It’s been two weeks since Casey left and, fortunately, I haven’t felt too lonely. Although I miss him terribly! Anyway, Maria has been keeping me really busy! She is so sweet to include me in so many activities with Martina and their family. It’s been a lot of fun hanging out with them and living a local’s life in Spain.
Our first outing was for horchata and fartons, the drink and pastry of Valencia. I hadn’t been to this particular café before, so it was fun to try a new place. These items always taste a little bit different at each café.
We missed having Abel and Casey with us, so we sent them fartons in spirit! Then Casey sent us a funny picture from his phone. We all have Google Plus accounts and Google knows where we are in the world, so you can see our photos on this map. Casey said, “The guys are working hard in Nigeria while the girls spend their money in Spain.” Hehe.
Martina sure makes some funny faces! After our snack, we walked to some clothing stores nearby and found this car in one of them! I wonder where she learned to pose like that…
You will recall that they go to La Cañada every weekend to visit Marisa, and now they take me with them! We always eat a yummy lunch and now we’ve started playing a board game. It’s called Rummy in Spain and Rumikube in the US. I’ve played this game with Casey and his parents before, and it’s quite fun. You have to pair numbers by their color or in a certain sequence. Since it’s just numbers and colors, it’s an easy game to play with people who speak different languages!
Apparently that’s my thinking face… who knew. Marisa is a lot of fun to play with, and I’m glad we’re all getting closer to each other. They are all so generous and have welcomed me into their family with open arms. I’m so grateful! She recently called me “her adopted daughter.” Aww! So sweet. She also has a cat, Mirka, who is quite cute and friendly. And you know cats make me happy!!
Lunch in La Cañada is usually on Saturdays, so on a Sunday, we went to the beach! Martina was prepared with her bucket and shovel, but she ended up not wanting to play in the sand.
It was a really nice, warm day. The water was actually quite chilly, maybe a bit colder than when Casey went swimming here. None of us wanted to go in the water, so we walked along the beach and looked at rocks or seashells. There are two beaches nearby to visit; the one closer to our apartment is more touristy and this one is probably where the locals go. In my last post, Casey and I rode to the touristy beach on our bikes and saw the sandcastles.
Marisa and Maria made tasty sandwiches for lunch! These had jámon, tomatoes, cheese, and sweet pickles. I haven’t had sweet pickles with jámon before, but it was a very good combination. I’ll have to make this for Casey sometime. It was a huge sandwich, and I almost ate the whole thing. I love that bread is so popular in Spain. People eat a lot of it at practically every meal, and they always have good, fresh bread that they buy that day. If you know me well, then you know that I love bread. So this is one element of their cuisine that I adore.
We didn’t spend too much time at the beach, maybe an hour or two. I’m sure if Casey was with us, we would have stayed longer because he would have swam and then got us playing frisbee. Anyway, on the way back, we stopped at McDonald’s for some ice cream! Another favorite of mine. I found out that McFlurry’s in Spain have more topping choices as well as syrup choices, such as caramel, milk chocolate, and white chocolate. To my knowledge, the US only has topping choices like Oreo or M&M. I ordered a Kit Kat with caramel syrup combo. The caramel was great, but the Kit Kats had a different texture than the candy bar. I’m not sure what the difference actually was. It was still good though because, well, it was ice cream!
There are a large number of “China stores” in Valencia. I’m not sure why. These stores basically remind me of Dollar stores in the US. They have a little bit of everything, from toys to Tupperware to clothes to cleaning supplies. You name it. Everything is very cheap as well. We passed by a new one that was huge, so we decided to stop in and look around. Maria found a stuffed rooster to put in Martina’s bed/house. Remember her bed? Adorable!
I had some downtime for a few days, and then I made meatloaf and roasted potatoes for everyone one night. Marisa and Mariano (Maria’s dad) joined us as well. They really enjoyed it! It’s quite different from what they’re used to, but they said it was tasty. I gave Maria the recipe and even tried to translate it into Spanish. I think most of it is correct.
I have a very bad habit of making great meals for Casey and then making lesser meals for myself when he’s not here. I love to cook, but it’s only rewarding for me if other people get to enjoy my meals. I tend to eat the same thing for days or I won’t go out of my way to make a good meal, even if I want it. I’ll save it for when Casey returns. Silly huh? This next meal is an example of me just throwing something together to use up ingredients, but it was actually decent: black bean burgers. I ended up having to cook dried black beans myself since I couldn’t find canned beans at our local market. It was easier than I expected though. I found onion rings at the store, which weren’t very good, but they tasted okay smothered in ketchup. At least the burgers are colorful! I was only missing lettuce, tomato, and cheese. I forgot to buy these and didn’t feel like going back out. Alas!
(We’re almost done with the recaps. This is so exciting!)
I can finally talk about events that didn’t happen weeks ago! Last Sunday, we went to Marisa’s house for lunch. All of her recipes seem to be very simple but have an amazing amount of flavor. I’m really going to have to make them sometime. See the bread?? Perfect. And these red grapes were just huge and juicy. Martina played bowling with water bottles and a soccer ball. Very cute. She didn’t like me taking pictures though, so she ran inside after a few shots. She did enjoy brushing my hair, so that was nice of her.
And then… on Monday, I made a birthday cake for Maria! I made the infamous Butter Cake, a Duncan family recipe. Mmm mmm mmm. Casey was oh-so-jealous, as this is his favorite cake. Mmmmm.
Finally, on Tuesday, I went to the mall in the morning to shop and look for a gift for Maria. The mall is close by, and Casey and I have gone there on our bikes. I didn’t feel like riding though, so I took the bus to and from. It was a good experience! I hadn’t used the bus here by myself, but it was easy and quick and painless. I didn’t get lost. Yay. Then that night, the cake and I went to Maria’s house for her birthday party! It was great! Everybody enjoyed the cake, even though it’s not the kind of cakes they’re used to having. I was pleased.
And we’re up to speed! Yayyy! Oh how good it feels to finally be up to the present day. I vacuumed the house yesterday because Maria lent me her old vacuum. I hate using a broom and dustpan, so this was much better. I did a bunch of shopping today at the market, and my two bags were super heavy! I bought more than I could carry, but I managed and made it work. I’m trying to make better meals for myself, so I had to buy the good ingredients!
Thank you everyone for reading the blog and leaving your wonderful comments! I hope I keep you entertained and amused. Until next time!