Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Vlog Dos

Hey Hey

Here's the update via my second vlog. Hope you enjoy!!



Still not sure if I enjoy video or written updates better. What do y'all think?

Thanks for watching <3

~Cat

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

La Baja Medica

Hey Hey Everyone!!

      So update on my back situation, I went to the doctor today after a rough Monday (more on that below), and he's referring me to get rehabilitaci├│n (my guess, like physicial therapy), and no work until I finish it, 15 days minimum. With Christmas Break creeping up I get until after New Years to get better (YAY!)

   I'm really thankful that the doctor is giving me the time to recuperate, because getting home almost crawling/crying is not the business, not to mention feeling embarrassed you're the youngest one on staff side and you're limping around practically needing a cane. 

Monday, for example, in the morning I was fine, or at least as fine I can get in this condition. Monday also happens to be my longest day of work for the week, so even though I had just come back from a few days of bed rest, it still was too hard of a hit to my recovery process. So at the end of the day, after taking the second dose of medicine that I'm on, the effects of the medicine didn't really kick in when I needed them to. This left me in a lot of pain for my 40 minute commute via bus/metro/walking home. Given the pain that I was in, I guess I wasn't paying that much attention, and I fell off the bus. Yes, you read that that right, I fell off the bus. For as long as I can remember I've had bad ankles that roll all the time, and on Monday when I stepped off the bus my ankle rolled and there I fell. No worries though, I'm fine, at first glance so far it hasn't made my situation any worse, so I guess just another bad luck situation. So all I need to do tomorrow is call in to school and see about getting them the paper that says I'm supposed to rest at home and figure out how to get my paycheck then keep on keepin' on with the HEALING PROCESS. 

In other funny, semi-related news....

  Yesterday I played poker with my roommates and their friends being accommodated in a different chair that was more comfortable than the rest given my situation. I felt fine sitting there so I thought maybe everything was okay, but it was a BAD IDEA. I was in alot of pain last night and therefore couldn't sleep and went to bed at 9am after my morning dose of the medicine I'm taking. Well the mix of sleep deprivation/meds made me KNOCK OUT! Actually I would probably call it a coma, because I would think if I was knocked out I would have woken up by...3 maybe 4 pushing it. What time did I wake up, you ask? 6:30 PM! The only reason I woke up at this time was because my roommate came to my room to tell me I had some mail!

A very wonder blogger/auxiliar friend Jules decided to be wonderful in my time of need and send me a present from where my raices are from, EL SALVADOR!  

MUCHAS GRACIAS!
The M key-chain is to represent the new last name she's baptized me with (Murillo Maradiaga de Vega) because I have a very "apple-pie" name :) 

I'm also very grateful for this gift because my doctor's appointment was for 7:10, and if my roommate wouldn't have come come in to give me the envelope I probably would have still stayed in my pain induced coma and wouldn't have the peace of mind I have at the moment or be writing the blog now. Since I was all panicked and rushed over to the doctor, I didn't even realize until I was on my way home that I had put on my pants inside out. I just smiled to myself and went on my merry way....recovery soon to come!!

Just a little backwards
(Source)


Thanks to everyone who's been supportive of me and sending positive thoughts, and thanks for READING!

Until next time,

Cathy 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Little Things...

Hey Hey all,

 I've wanted to post this week, but I didn't want to leave my blog as a place only to complain. So instead of being a Negative Nancy (lol) I just took a mini hiatus (not long I know...). 

One of the needles from my injections...
So here's the story with my back. After all of my injections last week, by Sunday night/ Monday Morning I was about a 2.7 on the pain scale, and things were looking up. I went to work, taught my 1st period class, went to the English Department meeting, got my check, cashed it, and headed back to school for my four remaining classes.

After the first two I ended up in a very painful situation, and by the end of the day my pain had shot back up to a level 8. The bus/metro/short walk home instead of being 45 minutes was 2  hours because I had to stop every few steps for the pain. Close to my apartment I actually ended up running into my roommate and her whole family with their luggage on their way to a trip to Senegal (great first impression... -_-).

Tuesday, I tried to/had to (since it was a holiday) sleep it off, but I was still back up to a 7/8 range on pain. So Wednesday I took a taxi over to my doctor appointment, and he gave me some different meds. These have been working, it's still a slow but sure recovery process. 

So with all of this going on I'll finally get onto the GOOD thing that happened that inspired me to write this post (among other writing I've been doing). Today, I finally went grocery shopping. After a week of take-out/cups of milk or potato flakes for a meal/borrowing my roommates shampoo, I was able to go grocery shopping. That in itself was an interesting experience, figuring out what to buy/stock up on, but only enough that I could carry back without a problem. 

Once in line for the cash register I was behind 3 people. The first was a girl who wanted to pay with her card but was under the 12 euro minimum, so she went to go get things to make her purchase enough...wait wait wait...good thing I wasn't in a hurry, especially since I knew it was going to take me a while to put the stuff on the register/bag my own stuff. The second lady passed through at a normal pace, and the third, the old man in front of me wanted to pay for his 2 bottles of vodka with his envelope of pennies. Again...wait, wait, wait, but I didn't mind (the cashier sure as hell did though, lol). So it's finally my turn put my things up, and a bag of noodles just rips open all over the floor (can't get rid of this bad luck!). 

Other than the pasta, I slowly but surely bagged my groceries and hobbled on home. When I got there and put my food away. I couldn't help but feel emotional. I mean I was so happy/proud of myself for doing what I just did, GROCERY SHOPPING! It's funny what kind of simple things we take for granted, but not having been able to do it myself (and the stubborn independent person I am insisted I do so...), finally being able to complete it just meant so much. Progress. 

Granted, I sat and watched half of El Clasico (Madrid v. Barcelona soccer game) after and the pain came rushing back to me, but I'm sticking with this minor victory amongst the things that have been against me lately. (My keychain that says my name that I've had since 8th grade fell to pieces in my hands as I was getting ready for school Monday). So I'll take my one win for now...let's pray December has more victories in store....


Friday, December 2, 2011

Online Food Ordering

So...with the my whole back thing, and roomies/buddies gone for the weekend. I didn't have very many options for dinner tonight. 

I could either make a bowl of hungry jack mashed potatoes (which I already had for lunch), make some pasta (which would have taken longer than I am comfortable standing at the moment), or get delivery. 

I'll take door number 3, please.
With a quick google search I ended up on just-eat.es, which is essentially like Grubhub order online, and get food delivered to your door. After looking through my options, and seeing when things were open, how much was the minimum order/delivery fees. I went with a hamburger meal from an Italian/Argentine restaurant (the irony, I know). An hour later I was happily eating my mini meal for 8 euros delivered to my door. 

This quick exchange, reminds me of not one of my best moments lol. 


Last year right before final exams, I was a big mess, boys were dumb, I had gotten the flu, sprained my ankle/knee at work, and the biggest assignments of my life were due. Again I was in the same predicament about food, and went with ordering and pasta and salad from Dominos.


So given the state that I was in I can tell you I was definitely not lookin' fine. The delivery guy came to door,  and gave me my order, the slip I had to sign for the purchase, and a gaze like whoa. He wasn't bad looking just like 5'4, and I my friends am 5'11 (refuse to believe I'm over 6 feet lol). So I went on to eat my food, and finish agonizing over my personal life and professional life if I didn't get my capstone paper done. 

Like an hour later there's another knock at the door, and it's the delivery guy. He comes back with the excuse saying he didn't remember if he brought me ranch for my salad, and then asked to use the restoom. I know, I know this is the big red flag, no don't ever let a stranger in your home, but alas I did. I think at the moment I thought the awkwardness of saying no, was worse than my personal safety (as I said, not one of my best moments)

So he comes out of the restoom, stands right in my living room, and just stares at me. Then here is the exchange we had:

Him- Can I tell you something?
Me- Umm...sure...
Him- You are very beautiful.
Me- Umm...Thank you.
(He still just stands there staring no movement, awkward silence)
Me- Algo mas? (anything else?)
Him- Oh you speak Spanish where are you from...
(A few more quick exchanges, now in Spanish and him telling me more how HERMOSA I am...and me telling him that I am awfully busy with lots of work to do)
Him- Can I give you a kiss here (points to his cheek)
Me- Okay, can you please leave?

And he leaves in peace...

I know, I know...stupid Cathy... I felt so guilty afterward thinking of what could have happened, what could have happened to my roommates because of my stupidity, but I guess I handled the situation the way I did because at the moment I thought, if I'm mean to him, he might snap, just go with it and ease him out...which is what I did. Totally got creeped out by every dominos car I saw whenever I waited for the bus for the next few weeks going to school.

Well there you have it folks another one of my (mis)adventures, I figured a good laugh was in order. I know most of you probably think I'm crazy for ordering online again after that lol but a girl with no paper and only plastic has only so many options...and no crazies tonight.

December's Reader Spotlight is up! Go check it out.

Hasta Pronto!

~Cat

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Your Bad Luck Is Impressive (two point oh)

So when I wrote yesterday's post, this was not the title I had in mind for my next update, but keep reading and you'll see why it was inevitable.

So my second round of semi bad luck started last Saturday. I started having horrible cramps in my stomach and wanted to throw up, but couldn't. My roommates had just finished coming down with a stomach virus, so that's what I figured it was. So pretty much all weekend I was just living on water. (Sidenote- also during this weekend we (my friend Natasha and I) were invited to an 80s style birthday party at a bar, and let's just say our interpretation of the 80s and everyone else's were not eye to eye)

Monday rolled around, and I wasn't feeling that much better, but at work you have to get a doctor's note to justify your absence, and at that point I really didn't want to go to the doctor, so I toughed it out at school. Tuesday, however, was a different story. I couldn't handle the stomach cramps and nausea anymore, so I called in sick and went searching for my nearest doctor in the big book of doctors my insurance gave me.

I finally found one that was open on tuesdays, and called for an appt, but the lady said that appointments weren't necessary, just show up between 6:30 and 7:30pm when they're open. So I was good to go, just stickin' to my water diet, and got all ready to by the time 6:00 came around. My roommate Musta accompanied me to the doctor. We went to the address that was published in the book, room 2D. Right when we go there under the doorbell was a sign that said NO ES MEDICO, we rang the doorbell anyway. Got a grumpy guy talking through the door saying this isn't a doctor's office and he didn't know where they had moved to. I tried calling the same office from inside the building, but no reception, and once we got outside, the lady confirmed it was the same address but they were at 1D. So Musta and I went back inside signed in and the receptionist told us who I was after and there we waited, I was the 6th person -_- (well I probably would have been higher on the list if we would have had the address right).

So I get inside with the doctor, sit down and he asks me "de que sociedad vienes?" (literal translation- what society do you come from?) So I stare at him with a blank face, and he repeats the same thing, again exchange a blank face because I have no idea what he means (umm...western society??) and then he sees my big book of doctors in my purse and says oh you're from mapfre... (conclusion- Spanish translation- What insurance are you with?) So from there he took all of my info, asked me my symptoms, wrote me a prescription, and I was in and out in less than 10 minutes.

That was it...

Your doctor, doesn't matter what you have, they'll prescribe you Ibuprofen.
So this may come off as... "hey I'm American so I deluxe treatment with everything" kind of thinking... but I was really surprised, he didn't take any of my vitals, just asked what my symptoms were and took my word for it..i mean I could have had the plague and he could have prevented it, but without checking me now we'll never know lol!!!

So by Friday I was all better, had an amazing Thanksgiving dinner at my place with my other auxiliar peeps (no pictures unfortunately...waiting on my friends to post some so I can steal them :P). After dinner we put on some music and were having a grand old time. At some point either busted myself busting a move or SOMETHING and my back started hurting. At first, I dismissed it as just being sore from the chairs we ate on, but as the night progressed I just got worse and worse, and as much as I wanted to tough it out and keep partying, I went to bed at 2am (yes I know I'm a lame spanish party goer).

The next morning, I was a million times worse, and after googling my symptoms it came down to hey I pinched my Sciatic nerve. I stayed in bed all weekend only moving for painful trips to the restroom, hoping that a weekend full of rest I would be ready by Monday to hobble off to work, but come Monday my body was still not having it. So I called in sick, forced myself to take a shower finally and gave the urgent care number to my roommate to call (because I wasn't gonna chance another "sociedad" incident) and figure out if I had to suffer to go get a taxi, an ambulance would come, or a doctor would come to the house. 

So the doctor came to our house, she was very nice, asked my my symptoms, and proved my google research right. So she gave me shot in my back with some anti-inflamatory medicine, and prescribed me a gel of the same medicine, and 6 more injections to be put on by a nurse once a day. 

So that's where I'm at now, getting the nurse to come was it's own ordeal, but now on a scale of 1-10 my pain is about a 7.8, which is still bad, but it's definitely progress I finally made my own dinner tonight. This definitely was not the ideal week to be out sick, since it's pay day and when the rent is due, and all that jazz. Not to mention also my appointment with the attorney to see if I can get my deposit back. Luckily I have made a few gems of friends while being here so rent is covered until I can go get paid on Monday, and we'll see about rescheduling that appointment. 

A tiny ray of sunlight, the doctor that came to see me said that she wanted to better her English, so for those who know me as the networking person I am, I busted out my card, and told her to contact me, and we could work something out. I mean I definitely believe that everything happens for a reason, I just hope I didn't have to go through this pain for an extra 15 euro a week lol. 


So thanks for sticking with me this far. I really appreciate all of the support I've gotten from everyone while this dark cloud had been on my tail. Also a reminder it's already DECEMBER (What?!) Which also means first to comment gets to be this month's Reader's Spotlight.

Until next time---hopefully with good news...,
~Cathy

Friday, November 25, 2011

Student Comments of the Week 2.0

Hey Hey all,

  I have a few ideas going for a good update, just working out the kinks, but I wanted to share some student moments I had this week before they drift away into the sunset lol.


#1-
Background- As an assignment I have all of my students bring me a word that they looked up in the dictionary/google translate every time they come to my class, and then we'll talk about it. Well this was the first week I was enforcing it, and I guess some of the students misunderstood and hadn't looked up the word. So as my students were writing, one girl comes up and writes on the board two words.


Hoe
Hoeing

So super teacher Cathy (lol) goes into the in depth explanation that a hoe is a garden tool (since I didn't know the exact word for it) and drew a picture of it on the board, and proceeded with hoeing was the verb of using the hoe in your garden, and just as we wrapped up I quickly added-

"Oh if you hear this in a song it probably doesn't mean the garden tool, they are probably saying that someone is (being) a puta"


And smoothly transitioned to crutches :)

#2-
Background- My 1st Year Bachillerato students (equivalent to Juniors in High School) were on the unit of music in their English books, so my activity for the week was a mixed CD with 21 songs. I told them there would be songs they liked, songs they didn't, songs they didn't know, and after each song they would tell me what they got out of the song. I put 1-21 on the board and the students were blindly choosing the next piece. Well No Scrubs by TLC came out as one of the songs.

Me- Has anyone heard this song before?
Class- No
Student- When did this song come out?
Me- 1998, 1999 ish
Student- We were born in 1997
(Dagger to my heart...I'm not that old! lol)




Anyway hope you all enjoyed it, new blog entry to come including Thanksgiving activities and my first trip to the doctor.

Hasta Luego!

~Cathy
 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

First the Worst, Second the Best

Hey Hey all,

   It has been a good couple of days. Poquito a poco getting used to what is life in Spain and the (mis)adventures that come along with it. 

The title of this blog comes from a few different things. The first, it comes from a saying that we used to say all the time in elementary school when it came to places (Zero the Hero, First-the worst, second-the best, third- the nerd...etc), and given the trivial things I've been dealing with at school (16 year old boys throwing around a tampon with red marker around my classroom)...I figured it works.

Yes, I played poker with William Hung
Second, (the best lol)- My roommates have created this poker tournament between their friends that is going to go on for a few months and have a grand prize at the end. Well last night was one of the games, and I ended up with second place! Yeah, I didn't take home the green, but it increases my standing for the final. For those of you who don't know, as far as poker goes, I'm kind of a big deal (jajaj just kidding) but really, I've been around poker my whole life, so along the way I've picked up a few things. I actually was the first female to place in the semester poker championship at CSUN.  So I this whole tournament thing is a good thing for me because I get to have some fun, while getting a chance to make some money, AND meeting more people here in Spain. 
     So last night, during the tournament Jaime, Natasha, and Matt (part of my auxiliar circle) came over to "observe" the game, but what really ended up happening is that they mingled with other friends of my roommates (since I was tied up with the game and all). And when it was all said and done, people were more excited that I made it to second place than the actual winner lol. 

At the Beginning of the Game
    Then Matt said something to me that really brightened my day, he told me "You look so happy, compared to before" And that brings me to the third reason for choosing this blog title... I really am a lot happier than I was a few weeks ago, as you can tell if you've been following my posts. So as I'm continuing to confirm day by day, I had to go through the first piso (the worst) to get to the second (the best). 

Another good note, one of the teachers at my school gave me the number to Legal Aid in Madrid, so I have an appointment to see a lawyer at the beginning of December to see what I can do to get my deposit back. So I'll Keep you all posted..

Once again thanks for reading!! Until Next time,

Ciao <3,
Cathy

My Trophy from the CSUN tournament

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Little About Me

Hey Hey all,

So I recorded a new poem to go with my A Little About Me section of my blog. Check it out <3

~Cat

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Your Bad Luck Is Impressive

Hey Hey all,

  So the title from this post comes from a new facebook friend, after I posted this blog post, and a status that read as follows:

"I would be the one to lock myself out of my apartment on only my second day here -_- better days shall come"


So yeah.. normally I clip my keys onto my purse, but I guess last Tuesday (after moving in on Monday) I was totally locked out of my apartment. So the first thing I do is buzz to get let in.
*BUZZ* 
....no answer... 
I think to myself- "Did I buzz the right apt?" 
"Yes of course I did. Well I'm 85 percent sure I did. No, I definitely hit the right button."
*BUZZ* 
.....definitely no answer....
Next step, call only roommate phone number I have. 
*pull out phone*
Phone is out of saldo (curse you prepaid phones!!!)

I just put money on my phone and it says I'm out!!

Think fast, call the free number to add saldo from your phone...
*Dial*
...not the right number...try a different one that seems like it would be the one... nope not the right number..
*AHH*
Next walk over to my friend who lives across the street and buzz him, so I can add saldo online, and then call my roommate...LIFE SAVER
*Call roommate and apologize profusely for being such an idiot*
(The next day was a holiday in the center of Madrid so all of my roommates were all out de fiesta, except me because I work in a suburb, so no fiesta)
*Roommate comes on his motorcycle, gives me keys to run upstairs and then throw the keys back down to him through the balcony*
LIFE SAVER!!
*Apologizing even more, and promising this will NEVER happen again*
He just smiles and says "No pasa nada", and heads back to his party.

It was this exchange that made me feel truly blessed to have found such a great place after the nightmare I was in.

More bad luck has followed my the last few days-

Friday, I flooded the kitchen (not that bad) because I forgot to close the inner basket of the washing machine.
Ugh...really?


Saturday, I went to go pick up something for my old roommate since she's not in Madrid anymore and on the way to the place there were a bunch of museums and beautiful buildings. So I took  out my camera about to shoot take a few pictures, and my battery was exhausted...all I could do was laugh.

So I guess I do have some pretty impressive bad luck...but I'm happy where I am right now. It was my first weekend "partying like a spaniard...ish" and now it's back to reality with lesson planning, cleaning, among other things...

As of right now my room isn't set up yet due to lack of funds and still in battle for my deposit, but as soon as I can I'll give y'all a new video tour of my place.

Thanks for reading!

Much Love,

Cat

Thursday, November 10, 2011

ReVamped

Hey Hey all,

   In the light that I've been writing a lot more lately, I decided to give my poetry blog a makeover. Feel free to check it out. Old thoughts, and new ones on the way...

Mini update--

Things have been good here on the living front, it's just the money front that is still at battle with las brujas. A more in-depth blog entry is soon to come when I have a few more things in order. Many thanks to those who have been very supportive, in comments and otherwise, I appreciate the love and hope that by reading my posts it helps you spot problems like this before they happen.

Much Love,

Cathy

Monday, November 7, 2011

Random thought...

In light of all of the craziness that has been going on... I just have one random thought to share with you all, and I´m sure other auxiliares can attest to this...

Spanish keyboards get on my nerves!! 

lol It took me like 10 minutes to find the @ sign when I needed it -_-

That is all...

Much love & thanks for the love,

Cat

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Battle Isn't Over

So today, I got in trouble for showing the place...since I don't live there I don't have the right to do it....If the people I send over say they're for me, and stay then they'll CALL ME about the money....

My body and mind are tired of fighting, but 420 euros out the window is so hard to just leave behind. I just need some time to be okay... in all senses of the word...

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Reader Spotlight- November

This month's Reader Spotlight is up!
 

In case your new, Reader Spotlight is a section of my blog that gets updated once a month with the first commenter of the month, to build a little community among my blog. So check it out <3

The Nightmare before Hallween


     Today I cried twice, but before I tell you the trail of my tears, I need to start at the beginning. The beginning of a very windy roller coaster. Actually, as much as I allow you all to only see my life through rose colored glasses, the whole time I've been here has been full of so many ups and downs. I apologize in advance for the length of this post, just getting all the details out there for the peeps who really want to know what has been going on.

        So this post was about me finally moving into my apartment after a horrendous time piso hunting and a million doors slammed in my face. Needless to say that when I first got in here it seemed to be really great. The owner of the piso, Fina, is from Galicia, so she hired a lady from Chile, Carmen, and her son Alberto to man the fort while she's gone. When I first came into look at the apartment with my AArmy BFF Brittany, Carmen and Alberto said that Fina was hardly ever home. She would only be in the apartment maybe 1 day out of the month to collect the money, and then bounce. 

Well...it turns out that isn't the only piece of information wasn't the only half truth given during the quick check out the house then sign the contract encounter cause we know you're desperate encounter. 

You see, despite what this post, or what my blog may portray, I am a very non-complainer, non-confrontational person, as unhealthy as it may be...I'm just an avoider. So when all was said and done and I moved into the apt, which they said they would clean every week, when it wasn't prestine, I just kinda went with the flow. You know, scrub the shower quickly, jump in and jump out as quick as possible. The microwave and oven are disgusting? Well looks like cereal and sandwiches for me.... As Brittany reminded me when we came to look into the apartment, that we've lived in much worse living conditions...(cucarachas in PR) So I just went on dealing with it. 

Aside from cleanliness, there was the also lack of privacy. Remember when I said Carmen and Alberto said Fina wouldn't be there hardly at all? Well The month that I was there she was there all day everyday for about 2 weeks. Carmen and Fina themselves pop in whenever they like, supposedly coming to clean or fix things (which in turn would take an hour or so, but they are there like 5 hours just hanging out, and Alberto smokes).  Not only are they coming over, but all of their friends/relatives, at whatever hour they wish. So what do I do if I don't want to interact with people in my own house? Just stay in my room until the coast is clear, again I'm not one really to speak up if it's uncomfortable, so to avoid conflict...just deal with it....

So even though things weren't ideal I was getting by, going back and forth to work, sleeping, and checking out things in the city. Then 4 more people moved into the piso (my first thought-YAY FRIENDS!!) and this is where things really were looking up. 4 of us clicked really well. It was me, 2 guys from Mexico and a girl from a different part of Spain. We went out to different things, improv shows, dinner, a soccer game. So at that point in time I was really happy, what was seeming like a very solid group of friends with similar interests, and a good atmosphere at home...well that was only that week. 

The roommates started talking, and we were all sort of in agreement that the conditions in the apartment were pretty gross (despite having someone who "cleans" once a week).  So we compiled a list of things that we wanted to talk to Fina and Carmen about including, the cleaning, putting chairs at the table in the living room since we all have some kind of work/studying to do, and the chairs in our rooms (aka foot stools), our privacy...etc. 

Before we were able to have this meeting one of the Mexican guy roommates decided to leave because he was just fed up with the bedbug problem we had. (Yes bedbugs... :-/). The thing is the ladies wouldn't believe us there were any problems. When I told them I was getting bit, they said let me see. The thing was that my bites were not in places I felt comfortable disclosing to just anyone...especially creeper Chilean son. AND the principle was that if I was saying that I was bitten I shouldn't have to prove to them it's happening, I'm not just going to make up stuff for no reason...

Well these two ladies come out with their claws saying that we didn't have any right to do this, that they left everything clean for us and it is up to us to maintain it (which we were fine with if they gave it to us clean), that  the chairs didn't matter because you can't eat that the dinner table (yes, you read that right....) Then they started putting all of these other rules that we can't bring people over to our place, especially not for lunch since she pays the water and the gas (umm... no I pay 420 euro for a cube....you pay that with my money...) That if we bring someone to spend the night that it's 20 euro a night (yes you read that right again...) so for my sister, cousins, hermanas, or other auxiliar friends who are counting on me to have a place to stay for them, I can't really open my house to them graciously, I have to charge them 20 euro for this place which we can now call barely tolerable.) 

Then they came out with well, if you wanted to have your own rules, then you should have rented an entire apt for yourselves, but here you rented a room and that's all you have the right to govern over. So I told them, well if it's my room, and that's what I'm paying for If I want someone to come stay with me, IN MY ROOM, and sleep on the same bed, then that shouldn't be a problem. And they said no...that bed is too small for two people. And I said, well if that person and myself make the decision to sleep uncomfortably on that bed, then that is no concern of theirs....so they retorted with fine,decide if you  to do that, they can't use the restroom or eat breakfast here because that uses water and gas (REALLY?!) On top of it all they wouldn't really let us chime in a word. Sonia (the Spanish roomie) was kind of the voice for us, even though we all agreed with what she was saying. The argument ended with them saying that the guys were coming to fumigate the place tomorrow so we couldn't be in the house between 11am-3pm

So the next day roomies and I decided we were moving out, and began piso hunting, which was a lot easier as a group then solo. We found a perfect spot, and we were ready to go. We were confident together we would be able to get our deposit back, and even if we had to sue. 

The next day which was the beginning of the long weekend here in Spain, my friend Marii from CSUN who is studying in Granada, came to Madrid, then we went to Leon together, and back to Madrid....Well with the atmosphere that my house was in I felt soo guilty having Marii stay in a hostel which would have been the same cost and wayy nicer than my place. I met up with after she got off of her bus ride, and hung out for a while (also dealing with her roomie being pickpocketed), and headed home to find my room had been sealed off due to fumigation...(remember they said only 11-3?) Well we went to talk to the landlady, Fina, to get our deposit back, and she said that she's never given a deposit back in her life (even though we know she gave it back to our first roomie who moved out), then she moved her story that we have to give her atleast a month to get the money together, when we accepted that and asked for it in writing she said she wouldn't that her word has value...THEN she came out with we'll only get our deposit back when we rent out our room to someone else...and when we asked for that in writing, no go either...then I asked her to undo my room since my computer was inside She said too bad, I would have to wait until tomorrow...

Well...the next day I had to go to Leon, without my own toothbrush, shampoo, deodorant, socks and shoes. All I had to take with my was the clothes I had started to back in my backpack to go and the going out flats I had on my feet. So I bought socks at the bus station and hoped for the best. Just as I expected I ended up with a bad blister from the shoes, which made my trying to enjoy my mini vacation very difficult. Luckily at the pharmacy they had some band-aids that made it better. 
Also during the trip I made a phone call to Sonia to check to see how things were going and it turns out that things made another turn for the worst, another drop. Her dad had called her to say that her grandpa was sick and that she had to return home, leaving the new apt we had already picked out and such for a loss, and we were still there with las brujas. 

So when I came back from Leon, Sonia left with her father and her deposit, and the battle still continues for me. In an effort to compromise I talked to Fina and told her I'd stay the month of November and that would be my deposit, so when I leave she doesn't have to give me anything, and that was no-go as well. Then she started to tell me that I can leave as I please but if I do she'll just go to the embassy to complain, because we can't just sign contracts and then not finish them. She called me an idiot to my face for "following the lead of that rebelious girl" who was only trying to take advantage of me and called us idiots in front of our faces. When I told her that's not what she said, she told me, well maybe it's because you're not from here, and you don't understand things so clearly, but I am from here and that's exactly what she said....

So we left it off as if I find someone to replace me then I get my money back, their deposit, is my deposit...even though it's hard for me to think to subject someone to these people....but as my friend Jessica said, you gotta be looking out for yourself and not for others all the time, cause there isn't someone looking out for you." So despite my conscience eating at me, I posted an online ad for the room. 

I got a few hits for it, and one guy came to see it was really interested and said he was moving in. This was on Wednesday, and I had to work on Thursday, so I told him to come on Friday and they'll make his contract, and he can move in then.... On Thursday night I was freaking out because all of the hostels I was looking at were all full, but again Jess to the rescue and I found the place that I am currently pouring out my mini novela. Friday Morning I get a text message from the guy saying if it was fine if he moved in at 3 pm, I told him that was perfect, and I got to work moving ALL my stuff to the hostel, and after 3 trips I did it. 3pm I was at the place waiting for the guy, gave him a call (no answer), 4pm, another call and a text (no response), 530, & 7pm, no response either.

   So back to round one, putting up the ad again and getting it filled. Now the thing is I have to find another apt, and another deposit, and just like how I said in a previous post....I wish my problems were Mo' Money. So that's when I called my mom today to tell her I'd most likely need to borrow more money from her. That's when the first tears started, I know we're not in the best shape and my lack of judgement and falling for a crappy illusion of a place has effected other people. Throughout all of this turmoil I hadn't cried, but today I couldn't stop the tears they just came out of me like a broken levee. 
I had to pull myself together, and call the places I'd found online, and start the vicious piso hunting process all over again. Much like i expected, half of the people either didn't answer or didn't take down the ad when they rented it. I found one that was right across the street from my first auxiliar friend I made, right around the corner from a metro stop, and a few stops closer to work. After making some calls, I finally got through and made an appointment to see the place its a 5bedroom 2 bath rented by people my age who 4 friends who found a better deal with 5 rooms. They kind of interviewed me to see if they wanted me to live with them, and said they'd be calling me back if I got it....well... I DID!! Tears of joy came out flowing from me as things slowly get back into place.

So after all the turmoil, there is a mini breath of fresh air, I'm still battling for my deposit, but like my tia told me, it's another life lesson to but in my backpack for life. Hopefully now I can stop being so worried and actually start enjoying this life I've been given.

If you've made it this far along with me, THANK YOU. I wanted to share these things with you all sooner, but I also don't want to worry my loves that are so far away either. 

Leave the love <3

~Cathy


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

La Angelita

Hey Hey Everyone,

   I know I've been fairly light on the updates with all of the juicy details of life in Spain, but things have been going down, and once all is well in the world I'll let it all out lol.

I wanted to do a quick post since it is a new month, meaning a new READER SPOTLIGHT. If you don't know what that is...it's where the first comment of the month gets featured in the READER SPOTLIGHT section of my blog up there to the right ;)

Anyway...back to my mini post. I wanted to share the kind of funny experience I had on Halloween... Mari and I just came back from Leon (another post on that trip to come as well...) and we decided to meet up in Sol then figure out what was going on from there. Unfortunately, she was running late which meant I was waiting for here in the Plaza for like half an hour. (Sidenote sorry Ms.Beyonce that things didn't work out, I'll explain later and we'll have a real blogger meet up next time <3 )

The funny thing about Spain in Halloween is that instead of just dressing up, everyone sort of takes the scary version of everything. So as I was waiting I saw about a million zombies, devils, grim reapers...etc. Well I, Miss Cathy, decided to be an Angel this year...(so fitting I know ;) ) So I stuck out like a sore thumb...the funny part was that since I was apparently so unique people were taking pictures of me as if I was some famous monument or something, and asking to take pictures with me lol. I don't know on how many people's fb I'm going to end up on jajaja.

The other pretty funny part about all of this is that since I stuck out, I was kind of a target for all of the scary being in their own fun to jump out and scare me. The trouble is that ever since I was younger I've been a big scaredy-cat, super jumpy. And my lovely evil cousins would love to take advantage of that and scare me all the time. So I developed a defense mechanism that would automatically smack them when they scared me. Well apparently my body hasn't forgotten about it so when people in the street did it, I the first guy I hit in the stomach, the 2nd group of ladies I almost hit in the face but was able to stop myself, and the third guy got hit in the gut too...lol i just couldn't help it...SELF DEFENSE!!

Well there's my mini-(well maybe not so mini) update. Leave the love. I love and miss you all.

<3 Cathy
AKA- La Angelita-

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Dream

Hey Hey all!

So after one month of being here in Spain and a series of semi-failed outtings, I still haven't gotten quite into any kind of groove or routine that is even close to the social world I'm used to. Today I decided to let the ink hit the paper just flow. Here what I came up with:


P.S. The Australia reference is based on this-


Non Student Moment of the day-

Scene- me at a bar in an attempt to meet people

Me- Are you from there (pointing to this guy's shirt that says Australia)

Him- Yes, Where are you from?

Me- Los Angeles

Him- Why do Americans always say exactly where they're from?

Me- Well the US is such a big country

Him- Well So is Australia...

Me (in my head)- Well thanks for making me feel like an asshole -_-



Until next time!

~CathyBean

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Student Comments of the Week

Not sure if this is going to be a regular thing on my blog but Student Comments will definitely be showing up from time to time. Here are the highlights of the week :)

-Monday (during the interview activity where everyone had to ask me at least one question in class)
Q- "Do you prefer American boys or Spanish boys?"
A- Umm... I'll get back to you...lol

-Tuesday, after I asked why so many of them were on Tuenti (Spanish social networking site) vs. Facebook.
"Tuenti is cool because it is for young people like us, and facebook is not because it is for old people."
Oh I'm too young to be  having moments like this... lol

-Thursday (again during the interview portion of class)
"Why aren't you a regular teacher here? You've taught us better in a half an hour than all of the other teachers..."

Aww... <3

In other news... we finally have our READER SPOTLIGHT for October up. Thanks to my primita Jackie for stepping up to the plate. I didn't ask her to do it, I swear, lol. Remember first comment of the month gets featured on the Reader Spotlight tab.

Well thats all for now, I'll probably write another blog soon about a few mini adventures during this week, but for now I am to go tackle the big bad post office to try to send back my defective kindle (possibly to be mentioned in my next post)

Thanks for reading. Much love.

~Cathy

Thursday, October 6, 2011

School House Rock- Week One

Hey Hey everyone!!

So the weekend is finally here!! Lol I know for some of you reading this, you just "grr" and say it's Thursday... but it is likely that others of you reading this (college students and auxiliares) like me have Fridays off, so HAPPY WEEKEND!

I just finished my first week as a teacher here in Spain, and its definitely been an adventure. Last week, Elvira (my coordinator) gave my my schedule, and told me to come to the English department meeting which was at segunda hora (2nd period). I told her, but I have class first period, and she said, "Well, don't go, we'll get you set up at the meeting, and that's that."
So on Monday morning, I got up bright and early...well maybe not that bright, but it was early, and I hopped on the train and bus that took me all the way to my school. I made it just in time for 2nd period. I introduced myself to the front desk person, whom I hadn't met before, and asked to be pointed in the direction of the English Department. Then to my horror, she says, we were expecting you at first period in (x) classroom. MAJOR FREAKOUT MOMENT in my head. So I told her that Elvira told me to be there at segunda hora for the department meeting, before I was to start anything. Before she could respond I was rescued by Beatriz the English department head, who said everything's fine, and whisked me away to the English department. Along the way she showed me my classrooms.

Wait, did I hear that right? My classrooms?? I was under the impression that I was going to be a T.A of sorts, but as I'm sure a lot of us have realized during our time in Spain, rules and guidelines aren't exactly things that are followed to the tee. 

So I sat through the department meeting which consisted the majority of the time talking with a representative from Oxford, a publisher, and how they're using the new technology. Then other department issues, and then the bell rang, and I was to go off and "do my English thing" with the students. Again MAJOR FREAK OUT MOMENT in my head. 

Then 13 little people came into the classroom, sat down, all eyes on me, and it was show time. So since I had to think quickly on my toes, and make a game plan. Luckily my years of leadership experience, especially in the last year as "La Presidenta" I fell back on what I knew would do the trick, Icebreakers... lol. 

So I introduced myself, gave my little schpiel (not sure if thats how you spell it haha) about they can call me one of three things 1) Cathy- everyone in Spain calls their teachers by their first name, even in elementary school. 2) Miss Cathy or 3) Miss Smith. Two things they cannot call me- 1) Teacher- They have a name and so do I...lol and 2) Mrs. Smith, because that is my mother, and I am not married.

After that was out of the way we played the Name Game, where everyone gets in a circle, and has to say their name, and an adjective or phrase that describes them. The trick is they have to say the name and adjective of  all of the people who came before them, so the poor unfortunate soul to my right always ended up having to know everyone. This served as a good way to use time, learn new vocabulary, and reinforcement for me to learn everyone's name. 

My School- IES Leonardo Da Vinci
The last part of the class consisted of them getting to interview me. Everyone had to ask me at least one question, whatever entered their pretty little minds. At first I thought I was going to have to dodge some questions like do you like to party, or what is your favorite alcohol, but the kids are still pretty shy so luckily for me, the best question of the week was "Why do some people in the US call other people rednecks?" and another blessing, I was saved by the bell before I had to answer. 

The behavior has been pretty good, as good as you can expect with 12-18 year olds. There have been a few classes where I couldn't find a way for them to be quiet, but I think as time goes on I will learn new tricks for better classroom management. 

Its also been a crazy week since there are have been strikes, so on tuesday and wednesday, I only had 2 of the 4 classes I had scheduled that day. 

Well I think that's enough of an update for now, Thank you all for reading!! Still no Reader Spotlight for November so jump on it peeps lol. 

Much love,

Cathy

Here's a video from one of the demonstrations I attended for the strike last month. 


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Happy October!

Hey Hey everyone!!

  Happy October! I'm in my new place if you'd like to see my pad just go ahead and check out this video that I made to give a tour of the house since many people were asking to to give it to them on skype, but I couldn't since my room (atleast until Monday) doesn't have good WiFi reception. 

Tonight was my first night on the town so to speak, it was really great to hang out with auxiliares. We hit up this 50s American Diner (I know, we're sellouts :P) named Peggy Sue, got some Italian Ice Cream, saw cardboard cutouts for people to take pictures mooning lol, and just chilled in Sol watching street performers, people peddle purses, pirated movies, and beer, and get hit on by short creeper wannabe slick Spaniards lol.

So October is finally here, meaning getting to know more people (please be my friend lol), starting work (Ahh!) and really exploring the city!! A new month also means a new Reader Spotlight, so just a reminder first comment gets to be Reader Spotlight for November, and many thanks to Kenya for being the first ever Reader Spotlight.

Thanks for reading, its 3am, so Imma Say peace out y'all :)

<3 Cathy

Thursday, September 29, 2011

4 Walls

Hey Hey all,

   So as I lay here tying up loose ends getting ready to transport myself from one room to the next room, I thought I'd share a recent work of mine that I did for a project called APOEM (A Piece of Everyone's Mind), which is a spoken word group where people call out others and give them topics for the poem they post the next day. 
    So I've written poetry before, but this was my first attempt at spoken word, and as I explained to my friend the other day in the analogy-- I sing, but I've never rapped before. So without further ado here's my poem, be nice lol.


What is a room, but 4 walls that hold together the meaning of my existence? 
Or nonexistence…
Memories of bouncing on a bed so high it’s like you’re floating on a cloud
Floating away into space
A space, A place where my treasures are held.
Or were held…
Take a deep breath and intake the aroma of coconut lotion and Britney Spear’s fantasy.
A fantasy of being SOMEONE out there in the big bad world.
Without a room but two small suitcases more like cannons filled with clothes and shoes.
Shoes that walk the path unseen 6000 miles to four more walls.
In my mind and on my shelves are the things worth remembering, and the forgotten.
Pass your fingers across the dust on a library of knowledge and emotions over days months and years gone by
And just gone.
Stop and listen closely to the beats these four walls have heard from Pitbull to Phantom of the Opera.
Not forgetting to let the beat rock or bed rock.
Cramming and jamming off the walls into the headphones of my portable mp3 player.
5 senses minus one leaves four.
Taking them all in or all out.
There is no room to be called mine
Except in my mind, which has more walls than four
And the epitome of my international existence.

Thanks for reading/listening/watching! Next broadcast will be from my new home!

~Cat

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Series of Unfortunate Events, and A Few Good Things In Between

Hey Hey all,

     I know the title of this blog isn't that convincing that I'm having a good time here in Spain, but the truth is things so far have been on the mas o menos side lol. I mean don't get me wrong, I'm happy to be here, the people for the most part have been nice to me, and I'm living the dream, what isn't there to love?? Well sometime living the dream doesn't mean life stops, and real life things still happen in dreams. For example, I am currently writing this blog with a semi-stuffy nose after a 4 day run of a feverish cold/sinus infection.
    It just seems like I've hit a stroke of good luck and bad luck at the same time. In the past two weeks I have dealt with this cold, the wrath of mother nature's curse on women, my computer charger giving out on me, washing my clothes 3 times before I could figure out how to rescue them from the washer  and NOT break the lid, among other things. The most annoying though, I would say would be the million of ads I called in order to try to find a place in the city (so I can have a night life and meet friends my own age). Of those million, okay maybe a I'm exaggerating A LITTLE jajaj, of those several places that I'd called to get information about, many just said, "sorry, it's already taken"-- gee thanks for leaving up your ad. One of the places I called from a for rent sign was for an office building, lol super embarrassing. I'm happy to assure you all though I did find a place. and I'm going to be moving in on SATURDAY!! (But more about this a little later)...
    Some of the good that has been sprinkled in between these mishaps includes the day I went to go visit my school and got to stay and volunteer with my coordinator. It was during the time teachers were striking so there was a mixed response among students going to school or not (I plan on writing another blog about all my experiences with huelgas). The first of her two remaining classes was without students, but her last class was her seniors, and they were all there. In this class the teacher takes off points for students who speak Spanish more than one word following the phrase "How do you say...?" Honestly, I think this is going to be just as hard for me as it is for the students lol!! I mean I know my role is to come here so that the students have a native English speaker to help them learn the language to a proficient level, but truthfully everything about me screams Spanglish (hence blog title). This is something I'm sure I'll deal with and get over, but for now I'm cool (apparently a very American word for students who are mostly exposed to British English). During the class the students got to ask me questions, and it was a great time. I got asked where I was from, how come I know Spanish, what I want to do with my life (AHH!), and my favorite food. I answered this question without thinking and said of course Salvadorean Tamales. After finding out that there are not Spanish  Tamales the teacher goes on to say, oh well why don't you explain to us what that is...in English. So it was pretty interesting for me to have to explain something that I've never talked about before, in ENGLISH. "So there's a dough that you put stuff in it, wrap it in a banana leaf, and cook it" lol I did a better job than that, but that was the gist of it lol.
    Another great thing that has happened is that I got to be reunited with one of my good friends who I studied with in Puerto Rico, Brittany! I picked her up from the airport, and off we were to find the hostel we'd be staying at. The first of many misadventures, we got off of the subway apparently at the wrong side, asking a few strangers along the way if they knew how to get to Plaza Santo Domingo, and slowly but surely we were pointed in the right direction. When we finally get there, we see there's a the subway exit that would have taken us to the front door of the hostel...like i said the first of many misadventures. Unfortunately for us, our reunion was not as lively as we'd imagined it being, I was feverish, and getting the worst part of this cold, and she hurt herself in Paris, making her knee swollen and painful to walk. So here we were, two 23 year olds in the heart of Spain on a Saturday night, and we ended up going to bed early like a bunch of can't breathe, can't walk old bitties. 
Side note- felt very good as I was helping Brittany communicate with people in terms of getting her phone unlocked and buying a backpack, that people thought I was actually from Spain (woo hoo go me)
    Anyway so Brittany and I set off for a mini adventure to go see Museo del Prado, and various other attractions in the area, since her friend told her that it was free on Sundays, which it is, only it's free from 5-8pm... a minor detail that we weren't aware of. So we decided that we didn't really want to spend the 10 euros to get in so we walked next door to the botanical gardens which was only 2,50, but they didn't take plastic, and my darling B didn't have cash so we chucked that idea out the window two, and just took pictures around the outside of both places. We then went to Retiro Park, and took a mini nap on a bench. After all of that we decided that we wanted to go to a movie, after three failed attempts, being directed to the wrong place by metro workers, and lots of walking and subway transfers, on our way back to the hostel/me heading home, we found a theater that was right around the corner from the hostel, hilarious failure.

Thank you all for reading this far, I'll update more about my new place once I move in on Saturday. Please check out our Reader Spotlight, and be on the look out for next months spotlight! :)

Much Love,

~Cat

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Moment Has Arrived

Hey Hey Everyone!

    So the time has finally come, I am here in SPAIN!! After a long while of not having internet due to waiting on buying a EUROPE/US power adapter, I can finally give a semi update of life on the other side of the world. 

The adventure started Monday as I was nervously packing my two suitcases with clothes I would have for the next year in Spain, tearing heartstrings as I saw the things I was leaving behind (and asking to have sent to me later jajaj). And of course since I leave everything to the last possible minute, I didn't get to sleep more than 45 minutes before it was time to make the trek at 6am from Palmdale to LAX. 

My nerves were on pins and needles as the Air Canada employee checked the scale as I put my bags on. The first 51 pounds (AHH!), but she let it slide... (that would be due to my shoes lol)...the second 45 lbs, I guess Top Ramen weighs less than flats.  After that I was reassured my luggage would be waiting for me in Madrid, and that I wouldn't have to spend my 2 hour layover in Toronto running around from baggage claim and customs and such. Speaking of customs... what disorganized mess in Canada (no offense) they were taking a random 10 people in at a time and trying to calm down people who weren't even complaining lol.

So after a 6 hour flight to Toronto and an 11 hr flight to Madrid (which ended up being longer because there was traffic at the Madrid airport and we circled in the air above it for half an hour). I didn't have much luck sleeping on the plane, after sleeping what I thought was a good while, I would wake up and convinced that we had to almost be there because I slept so long, only to find out that I'd only slept 50 minutes and we still had four and a half/ seven/ two hours left. I did end up watching Water for Elephants, and was too tired to watch anything else but apparently not tired enough to fall into a deep sleep jajaj.

I was also blessed to have the help that I do here in Spain. The coordinator for my school had told me she would pick me up from the airport, and arranged for me to rent a room from her sister (her neighbor) while I did my apartment hunting. When I told other auxiliares of this at the seminar at USC everyone was like WOW so lucky...and I truly am...I arrived in madrid, got the stamp on my visa, and went to get my luggage. As I passed through the Arrivals threshold I saw people holding little white sign's with names of those who they waited for, but my name was not there. I waited around in the crowd for a little while before panic started setting in. Since the plan the whole time was for me to go with my coordinator, I didn't have any place to go, or any idea of how to find an alternative. Since the last few days before leaving were crazy I didn't get around to sending the email that I wanted to get her phone number and give her mine, and just double check on all the details. The only number I had was for the school (which was on holiday the day that I arrived so that wouldn't have done any good anyway, lol figures...) So I went into freak out mode for about 2 seconds until I saw a machine that  I could connect to the internet with. Sending her an email was my last resort,. The machine charged 2 euros for half an hour, more than enough to do what I needed to do. There was no card slot, only for me to enter the information for my card, so I did...and it was rejected (Major Freak Out Moment!)  Another Blessing... my mom when I had got accepted into Spain gave me a 2 euro coin she'd had saved in a drawer. I put it in the machine and jumped right on my email. She'd already emailed me with her number and that she was at the airport.

We finally united and she took me to the cute room that would be my own for the next two weeks or so. Not too much adventure/exploring has gone on as of yet, since I'm still a mess with the 9 hour time difference and allergies, but I'll update soon.

Thanks for reading and don't forget to check out this month's Reader Spotlight if you haven't already, next one gets chosen Oct. 1 :)

<3 Cat

Blessed

Hey Hey everyone,

  Now I know many of you have been waiting eagerly to hear my update since I've arrived to the land of los conquistadores, but first I'd like to write about a realization of mine in the midst of all this "moving across the world" business.
  That realization is that I am a blessed woman (a term I'm not all to comfortable referring to myself as yet, but all the same, the time had to come at one time or another.) And I know of course some of you are thinking, "Of course you're blessed you get to spend a year in Europe?!" But that's besides the point...and I'd like to think of this experience not only as a blessing but the fruit of many years of hard work that it has taken for my to get to this point (but that is a whole other conversation all together.)

  Getting back to the point...these last few weeks has brought forth the blessings in my life in the form of the wonderful people that are in my life (making it even harder to leave them for the extended amount of time I have alotted away).

  The first of many wonderful surprises is that my family threw me a surprise going away party. My whole family came to say goodbye, wish me well, and tell me they'll miss me. On top of that, they made CARNE ASADA, ARROZ y PUPUSAS!! A wonderful meal and a great time with everyone, and I mean EVERYONE. It was really touching that even people who are not those who visit on the regular, made the effort to come around, and it was all for ME! <3 

Familia Ramirez 1998ish   

Ramirez Family 2011

  Having my family together alone would be the most I could ever ask for, but the week got better. Earlier in the summer I  had mentioned to my mom that I would have loved to buy a kindle, so I could read and not sacrifice luggage space but alas because of my I'm-saving-all-my-pennies status, that was just something that I was going to have to wait to do when I was a rich and successful person. I had only mentioned this in passing, not really thinking anything of it, but then right before leaving my mother and sister decided to surprise me and get me one as a going away present!!

  The last surprise to "take the cake" on all of this was the night before I left (as I was doing all of my last minute purchases/packing in true Cathy fashion) I went to see one of my tias to say my final goodbye to her, my abuelita, and my cousins. My cousin David who is 6 couldn't contain his excitement, as soon as he opened the door he said "we have a present for you!" After some small talk, and a few kisses to my cousins too young to remember me by the time I come back, David had gotten his mom to go get my present. It was an inspirational calendar with great quotes and things for each month. Each month also had a letter for me to open when the time comes, with appropriate themes (a gingerbread man with David's picture on it and a Chrismas picture for december). I was so touched, I actually teared up.

I am ever thankful for all of the amazing people I have been blessed to have a part of my life.

A better update soon to come, Thanks for reading!

~Cat