Update from a professional pineapple corer

rooms

The ladies

Well, it has been a little over two weeks since I arrived in Garden City, South Carolina. For those of you who haven’t heard much since I got back from Spain, I am down in South Carolina until August at a program called Summer Training Project. It is a summer program through Campus Outreach. We are down here basically being bathed in the gospel for two months. Staff refers to it as like drinking the gospel from a fire hydrant. It’s a lot to take in, and it’s very easy to be overwhelmed. As a room leader, I get to lead four girls this summer in facilitating discussion, helping them to walk through the Bible, and allowing them to see my growth over the summer. I feel fairly incapable of doing any of these things. I have been realizing how little I understand the Gospel and it puts me in a really sweet place of vulnerability as I try and learn alongside of my girls. I don’t feel very often that I am leading them, but more like we are all in it together, trying to soak up as much of Jesus as we can this summer. If you want to find out more about the program, feel free to check out the website at http://www.cominneapolis.org/stp.

As far daily life goes, every day is pretty different. One thing that doesn’t really change is Wal-mart. To help support ourselves this summer, we have all gotten jobs at Wal-Mart. I was placed on the Demos team, which I didn’t understand at all until I realized that I get to be the girl that hands out chunks of pineapple, watermelon, doughnuts, and french bread. So far, the best has been pineapple. Our job is to core pineapples, and after about 50, you get pretty good at it. After 500, well…my arms hurt pretty bad. It is worth it though, we laugh a lot and sell tons of pineapple, which keeps our managers happy. On our first day of sampling, we sold over 200 pineapples, which is more than the store usually sells in a week. We were pretty proud of ourselves, and the managers decided that it was a program they would stick with. The next day we came in they told us they had ordered 500 pineapples for us to sell, no pressure or anything 🙂

hotel

Our summer home

Monday nights we have Theme Night, and this year the theme is Convinced. Convinced of the Gospel being true, convinced that He is sufficient. Convinced that my salvation is not based on the works that I do, but the sacrifice of what He did. It is a lot to be convinced of, but we are learning and walking into together, and learning a lot every week.

Tuesday nights are D-group. These nights I get to spend with the girls in my room. We have a chance to pray together, discuss what is hard, what is going well, and things that might be confusing. I love this time. The girls in my room are so sweet and we have been able to open up to each other about things that we struggle with, as well as where we see God working our lives.

group date

Group Date

Wednesday and Thursday we work, and Wednesday nights are free, unless we have a group date. Group dates are super fun. We went on our first one last week, and had a blast. The guys organized for us to go to an arcade and we all paired up to see who could win the most tickets. The winners then got to spend all the tickets on whatever they wanted. The losers all had various consequences. My partner for the night and I did quite terribly, so we had to fake a marriage proposal in front of a lot of people. It was a little bit stressful, but made for a good story in the end. Then we went to a coffee shop and played games. Group dates are a really sweet way to get to know the guys on project, and we have had a blast with it.Thursday nights we have social, which is another really fun night. Each week we do something different as a project. The first week we did a low country boil, which was essentially a lot of shrimp, potatoes, corn, and onions spread on top of butcher paper and we all stood around eating it trough style. It was so yummy. This week we did a variation of Whose Line is It Anyway and created skits using props or situations we pulled from a hat. It is always exciting and often times embarrassing.

boil

Low Country Boil

Thursday nights we have social, which is another really fun night. Each week we do something different as a project. The first week we did a low country boil, which was essentially a lot of shrimp, potatoes, corn, and onions spread on top of butcher paper and we all stood around eating it trough style. It was so yummy. This week we did a variation of Whose Line is It Anyway and created skits using props or situations we pulled from a hat. It is always exciting and often times embarrassing.

Friday and Saturday we have the morning off, and often times will run across the street to lay on the beach or play games, then in the afternoon we head over to Wal-mart and work until late. Thursday and Friday nights are my favorite. I have gotten really good at coring pineapple and I got to meet a sweet older man named Marlin who is a gem. I’ve gotten to know more about his life story, and learned that he has been married for 60 years. When I asked him how he had made it so long his response was “She works the day shift and I work the night shift!” He is really great, and though has a tough exterior, I’m pretty sure he’s a big teddy bear, and I am hoping I get to see that this summer.

Sunday is a great day. We have life training in the morning, then my girls and I head over to Pine Drive Baptist, a tiny A-frame church that just never quite made it out of the seventies. Okey Landers is the pastor of the church and he is just a sweaty old man who loves Jesus and makes Him known. After just two services, I have been blown away with how he portrays the Gospel in a way that makes it so clear and so not about me, but about Jesus. It is so different from Bethlehem, where I attend in Minneapolis, but I love it, and the congregation, though tiny, has accepted us with open arms and we already feel at home there. After church, I get time alone. I didn’t realize how much I would need it until I got here. I am still learning what I can do to be restful. So far, I just go out and get time alone to journal, read the Word, or spend time with some of my closer friends.

So that is where I am today, I snuck away to get some wi-fi and to get some time alone. I have loved being down here so far. I do have prayer requests, so if you would join me in prayer, I would love it!

~For an opportunity for Marlin to hear the gospel from me or another student

~For courage and perseverance as we share our faith on the beach on Wednesdays

~For the rest of my support to come in, I am over 60% of the way, praise the Lord! THANK YOU to those of you who have supported me already!

Thanks for checking in on me! Let me know if you would like to be added to an email list to receive updates whenever I do them!

boardwalk

Hanging out on the Boardwalk

 

Advertisements

Known for the Unknown

Pamplona, the city most well known for the running of the bulls during San Fermin and Ernest Hemingway’s writing in The Sun Also Rises. That is not how I will remember it though. I will remember many, many games of Settlers of Catan, running obstacles for the Spanish kids I tutored, and a family that felt more like family than people I had just met. The Veldts have an amazing story; amidst trials and struggles they have created a church in Pamplona, serving the community with English classes, worship, discipleship, and the joy of an amazing family. When heading to Pamplona, I was nervous about the impression they would have of me, and if I would fit into their family or not. Within moments of meeting Luke, Jodi and their two “at home” kids Nick and Andrea, I felt at home. Luke focuses a lot of his attention on pushing dads to memorize scripture and to in turn work with their kids at memorizing scripture. Each of the members of their family have memorized Psalm 119, yes, the super long one, including a busy teenager and a beautiful eleven year old daughter with Downs Syndrome. Hearing Andrea sing song after song of Psalms was not only convicting, but also encouraging. So, if you don’t think you can memorize Scripture, talk to the Veldts and I am sure they can prove you wrong in the best way.Image

While I was in Pamplona, I got to work with a family that is close to the Veldts. The family has six kids, and the parents are both professors at local universities. I took the four oldest kids for three hours a day to work on English. Guillermo (8), Susana (7), Irené (6), and Gonzalo(4) were so fun and exhausting. They had fairly well developed English and we spent the hours playing games, doing crafts, and causing lots of trouble. Later on, the parents offered to take me on a tour of the University of Pamplona, where I got to see a dissertation room as well as the academic buildings.

ImageMy time in Pamplona felt the most like home. The Veldts enveloped me in love and I felt it. Luke’s reading materials and suggestions, Jodi’s honest conversation, Nick’s many games of Catan and tennis tournaments, and Andrea’s sweet spirit and love of others all amazed me and made me feel like one of the family.

 I have left links below to some of the Veldt’s material, all of which I would suggest checking out!

http://memorizepsalm119.com/

http://www.challies.com/book-reviews/written-in-tears

Second Round

I was able to visit Hungary twice, once on my own after I left Madrid, and again with my family. My parents were missionaries there during the 90’s and during our time, we got to know several families whom are very special to us. During the time I spent in Hungary by myself, I stayed with Emese Nobik, who was our adoptive grandma when Daniel and I were little in Hungary.ImageThough we spent the first years of our lives there, we don’t know much of the language, just a few phrases and words, so when I was going on my own, I was a little nervous about finding my way from the airport to the Nobik’s house. When I got off the plane, I eventually found my bus, and got on, not entirely sure where I was going. I saw a couple and a younger guy sitting together and when I heard them speaking English, I was relived. It turned out that they were missionaries in Budapest. I couldn’t believe how God had lined it up perfectly so that I would run into someone who would rescue me from getting off at the wrong stop with no money and no idea where I was. They were so sweet to me, helping me get all the way to Emese, giving me their phone number, and making sure that I was comfortable. It was one of those moments that reminds me who is in control.ImageDuring the time I was in Hungary, the Danube River was flooding, so Emese and I made our way down the hill to see how high the water was. The next day, I was amazed when the water was six feet higher than it had been the day before. During my stay, Emese made my very favorite meal, Paprikas Csirke, which is kind of like noodles with chicken seasoned with a lot of paprika.

We had a fun time trying to communicate despite my lack of Hungarian language. Emese and I also went down to the market to get vegetables, and stock me up on my two favorite Hungarian treats; Turo Rudi and Kindertojas. Turo Rudi’s are weird, they are basically curd covered in dark chocolate and I don’t think I would like it if I hadn’t grown up on it. Kindertojas are chocolate eggs that have a toy inside. Emese used to buy both of these for Daniel and I, and I guess because of that, we love them.ImageWhen I got back to Hungary with my family, I was excited to be with people who knew the language. The Bodö family, who were very close to us during the time we were in Hungary, picked us up. We were able to stay with them for two days, during which we were treated to delicious food, great company, and all the fresh cherries we could pick. Later, we found our way over to Budapest, where Emese lives.

The time with the Nobik’s and my family was so special. I enjoyed seeing my parents re-living a part of their life that we don’t remember much. It was strange to have my mom speak to me in Hungarian when she forgot that I don’t actually speak the language. After a day in Budapest, we headed to Hollokö, which is a historical town that Hungary has tried to keep traditional. One of our family traditions is to go to the little town and stay for a day or two in the old houses with thick walls and old Hungarian decorations. My favorite part of the town is the old shops; we usually spend the majority of our souvenir money in Hollokö at the wood shop and pottery shop. Most of the items are made in Hollokö, and the shops help to support the local economy. This was the first year that Daniel and I decided to be grown-ups and opted for kitchen utensils over toys.ImageWe headed back to Budapest where we had Hortobagyi palacsinta, which is kind of like crepes with shredded pork and paprika. Paprika is to the Hungarians what olive oil is to the Greeks. Later, Daniel, Bradley, and I walked down to the Danube, which fortunately had gone down, and walked along the river with all the lights of the city, it was beautiful.ImageImage

Monks and Mischief

Our next stop in Greece was Meteora, a small town that is famous for the monastic lifestyle. There are over 24 monasteries and convents, many of which are still in use. Daniel, Bradley, and I made the very steep hike up to the Grand Meteora, which is one of the biggest monasteries in use today. Mom and Dad rode up on the bus and met us at the top, where after getting skirts to cover our legs, we were admitted into the monastery. We didn’t see many monks, as most of them mediate during the day, or take part in solitary confinement, however we did see a few working in the fields or ironing.Image There was lots of history of how the Turks tried to attack many of the monasteries, however, because of the location on the top of giant rocks; the monks were able to protect themselves as well as books and papers from long ago. We were able to see manuscripts and books from as far back as the 12th century! It amazed all of us how old things are in Greece.ImageWe left Meteora and rode a bus to a port where we boarded a ferry for Corfu, which is a larger island. After walking one way, the other, than back again, we finally decided it was easier to take a taxi to our hotel. Our room had a beautiful view of the Ionian Sea, so after we settled in, we walked along the shore down to the little town to find dinner. It was my night to choose the restaurant, so after searching and searching, I found a place that had stuffed vine leaves, which was exactly what I wanted. The next morning, we went snorkeling, which was good, not as cool as Paros, but still incredibly refreshing, then went into the town to explore. We eventually all split up to find lunch, which for me was ice cream, gyro, and a pudding cup, which I shared with Mom. We found our way back together as a family and headed to the airport where after waiting for a long time, and getting into a little bit of mischief, as we always do, we got on the flight to Hungary. Image

Don’t Speak

After a four-hour ride to Paros, we got off the ferry and on to a bus that took us to Aliki, where we wandered along the beach until we found George’s apartments. I am pretty sure that everyone in Greece is named George. George and his wife Eva greeted us warmly and showed us up to our whitewashed room, complete with blue shutters and white curtains, my favorite. The beach in Paros was much different than in Santorini. In Santorini, the beach had been volcanic rock, black, and lots of large rocks. In Paros, the sand was soft, sandcastle building sand and we took full advantage of it.Image

We were moving into our little house when George called up to us on the balcony. He said that there would be a fiesta later that night and that we were more than welcome to come. The scene of the fiesta was unbelievable. There were people milling about everywhere, all speaking Greek, we were given wine, and were surrounded by waiters serving customers piles of seafood on piers looking out over little fishing boats and beautiful clear water. Best of all, there was a huge stage with Greek dancing. After our family sat down and had stuffed vine leaves, calamari, and cuttlefish, Mom and I headed over to the dancing, where we were eventually dragged into the lively circle of dancers. We both worked as hard as we could just not to trip on ourselves, but it was amazing, circling around with jolly Greek people with the sounds of violin, accordion, and singing. The people in Paros were so friendly, so willing to help us, and excited for us to take part in their culture.

ImageSunday morning, we had delicious Greek yogurt for breakfast, and headed out to the beach. We decided it was worth it to invest in snorkeling gear for the three of us kids. The water was so clear and there were lots of interesting fish and sea life to see. The snorkeling took a while to get used to, but once we did, we saw rainbow colored fish, squid, jellyfish, stingrays, and sea cucumbers.ImageWe relaxed on the beach and eventually headed down to the town for another night of dancing. The next morning was cooking day. Mom had arranged for us to learn how to cook traditional Greek food with Eva. We spent six hours making all of food, laughing in the kitchen. If nothing else, I learned that Greeks use olive oil, lots and lots of olive oil. By the time the food was all prepared, we were starving. Georgi set the table and once we got outside, we realized how much food we really had. The Greeks like food. A lot. We had shrimp and octopus for appetizers, Greek salad and another salad they call Tacos, roasted vegetables with rice stuffing, chicken, meatballs, rice, and tzatsiki, all washed down with Ouzo, a traditional Greek liquor that tastes like licorice, and wine. After about an hour, we left the table bursting, having only eaten about a third of the food. Eva was one of the best parts of the cooking experience. After my struggling to press garlic, she squeezed my arm and very strongly suggested that I eat more. When I was trying to give myself a little salad, she grabbed the utensils, and said, “don’t speak” as she piled my plate high. There is nothing like getting bossed around by a Greek woman. My mom tried to take dishes up to our room to wash them, but Eva marched up, took the plates and scolded my mom. We ate leftovers for dinner, and breakfast the next day.ImageEva continued to bring us food to try for the next day and half, and saying goodbye was sad. George and Eva became like our Greek family, they were so sweet and welcoming, honestly, as were most of the people we met in Greece. Image

On top of the world

“We can’t be going up there”. Those were my first thoughts as our Blue Star Ferry circled into the port in Santorini, Greece. Above the port rose huge cliffs, hundreds and hundreds of feet above the Mediterranean. As we disembarked from the giant ship, mom yelled to me, Daniel, and Bradley to stay close to each other amidst the huge crowd. Our host, Georgi, greeted us and we crowded into his van. Each switchback we made up the zigzagging road made me more and more nervous. The thin wall between the plummeting cliff and us felt a little too short, and we seemed to be going a little too fast and a little too high. Thank God, an hour later, we made it to Oia, a smaller town on the island. The van stopped, and I finally exhaled. Georgi ran off and told us to wait for him by the car. A few minutes later, he came around the corner with Eusto, the donkey. Georgi packed up Eusto with all of our bags, and the seven of us made our way through the winding passageways, following blue arrows, until we reached Georgi’s apartments.

sn

Riding up to Oia and Eutso the Donkey

Daniel, Bradley, and I shared a room that and met all of the hopes I had on my Greece checklist; blue shutters, white curtains, and a view of the ocean. We unloaded our luggage from poor Eusto, who, despite our light packing, was still carrying a lot, then headed down to the beach. The walk took us past farm after farm of fresh tomatoes, grapevines, and fig trees. At the beach, we played in the waves, went treasure hunting in the sand, and relaxed after a long day. We walked to a small neighboring town where we found dinner; juicy orange apricots and gyros. Eventually, we wound our way back to our little villa and collapsed into bed.

sant2

The next morning, we decided to hike up to Fira, a more touristy part of the island where I believed I could find the view of Santorini that I had seen in all the pictures, three beautiful blue domes with the ocean in the background. I had read several reviews that said the hike would take about three hours, and that it wasn’t too strenuous. Deciding that an early start would help us avoid the hottest part of the day we went down for breakfast at eight and were greeted by Tanya, Georgi’s wife, who had made an amazing Greek breakfast for us. We had cucumbers, tomatoes, Greek yogurt with preserves, fried eggplant and zucchini, and lots of different kinds of bread and meat. After filling up, we made our way up a very steep hike towards Fira. At the top of one of the peaks, a dog sitting at one of the churches greeted us; we took pictures and continued on our way. A few minutes later, we realized that the dog was following us, trotting along behind. We fondly named him Georgi, and continued walking. An hour later, when Georgi was still following us, we decided that we better give him some water, so that became a part of our hike, when we stopped for water, we made sure Georgi got some too. About an hour and a half later, we left Georgi with another couple that was hiking back towards Oia.sant3

The hike was beautiful. The path took us along the top of the island, so we could see both sides; we could see cruise ships coming in, as well as the volcano on the other side. We continued on and made it, exhausted, to Fira where we got ice cream and explored the city a bit. After hiking for three hours, we decided that the bus was a better option to get home. We got home after a very stressful bus ride on the edge of rocky cliffs, and jumped into our pool. Later, we sent Mom and Dad out to have an anniversary dinner (27 years!), and the boys and I went to find dinner of our own. We eventually settled down in a restaurant and shared Mousaka, grilled feta, and a cucumber and tomato salad.

sant4

Ringing church bells on top of the island and 27th anniversary date!

 As it turned out, my view of the blue domes wasn’t in Fira, but in Oia, so the next morning we set off to find it, this time, just a few minutes away from home. We made it and I was finally able to get my pictures. We packed up our room, got treats at a bakery, and headed back to the port to catch the ferry to Paros.

sant5

Prospects

I left Salamanca sad, but excited to start the next adventure. My first stop was Camarma, a small pueblo outside of Madrid, I was able to work at ECA, which is a small missionary school. I worked with several teachers with their end of the year clean up and organization, as well as working with the faculty and parents to prepare for graduation. I loved the day of graduation, I prepared food with the moms of many of the students for the majority of the day, then ran back and forth with fruit, sandwiches, veggies, and cake. I was tailed by Jacob, a sweet 8th grader who decided to be my best friend for the day and help me with all of my jobs. He took it upon himself to introduce me to most of everyone at the school, which was actually amazing. I was able to talk to a lot of parents, most of whom are missionaries. I met a couple that works in Madrid with non-believers. They asked me to consider joining their team as a teacher, community member, or whatever other position I might feel called. It was a huge blessing to be welcomed into the school as well as invited to take part in so many ministries. As I was explaining why I was at the school to many of the parents, I figured it out myself. I know that God has called me to missions. I know that I have a passion for sharing the gospel, and a passion for teaching and children. I don’t know when or where or how I will join the mission field, so I feel that now is a great opportunity for me to experience what God could do with me.

I was so blessed to be able to spend time with the Tabiendo family. I enjoyed movie nights, a delicious sushi dinner, and exploring the tiny town with Sam and Jill and their four kids Olivia, Troyer, Jonathan, and David. I was also able to head to Madrid twice, once to meet Hannah’s family, and again to spend the night with her before she left. I was also able to experience the baptism of 17 new believers in the Spanish church, which was an amazing blessing. I left Camarma with a couple of wonderful ministry opportunities for the future, both teaching at ECA and teaching English in Madrid, as well as meeting many new brothers and sisters from all over the world.

Pictured are Jill and I on girls night, roses from Parque Retiro in Madrid, devotions on my little patio, morning sunrise on the train back to Camarma, a field of poppies close to the Tabiendo’s apartment, and the whole Tabiendo family.

I will do my best to catch up on here! Lots of new stories to tell 🙂 Image

Many Hats

I am writing this from the computer in the librarian’s office at the Evangelical Christian Academy in Carmarma, Spain. I have been working at the school for the past two weeks, and in that time, I have been able to lots of different types of work. I have graded papers, organized shelves, made photocopies, stocked and labeled new library books, all sorts of new things. It has been so fun to try on the different hats that the missionaries here wear. I have been so impressed by this school. Not only do the staff run fully on support, but they almost all have more than one jobs. They are not just the secretary, but also the gardener. They are not just a teacher, but also a prayer group organizer or class sponsor. Everyone is so involved and excited to be supporting these kids. The goal of the school is to provide an education to the students of missionaries in Madrid and the surrounding areas. The school is small, with as few as two or three students per grade in many cases. But the teachers strive to give these kids a great education, and it is exciting to see how God is working.

300px-EvangelicalChristianAcademy

I am staying with the Tabiendos who live about ten mintues away from the school. That has been such a huge blessing. They treat me like family, and it is so nice to have a place to call home here in Camarma. The town is very quiet compared to Salamanca, with only about 6,000 people, its is quite the change. I am here until Tuesday, when I will continue my journey to Hungary. I am so excited about the next month, but to be completley honest, I am most looking forward to seeing my family! Sorry that I am unable to post many pictures, but when I get back to the US, I will update with a few more photos. Thank you for your continued prayers!

Until Tomorrow

Well, I am sitting in the hotel where Hannah and I will stay until our bus on Monday morning. It is quite the feeling, trying to fit everything into my tiny carry-on for the next two months, getting souvenirs, saying goodbye to our favorite places, people and things. The two hardest goodbyes were Centenera, Hannah and my favorite nightly hang out, and Manuela, César, and Manu. Both were sad, and hard to leave, but it is nice to know that I will be back in a few short months.Image

Next stop, Madrid, to stay with the Tabiendos who are working with ReachGlobal. After that, I will head to Budapest to visit my adoptive grandma, Emese in Hungary. A few days later, I will get back to Spain to stay with the Veldts in Pamplona, site of the famous Running of the Bulls, where I will work with children to improve their English skills. Two weeks later, I will board a train to Chambery, France, where I will get to see the Pitchers, who are from Bethlehem Baptist, my church at Bethel. I am so excited to spend time with each of these families, they are so generous to offer their homes and hospitality to me. After another month of traveling, I will spend a night in Paris, then fly out early the next morning to meet my family in Athens! I hopefully will be able to update at some point during that time, but if not, let me thank you for reading and keeping me in your prayers! Image

Today will never come again

Here in Salamanca, spring is in full bloom. I now have exactly seven days until I leave my beautiful Salamanca and head off for another set of adventures. The feeling is bittersweet. For one thing, finals are happening, so there is the stress of that setting in, along with the ache I get when I walk past my favorite street musician, a wonderful violin player, added to the list of lasts; the last frozen yogurt in the Plaza, the last coffee at my favorite cafe, the last church service, the last tutoring session with Marta. I am excited to be starting another adventure, but also sad to be leaving the one I have going here. Image

The last few weeks have been filled with new experiences and journeys. I was able to go to Zamora, a city about an hour away from Salamanca to tour the city and visit several wineries on the way. The tour was great, we visited two popular wineries, got to taste some of their products, learn how the wine is created, and see the vineyards. One of my favorite memories was one of the winery owners who sings and plays music for the wine, because that apparently gives it the right soul and flavor. He was a character. Zamora was a beautiful city, we walked around and saw the old buildings. I, as per usual, got a little lost from the group exploring on my own, and may have panicked one of the tour guides a little. After the tour we went to dinner at a Bodega, which is essentially a wine cellar. We wound our way through the pueblos quiet streets which led out to a field with a bunch of strange looking doors, we saw smoke coming from the chimney of one and ventured down the long flight of stairs. At the bottoms was a very eccentric restaurant. The ceiling and walls were covered with all sorts of tools, pictures, and knick-knacks. We had an enormous dinner of ribs, chorizo, salad, bread, coffee, and ice cream. By the time we left, we were all stuffed. Image

I was also able to take a trip to Segovia, which is most well known for it’s aquaduct, which used to carry water from the mountains to the city. It is a beautiful structure, built with nothing but large blocks. We were able to see the Alcazar de Segovia, which is a famous castle. It was so fun to tour the inside and see all the rooms and decorations. Eventually, we went to the royal gardens, which was equally exciting. We spent a good amount of time taking pictures and running around the park.

Image

Image

On Friday, Manuela and CĂ©sar invited us to CĂ©sar’s cabin about forty five minutes away from Salamanca. We piled into Manuela’s little car and headed off. The cabin is located on a lake in a very quiet little town with about thirty people. We enjoyed the afternoon in the sun, exploring by the lake, laying in the hammock, playing fetch with Manu, eating cookies from a local bakery, and running around in the very soft, and sorely-missed, green grass. I loved running around barefoot, it had been such a long time! It was a perfect study break, and we had a hard time getting back in the car to go back to our studying in Salamanca. Image

Finally, this Saturday was my birthday. It was a busy day, full of lots of eating and enjoying the day. Our group went paddle boating on the Rio Tormes, we had tapas on the shore, I got lots of cards from wonderful people in the US, had lunch at my favorite tapas place, ate frozen yogurt in the Plaza, and Hannah and I got a very late, very long dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in the city. It was a great day, and I am so excited that I can cross “have a birthday in Spain” off my bucket list. So, for now, I am working on saying goodbye to Salamanca, next stop, Madrid!Image