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Last week we went to Spain. This trip was paid for - house and plane tickets by my husband's parents as a gift to themselves celebrating 40 years of marriage. They also invited their daughter and her boyfriend along. So they rented a villa in Moraira off the white coast (Costa Blanca) with 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. It over looked the Mediterranean and the place had a private pool, too. The first couple of days: rain. But it cleared up and got sunny enough to get a tan and go for a swim. We played Boeren Bridge (aka Mormon Bridge) in the evenings while the kids slept and we had a BBQ just about every night.

Moraira is about 1 hour south of Valencia and 1 hour north of Alicante. We flew from Eindhoven to Alicante as this is cheaper than flying into Valencia. From Rachel's blog I've seen that Valencia is quite pretty and has really cool architecture. I didn't see much of Alicante but mostly I just saw a lot of houses that all looked the same - you know Spanish style with those orange-y roof tiles and arched everything and you know kind of boring in a way because they are all the same. I really liked the house we stayed in but every house looks like that so that's what I mean by boring. Moriara is a real beach town - very touristy, too. Lots of old, fat naked ladies on the beach - okay - they were just topless but that's more boobies than I wanted to see. I really have a new appreciation for modesty after spending two days at the beach. The water was warm and the waves were so fun to play in but then turning around and seeing a 3 year old naked boy pee in the water in front of everyone is just YUCK. I mean, at least sit down and pee in the water so no one sees you do it.

My favorite things about this trip though - having Mark, Oma and Opa, Auntie and Uncle help with the kids so I could relax a little - take a nap, etc. Also, I got to try some really good pastry thingies when we went into the old town part of Benissa. Mark and I took some really neat pictures on the trip. I found a little store called Jakarta - lots of jewelry - everything made in Indonesia - and all prices - really great! My only complaint is that I didn't get to spend as much time or money in that little shop. I got some cute post cards - which I shall try and post later and best part of all - going to church in Benidorm.

We got a little lost in Benidorm. We found the street the church was on but didn't have the right number. And we also found that Benidorm was a bit like Belgium - having no street signs anywhere. So we didn't realize that the main street and side roads all had the same name. We sat there for a little while waiting for Mark's phone to get Internet to look up the address on LDS.org but it has this new map thing that makes that difficult to search on such a little phone. So I said, we should say a prayer. Mark said - just a second, my phone is almost up... I said my own prayer... I walked up the street and back. Nothing. Then we started walking and we saw a cop. I said to Mark, go ask that cop for help... Mark said - you ask him. So I waved to him and walked over and said: English? And he said No. So in my very poor Spanish I said: L'Iglesia Jesus Christus - and basically pointed out on our google map print out the street. He didn't know anything but he asked a local walking by and that man did know. He told the officer and then the officer got out of his car and walked us to the right location. Thank goodness for prayers right?!!! I thanked Heavenly Father in my own little prayer as soon as we got inside. (Note to self: next time look up the name of the church in that language before you get there)

We just missed the Sacrament - too late. So that was a bummer. I didn't understand a thing - but that's really nothing different from every week here in Eindhoven :)

The branch in Benidorm was small. Maybe about 50 in total. A lot of the members where originally from some place else. Most of the gringo's where from places like England, Sweden and Australia. There was one guy from Nepal. Most of the dark spanish people where from South America - Lamanites - coming from Argentina, Ecuador, and Colombia. The few original Spanish people from Spain actually were blond and fair skinned although with dark eyes. I guess it's true that most Europeans - even Spaniards are fair skinned.

One sister in Relief Society that week was celebrating her 90th birthday. I said "felicita" to her :)

I enjoyed being there though. I felt the spirit that we were in the right place on Sunday. I knew that was good. Later I met the sister missionaries. Hermana Eberly from Orderville, Utah and Hermana F----i (something Italian) anyways, they were both so sweet and pretty - and I wondered why they weren't married yet because they were also so awesome! I think there is really something wrong with guys! Hermana Eberly was so excited to meet someone who knew where Orderville was. I said i love US 89 - it's the scenic route of Utah. One of my most favorite places on earth. And Orderville - who wouldn't love those rock shops?! She was totally laughing about that - that of all things I remembered those rock shops. Hey I got some cool glass souvenirs in there. Those are cool stores. If you like rocks! I do. Anyways, I was happy to be in the church.

I also realize - again and again - that the LDS church is so small. I mean, in numbers in the world 13 million members - but how many people are there in the world right now? A lot more - you can google it. Anyways, this is not to be pessimistic. It's just that I'm really proud to walk among the few of us that have chosen this path. I don't find it difficult either. It was eye opening for me to be around very worldly people - people on vacation in vacation towns tend to be very worldly - you can see it all around you in those moments - and I didn't want to live like that. It was okay when we were at the house just hanging out with family - but I wouldn't want to live there. It must be so difficult for the young members in those parts. I see how difficult it is for the YW in my ward. They want to dress trendy and fit in and be cute and sexy. Darn those girls... if they could only know what I know. I really like being modest after spending a few days down there. I really appreciated my temple garments and I could really feel the safety and peace from wearing them. And I think the beach - it's just not for me. I liked it most in the evenings when we were just the two of us walking together holding hands - watching the waves - and there wasn't any naked fat boobies then - the beach was empty and it was peaceful - then it was okay.

I guess I've just come to really appreciate the Netherlands. It's green and it's flat and I like it. And although they have topless sunbathers in the Netherlands - it's green and it's flat here and I like that. Spain was hilly, dry - and like a desert - like Nevada - like what I grew up with and I just don't want that anymore. And I lived in Phoenix and it was warm and very hot all the time and although that is nice in winter... I really appreciate four seasons - I really like all the traditions and holidays that come in the cold - in Eindhoven - the light route, then Halloween, then Thanksgiving, then Sinterklaas, then Christmas, then Ice skating... then New Year's Eve and Olie bollen... and all the birthdays I can handle :D

Yes, it's true in Phoenix and in warm climates you can celebrate these things - with the exception of the Light Route - but I just don't think you can enjoy a hot mug of cocoa the same. And come on -- Pea soup in winter - in cold winter - that's another goody.

So, you Spaniards can have Spain - I'll take Holland, baby!

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