Saturday, October 27, 2012


So many things have happened recently. I keep a list in my head of things I should write about on my next blog and then suddenly I realize too much time has passed and my list is HUGE.

So let's talk about Fall!  ( I actually like the word Autumn better) This time of year is so wonderful. It is my favorite time of year. It is a season with spices, pumpkins, leaves changing colors, Halloween, fall festivals, the fall harvest, and my church's annual general conference. Spain can't provide all of these things for me, it does a pretty good job!

I sewed in "Techera 2012"
Although it is still in the 70's most days we have had some fall showers that have given us some truly chilly 'fall' days.  we were finally able to put our quilt on our bed! I made it for Ulises' birthday last year anticipating using it for our bed.

 I still miss the fall foliage of Utah ( so many of my friends were posting pictures of the changing colors... here take a look at one!) But Ulises was sweet enough to take the motorbike for a drive in the 'canyon' in search for some leaves. We found a brown dead one and another one turning slightly yellow. It's now been a few weeks since that trip and  and hopefully this weekend we can go again and actually be successful  in our search of fall foliage.

Utah Autumn

It's difficult to find a good carving pumpkin here but the 'Halloween' tradition is becoming more popular here and I was able to find a few (tiny thing for 10 euro!).Ulises and I haven't carved one yet but I helped carved a few for a some of the children I am a nanny for.  It was more fun than I remember! Maybe cause doing it with the small children and seeing their excitement really made the difference. This will be Ulises' first year carving a pumpkin. I hope he will enjoy it! Aside from pumpkin carving, the children can sometimes find communities to "trick or treat' in. It's still new though. Here the Catalan culture celebrates "Castanyada" on Halloween 31st . Its a Holiday before All Saints day ( Nov. 1) where they roast chestnuts eat baked sweet potatoes and make these little sugar balls with marzipan. While I enjoy the fun of Halloween I also wouldn't want them to forsake their own traditions. I did some Castanyada activities with some of these kids as well- and it was quite fun!

At church tonight we held a party for all ages. Many congregation members and children dressed up. We danced, played games, and ate some food. Ulises and I are low on cash so we went the cheap way for a costume. I thought it was quite clever. I was also so happy that Ulises had absolutely no objection to my idea! we went as Crayons! I made our stickers and he engineered and cut out our hats. When we arrived NO ONE had a clue as to what we were! It was shocking really. I guess here in Spain they don't have the brand crayola. I guess I shouldn't take those things for granted. So there we were, wandering around with our new congregation trying to make friends looking like dunces. Did I mention that Ulises was given the assignment to be the congregation's "young men president"? So here he was with a cone on his head trying to earn the respect of 12-18 year old boys. I wonder if any of those boys will return to church on Sunday.........

So as you can see, Spain has been doing a pretty good job at making me feel at home. I also am planning to bring it a little further along by hosting my very own "scary dinner" with some friends here. They are excited to learn my family's Halloween traditions. Those of you who don't know what that is, stay tuned. I will write a post recapping it.

One of my favorite things about Fall ( Autumn is such a better word) is the Annual General Conference from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints! As a member of this church I really enjoy the closeness I feel with other members all over the world as we collectively tune in and listen to the Prophets speak. I have a deep love and respect for the leaders of my church and feel that they are speaking God's will. Conference is 8 great hours of discourses from strengthening family, to faith in Christ, to missionary service to helping the poor. I felt so lifted and inspired by the messages. I really enjoyed Dallin H Oaks talk on protecting children as well as Jeffrey R Holland's talk about being converted to Christ and feeding Christ's sheep. It was powerful and I felt the spirit. In a following session, Robert D. Hales gave a discourse on the same topic quoting the same section of the New testament. His sweet tender message confirmed to me that these messages are from God. It reminded me to turn to the Scriptures. It reminded me to learn more about Jesus Christ's Life.I left the conference with feelings of Gratitude and Peace.

You can watch the archives here. Choose any topic you like! (this link is the highlights):

Fall does bring melancholy feelings. The year is coming to a close and I am anticipating being away from my family for Thanksgiving, my birthday and Christmas. But my dear Ulises takes such good care of me and we will find happiness. As soon as Halloween is over I will turn on the Christmas music and pray for snow.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Spanish, Anyone?

So I am sitting here with Ulises in one of his University courses. I came to basically 'spend time' with him and see more of him. With my work schedule and his school schedule we often don't see each other between the hours of 6:30 AM and 9 or 10 at night. I would like to comment on how this university course is... or any other number of things, but I am totally preoccupied with how badly I need to go to the bathroom. It's not that I feel like I would be a distraction to the class getting up and leaving--it's just that I went for the door two times already and its locked or something. I'm not going to be the idiot girl who can't open the door for the third time.. Furthermore, if I do go and attempt to pry the door open and they say something to me during my struggle, I imagine I would respond with some underdeveloped caveman type Spanish. "Me no can!"  "No me open!" "graaaauhlurrrmmaaaaaaaahb"

While sitting in this 2 hour (but feels so much longer with this pulsing bladder) class I have been studying Spanish. I feel more confident each day. I can understand more and more and can express myself in certain situations. It's been a different experience than learning Hungarian. I think as missionaries for the church we take for granted the Missionary Training Center where we can study a foreign language for several weeks (my Hungarian course was for 12) before entering our missions to work. The MTC gives you the all the grammar, really helps you understand basics and  also gives you those important survival phrases. I wish I had had an MTC course for Spanish before coming here. I also should take an hour to study Spanish every day like I studied Hungarian for an hour everyday when I was there. But really, all other circumstances are in my favor. When I was in Hungary I never lived with a native Hungarian. Now I live with a native Spanish speaker! We don't talk Spanish very often but he encourages me and I want to set some goals to practice together now that I have some tools in my belt. Similar to my mission in Hungary, I teach! Teaching  puts me in a situation where I am forced to use the native language. In Hungary I used Hungarian to teach lessons about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In Spain I am using my Spanish in my "English Classes". So my Hungarian was more gospel vocabulary and my Spanish is a little more colloquial. I think being forced to use the language is one of the keys to learning. If you never speak your tongue will never become trained.

One aspect of language learning that was very evident for me on my mission was that the holy spirit helped me speak the gospel to the people. I felt that frequently. God used me as a tool. He helped me learn Hungarian to teach his word. But I also know that God is on my side in learning Spanish. I may not be on a mission and my dealings with people are not the same, but God has a vested interest in me and my relationship with my husband, his family, and his ancestors. I hope that in the coming years as my Spanish language abilities progress that my relationship with his family will deepen. I also hope to be more involved in his Family History work.

It's sometimes emotionally difficult to focus on Spanish  because I feel my Hungarian skills slipping. Hungarian is a difficult, beautiful language that I have a special attachment to. But there is a time and a season for each thing and I feel confident that as I learn Spanish and make an effort to keep reading some Hungarian that I can ultimately, know both. The focus is on Spanish now. But there will be a time again when I can go back and sharpen those Hungarian skills. I am so grateful for all my Hungarian friends I made who are now my Facebook friends who write me messages and chat with me. Finding Hungarians to practice with is much harder than finding Spaniards to practice with.

Speaking of Languages.... As I have been teaching English ( which I quite enjoy) I have developed an interest in the history of the English language itself! Both Hungarian and Spanish have a  familiar 'you' (used to address your family and friends) and a formal 'you' (used to address dignitaries and to show respect to anyone-- particularly strangers who are older than you) but the English Language no longer differentiates between the intimate  'you' or the formal 'you'. (or the plural you for that matter) Some of you might be familiar with it. I am  because I grew up reading the King James bible and because in our house we always prayed in this older (late middle English)  form: Thee Thou!

 Growing up I always thought that calling my Heavenly father with "thee and thou" was distancing myself from him --but in reality "thee" is the intimate form of "you" and "you is actually the less intimate and more formal way of addressing someone. I find it beautiful that the language of prayer is one of closeness to God. I don't know how it faded out of use--but I would like to know why! And I would like to know how the different English Speaking countries have done the same independently of each other. Or maybe some of them still do it. It is fascinating to me.

Ah languages..........


Did I mention I am so excited that Ulises and my children will grow up truly bilingual? I met a guy the other day who was American/Spanish and it was actually kind of eerie how he spoke both English and Spanish with the correct, native accent.