Friday, November 22, 2013

Top Ten Reasons why this week Rocked!

1. I was invited to an intercambio by one of the professors I work with. An intercambio is a meeting of people (usually at a bar or sometimes a restaurant) and those who are Spanish speak English and vice versa. This is important to me because I am finally starting to have some real interaction with the people I work with. They are all very friendly, and I feel as though I have broken through a barrier and am less shy to speak Spanish with them. I hope this interaction continues- it makes me like my job a lot more!

2. Carlos, an older professor who I work with and also travel to work with, saved me at the bus stop. Every Thursday there is an Italian man who pesters me- flirting, asking questions, generally just being creepy. This week Carlos- who has called himself the father of the group, laid it out flat. Listen, he said (in Italian!), she has a boyfriend, she's not interested in you and you need to leave her alone. Carlos, I wanted to hug you in that moment! He also told me I need to buy a heavier jacket before the winter comes. He's lookin' out for me.

3. I met an American friend! I am going to her house tonight for a tapas potluck. It has been difficult finding friends in the city. And while I have enjoyed hanging out with all of Nacho's friends, it has been my goal recently to make some of my own.

4. My individual afternoon classes are really coming together. It has become easier to plan for the classes, and more importantly, I am feeling more comfortable going into peoples homes and teaching them English. Now that I have more confidence in my ability to teach, I have less anxiety before and during the classes. This, believe me, makes a WORLD of difference on my general attitude. Also, because I am more relaxed in my classes, I am focusing now on being more creative and trying to make sure my students enjoy themselves as well as learn.

5. I have been cooking a baking a lot! That makes me happy. Nuf' said.

6. My transportation skills are definitely improving. I now know multiple routes and different options I have to go to and from work, and it makes a world of difference- the less time I waste waiting at bus stops, the happier I am. And there is nothing like the feeling of seeing the bus pull up right as you arrive at the stop. All is aligned in the universe when that happens. (And thanks to an app on my phone I can check when any bus will be at any stop!).

7. Living in the city can be lonely. But it's also given me the chance to appreciate the kindness of strangers. Believe me, there are mannnyy people who are oblivious to those around them. I find myself getting frustrated a lot because sometimes it seems people don't have any idea there are things happening outside the conversation they're having with someone in front of the entrance to the metro, or in front of the food I'm attempting to grab and put in my cart at the grocery store. Sometimes, even though people see you trying to move around them, they don't think to give you more room. Buuut everyday I see people giving up their seats on buses and metro for those who are more tired. I see strangers helping strangers. I see strangers talking with strangers. You say hello to those waiting with you at a bus stop. You say goodbye when you leave an elevator. Little things. And just yesterday, I was walking down the street, and saw a cute, 3-story building wedged in between two larger buildings. As I was admiring how cute the building was, two men stepped out onto the balcony of the first floor to have a cigarette. Our eyes met and they waved to me. I waved back, and we both continued until finally we were frantically waving at each other and laughing out loud. It was an amazing little touch to my day.

8. The weather has been perfect for afternoon runs. The sun is still strong enough that there is some warmth, but it is still cold and you need a warm jacket and gloves. It's my favorite type of weather.

9. Last week, it was the birthday of the principal of one of the schools I worked at. In Spain, when it's your birthday, you are expected to bring in desserts and coffee for all the employees, not the other way around. So she made this amazing flan and I told her how much I liked it and that I would love to make it myself. This week she asked me to step into her office for a minute. Nervously, I entered. She then handed me a bag filled with ingredients and told me step by step how the make the flan. It was such a thoughtful detail.

10. I bought a new winter jacket! It wasn't cheap, but it is so cute and so warm and I love it! Carlos will be so happy I took his advice.

A walk in the park

Fuen Carral street in the rain- great shopping!


The church next to my house

Sunset outside my apartment

We went hiking! More about that soon..

This guy..

A park in Valdemoro where I work

One bad thing- the garbage workers were on strike for 12 days! It made for one smelly Madrid

(11. I learned you can froth milk by shaking it in a jar for 30 seconds, then microwaving it without the lid for 30 more. No fancy gaget needed. HELLO homemade cappucinos!)

XOXO To everyone back home!! <3

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Today I:

-slept in
-cuddled on the couch
-had hot soup to block out the dreary, rainy day
-thought about my family
-planned thanksgiving dinner
-re-potted my dill, parsley and mint plants
-learned that in Spanish, 'popcorn' translates to "little doves"
-spent too much time reading inspiring quotes on the computer. (see below).

Favorite band- they have so many good things to say


One of my favorite poets/poems