Sunday, December 23, 2012

Finally a new iPhone, a happy week, some good news, parties, a day trip to León, foreign food for the “abuela”, last minute preparations for Christmas and more.

Sunday 23rd December 2012

Lunch in León on Friday
Hello everyone

This week running up to Christmas has been great.  It may sound corny but I am so blessed and have such a happy life, I just couldn’t ask for more.  And just in case it’s tempting fate, I will not.  All I wish for is for is for everything to stay just as it is.  

Monday was a happy day as were most days of the week.  On Monday all the Yoigo employees were given a fabulous Christmas hamper from Sánchez Romero (my favourite and most up market food store in Spain) including a “5 jotas” ham which we haven’t opened yet.  The joy didn’t end there as on Monday too we were all given a brand new iPhone 5, Apple’s latest flagship mobile phone.  So yes I finally have an iPhone, or rather finally I have a new iPhone because do own the old iPhone 3 which now sees very outdated compared.

We are very lucky at Yoigo as in these times of crisis it is unusual for companies to be so generous.  I guess that the secret is how well the company is doing.  Proof of this was when we were mentioned on the TVE1 news programme, on Monday too actually, when they did a report on the sector and included the fact that while the other big operators were losing customers, Yoigo was actually gaining them.

It was great to see this picture on TVE on Monday

I couldn’t wait to set up the new iPhone up, including the nano sim  and that took some time but now it is has everything I need including the great new corporate mail application. I am in love with it as I imagine my colleagues are too.  I have always raved about my Samsung Galaxy S3 so you might be interested to know how they compare.  The verdict is that they are both great phones.  The Galaxy has a better camera and bigger and brighter screen and the battery lasts longer, but oh the iPhone is just so cool.  I actually haven’t given up my Galaxy as I love it too much to do that so right now it has another sim card in it and I use it mostly for taking photos.

Unboxing my new iPhone 5

On Tuesday Olivia was sent to Ciudad Real to report on an extreme case of bullying at a school where the Ecuadorian teenager Mónica had committed suicide.  Olivia interviewed the parents before the live report and said she was nearly in tears when she spoke to them and had to control her voice during the TV piece.  You can see her here if you fast forward to both 12.04h and 13.45h.  Later that week Olivia and I spoke about the case and I confessed to her that I sympathized a lot with the teenager as I myself had been bullied at school; something I think that leaves a mark on you for life.  But I was able to get over it and get on with life and become a happy wife and mother unlike poor Mónica.

Olivia reporting from Ciudad Real on Tuesday

As Olivia was being driven back to Madrid she got some good news which she shared immediately with us; she had passed the exam she took last week for the permanent position with TVE in Melilla.  I should correct myself and add that she passed the first part.  Now she has to take the second and final exam which will be on camera this time.  So please keep your fingers crossed.  It is still a shot in the dark as there are lots of other candidates but now we see some light at the end of the tunnel and can begin to imagine her living in Melilla.  For those of you who don’t know, Melilla is Spanish territory in Morocco.

That afternoon, over a cup of coffee with my ex colleague from Nokia, D. Shalab, we both commented how lucky we have been since leaving the Finnish company.  D.  It was great seeing you and thanks for the help.

Wednesday brought with it the first party of the week and as the Communications Manager its preparation was my responsibility again.  It was for the children of the Yoigo employees. Some 180 came, together with their proud parents and there were children of all ages from months old to about 14.  

As at most events of mine, the girls came to lend a hand and this year were accompanied by “Ele” and Juli.  I love this photo of them below.

The girls and their friends giving a helping hand at the Yoigo children's party on Wednesday

We put on a show of what’s called “canta juegos” here (kids’ songs performed by a jolly group of young singers in blue dungarees) and which are hugely popular with children.  Afterwards, the more traditional Three Kings came, and believe it or not they were accompanied by a live camel.  That was the bit I liked best.  As you probably already know I love animals and am fonder of them than children.

With the Three Kings at the Yoigo Children's party on Wednesday
The real camel was the star of the show at the Yoigo children's party on Wednesday

You can see all the photos of the party here on Flickr.

Wednesday’s event was yet more proof of how Yoigo looks after its employees.  Take note other companies. 

The very next night was my last event or big project of the year; the employees Christmas party.  This year it was held at an indoor gourmet market called Mercado Isabella in the centre of Madrid.  I had about 200 guests (the employees and their partners/spouses) to cater for and I heard later that they were most impressed with the food as I was myself. After the buffet dinner, they went through to the discotheque where 400 balloons were released with prizes inside.  The idea was to win as many prizes as possible whilst bursting them. The “balloon moment” was great fun.  Later there were drinks and dancing but at midnight I surreptitiously left to go home as I had to be up early the next day.  You can see what a good time was had by all in the photos we posted later on Flickr.

The "balloon moment" at the Yoigo employee party on Thursday

The next day, Friday, Eladio and I were driving to León to pick up his Mother and bring her home to spend Christmas with us.  If you are an avid reader of this blog, you will know that every time we go to León we nearly always stop at the Palacio de Bornos winery in Rueda, the white wine capital of Spain or of the world in my opinion.  Here we always enjoy a plate of ham and wine and then stock up on some of their lovely produce which on Friday included 36 bottles of wine!

Enjoying a glass of wine and ham at the Palacio de Bornos in Rueda on Friday

We arrived in time for lunch with Pili and Andrés (Eladio’s youngest sister and her husband), the “abuela” (means Grandmother in Spanish) and were joined for coffee later by Adela, Eladio’s other sister.  The photo illustrating this week's post is of lunch on Friday with Eladio's family.  You can see more photos of our visit here.

We were eager to set off home as the day was short and the drive long, but I thought Eladio should get a rest before driving again and so we headed back to Pili and Andres’ flat.  Just as we were about to leave Marta, Adela’s daughter made an entrance and I got a good 10 minute natter with one of my favourite nieces. 

The abuela found the 3.5h drive home very long but for us it was even longer as we had driven out in the morning.  We were home by 8pm and actually very soon in bed.  

You can see the rest of the photos of our trip to León to fetch my mother-in-law, “the abuela” whose name is actually Ernestina, here.  I must say she is in very good shape for a nonagerian and although seemingly a little frail probably much stronger than she looks. 

Eladio and his Mother on Friday in León

I must add that on Friday night when we got home, there was a wonderful surprise waiting for me: a gourmet basket of tropical fruit.  This is what it looked like, as now it has been dismantled and much of it eaten. Thanks Gloria, we loved it.

The beautiful basket of tropical fruit Gloria sent to me on Friday.

Saturday morning was taken up with last minute preparations for Christmas.  I have been preparing on and off since November and now everything is almost ready.  The tree is heaving with presents as you can see below.

Our Christmas tree today, heaving with presents

I took Eladio with me for some last minute present shopping and we had some quality time together at Grand Plaza 2. As we came home the girls passed in their car on their way to another shopping centre and they were given strict instructions to be home for a family lunch with the abuela not later than 15h (yeah we eat late in Spain).

I’m not sure whether the abuela liked the lunch that day.  I made Mexican fajitas and I am sure she was trying them for the first time.  Today we had left over “pastela” (Moroccan chicken pie with almonds) which she said she liked.  So you see, we continue to eat  food from afar in this house which you will know about if you read my post from last week.

That evening my friends Julio and Fátima were coming for the annual Christmas dinner party at our place and everything had to be perfect.  Oufa helped me throughout and thanks to her I was able to get a walk in my tight schedule as well as a bath before dinner.  The menu was bacon rolls with fresh asparagus, followed by Pastela (made by Oufa’s sister Fatima) and Waldorf Salad.  The dessert was very English: Eton Mess. 

The amazing Moroccan pastela - filo pastry chicken pie with almonds made by Oufa's sister Fatima

I have to mention that Norah ate the hors d’oeuvres we had prepared for when our guests arrived: a plate of ham and seafood vol au vents.  Eladio went to open the door to let Julio and Fátima in and Norah somehow got into the lounge where she managed to devour the hors d’oeuvres in seconds.  I couldn’t believe my eyes when I walked into the lounge and saw the two empty plates.  Luckily we were able to rustle up another plate of ham and laugh at the antic.

The annual Christmas dinner here at home on Saturday with Julio and Fátima

Dinner was followed by a game of my new Trivial Genius Edition.  I played with Julio against Eladio and Fátima.  Truth to tell, they won but they had been in the lead for most of the game, thanks to what Julio and I thought were far easier questions.  I now look forward to playing with Eladio and the girls on Christmas Eve.  

And today is Sunday 23rd, the day before Christmas Eve. It has been quiet, the highlight being another family lunch all together.  As I write, my Father is watching the BBC, the girls have gone out and Eladio is with his Mother upstairs who is knitting more socks for us all.  It is time for our walk and time to close and wish you all a great Christmas.

Next time I write it will all be over, but don’t worry there is another good time to look forward to after that; New Year’s Eve.  Right now we can look forward to both festivities. I sometimes think the best part about festivities is the preparations and looking forward to them.  Do you agree?
Love and best wishes to you all till next time


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