Brilliant Christmas Customer Service

January 05, 2016 By: erik Category: Internet, Marketing, Reviews, Spain 127 views

dollOn December 24, I ordered an Antonio Juan doll for my daughter. That might seem a bit late to you, but we were ordering it for Kings Day, the second mythical gift giver Christmas day in Spain, on January 6th. I ordered it online, via Amazon, but the order really went to a third party vendor.

On December 26, I received an email telling me that my order had been shipped.

On December 28, I received the package.
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My Local Machine Gun Store in Spain

December 17, 2015 By: erik Category: Scary, Spain, USA 191 views

Gun storeToday, after I dropped my daughter off at her French class, I went for a little walk. As I was strolling down the street, I walked by this shop. Perhaps, had I not been an American, I might not have stopped dead in my tracks, but I did. I evaluated the “Armament” flag in the window and began wondering if I hadn’t stumbled on the local ISIS Я Us recruitment center.
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State of the Offspring Address – November 2015

November 30, 2015 By: erik Category: Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos 74 views

Maybe if we put our heads together we can figure out how to have fun in an airport!Our November was primarily dominated by the run up to and execution of a whole-family trip to the United States to visit my family for Thanksgiving. However, plenty of other things happened first, so let’s get to those. On November 1st, All Saints Day, we took a lovely long walk on a nearby beach (we actually walked there from home) at Golden Hour.
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A Visit to Mimosa Hills Farm

November 24, 2015 By: erik Category: Offspring, Photos, USA, Videos 38 views

Mimosa FarmsDuring our visit to the United States for Thanksgiving, we took a little day outing to a local farm, called Mimosa Hills Farm. They give riding lessons and even have a special program to help people with mental disabilities from the local state institutions. We had a wonderful time.

When we walked into the barn, Ian pointed at each and every horse, declaring “I want montar that one! I want montar that one!” Nora was quite a bit more timid. If her brother hadn’t gone first, she might have chickened out about riding the horse.
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Pico de las Nieves with Kids

November 08, 2015 By: erik Category: Offspring, Spain, Travel 65 views

Nora on top of the worldOne of our favorite local hikes is the Pico de las Nieves, a mountain that we can see from our house that is only about as hard to climb as ten flights of stairs. On November 8th, we decided that it was time to take the kids there. It was a beautiful day with plenty of visibility, which made it a perfect choice. We packed a picnic lunch and hopped in the car and headed up.

Ian, unfortunately, has gotten quite sensitive to motion sickness, so we had to stop and get out of the car for 5 minutes about four times during what would normally be a 25 minute ride. Poor guy.
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State of the Offspring Address – October 2015

October 31, 2015 By: erik Category: Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos 155 views

Halloween 2015The Raslets made some good progress in October. The biggest event was Nora starting French lessons. We had been searching around for a potential French teacher for some time. Pretty much the only language that anyone is interested in teaching children in Spain is English; all the French classes are for older people. Someone directed us to a woman who lives in the building adjacent to us who was going to give French classes to students at a local school, but, as is often the case in public education, the funding dried up at the last minute and she ended up not doing it. I spoke to her, and she said, “Hmm, well, I’d need to brush up on my textbooks from school, but I could probably teach some basics to a six-year-old.” Not quite what I wanted to hear.
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Salamanca 2015 – Part 3 of 3

October 14, 2015 By: erik Category: Food, Photos, Spain, Travel 186 views

SalamancaWhen we awoke on October 11th, after a full ten hours of slumber, we realized how exhausted we had been, not just from the many kilometers of tourism walking we’d done the day before, but from all the stress in our lives that made this two day vacation such a necessity. Having seen and done most of the main things on our todo list the day before, we were free to walk leisurely around the city. We did stop in at the tourism office to see about getting a guided tour, but all the guided tours were booked, except for the ones starting at 5pm, and the weather forecast was for rain at 5pm.
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The Flowers and Faces of Convento de las Dueñas – Salamanca 2015 – Part 2 of 3

October 12, 2015 By: erik Category: Photos, Spain, Travel 106 views

On the morning of October 11th, we visited several places around Salamanca, but one we had not planned on entering, but just happened upon was the Convento de las Dueñas, a Dominican convent that dates back to 1419, when Doña Juana Rodríquez Maldonado – ironically, as her second surname means “badly donated” – donated her palatial Moorish-style house to the Dominican Order.

There are certain circumstances, based on weather, mood, lighting and other intangibles, when everything seems photogenic. With the ground wet from a night of rainfall, I found myself in one of these states that morning, and I could have spent hours upon hours taking photographs in the beautiful courtyard of the Convento de las Dueñas. Alas, I exercised constraint, but here are only some of my photos.
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Salamanca 2015 – Part 1 of 3

October 12, 2015 By: erik Category: Photos, Spain, Travel, Videos 199 views

SalamancaFor years now, my wife and I have been wanting to go to Salamanca. Everyone that has been there or lived there touts it as one of the most beautiful cities in Spain. Frustratingly, we drive right by it twice (or more) every year heading down to Extremadura for the summer. With Monday, October 12, being a national holiday in Spain (something about a guy named Columbus), meaning no work for my wife or school for my kids, we decided to drop the kids off at their Spanish grandparents’ house and drive the 3.5 hours south to the city that predates the Roman Empire, and has a university that has been in continuous operation since the year 1134.
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State of the Offspring Address – September 2015

September 30, 2015 By: erik Category: Family, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos 135 views

Carlos V in LaredoSeptember was a good month, but not nearly as milestone-laden as August. The highlight of the month was the visit from my parents, which greatly boosted Ian’s English. The biggest steady improvement over the month was Ian’s language and potty skills. The other major event was Nora starting her scholastic career in first grade.
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