I woke up this morning thinking in Spanish and as is natural for me, bits and pieces of my dream from the night before drifted to my subconscious while I made breakfast. When I realized that my dream was actually in Spanish, I don’t think I knew how to react. I’m not gunna lie, the adjustment to speaking another language all the time has been a struggle to say the least. I always feel like I am one step behind everyone else and sometimes, I feel dumber than everyone else. Not being able to communicate how you want is a huge handicap, especially when you’re used to being one of the more eloquent speakers in a conversation. In English, I tend to pride myself on being well versed. I can’t tell you how difficult it is to choose words like “cold” instead of “freezing”, or “chilly” etc. I’ve been studying more spanish vocabulary when I get the chance because I hate the limitations to simple vocabulary and I want to be able to discuss topics that are important to me in both languages.

In the last few days, we have done many many things. For one, we went to the gym in downtown Vigo and got a membership for me so I can utilize that this summer. Gyms in the city are very interesting. This might be the same in bigger cities in the United States, I don’t know since I’ve lived in a big city there before. But in Vigo, the gym is only about 3o yards wide on the sidewalk. I have to say, walking up to it, I was thinking that maybe they didn’t understand what I meant when I said “gym” haha or maybe our definition of gym was a lot different. The building looked like an extension of the hotel next to it and it was smack dab in the middle of a block on one of the busy streets of the city. I was quickly proven wrong however. In places like this where space is limited, you build up or down. This gym had eight or nine levels to it with different types of machines on each one. (ie first floor all treadmills, second all bikes, third all free weights, etc. etc.) I have to say, someone there has a sick sense of humor because the leg machines were all at the very top and walking down was literally almost impossible. I slid down the railings, no joke.

We also visited the local park not but a ten minute walk from the downtown apartment. It’s called the Parque de Castrelos and is well known all throughout Spain as Vigo’s largest park; while we were there, we saw a large group of tourists. From what I remember from the story, the castle in the pictures below belonged to the ruler of Spain when the capitol lied in Vigo. Once it was moved to Madrid, the castle, it’s massive garden and all the land was donated to the city to make a public park. It’s probably one of the most incredible places I’ve been (although I feel like I have been/will be saying that a lot this summer). The flowers went on forever and ever and the park is huge. There is a huge playground well over two football fields in width and length, a running path along the outside of the park with markers to show you how far you’ve gone (in km of course), basketball courts, and an outdoor “adult playground” where elderly adults can work out on easy-to-use exercise equipment while still enjoying the sunlight. It really is quite a nice place to be.

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Ana and I took the boys there one evening to play futbol (is there anything else haha) and I went back there Friday morning to go on a run. I thought that would help with the sore leg situation but it definitely made it worse and I’ve been walking around the last two days moaning “mis piernas” every time I do anything. And as a helpful hint for other tall, thick, blond women with light eyes who happen to be running in Northern Spain: people are going to stare at you a lot, get used to it.

Today was probably the best day I have had this far. Although Marcos turned 12 a couple weeks ago, he celebrated it today with his friends at our home in the country. Let me tell you, this place exceeded all my expectations. What a breathtaking home! Multiple layers to the house with many different hallways connecting to more bedrooms, more kitchens, more dining rooms, and more living rooms! The place never ends! And every once and a while, you open a door and it leads you outside and you have to reorient yourself before delving back into the maze. The home has this fascinating mixture of antiqued wood lining, modern appliances, and welcoming spaces for children to play. The contrasting styles compliment each other well and the house just flows right into the spectacular backyard. Madre Mia, you will not experience a more spiritual moment than walking out the back door to see a prestigious stone picnic table resting on a perfectly green lawn, over hung with flowered vines, next to a basketball court and a perfect little pool clad with matching cushioned couches, all of this overlooking miles of grape vines, fruits, vegetables, and houses resting in nooks of the mountains as far as your eye can see. I’m telling you, my heart is at home here.

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At the party today, I experienced many things. In case anyone’s wondering, fourteen boys CAN play futbol for more than eight hours straight; it does not matter if they have a full plate of food in their hands, if their literally in the pool, or if they have successfully kicked all 10+ soccer balls over the twenty foot net and into the vineyards below; they will find a water bottle lying nearby and substitute that for a ball until one of the dads trudge through the bushes to retrieve the real ones.

I also learned that a lot of drinking happens during an average weekend. There are the lunch preparations beers with the guys around the grill, there are the ceremonious wine tastings during lunch, there is the delicious GinTonic drink for after lunch, and there is apparently late night wine and pizza time with grandparents (I did not partake in the last one, I was way too tired).

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Today, I tried mussels for the first time in my life. They taste like slimey fish and I could tolerate them as long as I pretend I don’t know what they look like because the look really grossed me out a lot.

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I also tried the most delicious cheesecake I will ever have in my life. I am extremely tempted to do a late night fridge raid when Im done with this to cut myself a slice.

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Perhaps one of the most valuable things I learned today is the importance of and the need for a siesta in the middle of the day. After all the food, alcohol and cheesecake combined with the sun’s magical ability to lull you to sleep, I was in dire need of a siesta. 

Published by Erin Koehler