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If you can't stop thinking about it, don't stop working for it.

I'm currently sitting in my bed unable to sleep. My mind is running wild with thoughts, yet I'm at a loss for words. 1) I'm not homeless 2) I've found two awesome roommates 3) I'm living in my dream piso (apartment) with my own private balcony that will never get old. I wake up to the Spanish sunshine and fall asleep with the stars. And the best part about this is I made it happen for myself. 

When I returned from studying abroad three years ago in Barcelona, I made a promise to myself that I would return to Spain again for a longer period of time. I told myself that no matter what happened, I'd come back to live. Meanwhile, as I finished my senior year of college and two years of graduate school, not a day passed without thinking about Spain. I once read that when you can't stop thinking about something, don't stop working for it (if that sounds like it came from Pinterest it's because it did). 

While I love the career that I dedicated six years of studies to, there was something telling me that I couldn't start it just yet. I knew that had I started a job in social work, I'd never want to leave it and forever wonder what would have happened if I strayed from the prescribed social norm and go teach English in a foreign country for one year.

 It's been a rough three weeks here in Madrid. There is nothing easy about becoming legal, setting up a bank account, and starting a new job in a new field – all in another language.  

However, as a wise friend once told me, the lows during this experience abroad will be higher than the highs that I could possibly experience back in my home country. The potential for personal growth is never-ending and the adventure is just beginning. 



The first bell

The first day of school was last week, on October 1st. It was all completely nerve racking, new, and exciting since I’ve never been on the teaching side of the classroom before.  I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, who my students would be or if the other teachers would be nice or intimidating.  I made the mistake of not routing and doing a ‘test run’ to the school before the first day, so I took the metro to the stop I thought was the one that would be closest to the school, but in a hilariously (not so funny at the time) mistaken assumption, I chose one that was 45 minutes away from the school walking.  Needless to say, when I realized it, I ran for a cab and got there as quickly as I could even though I still was late.  Luckily, the very kind secretary was not mad and understood completely about my mistake.  I recommend taking the time to take your route to school before the first day, though, just to be safe an avoid the extra safe I placed upon myself.


After a morning with the other auxiliaries and meeting teachers, we took our extra long lunch at an adorable restaurant a few blocks away, and made our way back to the school to check out the gym that we so happen to have attached to our school: Estudiantes Alta Fit.  It’s nice, seriously.  I had been told that gyms in madrid were going to be a disappointment.  Sure, there are a few things that are missing (a barbell rack, horrible yes I know)  but there is always a way to get around it.  The convenience of location and the fact that the Estudiantes basketball team (look them up if you’re unfamiliar) may or may not work out there was a great deciding factor in all of us signing up for our memberships that day.  I know I left happy.  Not having a gym membership had been a major area of stress in my life since arriving here, so this was a moment of relief.  


The second half of the day meant actual time in the class room, meeting students, and it becoming the real deal.  In my experience in the United States, teachers and students have a very professional non-affectionate relationship.  In Spain, however, you should expect to receive about a million hugs and kisses a day.  Not to mention, some “eres guapa!”s and “do you have a boyfriend?”s multiple times from your new adoring fans.  It was really special to see how excited the students were to have us auxiliaries in the school, and even more surprising to see how amazed they were when I told them I was from Chicago.  Needless to say I told them all about my dogs, and will be bringing pictures to show them soon as well.  


I look forward to getting to know the kids I’ll be working with this year, and I can already feel how much I’m meant to be there even if I don’t entirely know what I’m doing yet.  I hear we’re going on a field trip next week, walking in nature, “qué divertido”!  To a great year ahead, and to some really great kids I know I’m never going to forget.  Salud!

Pre-Teaching Jitters



1. I would definitely recommend Oktoberfest, however, if your phones do not work out of Spain, even if they do....tie a balloon to yourself, or wear something very conspicuous, because you most likely will get separated, and having a meeting point isn't always helpful, especially when what'sapp is so slow because of the thousands of extra people trying to use it at the same time.

2. Ride before your drink. These carni rides look a couple steps above the US ones, I unfortunately did not have the pleasure, but they looked Awesome!!!

3. Go see Munich as well, there's some cool buildings and good restaurants.

It's not a bad way to have a last hoorah after having a month long hiatus and before starting your intimidating teacher venture. 

That all being said, it's actually really exciting to get back into a schedule and having a purpose for being in Madrid (other than just aimlessly exploring, which is not bad). 003
Definitely take advantage of the menu del dia at the more pricey restaurants for lunch before you start teaching because if your not in the city you won't be able to enjoy that as much. (there are some pretty awesome Mexican places) #MexicanfoodinSpain #LaVenganzadelaMalinche (thanks Noel and Natacia for your facebook post about this place!) #Enchiladas #SalsaVerde


Ok. so enough about food for now.

For those who have never really taught a class before, like myself, might be freaking out a little bit about the impending responsibilities of teaching youths your language and culture. (I kind of picture the scene from supertroopers, when the kid says "I'm freaking out man" and the cop goes "you are freaking out, man", but instead of birds chirping I keep hearing kids screaming, yelling and crying). I hope they like me, what if I try to be funny and it fails miserably? what if they don't learn anything? what if the teachers don't want me here? etc...  The list could go on. But then I keep thinking to myself, people wouldn't keep returning to do this, or the schools wouldn't continue to bring in people if it doesn't work. Again, I keep having to channel the Spanish mentality #Tranquila #nopasanada. It works sometimes until I think about the fact that I might be the last person in the program without a piso.

One good thing to note about this piso hunt though is that I keep discovering so many cool neighborhoods in Madrid. I fell in love with La Latina when I saw a piso the other day, so beautiful and historical. Since my school is so far away I do have the luxury (or difficultly) of being able to choose between several neighborhoods, because really it doesn't matter where I live my commute is going to be long so I might as well enjoy my barrio.

At least with the comfort of living with a Senora, I don't have to worry about making myself dinner after what is sure to be a long first day. So here's goes nothing after waking up before the buttcrack of Dawn and taking the lengthy Line 1 metro ride to Plaza de Castilla and sleeping mostly through my bus ride, luckily waking up just in time to ask the bus driver where do I get off and how do I solicit the bus to stop? #Tourist 

After walking in circles a couple times, luckily I found my school and (1st one there!) and now just have to wait....deep breath...here goes nothing (remember no Spanish!)


How to Embarrass Yourself in Spain

Let me preface this list by saying that I am no stranger to humiliation – I’m clumsy, awkward, and sometimes downright clueless. Anyone that knows me at all knows this, even my new friends here in Madrid (who keep count of how many times I trip on any given day). Couple a predisposition for embarrassment with unfamiliar customs of a foreign country and you’ve got yourself a recipe for disaster. After living in Madrid for a little over a month, I’ve been able to pinpoint some of the specific sources of my embarrassment and have compiled a list with explanations on how to avoid Spain-specific mortification. Below are the top ways to experience shame in Spain:


Going Barefoot (like, ever)

Out of the whole list, this one is the hardest to get used to. For a coastal chica who is used to going barefoot a majority of the time, having to wear shoes inside the house is a huge bummer. It differs from piso to piso, but generally the rule of thumb is to wear shoes anytime you are walking around the house. Most buildings in Madrid have tile or wooden floors that collect dust and dirt over time, making the act of going barefoot somewhat of a gross habit.


Wearing Exercise Clothes Outside of the Gym

Another bummer rule if you’re lazy like me. If you are wearing exercise clothes and you are not at the gym, people will always assume that you are either a) going to the gym or b) just coming back from the gym. The day that I moved into my new piso, I was wearing running shorts and tennis shoes and the first thing that my new Spanish roommate asked me was, “Vas a corer?” Unless you are [actually] going to work out, it’s best to leave your sweatpants at home. *sheds tear*


Eating Dinner Before 9 p.m.

When you are living by yourself, you can decide what time you want to eat dinner. But if you decide to grab a bite to eat elsewhere, it’s embarrassing to show up to a restaurant and try to get dinner before 9 or 10 p.m. If the restaurant is even open, it will likely be empty or full of people throwing back a few drinks after work. This one is a little hard to get used to because as Americans, we are used to eating anywhere between 5 and 9 p.m. (heck, I’m usually ready for bed at 11 p.m., not dinner). But trust me on this, or you’ll feel awkward.


Going Out Before 1 or 2 a.m.

When I first heard about how late people leave to go out, I admit that I was a bit surprised. At home, most places are closed by 2 a.m. at the latest. But when you don’t even eat dinner until 10 p.m., it makes sense that you wouldn’t go out until much later as well. So just as you shouldn’t show up to a restaurant before 9 p.m., you shouldn’t show up to a club before 1 a.m. Nobody will be there it will just make you look feel a big ol’ nerd.



In the States, tipping 15-20% is the norm. In Spain, it’s considered odd to drop more than a few Euros at your table when you leave. Here, employees of the food industry are compensated fairly for their work (imagine that!), so tips aren’t expected. While it is always polite to leave a little bit of change as a tip (15-20% is VERY generous), a big tip will probably leave your waiter confused and thinking that you left your change behind.


Not Finishing Your Food

When you’re eating out at a restaurant or at someone’s house, you are expected to finish your food. If you don’t, the host will assume that you didn’t like it and will usually ask you what was wrong with it. Trust me when I say that it’s not easy trying to convince your waiter that you did, in fact, like the mystery dish that you mistakenly ordered because your Spanish needs some work and that you’re too full to eat one more bite. Also, taking food home from a restaurant is not very common unless the place specifies that it offers “take away.” Some touristy eateries will wrap leftovers in foil for you, but generally, requesting a “doggy-bag” is a bit weird. My advice is to just try to finish your food if you can, it will save you the trouble.


Eating on the Go

Another rule about eating in Spain – don’t do it on the go. Spaniards like to take their time when eating and make every meal a sit-down meal. You certainly will never see them eating while walking, and DEFINITELY not on the metro (the horror!). If you see anyone walking around with their food, they’re most likely tourists. If you’re comfortable with judgmental stares and being the walking stereotype of a “fat American,” then you can ignore this one.



Okay, this is important. Trying to give someone a hug or a handshake upon meeting them is like having a big flashing neon sign above your head that reads “AMERICAN.” Spaniards are passionate and loving people, and it’s custom to greet your friends with a kiss on each cheek. Handshakes are considered super formal here, and are generally saved for the boardroom. DON’T DO IT. The double-kiss greeting will seem a bit uncomfortable at first (I barely know these people! I have to kiss their face? Which side do I do first?!), but after a while, you’ll get used to it.


Stocking Up at the Supermercado

In America, we’re used to doing our grocery shopping only once or twice a week. We drive to our supersized stores in our SUVs, fill up our carts with more than we need, and haul all of our value-sized goodies home, where we need multiple trips to the car to unload, slinging multiple bags in each hand. In Madrid, attempting to buy more than a handful of things at the store will earn you weird looks from the cashiers and fellow shoppers alike. Spaniards visit the supermercado much more frequently than Americans, picking up whatever fresh food they need for that night’s dinner or the next day. After moving into my new piso (with a kitchen!), I decided to head to the grocery store down the street to stock up on some essentials – juices, oils, sauces, spices, etc. Once I had placed all of my items on the conveyor belt, the lady in line behind me asked (in Spanish) if I was going to take all of this food to my casa. I thought it was a strange thing to be asked – of course I’m taking it to my house. When it came down to it, I only had two bags worth of groceries to carry a block home (an easy load for the heavy-lifting champion of grocery bags) but when I looked around at the store, everyone else essentially had 10 items or less. Now, this isn’t the most embarrassing thing you can find yourself doing in Madrid, but if you want to blend in with the locals, take it easy on the groceries.


*In the grand scheme of things, doing any of these things is certainly not the end of the world. Experiencing embarrassment is almost inevitable when living in a foreign country with unfamiliar customs and traditions. While the Spanish are very passionate people, they are also known for their forgiving nature, and awkward situations are almost always followed by “No pasanada!” or “No te preocupes!”

CIEE Four Week Immersion Program Equation

     Our program consists of an equation that equals the CIEE four week immersion program. The first variable is our homestay for four weeks. There’s 6 of us from CIEE, 6 girls and one bathroom, and our señora y señor. 12004106_1203807829646123_4559109239859650606_n (1)
We have family dinners just about every night, which end up with us holding our stomachs because we are either too full that it hurts or we are laughing because of the language barrier / miscommunication. Needless to say, it’s a very special and enjoyable time for all of us. Secondly, we take Spanish classes for four weeks, 3 hours a day. We are divided by level and each class has two teachers, each for 1.5 hours. Lucky for my class, and from what I have heard about all the classes, is that the teachers are wonderful. We discuss practical things like recycling, politics, and social issues, both in Spain and the United States, so not only are we speaking, reading and writing in a second language, but we are learning and discussing topics that are important to us and society. And thirdly, our school, Tandem, gives us a weekly schedule of optional (highly encouraged) activities in which to participate. They range from museum tours, to flamenco lessons, to excursions to other Spanish cities. There’s a bunch to choose from that are free or come at a price. These three ingredients, homestay, classes, and activities are what truly make this an immersion program. If we were to miss one variable in the equation, we wouldn’t be getting the full experience.

    I want to talk about one activity in particular that helped me understand Spanish culture. It was titled Juegos de mesa epsañoles which translates to “Spanish table games”. Just like we have traditional card games that are played in the United States like Gin Rummy, Crazy Eights, and many others, Spaniards have different games that are common to play with family and friends. The two we learned were called Burro (which I will explain) and Siete y media, but first we learned about the deck of cards because they differ from the ones we use in the states.

    Just like we have Jacks, Queens, Kings and Aces, a Spanish deck, baraja, has sotas, caballos, and reys. Their decks are split into four suits, palos, called oros, copas, bastos, y espadas.

Spanish and American decks are similar however, a Spanish deck does not contain the numbers 8, 9, and 10.  A traditional deck contains 40 cards and by removing the 8, 9, and 10 from each suit, you reach 40. When I asked our professor why these cards were missing he said it was “tradition”, which is a very important value in Spanish culture. After we learned a bit about the deck we were able to begin our first game.

    Burro doesn’t require many skills, except quick reflexes. Each player gets an equal number of cards and puts down one, without looking. Simultaneously while putting down the card, the player says the consecutive number from the player beforehand. If the card number happens to match the spoken number, anyone can slap the deck while shouting "burro!". The person who’s hand is on the bottom collects the entire pile and begins again with number 1. If someone tries to sneak a peak at their cards, we call them una trampa, a cheater. Although this game is primarily based on luck, we learned that un tahur, is someone who is very good at card games, and la revancha, means to have the advantage. All in all, this game creates a lot of laughs and possibly some bruised hands if you aren’t careful!

This is not a movie

This first blog post is going to be the ‘real talk’ and advice, wish I knew, now I do post. I didn’t want my first blog post after arriving here in Madrid to be rushed, or forced in any way so I haven’t written anything at all since I got here two weeks ago.  The main reason for that is because I have been nonstop busy, stressed out, running around trying to figure out what I’m doing.  The idea of moving abroad is a lot fancier than actually doing it, because in the movies they don’t show you how stressful it really can be.  When you think of moving to Europe you think eiffel tower, sangria, beautiful people, delicious food, dancing, touring beautiful places and tons of other fabulous things.  Everything is fabulous, new and wonderful.  But, in real life, it is life, not a vacation.  The important thing, though, was that the majority of us were having the same struggles and were stressed and worried together.  Number one, having no wifi or cell service.  You are in a foreign country, tired, alone, confused, and probably a little scared of what is to come and you can’t just text or call your mom or best friend.  Panic mode, right? Not fun.  Luckily, the second day into orientation we went to a phone store and got ourselves some phone plans and data so that we can get connected and start complaining across oceans instead of just to each other.  Number two, all of these apartment and piso contacts I am emailing, calling, and messaging aren’t replying to me and/or are ALL already rented out?!  I thought I was right on time and should be easily finding somewhere to live?  No, no.  That is not the case, it is not fun and games.  Apartment and piso hunting is not easy, or fun.  It is very difficult, and should be taken seriously!  It is really difficult to find open rooms if you want to live with Spaniards, which most of us did since we came here hoping to become better, if not fluent in Spanish.  Most of us were not able to achieve this because so many people came into Madrid at the same time, with the same idea.  My advice, come early or start searching before you leave and call people before you leave letting them know your situation because the stress is real, and can put a bit of a dark cloud over your first weeks here.  I stumbled into my apartment, on the day I had to leave the hotel accommodation I had, when I had been thinking I was going to be sleeping on my friends couch for almost two weeks before I might have somewhere to call my own.  It was not a pretty situation, and I was really stressed and unhappy about it but then suddenly the skies opened and dropped an amazing piso in front of me with a great fellow auxiliar.  Now, we can breathe.  Sort of.  A couple more things to do before you can really beginning ‘living’.  Get your abono (metro rail card), which requires an appointment, get your identification card that allows you to live in Spain for the duration of the teaching job, much like the process of getting your visa in the US, get ‘empadronado’ (aka certificate stating you live here), if you don’t have wifi in your new piso getting that set up yourself is a huge ordeal in and of itself as well.

Now, after all of this, you get to take a step back and realize “I live in Madrid”, how cool is that?  There is so much to see and do in just this city alone, it’s hard to decide what to do each day.  Even just getting to pick out some things to decorate your new piso is pretty fun and exciting too.  Especially if you get something unique from El Rastro, the huge flea market held every sunday.  When you’re feeling a little sensory overload or overwhelmed by how much you have going on, take a walk to Parque Retiro, and breathe in the fresh air, check out the scenery.  It’s sort of like a central park of Madrid and it’s beautiful.  The number one thing to remember is, you’re in Madrid SPAIN!  Life is amazing, take a deep breath, get yourself a glass of sangria and keep on keeping on. 

I miss my myspace song page: A week in Italy!

So, there’s so much to be said for my last two weeks that have not been recorded I blog form. I finished classes, found an apartment, went to Italy with a friend, and joined a volleyball team in Madrid. I ate a lovely amount of pasta and pizza, cooked my first meal in my apartment, bought groceries like normal people, and made a fantastic trip to Ikea to decorate my new room. Let me give you the key points:

Housing: Searching for an apartment in Madrid is the devil! When there is a large influx of English speakers in a city that speaks mostly Spanish and all the new “immigrant” young people looking for adventure, they all want the same apartments in the same places–enter huge problems! I emailed, called, attempted to view over 30 apartments before I landed a nice (albeit small without a patio) room close to my desired metro stop. My roommate is a lovely Spanish student at the University in town. She speaks zero English and has to let me in to the apartment at odd hours when my key fails to open the door. The water in the shower pools a little, my view of the city is amazing.

Spanish: just learn it. Make your life easier. Although Madrid has a ton of English speakers and people that speak basic English to help you out in a jam, just learn it.

Italian: ciao, gratzi, lasagna, pizza. The end of my knowledge of Italian and only the beginning of the problems I had communicating in Italy. Life lesson and my wish for the world–be nice to foreigners! We are all just doing the best we can! I am not trying to be rude by not knowing the language…learning languages is hard! BE NICE TO FOREIGN PEOPLE, THEY HAVE FEELINGS AND EMOTIONS TOO.

Churches:  A cathedral is the head of a diocese in Catholicism, basilica refers to the architectural structure. Good to know when visiting all the beautiful churches in Italy! Lauren (Mississippi teacher corps sincere friend currently teaching in turkey, but Italian travel partner) and I saw so many beautiful churches in Milan and Venice!

Where wine is cheaper than water: Italy! My kind of place!

Bittersweet Madrid truths:
Oh, you think that place is open on Sunday? A lie. Go home.
Oh, you expect google maps to work? A LIE. Buy a map. Or go home.
Oh, you want to buy/do something between the hours of 2 and 5? A lie. Go home.
Ha, you think internet is fast enough to FaceTime/Skype without delays or bad images? You get the picture.

And then here are some pictures from Lauren and my Italian (Milan and Venice for 5 days) adventure. Something I learned: Napoleon pizza…those ingredients written in Italian include anchovies…NOOOOOO.





**obviously I do not know how to edit/reorient these pictures

P.S. There is so much more to be said but even I get bored reading long blog posts, so if you made it this far, I didn’t mention:

-Milan seems sort of like the Italian hood. You can’t explain it, you just know.

-I got yelled at by a very angry bus driver (in Italian) when I tried to take my bike on a bus. Whoops.

-Eating gelato in the streets of Venice after not giving homeless people money may be one of the rudest things I have ever done

-You do not wear dresses above the knee to visit churches in Italy. Even if they appear modest..check yourself before you wreck yourself. Learned the hard way. And then Lauren proceeded to call me a “loose American woman” for the rest of the trip.

-Any metro system can be figured out with determination and a willingness to get on several trains going the opposite direction

-I am addicted to wifi and damn it I don’t see what’s wrong with that.

-It costs almost $3 to send a postcard….so don’t expect one.

:) Ciao, Gratzi, Vale, Gracias! Entonces….

Follow my entire blog at: www.lettersfromaraven.wordpress.com

Siestas, Tapas y Patience

Siestas do exist and they are a marvelous thing if you partake, whether it be napping or taking advantage of the plentiful green space and plazas around Madrid.
Now those of you who are not accustomed to taking a nap or a break miday, you might find this difficult as all the restaurants seem to close their kitchens, all the stores in which you need to get some sort of paperwork done are closed.


But no worries there's so many other things you can do in the mean time to relax. Take a walk through a Plaza check and check out Madrid's amazing views and architecture. Or just enjoy the beautiful nature and the sounds of the musicians lively songs floating through the trees.



If you can find a cheap eat that's open I'd suggest grabbing a tinto verano and some patatas bravas and you'll quickly forget about your mile long list of things to do and still not having a Piso (yep that's me still homeless, but the Spain mindset has me not freaking out about it just yet)

Tapas are a great concept especially if you know where to go for the best deal and quality. ...which I have not figured out just yet, partially because of time and budget.however the food so far has not impressed me but I did hear Madrid has a food fair every 3rd weekend :) nothing beats #foodtrucks

So moral of the story, take advantage of the siestas, you get to eat for free/cheap while you drink and spain goes at its own pace so take a deep breath, you'll find a piso, get your NIE/TIE (I hope, I don't want to get sent home!) And in the mean time take a walk and look up, it's beautiful in Madrid.


So naturally while my life is in limbo in Madrid I hop on a plane to partake in an international event and drink some great beer in #Munich. Loving the perks of moving to a foreign country and cutting my working hours in half (which haven't started yet). #Travel #Europe
One last hoorah before we start to get serious.


Sorry for the delay in post, the internet was not very good in Munich

The Proof of the Pudding is in the Eating

Who would leave a high-income salary, comfortable condo they own in sunny Southern California, all their friends and family, and their 8-year-old doggie child to pick up and move to Europe? Me.  That’s who!  Being of a certain age (I’ll keep you guessing) and having achieved professional success, last year I realized that I was letting myself float through life waiting for the next “thing” to happen.  That’s when I decided that I needed a BIG change in my life.  Something so different that it would shock me back into loving this miraculous experience we call living. Soon after, I found the Language and Culture Assistant program and applied through CIEE to Teach in Spain for the 2015/2016 Academic Year!  After 8 months of planning and 2 months of chaotic paperwork shuffle for the Visa, August 2015 arrived and I found myself packing up my house and trying to cram several seasons’ worth of clothes into 2 travel bags.  Que lio!

These past 3 weeks have been a whirlwind…Four days of CIEE orientation jam-packed with important information, outings in Madrid and day trips to close by towns, language classes at Tandem Madrid International, and getting to know some of the other Auxiliares all the while; securing a piso (shared apartment), learning the metro lines, submerging myself in the Spanish language, and walking all over this wholly historic city...




So far I’ve been enjoying the splendor that Madrid and its surrounding areas have to offer:

Metropolitan Gran Via and Commercial Puerto del Sol

Historic Las Letras and Plaza Mayor

Tranquil Parque del Retiro, Palacio Real’s Jardines de Sabatini and riverwalk Rio Manzanares

Plaza de Espana, de Colon, Cibeles, de Oriente, de Callao… you get the picture!

Fuentes at every turn….

Ancient Toledo with its narrow streets and ancient alleyways

El Escorial Monastery and mausoleum where kings and queens still rest in peace

Beautiful Basilicas and Cathedrals…

And all the bars with free Tapas you could ever wish for…I don’t think I will be able to have beer without olives or patatas ever again!

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While I’ve been transitioning to life in Madrid, I’ve had the pleasure of living with Señora Maria who grew up in the northern region of Spain but who has lived in Madrid for 40 years.  She cooks good food, helps me with my Spanish, and draws very detailed directions for me to follow!  Soon, I move into my piso and can start making a home for myself here.  Over the next 9 months, I’ll be teaching English to students in Secundaria, ages 12-16 years old.  I’m so excited to get back working with kids again and am really looking forward to meeting my students on October 1st





The author of Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes wrote, “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”  This Spanish proverb is particularly relevant for me because not only do I love to eat, but it’s meaning also describes my motivation for embarking on this adventure – the true value of something can only be judged through practical experience and not by appearance or theory alone.  I’ve taken this leap of faith so I can re-set my perception of what the pudding tastes like.  So far life is pretty tasty, but I have a lot more eating to do… both literal and figurative! 


La Comida

Oh hey, I'm writing again already, like that girl that you went on one Tinder date with. But this time I promise to actually write about Spain.

So, the last month has been amazing and I just can't write down the things I have experienced...yet. I will soon! But for now, let's talk about my favorite topic: FOOD. Those of you who know me well, know that my Instagram isn't just for posting food pics but also for looking at food pics. So I figured my second post (or my first that actually is about Spain) would be about the food.

I'm going to be completely honest here--people boast about the food in Europe, specifically countries like Spain. I find it to be very hit or miss here annnnnddd my parents are HANDS DOWN the best cooks out there so really, nothing can top my dad's steak and my mom's udon. However, even with that bias, I love trying new foods and will eat just about anything. 

Although all of my food experiences in Spain are special to me, I really doubt any of you really want to hear about them in full detail. But one thing I love about Spain is how FRESH everything is. For example, I was standing at Tierra Burrito Bar (my new vice) and as we were eating, a man came and delivered fresh vegetables. Uncut, uncooked, unfrozen. It blew my mind. In America, we are so used to everything being processed, at least to some extent. I love Spanish food solely for its freshness, if not for its flavor.And at the risk of getting intimate, I think it is also important to address the struggles of eating healthy while in Spain. Again, as many of you know, I am the queen of diets and regimens...some that work, some that don't. Whole30? Yeaaaaa, no, never again. However, I find myself eating less while in Spain and again, the naturalness and freshness of the food is much better regardless of how much I am eating (I guess now would be a good time to say that I'm currently eating 5 slices of jamón rolled into a little perrito). I'll balance this out with the fact that I ran in Retiro the past four days. Riiiight?

Anyway. Enough talking. Here's some #foodporn for you all. Read captions for more info:



Tierra Burrito Bar > Chipotle


Ordering at Tierra is similar to Chipotle though..lots of second guessing and guac is extra.




Tuna taco from La Tita Rivera--well made suggestion from Liz :)



Tapas at Taberna Antonio Sanchez in Lavapies...my first time having octopus



Grilled veggies at La Rollerie...an accidental visit and now I'm obsessed.



Annnnddd  I took a cooking class at A Petit Oh! through my Spanish school. I also took a cooking class while studying abroad in Italy. So, who's going to wife me up orrrr?



Madreat Food Festival is my own personal heaven. Food truck festival that happens EVERY MONTH. 



Calamari at Fatigas del Querer...thought it would suck. But it didn't. At all.