Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Welcome to Barcelona!!!

A couple of weekends ago Austin and I traveled to Barcelona with some friends. We took a short hour and a half flight from Sevilla. We arrived and the city was beautiful. Here they speak Catalan which is a mix of Spanish and French. Sadly, we heard more English than anything.

This was our first time visiting the city and we were anxious to see what awaited us. We received many tips of places to visit from a friend. We arrived early Thursday morning and dropped off our things at the hostel.

Austin and I took a stroll along our street and found our first Gaudi house (it was our mission to see as many as we could)

This is Casa Batllo and was a 3 minute walk from our hostel. Austin and I stood outside the building for about 10 minutes taking in all the different designs.
Here is the next Gaudi house we found! 

We wanted to visit Parc del Laberint which was outside the city. We mastered the metro system and found our way there. We were so anxious to see this beautiful maze but sadly it was under construction in November. We went into the park anyway and took pictures of the maze from afar.

 Here is the metro system we mastered!! 
 The entrance to the park
The park was on top of a hill and in the distance we saw what looked like a palace. We asked many people about the "palace" and received many funny looks. What we did not know was what we actually saw was an amusement park with a church. We ended up taking a bus to the site and took a trolley to the park. It was my first trolley ride and super exciting! The park is called Tibidabo. It is a mountain that overlooks all of Barcelona and is 512 meters above sea level. This made for a spectacular view.
 Our amazing view of the city.
 This is the Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor (which we mistook for a palace)
 Austin enjoying the scenery
A view of the amusement park from the top of the church.

We went to the Ice Bar later that night with friends and enjoyed some cold beverages. Austin and I decided it was a great experience but we will probably not go to another. It took quite some time to warm up after the experience was over. 

We went to the Sagrada Familia the next day and this church is breathtaking. You can't help but stare for a long time at all the detail and hard work put into every bit of the church. Pictures do not do it justice. The church has been under construction for over 100 years. This church is the most extraordinary personal interpretation of Gothic architecture. It should be complete in 2025. 

After the church we went to Parc Guell. Or as some know it to be the park where America's Next Top Model had their finale. Austin and I loved all the architecture and the different colors that were inside the park. We saw the Gaudi "gingerbread" houses and the house he lived in. We spent a few hours in here and enjoyed all the scenery.

We left on Saturday but had to see the Barcelona stadium before our flight that night. The boys were super excited to see the stadium and welcomed any pictures we wanted to take. We were able to see the entire stadium, press box, turf, and VIP seating. We toured the museum before hand and got to see Messi's uniform and Champions League cup. 
 So many smiles throughout this tour! 
 Here is Austin by Jorge Lorenzo's motorcycle gear! 

Inside the stadium.

This weekend trip was so memorable in many ways. We were able to see so much in a little amount of time and got to appreciate all the treasures our world has to offer. We are looking forward to new adventures and new places to see. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Well we searched for the perfect apartment for 4 days. The first few were not ideal for us, we knew we wanted some room and somewhere we could walk around. The last apartment we saw was the one we knew we wanted. It had an OVEN (which in Spain is not common), was much less expensive and in a neighborhood we adored. We went to sign and we did not know what we were in for.

In the States, you put down a deposit and pay for your first months rent. Well we went into sign the contract knowing that, what we did not know is we also had to pay a fee to the agency for "showing" us the apartment. "Showing" is a loose term meaning, opening a door. We had a decision to make and slept on it overnight. We finally decided this would be the correct decision and therefor put down almost all of our summer savings in one day. This decision would prove to be wise one, and full of perks we, at the time, had no idea about.

Here our pictures of our new home. We made an Ikea run to make it feel like this place was ours.

 This is our living room!
 This is our bedroom, we both have a night stand which is wonderful.
 Here is our bathroom
And our closet. It is wonderful we each have our own side and plenty of room.

Our apartment is in The Centro, we are located very close to all the beautiful attractions Sevilla has to offer. We can see the top of the Cathedral from our roof top. It is about a 5 minute walk to the street Calle Sierpes, this street is every girls dream. There are shops everywhere. Austin says it is his worst nightmare. I enjoy window shopping and browsing to find the best deals.

We are about 15 minutes to the Cathedral and the Alcazar. We enjoy walking along this street to see the different performers and people watch.

Our schools are so close to home which is really wonderful. Austin and I each walk about 10 minutes to get to our schools. When we get out at the same time it is nice to meet up for a drink and talk about our day.

We are both so glad we made this decision together and are finally able to call our new apartment home.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Note: Sorry this is late. Getting into the country, getting our papers in order, starting our jobs, finding an apartment, and not having internet have all contributed to the tardiness of this entry. Sorry. With our own internet will come regularity. Until then, bare with us. Enjoy.

     We were a bit afraid as we rode to IAH, well anxious at least. By now we were at cruising altitude somewhere over New York when everything came to us.  I had to stop eating my dinner to let myself soak in this inevitable realization. We had been striving, dreaming and saving for one specific event, and suddenly we sat there staring at the manifestation of our aspirations, the mountain we were supposed to climb. Subtly daunting would be the best way to explain our situation. How do you go from one place that you’ve lived your entire life, say “screw it” and leave? I guess the answers lie somewhere within Cathi and I’s attitudes. Or maybe personalities? Or aspirations? Pinpointing the why is both impossible and unnecessary at this point, I guess.  We were en route with a now used up one-way, and apprehensively ecstatic about it all. For two young married folk, we were ‘all in’ on this Spain hand we had dealt ourselves. This opportunity could be the springboard to our careers or a cannonball into the shallow end.  We had leaped through the right bureaucratic hoops and played jump rope with the miles of red tape in securing our visas. The hard part was done…right? All that lay ahead of us was finding a place to live in a foreign city, opening bank accounts using a language we don’t entirely grasp, staying afloat financially for a month with only the money we had saved (appreciate that one, Spanish government), and starting a brand new job with only passive guidance on our tasks. Easy enough.  Oddly, though, those stark details seemed to slip though the mind’s cracks unnoticed for a few seven hours or so. I looked back at my lukewarm dinner and decided instead that I’d rather finish my shrink-wrapped salad, then try to con another beer from the drink cart attendant before I attempt sleeping. It was impossible to keep a slight grin from my face, none of it mattered now: we’re going to live in Spain.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


"A Dream Made Reality Beyond Compare"; the uninspired slogan would never have garnered my attention had it not been for that tiresome wait in a Costa Rican airport.  Cathi and I were both waiting when that fiendish camera poked its face out of her purse and into my outstretched arms. We moved together and smiled. It wasn't until we got back from that trip that we saw that phrase in the background of our impromptu portrait. Its hollow words resonated louder as we returned from a week of job searching in Costa Rica. As eager young fiances, we discovered our future in teaching abroad along the way of this trip. It was the perfect marriage of our collective passions. Teaching, traveling, living. A way to do what we love. On this Central American journey of ours we failed to get a job, but found that our dream could be turned into our reality. Fate seemed to have given us a subtle, though cheesey, go ahead.

This blog's attempt is to reflect the trials, triumphs, mood, and motivations of two young newlyweds as we begin a life. This isn't merely an attempt at a travel blog; other people have been to more exotic locales more often. It isn't solely an open diary of newlywed life either, as posts covering checkbook balancing and laundry could end up being a formidable substitute for Ambien. No, this collection of thoughts and adventures is a sort of hybrid mutt, stuck somewhere amid the plains of topics that head our way. We write to update, explain, and maybe even entertain as two young teachers start their careers. Cathi and I head to Spain with two bags apiece and a lifetime ahead of us.