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Life in Vera

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View No Spain No Gain on staley's travel map.

In the spirit of the Olympics, last week I finally became a member of Veraqua, Vera’s finest and most esteemed fitness center. After joining, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the television in the workout room has indeed been showing non-stop Olympics coverage even though most Spaniards seem to give a triple salchow whether the Russians are beating the Canadians in the four-person bobsled competition. Still, I’ve found that there’s nothing more inspirational than watching a riveting round of curling while I’m huffing and puffing my way through a stationary bike workout. Earlier this week, Matt and I also checked out the gym’s “Stretching Express” class (pronounced eh-stretching in Spanish) where we enjoyed ourselves even though we clearly stood out as the clumsy Americans amongst the limber and suave Spaniards. We decided we weren’t quite prepared for it yet this week, but next week we’re even considering taking on the notorious Spinning, or eh-Spinning class.

In truth, it’s amazing we find time for leisure activities like stretching classes considering all of the crazy things we’ve been up to here in Vera. For example, maybe it hasn’t made it to the spotlight in the United States yet, but Matt, my roommate’s dog, and I have all been cast in leading roles for the first major motion picture ever to be filmed and produced in Vera. While we may have had an in to get casted for the movie considering that the director is Matt’s roommate and the producer is my boss’ husband, we take the project very seriously and are expecting to be in the running for a few Oscars in 2011.

In between the acting gigs, we’ve also become very serious players of a Wild West themed card game introduced to us by a Spanish friend. The game, called Bang!, is translated into both English and Italian, meaning that we are learning crucial vocabulary in case we ever find ourselves in a draw with an Italian-speaking cowboy. Additionally, our weekend social lives have improved immensely since we’ve found a few places in Vera that stay open past 10pm on weekends. The hot spot seems to be the bar with a foosball table. However, whatever bar we choose to go to, we inevitably end up seeing our students who also hang out at the same two or three places that stay open past 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

Furthermore, it’s been an exciting time in Vera lately because we’ve had quite a bit of on and off rain and drizzle, equating to a week or so of torrential downpours here in the desert region of southeast Spain. The worst part about the grey skies is that I haven’t done my laundry in two weeks because there is no where to hang it to dry, but the best part is that the snails always come out when it rains. Although my roommate let me in on her grandmother’s secret snail recipe- send the children out to go snail hunting, keep the snails alive for about a week while feeding them flour in order to cleanse them, cook in a bit of olive oil, and serve with a side of Iberian ham- Matt and I usually just enjoying looking at the snails.

As for work, we try our best to limit that to the 12 hours which are spread throughout our four day work week every Monday through Thursday. In fact, one day last week when I tried to stay just a few minutes after our school day ended in an attempt to recover a document that a school computer’s virus had eaten, I found myself locked in the building as literally the entire staff had emptied out less than ten minutes after the final bell had rung. Spaniards take siesta, the mid-day lunch and nap break, very seriously. So, even though there are always more snails to catch and more Italian Wild West vocabulary to learn, we’re doing our best these days to keep our priorities in sight and carry on with the rhythm of the siestas and fiestas which so profoundly drive the Spanish culture.

Posted by staley 07:25 Archived in Spain Tagged foot

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OK. I get the picture. Vera is a sleepy little town with not much exciting going on right now.
But it sounds like you're somewhat in touch with the world (I happen to LOVE the winter Olympics!), getting some exercise (more than I can say) and catching a few winks of siesta here and there. Not all bad, especially since you've done your share of travelling over there. I know Matt's Mom and Dad are really looking forward to their visit in May, and hopefully you can show them the WORLD! (-:
Barb Gosselar Hughes

by barb5188

I think "eh-stretch" is on of my favorite Spanish words, next to "trabajabamos" and "especializaciones". Hope all is well!

by tdepke

Hi Matt and Sara,

I think I'll retire from teaching Michigan and move to Vera. 12 hours per week with an afternoon siesta sound like a winner. I miss you both. Love you, Aunt Debbie

by pascoedeb

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