I have always been someone who gets cold easily. As many of you also know, I wear dresses year round. When winter hits, this simply means I switch from sundresses to warm dresses. That’s why when I saw this flannel dress from Zaful, I had to get it! It looked perfect for the colder months. When it gets cold out, flannel is always a good choice.
The other thing I was really wanting was a nice, big sweater. This is one I can pair with a lot of looks. Or I can just throw it on when I’m hanging out at home in my sweat pants.
What things come to mind when you hear Spain? Likely sangria, Spanish and old architecture. It’s an absolutely wonderful country to visit. It’s also an amazing place to live. I should know as I do live in Spain. However if you went to Spain for a few weeks, you might end up surprised when life isn’t like it was when you were on vacation.
While Spain is a Westernized European country, there are some big differences between cultures. Like any place, there were things I was not expecting. This is in no way to put Spain or Spaniards down. It’s just to say it like it is. These have all been things that have surprised and even shocked me at times. So here goes …
The holidays are one way to really see and experience a foreign culture. This year marks the second Christmas season that I have spent in Granada, Spain. While many things are similar, I was surprised to find many differences between Christmas in the United States and Navidad in Spain.
Just like in the United States, the streets get decorated around late November to early December. Christmas music can be heard and people are out buying presents for their loved ones. Children get a few weeks off of school and adults generally don’t work. However there are just a few too many differences … enough that I felt like a list would be a fun and informative blog post. So let’s get into it!
I live in Granada, Spain. I have to stop myself from taking that for granted. I am so very lucky to get to spend not one but two years in one of Spain’s most historic cities. About a month ago, I met up with a new photographer named Serena to do a photoshoot in the Albaicín neighborhood. Exploring Granada’s Albaicín is something that should not be missed when in Granada.
As I sit down to write this at 3:30 in the afternoon, I find myself in quite an appropriate state to write this blog post. Today is a holiday here in Spain, meaning no work. That also means that I went out last night. So I sit here still in my pajamas with an un-washed face and disheveled hair. I’m nursing a tiny hang over. I think the coffee is helping.
Going out here in Spain is quite different than going out back home in the United States. If you really go out, don’t plan anything around 10 a.m. the next day. You will likely come home between the hours of 6-8 a.m.
For the past year, I have always thought a diary-style post about a typical night out in Spain would be fun to write. Several weeks ago, my friend Carolina invited myself and some friends to have dinner at her house and then go out. I documented the entire night. Enjoy!
One day last fall, I stumbled upon the Lemon Rock Hostel and Bar. I believe it was a Sunday and I was in search of a place to do some work from my laptop. Somehow I had stumbled upon one of the best Granada hostels and it had a very cozy-looking cafe.
I quickly learned that the Lemon Rock was more than just a hostel. The Lemon Rock is a place enjoy good coffee, beer and food. It’s a place that Spanish people love just as much as the tourists. They host good concerts, dj sets and even language exchanges. In short, it’s a place you have to visit when you come to Granada.
I rarely ever write about my favorite Granada spots. I suppose when you live in a place, you can forget that it too has many amazing hidden gems. While I had been to the Lemon Rock dozens of times in the past, I had never really thought to write about it. It seems a little crazy to me as I love to write about hostels on here.
As I begin my second year in Spain, I often find myself reflecting on everything I love about this country. One year ago, I had no idea how well my time here would turn out. I had no idea how many wonderful people I would meet and how much Spanish I would speak on a daily basis.
If you are wanting to learn Spanish or better the Spanish that you already speak, I would recommend living in Spain if you can. Of course I’m sure many parts of South America would also be wonderful places to learn as well. However except for Nicaragua, I have not traveled in South America. One day I hope to get to Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Costa Rica and basically everywhere else in that part of the world. However right now I’m in Spain and I love it here.
Last weekend, I spent a day exploring the beaches of Almeria here in the Andalucia region of Spain. My English teaching program is an adventure sometimes. Last year was the first year both myself and Amy taught English in Spain. We both got placed in tiny pubelos. However I got lucky as two teachers from my school commuted from Granada and they gave me the option to live in Granada. I of course took it and had a fabulous year living in Granada. Like what? I got to live in one of the most beautiful cities in Spain. It was like a dream all year last year.
Amy, however, got placed to work in a pueblo of Almeria called Albox. She did not have the option to commute from a larger city like I did, so she lived in the town. However from all her stories, it sounded like she had a good year. The teachers from her school were always going out and getting together, so she made some good Spanish friends that way. And when you’re in a pueblo, you’re really forced to speak Spanish as less people speak English.
The Real Alcázar Sevilla. This is the place I’ve been wanting to visit for months. I had seen photos on social media from other people in my teaching program and thought “Sevilla has a fortress, castle-thing?” My only experience in Sevilla had been on my first trip to Spain back in June 2015 with CoffeeShop Spanish. We arrived in the afternoon, wandered the city and went to a Flamenco show that evening. It was simply too short of a trip for such a wonderful and historical city.
What is Sevilla?
Sevilla is a city in Spain. One of my biggest pet-peeves with travel blogs is when they don’t tell you what country the city or place is in. I know that that seems laughable, but I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been reading a post thinking “okay I think this is in the Philippines, but they didn’t say” or “I think this is in the UK … but it could be Ireland too. I DON’T KNOW!!” Travel bloggers just a little piece of advice: always put the country with wherever your post is about. While it may seem obvious to you, not all of your readers likely are familiar with the region you’re writing about. But likely we will want to know exactly where it is so we can make a note and future plans to travel there.
Today was my last day working at the school that I teach at. It’s such a weird feeling to not be going back there. Today was the last day I ran out of the door at 7:40 a.m. to catch the bus to meet the teachers that I carpool with to then ride an hour (and fall asleep) in the car. It was my last day to take that beautiful, windy drive through the mountains to the little town of Arbuniel and see 40-50 smiling faces greeting me with “hello teacher!” This year went by way too fast.
If you do not know, I work in the Southern Andalucia region of Spain as an English Language Assistant. The Spanish government hosts a program where native English speakers assist in bilingual public schools all over the country. If you have ever dreamed of living in Spain, teaching English overseas or both, it’s a great opportunity to do so!
It was just around this time last year that I received an e-mail assigning me to the primary school in Arbuniel. And I was freaking out …