Friday, 16 January 2015

First holiday in España

2014 would be the year when I finally went to Spain!
After we were in Gran Canaria a couple of year back, mi novio was like "the Canary Islands belong to Spain, so now you've been to Spain".. How about NO! That is definitely not the same! That's like saying you've been to the Faroe Islands when you've only been to Denmark (just because it's in the same Kingdom).. Denmark and the Faroe Islands are definitely not the same - just like Gran Canaria and Spain are not the same!! Oh wait, I'm kinda getting of track here.... Hehe

So, in Mayo 2014 we went to Spain for 2 weeks and it was a really great trip! In the first week the temperature was crazy... Seriously, at one point a sign said 46°C, which I kinda refuse to believe cause I didn't faint or anything; I think that the thermostat was faulty or something, but on a different day it said 42°C and that is more believable! If you stay in the shade as much as possible, then the heat is not too bad... The longest I think I stayed in the sun on a day like that was 10-15 mins and that was plenty - I was already starting to get lightheaded...

So hot.....
The second week wasn't as warm, and in the evening it was indeed too cold if you wore shorts (which Francisco did and got freezing cold).. Uh look at me, saying that it wasn't that warm, when it was around 30 degrees.. I guess you could say that I was getting kinda used to the heat, but honestly I think it's more the difference in the temperature from the first week to the next, that made it feel so cold.. Also, I am used to feeling unbearably warm when it's "only" 25 degrees here in the North, so I'm sure that the heat feels different up here,,, maybe it's to do with the humidity or something like that ?

One day after siesta (yes, that was every afternoon! I found it to be a waste of time and preferred to sit outside in the shade and read some Darkly Dreaming Dexter; however sleep was in the air and I wasn't always able to stay awake through siesta..) I opened the windows and balcony door to get some fresh air in - cause that's what you do after sleeping, right? At least that's what I always do... Well, a little while later Francisco and his brother were complaining that it was so warm inside, and were like "Who opened the windows???".. So apparently I let the heat into the house, which is a big NoNo when the sun is out... Oops.. What a topsy-turvy world..

Most people in Spain, or in this case the south of Spain, are tanned and brown eyes,, so it felt a little like I was sticking out with my pale skin and blue eyes.. Indeed I got a little bit of a tan - without getting burnt - and was feeling quite nice about it! That was UNTIL we went to the beach at Chipiona (or Chipirona as I called it; but that was only because we had eaten Chipirones in Chipiona, so can you really blame me for mixing them up?). We went to papá's property there and the neighbour came over to greet us... You should have seen the look on her face, it was a combination of being appalled and seeing a ghost, and she pointed at me and said: "Ay, que blanca!" (that pale/so pale)... If only she had seen me before my tan, then maybe she would have fainted.. Hehehe! Well, at least I have an excuse.. I'm from the North.. :p

Mi novio sunbathing at Chipiona! HE got sunburnt and not me!
At least I now know that I can stand some of the heat, and as mi novio pointed out several times: "Vanja, it's sooo good that you get to experience this heat wave and know that you can deal with it. Also I think that you look so happy here; plus your hair looks so much nicer and shinier.." Hm... I think he might be up to something (to those who can't read between the lines, he was trying to hint that we should live in Spain)! Hehe
But indeed, the heat was nice; or rather when it was around 30 degrees and no more, then it was nice! :)

The main purpose of the trip was to see where mi novio is from and to meet his family and friends! We definitely saw loads of people and they were all really REALLY great! Some sightseeing was squeezed in there, but indeed I enjoyed visiting people more - although I have to say that Sevilla is a beautiful city and Los Palacios y Villafranca (where he is from, AKA "el pueblo") is really lovely as well :) I especially love the fact, that even though the population of el pueblo is 38,000ish people, it still only took us 15-20 minutes to walk from one end of the city to the other! My theory is that there must be around 5-8 people living in each house! Indeed the houses are packed together so closely that there is basically no space in between them! That has to be how they fit 79% of the Faroese population into such a small city! ;)

La Romería in Los Palacios (a pilgrimage)
On one of the days, the whole family  (mamá, papá, Francisco's brother, brother's fiance, Francisco and I) went on a day-trip to Aracena! It was a lovely little town, where we went to la Gruta de las Maravillas - this grotto with stalactites (the English word for it according to Google translate; I only know it in Danish as "drypsten") and then the jamón museum!! :) Afterwards we went out for a meal, went to the castle and bought some nice souvenirs. Papá bought me a necklace with my birthstone and Francisco bought us a beautiful pot for our plant Pancho (a cactus back in Edinburgh) :)

Enough about all that.. How did I manage with the language you ask?? To be honest, it was a bit of a challenge at times...
I barely understand anything that mamá says, but papá speaks louder and slower, that I can almost always understand what he means... Okay, sometimes I'm completely clueless about what he means, but I would say that I understand him 65% of the time.. It might also be because he uses hand gestures a bit as well when he is talking.. An example is when I met one of the neighbours and there was only me, papá and her there. I didn't know who she was, and she was trying to tell me something... Papá must have seen the confused look on my face, cause he repeated what she said and from picking up some of the words, I understood that she was a neighbour that lives next to Pedro's house (or further down the road, but at least he was pointing to the right, so it was there somewhere).. The imperative word was "vecina" which I know means neighbour (female).

Going out with friends was also nice - especially because they told me stories about Francisco, from when he was young :)) Luckily some of his friends (and cousins) could speak English, cause otherwise it would have been difficult to get to know any of them... It was very nice and refreshing to see Francisco in his natural environment and being among people that know him the way I do - I loved every moment of it! I can't wait till next time I see them, and I get to hear more stories! Muahahaha :)))

Having drinks at la Mua..
Dinner party posing
To finish off I have to mention the food.. I SERIOUSLY love jamón... I mean really LOVE jamón! I couldn't get enough... At one point I took the knife and was trying to cut a piece off it, but the knife slipped and cut my finger - that's how much I love it, that I would risk loosing a finger! Mmmm...
I tried a lot of other local dishes, for example caracoles and cabrillas (snails, small ones and bigger ones), salmorejo, gazpacho, pringá, puchero and other things that I don't know the names of.. I liked everything that mamá cooked, except one of the dishes - which I still ate out of politeness, but then felt sick afterwards... She saw right through me, cause even though I lied and said that I liked it, she knew that I didn't... My most favourite dish was this Aubergine bake - OMG it was good!! I've tried making it back here in Edinburgh, and even though it's nice, it's still not the same..... Uh! And not to forget the pestiños! - This pastry that's soaked in honey... My mouth seriously waters just thinking about them...
Of course we also had to have Churros con chocolate for breakfast one of the days, and it was total bliss! I accidentally spilled my glass of chocolate all over the table and road (were sitting outside the cafeteria) - typical clumsy me, but Francisco was nice enough to get me a new one! :)

Mmmm... Churros and chocolate!

I had an absolutely lovely trip and everyone and everything was so nice! I honestly can't wait for our next holiday to Los Palacios, which will be in April 2015, when Francisco's brother is getting married!! :)

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The Tale of the Spanish..

Let me tell you the story about the time when the Spanish 'in-laws' came to the Land of the Scots..
*Imagine Western music in the background*

Before you sit back and relax as I begin my tale, I would like to inform the reader that this post is about some of the interesting things that happened while my 'in-laws' from Spain were visiting.. They are wonderful people and I think that Spanish is a beautiful language which I yearn to know, BUT in the last week I did get a bit frustrated at times, which will probably show in my writing and I want to stress that I do not mean to reflect badly on anyone during my frustration :)

It all started in the month of May which shall henceforth be known as Mayo! The language closest to my ear would be Spanish and as I only know a wee bit more than a hand full of words it proved to be ten very interesting days.. In mostly good ways of course!

As the in-laws arrived around midnight on a Friday there was only basic chatting on the first night, where my novio (novio=boyfriend) did all the translation. On Saturday and Sunday everything went smoothly for most of the time as my novio was always there to translate! Indeed I found that I could sometimes follow the conversation if I knew what the subject was, as I could pinpoint some words and in the context could imagine what they were saying :) This was all good and well and we had a good weekend with sightseeing and the likes! I did find out though, that if they said something to me while Francisco was not around, it could have been about anything and it was very difficult to understand what they meant, unless I could catch some words.. One day papá did a hand gesture and said the word "puerta" (puerta=door) I was like aaaahhh he wants me to shut the door.. Hehe

But then Monday came... Francisco had to go to work and I was left alone with the whole language-barrier standing between me and the in-laws...
I completely understand the whole thing about there being different dialects in different regions of a country, I even know that from my own little country, but it's really frustrating when I'm trying to say the words like "from the book" and they do not understand me! I mean, is my pronunciation that bad? Okay okay, I was warned that in the South of Spain, where they are from, there are some letters that are not pronounced, but I really did not expect that it was to this extent..
When I said "perro" or "bebe" (perro=dog, bebe=drink) they were just looking at me like "what are you trying to say?" But when they say "guta" instead of "gusta" and "cansa" instead of "cansada" (gusta=like, cansada=tired) I'm just supposed to know what it means??

The whole time they were here, I heard mamá say "tambien" ALL the time! Or at least that's what I thought she said... (tambien=also) I was just scratching my head and wondering why she constantly said that word because I didn't understand it in the context.. BUT after like 9 days I realised that she wasn't saying "tambien" at all, but was indeed saying "esta bien" but pronounced it "ta bien".. Huff! 

The other day I came home after doing some grocery shopping, I was really and I mean REALLY taking my time putting everything away in the kitchen, and mamá came into the kitchen and asked me something... I just stood there looking silly with an expression on my face which must have been funny,, I tried to figure out what she was trying to say, and I was waaaay off.. Finally I just had to say "no entiendo" (I don't understand) and she just went back to watching a movie... I felt soooo lost, but luckily 5 mins later Francisco came home and I have never been happier to see him! Awww I'm so glad you're home, you're mum was trying to tell me something and I have NO idea what.. He then asked her, and she only wanted to offer her help.. Haha! A lovely gesture by her which was completely lost on me! Oh well..

On important thing that happened on Sunday though, was that because the weather was lovely, we went to Portobello beach! Papá loves going to the beach so he insisted, and although the weather was a bit changeable he still wanted to check what the water was like.. He took off his shoes, rolled up his trousers and went running for the water.. I got cold just watching him but he said that it wasn't too bad.. Sure sure! He was just trying to be tough, cause later in the evening he was Skyping with some relatives in Spain and I heard him telling them about what he did, and then he went "Frío! Brrrr" (frío=cold) Ha! I knew it! I told him it would be cold, but he insisted hehe :p That same day we also went up to Calton Hill, so it was a long day mostly spent outside...

Testing the waters...

Tuesday came and papá started getting a cold (I wonder why), and Wednesday he spent the whole day completely plonked on the sofa.. Poor guy! :( But luckily he was all better on Thursday! However, on Thursday evening just after dinner I started feeling a bit off; heavy head and tired.. By every hour I got worse and by the end of day it was I who was plonked on the sofa.. On Friday I was completely out of it,, I could barely function.. I just sat on the sofa until after Francisco's siesta and then I went straight to bed - which I stayed in for at least 4 hours.. The way I get better is to sleep it off!

By Friday we were kinda in a routine with preparing breakfast, then me putting something on the TV for them to watch, Francisco coming home for siesta, Francisco going back to work and them going for a walk and I would either stay home and enjoy the quiet or go run some errands.. But still there were some communication issues... Mamá was preparing something for dinner and she needed garlic,, the problem was that I didn't know the Spanish word for garlic - and being ill really didn't help.. So I just looked at her with a blank expression,, I then went for a pen and paper and had her write it down, "Ajo" Aaaahhh you mean garlic?
To be honest, the whole thing about pronouncing "j" like a "h" is a bit lost on me, so all I heard her say was "ahu", which I tried to Google translate but obviously came up with nothing.. Yeah yeah I know, I should have known better,, but in the moment my mind just goes blank!!

Saturday I spent at home as well while they all went on a sightseeing trip with the Hairy Coo :) Francisco and I have been with the Hairy Coo before and although it's a looong trip, it's really good and I would recommend it to anyone coming to Edinburgh for a visit! :)
I have to admit that it was great to have most of the Saturday all to myself, cause a) I was still ill and needed one more day to get better, and b) I just wanted to totally relax in an empty flat!
Well, the flat was not completely empty, a friend came over to pick up a jumper which she had started to knit, but which I finished for her (I knitted the sleeves and put it all together) :)

Well,, after the relaxing Saturday I was feeling a lot better and was up for a Sunday filled with walking around the National Museum followed by Primark!
Mamá y papá were VERY impressed by the Museum and indeed I have to say that the hours which were spent walking around the museum were almost the funniest hours of the whole ten days!

Walking past a statue of James Watt.
Mamá: Was this man a writer or something?
Francisco: No, he improved the steam-engine.
Mamá: The time-machine?

Looking at this big old machine.
Papá: What's this?
Francisco: I think it's an old version of a machine to accelerate atoms.
Papá: What's an atom?

Seeing an Antelope.
Mamá: Is that a Unicorn?

After the museum they got to go to McDonald's for the first time EVER, and then on a shopping spree at Primark..

It has all definitely been a multicultural experience.. On one of the days we had Haggis with neeps and tortilla (Spanish omelet) and another day we were watching Braveheart dubbed in Spanish, with no English subtitles,, basically the only word I understood was LIBERTAAAAAAD (FREEDOOOOOOM)!!
The breakfast has been Spanish jamón y queso almost every day (jamón=ham, queso=cheese) and I can honestly say that I looooove jamón y queso! But towards day 10 I was getting a wee bit tired of it... Hehe

Also they were able to try some Faroese cuisine - dried fish, dried whale and blubber - which they kinda liked :p

The truth is, that even if I didn't want to learn Spanish I still would, as everything has been in Spanish for 10 days!
One time I even made a sound after a big sneeze, which I am not used to making, I have no idea where that specific sound came from, but it had everyone looking at me! Francisco was like "did you say that on purpose?" I got very confused cause I just made any sounds really, and I thought "Oh shit, have I said a Spanish bad word or something??" no, luckily it wasn't that, but I had made a sound like "wow" or something like that which apparently is common to say after a big sneeze in Spain.. Okay? So I am starting to make sounds that are common in a different country, without even knowing it?? Francisco just looked at me with a big smile "that was your first Spanish interjection, you're getting integrated" Hehehe, at least I think this is a sign, that if I move to Spain or something I might indeed end up being kinda fluent in words and sounds.. Can you imagine? Me! Very pale living in Spain,,, I'd probably have to stay inside most of the day cause even with tons of sun lotion I would still get burnt! Hahaha

Indeed they were praising Spain to the skies! Francisco was even saying that he thought they were doing it so much that there had to be a reason... So we came to the conclusion that they are trying to make me want to move there,, or Francisco and me in a few years I guess.. The most popular phrase was "After being in Spain you won't want to come back to Edinburgh because it's so cold here".. That may be, but the truth is that I don't really mind the cold that much, I'm kinda used to it and I know that the only thing you have to do to get warm is put on a jumper or turn on the heating :p
So I told my dad their "plan", and he just laughed and said to just let them praise Spain, cause we're not gonna move there anyway... OH? That's something I didn't know.. So I suspect that my dad will also praise the Faroes when Francisco comes to visit, trying to persuade him to move there (he has even pointed out some houses that are for sale at the moment, one of them even being next door to his') HAHA! So that's what you think dad?!

I'm sure that Spain is lovely and I know that the Faroes are, but when the time comes we will have to make the decision on our own - we can't make everyone happy! And who knows, we might end up in Switzerland or something! Hehe

I can only imagine how tough the 10 days would have been if I didn't understand a single word of Spanish, cause at least I was able to get by with the little amount of words I knew at the beginning!

I have been writing down most of the new words I've been learning and I am quite satisfied with the amount, so I can't really complain about anything, because my vocabulary has increased by a good amount of words, which will come in handy when I'm going to Spain to visit around Easter next year!

All in all it was 10 great days, and although I need a wee break from Spanish at the moment I'm feeling a lot more motivated to learn it now! :)

Monday, 15 April 2013

Language Lesson!

So, as I have said before I'm trying to learn Spanish... Indeed I haven't made as much effort as I would've liked lately, but at least I've learned some new words..

Well, in about two weeks time the in-laws are coming to visit for around 10 days, and I am really excited! At the same time I'm a nervous wreck cause they don't know one word in English and communicating with them is therefore going to be very interesting! And to top it all off, Francisco will be working the whole time they're here and my university classes and exams have finished, meaning that I don't have much else to do than just stay home - trying to speak Spanish! Ehm... Would you like ehm quieres some té o café?? Ehm leche??
Ahhh it's going to be fine, don't worry! - Is what I try to tell myself a few times a day..

Well, to try to make this great experience a little less awkward/embarrassing for me, I've come up with the idea to make a spreadsheet with some sentences in English and translate them into Spanish! That way I can print it off and use it as a help + practice a bit before they arrive!
Then my brilliant mind thought "Hm, Francisco is trying to learn some Faroese for when he come to visit this summer, so why not also translate the sentences into Faroese at the same time??" What a good idea Vanja! So translate the sentences into Faroese has also been done! ;)

And to prove that I'm committed to learning the sentences, here's a print-screen of the spreadsheet! :)

Okay okay, I'm not completely finished..

On the even brighter side, after hearing/speaking Spanish for ten days my vocabulary should definitely be much improved! :)

To finish up, here's an update on the whole moving thing!
We moved into the new place on the weekend of the 23rd of March :) First we spent all of the Saturday moving Francisco's stuff - and waiting for Virgin Media man to install internet. Then on Sunday we had hired a man with a van to move my stuff! He arrived at 13:00 and KAPOW 30 mins later all my stuff was in the new place! That's how it's done! hehe, but the mess was really bad though, I'm amazed at the amount of stuff I've got..
This is all just my stuff (and some of it is even missing on the photo)

Well, we have settled into the new place and we are loving it! Now the only thing left for me to do, after working though this pile of uni work, is to prepare for ten days of intense Español - and I can't wait! :)))))

Sunday, 17 February 2013

On the move again!

So this is my 3rd year in Edinburgh and so far I have lived in 3 different flats…

1st year I was staying at Student accommodation through the University, which although it was VERY expensive, was a good way to get to know other students from different countries and on different courses! It was definitely worth the money, cause I still keep in touch with some of the people that I met there, and would totally recommend it to anyone going to a new country for studying.

2nd year I was renting with a close friend (that I met in 1st year’s flat). Even though it might not have been the best neighbourhood, it was a beautiful flat and a fantastic year! A lot of great stuff happened that year, the best of course being that I met my better half! J

3rd year came, and I moved into a shared flat with this nice girl from Tajikistan. Compared to 2nd year though, this flat is never going to as good and even though my flatmate is extremely nice, there is just something missing…

Well, something is gonna change! My better half and I have come to the decision that it is time for us to get our own place and so we have decided to do just that!

Excited? Yes VERY! Nervous? A wee bit I guess… But I have no doubt in my mind that it is going to be FANTASTIC! J

The whole thing about packing and having to move all my stuff is not really an appealing thought.. I have so much stuff and I have no idea where it all came from, because when I came to Edinburgh I only brought one suitcase and a backpack.. Oh well, you have to take the, in this case, VERY good with the only kinda bad! Woohooo!

Soo… For the last 3 weeks we have been flat-hunting, which has been exciting and at the same time very stressful; especially when viewings that we had booked got cancelled, cause the person before us took it!! But Friday was a VERY good day for us! We went for a viewing in the evening and the flat was lovely, and to make the situation even better, BOTH of us loved it! Luckily the landlady thought that we would be the perfect tenants, so we GOT IT!! J

So if references and everything else goes fine, we'll be moving in around mid-March! J

Nice isn't it?? I'm really looking forward to getting all of our stuff moved in and starting this exciting new chapter!!

Tuesday, 29 January 2013


Hello, my name is Vanja, and I am a knit-aholic! Hey Vanja....

Okay, maybe I am exaggerating a wee bit; but sometimes when I get started I can't seem to stop! As soon as I finish a project I want to start a new one! However, sometimes I get out of the mood and don't knit for months...

This last year I've really been in the knitting-mood and I wanted to post some of my projects! I haven't taken photos of everything I've made, like for example the approx. ten pair of slippers I've knitted in 2012 and then one special photo that I can't publish, cause it's a gift that can't be revealed quite yet! But at least here is a taste:

Jumper for the little princess, Navia yarn - made Summer 2012

Matching hat, Navia yarn - Summer 2012

One of the 4 hats I made as Christmas presents (2 were purple where this one is maroon, Navia yarn) - Christmas 2012

Jumper for my better half, so that he can stay warm during the Scottish winter! Navia yarn - Summer 2012

Another jumper for gumma's princess, Navia yarn - December 2012

Jumper for me, purple and black Navia yarn - Summer 2012

Blue bolero for me, made with mohair - Summer 2012

Thin jumper, Navia yarn - December 2012

My most resent project, purple and black with Sirri yarn - January 2013

Crochet baby blanket for Emma's little Benjamin, Navia yarn - Summer/Autumn 2012

For little Benjamin, Navia yarn - Summer/Autumn 2012

Although the price for knitting-needles in Edinburgh is less than a 1/4 of the price in the Faroe Islands, the yarn is more expensive.. Or at least the type of yarn that I like; and if I had had access to it here, I'm sure that I wouldn't get any university stuff done, but would just be knitting!

Soo,, what do you think? ;)

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Another Year Commences!


My new year's eve was mostly spent with the lovely little family of my best friend :)
There was sushi, cake, champagne and other lovely things to indulge us with and we even lit fireworks with gumma's little princess! All in all a very nice evening which will be remembered!

Soo,, thinking about new year's resolutions I have to say that my biggest one is to be able to speak more Spansh! I am still making an effort to learn it and my vocabulary is slowly growing..

The Spanish in-laws will hopefully be coming to Edinburgh for a visit in April, and since they don't speak a word of English, I will need to know more than simple formalities if I wish to be able to communicate with them...

I am using podcasts from iTunes and a course on the Rosetta Stone program to learn, but the Rosetta Stone program has a annoying amount of repetitions which are driving me crazy... But I think I will just have to endure cause I believe it to be beneficial in the end!

So all you lovely people out there! How did you greet the new year and what are your new year's resolutions?? :)

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Discipline! - It's JKCC time!

All this demanding coursework at the end of the trimester, is really getting to me! It's making me go crazy, impatient, emotional, depressed, angry, sad and you NAME it! I'm not all that fun to be around these days.. I could really slap NAPIER across the face, for putting deadlines in the same week!
The only upside I can think of, is that Friday next week all of my assessment will have been handed in and demonstrated, and all that's left is only one exam! Still the work has to be done before the fun can begin!

That's the thing about being on a Computing course,,, you don't just hand in your program but you also have to demonstrate it and explain your code... Hrmf!

Oh well... I've just done one demonstration right now - which I passed - and instead of going home on this cold Thursday evening, I've decided to stay at the JKCC (Jack Kilby Computing Centre) to work work work...
And even though I don't have to go to uni on Fridays, I've decided to kick myself in the bum tomorrow morning, and getting my ass to the Kilby!

So to all of yous struggling at the end of the trimester, YOU CAN DO IT! (or you have to at least try!)