December 11, 2011

Christmas Shopping

Every year, I have an idealistic vision that I will do all my Christmas shopping so early, maybe even on Black Friday, and be finished by maybe December 15, with plenty of time to wrap each present beautifully and have it waiting under the tree. I don’t think this has happened yet. I think this is the first year I’ve realized why. 

Shopping is a huge process to me, especially shopping for someone else. I used to be the world’s biggest impulse buyer, buying cheap shirts that lasted two washes because it was a great deal, or not being able to say no to the sales person and ending up with things I don’t need, or buying a pair of really great extremely high heels that I end up never wearing because they hurt and I don’t have anywhere practical to wear them to…. 

Anyway, I think I am getting better at not impulsively spending money, and am now becoming the opposite, where I will not spend money unless I have already “visited” the item 5 times and I am perfectly sure it is exactly what I need or want. (Note: the exception to all this is the grocery store – I am extremely impulsive there, and still have not learned to stay away when I’m hungry. I try to always have Matt with me or I spend a fortune.)

So now add in shopping for someone else. I want to find the perfect present that they will love, and I also want to make sure there is nothing out there that is better. So in my mind, I need to go to every store in Avila, see what they have, and then go back and decide what to buy as a gift. Poor Matt. He has been on several walks around the entire town with me, ready to buy Christmas gifts, and we’ve come back with nothing, even though I almost bought 5 things!

This year I want to get everyone presents from Spain, and we are flying home the 18th, so I have to be done early! Tonight Matt has an away game, so I went out by myself determined to make some purchases. I almost walked away from several things, but bought them anyway, and now I am so happy with what I have so I hope the people I am giving it to will like it!

The good thing is that I absolutely adore shopping, for anyone or anything, so maybe this whole “process” is just me finding a way to take as many shopping trips as possible. ;)

December 10, 2011


This past Sunday, Matt and I got our first chance to travel in Europe and we went to Madrid. It was so much fun! Every one always says that traveling around Europe is so easy with cheaper flights to nearby countries and the train/subway/bus systems, and I guess we didn’t believe that until now. We thought it was a really big deal to look up a train from Avila to Madrid and back, get our tickets, ride the train, and then find our way around Madrid. It was so easy! 

                                          On the Train to Madrid

The train ride was about 1 ½ hours with only one stop, and it was a really nice train, so smooth it didn’t even feel like we were moving. I was really proud of myself because I actually did some research on some Madrid tourism websites to find out what we should see. I found out about a huge well known flea market with over 400 vendors that takes place only on Sunday mornings, and I found out that the most famous Spanish Museum, the Museo Del Prado, has free admission only from 5-8 pm on Sunday nights. A lot of tourist spots were free only during certain hours and on certain days.

So once we got to the train station, we found an information booth where the lady gave us a great map of Madrid, and I was able to ask her to point out all the places I had looked up. We only had one day, so we decided to only do a couple things. There is a subway stop at the train station, so we bought 10 passes for the day and got on. It was so easy to get around on the subway (with a good map)! First we started at the El Rastro Flea Market – it was really neat. They closed off a lot of streets and there were so many vendors and people everywhere! There was everything from jewelry to antiques to clothes to watches and tourist paraphernalia and it was so crowded! We went in this one booth that had some old-timey army gear, like gas masks and cool hats and camouflage clothes, but when we walked in we felt kind of creeped out by some of the stuff and by the guys working there, and we think it may have had something to do with Nazis….not sure. We left that booth pretty quickly. (sorry about the photo captions, I can't get them centered...)

                                         At the El Rastro Flea Market              
                         One of the vendors told us to wear our back packs on our front or else things would get stolen, luckily we made it out of the huge crowds with everything!

After a couple hours at the market, we left to meet Nick for lunch – one of Matt’s teammates from Rollins who is playing basketball for Los Rozas, in Madrid. We met him and ate lunch at an Italian place called Ginos. It was so good! It was my first time to eat Italian food since being in Spain and it was delicious (even though the menu was in Spanish, and I wasn’t really sure what I ordered). It was really good to see Nick, too, and to talk in English with someone!

After lunch we headed toward the Prado Museum, which took us into the historical and tourist area of Madrid. All the buildings were beautiful! We stopped at this one building that was the prettiest (I think I read it was a renovated palace), and went inside. It turns out this is where the City Council’s Nativity Scene was displayed (I had read about this online). It is about 10-12 different scenes that narrate the story of Jesus’ birth, from the shepherds to the typical nativity scene. The line was really long, so we just saw what we could by not waiting in line, it looked really neat. I think the building is the City Council building. It was old, all white outside, with beautiful ceilings inside, and 6 stories tall. We tried to go to the platform at the top where you could overlook the city, but after waiting in line we discovered we had to have a number/ticket, so we gave up. 

                                                          The City Council building

                                The beautiful ceilings inside the City Council building

                                          Part of the famous Nativity Scene display

                                          The building at night

After that, we headed to the Museo Del Prado. I was really excited about this because I’m not a huge art fanatic, but its not every day you get to visit a famous museum, so I was really happy it was free, it made it worthwhile without the pressure to stay for hours. My favorite paintings were the huge oil paintings – a single painting covered an entire wall floor to ceiling, and they were in beautiful frames. We saw a lot of paintings depicting Jesus and John the Baptist, and in another area there was a lot of Spanish art, mostly having to do with battles. Another area had a lot of sculptures, and there were lots of portraits, mostly of Spanish royalty. Past that, I can’t tell you much except that the paintings were pretty. The neatest thing was that there was an original Picasso painting on display! It belongs to a Russian museum and it was the first time it had ever been shown in Spain. It was called "Girl on a Ball". I thought it was pretty cool we got to see an original Picasso in person. There was a whole room dedicated to this one painting. Matt was a trooper and let me look at everything, and I think he maybe enjoyed it some too. We only saw a small portion of the Museum, it was so big and there were a lot of people there.

                                                            The Picasso Painting we saw

After the Museum we went to Starbucks, where the girl who took my order spoke English. It was wonderful (the coffee and the English). Matt and I thought Madrid was a lot more American friendly than Avila. We heard a lot of English, there are more types of food (more American restaurants – we walked past a Domino’s and I’ve heard there’s a KFC – and also Italian, Chinese, all kinds of food). We think it would be really fun to live in Madrid, but we are glad to be in Avila this year, I think it is forcing us to learn Spanish and the culture and have no American comforts!

                                          Starbucks in Madrid

After Starbucks we headed back to the train station and went home. We actually had a ticket for a later train and didn’t have time to change it, so we just played dumb when the conductor came by, and spoke in English to each other and acted confused like we didn’t know. It worked fine, and I’m glad we came home an hour earlier because we were so tired!! It was a really fun day though, and we definitely want to go back again soon.

As a side note, I started reading the Hunger Games (book 1) on the train on the way back to Avila, and it was so good I finished it in a day or two! I’m trying to delay buying the second book on my Nook so I can get some other things done. I know once I buy it I will only want to read! Maybe I’ll buy it Saturday before we fly home for Christmas Sunday as my treat to read on the plane.

November 4, 2011

Working Woman

I apologize for not updating more often! We have moved into our new apartment, which is wonderful, but we also do not have internet yet, which is terrible! I have been meaning to take pictures of our apartment for everyone to see, but I haven't done that yet! I will soon.

The best thing about our apartment is the location. It is right in the middle of the city, but on a quiet street. There is a section of the city that is inside a mid evil era wall, and we are in that section, which is pretty cool. We are also about a 5 minute walk from the newer downtown section of the city with lots of shops. 
I had commented to Matt that all the apartments in Spain seem to have lots of doors - and ours does too! Every room has a door. We have a living room (with a door to the hallway), a kitchen (also a door to the hallway) a bathroom and bedroom. It is small but the perfect size for us! It is nice to finally unpack our clothes and live out of a closet instead of a suitcase! I will post pictures soon.

In other news, I got a job! (Kind of). It is only 2 hours a week for right now (if you can call that a job!). I have 2 students that I am tutoring in English. A 10 year old girl and a 12 year old girl. I've had 3 others express interest in setting up a class, so hopefully those will materialize into lessons and I will have 5 students a week. Two of the ones who have expressed an interest are adults who already know English, but need to improve for their jobs. They would be the easiest to work with because it would just be a conversation for an hour. With the students, I help them with homework and have to worry about correct names for everything and what their teacher wants them to learn. For example, at my first lesson, the girl's mom said she needed to work on "present simple" tense. Anyone remember what that is? Leave a comment with an example of what present simple is (don't look it up - only if you think you know off the top of your head!). I am curious if anyone remembers! In my next post I'll give you the answer (oohh the suspense :)).

October 14, 2011

Things that are Different in Spain

I’ve noticed a lot of differences over here, a lot good, some not as good. I thought it would be interesting to share with ya’ll!

1.      They are very energy conscious over here. There are windmill like structures on the hills everywhere that capture solar energy to be used by the cities. In our hotel, the lights in the hallways are motion-sensored - which is kind of scary when you walk out of our room at night into a pitch black hallway. The lights slowly fade on, so they take a second to really light up. Also, (I think this one is so  smart!) we only have one room key, and it is attached to this long tab thing, and when we are in our room, the we place the tab into this pocket on the wall, which allows our lights to come on! So, when we leave the room, all the lights automatically turn off, and we have to be in the room to use the lights. Also, we never lose the key; we always know where it is! Very smart. Here is a picture of the key in the pocket thing in our room:

2.   The elevators are tiny! They say the limit is 6 people, but I don’t think you could comfortable fit more than four people in one. These are the elevators at the hotel I’m talking about, they are different in every building, but in general they are small. Matt said the elevators at the hotel are huge compared to the ones at the apartment he stayed at before I got here! Oh, and the other thing is the elevators stay open on whatever floor they are on. So if the elevator is already on the first floor, the door stays open until you go inside and push a button. Here is a picture (notice the floor space!):

3.     On most doors, the door handle is in the center of the door, not on the side. I think it’s kind of cute! Here’s a picture of a door from an apartment inside the wall:

4.   A lot of people are always outside walking around, which is really neat. On any given day (not between 2-5, siesta time!), there are lots of people just being outside. The other day I went for a walk in the city, and there is a big open square by the cathedral, and all these kids were rollerblading and playing soccer, with their parents talking. It made me want to buy rollerblades! 

5.     They greet everyone with a kiss on each cheek. I was knew this before I came to Spain, but I can’t ever remember it! Maybe it’s because I worked in an office for two years, but I keep sticking out my hand to shake hands when I meet people, and they lean in for a kiss, and it’s just awkward. But I’m getting better! Also, according to one of Matt’s teammates from Portugal (who speaks Portuguese, Spanish, English and Dutch, by the way – wow) the greeting depends on what country you are in. In some countries, its 3 kisses on the cheek, in some it is one kiss, in some no kisses and a handshake.  

6.     In Spain (at least in central Spain, where we are – not on the coast) they eat a lot of meat. You would have a tough time being a vegetarian over here. Pig, Lamb, Roast Beef, Ham, everything. I went about 4 days of my dinner being some slices of meat, fries on the side, and some bread. Finally I got some vegetables and fruit included! Of course, we are just eating at the hotel restaurant, but it’s a really nice restaurant, so I assume this is typical. Most of the food I’ve had though is really good. 

Obviously there are a lot more differences, but from my week and a half here, these are the most interesting ones I could think of.

Catching up – Part 2

My first couple days in Spain, I started thinking “This is going to be harder than I thought.” I think it mostly had to do with knowing no Spanish and having no idea where I was. The first day I only quickly drove through Avila with FJ, then spent the rest of the day at the gym and the hotel. When Matt and I ate dinner at the hotel restaurant, the food was really different (looking back, I think I had my worst 2 meals the first 2 days I was here). The second day I slept in at the hotel while Matt went to shoot-around, then I went to his game, which was really fun, but everyone was speaking Spanish and I was scared to talk to anyone. All I could say is “Hola, Como Estas?” and that’s it. Not a very exciting conversation. Obviously I was so excited to see Matt, and so happy I already was getting to watch a game, but I was thinking it was going to be a tough year of eating weird food, not talking to anyone, and being by myself a lot.

But…the next day (Sunday) Matt had the whole day off and we went for a walk around the city. It is so beautiful here! We walked inside the wall and saw all the houses and apartments that are so cute and old fashioned, we saw the famous cathedral, we ate at Burger King, went shopping in some really cute shops, and even found a public library that had an “English” section with some books we had heard of! I think it just made me feel better to know a little more about my surroundings. The next day I walked the same path we had taken on Sunday and sat outside the wall on some rocks and read my Nook – it was so nice to sit outside and read surrounded by a beautiful place! (P.S. Mama - the Nook was the best gift! I use it all the time!)While I was reading, a Polish visitor asked me if I spoke English, and asked me to take his picture by the wall. It was nice to speak English for a minute, and he was the first of many people that I have met who are touring Avila (I didn’t realize it was such a tourist city)! This is where I sat to read:

Monday and Tuesday are Matt’s busiest days, where he is gone almost all day at practice – usually 9:30 weights and practice and he isn’t back until about 3, then he takes a nap, then another night practice really late, 8:30 to 11:30. They are on a really tough schedule! I was hoping once the season started it would slow down, which it has a little, he was on that schedule every day, but now they only have one practice on Wednesday  - Friday. It’s so funny though, they have to do a lot of community events, like visit schools and talk to the kids, they had to go to church for the Saint Teresa festival the other day, today they have to be present at a Saint Teresa ceremony and each put a flower on her statue (I get to go to this one). They are pretty involved in the community, which is pretty cool because in return they have a lot of fans at their games.
At dinner at the hotel I’ve been practicing my Spanish with the waiters, waitresses and Matt, which has helped a lot! One night he only spoke Spanish to me at dinner and made me figure it out – I learned a lot. I told him whenever he gets tired of me talking to much, just tell me we have to speak in Spanish only…haha because I only know about 20 words. But I am learning! I really like it a lot here, and I think once I learn more of the language and once we get our apartment I’ll like it that much more.

Yes, by the way, we are still living at the hotel. The hotel is really nice though, so we don’t mind! The restaurant is right downstairs, they clean our room every day, and now they are also doing our laundry for us! So I really don’t have anything to do! The only bad thing is the restaurant has certain hours, so we get hungry sometimes and have no way to get food if its too late at night (the hotel is a decent walk to the city). Also its getting kind of tough living out of a suitcase for this long, there isn’t a dresser or anything in our room, so all my clothes are wrinkled and I don’t know where anything is. But that’s ok! Our apartment will most likely be on a different side of the city from where the hotel is, so I’m trying to spend some time outside and get to know this side of the city, then it will be kind of neat when we move to another area.

October 11, 2011

Catching Up (Part 1)

I was so excited about having a blog and a place to write about Spain, and I have only updated one time since I've been in Spain! Oops. And it's not like I can use being too busy as an excuse.

I wanted to back track and tell you all about my first few days over here. Let's start with the plane ride. First, I always get excited about traveling. I love flying, I love road trips, etc. I just don't mind sitting somewhere and reading a book and some magazines and hanging out with friends or family. To begin with, it is hard to pack for 9 months, and I was trying to only check 2 bags, and both had to be under 50 lbs, so I put everything heavy into my rolling carry-on bag. Great idea, right? Until I had to lift it above my head on the plane to get it to fit into a storage bin. Luckily they put my bag under the plane on the flight from Birmingham to Miami, but on the Miami to Madrid flight I had to deal with it myself. And no one helped me! I guess I'm too used to having Matt around who lifts anything heavy for me. I had to wait for a lot of people to go past me (I didn't want to hold up the line), so everyone in my area is already seated, and I was walking around trying to find a place my bag would fit, and trying to pick it up on my own (I'm pretty sure it was well over 50 lbs). Everyone was just staring at me! Finally one lady suggested I get a flight attendant to help, which I did, and the two of us managed to find a place to put the bag and lifted it into the overhead bin. So I felt pretty awkward (also, it seemed that everyone on the flight was from Spain and spoke Spanish, so in case I didn't stand out enough with the suitcase incident, I am the only one with blonde hair and I don't speak any Spanish). The guy next to me was from Barcelona, and spoke a little English, enough to say hi but that was about it. The plane was 2 seats, 3 seats in the middle, then 2 seats on the other side, and I was in the 2 seats with the guy from Barcelona.

Right after we take off and the seat belt lights go off, the man sitting beside me but across the aisle (in the 3 seats) gets up out of his seat -- and falls down - face to the ground - in the aisle! I noticed him when he got on the plane because he was a really large man, and was acting a little strange, kind of jumpy, but once he sat down he fell asleep immediately - chin to his chest snoring asleep. So he falls down, and on the way down grabs the lady's arm behind him and pulls the arm of her sweater down with him, but it was really weird, he just continued to lie on the ground with his hand in the air still holding the lady's sweater. So all the men around me jump up and gather around him, and the flight attendants come running and everyone is freaking out (of course we are all thinking terrorists). Well in my opinion I think he probably had too much to drink, or the other possibility is maybe he was sick? I am not sure. But the flight attendants got the other 2 people sitting next to him to move, gave him some water and crackers, and he stretched out across all 3 seats and slept the rest of the flight....with his feet across the aisle almost on me and snoring and coughing very loud the whole night. Other than that my flight was really smooth! Haha, quite an incident.

I thought the Madrid airport looked like Ikea - very fresh and modern with clear walls and very clean. Luckily most of the signs were also in English. Customs was a joke! I will be curious to see what customs is like coming back to the US. The lady looked at my passport picture, looked at me, stamped my passport and gave it back to me. She hardly had time to look at my name or where I was from or anything! She didn't ask me any questions or even speak to me. After getting my passport back, I went to get my bags and there were these little carts you could use if you had lots of bags or heavy bags - so I got one. And I couldn't make it go. Everyone around me was using them and mine wouldn't roll! So I tried a few different carts and realized it was me, not my cart, looked at the picture and watched someone else and finally got the brake to let up. That was my first experience feeling like a tourist. I got my bags and waited for a few minutes, just when I was starting to feel nervous about not finding FJ, he showed up. (Matt's practice got changed and he couldn't come to the airport, so FJ, one of his agents, was going to pick me up). We got to the car and drove to Avila, FJ speaks great English and was really nice, so that was great. When we got to Avila we ate breakfast at an "American Restaurant" called Malibu BBQ. I thought it was funny because under the Malibu BBQ sign was the logo of a surfer, but then all over the restaurant there were New York signs, which has nothing to do with Malibu. It made me wonder how many "foreign" restaurants we have in America where we get the country wrong. Anyway, so even though it was an American restaurant, I had Spanish food, because I didn't know what to order so I just got what FJ got, which was churros (kind of like a funnel cake without the sugar - fried bread/flour) dipped in hot milk. But I got chocolate in my milk so it tasted more like hot chocolate. Not too adventurous for my first taste of Spanish food. FJ kept laughing at me though, saying that most Americans get a ham sandwich or something their first meal, and here I was eating churros (I didn't really get why this was funny...).

So then he drove me to the gym and I got to see the rest of Matt's practice! I was really excited to see him so soon, I thought I would have to wait until he was finished with practice. I had this romantic picture in my head of seeing him for the first time in five weeks at the airport, and I would run toward him, and he would pick me up, and I would cry prettily...haha so my first time to see him he was in the middle of practice and smiled at me but couldn't come say hi. Then he ran up in the stands after practice but was really sweaty so we just kind of hugged. haha, so not picturesque but I was so happy to see him! Luckily he had the rest of the day off so we got to see each other a lot and he got to show me around the city.

I think this has been long enough, I'll add a catching up part 2 later. :)

October 5, 2011

My Birthday Dinner

Yesterday was one of Matt's really busy days, where he had practice pretty much all day long, so we are celebrating my birthday today (only one practice - yay!). Last night I went down stairs to the restaurant to eat dinner (while Matt was at practice), and I was a little sad about eating by myself on my birthday, but I figured it was better than eating by myself somewhere in America, at least here I didn't know anyone or speak the language, so I don't really care as much what people think about me (yet).

I was also nervous about eating alone because I don't speak any Spanish! But Matt and I have eaten at this restaurant several times, and I know several of the waiters, and usually they just bring us whatever food Matt gets without us ordering (his food is provided by the team, and they usually just bring me a plate of the same thing). I like not ordering, because I wouldn't know what to order in the first place. So I go downstairs last night, and of course there is a waiter that I haven't met yet. So I smile and point to myself and say "solo" which means only (me). He sits me at our usual table, so at least he knows who I am. (Another thing - Matt and I aren't really sure if we are being charged for my food or not...the hotel is a sponsor of the team, and we haven't seen a bill yet, but they may be billing it to the room...but we aren't paying for the room....anyway). I didn't bring any Euros with me so I rub my fingers together (in a money gesture) and point to my room key (I think I'm asking "Can you charge it to the room?"), but the waiter says something in Spanish and makes a gesture like "Don't worry about it" - so maybe we aren't being charged for my food. Who knows.

Anyway, to the good part - the waiter brings me a menu (which luckily has English on it also), but before I order he brings out a plate of fancy bread and something else. I point to Dessert on the menu, asking if that is what he brought me, but he points to Appetizer. So I tried it - the middle was a delicious caramelized apple like tastes, but I have no idea what was on the outside and it wasn't very good...looked like meat? Not sure. (Luckily Matt had told me the day before that in a restaurant it was not rude to not eat all your food, so I didn't eat the meat part). Then I try to gesture to ask the waiter what entree he would recommend (none are familiar to me, roasted pig suckling, lamb something, no normal food - it's a fancy restaurant by the way). We settle on "beef steak", which turned out to be just regular steak and was so good. The waiter brings out a plate of the steak and fries, then adds a salad which was nice. Then he comes out with some wine, and asks if I would like some, but I say no because I figure it would be expensive. He says a lot of stuff in Spanish then pours me some anyway! Haha. At this point he's bringing me so much food to try I assume we aren't paying, at least not for all of it. It was red wine, which I haven't liked in the past, but this is my first wine in Europe, and it was delicious! It was so good, especially for red wine. So then he brings me ANOTHER plate (my 6th plate of food sitting in front of me!) of this fancy looking ham that Matt likes. I wish Matt had been there to help me eat everything! At this point I'm starting to feel bad because there is no way I can eat all this! It was so much food! It was so sweet of him to bring me all the different food to try and the wine, and he didn't even know it was my birthday. So I did my best to make a dent in as much of the food as possible, then he brought be not one but two yogurts for dessert! It made me feel so special to have such a nice dinner on my birthday, I just counted it as Jesus taking care of me :).

Anyway, so it was a great dinner, but not long after I go back up to the room Matt comes back from practice and he got elbowed in the eye and had to get 2 stitches! They were going to give him 3, but they said for the 3rd one they would have to shave off his eyebrow, so they just gave him 2 and told him to be careful - haha I'm glad they didn't shave his eyebrow! So he is at practice now but sitting out for a day so he won't start bleeding again. After his practice we are going shopping for my birthday, so I'm excited to go out and see a different part of the city. I want to backtrack and write about my flight and being over here, I will get to that eventually! I will sum it up by saying 1. I'm so happy to finally be with Matt again and 2. I already miss the states a lot!

September 19, 2011


Last Tuesday I turned in my two weeks notice at work, and my last day is this Friday, September 23. I plan to fly out of Orlando to Madrid on Saturday the 24. Not much time in between! Luckily I've already been packing, my mom is coming down to help me pack, and Matt's parents are coming next weekend also. I only have a week left and I'm already tired of packing! I've just gotten to a point where I'm not sure what to pack next, so I'm sure having my mom down here will help a lot! I just need someone else around to make me get it done. I would rather be shopping for fun new clothes to bring to Spain...but maybe if we get a lot done we can go shopping toward the end of the week.

It feels weird that it is my last week at work! This is the first job I've ever had, and I'm not really sure what I'm going to do when I get to Spain, so I'm trying to enjoy this last week of getting up early and being at a desk all day. I would like to have a job in Spain just to fill my time. Other wives of basketball players in Europe have told me I'm going to be really bored, but I'm looking forward to it! My mom is giving me a Nook for my birthday (I can't wait to go pick it up!) which is the perfect gift, so I will get to read a lot. I plan to work on my cooking/baking...I figure I can learn to cook some Spanish food, and also if Matt and I miss some American comfort food, they are bound to have the same basic ingredients over there right? So maybe I will learn to make some things from scratch. I would love to be a great baker, also. And I figure I can go for a run every day, spend time with God every day, all the things I want to do now but always seem too busy to find the time every day. I've heard that in Spain (and really in Europe), everyone takes life slower and really enjoys things - like the taste of food (not just eating to be full), and nature, and meeting new people (not just quick awkward small talk). I didn't make it all the way through the movie "Eat, Pray, Love" but I got the gist of it. I'm really looking forward to living in Europe and I hope I can learn to slow down and not always have to be entertained by something the way we are here in America. All the other basketball wives we know suggested I think of things like these to fill my time while Matt is busy or traveling.

I hope I'll be able to get a fun job too, to fill my time. I would love to be a nanny to just one or two kids, I would love to work in a cute clothing store, or maybe tutor someone in English. The problem is that I don't speak much any Spanish...but hopefully I'll pick it up fast once I get over there! I'm trying to learn some now, but I don't have anyone to practice speaking with.

I'm so excited to finally see Matt again and to see the cities of Avila and Madrid! Matt's team is supposed to book my flight, so I gave them the information for a flight on Saturday, but we think they may book it at a later date if they haven't found us an apartment yet. I'm not expecting to know when I'm flying out until maybe the day before! That has been the trend in the past, so I don't know why I should expect anything different now :). The earliest I would go is Saturday though, so I'm just going to be prepared for that.

On a side note, Matt had another pre-season game the other night and scored 17 points which made him the highest scorer on both teams!

September 12, 2011

Two Weeks

Matt has now been in Spain for two weeks and two days. I miss him so much! It really hit me over the weekend how much I missed him. I think the hardest thing is not having a day to look forward to when I will see him again. Hopefully I can book the flight soon, though!

Tonight while I was on Skype with Matt, FJ called. Basically, it sounds like FJ is meeting with some of the Fuenlabrada GM's tomorrow and may even have the contract for Matt to sign at the game tomorrow night! It sounds like they added some things to the contract, like Internet, our flights, meals for Matt and possibly me, and of course the apartment. It's not anything luxurious, but as long as it is enough for us to live on that is all we need this first year to be happy with the contract. The awesome thing is it sounds like there is a clause that says the contract is renegotiable in 3 months, which gives Matt a chance to earn more if he does well. Now we just have to pray he gets a chance to do well; I know if he gets a fair chance (reps in practice and a decent amount of playing time) that he will do great. He's such a hard worker, I've never doubted his ability to do what ever he wants because I know he will work as hard as he needs to in order to accomplish it.

Avila had a pre-season game on Saturday and they started Matt! He said everyone got to play an equal number of minutes, so it was about 18 min a person, but he said he played well and he scored 10 points, 5 rebounds and a steal and a couple assists. Sounds good to me! :)

I've been working a ton with the September 15 deadline coming up (corporate extensions are due). Every night I'm working late I just can't wait to turn in my notice! I am actually going to turn it in tomorrow morning though! (I can write this because no one knows about my blog no one will hear the news until later.) I cannot wait.

Cool God story below - sorry - kind of long:
It was really neat how I felt like God has been with me in deciding when to turn my two weeks' notice in. Last week, we thought I should turn in my notice on Thursday when Avila seemed to be negotiating Matt's contract. For some reason I just had a bad and worried feeling about it and did not want to turn it in. We tried calling Emilio to ask his opinion, and he didn't answer. Later that night, I was just sitting listening to some worship music and praying, and while I was still praying, God answered me! Emilio called me back and gave the perfect answer - he told me to wait to turn in my notice, and that the contract would be final in the next day or two, so I wouldn't have to wait long. I felt so good about that answer and about waiting, and I felt like God just gave me His peace about the whole situation. He built my faith that He hears our prayers by answering mine so quickly.

Well, then it was a rough weekend. I really missed Matt and was in a bad mood because of just being frustrated with not having a contract yet and Matt being gone and work. So there was more and more talk about the contract, but nothing final yet. Matt and I really miss each other, and decided Sunday night that I should turn in my notice today, Monday. Mostly just cause we want to get the two week clock started so we can be together sooner. We agreed I would wait til the end of the day today because the partner I want to inform first about all this was out of town until Tuesday. So I went to the HR office, and the lady had left early today! As I was walking toward her office, I was wondering if I was disobeying what I felt like God had told me last week. I just wasn't sure what I felt and where it was coming from, me or Him. So I felt like He protected me from disobeying him by the fact that she wasn't even there, so I could not even turn in my notice today if I wanted to! Then tonight on Skype, FJ called and gave us all that information, and I feel perfectly great about turning in my notice in the morning! The partner will be back in town, the HR lady will be in tomorrow, I feel the "go-ahead" from the Lord, Matt should finalize his contract tomorrow. It all worked out in God's perfect timing. I don't understand why this couldn't have happened a month ago like we thought...but He has been with us all summer in every decision, and I have to keep trusting Him, even though I failed today, but luckily He saved me. I just know if I had turned my notice in today, I would have wondered if I should have waited and if it was disobedient, and I wouldn't have felt right about it. But I feel great and excited and not worried about turning it in tomorrow.

God really has been with us all summer, teaching both me and Matt faith and trust, this is just one small example. I need to write down all the ways He has shown Himself and answered our prayers so I won't forget.

Hopefully I'll have definite news tomorrow!

September 5, 2011

One Week

Matt has now been in Spain for one week and a day. I miss him! He had a rough time for the first several days with traveler's sickness, just a combination of jet lag, different water, no sleep, and altitude sickness made him not feel so great. Normally not a big deal, but throw in two a day killer work outs and conditioning and he wasn't feeling well. It made me sad that he was by himself in a foreign country and he was sick! I wish I could've been there for him. But he's tough, he made it through, and he's feeling all the way better now.

A little background...this is pretty much all I know.... The first division in Spain is called the ACB, then there is LEB Silver and LEB Gold, then some other divisions below that I haven't learned yet. Divisions in Europe are different that college Division 1, 2 and 3 here. They are all professional teams, and they are all pretty good from what I hear.

Matt was with Fuenlabrada, an ACB team, the first 3 days he was in Spain. They did heavy two a day work outs with lots and lots of running and conditioning. Fuenlabrada is the name of a city right outside of Madrid, and that is also the name of their basketball team. This team has already signed the amount of foreign players (2 or 3) they can have on the team, but they took a look at Matt which could be for something in the future. Also, Avila, an LEB Gold team where Matt is playing now, is related to Fuenlabrada (Same GM maybe? and players can practice and play with both teams, regardless of which team they are actually signed to?).

On Wednesday night Matt went to Avila (again, name of a city about an hour outside of Madrid, and also the name of the team) which is an LEB Gold team. He's been practicing with them ever since Thursday and finally got a day of rest on Sunday. He feels like he's been playing really well, and we are hoping for a contract maybe sometime this week.

I got Matt to give me a virtual tour of his apartment via Skype, and it looked pretty nice. The buildings outside looked really pretty too. He says Avila is a beautiful city and that I would love it. He also really likes the coach and his teammates, so hopefully this will be where we end up!

Matt didn't have Internet for a few days this week while moving from Fuenlabrada to Avila, so we went without communication for a few days. He found a way each day to let me and his family know he was okay, but it was hard! I took for granted the fact that I could Skype with him every day at first. Now he has Internet again, so I'm trying to not take for granted every time I get to talk to him! We are waiting for him to officially sign a contract, and then I will turn in my two weeks notice at work. It's so weird because this is my first job, it feels strange to think about leaving it. At least I would be leaving because I would be moving to Spain instead of leaving to work somewhere else.

My sister came down this weekend to visit me, and I was so glad not to be alone! We went to Jacksonville and saw our cousins, aunt and uncle, then came back to Orlando and went shopping which was really fun. It was fun to have her around, especially after being alone for a week in my apartment! Also, we went to the library and found a DVD that teaches Spanish - it is awesome! I've already learned a lot, so I'm really excited to have something to do and work on while I wait to go meet up with Matt.

 I definitely miss Matt a lot! Right before he left, it hit me that if he were here while we were moving, he would be the one to get the U-haul, hook it up to his car, and figure out what should go in the U-haul first, and make sure the power got cut off on the right day... and I'll have to do all that without him. It just made me realize how connected we have gotten in only two years of marriage. There are so many ways that we are joined together, we just do life together. He has certain things he does, and I do other things, and together we have our life. And we love it, and it works well. So that said, I am missing him for everything he does, but also just having him around. He loves me and treats me so well, I miss coming home from work to him waiting for me. But hopefully all that will change and soon I'll get to join him in Spain!

I think this has been long enough. Hopefully I will update again soon if we get a contract!

August 29, 2011

24 Hours

For anyone who doesn't know, this summer Matt has been pursuing the opportunity to play professional basketball as his career. We signed with an agent (Emilio) in June, and Matt has been working hard on his game all summer and gotten some pretty cool opportunities to play with some NBA players through the Pro-Am tournament. Matt went to the National NBA Developmental League try out in July and was recently offered a contract with the D-League. We considered the contract, but we felt like an opportunity to play in Europe might be a better path to take. Emilio felt like he could get Matt a contract, probably in Spain. He's been in contact with us all summer, keeping us updated on his efforts, but basically because of the NBA lockout this summer and because of the economic crisis in Europe, things have been moving really slow this year.

This past Friday morning Emilio called Matt and said "I know this is crazy, but how do you feel about being on a plane to Madrid tomorrow?" Emilio had gotten Matt a tryout with two teams right outside of Madrid, one of them a top team in the ACB (top division) in Spain. He felt pretty confident that if Matt could go over there and they could see him play that he would get a contract.

Matt called me at work and we discussed it, and felt like we should take the chance. After talking to his family, we booked the flight. I came home for lunch, but then had to go back to work while Matt ran some errands. We were both so excited, nervous, worried, anxious, happy, surprised...all at the same time. My stomach was in knots all day, and it was hard to focus at work. We've been waiting for this call all summer, and now it was here! After work, we went to the Rollins soccer game where some of Matt's teammates were so he could say bye to them. Then we went to Verizon to take care of phones, and to the Nike outlet to get him some things he needed. It was so much fun, Matt doesn't spend a lot on himself, so I made him buy a couple pairs of Jordan shorts, a dry fit work out shirt and some other fun stuff. I told him when he got to Spain he could see all the nicely folded new clothes in his suitcase and think of me :). Then we came home and a couple of Matt's Rollins teammates came over to say bye, which was so nice of them. They hung out for awhile and helped us pack, which actually didn't take too long. We didn't know how long he was leaving for...if he gets a contract this could be him moving over there, so we packed a lot. We managed to fit it all in a big black rolling suitcase and a big duffel bag, and also a carry on. By the time we finished packing everything we were so exhausted from being so nervous and excited all day that we were able to fall asleep pretty easily. We woke up the next morning, finished packing some last minute things, made copies of important documents, and then I drove him to the airport.

I was so excited that this opportunity was here that I didn't even realized he would be leaving. I didn't have time to be sad until after I left him. It was weird dropping Matt off at the airport having no idea when or where I would see him again! It could be when he comes back, or it could be when I go to Spain and meet up with him!

So that was our crazy 24 hours, but we are so grateful for this opportunity and so excited! Hopefully it will work out!

On the way to the airport

My handsome man (doesn't his new haircut look great?)

At the airport (notice the new shorts) :)