Tuesday, 29 March 2011

A Weekend in Andalucía.

The weekend just gone I was lucky enough to have my favourite visitor in the form of my boyfriend, come to Spain, plus two extra lovely guest who have never visited the South of Spain before!

We went to Malaga, Ronda, Sevilla, Marbella & Estepa..
All in 3 days.
Yep!

It was lovely.
And they are already missed.

Malaga.







Ronda.






Sevilla.








Possibly one of the best weekends (not sure how many times I've said this now) I've had in Spain.
I loved it.
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Wednesday, 23 March 2011

10 Weeks Today.

Estepa, it's hill, it's old people.

Guess what I just figured out?

Hm. 

So I knew the Year Abroad was ending soon. 
I've just avoided calendars to give me the actual amount of time that we have left.

It turns out, ten weeks from today, it will all be over. 
Its a pretty sad feeling to be honest, as much as I have found this a challenge, I can't deny I've had some of the best times of my life so far here. 
Estepa & La Roda have been wonderful homes to me for the past 7 months and I'm finally becoming accustomed to the language, the people, the food, waking up to the screaming baby that lives above us.
Everything.

And soon it will be time to go.

That's not going to stop me enjoying & appreciating what is still yet to come, including trips to Valencia, Barcelona, and wherever else I can squeeze in before May. 
But, I guess this is somewhat of a final countdown...

So,
Apparently, "time flies" when you're an language assistant!
Heres to the next 70 days (not sure if that sounds longer or shorter) and all the fun filled, spanish confusion they will no doubt bring :)
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Tuesday, 22 March 2011

The Running Diaries: Part "Win vs Fail"


The only medal I've probably ever 'won'

Another running week has gone by. Literally started, and finished, for a while, in the same day.

I started this week with 45 minutes of Spinning (cycling until I could barely breathe), followed by a 20 minute, 2 and a half mile run today.
... This run was followed by a huge fail in the ankle department.

Really, it's my own fault. 
I knew when I started running just how important getting the correct trainers would be. Yet, I still am running in what I assume are more suitable to gym workouts. Lacking in support and not suited to my overpronated running style, I have basically injured myself good and proper.

To make myself feel better I'm also going to blame Estepa for not having a sports shop that has gait analysis available, and Seville for being almost impossible to find the bloody shop that does.
Never my fault, ever, of course not.

But.
Despite being laid in bed, leg in the air with a bag of ensaladilla rusa veg mix strapped to it, I am still feeling quite content. I ran a good 2 & half miles, which, to me regularly being able to do this is an achievement in itself.
I have to double that obviously to complete my 10k Race For Life & then double it again (uh oh) for my Run To the Beat half marathon in September!
But for now, with my cankle swelling, I am still proud of the development and surprisingly, to me, my dedication to the events. Normally, it wouldnt be unusual for me to have given up by now.

Keep on keeping on.
To help aid recovery, or in other words, make myself feel better via online shopping; I ordered these!
Sexy, no?
Nike Lunarglide +2, meaning extra support, lightweight & hopefully will prevent further injury!
Hurrah!

So now, a few days of rest annoyingly, but I'll soon be back on track. 
It's nothing major, but I don't want to make it worse.

Want to make me feel even better?


All donations still very welcome to the cause I am crippling myself for :)
Any pennies at all will help, thank you!
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Thursday, 17 March 2011

3..2..1.. Tuenti!

Yesterday, Wednesday 16th March.
 Rachel, Eli, Nuria, Ana and I, plus 40; very excitable, 11-12 year olds, all went on a bilingual school trip to Malaga !

English department!

It was, yet another, amazing day at 'school'.



We went to a contemporary art museum, Centro de Art Contemporáneo, played on the beach, went to the theatre to see a play called "Lost in London," that is still quite baffling to me at the moment, later, on to a shopping centre avec thai food, followed by rolling around in plastic balls.




Yep, plastic balls.
Like hamsters, but on water.






Happy kids = Happy me.
It was so nice to see them all with a smile on their face.
School trips, or getting out of La Roda de Andalucia, are few and far between for them, so it was really nice being part of something they will probably remember as a great day for a long time.

It was another highlight of this great year I am having with IES La Roda.
And there are still 2 more months to go :)..

photos stolen from Rachel Stiefel!
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Sunday, 13 March 2011

The Running Diaries: Part "A Half Marathon, Sam, WTF?!"


What - have - I - done.
I've signed up for a bloody half marathon, is what!

... just going to let that sink in a little bit.

AAHH!!
13 miles, London, September 25th, start at the O2, finish at the O2 with amazing live bands playing along the way. 

So. 
I don't even know where to begin really.
I'm excited, nervous, excited, scared, excited!!

I'm very aware this isn't going to be easy, not by a long shot. I'm still working my way up for my 10K Race For Life in June, and that is my main focus for now, the half marathon 3 months later is an added, hard bonus.
Needless to say I am going to have to start taking this more seriously, more runs, more cardio, more reading and educating myself on whats to come.

But I'm sure I can do it.
I mean, why not? 

You can be whoever you want to be. Your body can do a lot of amazing things, it's your mind that stops you. That's something I've learned even in the short time I've been training for my 10k.

I'm positive that with a lot of determination and hard work I will be able to do this :)
Fingers crossed eh?



Also, I will be doing more fund-raising for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, alongside Cancer Research!
I've had a lot of support & positive reactions to this already, of which I am very grateful.
So thank you!

As ever, will keep you updated with the (blood) sweat (and tears) to come!
Sam x

[BIG FAT EDIT : I now have 13 running partners! Check them out!]
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Saturday, 12 March 2011

Lent: Giving up, giving up.


Lent.

It always kind of baffles me when non-religious people decide to give up things for Lent. I'm not one to judge really, but I've seen a lot of people with the usual; coffee, chocolate, drinking - even I considered it, but then realised I've never actually given up anything for Lent in my life, I'm not really sure why I'd start now?
People acting like Gandhi and going on Facebook / Twitter hiatus to raise money for charity... To me it just seems like a bit of a cop-out (and big-headed). How would we ever know if they didn't occasionally pop on to see how people were doing? 

My point, if you're going to give something up, and you're aware it isn't good for you (lets face it, that's what most people choose) - why only stop for 40 days on the entire year? (if you're not religious). What happens to the other 325? 

I don't know. It doesn't make sense to me.
Anyone want to shed some light on it?

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Friday, 11 March 2011

The Running Diaries: Part "Ouch"



SO! 
Another week of running over. 
3 times this week I've donned the trainers, Nike+ gadgets and ran like my life depended on it.
I'm currently in bed, in pain, but feeling good about it.

It feels like I've ran more than 8 times. But nevertheless, seeing these stats are quite rewarding for me. 
I'm proud I've pushed myself and maintained 2 - 2 and a half miles for this week, when you usually wouldn't even catch me running for a bus.

The only issue I'm having at the moment is my lungs. It's like I have to remind myself to "BREATHE WOMAN, BREATHE!" while I'm running, also I have mild asthma. Safe to say its beginning to piss me off.
I know my legs can take me further, yet my insides say, "Stop, before I make you pass out." Also, that lovely burning, sick feeling you get when running? Get that a lot.
The joy!

It's not going to stop me though, it's only making me more determined. 
Today I was almost close to signing up for a half marathon. Hah, can you imagine? It's still not exactly off the cards yet either.

In other words, I am loving this running journey. I'm proving a lot to myself and it is for a wonderful cause. All the support & donations mean the world to me, I can't thank everyone enough.
I feel like my health & strength are improving, and it's great to see my times get quicker.


Click if you would like to donate :)

See you next week when I'm probably going to be in more pain after my 3 mile efforts! 
Love & speed.
Sam x

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Carnaval (#2) de Pedrera.

9th March; Wednesday, we decided last minute to go to another carnival, in Pedrera, about 30 minutes away from Estepa. 

Its a hard life. 
Our theme? Mimes, or "mimos" in Spanish.


Note to self : Picking "sad mime" when going to a carnival reeaally isn't the best idea.
I look miserable on every single photo. Regardless of whether I'm smiling or not.
Oh well.


We arrived in Pedrera to be greeted by the parade.
Hundreds of people, all in fancy dress, dancing, drinking, drum playing.. everything.
Naturally we joined in, danced around and followed the parade down to the main tent where everything was happening.



Above - sardines. 
I didn't try them, as I only ever feed them to my dog. But, really they didn't look too bad.
Although the smell of alcohol, smoke and sardines really is something to be desired.



We met more mimes, including baby mimes (so cute) then we went into the next room to dance around to some Spanish / Latin live music.
LOTS of fun.

I really loved the atmosphere. The thing I love most about these things is that they are always family events. There were tiny babies and kids running around, through to elderly people (or at least some dressed up as pensioners) and it makes for a really nice night.


And again, I promise I was actually happy, even though my face disagreed.
:)

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Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Stateless.

I came across this band recently - Stateless. 
Around since 2003-ish, a combination of funky broken beats, 70's soul, house & Latin jazz.
Well, sounds like a great combination to me.

I've basically had this song on repeat for two days.
Stateless - Ariel


And I'm liking the lyrics of this one.
Stateless - Bloodstream



I think I might’ve inhaled you
I can feel you behind my eyes
You gotten into my bloodstream
I can feel you floating in me

The spaces in between
Two minds and all the places they have been
The spaces in between
I tried to put my finger on it 

Enjoy! 
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Monday, 7 March 2011

RUBIA! aka Carnaval de Cádiz

Right now, all over Spain it is Carnival time!
The biggest & best; Cádiz.

This past weekend, we went for the opening day/night/morning. 4pm - 6am in the streets of Cádiz, dressed as pirates (piratas! in Spanish)

I was almost bordering on looking like a gypsy

We left Estepa at 10am Saturday, a bus to Seville for 12, a train from there to Cadiz from 2 - 4 *start counting the hours of being awake.
We attracted a few strange looks that morning.
When we finally arrived in Cádiz, after worrying we were possibly going to be the only ones in fancy dress (very wrong), we paced ourselves for the evening ahead. ie. lazing on the beach, eating churros, admiring very strange outfits, and general things you do when you know you have to stay awake until 6am.

Cádiz beach - really beautiful place.
Spaniards / giant babies going crazy to Waka Waka - Shakira
Midnight churro feast.
Later, 12 ish, things were really picking up, thousands of people in fancy dress, general drinking, the odd drug taker - ie. the people that decided to talk to us whilst in the churro cafe..

MDMA Gorilla
So we decided to finally head out into the crowds (massive, masssivvee crowds) and fiesta!
I wasn't drinking, as I wanted to stay awake easier, probably a first. It made it a very odd experience.

The whole carnival was similar to a huge botellón - ie, a spanish outdoor piss-up. I did expect more parades, more music, but instead was greeted by girls crying in doorways, men pissing in the middle of streets & the biggest sea of broken bottles, rubbish, and general crap I've ever seen (and I've been to a lot of festivals).


But, saying that it was a very fun, unique experience, and I'm definitely glad I went!
My new name in Cádiz is now "Rubia" - "Blondie" I guess. Bleach blonde hair seems to be similar to walking around with a lightbulb on your head and a "harass me" sign on your back.




We left, exhausted, at 5/6am. The queue for the train for ridiculous, in amount, and because we were queuing with chickens, romans, firefighters, nuns etc. Bizarre.

Just your average way home..
All in all, loved it. Cádiz is an amazing place.
Definitely one to see, but also definitely a one off.
Still trying to catch up on some much needed sleep.

With that being "said"..
Buenas noches!

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Thursday, 3 March 2011

Say hello to my little friend.


Canon AE1 - 35mm Film Camera.
And it's minee !
(Or when it arrives it will be)

I absolutely love my digital, but you can never experiment enough, right? 
Its like Christmas all over again.
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Home Is Where The Food Is.


The weekend just gone, or 'puente' (friday 25th - tuesday 1st) I went back to lovely, rainy Leeds for 3 days.

It is always amazing to go home. This time wasn't any different.
Lots of time with the people I love, lots of fish & chips eaten, lots of mojitos drunk, lots & lots of fun had.

Since moving to Spain, not surprisingly (to me, atleast) my love for England, home in-particular, has grown. But with me it's always a case of "want what you can't have," and I blame it entirely on that.

Saying that, I have 12 weeks left in Spain, and I intend on making the absolute most of them :)

So, a few photos from the start in Malaga airport - to - back at home eating Sunday dinner, the morning after drinking too much vodka :) Enjoy!







A couple of my drunken mug ...

Drunk, and practically advertising Fazenda. 
Sky Bar
Cheesy grins over LS1 from Sky Bar

Leeds

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