Bureaucracy.

There is a lot of paperwork involved when you decide to stay in Spain for another year. The bulk of this paperwork is in the NIE renewal process. It’s actually not that horribly bad…except for all the copies you have to make. Also, I would have been entirely lost in regards to what in the heck I needed to provide for this if it weren’t for BEDA and the auxiliares facebook group. The BEDA coordinator sent out a greatly detailed email explaining to us, step by step, what we needed to do in order to renew our NIEs.

The main things you need to make copies of are: your entire passport, your current NIE (front and back), the certificate that shows you’ve completed your work as an auxiliar for the current year, and the letter of your placement for next year. Then you fill out 2 copies of the EX-oo form, which is available online. You also need to pay the tasa for the renewal, which is also available online to fill out. Once you have all of that, you just need to go to the consejeria to turn it all in. You do have to triple check that you’re turning everything in, because the people at the office will not be able to help you in that regard. They just take all your papers and then put a sticker on one of the EX-00 copies to show that you’ve submitted the application.

The only thing is, you will more than likely have to take a day off of work in order to turn everything in because the hours are from 9-2, which is usually when most of us are at work. I was lucky in that my students had a field trip to the amusement park, so I took that day to get it done. I would have felt more comfortable taking the day off work if I hadn’t missed 4 days a few weeks prior when I had tonsillitis. If you do end up taking the day off of work, they will provide you with a justificante at the extranjería upon your request.

The next step is getting your autorización de regreso, which you need if you have an expired NIE and are planning to travel outside of Spain. Getting this is a pretty simple process that’s done at Aluche. You need a copy of your passport (when I went, the guy only took the page with my picture and information…but I had brought a copy of the entire thing JIC), a copy of your NIE (front and back), your paid tasa (which you need to pick up at a police station because it’s not available online), a copy of the EX-00 with the sticker showing you’ve submitted your NIE renewal paperwork, a copy of your flight plans, a printout of your appointment for the authorization (you do that online), and 2 filled out copies of the EX-13 (available online). You need to bring the original of each document to show the government worker, so make sure you bring all of those with you too. Again, the Aluche office is open from 9-2, so you’ll probably need to ask for a justificante.

My biggest piece of advice is to get to the offices a few minutes before they open. I can assure you that there will already be a line, so it’s best to get an early start. For my authorization, I got there about 15 minutes before they opened and was out the door again just 20 minutes after they let us all in. I got to the renewal place about 10 minutes after they opened, and was in and out in less than 5 minutes. I heard of one person who went later in the day to get his authorization and waited in line for 5 hours. Better to sacrifice some sleep and be able to get it done early and quickly, rather than lose an entire day at one of these offices.

All that being said, doing all this isn’t as bad as it seems. Once you start getting all the documents together, you realize it’s not that bad of a process. It’s just really time consuming. It’s also entirely worth it in order to be able to stay in Spain for one more year 🙂

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Italia Part 3 – ROMA

The final part of our Italy trip led us to Rome. Getting the train from Florence to Rome was so easy and nice, especially when compared to the Pisa-Florence train debacle. The hotel we were staying at wasn’t too far from the train station so it only took us about 10 minutes to walk to our hotel. The only sucky part was that it was raining and holding your umbrella while lugging around your suitcase in the tiny Roma streets is no cake walk. We made it to our hotel without getting lost! Shocking for me and Diana.

When we went to check-in, the receptionist informed us that our room wasn’t ready, which wasn’t all that surprising since we were early so we decided to wait in the lobby. While we were in the lobby, we asked about the wifi. The receptionist proceeded to tell us that since our room was upstairs, we wouldn’t have wifi since wifi was only available on the first floor. She said that since we wrote that we preferred 3 single beds when we booked, they gave us the room upstairs. My friend from Maryland still hadn’t arrived in Rome yet, but Diana and I made the executive decision that we would be willing to forgo the 3 single beds in exchange for wifi. You have to understand that Diana and I pretty much didn’t have wifi while in Florence because our hostel’s wifi was complete and utter crap. There was no way we were dealing with no wifi. So instead of each of us having our own single bed, our room consisted of 1 single bed and a double bed. However, the single and the double were smack dab next to each other…so, essentially, it was just one giant bed:

MegaBedEmily had the “single” bed while Diana and I shared the double. It actually wasn’t so bad…and totally worth having wifi over.

Once we got our things settled in the room, Diana and I took off to explore Roma a bit. We quickly realized that crossing the street is a very scary affair in Rome. In Spain, I don’t mind crossing the street even if there’s no crosswalk because most Spaniards stop to let you pass. In Italy, however, there was no way Diana and I would cross a street without a crosswalk. They drive like maniacs! Exploring had to wait a little, though, because our hunger was our main priority. We ended up eating at a small little restaurant near our place (I can’t remember the name for the life of me) and it was pretty good. We were also able to satisfy our coffee fix there, which is always a good thing. We ended up wandering around and just seeing where we ended up. We walked to the Trevi Fountain, the pantheon, and while we said we weren’t going to walk very far…we somehow ended up at the Vatican. I didn’t even believe Diana when she said that I was looking at St.Peter’s Basilica. I was in actual denial that we walked all that way. We took some pictures and then proceeded to the metro because we decided there was no way in hell we were making the walk back to our hotel.

Once we arrived back to our hotel, we were pretty exhausted and just wanted to go eat. Diana had done some research on TripAdvisor and read about a restaurant near us called Mamma Angela’s. We walked over and it ended up being an excellent choice. Our food was delicious! The service is pretty great, too. It’s obvious that the waiters know a lot of the clientele are toursits and really want them to leave with a great impression of the restaurant. There was a slight (hilarious) misunderstanding between Diana and our waiter, which I won’t write on here but it made my evening. Don’t worry, though, karma came back to bite me for making fun of Diana’s embarrassment. But that happens later on in our travel. But, if you’re ever in Rome, I highly recommend Mamma Angela’s. The food is AMAZING (best pasta and tiramisu) and the waiters are incredibly nice and friendly.

Day 2 had been established as our “picture day” because it was suppose to be the day with the nicest weather. Our first stop was the Trevi Fountain: More

Winding Down.

The end of my first year in Spain is quickly approaching. I can’t believe how quickly these months have gone by! I only have 2 weeks left and then I head back to Maryland for the summer. I have so much to do before I leave and I feel like I don’t have enough time. I’m currently attempting to get all of my paperwork for my NIE renewal together. It’s a pain. So many copies need to be made and tasas need to be paid. I really truly did not mean for that to rhyme. I’m getting all the copies and such done this week because I want to head over to turn in all my paperwork next Wednesday since my students are going on a field trip to the amusement park so that way I’m not missing any actual class. Seeing as how I was out a few days last week because I had the illness of death, I’m trying to get this done without missing too much work.

I never knew tonsillitis could suck so hardcore, but having a fever of 102.7 was no party. And the fact that it took me filling a ziplock bag with ice and placing it on my head, neck, and back to get it to finally go down was ridiculous. Oh and apparently the infection was so bad that it caused me to have blisters on my hands and feet as well. Thankfully I’ve finished the antibiotics and am feeling as good as new now. And once again I am eternally grateful to the fact that my insurance here covers house calls from the doctor. There was no way I could make the bus and metro ride to see my doctor in the city.

I wish the fun ended with the NIE renewal…but no. I also have to get an autorización de regreso since I leave to go back to the states soon and my NIE will be expired and I need that to be able to return to Spain in September. Oh and did I mention that both of these things require me to pay a tasa at the bank? And banks here close for the day at 2 in the afternoon…when I’m still at work. It’s super convenient. I think the best part has been making 2 copies of every single page in my passport because they sometimes require a copy of the entire thing for both the NIE renewal and the authorization. I say sometimes because it’s a luck of the draw whether the person says you need the entire thing or just the first page and visa page. I’m basically expecting some version of this to go down:

I also had some confusion filling out the EX-00 form for the renewal. I think I’ve got it correct, but there were 2 sections that threw me off. I’m pretty sure they’re right, but I’m  paranoid that I’m going to do something wrong and screw up my entire renewal process. I’ll be sure to write another post once I actually go file it.

And on an entirely and completely random note: if you’ve read my About the Expat section, you will see that The Book Thief is listed as one of my all-time favorite books. Well, one of my sisters mentioned to me that she’s reading it for the first time and it made me want to reread it (I’ve already read it twice), but I legitimately had to stop reading because I started to cry every single time Rudy Steiner appeared/was mentioned. I tweeted this to the author, Markus Zusak, yesterday on twitter and he REPLIED to me. I just about screamed. Here’s the screenshot of it:

markuszusak

This is the 2nd time that someone I hugely love/admire has either replied or favorited my tweet. A few months ago, I tweeted that all I wanted in my life was to marry Ronan Farrow and he favorited the tweet:

RonanFarrow

So basically, I’m going to marry Ronan Farrow and I’m also BFF with Markus Zusak.

That’s all for now. I’ll be finishing up my Italy posts soon. I’m still writing up the Rome post and the small Siena post.

¡Hablamos Pronto!

Learning to Leave.

If you go to the About the Expat section of my blog, you’ll see that I mention that I am an avid reader. Recently, I was rereading one of my favorite books, Paper Towns, by one of my all-time favorite authors: John Green. I read this book years ago when it first came out and I hadn’t reread it since. If I loved this book before, it is now one of my top 3 favorite books. I relate to it so much more now that I’ve had this experience of living abroad. There were 2 quotes that struck me the most when I was reading the book. The first:

It is so hard to leave—until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.

If you are an expat, I’m sure you can relate to this quote. I was so nervous about leaving my home, friends, and family when I was getting ready to move to Spain. And then once I arrived, I realized how stupid I’d been to be so scared. I never really had horrible homesickness (luckily). I honestly didn’t start to miss home until Thanksgiving. And at that point, I only needed to hold on 3 more weeks because I knew I was visiting home for Christmas. While I am super excited to be going home for the summer and spending time with my family, I am also thrilled at the idea of returning to Spain in September and planning all my next adventures.

For all the future auxiliares (I know BEDA and the Ministry have started handing out placements), I know that it seems so insanely scary to uproot your life to another country, but just as the quote says, leaving is hard until the moment in which you finally leave. You will meet new people and make new friends. I am so grateful for my tight-knit group of friends here in Spain. Diana, Sean, and Dan are the greatest friends I could have found here. It’s rare to find people who you just “click” with and that’s what I’ve found in them. My Italy trip wouldn’t have been half as fun if I hadn’t had Diana with me. And then there is my amazing Spain family. I will never be able to thank them enough for taking me in and making me another member of their family. I’ve gone from being the baby sister in my family back home to the big sister here and I’ve loved every minute of it.

The other quote that struck me while I was reading was the following one:

Leaving feels good and pure only when you leave something important, something that mattered to you. Pulling life out by the roots. But you can’t do that until your life has grown roots.

This is so utterly and completely true. Before Spain, I had never been away from my family for longer than a few days. I went to college in-state and I saw my family every weekend. Not to mention since my mom works at a sorority at my university, I saw her during the week too. I’ve lived in Maryland my entire life. My dog is in Maryland…I know this probably seems absurd…but I realllyyyy love my dog. All of my friends are in Maryland. Maryland is my comfort zone. So completely uprooting my life to move to Spain was a big decision. But this journey wouldn’t have half of the significance if I didn’t leave all those things behind. So while I know many of the future auxiliares are likely scared shitless about this move…that’s good. That means it’ll be all the more worthwhile once you’re finally here in Spain…or wherever it is that your journey is taking you. Can’t wait to meet some of you this September 🙂

Italia (Part 2) – Firenze. This Post is Ridiculously Long. Sorry.

Florence was definitely a highlight in the Italy trip. Now that I’ve been back a few weeks, I can say that Florence was my favorite city. It was a close tie with Rome, but something about Florence just appeals to me more. As the title mentions, this post is pretty long. I thought about breaking it up into 2 posts, but I don’t think it’s worth it.

This was the view from our hostel.

This was the view from our hostel.

After the debacle that was getting to the train station in Pisa to get to Florence, getting to the hostel we were staying at was pretty easy. I think it was probably around a 10 minute walk from the train station. We were the first people to check into the room so we got to pick our beds. We chose the bunk beds that were kind of separated from the other 2 bunk beds in the room. There was a semi-wall dividing us from the rest of the room and we liked it because, well, we weren’t sure if we’d get along with our roommates or not. After unpacking all of our stuff, we went off to venture the streets of Firenze. We ended up walking through the Market of San Lorenzo, which was about 5 minutes from our hostel. Diana and I already had our minds set that we wanted to buy leather jackets while in Florence since the city is known for having great leather products. So the market was the perfect shopping place for them. We entered one shop and liked some of the jackets, but we were put off by the salesperson who was quickly becoming much to pushy and really trying to pressure Diana and me into buying the jackets. Since it was the first store we’d gone into we didn’t feel comfortable buying the jackets and were trying to explain to the man that we wanted to look around before we made a decision. He got visibly annoyed with us so we just decided to leave. Also, this was also the man who kept telling Diana that the coat she was trying on looked “great around your boobies.” We should have just left after that. More

Italia (Part 1) – PISA

ImageFirst off, I am really sorry for my lack of blogging. There was really no way I could blog while in Italy and then I needed to get adjusted to being back at school. Now that I’m more into my groove of things, I feel like I can finally write my Italy posts. First up, Pisa!

Our trip began with a RyanAir flight straight to Pisa. This was my first time ever flying RyanAir and after all the horror stories I’d heard, I was more than a little anxious about the flight. My friend Diana ended up being in the fetal position for most of the flight since the flight attendant somehow managed to stuff Diana’s carry-on under her seat, which meant Diana had no leg room. None. I was okay for the flight until the landing. Worst landing I have ever experienced. I was fairly certain we were going to land sideways on the tarmac. Everyone was rocking side-to-side as we went down the runway. Granted, we all laughed about it afterward, but it was still scary.

Once I had my bag, Diana and I made our way to the bus we needed in order to get to our hostel. We had a slight bump finding the hostel from the bus stop because the directions we had were terrible. Would it kill people to use street names when giving directions? Once we finally made it to the hostel, we dropped off our bags and went off to find the tower. Now, let me be clear that in the entire walk from the bus stop to the hostel, Diana and I had not seen the tower. So when we left our hostel, we began walking in the direction we assumed the tower would be. This only lasted for about 3 minutes when we decided we were heading in the wrong direction and proceeded to turn around. Diana then says, “Oh my god, Yari. Look!” I had no idea what she wanted me to look at and I thought she was pointing at the car parked in front of us so I was really confused…until I looked up and saw the tower! Suffice it to say that we felt pretty damn stupid at that point. I had to take a picture to commemorate the moment we saw it: More

Ciao Amici!

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I know I’ve been super MIA, but I’m in Italia for semana santa. I spent my first few days in Florence and I’m currently in Rome. I’m loving Italy so far! I’ll have lots to write when I return to Spain on Monday! ¡Hablamos pronto!

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