Things I Love About Living in Spain.

I was talking with a fellow language assistant a few weeks ago about how sometimes I feel like I take for granted that I live in Madrid. She was saying how she has those moments sometimes and then she has to tell herself, “Shut up. You live in a European capital city.” And a few days ago, I came across this quote on tumblr:

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That quote reminded me of why it is that I love Madrid so much. After all, Spain has been my dream country since I was in middle school. So here are some little things that I love about living in Spain (especially Madrid): More

Changing Beings.

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I have been in Spain for over 4 months now and I’ve been reflecting on aspects of myself that are different since my new life here. I use to think that it was such a cliche to say that people change when they travel, but it really is true. I have noticed so many new things about myself and I have changed in so many ways already in the short time I’ve been here in Madrid. Or maybe, we don’t change, but we discover things about ourselves that we never knew before.

One vast improvement (at least for me) is that I am significantly less shy. I would describe my former shyness as debilitating. Really. I would miss out on opportunities because I was too shy to ask someone a question or for more information. That has definitely changed. While I was in Paris, I had no issues walking right up to people to make sure that I was heading in the right direction or for recommendations of places to eat that were nearby (and I had to do this in French!). This is, by far, the change that I am proudest of since moving to Spain.

Another thing that I have noticed about myself is that I no longer care what other people think about me. It’s so liberating. I use to base so many of my decisions on what I thought the reactions/opinions of others would be. Not anymore. I do and wear and say what I want and I don’t care what others think of it.

Sort of along the same vein as not caring what people think is that I am much more outgoing. This may be due to the fact that I live in a European city where I know next to no one and have the mentality of “when will I ever see these people again?” that causes this…but I like it.

I have also found that I am much less dependent on others to do things that I would like to do. I use to hate doing things on my own – even going to the convenient store. Now, I’ve traveled to Paris and London all on my own. I’m thinking of doing another solo trip to Paris in May because there are so many things I still want to see there. Plus, the puente in May is about 6 days, so I could see the things I want without feeling rushed like I did during my last trip.

All of these things may seem insignificant to others, but I am really proud of my little accomplishments/changes. I hope they stay with me even after I leave Spain.

What things have you discovered about yourself when you’ve traveled?

New Year’s Resolutions.

I’ve been back in Spain for over a week now and it has been nice to get back into the swing of things. I didn’t realize how much I actually missed teaching my students until I went back to work on Tuesday. The kids were a lot more enthusiastic about being back than I had anticipated. And it’s always nice when a group of 11-14 year olds are super excited to see you and are asking you all sorts of questions about your holidays. The only damper on my first week back to school was my terrible jet-lag. I was on Maryland time for the vast majority of the week, which meant that I was terribly sleepy at work and wide awake when I was trying to fall asleep at night. All of that’s over now, though, and I’m back on Spain time.

This past year has been a bit of a roller-coaster for me. I went from not knowing what in the heck I was going to do, to applying to be an auxiliar in Spain, waiting in limbo until I found out whether or not I would be accepted, and then prepping everything for my move to Spain. And in the spirit of this new year, I have decided to make some resolutions for the first time ever. Here are a few of my resolutions for 2013: More

Home.

No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.

I really love this quote by Lin Yutang, though I don’t think I ever truly could relate to it until now. Being home in Maryland these past few days has been wonderful. I thought I would feel like a stranger in my house, but it’s been amazing to me how quickly I fell back into my old routine. There have been definite moments where I have thought to myself, “Wow, this feels so different than Spain.” Those moments, however, have been more in stores, on the metro, or while watching TV. When it comes to time with my family, however,  it’s like nothing has changed.

When so many people think of “home” they think of their room and their bed or places in their town that they love. Living in Spain these past few months and now returning to Maryland for the holidays has made me realize  that for me my home isn’t my house, my room, or even my state. My home is my family. And it is nice to come to this realization. When I started this Spain adventure, I thought that maybe I’d like it so much that I’d want to stay in Spain/Europe for a few years (and I would certainly like to do another year in the BEDA program), but I don’t think I can ever see myself settling down in a place where my family is not. I know that for many people that is not the case, they could settle down anywhere and be fine with just seeing their family every once in awhile. That is just not the case with me. And I am okay with that.

I leave for Spain again in a few days and I plan to enjoy the rest of my time there to the fullest and make as many memories as possible, but I love the fact that I know that in a few months I will be reunited once again with my family. I don’t care if we are in Maryland, Spain, Puerto Rico, or Timbuktu, as long as I am with family, I’m home.

My Blog is Nominated at ExpatsBlog for their Blog Awards!

Hello everyone!

I just received an email from ExpatsBlog saying that my blog has been nominated for the Expat Blog Awards 2012. It would be awesome if you, my wonderful readers, could go to my nomination link HERE and leave me a comment/review. Thanks so much everyone!! ¡Son los mejores lectores del mundo!

Ice Skating in Majadahonda.

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I went on a field trip with my 1st and 2nd ESO students to the ice rink in Majadahonda. The kids were awesome at helping me skate around the rink and were constantly arguing over whose turn it was to hold my hand 🙂
See if you’re able to spot me among my kiddies in the picture! Hint: I’m wearing a green jacket.

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Sorry for the lack of blogging lately!!

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I’ve been busy at the school and I’m currently in Paris for the long weekend!! I’ll be back soon with lots of updates 🙂

¡Hablamos Luego!

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10 Things I Miss from the Good Old US of A.

I’ve been here in Madrid for a month and a half now and I think that’s plenty of time to realize certain things you miss from back home. Here is my list:

1.

Chipotle. I would give anything to be able to have a carnitas bowl with some guac.

2. Punctuality. It is very well-known here that Spaniards aren’t the best at being punctual. If a Spaniard tells you that they’ll meet you at a restaurant around 2 for lunch…expect them at 3. That’s just the way things are around here. I’m very big on being punctual, so this is a bit of an adjustment for me.

3. Eating Times. I miss having lunch at noon and dinner around 6. This whole lunch at 2 or 3 and then dinner around 9 (and that’s early) is rough for me.

4. Stores, restaurants, and banks being open the entire working day. I can’t get use to places closing here for the siesta. And banks closing at 2:30? What is up with that? Most people work here until around 4 or 5, so when do they have time to go to the bank? Thankfully, my bank is open late on Thursdays, so I know that’s the only day I can go to the bank.

5.

American TV. I really miss watching my TV shows as they air live. I enjoy things like sitting down on Thursdays at 9 to watch the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Also, it’s very easy to get spoiled here since all of my friends have seen the episode before me. I have to be super cautious while browsing facebook in the morning so I don’t get spoiled.

6. Movies. Most films here get released much later than in the US and you have to really hunt for a place that will play them in English. I can’t deal with dubbed movies. It is not the same. I’m dying to see Perks of Being a Wallflower and there isn’t even a mention of when it’s going to be released here in Spain. Just to give you an idea of how much later movies come out here: Magic Mike came out over the summer in the USA and it just came out last weekend here.

7. American sports. I love the Yankees and I love the Steelers. Not being to watch a lot of the games/having to watch them by streaming them on my laptop is no fun. My Yankees are the in the playoffs right now and I’m generally sleeping when the games are being played  😦

8. Target and Kohl’s. Those are my two go-to stores in the US and they don’t have them here. I miss them so much…it’s really kinda pathetic. OH and I miss Bath&Body Works. I mainly miss the wall plug-ins/candles. I keep getting emails from them talking about candle sales for fall and they make me sad.

9. Kraft Mac and Cheese. I know that I can find it in places like Taste of America, but it’s ridiculously expensive! I miss being able to get a bulk pack at Costco for cheap. And there is no mac and cheese as good as the blue box.

10. Family (including dog) and Friends. This goes without saying. My family and friends are, by far, what I miss the most here in Spain. And the time difference can make it difficult to call/skype/facetime people. This is my current background on my laptop:

I miss my doggy 😦

Now, I will say that there are also many things that I prefer about Spain and wish we had in the US. However, that’s for a different post.

What things do you all find you miss from home while abroad?

“There is One Consolation in Being Sick; And That is the Possibility That You May Recover to a Better State Than You Were Ever in Before.”

First let me say that I love, love, LOVE my new school! It’s been such a wonderful change to actually look forward to going into work. Plus, I get along great with the 3 teachers that I’m working with. The kids at this school are fantastic and since I’m working with the older groups, I’ve found that I’ve had an easier time getting them to talk with me and building a good rapport (I knew my knowledge of Justin Bieber and One Direction would pay off one day!). It’s nice to finally be enjoying what I came here to do 🙂

Of course, when one thing starts to go well, another starts to go wrong…only a few days after starting at my new school, I got sick. It started Saturday evening and proceeded to get worse on Sunday. I had a fever/chills and a horribly congested nose. I spent most of Sunday lounging around the house and drinking water. I called the school Monday morning and told them that I couldn’t come in because I had a fever. Monday was spent very similar to Sunday. I pretty much looked like this:

I decided that I didn’t want to miss another day of work and headed into the school on Tuesday. Major mistake. I woke up feeling better and thought I would be able to get through the day fine…wrong. I ended up with a fever once again and completely exhausted with a very sore throat from talking to my classes. My teacher even told me that I shouldn’t have come in at all and that I needed to rest. When I got home, I called my insurance company and they told me to go to urgent care at my neighboring town since that what the closest hospital to me. Luckily, my Spain mommy (as I like to call her) called my insurance company and was able to get them to bring the doctor to me. I’m definitely not use to having a health plan that covers house calls from a doctor…but I love it! The doctor arrived about an hour later and told me that I had some type of bacterial infection in my throat and prescribed me some antibiotics and gave me a doctor’s note to excuse me from school for the rest of this week. Oh and I didn’t have to pay a single penny for the doctor’s visit. Afterwards, my Spain mommy drove me to the pharmacy so I could get my prescription, which only cost me about 8€ . Have I mentioned that I live with the greatest family here in Spain? I would probably have been living off of lipton soup if I lived by myself, but I was able to have delicious homemade soup instead 🙂 Plus, it’s been really nice to have the kiddies around me because they can always make me laugh, which is a great thing when you’re feeling sick and mopey.

Well, I think I’m going to have my first nap of the day. I’ll keep you all posted. Oh and since I have free time these next few days, I’m going to finish up the posts I promised weeks ago about Segovia, Madrid, Ávila, and Toledo.

¡Hablamos Luego!

¡Hola Madrid!

I’ve been here in Madrid since yesterday. I forced myself to stay awake until midnight and then slept until 11 today, so not too bad with the time adjustment.

I’ll write a little more later about the flight and my day yesterday. Right now I’m about to get ready to head to the mall with my sister and brother in law so I can get a few things I need.

I’ll update again soon!! ¡Saludos y abrazos!

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