Weekend Mini Adventure

Hi, everyone. This weekend I decided to stop being a bum and go to some places in Madrid I had never been before. I also wanted to enjoy the good weather before it starts raining the rest of the week. I’ve been itching to go on a trip but spent big bucks planning out my “Semana Santa” trip (Easter break). So this weekend, anything I could do that was relatively cheap or free sounded good to me. Plus, it’s been awhile since I spent some time wandering around Madrid. Still amazes me how different the city can look depending on where you are. Continue reading

Where’s the craic?

I’m very behind and am just now posting pictures from my trip to Dublin, which was about two weeks ago! Whoops. Let’s just pretend I really wanted to build up the tension. Anyway, I spent several days in Dublin, Ireland (clarification only added since my parents now live in Dublin, California). I went with a couple of friends (who went to MU actually!), and we had a great time. It was refreshing to see some green grass, the ocean, and hear some English. I have to say I really like the Irish accent though many other foreigners I met seemed a bit thrown by it. Dublin looked exactly as I pictured it, and the pubs were absolutely wonderful – plenty of pints, live music, and good food – and the countryside was even better than I imagined. Oh, and if you’re wondering, “craic” is just the Irish’s word for “fun.” No, it is not a play on “crack cocaine” but rather stems from Middle English (if you’re a linguistic nerd like me, here is a bit more info). Enjoy the photos. Maybe they’ll get you inspired for St. Patty’s! Continue reading

Carnaval

Lucky for me, today was my last day of work this week, and I’m headed to Dublin tomorrow morning. Today, we celebrated Carnaval at school, and it was a pretty fun day despite the (usual) technical difficulties. I’m not gonna pretend to be an expert on this holiday and will instead kindly link you to this wikipedia page. Carnaval is celebrated in many countries, and it’s a pretty big deal in Spain. Everyone dresses up in costumes (similar to Halloween in the United States) and parties, parties, parties. At my school, the teachers were supposed to dress up as “rock stars,” which mostly translated to 80’s punk rock. I was told about this a day before our celebration, and I can’t say my wardrobe is very extensive here, so my costume consisted of me wearing black and sunglasses. Each grade had a different theme. My little 1st graders dressed up as instruments, and some of the costumes were really awesome! I’ll share some pics I took today. Continue reading

Obrigada

Happy Sunday (technically Monday here…)! Hopefully, I can brighten up the start of your week with some pictures of my recent trip to Portugal. Luckily, by the time of my flight I was feeling much better and for the most part, just suffered from a runny nose. I had a 4 day weekend to take advantage of, and I spent it in Lisbon and Porto. This was my first solo trip, so I made sure to do some before-trip planning to keep myself entertained and to make sure I could navigate from an airport to a hostel, from a hostel to a train station, from a train station to another hostel, and from a hostel to another airport. Planning a trip all on your own really makes you realize how much your parents had to do for family vacations! Portugal is a safe country, fairly inexpensive, not too hard to navigate, and many of the natives know English, so I wasn’t very worried about this trip. I think traveling solo offers you a lot more freedom. There are some downsides, especially when you’d like to have a sit-down dinner with friends, but I met some cool people and could do whatever I wanted when I wanted. Picture time (there are a lot)! Also, the title is the Portuguese word for “thank you” (not translated literally), which I heard ALL the time. But be careful because for men it’s obrigado! Here’s the reason why for all you linguistic nerds like myself. Continue reading

We Walked HOW Far?

Well, it’s my day off, and I’m spending it sick in bed. I at least made it to a pharmacy to describe my symptoms in accented Spanish, get a weird look, then walk away with something I wish was DayQuil. I actually have a trip planned for my upcoming 4 day weekend, so I’m really hoping to get better (I’ll tell you where at the end of this post, or you can scroll down now and cheat). ANYWAY, once I came back from Prague, I had my first visitors in Madrid. One of my friends since freshmen year of college and her sister came to visit me. They stayed with me in Madrid for a couple of days, and I got to pretend like I was a professional tour guide. In the end, I was actually quite surprised with my ability to show off the city. Then we left for Paris the 30th of December to spend New Year’s and a couple days after with another college friend who lives in France teaching English. In general, it was so amazing to spend time with close friends, joke about old times, and have someone fluent in French! It also put me in even more denial about college being over… Here are the pictures to tell the story! Continue reading

Chinese for Christmas

Hello again! The back-to-school grind has been sapping a lot of my energy, so I’m a bit slow to update you all on the rest of my trip. This post will be about my 3 or so days in Prague. Once again, I’m going to let my pictures tell most of the story. In general, Prague is a very quaint and cute city. It’s a lot smaller than Berlin and is very walkable. It felt very “Christmas-y” to me and getting a decently sized beer for $1-2 is pretty amazing to me! I definitely enjoyed my time in Prague, but I’m not sure if I would say it’s a “must-see” city in Europe. But if you’re in the area, why not go! A train to Prague isn’t too expensive. Just watch out for that conversion rate since they use the koruna instead of euros (and guess what, there are women on the money!). Continue reading

Eis, Eis, Baby

¡Feliz año nuevo, todos! It’s been awhile, and I hope you’ve all had great holidays. I’ve taken a lot of photos and thought it might be best to make a post for each city I visited. First up was Berlin. I was there for about 3 days, and it was certainly very different from Madrid. I’m mostly going to show my time there through pictures, but I will say that Berlin is a unique city in that it has had to evolve so much over the years. It’s still a fairly new city compared to other sites in Europe, and I think my tour guide said it best: “Paris will always be Paris, but Berlin is becoming Berlin.” I learned so much during my short-time there and would definitely say it’s worth a visit. Maybe visit in the Spring though because after dreary overcast days and early sunsets, the chilling history of this city can really put a damper on your mood. But this city and its residents have done a good job of acknowledging their dark history and memorializing those lost. Continue reading

Auf Wiedersehen!

Hi all! This will be a short post. I’m leaving tomorrow for Berlin and then Prague followed by a visit from some friends from college then New Year’s in Paris! Good thing I know how to dress for winter. I’m very excited to see some other countries, but you probably won’t hear from me until 2015. I’m making as much space as possible on my phone right now to take plenty of pictures, and I’ll be sure to post them once I return. Happy holidays, miss you all, and feel free to share your holiday plans with me!

Guess Who’s Back

Hello all! I know I haven’t posted in a while, and sadly, it’s not because I’ve been off doing amazing things! Mostly I had been pretty busy at school wrapping up Thanksgiving stuff, and now I’m working with a new teacher who is temporarily replacing another teacher on maternity leave (she gets over 6 months off!). And then on top of that, I was sick for most of the weekend. I felt pretty lethargic and achy and bummed that I didn’t accomplish much. Of course, everyone who had Friday off and had a long weekend since yesterday was a holiday posted all their cool pictures of the trips they went on. Continue reading

Happy Chicken Day!

Happy Thanksgiving to my loyal readers! It’s a bit sad to miss out on this holiday with my family, but my American friends and I made the most of it and celebrated ourselves potluck style. And to get me even more in the spirit, my school celebrated Thanksgiving this year (or at least tried). Every year the school celebrates an American holiday (although last year was “pancakes” so not sure what holiday that is and they actually made crepes…). So the past week I spent a lot of time making turkeys (which about half of the kids called chickens), tracing hands, explaining what it means to be thankful, and attempting to impart a little bit of knowledge about Pilgrims and Indians. I gave 8 presentations from ages 4 to 12. My 5th graders had a particularly fun time making a Thanksgiving Madlib and everyone loved this goofy video of hamsters, mice, and rabbits eating miniature Thanksgiving food. And of course, how could I forget the “famous” Turkey Pokey song AKA the Hokey Pokey modified for Thanksgiving. It had basically been playing on a loop the days leading up to Thanksgiving, and thanks to that, I don’t think it will ever leave my head. Today, we were going to have the actual Thanksgiving festival as an entire school, but because of rain, it’s been postponed. The kids seemed more confused than disappointed. Continue reading