Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Hot Water

So I truly experienced the saying "you don't know what you have until you've lost it" or rather my saying today was "you don't realize how much you will misplace blame onto your husband until your hot water doesn't work". As many of you know, we are staying at Gerald and Jenni's piso in Donostia, Spain.

All day yesterday I couldn't get the hot water to work to wash dishes. I just figured it was slow to warm up as it had been in days past and I put the dishes in the dishwasher anyways.

Today, however, when I woke up there still wasn't hot water. And I am ashamed to say that not only did I let the water run a long time to see if it would warm up, but I also totally thought that my husband was the reason for the hot water not working. While this had nothing at all to do with him and I didn't outright say this to him, this was in my mind. Still all the more reason to ask him for forgiveness! Thankfully, he forgave me.

I hadn't washed my hair for two days - don't be grossed out - but I can't wash my hair everyday anyways. So this led to Chris and I staring at the hot water heater that you see in the picture below. One thing about hot water heaters here in EusalHerria, the symbols are different. So, of course my husband being the awesome guy he is, didn't want to press to many buttons at first - he didn't want anything to blow up or something crazy like that. After 10 minutes however, we started turning knobs and whatever else looked like something that we could push. But to our avail, nothing worked and worse yet we couldn't call Jenni and Gerald because it would have been 12am their time. Thankfully there were some numbers on the machine. The first, however, didn't work - which only added fuel to my irrational fire in my mind, the second worked and so we scheduled for a guy to come tomorrow to see what was wrong with the water heater. And I emailed G and J to email us as soon as they could.

Our friends, Derek and Mandy, thankfully let us shower at their house!

At about 7pm, we received an email back from Gerald telling us about this "switch" that maybe was turned off. SO I RAN to the kitchen with his descriptions and turned the switch on and WE HAD POWER.

This little switch is not only in the weirdest spot in the kitchen where the water heater is located also, but there is NO LABEL!!!! See Picture

The water heater is on the left with pictures on it, the water heater "switch" is over by the sink, above the glass pitcher and next to the outlet, it's a cream colored rectangle!!! Tell me that is not totally bizarre!

And can you imagine that the water heater guy coming tomorrow and the only thing he needed to "fix" was to turn on the "switch"- how embarrassing that would have been. Thank you God!

Amigas de Summer in the USA

We have met many students from working with the Summer in the USA program who have now become friends/family to Chris and I! Sunday night, we met up with some friends from Donostia and enjoyed fun conversation and dinner together. It is so crazy for us to see our friends all "grown up" now :-)

Ilazki and Chris, she was the first student to come to Redwood City, CA. She is now in college studying for a degree in Special Education. Her parents own a famous Bonito/Tuna packaging company called Ondartxo which many of you have enjoyed!!!

Eitziber - hasn't come to the US but is a friend of all the girls, I met her when I was here in summer of '05.
Amaia- just about to finish her nursing degree with a specialty in OB, she came summer '04.
Tania-in the same nursing program as Amaia but with a speciality in ER, she Came summer 2003, 2004 and 2 weeks with Chris and I in San Diego 2005.
Ilazki-came summer 2004 to Redwood City, CA with Chris.

Tania and Ilazki in Tania's car :-)

Break on Stage

Break on Stage is a creative collaboration that was started by these 3 guys from our friend Joseba's town, Elorrio, one of whom Chris met while we were there. It's a venue for Break Dancers, Beat Boxers, Jump Ropers!, Graffiti Artists, Skaters and BMXers. Since it has become quite a large event, they have moved it to a stadium in Bilbo.

Chris, Jon, his cousin Asier, Marshall, Emily and I made the trip by car, including a metro ride, to the center of Bilbo this past Saturday. It was probably one of the coolest things I have seen. My sister Erin would pretty much be in heaven as she's down with the old school like that! Long Live Run D.M.C.!

People come from all over, mostly greater Europe but some were from Argentina, to perform. It was really cool to go to a public event here because it's different than in the U.S. For example, people leave their stuff in their seats because it is not that common for people to steal here, you can move down to the "floor" and no one gets mad, and you can bring food into the stadium!

The break dancing group who won was from Russia!!!? Hence the "russian push-ups" in the video :-)

This was the first group to perform. Pretty crazy, right?!!!

Emily, Marshall, Jon on the Metro in Bilbo.

Try this at home!


Tania is a student that I met in 2004, the first year I was involved with Summer in the USA. She and her family have become like family to Chris and I. Her mom, Aurori, has worked as a pastry chef for one of the most famous bakeries in San Sebastian. Last year, however, she decided to open up her own bakery in a neighboring town, Hondarribia. On Sunday, Chris and I went to the bakery Iratxo = elf in Euskara, to sample the goodness and see the "family". After we visited the bakery Tania brought us up to a lighthouse (one of her favorite places) that overlooks the Ocean, the city of Hondarribia, and the coast of France stretching out to the north. It's also where her boyfriend Inigo likes to scuba. Tania was telling us that Hondarribia is a town that is very traditional and very "Basque", so her mom always tries bake the traditional Basque pastries for her cafe and is also why she gave it a name in Euskara.

Tania, me, Chris behind the lighthouse.

Iratxo: the bakery

Aurori and her boyfriend, Isidro, behind the counter. The cakes that you see in the picture are typical cakes that Godparents give to their Godchildren.

Marshall and Emily

Here is photo of the famous "prank caller" and his wife, great friends to Jenni and Gerald (and now to us too!), awesome English teachers, helpers to Txat Room, all around cool people, and much more! We met up with them on Sunday to enjoy the nice weather at Zurriola beach and watch the surfers.....

Monday, April 21, 2008

Around the Table

I'm convinced that some of the most important things in life occur "around the table". Night after night in the Basque Country we've found ourselves around the table. It's a great place to be with old friends and new.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sociedad = A Basque gastronomic society/meeting place.

We felt really privileged when our friend Jon invited us to join him and his 10 best friends at the local 'sociedad' for an amazing dinner they had prepared for us. Until a few years ago this was only something that the men of the town did, hence Megan felt pretty lucky to be on the "inside". This has got to be one of the best ideas the Basques ever came up with. They even have an espresso machine. To top it off the place has someone come through at the end of the night to clean up.

While women are allowed to attend, it's still only the men who are allowed to cook. Megan thought that was a pretty good arrangement.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Old and the New

Our friend Jon Larrea lives in a little town outside San Sebastian called Hernani. Jon is remodeling his apartment. Its cool how the Basques always keep up with the newest things while making sure to incorporate the old... hence this cool old wooden beam in Jon's remodeled apartment. God is doing something new here but there are hints of the old that enrich it so wonderfully.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Herriko Taberna = The Local Bar

There is one of these in every town. The people of the town pay "dues" to keep the bar going It's the central meeting place for people in the town.

The inside of the Herriko Taberna (a super "basque" bar)

Chris and Joseba

Kafixne Bat Mecedes = 1 coffee with milk please (in euskara)

Joanna and Chris smiling for the camera :-)

Elorrio - a cool basque village

The garden behind Joseba and Joanna's house. Joseba tells us that years ago Elorrio was home to Basque royalty and because of that many of the older buildings in the town are quite large; like mansions. Nowadays there are many apartment buildings and regular size homes like Joseba's.

Walking to Joseba's house with Ana Sancho, it's the white one.

Joanna and Ana making the yummy lunch!

This building is a bridge!! So cool.

On Sunday, we went to Elorrio, a small basque village in the mountains where our friends Joseba and Joanna live. We went to their house to eat lunch and then out to some bars for coffee and tea. It was an awesome day that started with lots of sun and ended in lots of rain :-)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Just Kidding..........

Something funny happened the first day we were here. We are staying in the Griffins apartment while they are patiently waiting for their visas to arrive in the U.S. and missing them desperately. So I was on the "U.S. phone" (you can call a US # and it goes through the internet to this phone) talking to my sister and all of sudden I see Chris panicked and running over to me and shoved the phone my way saying, "Dude, it's someone speaking in Spanish for the Summer in the USA, quick you have to talk to them, I don't know what they're saying" so I quickly told my sister to hold on and greeted the caller on the other end in Spanish and then my hello was returned with, "Just Kidding, it's Marshall!". I started laughing hysterically and told Chris it was only Marshall, then he started laughing too and handed the phone back to him. There is something that happens to a person when you answer the phone and the person on the other line is speaking Spanish and you don't know how to communicate. This is just the beginning for Chris as I know that both he and I will continue to feel panicked and make lots of mistakes once we move here whether you know the language or not. The above picture is a re-enactment of Chris's face :-)

Marshall and Emily are this rad couple from SoCal who came to Euskal Herria to teach English at an English academy. They have been great friends to Jenni and Gerald, helped out with Summer in the USA, babysat the Griffin kids to give Jenni and Gerald a "night off" and now friends to us! Shout out to Marsh and Emily- you guys RULE!

what do you do when.......?

What do you do when........ your husband is a skater, you both are really bored, you have a lot of time to get to the terminal and there is a REALLy long carpeted hallway at LAX airport?

you skate it!

Ode to San Diego..

Chris and I took a break from our crazy lives to San Diego the first week in April. This was our Christmas gift from my parents and sister (THANK YOU)!!! We had a blast hanging out with our friends from our bible study, connecting with my cuz carrie, her hubby and their new baby Annika, visiting the beach where we got engaged, Chris surfing with our friend Jesse, eating yummy greek food at our favorite restaurant, attending my friend April's wedding, running into people we actually know, watching movies with Chris's parents, eating Stardust donuts, Chris reading his new book, "What's so great about Christianity" that his mom treated him to and I enjoyed as much time as possible at the pool. It was such a fun trip for us. It was a blessing to stay with Chris's parents (Thank you both too!). We haven't been back to San Diego since we moved last August, which was too long. We both realized that we love San Diego maybe a little too much and it's a good thing that we are moving to the Basque Country :-) Here is a picture of some of our friends from our bible study at Miguel's in Coronado, a picture of the Growth Group girls at April's wedding, and my awesome "new Mom" cousin and my sweet little (cousin niece) Annika.

San Diego we love you!