Summer update: where is Nina?

where is Nina

So several things in my life have changed: my monthly salary, my diet, the bed size I sleep in and lastly, the country I live in. However it’s just for the summer. Don’t worry, I still call Granada, Spain my home. However I’ve realised that those of you who follow me on social media have probably noticed that my posts are coming from the Czech Republic. So I thought I would fill you in on where I am and what I’m doing.

First, I traveled a bit

For those of you who do not know me as well, I’m an American teaching English in Spain. The position is through the Spanish government with the public schools. If you have ever wanted to teach English abroad, improve your Spanish by moving abroad or simply spend some time living in Europe, this job is one excellent way to do so. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about it.

Anyway, so my job has me working October-May. This means that June, July, August and September are mine. This is both awesome and nerve-wracking. The more nerve-wracking part is that we do not get paid for these four months. Basically, we have to figure out our life for the summer … each summer. My goal for future summers is to support myself from the blog and use it to travel. This summer, however, that was not as much of an option.

But first … I traveled.

I went to the Azores Islands in Portugal. It was amazing. You can read both posts I wrote about it here and here.

where is Nina

Then I went home

I returned to the United States for 20 days. It was my first visit back to the United States since my move to Spain. I’ll have to say that it was a mixture of strange and awesome. My dad sold the house I grew up in since he doesn’t need a big house for just himself and the dog. He actually just bought a smaller one in the city. It feels weird that when I return home now, I’ll return to a different house.

The second night home, we had a gathering for friends and family. It was good to just sit on the back deck and catch up with friends.

where is Nina

This was several hours into the party …

I also went down to Kentucky for a weekend to see college friends. My time in Cincinnati ended with my best friend’s bachelorette party. I rode down to Asheville, NC with some of the group and we spent a lovely weekend at an airbnb in the country. You can read my post about our Biltmore visit here.

where is Nina

Then I rented a car to drive from Asheville to Washington, DC. It was cheaper than a plane ticket and just a fun way to spend the day. I do miss driving through the countryside of the United States.

The woman at the rental place takes a look at my ID and sees that my birthday was the next day. So she gave me a free upgrade to this:

where is Nina

It was sweet. I’ve never driven anything that sporty. I also left one of my chucks in there. Sad day. Sidetone: I scored this rental deal through Ebates AND made money back. Sign up and get a welcome $10 here.

I then visited a friend in DC for a night and my brother in New York for two. You can read all about my birthday at the Omega Institute here.

Then I flew back across the pond

I have now been in the Czech Republic for almost two weeks. The family that I work for (as you can see with the photo above) lives in the countryside. Their village has about 300 people. The community swimming pool has a pub! The Czech Republic is known for their beer (they invented the pilsner), so it is served practically everywhere. And I must say that it’s a nice change to actually drink good beer this summer (sorry Spain).

Living in the Czech Republic, I get to see so many places that I would otherwise not have the time for if I just took a weekend in Prague. On Saturday, we went for a hike in this beautiful rock labyrinth thing. It was really cool. There were blueberries growing and it’s totally normal to just pick and eat a few. So we would hike, eat some berries and then hike some more.

The language barrier is new for me. Both parents of the family I work for speak fluent English. The mother actually speaks fluent German as well. It always amazes me when people speak three languages. The girls also understand my English because I know how to communicate with children who are still learning. Furthermore, the older one has had more English at school and during the day she can usually translate for the younger one if there is confusion. So the language at my actual job and within the house is no issue.

However when I go out and about, I know super basic Czech. I really need to start watching more youtube videos and such. The language is just so different than English and Spanish. It has Slavic roots, so it’s more similar to Russian (but it’s not Russian, so never speak Russian to a Czech person). Basically when I’m around Czech, I usually have little idea of what is being said.

It’s so different than my daily life in Spain. I speak fluent Spanish, so going to the mall or the bank is no problem for me. I also arrived with fluent Spanish since I worked a bilingual job for a year in the states before moving to Spain, so I know I cannot really compare the two. I touched down on Spanish soil already having way more exposure to the language than I have ever had to Czech (also Americans just get more exposure to Spanish than we think). So my ability to communicate and build relationships in Spain is because I make a good effort to communicate in their language. People are always impressed with my Spanish (and it is still not perfect).

I’ve had to ask if people speak English a few times when I’m out shopping. I always feel bad because I’m in their country and I know that they couldn’t just ask for Czech if they were in the United States. It’s definitely a privilege that my native language is the language everyone now learns in school as a second language. Czech people have typically been very friendly, though, about speaking English. That is one difference. A lot of Spanish people I know have learned English in school as well, but would not feel confident in their English if someone needed to communicate with them in it. Czech people, however, never say that they are embarrassed to speak like the Spanish do.

I do wish, though, that I could speak Czech to get to know people better. While I know many can speak English, I know they likely say it better in their native language. I know it would really make a nice impression on Czech people if I could hold a conversation in their language. Furthermore, the grandfather of the family lives nearby and comes over for meals quite often. His generation learned Russian in school since during that time, they were a part of the USSR. The older generation speaks no English (so if you are lost in the Czech Republic and need help, ask someone who looks like a university student). So when he comes over, I just say hello in Czech and smile at him. He seems like a wonderful person and I wish I could actually have a conversation with him.

I love life here

Life here is just a bit slower than back in Spain. I wake up early and take care of children until 4 p.m. Then I have the rest of my day free to blog or teach English. I really hope to spend some good, solid time growing my blog this summer. After all, this is my passion.

Throughout my summer, I have trips planned to Prague (of course), Munich, Vienna, Berlin and Budapest. If you know anyone out these ways, please let me know. I’m always down to meet new people in my travels. Additionally, the hard part of being a traveling fashion blogger is photography. So if anyone has any photographer contacts in those cities, feel free to pass them along as well.

Thank you all for your support. If you wish to have a more in-depth look at my journey, please subscribe to my weekly newsletter here:

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15 Comments

  1. Wow it sounds like you have had a very busy summer! My grandparents always told me that I should travel while I was young before I settled down! it sounds like you are doing just that!

  2. Wow, so many months to go on vacation. I would love that but I guess I need to save a lot so I can really maximize my travel if given this number of months though. Enjoy every bit of it! Happy Travels!

  3. That’s awesome that you have so many months to travel while you are off work. I love Prague… and I wish you well on funding your summer with travel blogging next year!

  4. I have to admit I am a bit jealous about the life you get to live. it’s pretty awesome that you get to go back and forth across the pond. And I know I would love to do more exploring in the European Continent.

  5. This is so exiting! Travelling and working here and here, amazing, a dream! Best wishes for the future!

  6. What an awesome post and love to read more about this you had an interesting life and love to travel more this summer

  7. Wow! You have had an amazing time traveling, it all sounds so exciting. I would love to visit the Azores too, my parents went a few years ago and said it was gorgeous.

  8. You are one busy lady and I think it’s great that you made time to visit your family and friends in the US too. Enjoy your time and looking forward to more on your journey.

  9. That’s pretty exciting. I have a few friends who have taught English abroad. It’s an amazing experience. How beautiful must it be to teach in Spain too! nice. Enjoy the rest of your summer and have fun in Czech Republic.!

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