Well, it has been an eventful week to say the least! As I mentioned in my last post, I spent all of Saturday playing in a tennis tournament at Rafa’s club! I played 4 or 5 games…I lost track after 3…and lost every. single. one! Haha I even lost to an 8 year old! No it is NOT SAD!!! It is very hard to be consistent when the balls are lobbed and not hit with force! Even though I didn’t win a single match, (I won some games, albeit not very many haha), I had so much fun! I have never had so much fun losing in my entire competitive career! I know…who am I and what have I done with the girl who yells at herself and breaks/bends her racket?! It wasn’t that I was terrible, the points that I won were very much earned, but I literally have touched a tennis racket like twice in the last 4 years, and let’s face it, I was never the consistent partner in high school. What I am very good at though, is paddle! It’s like the Spanish equivalent to squash in the states. It’s played outdoors but the court is much smaller and enclosed with plexiglass walls and cage fence stuff. It’s so much fun and soooo much easier than tennis! Haha plus, seeing as how the net game is my forte, it’s more conducive to my style of play! I got to play with Gloria, Brooke, Sarah, and one of Gloria’s friends and daughter, María (who is the number one girl in the entire club! So she’s obviously terrible). Gloria and María’s mom were more comedic relief than serious players, which reminded me of my mom and dad. Mostly when Gloria would miss the ball and yell at the other players that she wasn’t ready, or the way they hit the ball was cheating! It was so much fun and I hope we get to play again very soon!

On Sunday, we took a day trip out to the country to visit another one of Gloria’s friends. And when I say country, I mean out in the mountains, where they have a farm with goats, a wild hog that reminds me of Pumba (but I guess it’s not wild since they have it penned up), chickens, and dogs up the yin yang! It was a complete 180 from the city to say the least! Oh, and did I mention that they live in a cave?? It was totally awesome! They don’t live like cavemen, the house is just literally built inside the mountain! Everything looks normal from the front, then you walk around the side and BOOM! there’s mountain where the side of the house should be! It’s so crazy! I guess it’s the best living situation with the climate here though, because it stays cool when it’s super hot outside and it’s really easy to heat the house with a fire and keep it insulated in the winter! It’s a really cool concept, although I’m pretty sure Mom would freak out! lol Now that I think about it, it was a lot like how Don’s house is back in Washington…(that was more for mom and dad’s reference for those of you who don’t know who Don is). We had really great food too. I got to eat blood! Hahaha seriously…I ate fried blood with onion and it was delicious! I also ate lamb and found out when we were petting a baby lamb that we ate won of his brothers…so that put a damper on my opinion of lunch. Although it was a good time, it was also a tough day for me. It was the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and it was also the first time that I’ve seen live footage and explicit pictures since the attacks themselves. They don’t sensor anything here, so I have now seen each plane hit from every angle possible, each tower collapse with the screams from the aftermath included, and literally watched hundreds of people jump to their death. It really shook me and I couldn’t help but think if the families that lost a mother, father, brother, sister, you name it, and feel emotionally attached. I don’t know if it was seeing all the footage for the first time in 10 years, or if it was being out of the country, but it brought me to tears. I still remember walking into my 7th grade class and watching the 1st tower fall, I didn’t know what it meant at the time, but I will never forget that day.

Looking toward the future, I have officially booked a weeklong stay in London to visit my very good friend, Anna Swicklik, from college! (I will refer to her as Swick from here on out, just a heads up). Not only do I get to visit one of my very best friends from Eugene, I got a roundtrip flight for under €50!!! What a deal! I’m also flying in and out of Madrid, which marks the first step into unknown territory as far as my trip and housing goes…exciting yet scary/terrifying at the same time! My former teammate, Newty, is there now and has offered up her housing for a bit, and I also have an old tutor that is living there as well that I could call up, so that at least gives me some comfort. My goal, however, is to get my butt to wine country and start learning more about Spanish wines! Living here has been great, but I haven’t truly tested myself, nor have I really seen the country which is what I came here to do. I’ve spent a month here, and I think that is enough time in one place in this stage of my trip. I am no longer allowing myself to make excuses for staying, I’m going and that’s that!

In the near future, however, I’m working on getting my travel visa to extend my legal stay for the entire 6 months I plan to be here. So far they have been really lenient with my entry and travel within the country, but I’d really like to avoid running into any issues in the long run if I can help it. So, I willing be traveling to Málaga to pay a visit to the Spanish consulate. It’s the nearest one, and I heard the city is beautiful (what’s new right?) so I figured I could kill 2 birds with one stone! No actual birds will be harmed during this trip, I promise. That is my plan for Monday, and speaking of Monday’s…yes, prepare yourself for a segue!..this past Monday I worked as I club promoter! Haha Rafa co-owns a club called Chicago here and got me an “in” with one of his associates. The club itself is designed like an old time saloon, but it can’t decide if it wants to be western or jazz era, and the music is all techno and top-40 haha it’s kind of ironic, but a really cool place! As I was saying though, I, along with 5 other girls, walked around to different bars and restaurants trying to convince people that it’s ok to start your week off with a mojito or two! Haha I didn’t really get to do much talking, except when they came upon a group of people that were American and quickly called me over. I felt like the secret 3-point shooting weapon that you bring off the bench in the 4th quarter, I was the clutch player and I definitely played my role! By the end the night though, my feet and legs were killing me from being up on my feet the whole time! I was even wearing flats, the other girls were all wearing heels! And by heels, I mean HEELS! I don’t know how they did it without their feet falling off! (At this moment I can hear my mom saying, “because they’re used to it! You would be too if you wore them more often!” haha) On top of that, I had no idea what a promoter wears for this kind of discoteca, so I thought I would keep it classy and dress a bit on the sophisticated and practical side. I wore my black jeans, ok jeggings, but no judgements they fit me perfectly! A greenish top that was loose around the shoulders, and my black flat boots, they’re super cute the silver buckles matched my jewelry 🙂 Needless to say, I looked very nice, but one look at the other girls and I realized I overdressed, and by overdressed I mean I was covering too much of my body! Haha I stuck out like a sore thumb, but I tried to make up for it with my charm lol I’m supposed to work again tomorrow during the day and again in the night, because there’s a bunch of young Americans around here right now with school starting, but I haven’t gotten the actual call yet so we’ll see.

My night life has definitely picked up lately which has been a lot of fun! I quickly made friends with the two kids of Rafa and Gloria’s friends from the tennis club, María and Antonio. They are both the number one players at the club for men and women at only 16 and 18 respectively! They remind me of my own family what with Kelyn being the soccer prodigy he is and Baely being so amazingly crazy at gymnastics…don’t worry, Kelyn doesn’t read so this won’t go to his head lol. I went out for tapas and dancing with them and some of their friends and had such a great time! I got to exchange some more jokes and show them some of my super sweet dance moves so you know I had a great time! They’re really great kids and I look forward to seeing them again. A couple nights ago, I went out to the only bar I really know (the one that I came upon by sheer luck last time) by myself and had a mojito while chatting it up with the bartenders. They’re both friends of Marta’s and remembered me so it was nice to see some familiar faces. They had the most quizzical look when I came in alone though, asking me where everyone was and why I was alone. Apparently, it’s really strange for people to do things solo at my age lol. Afterwards, though, I met up with Brooke, Sarah, and what seemed like the entire exchange program at the local dance club, Granada 10. It was a lot of fun going out dancing and drinking, meeting more people, and getting to dance up on the DJ’s stage! I haven’t been able to do that since college haha!

This week has been a lot of fun and full of day trips that leave me exhausted at the end of each day! Just 2 days ago, I was out in the mountains again with Gloria and Rafa and got to see the milky way in all its glory along with the big dipper! It was beautiful and so quiet out there, mix that with some Pink Floyd and a really good bottle of wine and I couldn’t have asked for anything more! I hope you guys are all doing well as school starts up, or already started if you’re my dad and sister, and I will do my best to shorten my gaps between posts! Love and miss you all!