Cooking a paella feast in Nerja

Fun activities while getting to know Spain better

After our language classes we took a cooking class at the school. Many of the kids had never chopped many veggies, let alone cook before, so this was a fun experience for everyone. On the menu was traditional Paella with chicken, shrimp, clams, calamari, red and green peppers, tomato, garlic, rice, spices, and lots of love. We also made typical Spanish mixed salad of lettuce, red and green peppers, tuna, tomato, corn, olive oil, and vinegar. We also made a tasty Sangria, but our version was non-alcoholic. We enjoyed the entire menu!

We made everything from scratch, including pulling the heads off of the shrimp. Thank you Maura, Sam, and Matt! Everyone kept switching stations so they would get a chance to do everything. The pan to cook the paella was huge! Good thing cause we had a ton of food to cook and several hungry students. Although this is a typical lunch time dish, we prepared it for dinner. Dinner in Spain is normally later at around 9-10pm but today we were finished cooking at 7:30 which made for a late lunch and early dinner. I think the record for Sangria consumption was Zachary with 7 glasses. Runner up I believe was Sam with 5. Super fun!

Spanish scavenger hunt

Later that night the students split up into pairs and went off in search of answers to the scavenger hunt questions. They said it was hard but I think mostly because it was in Spanish and they needed to speak with people in Spanish to get the answers. Matt and Delilah’s team came back sweating as Matt made them run around and find ALL of the answers. He is dying to know who won. He might just be a bit competitive after all.

First Impressions of Nerja

Zachary – Nerja is beautiful. Salsa dancing is much different from Arab dancing.
Olivia – The dos besos or two kiss greeting is very different from home but I like it.
Delilah – Siesta is awesome except when your 9 year old host sister is throwing balls at your head.
Alisha – The crapes are awesome
Maura – Great view of the sea
Sam – Tired feet make for a good rest. (Also the kids are now calling him “the Zag”)
Matt – Where’s my luggage? jk
Rebecca – Clear blue ocean.

Operation Save Small Bird

While I was sitting in the courtyard doing emails waiting for the kids to get out of class I noticed a small bird on the ground fluttering around. He wasn’t flying or walking around he was more like flopping. I asked Patricia about the bird and she said this type of bird needs height to be able to fly. He was trapped in the patio of the school which was four flights down and enclosed by the other buildings on all 4 sides but there is no roof so it’s all open, which is how he got down there.  When the students got out of class we set off to work on freeing the bird. The idea was to get a towel and carefully capture the little guy then take him to the roof terrace and hope that he flies away.

We gently captured the bird, Mateo saying “have Patricia do it she is gentle!” We took the elevator upstairs to see what we could do. When we let him go on the roof he flopped some more and we thought we should get him some water and maybe some bread and perhaps put him in a cardboard box. I picked up the bird again so it could rest in the towel and he closed his eyes for a moment. “Is he dead?” they questioned? Nope his heart was beating fast, he was just resting. Then we took him outside for another try and this time he actually flew away. Hooray! Operation Save Small Bird was a success thanks to the team. I wish I had photos but I was too involved in the action to stop and take any pictures. Hopefully you can imagine the scene.

It’s a beautiful day to Kayak

Later in the afternoon we went on a kayak trip by the Nerja cliffs. On the walk there I learned that Zachary and Sam had swum from our beach to the beach where we were kayaking and that Zachary actually swam all the way back. Very impressive!

We maneuvered our double kayaks in and out of the rocks by the cliffs in the crystal blue waters. Not long after launching there were splashing flights. Olivia and Delilah were splashing Matt and Sam and Matt said if you don’t stop I’m going to jump on your kayak and tip you over. They didn’t stop and sure enough he did what he said he was going to do. All in fun the girls giggled and got back into their kayaks and plotted their revenge.

We quickly got the hang of the kayaks and made our way through pretty narrow rock walls. We entered a cave where the light shown through an opening under water and was a brilliant color turquoise.

On the way we stopped at a cove which we learned was a Marine preserve and jumped in the water for a swim. Our guide had brought snorkel masks so we were able to see what was lurking below. Lots of fish as well as a few jellyfish we were careful to stay away from. It was fun swimming around and they had a blast. Olivia and Delilah got their revenge here when the boys got on their kayak they came underneath and tipped them over.

We paddled along the coast and got to a spot with a small waterfall which had fresh cool water. We all took turns dunking our heads in the waterfall. On our way back we spotted thousands of jellyfish in the water. The boys started flinging the creatures and Maura said “is there such thing as a jellyfish nest cause if there is, we have hit it.” The waters were calm which made the way back short and nice. When we finally got back to shore all the kids were hungry and just had to have ice cream. What a great outing! I wasn’t able to bring a camera as it was going to get wet for sure so I don’t have any shots of the kids unfortunately.

Practice mi Espanol

Later that night they had their second session with the language partners. They went to the beach and played some funny games. They were trying to explain them to me today but I didn’t quite catch on. It seems like they had fun and practiced their Spanish which is the goal. What a great day! I only got one photo from the day with the kids and the language partners with the inclusion of some random folks from the Balcon de Europa and 1 fluffy dog. 

– Marya Kahan, US Leader

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