It is the start of week 2 and today was my first day of school!! I have been very excited for today and it did not disappoint. It is now 10 at night and this is the first time I have sat down and relaxed all day which is quite the change from last week where I sat around and did nothing until 5 at night. The busyness will take a few days to get used to I am sure but I am not complaining. I love being busy. And I am very happy!! School starts everyday at 9:30 and goes until 1:30. I arrived 10 minutes late today because my metro train was late (of course it wasn’t my fault! I have the metro on lock! ;)) I love riding the metro. The ride is about 30 minutes and I just get to sit there and read!! Anyways, I got to class a bit late but it was fine and now I know to leave a tad earlier just in case. My teachers name is Ana and she is really great. She talked the ENTIRE time in Spanish and for the first time in 2 weeks I understood all that she said! I was so excited. I also talked only in Spanish during class, which of course is still choppy and probably a bit incomprehensible but the teacher got the jist.
Now there are probably about 20 people in my class and apart from one other american every single person is from a different country. There is a girl from Finland, Belgium, Italy, Turkey, England. Also a guy from the middle east, and one from Scotland. Those are just the ones I remember! I love it! I find them all so fascinating. I just want to be all of their best friends.
We have a 30 minute break around 11 and some of the girls from class invited me to go get some coffee with them. There were four of us. The Belgian, the Italian the Turk and the American (ME). They all of course speak perfect English, no surprise there, what European doesn’t speak at least 5 languages? They were so much fun to talk to. In fact, I think we are all going to get lunch after class tomorrow! Unfortunately most of the people in my class including these 3 girls are all staying a short amount of time. from 2 weeks to a month. But that’s okay I suppose because I don’t plan on sticking in the class for long. I was placed in A-1, the class for beginners but I have my eye on A-2! and then of course all the way up to B-1, B-2, C-1, C-2 (the most advanced). Watch out! I plan on coming home fluent!
Then after class there was a welcome lunch for all the new students. Here I met more cool international people! I made quick friends with a french Australian, a new zealander, and a Norwegian. So cool!! Also the food was delicious. Someone needs to stop me before I get fat!
Then it was back home. I got home around 4 which gave me an hour before work. I had just arrived home, taken off my coat, and sat down (excited to relax for a moment) when the bell rang. Alina had come to practice English. Although I was looking forward to some down time before work I was happy to see Alina. She showed me the way to the store and the papeleria (paper store) to pick up a few things I needed. Although she came to speak English she was so excited that I was finally learning Spanish she made me practice. I was also so excited that I was finally learning Spanish that I didn’t care and we talked the whole way to the store and back in Spanish! She was impressed with how much I was talking considering I am usually very shy with Spanish and said I was much better than she thought I would be. Which means I am either on my way to being fluent OR she was just saying that to make me feel better. But either way it was fun talking to her! She is so great!! I think she also enjoyed watching me be the one to struggle this time around and her being the one with the knowledge of the language. hahaha. Languages are hard but I am having lots of fun.
Now I am just getting finished with a regular night with the kids. We all get along really well and that is exciting. They also love that I am learning Spanish and they have taken it upon themselves to be my personal and private tutors (Laura and Isabel that is)! Kids make great teachers though. Most adults usually get the jist of what you are trying to say and just carry on without correcting you while most children will laugh at you and tell you how wrong you are and then correct you until you get it perfect. It is a bit humiliating at first, but effective.
So tomorrow obviously begins day 2 of what will be many until I am fluent so lets just pray it continues to go smoothly.
God has blessed me with the best of everything so far and most the time it just doesn’t seem fair. But I am so thankful to be here and to have this opportunity!
Yesterday was Saturday and it was my first full day off which meant I wasn’t about to miss my first opportunity to go into the city. So that is exactly what I did. I messaged my friend Alina (Alina is a family friend who I am also helping teach english ) to see if she would be my tour guide into the city. She kindly agreed and we headed into the heart of the city at 1. Alina is Romanian and she moved to Spain 7 years ago. So she speaks fluent Romanian and Spanish but English is still very hard for her. I have to admit I was a bit worried about bringing her into the city with me because of the language barrier but I figured it would be better to have a companion with me. I was very curious to see how our day would play out.
As we were on the metro to Madrid Alina pulled out a piece of paper covered in writing, front and back. She had prepared conversation topics and useful phrases along with the translation from Romanian to English. I had to hold back a chuckle because I thought it was funny but it was also very sweet and I was actually very glad she did, it turned out to be quite helpful. My favorite phrase she asked me from the paper was “Are you have good time?”
Now I know I have been to this city before and in fact we didn’t do a single thing yesterday that I hadn’t done or seen before but this time arriving in the city was a whole new experience. We made our way out of the metro and up to the busiest street in Madrid. Gran Via. It is quite the sight and feeling to go from the muggy underground up to the big beautiful buildings of Madrid. It didn’t take long for Alina to get sick of me saying “This is sooo cool!!” She even said a few times “But haven’t you seen all of this before?” I had but it was still SO COOL!
The first stop we made was to McDonald’s. How Spanish of us! Not. Alina had asked me if we could go to McDonald’s because she doesn’t like to eat healthy. I don’t care for McDonald’s but it wasn’t so bad. I should note, however, that it was the prettiest McDonald’s I have ever eaten in. During lunch we talked about futbol of course. Turns out she is a filthy Barcelona fan but I told her we could still be friends. In fact we are going to watch the big Real Madrid vs. Barcelona game together on Wednesday!!
After lunch we made our way down Gran Via to Plaza de Cibeles, which is this plaza and giant fountain. It is significant to me because that is where Real Madrid and the Spanish national team celebrate their major victories. So Cool! Then to Parque del Retiro. I can not convey to you the size of this park. It is absolutely huge it should have its own zipcode. Yesterday we chose to explore only part of the park. The lake in the middle and the crystal palace. We spent the majority of our day at the park just getting from one side to the other. We even took a rest stop halfway through for chips and a drink. Then we decided to go to the train station. Alina wanted to show me the giant plants and the turtles inside. Then it was back to Gran Via to take the metro home. It doesn’t sound like we did much or stayed long but to relate to you again just how big the park is and just how much walking we did we were in the city for 8 hours yesterday.
Alina made sure I found my way home okay before she took the bus back to her home. Right as she left me I had the pleasure of learning how to use my keys here in Spain There are 2. 1 for the door to the apartment and 1 to the gates outside. Turns out if you turn it a certain way you lock it, lock it real good. I had locked myself out and could not figure out how to make it work. Luckily the neighbors came to my rescue and even more luckily they spoke really good English So don’t you worry I made it home safe and sound (exhausted) and I now know how to unlock the doors properly.
So that was my big Madrid adventure yesterday. I have the day off again today and I am about to go watch a movie and eat lunch with the family. Everything is going so well.
I arrived in Madrid yesterday around 10 am. The flight only turned out to be about 9 hours and there weren’t a lot of people so there was plenty of room. Unfortunately I was fidgety and restless so by last night I was quite exhausted. I made it through the airport, passport check, and baggage claim in a breeze. Outside of baggage claim I met Maria. Maria is our housekeeper and a close friend of Azu. She is super sweet but doesn’t speak a lick of English which forced me to use the little spanish that I know. This quickly turned into me just smiling and nodding, which is my new approach to most things here in Spain. We arrived to my new home with no problem and here waiting for me was little Isabela. Isabela is 9 years old and very sweet. She speaks English really well which was very nice for me. We played and watched Harry Potter until it was time to go pick up Pablo from school. I went with Maria to pick him up and when he saw me his eyes lit up and he ran and gave me a hug. He also tried speaking to me in spanish about a million miles per hour. Pablo doesn’t speak much English and I definitely don’t speak Pablo’s Spanish but even with the language barrier I think it is safe to say that Pablo and I are best friends.
We came home and ate lunch (soup and chicken) and played some more. Since Pablo and I don’t speak each others language just yet we just wrestle, tickle, and he gives me besitos (little kisses). Then Laura came home from school and she brought with her a whole bunch of people. I met her, the abuelitos, and Alina. Alina is a family friend who was doing my job while I was stuck in Utah figuring out my visa. She is nice but doesn’t speak much English so I will also be helping her with her homework and talking to her in English. She is my first friend! :) Laura is the oldest and she is wonderful. Like her sister, she speaks English extremely well and I have claimed them both as my personal translators. Shortly after Laura’s arrival Azu came home and then Jaime. Now I think I have met the whole family … and then some. They are all very sweet, in fact, almost too sweet. Once I had met everybody I was able to go into my room and relax for a few minutes. But only a few minutes. I was quickly interrupted by various guests. First, Alina who wanted to practice her English. Then Isabela followed by Laura and then of course Pablo. Then it was bath time and while Pablo and Isabela were washing up Laura and I had some bonding time. Laura’s favorite band is One Direction and so ya we are definitely best friends now. Also they are all Madrid fans!!
Then it was dinner time. We had tuna stew which actually turned out to be a lot better than I thought. Then finally bed time. I was exhausted.
So now it is the middle of day 2 for me. I start work at 5 today and will work until 10. These will be my usual hours I believe which will be really good for when I start school in February. I am all unpacked and settled in my new room and so excited to be here. I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting myself into to be honest. I had some idea of how the family and things might be but they all completely blew me away. They are seriously all so sweet and kind. The kids and I get along great. Everyone in the house speaks English except of course Pablo (and Maria but she doesn’t live here) and my room is nice and cozy. I was nervous that it was going to be bad at first and take a long time to adjust to everything but honestly everything has been great so far. It is still a big adjustment and it will take a few days for me to get a routine down but I am very excited for my time with this family. They have done a great job making me feel welcome.
I ask that you please remember this moment as it is right now. Remember what it feels like to pack up your life, your comfort, and frankly all your common sense and just leave.
Remember what it feels like to stand in the middle of baggage claim of Madrid-Barajas scared shitless. That fear is you being pushed out of your comfortable nest and learning how to use your wings. Learning to be free as the birds that fly.
Remember the feeling of standing in the middle of the busy Madrid streets for the first time and remember it when you are having a hard day. It is a good feeling. Scary, but the good scary. Let that feeling continue to push you in the directions of your dreams.
Lastly, it is going to be hard. It is going to be trying. It is going to be scary. But I promise you it is going to be wonderful. It is going to be worth it. And it is going to be OKAY.
“You don’t know anyone at the party, so you don’t want to go. You don’t like cottage cheese, so you haven’t eaten it in years. This is your choice, of course, but don’t kid yourself: it’s also the flinch.
Your personality is not set in stone. You may think a morning coffee is the most enjoyable thing in the world, but it’s really just a habit. Thirty days without it, and you would be fine. You think you have a soul mate, but in fact you could have had any number of spouses. You would have evolved differently, but been just as happy.
You can change what you want about yourself at any time. You see yourself as someone who can’t write or play an instrument, who gives in to temptation or makes bad decisions, but that’s really not you. It’s not ingrained. It’s not your personality. Your personality is something else, something deeper than just preferences, and these details on the surface, you can change anytime you like.
If it is useful to do so, you must abandon your identity and start again. Sometimes, it’s the only way.
Set fire to your old self. It’s not needed here. It’s too busy shopping, gossiping about others, and watching days go by and asking why you haven’t gotten as far as you’d like. This old self will die and be forgotten by all but family, and replaced by someone who makes a difference.
Your new self is not like that. Your new self is the Great Chicago Fire—overwhelming, overpowering, and destroying everything that isn’t necessary.
OOHHH I am so glad you asked. I am having a fan girl moment.
But let me just start with this: Gossip Girl aired September 17th 2007, the same week that F Scott Fitzgerald was born 116 years ago. Gossip Girls final episode aired December 17th 2012 the same week F Scott Fitzgerald died 72 years ago. Coincidence? I think not.
The writers of Gossip Girl deserve all the awards because they knew what they were doing. There is no way it all happened by chance. I dont know you but I am assuming that if my post piqued your curiosity you have had to at some point picked up a Fitzgerald novel and know a little something about his life. Which means you have to know about Zelda Fitzgerald. Or as you may have come to know her as Serena Van der Woodsen.
Serena is the epitome of Zelda.
Dan is the epitome of Fitzgerald.
All F Scott did was for Zelda. All that Dan did was for Serena.
There were countless references to F Scott and his works throughout the entire series and for good reason. Both writers were consumed with the elite upper class of New York. That is what they wrote about because that is what they knew. The muse behind both of their writings and life was this same woman. A blonde bombshell egoist with class. A woman that has the power to control men with love.
This is just covering the surface stuff clearly. It goes so much more in depth than this. I am sure I even missed lots of stuff so please anyone message me with anything you picked up on.
Well it is kind of a long process but this isnt my first time being an au pair so I had a good idea of what it would all look like. However moving half way around the world to be an au pair this time around has proven a tad more difficult. There are loads of good websites out there that help set you up with a family and I just happened to find a wonderful family in Spain a few months ago. Once I found the family I started working on my visa paperwork because I will be there for one whole year. The visa is what is proving difficult but after many hoops I have had to jump through I am finally almost finished with the process and I am ready to move to Spain in January. I could go into A LOT more detail about anything au pair related if you would like. Just ask. :)