online, but i added too many zeros... oops.

language update: since it never rains in alicante, and my only leather boots ¨talk,¨the first word i learned is arruga or wrinkle in reference to my poor, kinda-wet toes.
my first few days in alicante have been quite successful and enjoyable. life is awesome.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

hasta la bye bye!

well, the time has come... almost anyway.
my flight departs tomorrow at 1:20pm.
wow. that's like tomorrow. like the day after today.
i'm really moving to alicante, spain (want some infizzle on my new home?).
paul's already there, and i'm stoked to join him!

so we're totally off on our adventure... but fear not!
i will never forget you (unless i don't know you b/c how can you miss someone that you don't know?)! seriously, though. i love/heart/adore/admire/revere each and every member of my family & circle o' buds. i suggest/ask/plead/beg for you all to keep in touch (even if just through blog comments) and also that you visit if you are able. the trip will be worth the effort!

stop by my little blog world often, as i promise to share all of our adventure in my own way (which typically omits anything historical or factual and typically focuses on random ramblings).

i miss you already (and i mean it)!
hasta luego!