home sweet homa

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Feliz Navidad!

This is our first year to be away from family during Christmas and the holiday season. And while it is very difficult not to be with our loved ones on this day, we are extremely blessed to have each other and to be able to travel to different parts of God's beautiful world while living in Spain. Right now we are celebrating the Lord's birth in Rome, Italy! After Rome we will be heading north to Florence, then we will kick off the New Year of 2014 in Venice before flying out of Milan. We wish all of you a very Merry Christmas from Europe!

(And thanks to my friend and fellow co-worker Anna Larson for the festive photo shoot around the busy center of Madrid!)

Monday, December 23, 2013

Quick Peek into Granada via iPhone + Video

The first weekend of November, Spain had a holiday so J.D. and I took a long weekend trip to Granada, the beautiful city in Andalucia (Southern Spain). I thought I'd share a little glimpse of the trip, starting off with this incredible video hubs made. These videos are such fun ways to remember our travels. Hope you enjoy!

Granada from J.D. Reeves on Vimeo.

And now for a few iPhone photos... These barely even scratch the surface and I will be sharing many more detailed posts about this trip later on which will include the pictures we took with our camera. But this will do for now.

Glimpses inside the Royal Chapel.

Glimpses inside the Royal Cathedral.

We didn't realize how chilly it was going to get once the sun went down, so we had to take a mini shopping trip for some warmer clothes. 

And of course take a break for some coffee, ice cream and fresh squeezed orange juice.

Cozy date night.

And the rest of the trip included a sweet cave museum.

A Flamenco Show.

The many beautiful sights of the Alhambra.

And beautiful views everywhere you turned.

Stay tuned for many more photos where these came from. I hope you are all enjoying the holiday season! We are off to Italy for the next couple of weeks!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Valencia - Bike Rides, Beaches & More!

If you've been keeping up with our travels abroad, then you've already seen a couple posts about the wonderful town of Valencia, Spain, including the video above (if you'd like to watch in HD click on the vimeo link). If not you can check out a highlight of the trip via iPhone photos here and the beauty of the Valencia Cathedral and bell tower views here! In this post I'm going to share the rest of our photos.

We left by bus on a Friday afternoon and arrived at our hostel that night. It was basically a two-bedroom apartment. We had our own room and shared a kitchen/living area and a bathroom with another room. Fortunately for the first night we had the whole place to ourselves. So what else to do but set up the camera on the kitchen counter and take photos of ourselves on the balcony with the self timer? ;)

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Then off we went to explore the streets of Valencia and, as Spaniards do, eat a super late supper.

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Here you see a 500 year old olive tree.

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Such a delicious dinner. Skillet potatoes, peppers and sausage topped with fried eggs.

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And now for some extremely creepy pictures of us trying to mimic a street art character...

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The next day we rented bikes from our hostel and rode a few miles to the nearest beach. On the way we came upon a gigantic tree.

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And finally...la playa!!

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We ate at La Pepica, pictured below, a restaurant where Ernest Hemingway ate and wrote about in one of his novels. So cool! Here, we indulged in delicious sangria, bread with a tomato/aioli sauce and authentic Valencian paella. 

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We clearly enjoyed ourselves...

We then took a romantic stroll along the beach. Freezing water, jellyfish and all.

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That evening we visited the Cathedral, did more exploring of the city, ate supper and went back to the hostel to rest up for our last half day in Valencia. 

The next morning we woke up, ate churros con chocolate for breakfast and then took a 30 minute bus ride to a less popular, but gorgeous beach called El Saler. 

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It was a weekend full of memories we will never forget.

Linking up with: Chelsea and Rachel.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Giving Thanks.


This is our first year not to spend the Thanksgiving holiday at home in Oklahoma with our families. Although it is difficult to be away from the ones we love most during this holiday season (and I will not get to stuff my face full of my Nanny's noodles and homemade pies), we realize that we have SO much to be thankful for. While we are still so grateful everyday for the most important things such as our Lord, family, friends, and a roof over our heads, I am going to share the many things, in no particular order, that I am thankful for specifically while living abroad:

  • Technology - Even though we're thousands of miles apart, we are still able to have face to face conversations with our family and friends at home, thanks to smartphones and computers with cameras. So awesome.
  • New friends - I am so lucky to have met some incredible friends through my teaching job who we can celebrate Thanksgiving with. And we will all still be celebrating the American way--by cooking and eating a wonderful feast together!
  • Taste of America - This is a tiny and quite pricy food store in Spain that sells American groceries. We were able to find Stove Top stuffing, cans of pumpkin and creamed corn so that we can still fill our faces full of some of our favorite, traditional Thanksgiving foods.
  • American "family" in Spain - We are thankful to have a family from the States that has lived in Madrid for several years who have been a huge blessing to us during our move and transition to life in Spain. From helping us find an apartment to making sure we have a doctor, we know we can always count on them.
  • My University - I am definitely grateful for this opportunity to further my education.
  • My job - Although my job is extremely frustrating most of the time, I am thankful for the opportunity to gain experience teaching and to meet some precious kiddos. And also, that the coordinators gave us the afternoon off to celebrate our country's holiday!
  • Travel - This is definitely at the top of the list. I am so thankful for the opportunity to live in such a beautiful continent and country full of history and that I get to travel to many amazing cities and sights of Europe with my other half during this year.
  • Change - This may sound like an odd one to some, but I'm thankful for change, even the change I don't enjoy, because with it comes learning and growth.
  • Hubs - Last, but definitely not least, my incredible husband. Three years ago, just after we got engaged, I told him of this dream of mine to move back to Spain to either work or study and to improve my Spanish. He has been supportive of that dream every day since and has worked hard for us to get to this point. I will never be able to express the gratitude I have for him for being willing to move across the ocean with me to follow my dream.
Thanksgiving 2013 will be a holiday we will never forget. What are you thankful for in your current season of life?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Saint Mary's Cathedral - Valencia

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As you may have seen in my last post, during our weekend getaway to Valencia we visited the Cathedral there. I posted a few of the photos I took with my iPhone, but I'm back with more that were taken with our DSLR.

To give you some very brief history, the building of this Cathedral began in the 13th century over what was previously a mosque. It is believed to be the place where the Holy Chalice from Last Supper is kept.

When we arrived, we discovered that the open hours we found online were incorrect. I'm not quite sure what exactly we missed out on, because although it wasn't technically "open" we could still go inside and look around.

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Also, the bell tower was still open, so we got to take the nice, long trip up that (the tower on the left in the picture below).

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We definitely got our workout going up all those stairs, but the view was SO worth it. We got up there right at sunset. Breathtaking.

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Pictures really do no justice. We had incredible views of the entire city of Valencia. I couldn't choose just a few to share, so you get to see them all. ;)

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If you ever find yourself in Valencia, make sure to set aside time for the bell tower of the Valencia Cathedral. I'm thankful I got to experience these gorgeous, romantic views with my love.

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