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Traditions are Made to be Broken

Oh boy, the holidays are officially here!  It’s now time for the Christmas tree, ornaments, lights, and stockings.  It’s time to buy and wrap presents, send out our holiday greeting cards, and plan that Christmas day feast!

For me, this is literally the most wonderful time of the year.  I love the pine smell, the red, green, and white colors, the family traditions, and that Michigan white Christmas.  I look forward to the end of the year holidays, and I thoroughly enjoy spending that time with family and friends.

However, this year, for Christmas 2012, I am away from Michigan, away from the snow, and away from my family.  I am celebrating the holidays for the second time in my life away from everything I know and love.  I am in Spain, a country who only recently began celebrating Christmas on the 25th – their Christmas (or Reyes as they call it, when the Kings came to see baby Jesus) is celebrated on the 5th of January.  I will not see my mother, or my father, or my sister.  I was not able to decorate my family Christmas tree, and share in our tradition of watching ‘White Christmas’.  I am missing out on a time that is usually so special to me.

However, I can see Rudolph’s red nose at the end of the tunnel.  Because though I may not have the regular traditional Christmas I am used to celebrating, I will be surrounded by my boyfriend Sergio, his family, and my cousin and her boyfriend whom are flying out to be with me.  So, I am pleased to say that the 2012 holiday season will not be lost!

Here in Pinto, the small town outside of Madrid where my boyfriend and I live, we did manage to bring some Christmas cheer to our small but homey apartment.  I had to replace a large yard and rooftop with a small 2nd floor balcony; a real green Christmas tree with a short white fake one; and real cold snow with stick-on snowflakes.  It may not be the real thing, but it is our thing.

Our 8 Euro Christmas tree fit inside that box.

Our 8 Euro Christmas tree fit inside that box.

We named her Snow White!

We named her Snow White!

The ball of present lights.

The ball of present lights.

Snow White all lit up!

Snow White all lit up!

Our favorite - both ghetto and tacky!

Our favorite – both ghetto and tacky!

España all lit up!

España all lit up!

My handy work - and yes, each snowflake is different!

My handy work – and yes, each snowflake is different!

I'm a proud Christmas mama!

I’m a proud Christmas mama!

The view from the street.

The view from the street.

And we can't forget about Santa, who is riding a lego VW van!

And we can’t forget about Santa, who is riding a lego VW van!

 

Traditions will always be there, no matter where in the world you may be.  And though this may not be my regular traditional holiday decorating, it’s something new that I will forever be able to cherish.  So, for this year, goodbye my regular Michigan Christmas, and hello my unique, once in a lifetime Spanish Christmas!

Happy Holidays Everyone and Happy Decorating!

🙂

Will you be missing out on any usual holiday traditions this year?  If so, let us know in the comment section below!

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Goodbye November

I would like to issue a formal apology to all of Palm Trees & Bare Feet subscribers and followers.  I realize that I have not been taking my blogging duties very seriously the last couple of months, especially this month of November.

The previous months I have no excuse to why I did not blog regularly, and I am sorry for that.  However, this month, I do have a semi-legit reason for forgoing my blog: I participated in National Novel Writing Month.  For all of you who do know NaNo, it is a grueling, time consuming, brain-jumbling month of writing, writing, and more writing.  Between the hectic days and long, sleepless nights, you barely have time to keep up with family, friends, and housework, let alone blogging.

But, I am pleased to say that it did not go in vain.  Last night, after pulling a literal all-nighter, I was able to fill the 9,000+ word gap I was missing, and I finally and officially reached the NaNo word goal of 50,000 words!  I have completed NaNoWriMo 2012, and essentially won the honor of saying that I completed a novel! 

Winner badge 120x240

So, as I ecstatically celebrate this weekend, and move on with my life – until next November that is – I am making a promise to both myself and to you, my followers, that starting Monday, December 3rd, I will be back to blogging like the old days.  While I will be forgoing the Question of the Day I used to do, you will still be getting the usual Quote of the Day and Link of the Day, and I will be sure to add in another fun, interactive daily meme.  I will also write more articles, more book and movie reviews, and will make sure that my blog is kept up!  So, with that said, I have created a poll below, and I ask you all to fill it out and tell me what you would like to see more of on Palm Trees & Bare Feet.

So, once again I apologize for my lack of blogging, but would also like to celebrate my NaNo win, and all the other wins my fellow writers achieved as well!

Happy Friday All and Hasta Lunes!

🙂

The Celebration of the Kreativ Blogger Award

I am proud to announce that Palm Trees and Bare Feet has received the Kreativ Blogger Award.  My fellow animal lover and great blogger, Spencer Angeltvedt, was the one to nominate me, and I would once again like to say, THANK YOU SPENCER!  

If you love animals and want to stay up-to-date on animal news, then I highly encourage you to check out Spencer’s blog.  He’s always on top of what’s happening in the animal kingdom, and really does his part to spread the word about animal rights, and how important our furry friends are to this world.  So please, check out his blog!

Now, as the rules of this award call for, I must list 7 interesting things about myself:

1)  I moved to Spain at the age of 18, taught English for the first 2 years, took a break for about a year, and now am attending St. Louis University – Madrid campus – here in Spain.  I am majoring in Communications and minoring in Philosophy.

2)  There are many things I want to do with my life.  Some include: start a wildlife sanctuary and pet adoption shelter; own a bed and breakfast, and eventually a hotel chain; and finally, while this may be a long shot, I want to work for National Geographic.

3)  Still, at the age of 22, I am afraid of the dark.  I have to sleep with a nightlight on, and I am always only half-asleep as I listen to all my surroundings, always thinking that a ghost, burglar, or the girl from The Ring is outside my bedroom door.

4)  I believe in reincarnation and think it’s the most beautiful belief people have of what happens after we die.  However, while I do have my beliefs of creation, life, and death, I do not follow any type of religion.

5)  I like to have the TV on but not watch it.  I think it’s a great mental exercise to just listen and try to imagine what is actually happening.  I’ve come up with a few good story ideas by just hearing dialogue and picturing what was going on.

6)  I love garage/estate/and yard saling.  That ¡s one thing that I look forward to when I go to the States in the summer, and lucky for me, my Spanish boyfriend has become addicted to it as well.  They don’t have those kinds of things here in Spain and when I took him to his very first garage sale in Michigan, he fell in love with it and now we go everyday when we’re in the States.

7)  My mother gave me a journal when I was 10 years old.  Since then, I have collected and written in journals my entire life.  I treasure them and they are the some of my most valuable possessions.

Now, I must nominate 7 of my favorite blogs for the Kreativ Blogger Award:

1)  Limebird Writers – I look to this blog for inspiration, writing tips, and for good conversation.

2)  Cereal with a Fork – This blog makes me laugh.  I love reading their witty, quirky comic strips.

3)  50 Year Project – TBM is a wonderful blogger and I look forward to her Travel Photos of the Day and recently her London Pub reviews!

4)  The Hob-bee Hive – I have just recently started following this blog and have found her recipes, book reviews, and creative posts very fun to read.

5)  Michigan in Pictures – I absolutely love this blog.  It honors my home-state of Michigan and the pictures and posts remind me of how much I actually miss the Great Lakes state.

6)  A Creative Place to Be – I love Sue’s daily drawings and designs.  She is a true artist and it’s great to look at her work.

7)  All Write – Harper is an amazing story teller and extremely funny.  I just love reading his posts, especially the ones about his cocker spaniel, Sweet Face!

So, once again, I would like to thank Spencer for the award, and to encourage you all to check out the blogs I nominated.  Trust me, you won’t be disappointed!

Happy Wednesday All!

🙂

Coking the Drain

In our Spanish apartment, we do not have a garbage disposal.  Actually, I don’t think I have ever been to a Spanish household with a garbage disposal, and when my boyfriend came to the States the first time, he was fascinated with the gurgling, food-grinding contraption in my mother’s kitchen sink.  We also do not have a dishwasher, so I must hand wash the dishes on a daily basis.

I don’t mind washing the dishes.  It seems to relax me, and I do a lot of daydreaming while scrubbing those suckers clean.  However, I must be very careful not to let food go down the sink so as not to clog it.  Sometimes though I do get lazy, and instead of walking to the garbage can I allow some food to slip down the drain figuring the water will wash it down to where ever those pipes lead.  Unfortunately, my laziness has come back to haunt me and now our pipes are clogged.  The water will not drain, but instead slowly rises with each rinse of each dish, causing my dish washing experience to last longer as I have to wait for the water to slowly drain until I can continue.

Finally fed up, especially since my boyfriend refuses to do the dishes so the task is all on me, I demanded we get some pipe cleaner to clear out the clogged mess that is making my usually 20 minute chore into an hour one.  Yesterday, when the boyfriend got home from work, we went to the panaderia and asked if they had any pipe cleaner.  The sweet old couple who own the bakery, and knows everyone’s name, said they did not but instead suggested we should try using Coke.  I doubted that using Coca-Cola would work, but politely listened to their instructions and purchased a liter of Coke.

“I highly doubt this will work,” I told my boyfriend as we both looked down the kitchen drain.

“I don’t know, but we could at least try it,” he said.

So, as I am the matriarch of the kitchen, I began the process of declogging the sink with Coke.

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Step 1:  Pour an entire liter of coke directly into the kitchen sink’s drain.

Step 2:  Wait for an hour and let the coke do its thing.

Step 3:  After the hour is up, turn on the faucet and let hot water run for about 5 minutes

Step 4:  Wait another hour before using the sink.

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Now, like I said before, I was a little skeptical about using Coke to actually declog a drain.  I have heard that Coke could be used for some crazy things, but just thought it was all a myth.  However, when I ran the water an hour later, directly down the drain the water went, not filling up the sink.  I couldn’t believe that a 2 and some hour process, with one of the most popular drinking products, could declog a sink.

After witnessing this, I decided to research what other uses Coke had.  Some included:

– Stripping paint off furniture.

– Dissolving a tooth.

– Cleaning a toilet bowl.

While I don’t usually drink Coke, or really any kind of soda because I get massive headaches from the caffeine, I definitely will not be drinking Coca-Cola any time soon.  I mean, if it is used to declog a sink, imagine what that does to your stomach!

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*Note:  The photos were taken from Google Images.  The three Coke uses were taken from wisebread.com, and you can click the link to see more.  The opinions, thoughts, phrases, and words in this post are my own: © Kalie Lyn, 2012.*

Dear Alberto

Today is Spain’s Father’s Day, and I just wanted to give a shout out to my Spanish father, which would be my boyfriend’s father, Alberto.

Like I mentioned in today’s Daily Question, the first 2 years I lived in Spain I lived with my boyfriend and his parents.  Though it took some getting used to, I was truly grateful for my boyfriend’s parents taking me in and treating me like their daughter.

Though they spoke no English, and I spoke no Spanish, we created our own little language, equipped with lots of exaggerated hand movements.  They supported me financially, emotionally, and physically.  They were there for me if I needed a shoulder to cry on from being homesick, or if I just needed to talk with them about anything that was on my mind.

They have been an important part of my life here in Spain, and now that my boyfriend and I have our own place, which is about 20 minutes from their house, and I’m unable to see them everyday like I used to, I still think about them daily and all the ways they helped me survive the first crucial years of living abroad.

He is truly my 3rd father – after my real dad and my step-dad – and I will never, ever forget him.

So, Felicidades Alberto.  Muchas Gracias por todo.

And Happy Father’s Day to all the Spanish fathers out there!

🙂

Alberto is the guy with the scarf in the middle, with the big smile and holding up Flat Stanley. Angelines - my 3rd mother, Alberto's wife, and my boyfriend's mom - is the woman next to him in the white coat. They are my Spanish lifeline. ❤

Tick-Tock Goes the Clock

In Communications class we’re learning about Psychological Time Orientation, which is the way we habitually think about and experience time.

There are 7 different time perspective categories that people fall into:

– Present Hedonism Orientation: People who fall into this category focus on the present and live for the moment.  They are impulsive sensation seekers and enjoy going to parties.

Present Fatalism Orientation: People who fall into this category also focus on the present, however they feel there is no control over their fate.  They believe it doesn’t make sense to plan because events will occur no matter what they do to prevent it.

Future Work-Motivation Orientation: People who fall into this category focus on the future and believe in working hard, and that it is their duty to work.

Future Goal-Seeking Orientation: People who fall into this category also focus on the future and look to the future in a positive way.  They enjoy thinking about what will happen to them, and they spend their time imagining the successes of the future.

Future Pragmatic-Action Orientation: People who fall into this category focus on the future too, however in a practical and prepared way.  They believe that the future is something to be prepared for in the present.

Future Daily Planning Orientation: People who fall into this category also focus on the future by controlling day-to-day events.  They believe in mapping out their lives in specific detail.

Time-Sensitivity Orientation: Lastly, people who fall into this category feel anxious and pressured by time obligations.  They are somewhat compulsive about both their own and others’ punctuality.

Oddly, there is no past orientations because they are so infrequent.  However, I have been known to dwell and focus on the past, but I guess it isn’t a valid time orientation category!

I listed these for you because I was curious as to what time categories others fall into.

I know for me, I fall into multiple categories.  Mostly, I fall into the Future Goal-Seeking Orientation, and into the Future Pragmatic-Action Orientation.  And of course, I sometimes will fall into the Time-Sensitivity Orientation, especially when I have important appointments and schedules to keep to!  The one I least fall into is the Future Work-Motivation Orientation.  I definitely do not believe in living to work!

What about you?  What time categories do you fall into the most, and which ones do you not fall into?  Please, let us know in the comment section below!

Happy Sunday All!

🙂

A Valentine Post and Poll

valentines-day-92valentines118.gif

YOU ARE ALL MY SPECIAL VALENTINES!

HAVE A GREAT DAY FILLED WITH LOVE AND SMILES!

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And if you do anything fun, please be sure to share with us your Valentine’s Day Adventure by telling us in the comment’s section below!

🙂