Saturday, August 27, 2011

I said "Si"

So I really wrote another blog post last Sunday. I was going to upload it as soon as I got home from church but then something more exciting happened that night that prevented me from posting it. So I really was trying to be better about updating my life on this thing.... Sigh. But don't worry.... when you are least expecting it, I will go ahead and upload what I wrote and it will seem like a nice little flashback. It will also give me time to find my camera chord and upload photos. Monte Carlo is beautiful (there is your sneak peek of what the post will be about).

But that isn't really what you are interested in, is it?

START HERE FOR LONG VERSION OF STORY (this may be more for my benefit than your entertainment):

August 21st. Ulises and I were up 'early' Sunday morning because he wanted to prepare some things for a big family dinner later that night. (we had to prepare it then because Ulises has had to work the last few Sundays. It's annoying) Earlier that week we had actually talked about going to a restaurant that he had already paid for. (he had paid for it previous to my arrival in Spain!) But different members of his family had conflicting schedules that prevented us from booking a time. It didn't look like it was going to going to work for us that whole week. The only free day everyone had was Sunday. So we decided to cook ourselves.

I had no idea what we were making but I was in charge of cutting the vegetables and potatoes. I did a fine job. I followed the pattern Ulises had shown me since he is quite particular about some of those things. I packed it away and had it set for cooking as soon as he got home that night.

The rest of the day was nice. I went to church where I talked to some members, slept a little in Relief Society, and read some scriptures. When we got home from church it was about 7:30 or 8:00. ( The church block is 3-6 and we stay later for Ulises dad because he has meetings as the Bishop)

When we all got home, Ulises walked in the door right behind us--within 15 minutes. He also had some bags full of things that his boss had given him. Pastires, strawberries and whipped cream, some cured meat, some fancy bleu cheese and some caviar and fish tapas. It was really kind of him!

When we started to cook I was a little frustrated cause Ulises was giving me directions but not telling me what the final product was supposed to be. Then after all the work I had done cutting up all the veggies and potatoes he said in an exasperated voice"why did you cut all the potatoes like this!!" ( even though it was modeled after the way he showed me). More frustration. Then he told me to arrange some of the olives with the cheese dip. He came and fixed it to his liking. It just seemed that I couldn't do anything the way he wanted it! At one point I told him not to use an old dish rag because I had gotten some raw fish on it and it wasn't clean. Once again I was scolded for doing something wrong when all I wanted to do was prevent him from using a dirty rag. It's not like I was rubbing fish carcasses all over clean surfaces. I should have been more careful with the dish towel. But that wasn't the point. The point was he shouldn't use it cause it had fish juice on it! ( maybe I'm still a little frustrated. I need to calm down)

After all of these things I was exasperated and went into my (his sisters) room and laid on the bed frustrated. It also was a little crazy cause his grandma, cousin, and cousin's daughter also showed up unexpectedly and Ulises had to cook for them too. Too many cooks in the kitchen and too many noses and too much going on. I had to retreat. Ulises came in and asked where I was and why I wasn't helping. At this point I even thought ' i sure hope he isn't planning on proposing tonight. ' ButWhen he saw I was upset he came over and apologized. He is very sweet and tried to make me feel better. That won me over enough to come help set the table.


can you see the joy on my face?

then we all sat down.


At this point I just wanted to eat. But...I also was a little frustrated because I couldn't eat some of the things on the menu because I have some dietary restrictions. so that was also bothersome. Ulises was mad when his sister put whipped cream on my strawberries. I told him it wasn't a big deal but he insisted I have something. I started to cut up a melon and put it in a plastic bowl. But he made me put it in a glass dessert dish like the others. I wondered why he was being so picky.....

Here Niza is trying to take a picture of me. I REALLY didn't want any photo taken of me. I was gross, sweaty and unhappy.


I'm usually a good sport taking pictures when I dont want to. But you can tell with this one that I wasn't up for it at all.

and then Ulises wanted me to pose. the smile on my face is incredibly insincere. It's like the sides of my mouth are pinned up and my eyes tell the real story. Ulises on the other hand, must have known something that I didn't. Look at how sincere his smile is! It's a mile wide!



So we ate dinner and it was pretty good. Although I don't speak Spanish... I could tell conversation at the dinner table was pretty boring. everyone kept commenting on how good the food tasted and really said nothing else.

When I was looking away Ulises took out a little ring box and set it on the table. I looked over and saw something sparkly and my eyes met his. he had the biggest smile on his face. Later he told me I didn't give him enough time. But when he sat the ring there i said, "well, are you going to say something?" and then he got on one knee and said

"Mary, will would you marry me?" *

I then responded with "Si!" with a big smile! It's kinda weird I didn't say yes... you'd think that would come more naturally.

we then kissed


And his family cheered and I hugged him and cried.



then he put on the ring


and his family documented it all for us!

and then cheered again!


and gave us kisses (something I really like about Spanish Culture. They are really affectionate)


and then i smiled a real authentic smile for the camera. I even have a little tear ( of joy) in my eye!


And isn't the ring lovely? I had told him I wanted a yellow gold ring and he had to look all over for one. In Spain they sell wedding bands and that is it. No one wears wedding rings with stones.There are some solitaire diamond rings out there but with only a very few simple designs. They are all white gold though. Its also interesting that they aren't designed or advertised as engagement rings either. Much different than America! So It actually is quite lucky that he found a gold ring with a diamond. I like how it is simple, delicate and thin. I think it is dainty and feminine. The stone sticks up quite a bit but it allows light to go through it and shine. The simplicity is beautiful I think.


and it is great that I painted my nails just the day prior, isn't it!


Now when we go looking for wedding bands I want to keep something smooth and delicate. I'm sure I will find something as lovely as the engagement ring. There's a place by my house in SLC that makes custom jewelry. Maybe Ulises and I can do something of our own there!

He is excited cause he wants our rings to match and he always wanted Yellow gold. Lucky for me I also prefer yellow gold.

So that night turned out quite well even though I was behaving like an immature brat that night because dinner preparations were 'bothering me." The whole purpose was to make me happy! Boy do I feel stupid. Ulises said he was worried about the decorations and the way the food was presented because he wanted it perfect for me. He said he was about proposing and that is why he might have been so particular about things in the kitchen. I'm glad he was nervous though-- makes me feel like even though we have been talking about getting married for the last two months that it was still scary and intimidating for him. It's cute.

We quickly called my parents and after struggling with them to get their web cam working we gave up and just told them. I feel bad I couldn't see their reactions :(. But they were really excited about it and incredibly supportive. I made Ulises quickly ask my dad for my hand in marriage cause he had forgotten to do so earlier. Dad said yes. He actually said " you could have asked me the first day I met you and I would have said yes, I could tell from the light in your eyes that you were a good man"

That made me smile

What made me smile even more was that Ulises got really emotional and told my Dad that he was grateful for him and that he had a beautiful daughter with his expressive big eyes. It was cute.

That night I asked Ulises if his whole family knew that he was going to propose to me that night. He said no, that just his mom, dad, sisters and brother in law knew... So yeah--pretty much everyone. But when he told me that that is how his parents became engaged--in front of their families, it became really sweet and sentimental that he wanted to do the same thing. AND I got a documentation of the event! (even my sourpuss attitude) I think it's a win win.

I hope Ulises can forgive me for being completely honest in this post about how I felt up to the point he proposed. I think it makes the story all the more sweet. I was moody and he was nervous. But it all ended well. I am so grateful for a patient and loving man who deals with me even in my worst state and tries to make me happy when I am inconsolable.

Ulises is the kindest and most patient man I know. He also wants to make sure I am the happiest girl in the world. He would sacrifice any thing for me. He puts my feelings and desires above his own. He tries to conform to make me comfortable in a foreign country. He supports my somewhat difficult dietary lifestyle because he knows it makes me happy. He makes me laugh like no one else. He can tease me in just the right way but is never condescending. He always makes heavy situations seem light. He is wise and thoughtful. He thinks things through thoroughly and makes good choices and tries to help others before himself. He loves Jesus Christ and His gospel and is dedicated to it. He knows the doctrine and follows it. He tries to help others follow it as well. He prays sincerely. He loves without limits. He really is full of so much light! He is clean, pure, bright, and gentle. He is also brilliant. He studies one of the most difficult masters programs here in europe and he works full time at the same time! He is doing what none of his classmates are doing by working and going to school and doing well--all at the same time. Not to mention making himself a spectacle by getting married before he graduates. He will be the only student in his school who is married. Crazy, no? I love him for making sacrifices to do what is right. I know we can be blessed if we follow the commandments even if it is unpopular or inconvenient. I love him! And have you seen his smile? I love seeing him smile and most of all hearing his laugh. His laugh is like music to me. I can't help but feel so much happiness when I see and hear him laugh and smile. I am so blessed to have him as my...Fiance!

So when is the wedding date? 31st May 2012. Now I know that seems pretty far away..... but don't judge us. You go ahead and see how difficult it is to marry someone from overseas. Yeah--its not easy! If we could do it sooner we could, but alas! this is what we have to work with. But it will give us time to work out any kinks, save some money, and for me to come up with fantastic centerpiece decorations.

Now if that isn't a long blog post-- I don't know what is! Hopefully my posterity will thank me someday for all the details. If not--at least I have written it down myself so when the memory fades--I can read about it again :)

I love Ulises :)

* when he proposed, it sounded like he said "could you marry me" but to not ruin the moment I decided to correct him afterwards. When I told him he said it wrong he was confused. I said "you can say would or will you marry me, but you can't say could-- at least not in in this situation" It turns out he said neither could or would. He said GOULD. he has been saying the word 'Would' like GOULD all this time. He usually says it quickly so I haven't really noticed... but he was upset that after such a long time of studying English no one ever corrected him! I told him would sounds just like wood. And now he is clear on it.

Don't worry though. my mistakes in Spanish are a lot more embarrassing. I accidentally called his brother in law "pee."

Thursday, August 4, 2011


So I have no good reason as to why I haven't posted. I'm a little upset with myself cause this is supposed to be kind of a journal for me. I write for myself just as much as for my family and friends.

Anyway, I am writing from my sickbed. I'm not dying but I have an annoying ear ache. I haven't had one of these since I was a kid and I forgot how irritating and painful they can be. I woke up in the middle of the night, took some IB prophen and Ulises said he would take me to the doctor in the morning. I will let you know how socialized health care is--ok? And yeah-- I am one of those 'illegal immigrants' getting something out of the system when I haven't done anything to work to contribute to it. Please don't hate me.

So what have I been doing? Well let me first tell you what I haven't been doing. I haven't been playing the hymns in church like I said I would. Both Niza and I forget to get the song assignment to me in time to practice so it hasn't really come together.But it's still something I would like to do. I also haven't been progressing with Spanish as fast as I should. I communicate well but I am not using my free time as I should. I have made a goal to study 2 hours of Spanish daily for the month of August. You are now saying to yourself "you should have been doing that all along!" or "only 2 hours!?" And yes, you are right. But 2 hours is something I can demand of myself and be consistent with every day even when unexpected activities pop up that take me away from my evening hours of study while Ulises works.

What are these activities that could come up? Here is what has happened recently:
I've been to birthday parties, baptisms, fundraisers for EFY, the missionaries have come over, I've gone to bridal showers and baby showers and other random activities with Ulises family.

Birthdays here have been fun.
The WHOLE family gets together. Ulises cousin's child Sabrina had a birthday the other weekend and we all went as well as all her cousins and second cousins on the other side of her family. She was turning 2 and boy did she have a party. ( she had diarrhea the whole time, poor thing). At family functions I try and sit there and put a smile on my face even though I can't participate in much of the conversation. By doing this I am preventing everyone from coming up to me and saying " you boring? you no understand? you boring?" and me responding " no, I am not bored..."
But the parties are really great overall. I enjoy seeing the family interact and love each other. At Sabrina's party we made the cake out of fondant. ( I designed a little dog that sat on top) and we sang, ate cake and pizza and had a good time. I made myself into a subject of conversation by not eating the pizza and cake and soda. But I guess this is attention that I will have to live with for a while. Soon it will be old news to them that Mary has a weird diet. Uncle Juan also had a birthday the other day where Pizza and cake were served.
Did you know that here in Spain, it is the responsibility of the person with a birthday to provide food and drinks for those who come to his house to with him a happy birthday. I like it in the rest of the world where your friends bring take you out or bring you the treats. Oh well :)
This is a picture of Ulises cousin at her quincenera. I liked her party--it was a BBQ!

I've been to 2 baptisms so far and there have been probably 6 individuals baptised in the two month's that I've been here. It's really exciting to see it! Ulises ward has a lot of new converts and they still are so shiny when they talk about their testimonies. I think we could all do better to remember what a blessing it is to be a member of the church and to be excited about this work. At one of the baptisms the mission president came. He is Gordon B Hinckley's son and Lucia (Ulises mom) encouraged me to go up to him and relate my family tree and talk about how we are cousins (very distant cousins). And... I did it. It seemed slightly interesting to Pres. Hinckley. "oh so you come from Alonzo's line.. how interesting...." but it made Lucia's day. "you talked with your cousin?!?!?!?" She is sweet.

Fundraisers and Missionaries.
In addition to the baptisms, we have had fundraisers for the EFY activity for the youth. They need to raise a lot of money for the youth to go and they have worked really hard to make that happen. I feel like I spend a lot of my time at the church for all of these activities ( another location where I must slap on a smile to avoid being questioned if I am boring). We also spend a lot of time at church in general because we have to wait for Daniel (Ulises' dad) to finish with his bishopric meetings before we go home. Last fast Sunday we spent 6 hours in church. and church is from 3:00-6:00. That means we didn't get home till 9:00!! I almost died that day. But yeah-- I spend a lot of time at the church building. The missionaries are there often and it's good to talk to them in English a bit. Lucia noticed that I chat up a storm when the missionaries are there, so she has made it her goal to put me in contact with any English speaker she comes across. She is sweet and think's I suffer so much being unable to talk and communicate naturally. The other day at church there was an American tourist in church and Lucia rushed me over to meet her and talk to her. It was kind of awkward to be honest. Yeah we both speak english but that was all we really had in common. The conversation went like this:
"So, um, how are you?"
"I'm doing well. I'm here vacationing around Spain"
"that's great do you speak Spanish"
"yeah, do you?"
"No, I'm trying to learn. That lady who brought me over to talk to you--I'm dating her son"
"oh that's cool"
"so where are you from..."

it was a nice but forced conversation. It ended with me wishing her the best on the rest of her trip and me going back to reading my Ensign magazine. Lucia mentioned it to everyone though. "Mary spoke English with the American Chica!!" hehe
I tried to make it sound like it was the most exciting part of my day... ;)

Bridal Showers and Baby Showers.
I've been to a couple of these! The bridal shower was really fun. Aranxta is a friend of Ulises who recently went to America to marry her Fiance from Arizona. They will come back here to live. Before she left some of the girls from the church threw her a bridal shower. It's a lot different than what we have in the states. Here, they take the bride and dress her up in a crazy outfit--usually consisting of a toilet-paper dress and bows-- and drag her around the city making her do crazy games and talk to strangers and take pictures with certain people; kind of like those scavenger hunts. It was a lot of fun. People kept stopping us and saying congrats to the bride. Aranxta was so embarrassed.Photobucket

The baby shower was equally entertaining. It seems to me that Spaniards (but a lot of the members of the church who do these parties are immigrants from South America. So maybe it's more widespread than I thought) like to make each other do ridiculous things and look silly. One of the games was popping a balloon and doing whatever the piece of paper in the balloon said. one woman's paper said to make a face that a baby make when taking a poo. seriously! and she did it! can you picture your relief society president doing that? haha. It was funny. Other tasks were dancing like a monkey or feeding each other baby food blind folded etc. I was lucky and my piece of paper was "give a piece of advise to the mother-to-be" and I wished her that the baby would learn to sleep through the night quickly ( I am so sweet and thoughtful, no?).

Did I also mention that these parties and church functions last like 5 hours!? It's beatiful though becasue they all work together and sincerely enjoy being in company with each other as members of the church. relief society meetings (enrichment night/home making night) are not obligations but opportunities to get to know the sisters in your ward and do something nice for those who are in need. That is why the baby shower lasted 5 hours! It's something I admire and when I speak Spanish I am sure I will be able to participate and enjoy it even more.

So that should do it for now. I could tell you about the Uruguayan football victory too, but I will just let the pictures/video explain it Photobucket

Things are good here. I love Ulises and I love his family. I get homesick sometimes but that is normal and expected. It's a different kind of homesick than my mission was. I can't explain it really. Maybe it's because I have the realization that this new culture will be becoming a part of my life and I'm not just in it for 18 months. I miss my family, the A/C in the house and Mexican (perhaps Americanized Mexican) food. But I love how I can walk everywhere here, the beach is so close, the city is beautiful. I love the way Spaniards are so friendly express their love to their friends and loved ones so easily. I could go on. Life is good. Really good.



Sunday, July 17, 2011

Good bye Dear Friend

This week I said goodbye to a dear friend--one that has been with me for more than 25 years--has been with me through thick and thin. This week, I said goodbye to my great toe nail on my right foot.

The picture above shows my toenail in its' former glory. Stable, thick, reliable and beautiful! I mentioned earlier that while I was vacationing in the Canary islands that I stubbed my toe pretty badly on some stairs. Well, the toenail finally came off! I miss my toenail. I am sad I have nothing to paint. My first solution was to cut some surgical tape out in the shape of a toenail and stick it on, but that takes too much time. Instead, I just place a square of white tape over the top of my toe and call it good.

but let me tell you a slightly disgusting secret (don't worry I won't post pictures) It was rather satisfying to remove it once it was dead and no longer caused pain. I maybe shouldn't say that on a public blog, but it was satisfying! Some people find satisfaction in peeling a sunburn or popping a zit. Maybe it is similar to that. TMI? yeah, I thought so.

Moving on..........

This week has been good. I have made some progress with Spanish and have communicated to strangers in stores and have asked directions. I say things wrong all the time but that is part of the learning process. This week I went to a couple family parties for Ulises extended family while he was at work. Every evening when he goes to work I am put in a situation where I have to communicate without my translator and this event was no different. This time, however, I had little kids to talk to. That was fun. I feel less awkward around them. I will have to talk to kids more! But, yeah-- I will continue to study more each day and improve little by little. But honestly, when I come back to Spain again next year, I think I will invest in language classes.

This week has also been good because I went out and discovered the city for myself. I really appreciate Ulises and his family and how they take care of me, but there is no way for me to learn my way around unless I struggle through it myself. So although they were worried while a 25 year old girl with no Spanish abilities went out to the big city on public transportation alone, It was a success! I took pictures, went to the park, ate a picnic by myself, bought a map and traveled around and even figured out how to get home on transit. I took buses metros and trains along with walking. I bought some bread in a store, asked some directions from a man in the train station and had a great time working it out. I'll have to post the pictures soon. I also got proposed to by an Indian man! I went into a gift shop outside a tourist place and when he found out I was from the states suddenly everything in his store was 50% off and then he invited me back from some Indian food. I declined and told him I had a boyfriend. He said if I changed my mind to come back and he would cook for me and marry me.

I don't know what adventures this next week holds. I hope to go to the beach again at least. I also plan on tricking Ulises into going to the Mexican restaurant I found on my run there the other day. There aren't many Mexican immigrants here in comparison to other immigrants so there actually is hardly any Mexican food. I miss it a lot! Ulises says he hates it but he just needs to give it another chance. I will either take him to this restaurant or make some myself!

I'll give you the update next week

hasta Luego

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Beach and other things

So as many of you know, Barcelona is located very close to the coast. I am living in a part of Barcelona called Castelldefels. Everyone says that Castelldefels is one of the most beautiful sections of the city because it is situated so close to the mountains and the beach. It only takes 15 minutes to run to the beach. I haven't done it yet, but I think the distance to the side of the mountain is probably 25 minutes.

The beaches are white and beautiful. The sun isn't too hot and the water sparkles! On windy days people get out their boats and their parachutes and ski on the water. While I mostly go to the beach to have my run, I have gone to the beach a few times to swim.

The beaches here in Spain are....different. People go to the beach with their families and they behave like they are at home! When I told my mother about the toplessness of the people she was absolutely shocked. She asked "Aren't there some beaches where they don't allow topless people?" and the answer is No. Its socially acceptable here and it would be strange to ask someone to put on a top (although many times I am tempted to do just that!). While I was 'weirded out' by it at first, now it is easier to ignore. Some things are still a little shocking though. It seems no matter how old or overweight you are, toplessness is acceptable. That is harder to ignore *shudder*

Can you believe some people even wear thongs? eww. That is never ok.

Yesterday we went out as a Relief Society to the beach to do Yoga. Niza (Ulises 20 year old little sister) and I were the only young ones. 4 other older women came. It was a lot of fun and we followed one of them as our Yoga instructor (Although I'm pretty sure she had NO idea what she was doing, it was still fun). It was surprising to me that even among the relief society sisters, string bikini's were normal (remember how I said they were old? and did I also mention overweight?) It was a little strange and to be honest, somewhat disheartening. Old habits die hard and many of these women are converts who bring with them old habits. But this isn't something insignificant or trivial. I want them to know this is one way we can really shine as a light to others.

I guess this situation with modesty has had me thinking a lot about how I will raise my children. While I think there is nothing indecent, wrong or sexual about a naked baby on the beach or kids running around without shirts, to avoid potential problems with my kids when they are making the transition from childhood to adolescents... I will just be sure they are always dressed appropriately.

if any of you have thoughts on the topic, please leave a comment!

So what else have I been up to?

Well, I am learning spanish slowly. I am beginging to get better at communicating with Ulises family. (but maybe that is because we are getting better at charades). I need to be more dedicated studying Spanish, that's for sure! Today Daniel (Ulises dad who is the bishop) told me that I will be speaking in church the last Sunday in August! I'll certainly need a little more Spanish under my belt to accomplish that! My theme?.... Temples and Eternal Marriage... ugh! Lovely, isn't it....
Members of the church when they see young couples are no more subtle here then they are in the USA

Other exciting things--Ulises and I went out dancing this Friday. We left the house at 2:00 am-- that's when the party starts here! It was fun. We went salsa dancing with some friends from his work. We didn't stay long but it was fun. It actually wasn't that different from the salsa dancing that was in Provo (well, maybe the girls were more scantily clad).

Ulises also took me shopping this week! He is great and always wants to make me feel loved and gets me some gifts occasionally. Just a week before I got here he ordered a dress for me that I had seen online. (I wore it to church today and love it. ) But this week when we went shopping.... it was a different story. He got me a T-shirt with Yogi Bear on the belly and then the ugliest pants I have ever seen in my life. First, the T-shirt isn't bad at all. It's just more casual than I am used to wearing. But it's cute..... But the pants... I have no idea how I let him get those!! He thinks I look amazing in them and (this I took a little hard) actually thinks they are better looking than most of the other clothes I own! (ouch) When he handed me the pants to put on, I thought it was a joke.... but he loves 'em! I let him get them for me because they were on a super sale. But it isn't just him...his sister and mom also say they look good (they are all delusional). So we will see. I might wear them here, but don't worry friends, you will never have to worry about me wearing them in the states. I don't want to offend the American People.

What do they look like?

take a look at this picture which is similar to what they look like:

mine are black but they have the suspenders and the pleats like this picture... but mine also have a fabric CUFF at the bottom of each leg... like the cuff on sweaters... yeah, super sexy I know.

ok well, I am willing to be totally wrong. Do the pants look as horrible as I think they do? Be honest. ( least they are modest....)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Did you know....

Did you know that the Canary Islands are near southern Morocco? They are like... Africa! They are next to Western Sahara. I know, you probably already knew that. But I am an idiot! I didn't really realize where I was until I saw a map in our Hotel Basement showing where the Canary Islands were. I am a bit embarrassed to tell you where I thought the Islands actually were, but that isn't important anyway.

The point is, Ulises took some vacation days and we went to the Canary Islands to visit the beach of course, but also to go on a little hunt for Family History!

Ulises 2nd grade grandfather was born in the Canary Islands and we were trying to find the church and perhaps some records about him. It was a fun adventure! First, we spent the first day sleeping and resting in the nice hotel. The next day we decided to take the scenic route from the southern half of the Island 'Gran Canaria" to the north near the capital, to a city called San Jose where his ancestors are from.. While driving the curvy windy roads I couldn't think about anything else except falling and dying. The roads were only big enough for one car and it was a two way road with many bends and curves. Every turn we took Ulises honked the horn to warm others we were coming around the corner. A few times it was really close! But it was a beautiful drive.

We stopped in towns along the way and we even ran into a man who is perhaps a (2nd, or whatever) cousin of Ulises! Ulises had stopped to ask directions and the guy who helped him has the same last name of his ancestor--Morales (which isn't super common) and his grandfather also has the exact same name! And from the same town! So Ulises took his number and we will investigate more and get back to him. Kind of ironic, eh?

After we reached San Jose, we talked to a lot of people in a lot of government buildings that always directed us to other government buildings. I didn't understand any of it, but Ulises said that although we dont know exactly what church his grandfather was baptized in, he now has the information he needs to contact the right people to move forward with this. we took pictures next to the two probable churches that his grandfather could have been baptized in.

It's really exciting, Ulises' family history has a lot of low hanging fruit and there is a lot we can do with it. This was a great way to start, and also get excited about it!

While we were in Gran Canaria we also enjoyed free continental breakfast at our hotel and a great pool.

We also enjoyed the OCEAN (I think its one of the most amazing things in the world!) and lots of really cool historical places and natural sites. Grand Canaria is known as a little continent because parts of it are really humid and green, while other parts are like the Sahara!

We visited people who live in caves! They have updated them so that they contain electricity and plumbing, but these people have lived in caves for centuries! The guy we talked to was so proud of his natural air conditioning.

Ulises even got to try a jet ski for the first time.

It was a great vacation and we did a lot of things. I successfully stubbed my toe and will lose a toe nail. So that is also a great memory!

Now we are back to real life. While Ulises is hard at work as a waiter, I will begin studying Spanish on my own out of books. I will also be practicing charades and Spanish with his family to try and communicate. In the day time we are often with his family or working on projects. On the weekends when he is at work during the day and at night, I will update my blog, how is that?


P.S if you want to see the rest of our pictures, they are here:

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Making my Blog... a Blog!

I never thought I would ever start a blog--but here I am. I never thought I had an interesting enough life (or wit) to really keep up a blog. But my aunt and several others encouraged me to keep them updated on my life while I am abroad and the Blog seemed like the best way (and it was the method suggested). So here I am.

Quick update on Mary's Life:

I graduated officially from BYU a week ago when my final grades came out from Spring Semester. I majored in Humanities: Art History. I did commencement exercises in April and it feels good to have that justified with some good grades from Spring Semester.

Since graduating from BYU I have moved to Spain for the summer. Why? See the next point

Last summer in 2010 I met a wonderful guy named Ulises when he came to Utah to study English. We were in the same ward (church group) in Provo and we began dating a couple months after we met. (if you want the real story, you'll have to ask me. This version is the version Ulises likes to circulate) He is from Barcelona so when he had to return to Spain in October we decided to meet again in December over Christmas Break. I went to Spain over Christmas and had the time of my life. After I came back to the states we figured the best way to see each other again would be for me to finish school and come out for the summer. And now, here I am!

What else is new? I am currently unemployed like most recent graduates and like most people in Spain. So that is fun. Currently I'm teaching myself Spanish out of books and struggling through conversation with Ulises family (none of them speak English). It's been fun and I have faith I can learn it. Its a little easier than Hungarian so I figure if I put in the work, I can learn it.

What else... hmm I am really interested in healthy eating and living. I've made some really great life style changes and the results are encouraging. Ive found that if I cut sweets, and don't eat fake food (try and keep artificial things out of my diet) and portion control, then my body takes care of itself. I also have started exercising a lot and enjoy weight lifting to a certain extent (weird, I know)I see success and find more motivation when I document and see the changes. Pictures, weight, inches... So yeah. That has been a great thing.

New goals? Spanish of course. Also, I want to learn to play the hymns better. I can struggle through them and it can sound actually tolerable and familiar if the key is in C. But I want to be able to be ready if called on to play. So I wanna go through Hymns and practice them enough for that.

ok, well I have had a lot of adventures already. So I'll post again soon! Why not now? Well I am busy you see. I must Prepare for our small vacation to the Canary Islands tomorrow morning!!! Ulises surprised me with an adventure to the island where his ancestors are from. his great grandpa was born there along with other relatives. When his grandma found out we were going, she started to cry. We rented a car and will try and find the church that has his baptismal records and other stuff. Then of course there is the beach of a beautiful island! we will be there 3 days! Isn't he sweet?