Saturday, May 28, 2011

First night out on the town.

Last week some of my former co-workers from Chicago came to visit.  They performed an audit here in Barcelona at one of my former employers distributors.  They were only here for a short time, but luckily I was able to see them.  I had left my former employer only 1 month and 5 day before so there wasn't too much to gossip.  They finally called at 10:30pm to meet them out for drinks (I was about to head to bed if they didn't call by 11pm).  Well I met them at a bar near the beach here where we had a couple of pictures of Sangria (they already had a few prior to my arrival).  That bars outdoor sitting closed at midnight so we walked about 15 minutes to get to a club.  We got to the club and had some more drinks and then a few more.  I finally got home at 4am and I slept until 2pm the next day.  I am not cut out for night like those anymore, I need a full 24 hours to recover. Here are some silly pictures from that night...

Here is me and Lissette:
Here is Jonathan and Lissette:
 Here is me and Jonathan:

If you are wondering where Jeff is, he was in Russia when Jonathan and Lissette were here.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sasha is a-okay

Whenever we talk with friends or family from the States the first question is "How is Sasha doing?".  I thought I would satisfy everyones curiosity here.  Sasha is doing fine.  She is loving life in Spain, with the beach, apundante sunshine pretty much daily and me being home with her most days.  Here journey here was a stressfull one, not sure if it was more stressfull on her or me. Stay tuned for the story of her journey.For now here are a few pictures of her enjoying life here.
This is her first trip to the beach the day she arrived her:

 She likes to run with Jeff in the sand:
 Here she is patiently waiting for me and Jeff to finish our Sunday lunch:
 Here Jeff had her try on my sunglasses:
 Here is she is doing her favorite activity sun bathing on our balcony:

Friday, May 20, 2011

She's down for the count...

It was a lovely Sunday afternoon, Jeff, Sasha and I had just finished our late lunch (3pm). Well Sasha didn't eat she just laid in the sun while we ate. I have been here for a whole 12 days and life was good. We were on our way back to the apartment and decided to cut through a park I hadn't been through. We stopped for a minute to sit on some chairs while we let Sasha run around and we soaked in some more sun.

We were on our way back to the apartment probably 30 feet from where we were sitting when I fell down one stair. Anyone who knows me knows I am clumsy, but this wasn't my fault. It is hard to explain but the park is tiered sort of...every maybe 20 feet you walk there is a step or two. The ledge of the steep is concert and the base of the steps is gravel/stone. Well the step I had stepped onto had some gravel missing that created a sort of a divit causing me to fall. This was no ordinary fall, I fall ALL.THE.TIME and I knew this one was different. I fell forward onto another step and landed on my side and was grabbing one of my ankles. Upon landing I heard Jeff ask if I was okay and then there is Sasha, licking my face. I wasn't okay I knew that, but I didn't know if I broke something or it was just a sprain.

I told Jeff we need to go to the hospital because if I did break something I didn't want to have it "set" in correctly and I wanted some relief. So he took Sasha back to the house, which was a block or two away. Where was I? Sitting upright all busted up in the middle of this part on the step. While he was gone I was searching on my iPhone where the nearest private hospital was and breathing through the pain. Jeff FINALLY came back from dropping Sasha off at the house bearing my insurance card, water and a bag of ice. He then tells me he needs to go to the mall to get cash so that we can take a taxi to the hospital. What? So he goes to the mall...where am I, still sitting in the middle of the park. He FINALLY gets back, well now I have to get up to walk about a block to catch the taxi as we are in the middle of a park. We sat there for at least 30 minutes for me to muster up the courage to get up as I am in pain. There were also a few failed attempts during those 30 minutes. So I am finally up and had to shuffle my feet in order to move as regular walking was too painful. We get to the exit of the park and there are two steps, crap. It took some time and a little pep talk to myself to get down them. Finally, we are feet away from hailing a taxi. I pointed out a taxi to Jeff and we get it.

I had the taxi take us to a hospital I found when I was sitting in the park waiting for Jeff. I didn't realize the hospital was a half way accross town. After 20 minutes we finally get there and I hop out of the taxi. We walk (I shuffled) over to the information desk to try out my Spanish. Well the lady essentially tells us that this hospital does not accept our insurance so we should call the number on the back of the card to see where is the nearest hospital that does. WHAT? So I call the number on the back of the card while Jeff tries to get information from their website. I get someone on the phone, but they don't speak English and there will not be anyone who does until tomorrow to assist me. After spending 20 minutes search on-line we still come up with nothing. While looking around the waiting area I see "Urgencies" sign, so I tell Jeff lets go there to see if someone can help us. I ask him to go ask and that I would stay here because it hurts for me to walk. Well he wasn't confident in his Spanish speaking for him to go alone, that was a bit irritating. My Spanish isn't great either, but I try to speak and play surades with people and I eventually get what I need. I guess Jeff doesn't like surrades.

So we get to the "Urgencies" area and I am crying again as I am in pain (probably from fustration also). Luckily the receptionist is able to get a nurse that speaks English. So we tell her the situation and she informs us that not all hospitals take the same insurance and that we would need to go to a hospital about 5 minutes away. They are very nice about it, apologize and call us a taxi. We get to the hospital where our insurance is accepted and I get admitted pretty fast as they weren't busy. I tell them about my fall and how I have only lived here for 2 weeks and this happened. The one nurse asks me about my health history, medications, etc, and the other cleaned my wound as I scrapped up my calf pretty bad from the fall. After questioning they give me orders to get an x-ray and tell me I don't need to come back after the x-rays are taken. I thought it was odd they weren't going to do anything bandage my ankle, give me pain meds, etc. So Jeff and I take the orders downstairs to have x-rays taken of my ankles and left calf. We sit in a waiting area and then are called in to the x-ray room. The x-ray attendant is wearing jeans, tennis shoes and an Abercrombie & Fitch t-shirt...interesting. He takes my pictures and then calls Jeff over to come and get me. I needed Jeff's support to walk/get off the x-ray table.

After all that I leave the hospital, thinking to myself "really that's it?". I don't know if maybe something got lost in translation or this is just how things are done here. So Jeff and I get in a taxi back home, this whole fiasco only took 3 hours. Here is a comparison of my ankle to Jeff's that we took while waiting for my name to be called for my x-ray photos. The yellow stuff on my calf is some sort of anti-bacterial stuff that they swabbed on me.

We get home and I proceed to call my sister (a nurse) to tell her about my experience and get some advice. She tells me to R-I-C-E, she learned this mneymonic in college, it stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation. She was also appalaud that they didn't have a translator at the hospital for us, ah isn't she cute. This isn't the US, things don't operate like that outside the 50 states. This is me resting...Jeff likes to take pictures of everything!
Since we didn't get an real clarity from my hospital visit I asked Jeff on Monday to ask his assistant and co-workers if this was normal and if they could possible recommend an English speaking doctor. After doing some research on my end and his we found a few doctors that speak English. Jeff's assistant was able to get me an appointment right away, otherwise I would have to wait until Thursday to see him.

Jeff comes home from the office and we go to the hospital. It was near the hospital we were at yesterday, if only we knew. We get there and it is obvious it is the wealthy people's hospital. It looks like a palace and there is a doorman at the entrance helping people in/out of cars dressed in a overcoat and top hat.

We get to the doctors office and wait for about 20 minutes to see him. We walk in and he is sitting at his desk. He introduces himself and told us to take a seat and explain why we are here. I tell him about my misstep and he asks to see it. So I come around the desk to show him and he tells me to come over here. There is a complete exam room adjoining his office (we learned this is common in Europe), I hope on the table and he starts pressing on my ankles. After about 1 minute he tells me I just sprained them and put compression bandages on each of them. He said I should rest and ice them 6 times a day for 10 minutes each. If I don't get better in 2 weeks we should return and he will perscribe physical therapy.
So since Sunday I have been taking it easy. This is what my ankle looked like yesterday, Day 5, sexy hey?
Jeff is out of town so I have been having to take the dog to potty/short walks and yesterday I had to go to the grocery store. It took me 20 minutes to get to the grocery store, usually it only takes me 5. With my injury I am walking slower than the senior citizens here!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


The one thing we love about living here....all the wine (and cheese). It is fairly inexpensive compared to the US. One of our favorites you can get for 17 Euro at the restaurant where we discovered it or 4.59 Euro at the grocery store.
This picture was taken at a favorite restaurant of ours, Cheese Me. Everything offered at the restaurant has cheese incorporated into it, it reminds us of home (Wisconsin).
We had this idea of logging all the bottles of wine we drank, but we thought of it too late. We can't remember how many we drank even in our short time here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The long awaited debut of this blog...

is finally upon us. I have created this blog to document our time here in Spain, and more importantly give our family and friends a glimpse of what our life is like here. It may seem glamourous living in another country, but sometimes it can be fustrating and down right irritating. On the other hand, we live about two blocks from the sea so it isn't all bad ;-)

Sasha and I have only been here full-time for 13 days and already have stories to tell.