Tag Archives: friends

Thanksgiving 2012

The States are celebrating Thanksgiving today. Along side Halloween, Black Friday and other special days, Thanksgiving has slowly crossed the Atlantic and more and more Europeans celebrate this day as well. Not because we feel the need to say thanks to anyone, but because what better excuse to gather around family and friends and feast on turkey? Jon and I already had a “Hallowthankmas” dinner with some friends a couple of weeks ago (no need to explain that Hallowthankmas stands for Halloween+Thanksgiving+Christmas, although none of us dressed up.. the Halloween bit came from the pumpkin pie we had for pudding)

So since today is Thanksgiving, and I don’t mind adopting north american traditions, here is my list of reasons why I am thankful today:

– I am thankful for my husband. He is my best friend and I honestly can’t figure out what my life would be without him. He understands me, he makes me laugh, he is patient with me and above all, he loves me as much as I love him. What else could I ask for?

– I am thankful for my job. I know I have complained lots about it in the last couple of years, but when I come to think about it, I am so very lucky to be where I am. Here I have been appreciated for my work, I have been promoted, and the most important thing is that I am comfortable. Comfortable with what I do (yes, I’ve had my struggles, but I have conquered them too), comfortable with my boss (he’s the best), and comfortable with the rest of my colleagues. I know how important it is to feel both comfortable and appreciated in the workplace, and I am thankful for having found it (despite the negatives)

– I am thankful for science. Scientific and medical developments have been an important part of my life in the last few months (more to come on this) and I am so very helpful for that.

– I am thankful for technology. For making my life easy everyday (although I sometimes reminisce and say how easy life was before we all had mobile phones…)

– I am thankful for this country. England took me in when I was trying to find myself. It protected me and has looked after me since. I love it here and I am thankful that I have never had any problems. I am also thankful for its beauty, its wildlife, its scenery and countryside, its small villages and country pubs, for its diversity and for its seasons.

– I am thankful for my family. They are all a bunch of crazy folk but thanks to them I have learnt many things in life and I became the person I am today – And I must say that I am actually proud to be the way I am. From my mum I learnt not to be promiscuous, from my uncles not to be greedy, from my older brother not to depend financially on anyone, and from my younger brother not to do drugs. Unintentionally, just by observing their behaviour, I learnt and became who I am.

– I am thankful for my friends. All those people who listen to me, talk to me, understand each other, laugh with each other, enjoy each other’s company. All of them. Thanks.

We won’t eat turkey tonight, or even meet with family or friends, but I am thankful for the opportunity to sit for ten minutes to collect my thoughts and realise that there is actually a lot of things out there to be thankful for.


A rare occurrence

My boss was away on a business trip on Monday, and I am not “too” busy at work at the moment, so I decided to take the day off on Monday, as they still owed me one day from the trip to Bogotá.

I had planned to do nothing all day. No cleaning, no ironing, no house work. The weather was a bit rubbish too, so going out was not going to happen either. I was just going to do some crafting, some web browsing, some reading and some day-time tv watching.

I read for a bit, but I was reading in bed, and that made feel sleepy and as I didn’t want to go back to bed (it was still very early, approx. 8am), I decided to move to the study and do some crafting. I managed a very nice card that a friend had commissioned me for mother’s day (first Sunday of May in Spain – here in the UK it was back at the beginning of March), but then, after lunch, I had lost my shpadoinkle so I decided to stop crafting and come downstairs to the living room.

I got my laptop, put the TV on (a bit of multitasking, yes I can!) and I was set for an afternoon of boredom. Oh, my. Day time telly sucks. Sucks big time. It took me forever to find a decent programme (an old repeat of Masterchef) and even then I wasn’t quite in the mood for watching. I turned back to Facebook and I let everyone know how bored I was.

And to my pleasant surprise, I got a text from our friends M&J with little M in tow, asking to pop round for a visit!

This is a very rare occurrence indeed. I don’t think I have socialised in the middle of a non-weekend day since back on my Uni days! (of course, not counting holidays or Christmas, or anything like that). I had completely forgotten that you can actually meet people on a Monday at 3 pm! As it happens, she is a teacher who works part time and he is a postman who finishes work quite early in the day. So they were going to take their child to the park when they saw my post on Facebook and decided to come and pay me a visit instead (they said that my house would be much warmer than the park – which it was)

I loved it. I absolutely loved it. It kind of made me feel special. Needless to say, M&J were Jon’s friends, but for the last three years or so they have become MY friends too. And this was just the proof that I really didn’t need. They are happy to come and see ME without Jon being there!

School trips

I was in the pub the other day with some friends and the conversations were quite varied. One topic that we started talking about was school trips, as my friend Julia is a primary school teacher and she knows quite a bit about this!

She was telling us about all the trips that her school organises a year for the kiddos. They do like 4 or 5 a year, and some of the trips are several days long!!

Well, that got me thinking on my school trips when I was little. We only had two (three max) school trips a year, and that was quite lucky I believe. 90% of them were only one-day trips, and only in very few occasions we did a 3 or 4 day trip anywhere.

I will try to recall as many as I can.

I think my first school trip ever was to the beach. Motril’s beach is actually a couple of miles away from the town centre, and I have got memories of all the kids walking in line, all grabbing a piece of rope so we all stayed in the line. I must have been something like 5 or 6 years old.

Another one that I did when I was still quite young was to Salobreña, the next door village. It’s got a Moorish castle that is probably the only relic left in the coast of Granada from that period, so Salobreña is always visited by nearby schools. On top of that, Salobreña is quite pretty (or it used to be before it got too touristic) because all the houses built in the mount by the castle are quite traditional and all painted in white.

The school trip that nobody could miss at least once in primary school was a visit to the Alhambra, the famous Moorish Palace in Granada. I must have been at least 6 times between primary and secondary school, and the building always fascinates me every time I visit. Sometimes, especially when a bit older, we would be given a couple of hours of spare time in Granada. And I am almost ashamed to say that a few of those times I spent my allowance in “Galerías Preciados” or “El Corte Inglés” as it would be renamed afterwards.

I can remember a few more trips, but not in chronological order. So here are a few more:

We visited La Sierra de Cazorla, Ubeda and Baeza one time, and I remember that this was my first time staying away from home ever. Three days as well! We stayed in some kind of youth hostel with rooms for ten people. And I remember being very annoyed because I was pulled away from my group of friends to be put with “the naughty girls” because there was a spare space in that room and they needed someone else (I was still a good girl back then)

Another year I remember we went to “Itálica” which is the ruins of a roman settlement. We spent one day visiting the ruins and another day in Seville.

For the end of year school trip at the end of primary school, we went to Madrid, Toledo and Segovia. I have very good memories of that trip, as I had a very good relationship with all my class that year and we all had a very good time together.

And the big one, the one that we all impatiently awaited every year, was our yearly trip to “Tivoli” and “Aquapark” in Malaga. We did this one every year for at least 7 years in a row, until we had to go to Secondary School. (I notice now that they have changed the name from Aquapark to Aqualand…)

Some years we would only go to Tivoli, some years we would only go to Aquapark, some years we would do both on the same day. Aquapark in the morning and Tivoli in the afternoon.

Thinking about it now, I feel so sorry for the teachers that had to look after us. Imagine 80 or more children let loose in a water park, or in an amusement park… Yep, poor teachers…

By the way, for me “Tivoli” has always been the amusement park in Malaga. I had no idea there were other places called Tivoli too. So when I was preparing my trip to Copenhagen last year, and people kept saying “You must go to Tivoli”, I was quite confused at the beginning 🙂

Another due update

I know, I haven’t been updating this blog as much as I should… I haven’t given it up, it’s just that the other one and what it entails keep me too busy!

So here’s a summary of what’s been going on lately in the uninteresting life of Maria La Chica:

Card making. Yes, I’ve been spending quite a lot of time making cards. You can visit my other blog if you want to have a look at some of my creations. I am loving it, but it is a difficult hobby to have, because it requires lots of concentration and imagination. And I can tell you that sometimes it is very hard to concentrate on what you’re doing when your cat is jumping on your desk and walking back and forth over your card and tools…
The imagination bit I am overcoming by looking at lots of other blogs for inspiration. One of my favourite cards was inspired by a photo that I saw on the net. It was just a very rough sketch and idea, but it worked out perfectly in the end.

Work work work. Many things have been happening at work lately. I was finally given a promotion, after 3 and a half years at my previous position. I am quite excited about what the new position means and changes that it will bring to my daily routine. But at the same time, there are things going on in the office that I am not happy about. As I already told you, my company was recently bought by a multinational company and I can already see that it is going to take me longer than I thought to get used to all the changes and politics involved with a large organisation. I have had many a frustrating day lately, and there is very little I can do about it. “It is like it is and I can’t change it” – I’ve been told.
I will be travelling to Copenhagen in a couple of weeks for an Exhibition. I will be there for almost 5 days and I have plans to “disappear” for a few hours one day… There is no way that I will be in Copenhagen and won’t see any of the city! I was quite excited about the whole Exhibition thing at the beginning, but the more I think about it the more nervous I become. I am not a real talker and making small talk is quite hard for me. I am not a technical person either, so I wonder how I am going to get by. I will be fine, I know.. but all these questions keep popping up in my head.

Visiting friends. Jon and I have been a tiny bit more social lately (not hugely, but a bit more than usual). It is very handy than Jon’s best friend lives in Basingstoke as well, so he already goes out with him often enough in town. We’ve met Jon’s friend and his wife and kid a few times now and also met up with another couple who are mutual friends. We’ve also seen quite a bit of the family, doing our usual “games evening” thing (almost all of us love board games and meet up for a games evening from time to time. However, very rarely we manage to actually finish the game because we get caught in conversations, dinner and other bits and pieces and the game stays unfinished. I don’t mind too much, but Jon finds it frustrating and you can see his face and whole attitude changing the moment he realises we won’t finish that game…)
We also went to meet fellow Spaniard Elena and her other half (aka the Welshman) in the roman city of Bath just the other day (sorry, the photos are still in the camera!). It was a very enjoyable day, despite the freezing cold weather. I’ve just had my hair cut quite short too, so my poor little ears were suffering considerably…
Bath is gorgeous, I love it… The roman baths were very interesting.. you can’t beat a bit of roman history! And the company was great too… Sometimes it’s weird meeting someone face to face when you’ve only met them online. It’s strange to finally put a voice to the face and things like that… But at the end of the day, you realise that it is the same person that you’ve “known” for all these years!

Changing car? I am thinking of upgrading my car. There is actually nothing wrong with my little Micra, but if I am honest it is not the most comfortable car to be doing 70 miles everyday on. It probably isn’t the safest either if I was to have an accident (god forbid). So I believe now is a good time to make the change.
The biggest two contestants are the Ford Focus and the Hyundai i30. I like both and can’t really decide. I think the Focus is a bigger car (longer) and maybe I would struggle a bit more with it than with the i30. But the Focus is a safer bet than the Hyundai (despite the 5 year guarantee that Hyundai give you when you buy new). There are other cars that I like too, but they are far too expensive for me.. for example the Audi A3, the Mazda 3 or the Mercedes A160 (among others).
I will keep you posted in the coming weeks with these dealings…

Focus Zetec


Other “smaller” issues:
I am a great aunt now… My teenage niece had a baby just last week. It’s a little cute baby girl who will be called Aroa (I hate the name… what’s wrong with “Maria”? xD). So yeah, my 17 year old niece is now a mum and my 40 year old brother is a grandfather… Wow.

I am really looking forward to our little break in Cornwall at the end of April. We’ve rented a self catering apartment for a whole week for only £250, which is amazing value. Plus I have never been to that part of the country and I am really excited about it (I know Jon doesn’t count holidays in England as real holidays – but for me this is amazing! Hopefully we will also be having another break abroad, so Jon can say that he’s had a proper holiday this year, lol)

And I believe this is pretty much it! I promise to update more often!