Sunday, October 16, 2011

And so it begins...

Exactly 4 weeks ago today, I left my friends, family and the comfort of 'home' to embark on this adventure in España. And now, here I sit in my very first "I'm a big girl and living on my own" apartment. It has been a whirlwind of a month, and since I haven't posted in, oh, a while (procrastination much?), I think it would be best to begin with a recap... with pictures...

First of all, within the week before I left, I received a very special visit from a very special someone. This was perhaps the most jam-packed, memorable 3 days I could ever have imagined. Tennis, soccer, coffee, movies, napping, risotto, picnicking, dinner with awesome people... basically in-person quality time.
The only downside was that it was also the shortest 3 days imaginable.
Sadness in the car at the airport when he had to leave.
Luckily, we have a long flight across the Atlantic to which to look forward. :)

A few days later, the parents and I headed to the airport for a second time, and this time, I was the one who'd be getting on the plane.
Madre y yo, before the send off.
And then, around 12:30, I was off. After a pitstop in Washington D.C. where I was
graced with the lovely company of one wonderful friend, I crossed the Atlantic and landed in Madrid right around sunrise.

My plane from the walkway as the sun's about to come up.
After a bit of indecision at the airport and a long and very tiring experience learning the Madrid Metro system the hard way, I made it to the lovely Way Hostel right in the center of Madrid, only a 5 minute walk from Puerta del Sol.

I HIGHLY recommend Way! Very chill atmosphere, friendly people, and a kitchen!
I met SOOOOO many wonderful people in Madrid. There were plenty of fellow auxiliares from the U.S., the U.K., Ireland, Canada and Austrailia, many of whom were busy looking for pisos (flats) in the city. There was also an array of interesting travelers from all parts of the world... so many stories and so much to learn! Many were from other parts of Europe (for example, Denmark), just looking for some sun and warm, fresh air. One (from The Netherlands) was an excellent and generous cook... can you say tapas?! One (from Uruguay) was just finishing up a 7 month trek around Europe before shaving his beard and heading back to life as a lawyer. Another (aussie) was about to head to Colombia to do... well, South America, for a few months.

In front of El Prado on a lovely afternoon with Martin from Denmark and Jenni from Michigan
I could go on and on about how much I loved my hostel experience in Madrid, as could I go on about the people I met there, many of whom I now have the privilege to call friends. A big shout out to all of you (or at least the ones who stumble upon thishere blog ;) ), and a big thank you as well. I hope we meet again soon!

I left Madrid 6 days later (quite reluctantly, I might add), for the yet unknown city of Logroño, and after a 4 hours bus ride, I arrived. Finding my pensión was daunting (guess who hadn't brought a map), but by luck, I took a correct turn and made it.

After a few days of meeting new friends (about whom you will certainly hear more) and frantically searching for a place to call home (about which you will just have to ask me... too many stories, but for example: at my first appointment, let's just say my potential roommate's boyfriend must have been over at the time, and they were neither shy nor quiet, if you know what I mean)...

ANYway, I finally found a place that I have come to love... but then, it was back to Madrid for orientation where I met even MORE fellow auxiliares from both La Rioja and other regions. We arrived on a Thursday afternoon, attended several lectures all day Friday, and came 'home' Saturday. And I've been here ever since...
Long story, but this is a pic of my suitcase in my new suitcase. My stuff defied the laws of physic and somehow expanded enough for me to splurge on a new (very cute) larger suitcase.

The following Monday (about 2 weeks ago now), I took the bus to Calahorra where I will be working 3 days a week (gotta love 3 day weekends!). Getting that schedule was... a process, but everything is working out rather well. I can't wait to blog more on teaching! This past Friday was my first day taking small groups of the students aside to work more directly with them on their speaking. It was wonderful! I had been starting to doubt myself a bit (probably more to come on that later)-- everything just felt awkward and forced... but finally getting to do lessons instead of answering question after question about my favorite [insert noun], or what my boyfriend was like [didn't mind those as much], well, it felt much more natural. 
The beautiful Spanish countryside on the way to Calahorra... makes the hour-long bus ride much more pleasant :) 

So, dear readers-- and you are very dear to me as you've kept reading this ridiculously long post-- I am settling into my new home. It's still a work in progress (for example, I still have no sheets), but it's getting there. 
A sneak peak of my room: the door to my balcony!

Of course I miss HOME home-- the parents, the boyfriend, the familiarity, the schedule-- but I really am beginning to love it here. The pinchos are AMAZING, the wine costs less than water and my new community of friends up here is fun and supportive and ever-growing.

Family-style dinner with friends: Kiburi, Rebecca and in the front, my roomie Emma.

 I truly am blessed to be doing what I'm doing, and I can't wait to see what the next week brings!

Until the next time (which will be a lot sooner, I promise),
Besos a todos!


P.S. Any questions, comments, requests? Please, be my guest!!! :) 


  1. WELL-DONE, DAUGHTER...can't wait for the next chapter....BESOS!:))

  2. Thanks, Madre! You should use your google ID when you comment. 0ef64a... who's that? :P