Last week I was on an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Who here has heard of the Azores? It’s okay if you haven’t. Up until a few months ago when my friend Karla invited me along on her adventure, I had hardly heard of them either. However I’m always down for an adventure. And thus we planned an affordable getaway to the Azores.
In the middle of the ocean
During my stay on the island of São Miguel, I sent a Spanish friend of mine a screenshot of where I was on the map. It basically looked like this:
In January, I took a trip to Toulouse, France for a few days with a good friend. I was very surprised with how much I liked the city. My only other experience in France was when I went to Paris at the age of 18 with my high school. While this trip was an amazing experience, I was excited to see France outside of Paris. The major, capital cities only give you the tip of the iceberg as far as how people live their lives. So I was excited that my second time in France was a completely different region.
Basically, I went to Toulouse because I went to Andorra. Do any of you ever do that? You add another destination to the trip simply because you’re close by and why not? Over Christmas break, I went to Andorra. I’ve been fascinated with Andorra for a long time. If you’re like a lot of people, you’re probably wonder what Andorra is. Well, it’s a tiny country in between Spain and France in the mountains. You can read my post about Andorra here. You can get to Andorra by bus either from Barcelona or Toulouse. So I thought “why not come in through Barcelona and out to Toulouse?” So that is exactly what we did.
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 …
When you think about Spain, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Is it Barcelona or Madrid? Is it tapas and beautiful beaches? While I love the big cities, I equally enjoy visiting the smaller towns of Spain. I love to get a different perspective on Spanish life … a perspective that you do not get from a travel book. Ever since I moved to the Andalucia region of Spain, people have been telling me that I need to see Ubeda and Baeza. On Sunday I finally decided to go.
These towns are both located in the Jaen province, which sits just above Granada. The trip from Granada is just about an hour each way, making them the perfect day trip!
Everyone knows Liverpool, England as the home of the Beatles. So of course when I went, I had to experience all that I could. I only had one full day in Liverpool, so I wanted to make sure that I saw all the spots I could. Luckily they offer a Magical Mystery Tour that takes to all the hot spots for 20-something pounds. It was perfect.
It was a cold day, especially for April. Spring just arrives a lot later there. I had brought my leather jacket with me, which was honestly not enough. That’s one thing about Spain … Spanish weather is so much nicer than that of England. So needless to say, I was happy when it was time to board the bus.
I’m just going to come out and say it. Life can be hard living in a foreign country, especially when there’s a language barrier. You then add in different norms for social behavior, different traditions and overall different customs, and it can be exhausting. I’m finishing up my 8th month in Spain and while this year overall has been amazing, there have been frustrating moments. I’ve realized more than anything that you have to take care of yourself first. My days and weekends are so much better when I’ve just taken the time for me. Here is what I’ve found works for me. I hope this can help any of you who are living the expat life.
Liverpool, England has been on my list of places to see for a long time. I’ll be the first to admit that the Beatles were initially the driving force behind that. Over in the United States, were always told that we need to visit London, of course. Check. Been there twice. And then of course following London, Liverpool always comes up. But I’ll admit that before my trip, all I really knew about the city was that the Beatles were from there. I was surprised that I came away liking it for more reasons than just the Beatles.
So without further ado, let’s just get right into it.
Happy Mother’s Day to everyone in Spain and happy future Mother’s Day to those of you in the USA. This will always be a day that I’m fond of. Those of you who know me personally may be wondering why I just said that as the truth is, my mom passed away almost a year and a half ago. True, this could be a day where I cry, and feel all the feelings of anger and frustration. And some people who have lost their mother may be in that place, and that place is 100% okay. We all handle the death of someone close to us in different ways because we are all different people. That’s what makes the world beautiful.
However today I thought I would use my little space on the internet to write a letter to my mom. Even though she is not on earth, I want to take this time to really appreciate her and say thanks. That is what I would do if she was still alive, after all.
Blue has always been one of my favorite colors. I love all shades of blue, but I especially love a dark navy. There’s just something very classic about it. This dress just seemed perfect for summer too!
When matching with navy, it can be hard. Depending on the shade of navy, black is often not a good option. Yes yes, I know … so much of what you own is black. Me too. However when it’s so close to Navy, it can just clash. But not to worry … there are so many colors!
While I love the excitement of arriving at the airport, going through security (total sarcasm here) and boarding my flight to some exciting destination, I also love the fun of a simple day trip. There are so many places that we can explore within a 1-3 hour drive of us, wherever we are. I love taking day trips and where I live in Spain, there are so many!
Over Semana Santa, I traveled in Ireland and England for a little bit. On my way back home, I found cheaper airfare into Madrid. Since I’ve already been to Madrid several times, I decided to take a day trip to Toledo. Toledo is a perfect day trip from Madrid as it’s a one-hour away. And it’s also a city that you do not want to miss. It’s full of so much history and things to see. And the architecture is very unique.