Archive for September, 2007

Florence, Italy: Here comes the bride!

Karie on Sep 30th 2007 08:18 am

We are in Florence now, celebrating the marriage of our friends, Mr. & Mrs. Lance & Rachael Yeaman!

After an over night train from Barcelona that was nearly 5 hours late, we barely made it in time to catch the bus to the rehearsal dinner (at which there was no rehearsing).  It turns out that Thomas & Kaitlin’s train was also late, and the rest of the group was on a wild goose chase around the city, trying to find the tour guide.  We were also having cell phone problems, so it was amazing that we found each other after all of that!

When we finally got in the tour van, he drove us out to the Chianti region of the Tuscan countryside.  It was breathtaking.  We had a tour of a farm that produces their own olive oil and wine, from their 2,000 acres of orchards & vineyards.  Then we went down to a little farmhouse, where we had a cooking class and made our own dinner.  Of course our ravioli was complemented by the Italian chef, who added to the menu: bruschetta, pizza, eggplant lasagna, fettuccini, and dessert.  You could’ve rolled us back to Florence.

Of course we did plenty of sightseeing; we saw the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (Duomo), climbed Giotto’s bell tower, crossed the Ponte Vecchio, sauntered through countless squares, gardens & museums, and ate the world’s best gelato.  One evening we all met for dinner at Aqua Al 2, which is Rachael’s favorite restaurant.  There are two in the world – one in Florence and one in San Diego.  Lance proposed to Rachael at the location in San Diego, so it was fitting to have one more dinner there before the big day.

Ok, now about the big day.  Rachael was absolutely stunning and Lance was beaming!  There was a minor malfunction with the zipper on Rachael’s dress, so Kaitlin & I had to bust out our mad seamstress skills, while Emma (Lance’s mother) hunted down needles, thread & safety pins.  (Mom, you would’ve been horrified at my technique, but it worked.)  Rachael was a trooper and took it all in stride.  Believe it or not, we were still ready before the cab arrived (but then the cab left us, so we were still late, but that’s beside the point).

Overall, the day was perfect.  The sun came out, the church was intimate, the ceremony was sincere, and the reception had almost as many dessert courses as it did dinner.  Seriously, what more could a bride & groom want?  It was magical – those two really light up the city.

Congratulations Yeaman’s!!!  Thanks for letting us be a part of your special day.

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I see normalcy in our future

Karie on Sep 25th 2007 09:36 pm

Last Sunday I felt like we actually lived in Barcelona… aside from the fact that we were staying in a hotel, don’t fully know our way around yet, and don’t speak the language.  However, we did have quite the social calendar!

At church on Sunday morning we met a couple about our age that invited us over that evening to watch a movie with a few other couples.  We could use some friends on this continent, so we went!  There were people from Ireland, Argentina, South Africa and Mexico.  They were all so friendly and welcoming – it was wonderful.

We actually had to leave shortly before the end of the movie, as we had “another engagement” with a couple from Italy that we met at our Bed & Breakfast (yes, we were feeling quite popular for a few hours).  It just so happens that they are preparing for a move to either San Diego or San Francisco, and we were preparing for a trip to Italy, so we exchanged tips & shared stories over some delicious seafood paella.  Yum.

We were having the time of our lives, and then it got better – we found a place to live!  It’s just temporary, but it’s perfect for now.  It’s a charming flat in Gràcia, an artsy/trendy neighborhood in Barcelona that has everything we need within walking distance.  It even has those gigantic doors that open up from the bedroom onto an adorable little balcony where I can hang plants & flowers that Scott will have to take care of.  There were so many people interested in the place, so we were almost jumping up & down when we found out we were the chosen ones.  We’ll be moving in as soon as we return from Italy!

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We’re here!

Karie and Scott on Sep 22nd 2007 10:36 pm

We’ve been in Barcelona for about 48 hours now, and it has been non-stop!

The flights were fine, although they relocated our luggage without telling us, so it took us an hour to find it. We finally made it to our Bed & Breakfast, which was great; then we met Thomas & Kaitlin for dinner about 10:30pm. After dinner, we walked the busy streets & sat in one of the squares and chatted until about 2:00am. It was their last night in Barcelona, so we had a great time celebrating their way out and our way in. We’ll see them again next week at Lance & Rachael’s wedding in Italy!

The biggest festival of the year is going on right now, so the city is buzzing with energy. La Merce is a celebration of the end of summer that involves various Spanish traditions, and basically, setting a lot of stuff on fire. These people are crazy… and we’re right there with them. I won’t bother explaining it all, just look at the pictures.

Our primary order of business this week (aside from participating in all the festivities) was finding a place to live when we return from Italy. Our B&B host was a wealth of information, so he gave us great tips on where to look, what to avoid, etc. No luck yet, but we have a couple leads that we´re exploring.

We’ve been trying to improve our Spanish, and immersing ourselves into the culture. We had been in a few grocery stores in the past, but tonight we actually went grocery shopping & had dinner in our room. Crackers, brie, dried salami, grapes & cookies. Believe it or not, it took us about 30 minutes to shop for all that. The crackers & the cookies look the same here! Ok, so we have more work to do on our Spanish speaking skills.

Tomorrow we are going to check out the International Church of Barcelona. The missionaries there, Dan & Kathy Stump, were really helpful with helping us prepare for the move, so we are looking forward to finally meeting them in person.

To sum it up, we are having a great time! It just feels like vacation so far, so the reality of living here hasn’t set in yet… but I know that when it does we are going to enjoy seeing some familiar faces, so let us know if you want to come visit!

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Farewell Tour Stop #4: Scott’s Home, Los Angeles, CA

Karie on Sep 17th 2007 05:05 pm

More fiestas! We got to hang out with Adam & Nicki in Redondo Beach on Friday, then Scott’s mom hosted a get-together for us Saturday night… more family, fun and great food, mostly made from scratch. We really need to expand our cooking skills & recipe repertoire when we move to Barcelona (when I say “we”, I mean chef Scott).

Sunday we went to the L.A. County Fair with David, Matthew & Melissa (Scott’s dad, brother & sister). We actually tried one of those Krispy Kreme fried chicken sandwiches… c’mon, you have to! It was edible, but I wouldn’t recommend more than a bite or two, especially if you cherish your arteries. One sandwich is definitely enough for the entire group, with some to spare. We had a ton of fun though… exhibits, rides, animals, and lots of food that we won’t get in Spain. God bless America and our willingness to deep fry anything!

Thus concludes our farewell tour. Vamos a Barcelona!

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Farewell Tour Stop #3: Karie’s Home, Stockton, CA

Karie on Sep 12th 2007 07:59 pm

Aunt Janice hosted a wonderful going away fiesta for us!  She’s been studying up on Spain so she could make it as authentic as possible (which included renaming a couple of family favorite dishes to make them compliant). She even gathered cards from some out-of-state family, so it was great to get a big stack of love all at once.

Our time at home was brief, but we also made sure we got in a couple visits to Grandpa Isaacs, who is currently in rehabilitation center.  We also got to meet one of the newest additions to our circle of friends, Miss Alison Grace Jones, daughter of Jason & Sarah.

The worst part about this leg of the tour was saying goodbye to mom, dad & Penny Lane. Luckily they can all keep each other company, but if you live in the Stockton area and have a hankering to throw a ball, please go play with Penny, my poor parents can only take so much.

My parents are coming to Barcelona for Christmas and we can’t wait. We wrote a song about that too.

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Farewell Tour Stop #2: Charlize’s 1st Birthday, Dousman, WI

Karie on Sep 9th 2007 08:50 pm

We were so glad to be there for Charlie’s polka dot party! You should’ve seen her attack that cake, it was impressive. She is so smart & beautiful… but look at her families, the poor girl can’t help it. We love her so much!

Her favorite show is the Backyardigans. I get the theme song stuck in my head just by typing the word! I actually wrote my own words to the tune, with original lyrics about moving to Spain. Chances are you will never hear it… sorry!

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Farewell Tour Stop #1: Shasta Lake

Karie on Sep 4th 2007 10:25 pm

Ah, the highlight of our summers in America, Shast Lake. So peaceful, yet insanely fun. Food, floating, water sports, strange competitions (with prizes & bragging rights at stake), and plenty of time to catch up with old friends. There’s a group of us that have made this trip a ritual since grad school, as well as lots of new friends that have been added over the years.

The lake is sort of an annual reunion for us, so it’s fun to see how things change from year to year. This year, Del added a new palm tree on the Lido deck, we got to meet a few new significant others to the group, almost everyone has moved at least once, the Lucero’s have expanded their line of olive oil, the Preeo’s are pregnant, and the Kaufmann’s are homeless. My, how life changes.

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