la cosa más valiente…

(Forgive me if my English seems awkward. It feels weird to switch back and forth. Don’t worry… I assure you that my Spanish is far more awkward.) 

Yesterday was our class trip to Toledo (Toledo, España… muy diferente de Toledo, Ohio… ¡grácias a Dios!) It’s a beautiful city; I took a lot of pictures. The cathedral is overwhelmingly huge. We spent 45 minutes there… nowhere near enough time to take everything in. I was glad to come back to Ávila, however… Toledo was hot, crowded, and very touristy.

Last night was also the first opportunity I’ve had here to be particularly courageous, when Carmen set a plate in front of me containing… a fish, the real deal, head cut off and cooked but still all silvery and whole and very fishy-looking. I am not a picky eater, and I’ll try anything once, but the only thing that really bothers me is fish that looks like fish. I didn’t want to offend, so I dug in. After figuring out how to eat around the spine & bones (aaauuurrrghh), it was very tasty… but then at one point, halfway through, when I pulled out the rest the spine and watched the tail flip on the plate, I had to pause to suppress my gag reflexes before continuing.

…but I did it, I finished it. Courtesy and bravery prevailed. 🙂

Other than that, the food here is great. Carmen is an amazing cook. We eat a lot of bread, soup, potatos, vegetables, and fruit. The Spanish tortilla is very different than what we call tortillas in the U.S… it’s very thick, almost quiche-like in consistancy, made with egg, potato, and oil. Of course, oil. There’s mucho oil in everything.

Today Carmen is in Madrid visiting her son, so Anna and I were on our own to figure out the coffeemaker (it’s like a perculator), answer the phone, etc. Today is also laundry day for me… the washing machine is right in the kitchen next to the dishwasher, and everything gets hung out on the line. I hung up the clothes that were in the washer before I began… as strange as it is to hang out your own underwear for all the world to see, it’s even stranger to hang out the underwear of your host family.

In other news, there is a crazy cafe/bar here in Ávila called la Delicatessen, which is very funky and interesting. Several interesting adventures there, but those will have to wait for another time.

P.S. – Just received word from my family… Andrew’s lung collapsed again, and he’s in the hospital again after some painful surgery that will hopefully prevent this from happening a third time. Also, Stephen just went into the hospital with mysterious asthma-related problems. It’s scary and difficult to be this far away from home at times like this. Keep both boys in your thoughts and prayers.


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