Taking on the Spanish language...no pasa nada.

During my previous trips to Spain, I experienced a few mishaps regarding the language.

Taking on another language will make you have some foolish moments. Some you're not proud of, some that are great stories to laugh about, and some that will put you in very awkward situations.

I've been stuck on balconies, almost thrown off horses, and walked in circles around cities because of my Spanish.
I've told people I 'needed a man' instead of I was hungry, married instead of tired, and pregnant instead of embarrassed. 

Helpful hint: ayudar, (the verb 'to help') should be conjugated when yelling that you need help. Otherwise you're just screaming, "to help! to help!" and you seem, well, loco.
Children who saved me from the runaway horse. Not my proudest moment.

My resolution this year is fluency by 25 years old. That gives me a full two years to embarrass myself a little more, but also become muy seriousa about the Spanish language. I've been studying this summer, and will begin taking classes in my spare time to study the language seriously.  

Castellano, or, Castilian Spanish, is the main language spoken in Spain and what I have been learning. Basque is spoken in the northern Basque country of Spain. Catalan, which to me sounds like a cross of Spanish and French, is spoken on a lot of the Eastern coast of Spain. Galician is similar to Portuguese, and spoken mainly in, you guessed it, Galicia. And of course there are many more languages and dialects spoken throughout the country. Phrases said in each region, and accents that differ across the country, just as ours in the US. 

The most important phrase I have learned so far... "no pasa nada" (don't worry) reminds me to keep a positive outlook on my language acquisition process. Gone is the Spanish blubbering fool, and here to stay is the serious Spanish speaker!

Apartment (Piso) Hunting 101

I went from living here...
To living here.

What will come next?
Things you don't know about Spanish apartments:
-The washing machine is in the kitchen. Usually next to the oven (if your piso has one) Dishwashers are uncommon.
-There are no dryers. Clothes are hung out to dry. 
Nothing like 'airing out your dirty laundry'.
-The dining room table is also in the kitchen. A kitchen separated from the dining room table is called a "cocina americana" (an american kitchen). 
My kitchen in my 1st Spanish apartment.
-There is no A/C. That's right Floridians, you read it correctly. In Northern Spain where I'll be living, it doesn't pose as many problems, because the open windows and a cool fan for the summer months can suffice. But southern spaniards, how DO you do it!? 
-Each room is separated by a door. Kitchen, each bedroom, living room... all rooms have a separate door, usually without locks.
Little pieces of heaven.
-All windows have shutters. Heavy duty shutters that block all light, and let you siesta for hours and hours in total and complete darkness. 
-Bathrooms have a bidet. I'll let you read up on why and for what purpose. In my apartment, we'd always used it for washing our feet. Perfect size for an in-piso pedicure.
Whichever place I choose, I hope it will be the right one for me. Home is where your heart is, right?

The things I'll be missing in the USA

As I prepare for the move, I have been spending the summer working hard, but trying to enjoy every moment of what I'll no longer have in the year ahead of me.

Family and friends are absolutely at the top of the list. There is nothing like spending time with the people you love.

But the diva inside of me is going to have a long list of things I'll be missing at home.
1. Shopping. Yes, european fashion is high-quality and I am certain my wardrobe will gain some amazing advantages through living abroad, but clothes aside, how am I going to live without the dollar spot at Target? The cheap earrings at Forever 21? And Macy's shoe department!? In addition, I love the convenience of shopping here, jumping in my car and heading to Tar-jhay when I need something. In Spain, one stop shopping becomes seven or eight stop shopping. I will need to take a bus to the mall, and any odds and ends product I'll need will be bought at a specialty store. No such thing as Wal-Mart, Target, or Publix.
2. Country music. Sometimes, nothing excites the southern girl inside of me like hearing the first notes of "Friends in Low Places" and blasting Garth Brooks with my windows down in the car. My I-pod will be properly loaded before I go, so the radio-up-windows-down routine may just be changed to a singing-on-the-street-having-Spaniards-looking-at-me-like-I'm-crazy one.  
3. My Bed. My parents never did a 180 with my room when I moved out and turned it into a home gym or office...so my bed, is still, MY bed. It is large, and fluffy, and has a perfect imprint of where I lay. I've lived in many places and been in many other beds aside from my own (...that sounds wrong), but there is nothing like the cloud of perfection that is MY bed. 
4. Food. Sushi. Frozen Yogurt. Chick-fil-a. In Spain, the food isn't necessarily limited, but it is different. To-go is nonexistent, and ingredients in even familiar foods are not the same. Different meat in hamburgers, different cheeses on top. Ask a Spaniard if they know how to make Macaroni and Cheese. They will say "Of course!" proceeding to make you noodles, with cheese, and tomatoes. Not the same. 
Maybe all of these things that I'll miss seem, superficial. Afterall, I'm moving abroad! I'm living the dream! 

But I know that in moments, I will be sad. I will miss America. 

Those days when I'll want to curl up with some to-go food in MY bed listening to Garth Brooks, I'll think of how lucky I am to have this opportunity, and how amazing friends, family, food, and dollar spots are waiting for me back in America. 

What would you miss if you were away from home for a long time? What makes a house a home to you?

Confusion in London.

Tralfagar Square


24 hours in Paris.

What does a visa look like? It's just a small sticker inside the passport.