Sunday, March 24, 2013

Dreaming of Sevilla

Looking back at my last post, I realize it was maybe a bit premature... I talked about the warming weather and coming spring. Well, spring has come, but I'm not sure where that warm weather went. We actually had snow this morning. And while it didn't actually stick the fact that it is in the end of March and snowing just seems odd. Hopefully this will be the last winter blast.

Perhaps something about cold weather inspires dreams of exotic and faraway places... places that hold a special place in our hearts. Tonight Lukas and I were dreaming about places we would love to go. He was wistfully talking about Belfast where he spent a semester a few years ago, and we looked at some photos of Belfast. Then I wanted to look at photos of Sevilla, where I spent my semester abroad four years ago. It's hard to believe it was really four years ago. I'm so thankful I had that opportunity. What a semester it was!

There was such a rich culture in Sevilla and so much to explore. I loved all the news sights and tastes and sounds.

Not to mention simply having the time to spend several months overseas. How I would love to have a few months to spend overseas again sometime. There is something unique about being in college though... you have opportunities to do things that would be much harder to actually pull off as a young adult. I'm very thankful for the memories and the things I was able to do during that time.

I loved walking those old streets and seeing historical architecture. La Torre del Oro in the picture above was a landmark I passed everyday on my way to school--and it's hundreds of years old!

I loved the warmth of southern Spain. While I do remember wearing a coat in January and February, it was already warm by this time of year there.

And it was so beautiful! Aren't those flowers by the river gorgeous?

The picture above isn't actually of Sevilla, but the coastal town of Cadiz, about a two hour train ride away. I post it because it reminds me of sunshine, warmth and my love of the ocean and beach, which is accessible for a day trip when you're living in southern Spain.

Maybe one day I can return to Sevilla and bring my husband with me. You know how places just sort of become a part of you. Well, as a famous Spanish song says "Sevilla tiene un color especial"--it's a vibrant, colorful place that I will remember always.

It also made me think of the blog I kept during that time: I hadn't looked at that blog in a while, but seeing the captured memories and photos there makes me happy to remember.

Besides dreaming about places I've been, I also often dream of going to new places, and seeing new sights. For example, I would love to see India, Thailand, Germany, Switzerland, Israel... and the list could go on. I have always had a desire to travel and see the world.

What kind of places do you dream about? 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

[Almost] Spring Musings

We are almost to mid-March, and I can't express how excited I am about the hints of the coming spring that we're seeing. In just a couple weeks, it will officially be spring! While it still oscillates from warm to cool right now, we are definitely seeing an upward climb in temperature, and a few of the trees even have some buds on them. I'm thankful to live in a part of the country that tends to have relatively mild winters that don't usually drag out too long. I'm definitely a warm weather kind of girl. That senior year of college dream I had to live in Chicago... yeah, that died pretty quickly when I thought about how long and cold the winters would be!

With the gradually warming weather, Lukas and I are trying to get out more. We are blessed to live close to the foot of a large hill (well, they technically call it a mountain, but it's certainly no mountain by Colorado standards) with a hiking trail up the side. It takes about 30 minutes to climb to the top, where there is a retreat center and a beautiful view of the town. We climbed up the hill yesterday and enjoyed the beautiful weather (warm enough for short sleeves!) and the fresh air.

We also decided to let our kittens (now about one year old, so hardly kittens anymore) explore around outside under supervision yesterday for a bit. They are indoor cats by necessity of our current apartment living situation, but we want them to have some familiarity with the outside in case we eventually live somewhere where they can spend more time outside. Poor Selah was actually scared being outside--she makes a great indoor cat--but Firestorm was as content as could be.

Besides counting down the days until spring is officially here, I have still been enjoying cooking. I find that most of my cooking happens on the weekends. During the week, with my busy full-time job, I just don't usually have time to make anything elaborate. On weekends, however, I often try to pick a more involved meal to cook (like the crockpot chicken tikka masala I tried today) or bake something like granola or muffins for the coming week. I may post some of those recipes soon--let me know if there are any in particular you are interested in seeing.

The treat for this weekend was white chip chocolate cookies--the first time I've tried making them. Nothing too fancy here, just Tollhouse's recipe (found here). Below you'll see a picture of the gooey, yummy, chocolate goodness that came out. I mixed up the recipe a bit, by substituting some of the white chocolate chips for dark chocolate chips--about one cup white chips and 1/2 cup dark chips (I didn't use the full two cups of chips that the recipe called for). So delicious!

This was a bit of an eclectic post, but I wanted to write about a few current simple delights in my life. I want to continue on a lifelong journey of cultivating thankfulness, and writing is a one way for me to do that. Happy almost spring, everyone!