Where do I start? I haven’t blogged for almost a year and a half so, needless to say, I have a lot of updates.
As everyone should be aware, we have moved back to the USA from Nigeria. We’ve settled in Camas, Washington near Casey’s parents. I meant to write a separate post about house-hunting and whatnot, but that will have to be done later, as well as many other needed posts. We did buy a house in fact, but now we’re abroad again for an indefinite amount of time!
Preface: We visited Valencia, Spain three years ago for a friend’s wedding and had a wonderful time. Since then, Casey has been [more or less] avidly teaching himself Spanish. I, on the other hand, had been learning Italian, so we’ve had many a debate over which language is best. Spanish won out in the end, and so we decided that a trip to Spain was needed. We’ve wanted to go back many times in the past three years, but never made the time for it. You can always think of excuses not to go on a trip, like a lack of time or money or something else taking precedence, but we decided to just go for it and make it work this year! Casey was in Nigeria at the time, so I was left in Camas to lock up the house. We decided to fly separately and meet in Spain, and that’s right where this journey begins.
We both left our respective countries on September 21st and traveled the whole day. I went from Portland to Dallas to Madrid, and Casey went from Lagos to London. Coincidentally, we both took a picture of our luggage before departure. After traveling so much, we’ve developed a fondness for our bags, and we think they look quite cute, like they’re lining up and smiling for the photo.
Casey had much more luggage than me because we brought bikes to Spain. That’s another discussion for another post, but suffice it to say that we both have Brompton bikes and they each take up one suitcase. Below is a cool photo I took on my way to Dallas. The clouds looked just like popcorn! They were all over the sky. Really impressive.
All of my flights went well, and I decided to take a picture of my dinner on board from Dallas to Madrid because it looked pretty good. Usually you’ll have two options for dinner; I chose chicken with mashed potatoes. It looks small at first, but they really give you quite a bit with all of the sides added up. The “BBQ” sauce on the chicken was quite weird, but everything else was decent. You always get some kind of bread, and then either a green salad or a pasta salad, etc. The desserts are always the best. This time it was a snickerdoodle cookie, but I’ve also had brownies or small pieces of cake. Of course the meal depends on which airline you fly and which country you are in, but I’ve been satisfied about 90% of the time. Dinners are better than the breakfasts, in my opinion, so I try to eat up the “night” before.
Finally, the next day arrived, and we landed in Spain. Through a series of fortunate events, Casey was able to fly from London and meet me in Madrid! He got there about 20 minutes before me and was able to wait near the gates so we could go through customs together. It was such a pleasant sight to see him! We got a classic Spanish sandwich to eat for lunch. It’s called a bocadillo with Spanish jamón (thin dry-cured ham), tomato slices, and cheese on a baguette. Casey absolutely loves jamón, so he was thrilled! I like bread, so I was happy too.
We were in terminal 4, and the design is really cool. It’s basically one, huge rectangle and the ceiling and columns change color gradually. All you can see here is the yellow section, but it changes color like a rainbow. Very pretty. I snapped a photo of the elevator because the translation made me laugh. Salida means “Exit,” but here they translated it to “Way Out.”
The next flight to Valencia was very short at about 45 minutes. Our friend, Abel, was eagerly awaiting our arrival! He works with Casey in Nigeria, but he flies the 737. I’ve gotten to know him really well throughout our stay in Lagos, so it was great to see him again! Thankfully, he had a big enough car to fit all of our luggage. We packed it up and were on our way.
Abel took us to our apartment so we could drop off our bags. His mom owns an extra apartment in the city, so we are renting this place from her. It’s only a few blocks away from Abel’s apartment, so the location is great. We freshened up a little and then proceeded to have lunch at a lovely restaurant called Las Lunas – “the moons.” They have a new lunch menu every week and the selections are really tasty. We’ve gone back a few times already. You get an appetizer, a main course, dessert, and a drink for a great price! The first two pictures are appetizers (salmon with leeks and toast with fried tofu), then our main courses (spinach ravioli and the most tender pork you’ve ever eaten in your life), and then dessert (spiced cheesecake and chocolate mousse tart). Yum.
Right before dessert, Abel left to go pick up his 3 year old daughter, Martina. She takes a really nice charter bus to and from preschool, so he walked a few blocks and got her. We never met her before, so she was quite shy at first and didn’t want us to look at her. (Finally, here is a photo of Abel too!) We finished lunch and went back to our apartment to rest. Abel and Martina came by a couple hours later to get us, and she warmed up to us after we played with her. She took an immediate liking to Casey! She even wanted to hold his hand, aww.
We went back to his house to visit with his wife, Maria. We’ve only hung out with her during the week of their wedding, but she’s so sweet and friendly too. For dinner, we met up with two of their friends, whom we met at the wedding as well. We had Spanish hamburgers! The only real difference is that they use fancy sauces and toppings that aren’t typical in the US. They were very tasty.
One of my favorite things is Martina’s bed! It’s an adorable house! With tiny pictures on the wall and a little door! And flowers under the window! I just love it!! I want one!
And so… that was our first day in Spain; however, we are actually in Sweden right now for Casey’s recurrent simulator training! I wasn’t able to write as much today because his class was much shorter than usual. The first day is ground school and the second two days are in the simulator, so all he did today was practice tests on a computer. They allot eight hours for this ground school, but it never takes that long and he was done in two hours, so I didn’t have much time at all. That being said… I intended to write a much longer post but decided to post this one to give you something to read and tease you into reading more! Per se. I will write more tomorrow!