Living in Valencia Week 5

We can’t believe it, the last week was finally here. My students couldn’t believe it either. As they finished up their coursework, turned in assignments, and studied for finals, they are soaked up the last moments of the Spanish lifestyle.

This week was a whirlwind. After classes finished up on Wednesday, the students headed a few different ways, all of them were doing some traveling prior to coming home. Ashley became friends with them and decided to join Ruth and Lauren on a trip to London. She’ll have to do a guest post later on their weekend there.

Dustin headed off to Austria for WordCamp Europe. This opportunity was a huge blessing to us, because his involvement there helped cover his cost to come to Europe. So that left K and I in Valencia for a fun Mommy and K weekend. Before everyone left we took some fun pictures in Valencia to end our time there.

During this whole trip K loved walking the streets herself, she would say “I walk myself” to wherever we were going.  So she loved this one last family stroll around our neighborhood.

Since it was just me and K for the weekend, we enjoyed some yummy food out, it was hard enough to cook there with help but by myself I didn’t really try. The first night we had amazing Greek food at a new cozy restaurant called Kuzina. I also ordered a dish to take home for dinner the next night! Greece is one of the top places on my bucket list.

The next day we also meet one of the students’ host mom’s for lunch at a Thai Restaurant called Green Papaya. This was also very tasty. I love Asian foods, Thai wins because less of it is fried. We stopped on the way home to get a chicken from El Pollo Criollo, a place we tried last year when we had lunch with the same host mom Lucia! I wish I had known this was right on bus line 4 which went directly to Plaza de la Reina where we lived to because it was so so so so good! This was K’s dinner while I ate my greek leftovers and then we had it for lunch the next day and there was some left for Ash to eat Sunday night.

One day we enjoyed the park and the Museu de les Ciències. They had a kids area that had a fun water table, and “real life” construction zone for the kids to build a house with a play crane! GrandDad would have loved it! After the museum we made a quick stop in the Aqua mall to check it out right across the street.

K and I also made two trips to the beach during our weekend, she loves it now, and was covered in sand head to toe.  I was so worried she was going to get sand in her eye and I had to figure out how to deal with that by myself. But thankfully she didn’t complain of it.

On our last evening in Valencia, we met Dustin at the Metro stop as he returned from the airport and walked to Cruz Pampa. This may have been some of the best food we’ve had here. Argentinean steak houses are amazing, might have to add Argentina to the bucket list. Ashley’s flight was delayed and she returned to Valencia shortly after we got home from dinner.

On Monday we said good by to our “new house” as K calls it and took the high speed train to Madrid. We stayed near the Atocha train station that evening, then headed to the airport Tuesday morning. Lots of emotions as we headed back. I am forever grateful for this experience, and especially thankful I was able to bring my family and my sister to experience it as well. A piece of my heart will be in this city. We hope to return someday. Maybe then we’ll know more Spanish! Hasta la próxima Valencia!

Living in Valencia Week-1

We have successfully lived in Valencia for just over a week now. This is really our first experience ever living in any large city and relying on walking & public transit to get where you need to go. It is a good reminder for me because I take care of many patients who are also in the same situation however many of them lack the financial resources to use the bus system and ours in Dayton is not as extensive. The institute is about a 30 minute walk from our apartment. Dustin found a co-working space that is about a 2 minute walk from our apartment, and a CrossFit box that is a 30 minute walk as well.

The Spaniards start their days a bit later than we do typically, so Dustin can’t head to the co-working space as early as he would like. I’ll let him blog himself about the people he is meeting and his international CrossFit experience later! At the institute my students are taking a Spanish for Medical professionals course which I am sitting in on. I have quite a few Spanish speaking patients so it’s nice to know a bit to communicate with them better. Since two of my students are fairly strong in Spanish and two are newbies he is doing a bit of review of the basics as well. Then I teach my two courses, one is a course created by one of my amazing colleagues called Health Behaviors and Beliefs, the concepts in that course fit so well with my Holistic Diabetes Management elective. My students have such unique backgrounds and it’s be really fun learning from them!

The whole city basically leaves work to have lunch with their families, kids come home from school, parents come home from work, then everyone goes back to work/school after lunch. My favorite part of my walk to work is seeing all the dad’s pushing their kids to school on scooters! Some have a hand on two kids backs moving them along.

Since the school shuts down Dustin and I come home, make lunch, then he heads back to the co-working space and I find a cafe nearby with faster wi-fi. It’s much more efficient than walking another 1 hour round trip to go back to the institute.And a lot of times it doesn’t re-open until 4 or 5.

Ashley and K hang out in the apartment, go to the nearby park and today they took a walk to the Mercado Central for bananas, if you know K, her favorite food is most certainly a banana! Every time we go to the store she calls it the “Banana Store.” The Spaniards typically work late and then eat dinner round 8:30 or 9pm. Since we like for K to get 12 hours of sleep, we are still operating dinner on a normal 6ish schedule and then I work again after she goes to bed.

On Friday night we walked the Río Turia, the river is famous for its floods. The flood which occurred on the 14th of October 1957, known as the Great Flood of Valencia, flooded a large part of the city of Valencia. To prevent this from happening in the future, the river was divided in two, and the old part of the river has been turned into a green space for the city, which is know as the garden of the Turia.

We walked all the way to the “City of Arts and Sciences,” these buildings hold an aquarium,  IMAX Cinema, planetarium and laserium in addition to many other arts and cultural buildings. On our walk back we ate dinner out at Gordon’s which his an Argentinean Steakhouse.We had dinner there on our brief stay in Valencia last year, and were happy to return. We are going to go to the aquarium in a few weeks with the students one afternoon. (Group discount!)

Overall week 1 in Valencia was good and we are getting into a rhythm!