life lately: september to december

January might be almost over, but it's not too late to round up all my miscellaneous photos from the last four months.  In between work and some traveling, here's some of what we got up to from September to December...

September was fairly crazy.  We spent the first week of the month in Greece (see our posts here if you haven't already!) and came back to a few days of work orientation and a full-on apartment hunt.  We'd been searching for a place to live while in Greece (most intensely during the second half of our trip), and since we still didn't have anything lined up, some friends generously allowed us to stay with them while we looked.  We moved on to a hostel eventually (where you can see Danny working below), which was the same hostel we stayed at when we couldn't find anywhere to live two years earlier when we first came to Madrid.  So much about the situation wasn't ideal, but we did get to live in our old neighborhood (La Latina) for a bit, allowing us to take some walks around a place we hadn't called home for some time. 

You know the rest of the story - at the end of the month we, with a great sigh of relief, moved into our much-loved current apartment on Calle de Alcalá.  Days later, our friend Sam, who we met during our first year in Spain, came to visit for a week.  He took up residence on our couch and gave us the motivation to get out and see and do some top Madrid sights like Retiro Park, Gran Via, Plaza Mayor, the Royal Palace, and Almudena Cathedral.  Of course, we had to make a stop at a few Spanish institutions, too, like San Ginés for chocolate and churros, and 100 Montaditos for tiny, cheap sandwiches.

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In October, we happily welcomed our third set of guests!  Glenn and Natalie, family friends of Danny's, came to Madrid on vacation and really kindly took us out to dinner one evening. They insisted we pick a vegan place to meet, and seeing how we don't eat out much, we didn't really have any good ideas.  We decided on Levél Veggie Bistro near Retiro and we all really enjoyed the food and, of course, the company!  Now, who wants to be our fourth visitor... ;)

Also in October, we celebrated Danny's birthday with a gathering of close friends at our place.  Danny selected a menu of pad Thai, macaroni and cheese cups, pigs in a blanket, and peanut butter brownies made by our friend Gemma.  It was a very 'Danny' menu, and a fun evening for sure! 

This is our first apartment where, for a variety of reasons, I've felt comfortable hanging our laundry out on the line to dry, so we've taken advantage of it in a big way.  I'm not saying we didn't wash our clothes in past years - we did!  We just had an indoor drying rack, but that doesn't work as well for things like sheets, duvet covers, etc. - and so maybe what I'm saying is that bigger items didn't get washed as often...?  Yes.  Anyways, lots of laundry and so there's a photo below of it from our bedroom window, and another of Danny standing in the courtyard hanging a pillowcase.

Finally, every year Halloween seems to gain a bit more popularity in Spain.  It's easier to find pumpkins, more kids understand what trick-or-treating is (doesn't mean they can actually go out and do it, but that's beside the point), and store windows let you know they have goods for the holiday.  This year we decided to carve a jack-o-lantern, and until mold started growing all over him and onto our windowsill only a few days later, he sat quite festively on the sill.

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In November we took advantage of the opportunity to get outside a few more times with walks to the park and around the neighborhood before taking out our winter jackets from storage at the end of the month.  Throughout the fall we also noted the dramatic increase of Spanish flags being hung from balconies all around Madrid as Catalonia voted on an independence referendum and tensions remained high between the two sides, in particular the two largest cities in Spain, Madrid and Barcelona.  On some weekends we saw people wearing the flag as a cape or carrying signs as they walked to and from protests or demonstrations - things have quieted down here for now, but we know that might not always be the case. 

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December has simultaneously been a quieter and a busier month in Spain for us, as there's really only about two weeks of school, but in the past we've spent those two weeks off traveling.  All of my photos from December are of food - oops!  In December we got to that point, where, like now, unless it's a really nice day, we don't really take extraneous trips just to be outside, most trips (to the grocery store, to run errands, etc.) are out of necessity.  So, not many photos. 

Danny and I realized at the start of the month that we hadn't had an afternoon tea since my birthday over six months prior, so one Saturday morning we put together a very simple one with just scones, jam, cream, and tea.  Delicious!

The weekend before our last week of school we made some traditional Christmas Eve and Christmas morning dishes since we were going to be out of town on the actual holidays and while we'd surely get to eat something tasty on our travels, we thought it would be fun to celebrate twice.  Right?  Right...except I forgot that some of the fun of traveling over the holidays is that you don't actually have to cook ;)  We spent (no joke) eight hours on a Friday after school making chili and cornbread and about sixty sugar cookies and by the time we finished, we had no energy left to frost said cookies.  Saturday morning we somehow convinced ourselves to get back in the kitchen to make blueberry coffee cake and frost all those cookies, some of which we gave to our new neighbors, and a few others we were able to pawn off on friends, but honestly, I think we ate about 45 of them between the two of us.  Apparently, we need more friends to give cookies to.

We bought a homemade Christmas pudding at our (British) church's Christmas fair that same weekend and had our (British) friends over to help us consume it correctly.  I think we were both a bit skeptical of it based on everyone's descriptions, but in fact, it was delicious!  I'm not sure I'd describe it as a pudding, as it seems like more of a cake to me, but it's not my culture's dessert, so, a pudding it is.

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We spent the final week of December (and into the beginning of January) on a trip around parts of Germany, Austria, Slovenia, and Croatia.  Last week I did a "Top of 2017" post, with a few photos and lists from the year, as well as a little peek into 2018.  Check it out here if you missed it.