Sunday, March 30, 2014

To Quote and To Know

I've always been a traveler. After high school graduation I spent about three weeks in Italy and Greece, then my first year after college I taught ESL in Latvia during the summer and this past year  I taught ESL abroad in Spain. I love spending time with others and developing a routine outside of my great state of Texas.
 In my group of friends so many people are constantly traveling in and outside the United States. We always share are adventures and push each other to explore a new place. This summer alone I have one friend headed to Spain, another to study in England and another headed to Germany. It's not the bases for our friendships, but it's definitely a common interest and talking point.

What's a point that keeps you and your friends happy and interested, in constant pursuit? I thought the quote below fit very well with how travel fits into the role of my friendships and the lives of my friends . . .

"The constant happiness is curiosity"

- Alice Munro

Until next time, Adios, Hasta Pronto and Be blessed . . .

Thursday, March 27, 2014

I Just Want Your . . . KISS.

Everyone couple has a first kiss. But then there's your first kiss and your last first kiss. While different equally electrifying.
 I actually witnessed one of my closest female friends partake in her first kiss ever as an adult in college and it was so interesting to see the tension and immediate relaxation of the moment. She walked right across the room, stood toe to toe with the guy, held his face and kissed him. 
 Nobody is a fool, we know when it's about to happen. It's such and intense occasion and state of mind that I'm pretty sure this commercial from Lacoste is the only visual equivalent I've ever witnessed outside of actually witnessing that moment . . .

I have no clue why, but I always bust out laughing when he looks around in panic and then she looks at him as if he's crazy then quickly understands where his crazy is about to lead him and just waits.
 If the over dramatic rush of the moment is not your thing. What about the melodramatic?
The following video is all about the moment leading up to the kiss, but without any special effects or decorations. Each couple is placed on a blank black and white set, the director never said action or cut because she just wanted to capture their moment. The video has received about 65 million views and you've probably seen it floating around your social media. When it was sent to me, I watched it the first time entranced with the build-up, conversation and then freedom.
The catch is that the couples are made up of twenty strangers pulled off the street, meeting for the first time- honestly, if it weren't for the introduction I would think these kisses were a long time coming . . .
So much giggling! I absolutely love the woman who admitted it was a good kiss afterwards, no shame in her game. And the guy whose first contact with his lady partner, little miss with the "Heidi braids", was to reach for her hands to caress and hold them, how intimate.
But that sweet gentleman who confessed he just wanted to hug his partner after their innocent kiss.
Although, I'm pretty sure one woman pulled away AND did you see that lip bite from homeboy in the sports coat, hey now bud!
The second time I watched this, cause of course I've watched it more than once, I watched without volume and without the handshakes you would think these were long-time couples being interviewed about how much they just can't get enough of their significant other.
Here's to kisses hello, goodbye, good morning, and goodnight. To kisses that make you smile and soothe your tears. May you kiss your love often and always, starting as soon as you can!
Until Next Time, Adios, Hasta Pronto, and Be Blessed . . .

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Life in Spain: Should I Stay or Should Go?

Should I stay or Should I go? Why do I want to go? Where am I headed? Can I afford to do this? What will my family think? What burden will this place on my family? How will this effect my current relationships with friends and my significant other? How will this help my career? How long am I staying or am I moving permanently?
I cannot answer these questions for you, all I can do is explain my situation and my opinion on the matter. First you must know that each and every situation is different. That in my journey and life abroad I met people from all walks of life.
Yes some were wandering and lost, but some were not. Many were looking over their shoulder trying to figure out how this would effect their typical "life track" progression. Some people were right out of college and others were recently divorced or widowed. Each and every person has their own story, just as you will have yours . . .

The Life Track

What about the money, career, cars, family and babies where do they fit into this great adventure. First, please understand that I'm a firm believer you can travel at any age with your family or without. But I'm also well aware that its plenty easier to accomplish when you're young, wild and free. I'm sure it's stressful having to match the flight and train times to your two year olds sleep and feeding schedule. Not too mention even if you like the Hostel life in your thirties, I'm doubting it'll be the joys and whimsicalness you oh so love at 65.

So do this here travel thing, moving across the big pond adventure now because the phrase "it only gets harder from here" applies to so many things in life.
Honestly, I've always planned to travel and I've always planned to have a great big family. I believe that the travel and the years to age me into possessing a bit of wisdom will only help me when I'm older and teaching my own baby bears.

Think of the things that inspire and keep you in awe of your parents, for me it's seeing the risk they took and the moments when they just said, "I'm stepping out on faith". Yes, I recognize those moments as their adult child, but part me of knows that's because as their child they were quick to use themselves as life examples when the going got tough for me ( which was a lot easier than it ever got for the two of them by the way).

 I know that the lessons I've learned traveling and living abroad are lessons that I will use to guide and teach my children. Just as I didn't, I'm sure you don't want to be the "what if" parent. So make the decision- either it's for you now or it's for you down the road or it's for you never.

In the case of the job, I was lucky and Teaching English is my profession, but I realize not everyone is like me. However, learning a new language, especially one of the top languages in the world is a helpful step to anyone. My resume for Jo-Ann's craft store ask what other languages I know, because it's a use full skill any business can benefit from.

Finally, my wallet will always be the better for living abroad. I made $925.00 a month and balanced paying four bills, abroad and stateside, along with daily expenses and traveling. You learn how to make money work and that's a life skill you just cannot do without in this day and age of credit card and student loan debt.


First realize as much as it seems so, it’s not personal. Honestly, through their own confusion and struggle your family may say some pretty hurtful words and their actions may not resemble the love they have always shown you in the past. But know their love is still there, even stronger if that’s possible.

All the questions, fears and concerns that you have are equal to the questions your family is wondering or asking aloud AND the confusion is double for them because they are not privy to your most inner thoughts and desires.  Also, if they are about to help you out financially in anyway that’s a weight on their shoulders that they deserve to become aware of as soon as possible.

The fear, anxiety and questions that your family keep drilling you with cannot be the main factor in whether you stay or go. It can be a factor, especially if they will be forced to help you financially, but placing it at number one will certainly keep your feet firmly planted at home.

And know that if you go, sometimes you will have the greatest day only to have a skype call with a family member who will knock your joy away with woes of just how much they miss you. In those moments remember that in their mind they see one little red pin on a map showing your country surrounded by no other red pins. All by your lonesome self, walking down unsafe streets alone, drinking in shady establishments alone and having no one to hug you on tough days. Not a single other soul there for you because everyone who cares about you is back in the States.

Just remember their side when it becomes  maddening to keep explaining the same answers or hearing the same statements of resentment. Don’t hold it against, but do move forward with the decision that is best for you.

Money, Money, Money, Money, Mah-ney!

Honey, you betta save like it’s your only job. No shopping. No eating out. No movie theatre nights. No money spent. You must save every last penny. Dead serious I at the same sandwich for two months straight for dinner cause my bank account needed to be bursting.

If you go through a program, no matter which country you’re moving to, it’s gonna cost some money. The plan ticket will cost money. The idea to buy early is great unless you receive your placement a month before you must report like many now residing in Spain did this past year. Then you're buying last minute and all the good seats are gone.

But the heavy hitter comes during your travels once you’ve actually moved abroad. The point for moving to Europe for the majority of folks is to travel across the pond like you just can’t do in North America. And that cost money. Planes, Trains, Buses, and a place to sleep. Also, you must eat. All of that cost money and since I don’t do Hostels it cost just a little more for this girl. There are deals, coupons and the notion that Ryanair is actually becoming understanding towards their consumers, but that still cost money. Plus you’re probably traveling to some pretty touristy locations and with tourist locations come tourist prices.

Just take my trip to Ireland, I almost laid-out on the muddy streets crowded with all sorts crying when I realized that I had gone through 400 euoros in four days with two days left on that leg of the journey, two other destinations to go and an entire month before my next paycheck. Instead I just moved towards the nearest street corner and went to work- just kidding! But it was a serious thought considering my next destination was Paris and all it’s shopping.
Budgeting and having the funds are necessary. You will still have bills, here and there along with unexpected fees. The last thing you want to do is be caught in need of money that isn’t available to you.

The Verdict

Go or stay, take a look at all points of view. Understand that just because living abroad doesn't work out it doesn't mean you can't play abroad as often as possible. Know that change will always cause growth. Meditate, pray and ask questions. But ultimately make the decision for you, and your life progress- not a single other person.

Hope this helped, I know it's long, but there's so much information. Hopefully the future Life in Spain post don't scroll down as far. Feel free to e-mail me or ask in the comments if I didn't touch on something directly. But remember there's definitely more to come with the last Life in Spain post taking place the first week of June. Thanks for walking with me on my journey, hope it helped you on yours in some way.
Until Next Time, Adios, Hasta Pronto, and Be Blessed . . .

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Blogging World has Officially Accepted Me! : The Liebster Award

First off thank you Georgia over at Oatmeal Smiles, a wonderful Mother-Wonders blog that I plan to re-read before having my own kids. Since meeting you back in 2010 you have constantly mentored me directly or indirectly and I will forever be grateful for the kindness.
 She nominated and welcomed me all in one swoop with the Liebster Award.

About the Award

A chain-award, that can only help new bloggers through the connection to more defined and established blogs. Pretty much a pay-it-forward or helping-hand to bloggers who are just starting and doing there best to produce something worth while.

Rules for the Award

  • Acknowledge the blogger who nominated you and link back to them.
  • Answer the questions the blogger gives you.
  • Nominate budding bloggers for the award.
  • Let the bloggers know you nominated them.
  • Give them questions to answer.

My Q&A

What do you blog about/ what is your niche?
I wish I knew! But seriously, I started out looking towards education or maybe a style blog and then have slowly learned how to focus and share my travels along with what interest me in life from all areas.

What type of blogs do you most enjoy reading?
Lifestyle definitely. I for some reason love reading about women who are just a phase or generation ahead of me in life. They've been through the twenty years growth period and are settling into the, "whew, got those years knocked out" part of life. I get to see there kids grow, read advice, peek into how married life works and just see a completely different view of life than my own.

What do you enjoy about blogging?
It's a public journal, I remember small details that are often forgotten years later during dinner table conversation. Plus, connecting to so many people who introduce me to new places and spaces right in my background or across the world.

What is your blogging goal?
To find a schedule, develop blogging series along with maintaining some routine and stay with the project for as long as possible.

What has been the most surprising thing to you about blogging?
Like anything, I did not realize the amount of time and effort that should go into a well thought out and developed post. I know many bloggers become frustrated with not seeing instant comments and fanfare, but that's just reality. It's the time that kills me- time is precious and balancing can be interesting.

If you could go back and take an alternate career path what would it be?
Honest to goodness, I wanted to be a sniper when I was young. Spy of sorts, but specialize in sniping. My mother nixed that real quick with the knowledge that my eyesight is horrible. Other than that I cannot imagine doing anything that was not education related. Even as a sniper I would probably be handling politicians who cared more about money than kids- there would sadly be few left alive.

How many hours do you spend on your blog a week?
I try to put in an hour a day, start a blog, find pictures or edit- whatever needs to be done. I've developed a bad habit of posting well into the night and I'm not sure if that's good for my readers or not, but no one has complained yet.
Do you read other blogs and if so what is a favorite and why?
Shame on me, but my conference period or break when I was working customer service were my "blog binging" times. Now that I don't have a set time I just seem to wander into a post. As I've taken time to groom my own blog I found some interesting ones that I'm starting to scour. But outside of Reed Up and Cup of Jo my loyalty has faltered. Right now, I'm devouring, a great Austin, TX based lifestyle blog.

What makes a blog enjoyable to you?
Pictures, food and honesty. I cannot do blogs that are wordy essays. I cannot do blogs were food is only talked about in the manner of loosing weight or not at all. I cannot do blogs were life is perfect and the kids are always smiling in the pictures. Reed Up ( Oatmeal Smiles) and Cup of Jo have no issues saying, "I'm struggling here" or " Hey, any advice". Real people and real blogs that reflect those folks honestly are what I truly enjoy.
If money weren’t a consideration, what would you do with your life?
I'd still be in education and I'd be working on my end goal, which means it may not be as good since the lessons I learn along the way will only help the foundation.

Do you have a life motto or a saying you come back to again and again?
I'm constantly telling myself there is a blessing or/and a lesson in this moment. Just take that notion into everything I do and the outcome wears a lot less on the spirit.

Next Step

Here's the list of questions I'm sending to the next bloggers and here's the list of bloggers I'm nominating. I hope they only receive goodness and great readers down the road. Each and every blogger puts, thought and time into their post- they deserve some recognition.
  1. What do you blog about/ what is your niche?
  2. What type of blogs do you most enjoy reading?
  3. What do you enjoy about blogging?
  4. What is your blogging goal?
  5. What books are sitting on your bedside table?
  6. If you could go back and take an alternate career path what would it be?
  7. Seven random facts about yourself?
  8. Do you read other blogs and if so what is a favorite and why?
  9. What makes a blog enjoyable to you?
  10. If money weren’t a consideration, what would you do with your life?
  11. Do you have a life motto or a saying you come back to again and again?

Bloggers Nominated:
The Lady Latina
The Accidental Adventurer

Whoosh, folks that's a long blog post! Hopefully you learned some things about me and maybe found a few new blogs to add to your blog roll- as if we need anymore. I hope your weekend went well and your week started out just right!

Until Next Time, Adios, Hasta Pronto, and Be blessed . . .

Friday, March 21, 2014

Life in Spain: It Has Been Fun, Real Fun

Y'all, I cannot tell you the goodness of being home. To say having a Champagne bottle ring my bell was the worst thing to ever happen to me would be a complete lie. I was in a panic coming back for no reason, blessing are flowing and everything is coming up "D"!
But while I'm adjusting and sorting out home, I'm going to be publishing a few blogs looking back to Spain and my life there. I hope you'll take these, "Life in Spain" post as the perfect time to ask any questions or concerns if you're looking to head down the same path. Or if you're just curious, simple post in the comments or send an e-mail, we'll talk.
To start off the "Life in Spain" series, let's take a look at some photos you've never seen. From start to finish . . .
My First Day, Madrid Streets, August 2013
First Spanish Breakfast, Seville, September 2013

Rooftop Concert, Cathedral at Night, Sevilla, September 2013 
Home Sweet Jaen, Day 1, September 2013
Daily Walk to Work, Baeza 2013-2014
First After Lunch Shot, Baeza, October 2013
Cold Morning Walks to School, Baeza, January 2014

Friend Sunday Dinners, Learning to Make Sushi, Jaen, January 2014
The Sunset on a Weekend Trip to Cabera, Jaen, February 2014

Weekend of Friends, Jaen, February 2013

My Discovery of Gofres  Two Weeks Before Leaving, Jaen, February 2014

My Last Spanish Breakfast, Baeza, February 2014

A Goodbye Shot, Mines Grape Juice, Jaen, March 2014

Sister Selfi in Rome, My Goodbye Family Trip, March 2014

It's been fun, I mean a top time and I look forward to looking back with each and everyone of you sweet folks.
Until Next Time, Adios, Hasta Pronto, and Be Blessed  . . . 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Dear Champagne, I'll Always Love You

Dear Champagne,
Hey Lady, I know many have tried to blame you during this whole trail, but count me out. Just as the sweet, elderly gentleman who pulled my writhing and bloody self out of the Paris gutter said after you fell a couple of stories and knocked some sense into me, " It's a good bottle, thank goodness they drank it all- those fools for setting such a bottle on the balcony rail". He was so sweet, kind of like you Champagne when mixed with grape fruit juice and sparkling soda. Should I ever see him again I'll buy him a case of the best of you, only the best.
As a matter of fact many folks have uttered the phrase, "thank goodness for that hair of yours", but really I've a few thank you's to throw your directions Champagne . . .

For the first time in my life I did not try to please others, I did what needed to be done to take care of this one body I have. This body that since you landed so gracefully on top of the head connected to the shoulders has witnessed many headaches, lost hearing, become quit dizzy often enough, occasionally experiences blurred vision and the list of troubles goes on. Which is why I said my goodbyes, packed my bags and hightailed it to the U.S. where I did have insurance.
Champagne I'd also like to thank you for all the time I was able to spend with some great souls. Souls who bandaged me up quickly after you did your damage. Who walked the streets with me from clinic to clinic and hospital to hospital. Who sat at the emergency room with me well over six hours into the night and never batted an eyelash. Who since my return to the United States have messaged me constantly with updates and concerns. An odd situation brought us closer together with hours to talk about anything and everything.
Champagne you've been with me through many moments, laughter filled nights, picnics in the park, friend filled brunches and after work turn-downs. If I was able to drink I would have toasted my doctor when he confirmed I have a prolonged concussion with slight nerve damage and promptly referred me to Neurologist. Solid answers deserve endless bubbles!
I'm a firm believer in your healing bubbles and ability to mix with drinks from a stout Guinness to dry Cranberry. When I can bask in your excellence again, I'll have those sweet souls over, invite the ones that greeted me with concern when I landed and thank my family for all their care with bottles and bottles of Lady Champagne toasted to possibly one of the most interesting time periods of my life. Thanks for the memories, sweet.

Until next time, Adios, Hasta Pronto, Be blessed  . . .

Sunday, March 16, 2014

To Quote and To Know

If you've been reading my post for some time then you know I love me some quotes, absolutely eat them up. Any student of mine can tell you, a journal entry over a quote is bound to happen at least twice a week AND I'm always going to have a quote of the week on the most noticeable board in the classroom.
I just think it's nice to read a few words and realize someone else out there in this crazy universe is thinking the same thing I'm thinking- you can't even imagine the odd connection I feel when another person has the same tag quote as I do at the end of their e-mail.
Which is why I 've decided to start featuring a weekly quote here, for you lovely readers and fellow travelers. Feel free to provide a response in the comments below and from here on I'll be introducing the quote with my own comments on the matter. I hope you enjoy . . .

Years ago I was watching Oprah and her guest mentioned how much she loved Oprah's scent. Oprah responded by stating she only wore her favorite lotion. She of course can afford lotions that smell like Lily of the Valley, but me on my constantly broke due to student loans budget can't even afford to walk into the store she buys her lotions from let alone actually purchase the lotion.
Then a few weeks later I was over a friends house cooking breakfast with him for some other friends, and as we were cooking and moving around the kitchen I guess he caught the scent of my soap because when we all settled down outside to eat he mentioned how great I smelled, fresh and awakening.
Then the conversation moved towards every single person at the table agreeing and stating how it was my scent, how they identified that scent with my character. Finally someone asked what perfume I wore and I confessed it was Irish Spring soap. Nothing special and as cheap as soap can get as far as I'm concerned. Another friend mentioned how she used the same soap and it didn't smell the same or stay with her as long. I have no clue why its different for each person, I just know I like the way it works in my favor. Which is why this quote stood out to me so much when I first saw it floating around Pinterest:

Lovely folks, what's your scent and what does it say about you? Or the smell of a loved one that is always with you, why does it linger? Or maybe the scent you've always wanted to smell like, but just can't reach, why is it so important?
Until next time, Adios, Hasta Pronto, Be blessed . . .

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Just How I Like to Travel

Last week I posted a blog asking questions about the style of travel you folks prefer, Travelers Inquirer Within,  and as promised here's my response to the questions . . .

Quality or Quantity:
Honestly, there are places in the world that do not appeal to me as a travel despite the fact that they are "hot spots", so my list of places to go is not as long as your average traveler. It doesn't mean I'm not interested in other places it just means I've got a few I'm going to concentrate on for long periods of time or over many visits before I move on to the "places I never knew" list.
Tourist Takedown or Local Living:
If it's a museum I'm there and I'm there all day long. If it's a building I'll snap a picture as I walk by and then do some research later because honestly just walking the streets and taking in the local atmosphere takes me to my travelers high quicker than any other activity.
Cozy on the Couch or Hotel Hospitality:
I cannot do someone couch or a hostel, I've tried and it doesn't work- I'm a creature of certain comforts. I can rent a room in someone's place- who knew a door could mean so much. I prefer renting an entire apartment with friends or a Bed and Breakfast, the real ones not a hostel complaining to offer toast and orange juice in the morning. A hotel is actually my go to for one or two nights, but after that I'm looking for an apartment or B&B.
Eat Everything or Chef Choice:
I'm eating every single thing and honestly I could careless where that is located. I'm big on doing research before I go to a place and that research is usually food related with an emphasis on "cheap, but good" or "brunch". I've found some great places through research, but I've also found some great places through walking the streets and following the aroma flowing through the streets.

Fellow travelers, feel free to add your own answers after checking out the questions on the Travelers Inquire Within blog post, comment or leave a link to your own blog. I like these types of questions and will probably start doing a few a month- guess something did spark with the Expat Blogger Challenge, hmmm.
Until Next time, Adios, Hasta Pronto, Be blessed . . .

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Travelers Inquir Within

Just a few questions, that I'd love to discuss and frequently come up during discussion with us expats who are not only living abroad, but traveling as often as possible . . .

Quality or Quantity:

What works better short trips that allow you to see the views or long trips that allow you to walk the streets and unbeaten path?

Tourist Takedown or Local Living

See all the main attractions mentioned in all the travel guide books or sip tea at a coffee shop in a neighborhood few tourist ever go to and chat with a local whose history could run just a deep as any archeological site?

Cozy on the Couch or Hotel Hospitality

Should you rent a place with a local, crashing on someone couch possible or take refuge in a hotel with guaranteed amenities every weary traveler needs?

Eat Everything or Chef Choice

Do you eat the street food, charge in to every hidden eatery ready to devour all food or go to the nice restaurant with the cuisine fit for a king?

How do you like to travel, move through cultures in the most comfortable manner that suits your soul? Discuss freely in the comments or move the topic to your own blog with a link posted in the comments. I'm interested! I'll be posting my own replies to these questions next week so come on back, ya hear.

Until Next time, Adios, Hasta Pronto, Be blessed . . .