State of the Offspring Address – October 2015

October 31, 2015 By: erik Category: Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos 95 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 154 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 81 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 141 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 89 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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Visiting Spain in September

September 28, 2015 By: erik Category: Family, Photos, Spain, Travel 252 views

The following is a document written by my father, Paul Rasmussen, about his trip to visit us in Spain in September 2015.


Paul and Erik in their preferred habitatWe said goodbye to our Springer Spaniel and left for the Charlotte airport at 5:30. Two hours later, when we arrived at our departure gate, we heard an announcement requesting volunteers to be bumped from the flight. Betsy and I had a quick meeting and considered their offer – $700 flight credit per person, a flight to New York tonight, a night at the JFK airport Raddison, and first class seats Friday to Spain. Sadly, it wasn’t the $1400 flight credit that swayed us, it was the temptation of first class seats to Europe. With mixed feelings, we watched USAirways flight 728 take off with our suitcases, but without us.
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State of the Offspring Address – August 2015

August 31, 2015 By: erik Category: Extremadura, Family, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos 115 views

Summer SonTo say that August was a month of milestones would be an understatement. The kids spent almost all of August in the little town of Higuera de la Serena, in Extremadura, in southern Spain, where their maternal grandmother is from. They had a blast, with the lack of schedule and structure that accompanies many memories of summer vacations. The milestone that most excites me is that Nora finally learned how to ride her bicycle.
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Hiking Mount Buciero

August 24, 2015 By: erik Category: Colindres, Photos, Spain, Travel 132 views

Hiking Mount BucieroBy far the most predominant geography where I live is the mountain that protects my town of Colindres, and the neighboring tourism beach town of Laredo, from the open Cantabrian Sea: Mount Buciero. Today I have yet another harrowing tale, not unlike the one from a few months ago, involving this salient landscape feature. Go have a glance at the introduction to that post to get a feel for the size and layout of this big green peninsular mountain.
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Textbooks – Spanish Schools Are Not Free

August 19, 2015 By: erik Category: Complaining, Parenting, Spain, USA 201 views

First grade Spanish text books.This September, my six-year-old daughter will embark upon her academic journey as a student; she’s starting first grade. When I was an elementary school student in the United States, I remember going to school on the first day, and finding each desk with a stack of books on it. Almost always, each book was old and worn, and part of the fun of the first day of school was to open the front cover to sign your name on the list of previous students who had been assigned that book. Sometimes you even knew the previous one-year-older kid who had had that book before you.
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Going Dark – The Dark Days of Summer

August 10, 2015 By: erik Category: Uncategorized 150 views

Every year, during my two week August vacation, I run out of data on my mobile data plan. Last year, when I ran out, I called my provider to ask them to take more of my money in exchange for more data, and they said, “Sure, we can give you more data starting on September 1st!” I told them where to shove their policies.
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