Friday, July 22, 2011

MTV Cribs - Spanish Piso Edition

I can’t believe it, but my Spanish adventure has now come to an end. On one of my last days, my sister took my camera and we made an “MTV Cribs” edition of my Great Aunt Hilda’s Spanish piso (in most Latin American countries this word means floor, but in Spain it’s meaning is more of an apartment/condo). Most Spanish families live in a Piso similar to this, it is very rare to live in a house in the Madrid area because space is limited and rent is expensive! Check out the video below!

What’s next? I’m back home in MN right now, currently trying to get over my jet-lag before I fly off again, this time to Reno this Sunday. From there, it’ll be a three hour drive to Mammoth Lakes, CA for three weeks at a Christian running camp for college students called the Altitude Project. It will consist of lots of running, fellowship, and going through the book of Romans – all at 7,5000 ft! I was blessed enough to be able to make the trip last summer and it was a total blast! One of my favorite parts about the camp is just being cut off from the rest of society for an extended period of time (no internet, TV…), being around 50 other like-minded college students, and growing closer to God, and the soaking in the beautiful scenery on runs (not to mention 0% humidity!). This year’s theme for the camp is Be Transformed! (kind of fits well with the current transformers movie out right now) from Romans 12:1-2

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – NIV

In Christ,


Friday, July 15, 2011

Mind the Gap, Please

Last night, my family and I returned to Madrid from an awesome two and a half day getaway in London! Like Valencia, we didn’t have nearly enough time to explore all of the city, but we were able to see all of the typical tourist must sees such as Big Ben, the Westminster Bridge, the changing of the guard ceremony, ect…

We toured the city on the standard Red Double-Decker bus! One of the nicest aspects was having a humorous Englishmen explain the history behind the buildings and places in the city while adding British humor in at the same time.

Before the trip, I did not know that London was famous for its theaters – it’s considered to be top tier, on par with the likes of New York’s Broadway. The second night, my dad, sister, and I too advantage and saw a three-hour musical devoted to Michael Jackson, entitled “Thriller – Live”. The show featured the King of Pop’s greatest hits, all of the dancers, singers, and musicians were incredible, it was certainly one of the highlights of the trip!

Another highlight for me was running in Hyde Park, London’s biggest park. Not only was it nice to swap the never ending, 90-degree minimum weather of Madrid for a crisp 55 degrees, but it was a great way to see more of London on foot. I underestimated the chilliness of London, I didn’t pack any pants, and it got so cold on the first night that the next morning I bought a second jacket. In reference to the title of this post, we used the city’s underground or subway, more commonly known as the tube to travel from the Hotel to downtown. Whenever a train would arrive, the phrase “Mind the Gap” would be pronounced in a perfect British accent before the doors would open – one of the many British English phrases I learned throughout the trip. A few things I took away from this trip:

1.    The U.S. Dollar Sucks - London was very expensive, especially for Americans. Before I came here, I already thought Madrid was expensive, but England was much worse. The two U.S. Dollars is currently equivalent to about one pound. This, along with switching money at an increased exchange rate really hurt! Even a man in one of the stores told us he felt really bad for Americans who visited here because everything is so pricey.
2.    I’ve assimilated into Spanish society more than I thought. Communication certainly was not a problem on this short trip, but several times I found my self-asking for directions in Spanish, it didn’t even cross my mind. It’s become second nature to me now, I’m surprised on how well I’ve adapted to the language. My sister has also told me that my “American” accent is slightly different now. Interesting.
3.    The weather sucks! We experienced typical England weather – cloudy and overcast. But 50 degree days in the middle of July? I thought Minnesota had it cold, I don’t even want to imagine what it’s like in Britain in the winter.

4.   London is hosting the Olympics next summer. You could feel in the air, the excitement is already building. There was a countdown clock in Trafalgar Square.

Now I’ve got four more days in Madrid, then it’s home sweet home.

In Christ,


After "Thriller Live"

The Westminster Bridge

2012 is coming soon!

Typical Red Telephone Booths

The World's Largest Ship in a Botle

Big Ben

Changing of the Royal Guards

Valencia Photos

Authentic, Valencian Paella

The Natural Sciences Museum is designed to look like an eyeball. I saw more of a fish.

More beautiful architecture.

A cool statue in the center of a roundabout made out of Cobalt Blue. Valencia's new soccer stadium is in the background.

In the City of Arts and Sciences.

At the Beach on the Mediterranean!

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Sorry for the long delay and update, things have been really busy here. Last Thursday, my sister and dad arrived to Madrid and everyone (and eventually everything) made it here safely. We’ve spent the first week exploring downtown Madrid more in depth, we visited a neat medieval festival in a small town called Hita, and also a local zoo. To cap off the first week, we went to El Saler and Valencia, two towns on the east coast of Spain and the Mediterranean Sea to spend some time at the beach and see another part of Spain.

Valencia was absolutely incredible! The most unique aspect that stuck out to me was the architecture, especially in the part of Valencia called “The City of Arts and Sciences”. Many of the buildings have unique designs related to the marine and sea life just off the coast. I was convinced that one of the buildings looks like a fish, but on the tour we learned it resembles an eye. I still think it looks like a fish. The city seemed to have everything from one of the best zoos in the world, to a world class athletic training facility where many of the best athletes in Europe train to a beautiful cathedral, where legend has it the Holy Grail is located. Two and a half days definitely was not enough time to explore the city, we wish we could have been there for much longer, there was so much to see and do.

El Saler is a town 8 km south of Valencia, and has one of the best beaches in Spain. It was also nice to switch up the running routes for the first time in over a month, it was very refreshing, but I forgot what humidity feels like, it was rough! The sea was very clean and we enjoyed swimming and spending time at the beach. The water felt excellent in the hot weather, however it was hard to relax in the sea as I constantly had to be on the lookout for Jellyfish. Luckily the closest I got to one was walking by one that had washed up on the beach. Another highlight of the trip was authentic Valencian Paella, a traditional dish made with rice, chicken, vegetables, and a variety of beans, it was delicious.

We’re now back in Madrid for the next two days, then it’s off to London!