Saturday, January 15, 2011

emails from November


Hey friends! Sorry it's been such a long time since an update. It's been busy times here in Espana. Let's see, things that have happened:

- a dear cousin from Chicago got to come visit
- I got my iPod touch stolen, or maybe it fell out of my pocket.. not sure. Luckily obtained another one cheaper than I would have thought possible because of my dear cousin's generosity.
- I went with my Spanish roommate Rene to her family's village just outside of Madrid for a day. Her Pueblo is tiny - maybe 4 streets and a church? It was having a small festival so people were parading around in theatrical costumes, and other people lazying around in the sun drinking beer and wine. I ate lunch at a long table surrounded by her family ( only she speaks English) and the table was covered with varieties of Spanish simple foods - lots of olive varieties, and fish( full sardines w tails still attached) and ham, and salads w fresh tomatoes and olive oils. It was quite fun.
- I went to a bullfight... Not as gory bad as I thought it would be. A bit fascinating really. Yes, they kill the bull - they killed 6 of them during the course of the night. But from what I've been told they treat the bulls SO well before hand, and every part of the bull gets used afterwards... it's kind of like a cultural, ritual - man vs beast. I don't think I'll go out of my way to see another one, but I wouldn't say no either. And the madators costumes are very sparkily.

- we had a Halloween party at our apartment. It was very successful and fun. I was a spider. See facebook for pics
- ive discovered an even better Spanish podcast which I listen to a lot since I spend a lot and a lot of time on trains/buses (today I've been in transit for 5 hours at least... Which is abnormally bad - usually its 2ish a day. My worst is 3.5 on Thursday)
- I promised then unpromised myself to 3 jobs

I guess the biggest thing is I was given two more jobs and now I FINALLY have a schedule I like! I teach 4&5 year olds 3hrs a week. I teach theater in English to 4 yr olds and 8 yr olds about 2.5 hrs a week. I have a private class for two 10 yr olds for an hour and a half. And I teach 3 2.5 hr long classes to three different adult groups. I started these last two just this week. After all this I'm happy to say I'm definitely making enough money! Although since I won't get paid again till the end of November... It's still a bit tight. What's great about my schedule is that almost all of it is really well paying, i have all my mornings off, and on Friday I only have one class! What's bad about it is that 3 times a week i don't get home until after 9, and I have to do a lot of traveling. Mostly though I'm quite happy with it. And i'm looking forward to it becoming more routine.

I'm still getting a hang on teaching, but I'm getting better at not letting the stress get to me, and getting better at planning lessons more during transit so my free time is my own. Overall I'm really really happy to have a set schedule. It's stressful going to new locations to teach a new group of people whose personalities and level of English you don't know until you get there! The last four weeks, my schedule has changed every week, and it's definitely been a lot to tackle.

What I just did tonight (I'm writing this email on the train) was teach my first advanced class of English. I have six students who I am preparing to take an advanced exam in English so they will be qualified as bilingual teachers. They are very nice, they are all older than me, they all think im more experienced at teaching english than i am, and I'm certain all of them have been teaching longer than I have. As you can imagine, teaching them is a bit daunting. There is somethings that are gained from experience. I can only teach them as beat as I can with the limited experience I have... I'm learning on the go and hoping they don't notice my mistakes or inexperience. The first class went well, but I'm not really sure how to get them test ready... All that said the class really did go well, and I'm confident, maybe even excited for the opportunity/challenge. I told my mom what I'm doing, and her comment was after this Spain experience I'm going to be able to handle pretty much anything. This teaching stuff is hard, and scary, but I agree that I'm definitely learning new skills that I want badly - no pain no gain! I know I have a lot of improvements to make, but I'm satisfied with my teaching. It's fun teaching these classes to these adult groups. They are really nice people, and It's a good balance with all the kids I also teach. Also, In just the two adult classes I've taught, I've gotten to lead really interesting opinion discussions with these thoroughly Spanish thinking people. I think I'm going to learn a lot about the culture. For example, one class's homework for the week is to write a letter to someone who just moved to Spain explaining Spanish food and their culture surrounding food. The assignment came from a very interesting discussion on food and culture we had, which they were all very opinionated about, and the opinions were so different from American ones. I'm excited to read the letters.

For fun I'm going to tell you the vocabulary questions I got asked tonight...
What does "wound up" mean, and how does wound relate to wind, and how does it change when talking in the past versus the present? Um... I said I'd have to get back to them.

What's the difference between tourist and traveller?

What does "grazing rights" mean? And the words deranged? Unrestrained?

Seriously, teaching English while simultaneously trying to learn a new language is blowing my mind. I've always been in English speaking environments. I've never thought about how much goes into a language, I've just used English without thinking. Now everything I comprehend about English without thinking I now have to think about. I don't think I'll ever see language the same again.=]

That's... About it. The last few weeks have been a lot of work. But now that I have a schedule I'm hoping to figure out how it works and where I can more fun on the side. With the exception of weekends, and a drink out here and there, it's been work home work since my cousin left.

Spanish is still a challenge. I can understand more! I can talk in some past tenses, I dabble with future ones, and basic sentences are definitely definitely easier. Still I have a long long wAy to go. I'm hoping that in a month or so I'll wake up one morning and it will just make sense. I've been told that's what often happens after about three months. Talking in Spanish is hard. But I keep trying... Maybe not as often as I should. I'm especially concentrating on grammer and listening right now.
This weekend, I have plans to have a chill night with a friend Friday night, and I'm going out with Lara to a Birthday gathering Saturday night. For this, I will be the only English speaker, though a few people will know it enough to talk to me, but I hope to just follow what I can in the convo, and practice my Spanish - I love these kinds of situations where it's only me and Spanish people. Other than that, i'm hoping to go hike or something in Casa de Campo on Sunday (it's a huge wooded park and I haven't been yet)... or do something fun. I have Tuesday off as well (there are a lot of bank holidays here - free days in November)

That's about it! more to come of course

love you and miss you all


ps. Went to the appointment to see if I have a visa -- I don't. But the person who was helping me had never seen a case like mine before, gave me another number to call.... and the saga continues =)


Hey everyone! Happy Thanksgiving from Spain

Last week I had no idea what I was going to do for Turkey day, and had resigned myself to not being able to eat any of the usual things. In the end, I was invited to join not only one but two meals of delicious home cooking! It was quite a lovely food filled weekend. oof. I'm still full.

Friday night I went to the apartment of a married couple from Texas who are also teaching English here. I met the woman the first week of October, but hadn't seen her since. But another friend of mine told her I didn't have anywhere to go, and she sent me a message inviting me to her celebration.. They had planned ahead during their last trip to the states (sometime during the summer) and had brought back the usual thanksgiving things that are very difficult to find here, such as cranberry sauce, ingredients for green been casserole, and stuffing mixes. (I've heard a small jar of cranberry sauce is around 3 or 4 euros. eeks). I wasn't sure how many people or what kind of food to expect. it ended up just being Caitlyn, her husband, and another who was visiting from Ireland. Oh yes, and their dog. It was lovely and quiet and deliciously homey.

My second Thanksgiving was an international potluck on Saturday night with about 10 people. I knew the girl who was the instigator of the evening, but no one else. Ten people came. We all brought different things (and a bottle of wine) - most of it traditional, such as mashed potatoes, Squash, and stuffing, some of it untraditional, such as pasta salad, and some Spanish - the Spanish people brought things such as Empenada pie and Spanish Tortilla (the Tortilla was homemade! I hadn't had homemade tortilla yet. What is it? It's potatoes and eggs cooked in this round casserole type thing. You either eat it alone or on bread). The host of this party was a woman from Australia who's family moved to Spain about 18 years ago. Her mother (who wasn't there, but is of the helpful sort) made us a beautiful turkey, and a beautiful apple tart. Overall, the nationalities in attendance were, Spanish, Australian, American, and English. And the foods being eaten were, Turkey, pasta salad, spanish omlette, Empenada, roasted squash, roasted carrots, mashed potatoes, bread and brie, and stuffing. As for the stuffing, we had 4 different types of it. Brooke, my friend who had invited me, didn't think anyone was bringing stuffing and consequently told too many of us to bring it. haha. but it was good. One of them was made by me (which I didn't think turned out very well, so I was glad there were some alternatives). We also had a huge pot of spiced mulled wine. yum. It was such a nice night, nice people, and one of my most memorable thanksgivings for sure.

Other than that, not too much has changed here since my last update. I'm still working the same jobs, living in the same room, and spending the same amount of time on public transportation - and trying to find a balance between work and play that keeps me happy.

Not last weekend, but the weekend before I had nothing to do and no one to do it with, which was a bit sad. Consequently, I over did it the next week and found myself engaged in fun almost the entire time.
Tuesday night - cooked a salmon dinner for my friend
Thursday night- went to a delicious dinner party at a friend's.
Friday - went out ridiculously late with some EBC friends
Saturday- went to an awesome Tapas bar and then a birthday party
Sunday - had back t oback intercambio language practices
Tues - another intercambio tapa bar hopping
Wed - went on a food adventure in the morning/caught up with some other EBC friends at night
Fri- thanksgiving number one
Saturday - thanksgiving number two

I could be busy today (Sunday) as well. I've been invited to an intercambio at a bar, to see the Renoir exhibit at the Prado, or I could be wandering around the La Latina district with my roommate and her friends right now - an area famous on Sunday for it's crowded numerous Tapas bars.

But I'm thinking I need some downtime and lesson planning time before the school week starts again. Speaking of giving thanks - i'm so thankful and grateful for all the people and opportunities I've had so far here in Spain. I feel very lucky. Sometimes I still feel very impatient - more often then I'd like actually - but mostly just very grateful.

My classes are going pretty well. Teaching is still something I'm figuring out, but with the exception of my 4 year old theater class, I have all my classes under control and am feeling pretty good about them. The theater class.... sigh.... it's out of control and I'm at a loss of what to do about it. I want to quite and find another few hours of teaching somewhere that won't be so stressful or challenging. I have enough challenges and things to use up my time here in Spain, and I just don't see the need for this stressful class to be a challenge when I could pretty easily find a few hours teaching someplace easier and closer to me. (it takes about an hour and twenty to get to the theater class.) So i told my boss that I'm having a hard time, and I want to quit, and he should find a replacement. But he really doesn't want me too. He offered me a bonus if I commit to staying for the rest of the school year. (the bonus works out to basically an extra 50 euros a month) And he's going to come to the class on Thursday himself to help me regain control of the kids. So I don't know what to do still. But I'll definitely be teaching the class till winter holidays at least. And maybe it will get better?

Next weekend I have a 5 day weekend!!!! Very excited about this. I want to/will be getting myself out of Madrid for the first time in almost three months. I want to go someplace more quiet and nature, but not too far away. Still not sure where yet, but I'm excited.

And i'm still not sure of my plans for the Christmas Holidays, but I will have a few weeks off then too. I want to go/will be going to the Netherlands and Belgium - Amsterdam, Brussels, Bruges, Antwerp, maybe some small towns as well. It's supposed to be all Christmas markety and pretty pretty pretty. I love the idea of walking around these hundred of years old Christmas markets drinking hot cider and mulled wine, listening to carolers. I want to go! i should have two friends from the EBC course going to come as well. I'm excited to travel a bit again!

A lot of stuff to look forward too. (and a lot of stuff to plan as well. hehe).

The language barrier is still a barrier. And not even just in my not speaking/understanding Spanish well yet. I never realized just how different it would be to talk to people from a different culture and language then mine. Even if they speak English and understand English very well (like my roommates) - the difference in upbringing, and allusions to cultural/language stuff is very much apparent. Still people are people everywhere, and that's very much apparent as well. And I'm not complaining. It's just sometimes a bit alienating. Spanish people on the whole are very helpful and nice. I appreciate having both Spanish friends, English friends, and American friends as I do. And I'm amazed by how I feel the most comfortable with the American ones despite how I've never really identified myself that much as an American before. It makes for interesting observations.

Well, I should go lesson plan for the week. (and eat thanksgiving leftovers. mmmmmmmmmm)

Love you and miss you!!! And hope to hear from you all soon - I still LOVE getting mail and updates from my friends back home. (It helps a lot in the moments when all the foreign stuff here gets a bit daunting.)


Emails from October


It's Saturday! And for me today is a day to catch up. The last few weeks have brought a lot of change, and I have been rather busy. But it's all been really good. Still, I've been running around so much this week that today must be about laundry, catch up emails, cleaning my room, and lesson planning.

First of all, I finished my TEFL course! So, now I'm out in the "real world" finding work. I have been running around to interviews, and new teaching hours - my schedule is still no where near being concrete. This is probably the most stressful thing that's going on. I managed to get a job the day after I graduated. It's for three hours a week teaching 4 and 5 year old children. These children do not speak English, are very rambunctious, and i have very few materials to teach them... it's been interesting. I've been pulling things out of thin air to entertain them. (acting like different animals, I made a basic puppet, the hokey poky is golden). I get a work book the week after next, so hopefully that will sort itself out.

Then I also somehow I managed to land a job teaching drama in English to adorable bilingual Spanish children. (or at least some of them are bilingual). The class is twice a week. So far I taught it once, and it went really well. The group seems really great. But teaching drama to students who don't speak the language well? Talk about a challenge! And my boss is counting on me to make the class successful, so if I don't deliver.... I'll feel really bad. It's built in motivation! And I need it, if the stakes weren't high I wouldn't be pushing myself as hard as i am now, and not taking advantage of this opportunity. Like, part of me is really excited about this class, and grateful! Part of me is less than sure, less than excited, (and has a few minor doubts about the job situation, but whatevs). I took it, and I'm glad. It will be good for me. It will tell me if I like doing this teaching drama thing or not, and maybe I'll really really like it! I don't know. But it should help me figure out a couple of things, so, like I said, I'm grateful. What sucks is that this drama job is really far away. It's 20 euros an hour. I teach for an hour and a half, and travel for an hour and a half there and back to get there.... maybe an hour. I'm still figuring out the best way to travel.

Then another academy has hired me for a couple of hours - next week in particular I'm substituting for one of their teachers and will be working at this academy for about 8 hours. Usually, I'll only have two to four hours of my own there. This academy is also about an hour away from where I live... which is difficult.

I have another private class too. And the possibility of a few other private classes. If everything happens, I'll be up to 14 hours a week of teaching. But so far, i have 10. Which isn't bad! It covers my rent, and more... but I want more. It's been definitely stressful getting this schedule thing together. This freelance teaching thing is kind of first come first serve. A company calls me, i go for an interview, They offer me hours. and if the hours fit into my schedule, I take them. And it's a gamble, because a company might offer me better hours tomorrow, or I'm waiting for private classes to pan out... and they might not, but in the meantime I refuse an offer from another company that will conflict. And the travel time! I have to factor that in too, and I didn't, so I had to cancel a job that I got because I found one that is closer. It's no good to spend 3 hours on public transport everyday, which I think is what I'll be doing on Tuesdays at least. The time I spend traveling, is time I could potentially be making money if a company or a private class offers me other hours. I'm trying to make the best decisions i can. But making decisions without weighing all the options isn't something that comes easily for me. And whatever my schedule is, I'm stuck with it until at least December. The drama class I have committed to for the entire year (provided that funding stays and enrollment goes up... sigh. There are so many IFS!)

So that's the work situation. I just have to trust everything is going to be fine. I'm going to let this week do what it does, see if any of these private classes come through, and if not.. I'll send out my resume again and see if I can fill some of the holes in my schedule.

The other big change in my life is that I moved apartments! I'm now living with two awesomely nice, gregarious Spanish girls. They are both fluent in English, which is very convenient. Eventually i'll have them speak more Spanish to me, but for now it's nice to get settled and get to know them. Living with people from the country was a great move. I feel really lucky to have gotten this apartment. Not only do I not have to worry about furniture, internet set up, tv set up, dishes, and all those tiny obnoxious things, but I also get to experience the Spanish culture more! The things they cook, the expressions they use, the history of some places/traditions... it's good stuff. My roommates are a really good fit for me. We are all laid back, caring, mostly clean, (dishes left in the sink is not a problem like it was in my last apartment), and like to have fun. They sometimes like to break out into Spanish song, which is hilarious. And they claim to have a "peter pan" complex... and you know I do as well =) The first day after I moved in, they sat me down and made it very clear that they want this apartment to feel like a second home to me, and that we are like family because none of us have family that lives near by. Aw. I'm so much happier here than I was living with a Chilean stranger.

and seriously, this city kicks ass! It's like a Spanish, a bit more accessible, a bit more friendly, New York City. The amount of bars and Tapas outfits lining the streets! I know at least one part of the city where there are pedestrian street lined with wall to wall restaurants. I made some new friends with more Spaniards, and this one rad girl from Sacramento who has been here for a year already. Oh, and this awesome English bloke too. All of my new friends took me to some of their favorite places in the city. There are so many cool things to do and see here! And to eat and drink! Two of these new friends are intercambio partners (meaning we meet to exchange conversation in English and spanish).

Last Saturday night, I went out with only Spanish and French people. I was the only native English speaker, and my roommate Rene the only one who could speak Enough English to be conversational. We all went out - I wasn't even supposed to go out. Next thing i know I'm in the VIP area of this posh club (the french/spanish b-day boy shelled out 300 euro to go there) Basically open bar. And everyone is chatting in Spanish around me. It was like, the social world i'd know as well as the one i do know had I grown up in Spain! It had a very different vibe. And it was really really exciting. I'm really excited to get to know this place better, and to be able to speak spanish fluently enough to understand everything! (everyone says I'm gunna reach that point in like two months. Already I can go to the store or ask for directions without embarrassing myself.) I'm working hard to learn what i can and reach conversation level. (I spend like, two hours in public trans a day, so learn spanish podcasts are awesome and daily in my life). So yeah, my Spanish is coming along. I'm improving, though the going is slow. The intercambios are fun. I'm currently trying to get a grip on using the past tense... one of them. I still have to teach myself the others. I don't think i'm going to take a course. Maybe a night course? I'll figure it out once my schedule gets more concrete. Hopefully in just a few more months I'll be able to actually hold a conversation and be able to understand what people are saying. It's very exciting. I'm so glad my TEFL course is over. My life was only that and only in English. I feel like in just the last two weeks have I really gotten a taste of what living in Spain is really like.

Overall, everything is really good. This new life of mine is exciting, fun, challenging, and new... but also the same in many ways. I think I was telling someone the other day that when you are living the dream you've been dreaming.... there's a lot more down time than when you are just dreaming about it.

I don't know if I like teaching at all. But I guess that's what this is for? It's going to be hard, and scary teaching so much, and teaching drama long term. But I need this experience - to figure out what the hell else I want to do with my life.

So yeah, stuffs good. A lot of things are aligning here in such beautiful ways.I'm happy here. And with the exception of my ipod touch getting lost last weekend, I've been having rather good luck. And I'm just doing what I can to keep my thoughts positive and attract even more of it.

HOW ARE YOU ALL DOING? It's been so long since an update (sort of my fault, and also how time flies.... I learned how to say that in Spanish today "how time flies"... but I don't remember.)

Last night I had a dream that I was back on Maui for a short time. My mom and my room was really real. I dreamed I had to go back to Spain, and I was not very happy about how long of a journey it was going to be. But I was going to be able to get some of my drama books and costumes (which I really wish I had now!) And I was excited about that.

Oh, and I'm def in Madrid till June. Visa or no. =)

Love to you all!

*kiss* *kiss* (as the Spanish do)


ps. my new address is

Rebecca Narrowe
C/ Vilaamil 10'D
Madrid Spain 28039

Emails from September

EMAIL September 4 2010 A WEEK LATER

So much has happened since my last long email! I went to Toledo, I went to Granada, and I moved into my new apartment which I will be living in for the next four weeks.

So first thing is first: Toledo. Picture a little midevil city on a hill with winding cobble streets, no modern facades, and with a Cathedral about the size of the Maui Arts and Cultural center - that would be Toledo. It has a really cool history (seriously. Look it up) It was Jewish for centuries, taken by the moors in about 900ad, and it was the first city to be retaken by the Spanish in 1200 or something. Today, it is a town that lives off of tourism and damasce (aka knife making and gold inlaying?) The streets are filled with tourist shops full of swords. Usually the store has a night in full armor set up too, holding a sign that says "no tocar" which means do not touch. To give you an idea of what sort of swords I'm talking about, Toledo was apparently where all the lord of the ring swords/bow and arrows were made for the movies. Consequently, in addition to really cool antiquity swords and cooking knives, the stores also had tons of "buy your own" versions of Lord of the Ring swords, as well as excalibur knock offs, highlander, swords from comic books, movies....basically, Toledo is a nerds dream. Really, I got this slightly nerdie boy Australian named Ben to come check out the city with me on Saturday - I swear he made me go into every sword store he saw, and he knew which ones came from what stories. It was hilarious; he was so excited about them! Of course he couldn't touch any of them, so I guess in that way Toledo is also a nerd's nightmare - all this cool stuff that you don't get to play with. Other than that, all you need to know about Toledo is that you walk uphill a lot, and that there are tons of shops run by Nuns that sell home made marzipan. (Yes parents. I know you love Marzipan. I ate some in honor of you. Not bad stuff). It's also one of the coolest places to walk around at night. All the tourists are gone, everything looks and feels old-- I found myself imagining I was back in the 13th century. Very cool.

Oh yeah, one more funny Toledo story. My second night there, Sunday evening. I ended up at a secret pool table at an Irish pub, and by secret I mean the bar tender at first denied he had one... and then surreptitiously let us up stars after we'd hung out there for a bit. (Us is me and another Aussie from the hostel i was staying at. He's the one who wanted to play pool. Aussies are EVERYWHERE in Spain right now. They came over for the La Tomatina festival outside of Valencia, a festival where they dump truckloads of tomatoes on a crowd of people and let them go wild. Apparently the turn out for this festival was at least half Aussie). Anyway, we went upstairs to the secret pool table and found an two english blokes and a guy from Scotland. It was like I wasn't even in Spain anymore. Also, the pool table was ridiculously bad - you needed to use a mini cue most of the time because the table was positioned to close to the table to use a full sized one. The whole thing definitely ranked high on my list of ridiculous experiences.

Moving on: Granada - what a cool city. It was a total last minute decision to go at all. I'm really glad I did. I get off the bus in Granada, and thought it loked kinda like Madrid but with more banks. But then I had turn up this side street to find my hostel - that street? (and others of course) I felt like I might as well be in Morocco. It was tiny little lined with little Hungarian tea shops, and bohemian clothing shops, and hookah bars. The street itself was so cobbled I ended carrying my wheeling suitcase cus it was easier. Very unexpected! I found out during my stay (and by reading Rick Steves) that Granada is the best preserved Muslim city in Spain. Unlike Toledo, which was the first city to be reconquered by the Spanish in like 1200, Granada wasn't reconquered until 1492 - and was the crown jewel of the moors occupation in Spain up to 1492.Consequently, there is a lot of Muslim influence in the architecture, and Granada has a very unique culture - more bohemian than other Spanish cities, and gypsies (roma's they are called here) still live in caves outside of the city. They moved into these caves during the Spanish inquisition to avoid prosecution. Seriously, i can't do justice to Granada's history. Please look it up and read about it. It's fascinating. I find my hostel. It was the nicest hostel I have stayed at. The building was a square, with an open air middle courtyard. And another Terrace on the upper floor. The room was very comfortable too with very cool, friendly english speaking roommates - most of which were there for the same three nights that I was. I randomly hear about this "nature walk" tour up to see the aquaducts created by the Moors around 1100. Five minutes later, i'm going for a hike with three Aussies, a girl from Argentina, and another American. We hike straight up hill, and within five minutes, you don't feel like you are in a city anymore at all. Instead it's like accorn/fig tree jungle. The aquaducts were really cool too. They are a feat of intelligent engineering that use gravity and water pressure to run water from the melted snow in the Sierra Nevada to the city (through mountains!) They are still in use today too. Just to think that the Moors were accomplishing this (and other amazing feats of science and art) when the rest of Europe was still in the dark ages digging up filth.

That night, I went to a gypsy bar that was in a cave. (Oddly enough, the bar sort of reminded me of Polli's in Makawao but with less decoration) It is owned by a man who's family has been doing Flamenco for like 500 years. Everynight he and his son (?) play realauthentic Flamenco guitar out on the terrace of the bar. It was a real unique non touristy experience. Very cool.

The next day I went on a walking tour of the Albayzin - the old city part of Granada that used to be the workers quarters during the moors reign. It's got lots of small winding streets, and houses built into the hill with white roofs. I learned a lot about the city - again please read about the history! After the tour, I ended up hanging out with people from the tour all day long. Another american guy, two Aussies, two Germans, a girl from Columbia, a guy from mexico, and a guy and a girl from japan. For the most part, except for the germans, we were all solo travelers that happened to be in Granada at the same time. We sat around and made fun of each others cultures a lot. We went for a walk through the gypsy caves outside of Granada (still don't know if we went the right way. It was like walking through the most unique cave neighborhood. I took pictures. I'll post them eventually). We then went to a hookah bar for a few hours - really good fun and really good company.

My final day in Granada I finally went to the Alahambra - the moorish castle that is the best preserved and most beautiful examples of antique Muslim architecture around. I'd been hearing about it for a while now, and I have to say it is worth the hype. The ornate carving in that castle is exquisite. It is so detailed, and such a feat of discipline and artwork. Every room's walls are covered in complicated carved designs and poetry in arabic. Also, the gardens and the fountains! It's a pretty remarkable palace. The sultan and his 2000 closest court members and servants lived at the Alahambra (not all in the palace of course) for about the same amount of time that the USA has been around currently.

So yeah, Granada was really neat to see. It was neat to hear about all the outdoor activity to be done around Granada too. That is a good thing to know because Madrid seems to be lacking in that effect. It's good to know that other parts of Spain make up for it.

Ok this email has gotten long enough (and I had to write the Granada part twice because my computer is uber obnoxious and decided to erase it).

I'll write more about my apartment soon!

love you all


EMAIL September 6 2010 A WEEK LATER pt 2

Hello again!

Not too much has happened after Granada except for moving into my apartment (and lots of heavy lifting). The enigmatic Ricardo situation ended up being just fine. He's perfectly amiable to live with.I am the 7th or so roommate from EBC that he has had in the last 7 months, so me being here isn't anything new to him. The apartment is nice, simple, and clean. My room is about half the size of any room i've ever lived in, but my stuff fits, the bed is comfortable (it even came with sheets) so i'm perfectly content. He also has wireless, which is awesome! (I was concerned that he wouldn't). He himself is, I'd guess, about 40 years old. Single. And from Chile. He understands English pretty well, and can speak it sufficiently enough to communicate. He's a scuba dive instructor, although I think his job in Madrid has to do with handyman work. He also loves Motorcycles, and has a huge one out front of the apartment. He's even going to some motorcycle expo next week for holiday - leaving me with the apartment for a week to myself! Yes! So far we just keep to ourselves. He seems pretty shy, respectful, and considerate. We watch a lot of tv in Spanish, which is just fine by me. it's sort of feels like I'm living with a Spanish version of Francis or Darryl again (my 40 year old bachelor tour mates all spring) except i don't have to be so dependent on transportation or anything, so in that way it's kind of better.

Small cultural things about the apartment that you should know:
- the refrigerator is significantly smaller than any you would find in America
- The washing machine is in the kitchen and takes three times as long as the one back home. There is no dryer (my travel clothes line with suction cup endings is VERY handy!)
- The shower is also very small with a detachable shower head. This is how every shower has been since i've been in spain, so I guess it's just how it is here.
- The doorknob on my apartment's front door is in the middle of the door
- The light switches look different
- There is a permanent bum down the street named John Luc (I think) who is from italy, lives in Spain now, and traveled all over - even to America. Consequently he speaks fluent Italian, fluent Spanish, and not bad English. He likes to tell me that because I'm from Hawaii I should look like a body builder from Waikiki (where he has also been). Hilarious.
- His tv on most channels can switch from English to Spanish with a push of a button (pretty cool!)

I'm feeling pretty good overall. Mostly I've spent the last bit of time (since 7pm Friday) getting errands done, getting situated, and getting work done for the course. I'm a little lonely, but hopefully that will change when the course starts tomorrow. Honestly, I probably need the downtime and the sleep - traveling is such a whirlwind of activity and people, it's good to have some time to relax before this intensive course I'm about to start.

I feel like I've been in a lot of awkward situations lately - mostly because of the lack of Spanish thing. It's sort of obnoxious not understanding what people say to me, or not being able to communicate like a normal person It's part of the adventure, I feel good natured about it. Still, it's hard to notice how much of a buffoon I feel like. Even just buying groceries, I have to spend so much time looking at labels, figuring out what's what, watching the locals.I think I'm going to start counting the times I have moments of awkward encounters. Just yesterday alone, there was the episode at the grocery store where I didn't know I had to pay for shopping bags, so the woman instructed me in rapid spanish to which I gave a smilling blank stare. Or the time at the department store when I had to go to the bathroom. I asked, and was given rapid spanish insturctions. A few times this happened. Finally, I found one on the second floor. But it was being cleaned. The cleaning lady told me where to find another one... but in Spanis. So, I had to surreptitiously follow a Spanish girl to the other bathroom on the 7th floor. It was pretty funny.My weekend has been full of moments like these.

it doesn't help that the Aussies I was hanging out in Granada with ragged on me a lot for being American, and my American accent, and my American accented Spanish. They deemed me a cool American, but made good fun of me a lot anyway. I hadn't been in that sort of cultural situation before. It was interesting. Consequently, i'm a bit more embarrassed to try speaking the language. it's not stopping me, but it does make me feel a bit more self conscious. I'm trying to be patient. I know my Spanish can only get better. But I think I've sort of reached a point where I just need to learn more Spanish before I can improve at the rate i want. Once my course starts and i know what to expect from it, i'm going to find a Spanish course to take, and set up some intercambios (language exchanges with native spanish speakers).Occasionally I realize I am learning how to be an independent adult in addition to living in a foreign country. Even just budgeting nd buying groceries (daunting tasks for a new adult even in her home state) i now have to figure out with everyone being in Spanish around me. There are cultural things about this country I just have no way of knowing. It can be a bit daunting! But, it will be ok. I want it to be ok. Everytime I feel a little overwhelmed, cus this is overwhelming at times, I just tell myself that this is what I wanted. At least it keeps things - like, everything - interesting and novel. So, bring it on Spain!

Alright, i'm going to make me some lunch now. It's nice to have a kitchen to do that in again.



It's about the be Thursday of the first week of class. Thursday I teach my first class in English to a group of adult speakers who won't understand a word I'm saying. Awesome? I think yes. Writing the lesson plan for this lesson took way too long. It is an hour lesson, and I've probably spent about 5 or 6 hours preparing for it. That is a messed up ratio me thinks. However, this is my first of 8 lessons I will be planning and teaching. Hopefully it will just get easier. (My second lesson is on Friday to adult students who may or may not understand what I'm saying....also awesome).

I will give you a quick rundown of the people in my class. I know you must be curious. (If you aren't, just humor me. I was going crazy with curiosity of what these people would be like for months. Therefore, you can at least feign some curiosity).

There are the three girls from Jersey: Laura, Ali, and Angela, who all knew each other from college at the University of Delaware, and plan to be roommates together after the course. So far they seem pretty friendly, but also sort of keep to themselves. It was Ali's idea to move to Spain. The other girls, with some prodding, decided to come along. They are all 22, fresh out of college.

There is Dan: Dan is from Santa Monica CA. He was an education major. I haven't spent too much time with them yet. He's currenty rooming with Ali, so he's more part of the Jersey gang for the moment. He's 25, one year out of college. Oh, and he's also the only boy in the class, much to his chagrin (don't know why he's complaining really. At least it's a good looking group).

There are the two bohemians from Miami: Grace and Christie are sweethearts. They are my favorites of the American girls. They are out for adventure, travel, and having a good time and meeting people along the way. They know each other from college (UF), traveled around Spain before the course started for a week or two (like I did). I haven't hung out with them outside of class yet, but we have plans to travel around spain and maybe go hiking for a weekend once the course settles down. They are also 22 and fresh out of college.

There's the (crazy?) German lady: Her name is Andrea. Her accent is thick (I'm not really sure how she's going to teach English. She can be hard to understand. She's definitely the oldest in the class (i'm guessing late 30's, maybe 40's?) Her being possibly crazy started officially today. She was VERY difficult when we presented out lesson plans to the group. Basically, from what i've heard (she wasn't in my group), she made half the class stay an hour late through her stubborness to get advice about her lesson plan, advice that she then didn't take. In addition, her lesson plan is aimed towards advanced (mostly fluent) English speakers, and it's about sharks. Sharks! We have been instructed to make our lessons as life applicable as possible. And somehow she's decided that an hour long lesson about sharks will capture the interest of her mostly fluent, Spanish students (hmmmmmm.....). I honestly try to like everyone, and wish the best for everyone. And i wish her the best, nor do I dislike her. But I do dislike when she asks not very useful questions in class and engages the teachers time discussing nothing particularly relevant for 10 minutes. Anyway, she seems nice and well meaning enough, and could quite possibly make the class, erm, interesting in the future.

There's the bilingual duel citizenship girl: Alana was born in California, but raised in Spain and England. Her Mom's American, her Dad is Spanish. She has a perfect English accent, yet is enrolling in Spanish University for this semester to take lessons (Spanish) on Education (her major). Is that cool or what? Am I jealous? just a smidge. She is taking the TEFL course as a supplement to her major and to see what she wants to do. She is also 22. I haven't gotten to know her much yet, but I enjoy the conversations I have had with her.

There's the girl from England: Sophie is about 27 and has worked as a social worker with troubled teens for 6 years. She finds the social work very stressful, so she wants to possibly switch gears and move to Spain and teach English. Consequently, she's taking the course on her one month holiday from work. She's contracted to work until December in England. She's a pretty cool chick. I've spent the most time with her (and Renei) so far. I'm enjoying getting to know her.

There's the Spanish girl: Renei was born in Madrid, is spanish through and through, and has a heavy thick accent. She didn't learn English until she decided to move to London about 5 years back, and lived there for 4 years. She was/is a make-up special effects artist. She's hoping the TEFL course can lead to a good way for her to supplement her English. Poor thing however, is not really as good in English as a native born speaker, so she's pretty worried about being able to complete the course work. She's 29.

As I said, i've spent the most time so far with Renei and Sophie. We spent the last two afternoons together. Last night (Tuesday) I was at Renei's until about midnight writing lesson plans together. We went to the grocery store after the course, went shopping a bit too (I bought two pairs of shoes and a pair of earings for only 5 euros! incredible). Renei cooked us dinner. She's a great, giving girl.

And that's been my week so far! The course is a lot of sitting and listening, but I'm enjoying it (three days in...), The teacher's name is john. He's Norwegian, and can be kind of abrupt and can accidentally make you feel dumb. This seems to rub at least Sophie and Renei the wrong way. I don't find it too bad though; I can see past it. He's a good guy, and very knowledgeable about grammar (though i'm not too impressed with his time management so far).

What you should also know is I have possibly already secured myself a great apartment for October! Renei has two Spanish roommates, and one of them is moving out. I saw the apartment yesterday. It's pretty friggin awesome. It's a bit outside of the city, center, but in a real Madrid, safe neighborhood, with super cheap awesome grocery stores and shopping stores. It's also an area extremely accessible by public transport. it's off of one of the mainlines - six stops and you are in the city center. In this way, it's easier to get o the city center from her place then mine! In addition, the price is awesome! 317 euros a month for my own room, two terraces, a kitchen, water and heat included (and the electricity bill is nothing - about 10 a month for internet and electricity). Her other roommate (who would be my roommate) Also is Spanish but pretty much English fluent. She's 32. They told me they were hoping for an English speaking person to live there, a girl who would be sociable, and want to watch movies, grab or make dinner together, and go out together often. Therefore it's a perfect situation for me to learn Spanish and learn the real madrid/spanish culture. As the situation stands, either me or Sophie will be moving in in October, probably me since Sophie would have to break contract to stay in Spain immediately. It seems like a great and easy opportunity to land an awesome cheap apartment with awesome and nice Spanish roommates. But I also know that Sophie is a better fit than I am (she's the right age, and she smokes, it's a smoking apartment. This is Spain afterall). Whereas I am a bit younger, don't smoke, and, frankly, am more of a nerd compared to them. I know I don't necessarily fit. So, well see? I think everything will work out. There is still three weeks. Things could change. And if I end up in this apartment, which is most likely, there are a lot of pluses!

That's it for me. i'm going to take a shower and get some sleep while I can.

love you. Let me know what's going on!



hello all! I have a ton of work to do for my course tonight, so this will be brief, but I'll do my best to write again soon.

Class is going well. I taught my third class today. And I have to write a lesson plan tonight for my fourth class tomorrow. Class is a lot of sitting. And learning what tense sentences like "She had been sitting in class learning about English grammar all day when she realized she had no interest in learning anymore about it." (by the way, that's past perfect continuous... mostly).

It's cool to learn about this stuff, but sitting there for hours learning about it is tedious. The class is informative. The people in it are nice, but the class could be a bit better structured. Lesson plans take a long time. Next week I have to write 4 of them. I must get faster. I have some ideas to do so...

Mostly I am just looking forward to the weekend. My friend Seeba from Texas will be hanging out with me in Madrid. It will be a good good time.... Seeba says we aren't allowed to have any fun though ;)

i think I will also be starting a Spanish intercambio next week. More details on that later.

And i am also still probably moving into Rene's apartment come October. I'll know for sure by the end of next week.

As of today I have a Spanish Bank Account! With Euros in it to last me till at least November! (I should have an income by then) And a debit card for the account! I am very excited about this. So excited that i went grocery shopping with the last cash I had.

Spanish grocery shopping can be awesome.Despite peanut butter being harder to find than a new born with a full head of hair I'm loving it. I had a great moment the other day in the pasta isle trying to figure out what the hell was Tomato sauce and what was tomato paste (I gave up. Will try again later). Anyway, after teaching a class of 6 Spanish beginners language about music that was mostly too difficult for them, I was hankering for a glass of wine, so I went to the store....

I bought 6 peaches, 3 pairs, 6 cage free eggs, a small loaf of bread, a bar of chocolate, and a bottle of white wine for a wopping 5.67 euros! woah that's awesome! (it's about $8) Just found the grocery store that's only 3 blocks from my house. Ricardo showed it to me the first night I moved in, but it took me until yesterday to relocate the damn thing. hehe.

Ok I have to go back to work.

love you, keep sending me updates!


Hello all! It's me again. I realize I haven't written a good update for a while now. Hopefully this will fix this.

I am officially moving in with Rene and Lara - the two Spanish girls on Friday. I'm really excited for this. Both of them are wonderfully nice, friendly people. It will be a really good change after this month with my stranger roommate. Ricardo has been perfectly fine to live with, but I prefer to be friends with my roommates rather than feel like I'm a stranger in my own apartment. I went shopping with the two of them today at a cheap outlet mall outside of the city. They helped my make some great purchase decisions. And we already have plans to throw a Halloween party later this month. And I'm sure that living with both of them will make my Spanish improve much quicker than if I was living with English only speaking girls. I'll try to take some pictures and send them of my new flat... or finally start that blog I want to start...

Yes, you heard correctly - Spain celebrates Halloween. According to Rene, they really get into it too. We had a wonderful culturally mixed up conversation about it last night. She was telling me how she was a cannibal for Halloween last year, and that she loves using lots of bloody make up and stuff every year. I told her that last year I was a fairy, and the year before I was a cow girl - and she gave me the weirdest look at said, "Babe, you can't be a cow girl for Halloween." I asked why not? The whole point of Halloween is dressing up as something else...... apparently this is not quite the case in Spain (or England - Sophie tells me) Here, you can only dress like scary things. She thought it was hilarious that in America you can dress up like a princess or a mouse. Here, if you did that (and you weren't a dead princess or something) people would look at you really weird and even maybe throw tomatoes or eggs at you. Who knew! Here I thought that Halloween was something only America celebrated now a days, but no! Spain does Halloween better than America does

I've been taught some great Spanish expressions that translate into utter silliness in English recently too.

- monkey: Spanish people have many uses for the word monkey - if you see something that is cute, you say "Que mona!" - "what monkey!" if it's really cute you say "que monalita!" - "what little monkey" (I think? Don't quote me on that one.) But THEN monkey can also mean you are in with drawl. For example if you are fixin' for a cigarette or something, you would say "tengo mona" "I have monkey." ......

- Octopus: - Spanish people (or at least the girls) call a guy who is too touchy feely a "pulpo" an "octopus." Weirdly enough, this is one, i've been told, is really bad, not one you would use in proper company, more for the sex and city like convos you have with your girl friends. you would DEFINITELY not tell the guy who was a "pulpo" that would be really bad form....

- Onion: - this is my last one for now. Rene and Lara were telling us about Salsa dancing here, and how you have to be careful because though most boys are just there to dance, some will take advantage of how close they get to be to you while salsa dancing, and they may, while dancing, try to "frotando de la cebolleta" - "grind their little onion" and that we should not put up with it. Yup, "grind their little onion...." Again, this is vulgar slang not be used in everyday respectable conversation. But I think it's funny.

Oh yeah! And when I met Lara and Rene today, they told me that they were talking and decided that they must teach me all the silly Spanish phrases. so today they taught me "ping pong poom, bocadillo de atun." which directly translates to "ping pong poom (that part's nonsense) tuna sandwich." And you use this phrase when you're friends are talking about something and you just don't care any more "ping pong poom, tuna sandwich" I love it.

Moving on from Spanish slang for now.... to class. Oh class. I am so glad it is almost over. Because it is making me a bit cranky crazy. I had really high expectations for myself going into this class. I thought - I'm a hard worker, I've taught before, I've excelled at intensive classes before. This should be totally easy for me to do well at with a little determination. And it's not that it has been ridiculously hard - I've dealt with worse. But, I think secretly wanted to be one of the best, if not the best in the class. And I don't think i've achieved that and it makes me very mad. I think I'm doing mediocre. I think I'm not very good at teaching English - I'm a good teacher, I present whatever I am presenting well.... but teaching concepts in a foreign language requires a lot of creativity on how to present info to people who might be understanding a word you are saying, and it requires knowing how to not make lessons too hard, or too complicated - I like to make everything too complicated. Sigh, so the last 4 classes I've taught I have been unsatisfied with. the first two were too hard, so I did not get to my final "produce" activity. So this week I tried to make my classes less complicated... I still did not manage to make it to the produce activity. And I'm not being creative enough in my activities. I read other people's lessons, and for the most part i'm on par with their creativity, but I know I could be even better. I take for granted that I am a capable, creative person - and I don't feel like these skills are coming through enough in my lessons for me to say this. So... I need to work harder, and I accept that....Except I'm already working quite hard. Planning a lesson takes numerous hours. And then you have to make all the worksheets and visuals for the lesson. I say I spend about 2.5+ hours planning the lesson and then another 4 if not 6 hours making the damn stuff for the lesson, a one hour lesson! I asked John how long it should be taking us to do this stuff.... not as long as it is taking me. I'm not alone in this. It's taking many people in the class a long time to get everything done, particularly Rene because poor thing has to do it all in a second language. It doesn't help either that class time is generally insipid. We could be using the class time learning much better than we are. Everyone is having a hard time not day dreaming, and everyone is doodling in their notebooks. When you have so much to do, it sucks sitting there, not doing anything all that productive instead of doing what you want to get done.

This week was really tiring. We had to plan 4 lessons by Wednesday evening, and teach on Thursday, and teach another one on Friday. Typically, I work all day or listen all day in class till 5, then I come home by 5:40, or hang out with people till 8 or so (take a deserved hour or so break, make/eat dinner) then work on lessons until 12:30 or 1, 1:30. Then wake up at 8:30 and do it.

It didn't help that i got some weird 24 hour flu thing on Wednesday to Thursday which completely wiped me of energy and strength - including mental strength. luckily I'm about back to normal now. I'm so glad the illness was short.

I just get frustrated that I am working hard (possibly as hard as I am willing to) on this stuff, and i'm not producing results that I'm proud of. I find this a very frustrating equation. It means i'm not working smart, and I'm not sure how to work smarter. It makes me doubt my capability and intelligence, and that's not comfortable. So, I won't do that, but it's taking a lot of self pep talk not to.

But really, it's ok. i'm just venting. I just don't like having to work harder than I thought I was going to have to - that's my own deal. I need to change my perspective. And i have so much work to do still until Wednesday that it's going to be uncomfortable getting it done, especially getting it done with quality since doing less than personally satisfying work takes forever. Deadlines suck. Nature of the beast, but it will pass. I know..... and then I have to get a job- a whole OTHER beast to deal with. Ugh. And i'm not so sure i enjoy teaching English yet.

but it's good for me. it's adventure. I trust it will work out. I'm telling myself that it's ok I don't know all the answers yet. It's even possibly a good thing. So.... Bring it on Spain! There's still nothing I'd rather be doing right now.

Speaking of right now, right now I have to go and get ready to go to the apartment of the American jersey girls (who have warmed up a bit and now are becoming more friendly).

love you all, pep talks are appreciated, and yes, by writing this, i feel better and realize how much i'm over thinking.

Love Becca

emails from August


Finally arrived in Madrid this morning!! It is pretty exciting stuff. Since when I arrived it was, oh 3 in the morning mountain time (the zone I left), I had about enough energy to reach the hostel in Madrid center, before passing out for about 2.5 hours. Then I repacked everything so my big suitcase is now way heavy, and my small suitcase has the stuff I want to travel with... well, pretty much.

The hostel I am staying with is so far less than friendly, but I'll work on it. Apparently there is a pub crawl (tapas crawl) loosely organized here everynight, so I will probably do that tonight. For now, I am off to roam the city proper for the first time, and to see how luggage lockers work at the train stations because I'm hoping to lock up my big suitcase till next week. The hostel I am at doesn't have lockers (weird) so it upmost important that I figure this out first for peace of mind. (right now my luggage is locked with my own locks, in a locked room, but it's a shared room, so I'm not thrilled about the situation. Someone could still take them. Therefore EVERYTHING i don't want to lose is on my person. It's kind of annoying).

Everything is in Spanish, including the writing on the can of coke I am drinking right now, and the google page my internet network opened too. Already my brain is working in spanish harder than it ever has. Thank goodness I know the language at least a little bit. Thank goodness at least one of my spanish years in high school was taught well. Still there is so much to learn and figure out, both language wise and, well, everything!!!! But that's what I signed up for. Vive la adventure!

Well I'm off to find comida! (food) wish me luck!

Hata luego (till the next time)


EMAIL home: August 29 2010 DESPUES A POCO MAS DIAS

Hello again. I'm still In Madrid, and still getting lost in my wanderings, but not as much... I think. I've decided I really really like this city. It is sort of a combination of New York city and Boston North end, with more pedestrian only streets (and the occasional vespa or car threatening to run you over on a street that you thought was pedestrian only) Oh yeah, and the fact that everything is in Spanish. So far it seems walkable, bustling, and accessible. There are endless shops and restaurants, so I know I'll have a good time exploring the many possibilities. Consequently, true to form, I wander a lot looking for a place to eat or drink until I can't stand it any longer and wind up at a random ice cream shop or McDonalds. Really, yesterday I ate lunch at McDonalds (best McDonalds salad i've ever had in fact.) The fruit is very good too. I discovered a fruteria (fruit only store. There are many) yesterday, and bought a peach. It was huge and delicious and only cost .50 euros =) People here are very very friendly and helpful too.One Madrileno came to my rescue in the subway yesterday as I was trying to get my now 60 some pound bag through the entrance turnstyle. He decided to help me lift it over, no help asked for, no english spoken. I was very grateful.

I went for a run yesterday in retiro parque, Madrid's own version of central park. It is so nice! Apparently it was only for royalty until the late 1800's or something. There's a pond you can rent boats on, a pathway winding around a creek, live music somewhere, and my favorite, a labyrinth rose garden! And guess what, I heard swing music as I ran, and came across a lindy balboa (swing dancing) club that meets weekly. I got the information, and plan to go to the next gathering. Dancing is universal, right? Well, I'll find out.

I didn't meet anyone for the first 36 hours. It was weird. Usually i'm very outgoing in hostel situations, but for some reason this hostel is a bit daunting. Honestly I don't feel like putting out anything more than minimal friendly effort. But at the last minute last night I did go out for Tapas with a girl from my room (she was french canadian), and together we to had an awesome time. We found this small street PACKED with restaurants and street tables, and waiters trying to usher us in with promises of cervazas gratis (free beer). But apparently, one waiter actually meant it when he said he'd give us beer for free. he gave us 2 free beers each, chose tapas for us (delicious green olives, Jamon y bread, and this awesome mushroom covered toast thing) - total for this? (3 plates, and 6 beers total?) less than 10 euros. Needless to say we tipped him, whether it is culturally expected or not.
We got back from our tapas excursion just in time for me to go on the pub crawl.... which started at 1am btw. Only three people from my hostel went, but we met up with a huge group of australians from another hostel also on the pub tour. I hung out mostly with a guy from and brazil, who spoke pore English, and his friend from Italy, who spoke better english and even better spanish with his brazillian friend. So, I spent my night talking in broken spanish and english, and all was understood. Consequently, i'm feelinleg more spanish confident. I still have a lot to learn... A LOT... but I can already get by better and am thinking and using spanish about 30% easier than when I got here just two days ago.

The pub crawl ended in a fancy big 7 story club called Kapitol.I swear, big clubs are the same everywhere: overpriced (beer there costs times more than it does at a pub! And they wanted to charge me 6 euros for water!!), not great music, and basically a meet market. Spanish boys are hilarious. There come on line? Como te llama (what is your name). How original, right? They are definitely forward little buggers too many grabbed my hand to kiss it, but they are not bad. Just ridiculous.

I got back around 6:30 in the morning.... and slept till about noon, missing check out for the hostel. woops! Luckily, I can stay another night.
Although tomorrow I'm planning on heading to Toledo for a few night as soon as I can. I don't know where I'm staying there yet, so wish me luck! I have a hostel in mind, but they really might not have any openings.

Please keep sending responses to me emails, no matter how short! They really help me through the lonely overwhelmed feelings popping u that tend to from time to time

Love you all


This Blog

I've been living in Madrid for nearly4 months now. I've gotten a hang of the routine, and my daily life here to the point where i hardly know what to tell you about the last few months because they are completed. But I do not want to start looking at this country and this city with jaded eyes. This blog is to help me keep a fresh perspective, look for the human experience, and tell the stories of myself and the people that I meet.