Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Hunt Is ON

It's that time of year were you just have to start looking towards the future and what's to come after life in Spain. For many that means returning next year, for some that is Graduate school and for others it means job hunting.
I fall in the last category and honestly I am beyond excited about the possibilities to come when I return to the United States OR possibly an overseas position.
Just as with any situation that requires decisions and forward movement tons of action is happening all at once and your mental capacity is a roller coaster between a state of emergency and deep depression. Since, I know were I'm headed with my career in education and that arriving to that destination will not happen overnight I'm applying for jobs that provided me with the experience, foundation, and network that will aide me in my future endeavors.
 Being as the job needs to provide me with all these assets I know I will be there for some years and the location is important. Although, I enjoyed eating to my hearts desire in Fort Worth, there was a factor that was always wrong, just a bit off. So where ever I should end up I need to enjoy the atmosphere along with all the good eats.
Although, I should be stressing at a high degree due to an experience that began around mid-October and just recently ended I am now more prepared than ever.

The Job Opportunity of a Life Time

Who, What, When, Where, and Why:

The job was a Coordinator at my Alma Mater for the Cultural Center on campus.

  • I applied in October and did not receive my rejection until this past week.
  • This would have planted me firmly back in West Texas, a place I love and am always able to eat well while residing. Not too mention the majority of my family being in the area.
  • For my final career goal this job would have been great in reaching all and establishing myself.
  • Considering the amount of references directly connected to the University and the fact that one of the folks on the hiring committee is an old friend of the family, I just knew I was a shoo in.
  • The cost of living in the West Texas is great, and I have some not so great student loans.
  • I would still be working in an environment aiding students to reach their personal and academic goals.

What Did I Learn, Honestly:

1.) References and Connections mean nothing.
  •  Hard work and proven success do and they go along way.
  •  I have no desire to depend on others qualifications in order to make up for my lack of qualifications.
2.) Under Qualified, Qualified, or Over Qualified Makes No Difference, Only Passion
  • I will always take the chance and reach higher than I "should" because when I'm passionate about something I can move mountains.
  • You never know who is reading your resume and in the mood to take a chance
  • If I'm not passionate then I will be unhappy and not as productive which is unfair to the company and myself.
3.) Stop. Breath. And Stop Listening to Others
  • When this opportunity knocked everyone had an opinion, but the only person who knows my overall career goal, my father, and he's the only one who didn't offer an opinion.
    • He may not remember me telling him after all, if I was driving or he was watching football it's highly likely he does not remember.
  • Some people will rain on your parade and instead of throwing up an umbrella and chunking the deuces its pretty easy to wallow with them, but that's just not helpful.
  • Fear unfortunately is a leading factor in decision making and that is never acceptable- nerves yeah, fear nuh-uh.

How'd It All Go Down:

E-mails, details, and information galore were passed back in forth- a lot of e-mails and phone calls on my end. During the first round of interviews that I did not make I was offered a position in a different office as the secretary of the person whose position was similar to the one I had applied to, but at the hospital.
 I declined the position because it was not what I felt was best for me (please refer to section 3 in the second category if you disagree with this decision). After, that I was not in contact with the University except for them informing of the position being closed.
I can only take away goodness from the experience and thankfulness for so many who believe in the person I am and person I'm working towards becoming.

Moving On . . .

Now it's application time and in case I do not have a position to head back to when I arrive home mid-June, I'm planning to teach Summer School for some much needed extra cash, but prayers willing come July the next chapter is starting.
Along with the newly earned lessons from 2013 and my previous occupation, I always keep in mind that it takes around 100 applications to start receiving response AND to stay organized with the application details for each job.
I'm actually looking forward to the hunt and am excited to see where it leads me in the future! Any advice or tips or positions (hey you never know) you'd care to suggest dear adventurous reader let me know.
Until Next time, Adios, Hasta Pronto, Be Blessed . . .

Monday, January 20, 2014

Happy, Happy New Year!

Y'all it's that time of year again, we're all geared up and revving towards all the great possibilities that come with the beginning of a new year. New travels, new jobs, new loves, and possibly new babies, the newness is endless. I hope you are basking in all that is to come, but don't forget to grow from the old and cherish what once was because without it you would not be looking at all the new possibilities.
In tradition of the Off I Go blog post featuring some of the most popular travel quotes circling the web at this time I'm going to do the same for all the New Year goodness . . .

Did any of you adventurous readers make a few new years resolutions or is that now for the birds, let me know why or why not in the comments. I personally have a few goals, but moving to Spain came with it's own set of goals ( learn Spanish, Workout) and they are taking up plenty of my effort.
I wish each and everyone of you folks a blessed year ahead filled with laughter, love and more happiness than you ever expected.
Until next time, Adios, Hasta Pronto, and Be Blessed . . .

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Good, The Bad and The Over Traveled

As you may have noticed for the Barcelona post I did plenty of research and provided way too much detail for you blog readers.
 I did do my research before traveling to Ireland for Christmas and Paris for New Years, but the holiday closings put a bit of dapper on my plans. In Ireland I completely gave up and just walked the city- great finds where everywhere.
 In Paris, I bought a museum pass and with my friend walked the city for hours playing tourist. My last stop before trekking on home was Bayeux, France to visit the beaches of D-Day, but sadly I did no research and showed up dead in the middle of Off-season, ha!
The entire trip went well, I enjoyed more than I could have ever expected to experience and cannot wait to venture back to Ireland and complete all that I did not accomplish. Instead of a long- over done blog I'm just going to provide small feedback in the categories of The Good, The Bad, and The Over It . . .


The Good:

  • The Irish are friendly, welcoming, good-natured generous folk who have left a lasting impression upon me.
  • The food is damn good, get a burger. Enjoy the portions and say hello to a traditional, solid breakfast for me please.
  • The tourism is not overwhelming in Ireland. Seriously, in the museums, attractions or popular sites the lines were not ridiculous and the pace was very relaxed.
  • The Irish love their arts so there are plenty of shows of all types to take-in when visiting. I was able to catch a Friday night show of Wicked, a book a fell in love with ages ago and a soundtrack I've been singing since freshman year of college.

The Bad:

  • Dublin is a tourist location and therefor everything is priced accordingly. Budget well, so you don't go broke.

The Over It:

  • The weather in Dublin can be wearing on the spirit- rainy, but no umbrellas allowed because of the wind. Or it can be a triumph that you didn't let it get you down, your choice.


The Good:

  • Plenty of attractions, museums, and historical sites to see. One of my favorite surprise visits was the Military Museum, I saw knight armor in person for the first time in my life. Thanks for that Paris.
  • The D'Orly, this was not on anyone's must see list, but I'm telling you to put it on yours. Words can not describe how easy this is compared to the Louvre, but yet still as intense in the level of art provided.
  • Obviously, you are going to find some good shops at all different prices. I bought a purse that I was positive would require the loss of a leg, but it didn't and now I have a Modern Mary Poppins bag for life.
  • Hidden gems around every corner, seriously. While walking down one street I turned and discovered these impressive doors that opened to amazing landscaping and architecture.
  • Finding a travel companion who is on the same page as you works great. AND I found one in a old friend from when I was attending Spanish classes in Seville- Jaime! We had a blast, sight seeing or not sight seeing. Going to museums or shopping, thank goodness for this lady or Paris would have definitely been a bust.
    Travel Friends!

    Surprise Find!

The Bad:

  • Every step you take there is a tourist. This is a city that thrives on Tourism and if you are looking to hang with the locals don't go here- they know you're not local and what nothing to do with your stinky tourist self.
  • The metro is no joke. Once you get it, you still have much to learn.
  • You better book it or research heavily ahead a time. Beginners luck is nice, but honestly cover charges exist, the streets twist and turn and if it's popular event you could easily miss out. Do your research, remember this is a popular travel city that offers much, but you can easily miss out if you don't plan.

The Over It:

  • At many Information or Help desk I encounter folks who did not speak English or Spanish- that's two of the top spoken languages in the entire world. Unacceptable at a place were you are suppose to be helping people who are most likely from a different country.
  • The Lines, even with a fast pass I waited in line at least an hour ( no longer than two thank goodness), but the poor folks buying tickets at that moment passed at least 4-5 ( The Louvre) in line. Get the fast pass or be prepared to only move inches over along time period.
The Louvre

Paris City Lights


All Good:

This is in Normandy and better known as the beaches of D-Day. As I did not plan and thank goodness because after Paris relaxation was just what the doctor ordered. Interestingly enough Bayeux, I was informed, did not suffer any damage during the wars and the historical buildings and houses are still standing; which, made for very whimsical cottage town scenery.
 The food was great, I believed in eating dessert and a full meal along with a drink known in the area as Cider Brandy, Calvados. The Brandy is sold in many stores. Should you go during season you'll catch many stores and cheese and wine cafes open, along with all tourist locations; such as, The Modern Museum and The Tapestry Museum.
These Bayeux Streets

And Home Sweet Jaen Again!

Whoosh, that was a lot! Maybe from here on I'll just go read in park. Actually, my goal for this semester is to see some more of Spain.
Even though I came to live in Jaen and not just exist until I could travel, there are places I'm planning on visiting, but please known getting to know all the wonderful people I've met here is my main goal.
I would love to hear all about your Holiday Breaks or even Holiday travel experiences, I hope each and everyone enjoyed those you love and took some time to relax. If you have any further questions about these places feel free to ask!
 Until next time, Adios, Hasta Pronto, Be Blessed  . . .

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Barcelona: Where the Spanish Europeans Reside

I have no clue what exactly the comment, "Barcelona is the Europe of Spain" means, but I cannot count how many times the lovely folks of Andalusia said exactly those words when they found out I would be visiting the city of Barcelona. On our December Puente I was planning a solo trip to Barcelona because I love traveling solo and plenty of people speak English so getting from point A to B would not be to difficult.
 About a week before a new friend asked if she could join and I agreed without hesitation because sometimes company really is nice. We had a wonderful time and I was thankful for her ease with asking three strangers in a row if the directions we had received from five other strangers were correct so as to make sure we always knew where we were located and moving towards. Since we are new friends it was great getting to know each other and our conversation did not become stale or forced at any point. More importantly she did not judge my zealous desire to eat Barcelona whole in three days.
The plan according to all the advice and research I completed was to visit as many historical sites as possible and devour all the European style eats as possible- tapas are not free in Basque country and if I'm paying for the food I'd rather it be in large quantities.
So we walked and we visited and we ate, and we ate some more. Over all the trip was great, I definitely plan to return AND that is not an empty threat. Breaking down the places and spaces works better than trying to fit everything into a essay style analysis with witty commentary, so read what you want and comment when you want.


Barcelona: Seriously. The architecture and layout of the city is very different compared to the other cities of Spain. There are no Pueblos Blancos and Plazas have a different layout style. The buildings are different stone and the way they loom over the street gives way to a very gothic mind frame. After discussing with some Spanish friends it was explained to me that Barcelona is a Modernism city, one of two that fall under Spanish rule ( the other is actually located in Africa).
La Sagrada Familia: I was amazed at the genius that designed and built this Cathedral or Basilica. While the design and idea belongs to Guadi due to his unexpected death others have worked on the completion of the Cathedral for the last 100 years. At this time the area they are working on is a carving of an open book with the phrase, "Our Father Who Art in Heaven" in 25 different languages. Very powerful. While I was able to enjoy La Sagrada Familia I was not able to shake the notions that the Chapel was not meant to be downstairs. That Guadi meant for those attending to worship with the light flooding in many different colors and the presence of nature surrounding all present. He built La Sagrada Familia as a man of faith wanting to enhance the worship of others with the beauty of nature and that is not possible to do when the building is a tourist attraction. While I know that service is held on Saturday and Sunday, and I respect the decision of where worship service is held and tourist roam I cannot help but wonder if Guadi would be of the same respectful mind frame.
Guadi House: I was just fascinated in being able to visually see Guadi transform in his work and goals of design. Anyone interested in how much nature and faith played a part in his work life should definitely visit the house. Unfortunately I have no picture inside due to not knowing how to turn the flash off of my camera (ha!).
Park Guell: Take the elevator. Don't second glance the welcome sign for tourist ( not welcoming at all) and enjoy the views. Also, enjoy the lady playing the homemade harp. You are able to see the entire city of Barcelona, La Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, and Guadi House. All while surrounded by some beautiful wooded area. The park is named after the man who funded many of Guadi's projects. Guell intended for the area to actually be a housing complex were the house were small and the gardens large. The entire area screams "Guadi built me, enjoy"!
Picasso Museum: Picasso in his youth was a force to be reckon with, take note. I would definitely suggest the Audio Tour so that you can truly understand the images you are seeing. My favorite part was seeing the Picasso take on other famous works featured in the Prado in Madrid.

Eats and Treats

Poppy: THIS.PLACE. This sweet, dream circus of a playhouse. If I could have moved in I would have, but I doubt the regulars and staff would agree to such an agreement. The food was rich, the Swiss Coco had melted chocolate and homemade marshmallows. And that Carrot Cake, damn.
Kiosko: A burger the size of my head- I measured. You will wait in line. You will drool at those eating already while you wait. You will then check-off the ingredients that you want to fill and progressively fall-out of your burger as you eat. You will order, hunt down a spot ( no worries all are conscious of the quick life span of their seat, 30 minutes max), then sit in that spot and watch the counter until your food starts floating towards you in the hand of a nice server. Then you will eat the burger the size of your head. With your choice of fries, potato wedges, or papas bravas. While you eat you may or may not add one of the four sauces mixed in city and all good- your choice again. Everything is your choice, your wants, your desires and yours to enjoy.
Milk: I expected, Minimalism and clean cut. Wrong. First off all after walking to the end of Barcelona and taking an exit right before the ports you will find this place in what I later realized was El Born. The mood was more dive bar, speakeasy style. Which is perfect for me, especially since the lighting still allowed me to see the cute bartender. The burger involved onions caramelized in balsamic vinegar. Enough said.
The Pub: An English Pub located in the middle of everything. A great place for those strictly traveling to take a break- a little getaway. But honestly, really just a place to go if you do live in Spain after living somewhere else and know that other beers exist outside Cruzcampo.
Name Unknown: To the sweet little cupcake shop and legit pizzeria, I apologize that I was so focused on eating your deliciousness I did not pause for details. Sincerely, I'll make it up to you the next time I visit. Promise. Both are located in central areas and the cupcake shop was celebrating its grand opening to great success.

Aide and Advice

Ask your Spanish friends, ask your friends who have lived in Spain, ask people who know people who have study abroad in Spain and then ask friends whose parent traveled in Spain during their 25th anniversary. Once you've compiled a first witness account start doing some research on the World Wide Web and feel free to stop by the following places that gave me a little helping hand.

Pinterest:  Seriously, this place rules the world, so of course traveling the world guides are in abundance.
City Blink Blog: Thanks for the hangover suggestion places, but more importantly the introduction to Milk and Kiosko.
TimeOut: Honestly, if you plan on traveling to any city in Europe I would suggest stopping by the TimeOut Blog for some tips. They're considered for the Hipster crowd only, but honestly I just like that they think outside the box of places to visit.
Driftwood Journals: This blog is written by a gentleman who actually lived in Barcelona for some time and not only does he provide places to visit, but some cheap tricks to boot. For sure invest in the Metro card he suggest, you will need the metro to get to some Tourist spots AND from the airport/train station into the city.
If you've yet to visit I hope this little blurb helps you figure out where your headed and what to eat AND if you have visited feel free to add tips and tidbits to the comments section- the more the merrier! Below are some photos to thank you for your time and bearing with this very long winded blog post.

Hope you're enjoying the holiday season, Until Next Time . . . Adios, Hasta Pronto, Be Blessed!