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!


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 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 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,


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


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!


Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Money Runaround

So I wasn't planning on having another post so soon but given the events that have happened in the last few hours. I think I need a little venting. 

Background- While in Spain I was planning on using something that's called a cash passport. This is a debit card that has the currency you need on it. So in theory it was like me purchasing euros on a card that I could use in Spain and at their ATMs without having to deal with the redonkulous fees Chase would hit me with. This was only the temporary situation for my money until I got my spanish bank account.
 So today I went to buy it $1000 (which was only 666.50 euros-- MAN UP USD!) + 29.99 for it to get here by Saturday (didn't want to risk having it get here monday since i am leaving on tuesday). I get to the confirmation page and it says my order didn't go through because it was rejected. This wasn't that big of a deal because I figured that it probably had something to do with the billing address issues I was having, and I'd just have to find a new way to have money.

Next, I check my bank acct. and the 1029.99 is pending/on hold...leaving only $11 in my checking! I go back to the website, and it says it can take up to 30 business days for the hold to be released! *** FREAK OUT MOMENT*** I leave in 4 days  13 hours and 55 minutes and I'm down a grand, not happening! 

So I call my bank and explain to them the situation, and they tell me that there are two options. The first was to wait, that the charge should fall off on it's own in 3-4 business days and everything will be back to normal. I wouldn't be too opposed to this plan if i wasn't flying ACROSS THE WORLD in those 3-4 business days. The next option is to get the merchant to fax them a statement with their manager's signature, and my information. Once the bank receives my money is back within 6 hours.

I call the merchant, and explain to them the situation, and what the bank said I needed from them. The guy was very nice and said that he could totally help me, and asked if they gave me the authorization code (which i later found out was the transaction number for the purchase) I said no, and he told me to call the bank to ask for it, because the bank was not going to give it to them, and then call back so that they can finish the action. Ok...

I called Chase back, and explained the situation AGAIN, and after trying to get the girl to figure out what the authorization code, I was on my merry way to getting my money back.

Called the merchant, and explained the situation to the new person handling my call, who told me that the people who could help me with my transaction left for the day, and that I need to call back tomorrow morning to complete every...That's what I get for being on Pacific Time instead of Eastern or Central...

So that is what I am going to do... call tomorrow and hope that everything works as smoothly as the merchant operator led me to believe it would be, given the circumstances. The only thing is that now, there is an extra worry over my head, and I have to figure out a new way to try to get out of the million fees that are bound to be attached to any spending I do in the motherland. Luckily I have friends and family to reassure me "If anyone can do it, you can Cathy...." 

Thanks for reading my lovely rant, I'll keep you all posted on outcome. 

<3 Cat


Hey Hey all, 

So I'm sure you've all noticed the interesting title I gave this post (and if you didn't you're looking RIGHT NOW lol). The inspiration for this post came from a few conversations that I've had with some friends about keeping up a variety of social networking sites  (Facebook, MySpace (ok people don't really go on Myspace anymore, but if you're like my you haven't deleted it for the pictures/information that is on there), Google+, Twitter, LinkedIN, Blogspot (or any other similar to/supplemental to a blog site).

This discussion first came up when I was telling my friend I was considering getting a Twitter (mainly because I like hashtags #dontjudgeme, and because for professional and otherwise it seems like a lot of people are on there.) My dilemma being (and main point of this post) is that it's hard keeping up with multiple sites at once. I remember when fb first came out I was posting the same status to both, uploading pictures to both because I didn't want people to be missing out on what i had to say because they either refused to give into facebook, or deleted their myspace to get a facebook. Eventually the double posting faded as MySpace did. I guess I kinda figure if you're going to have a site open you might as well be updating it, the whole "if you're gonna do something, do it right" mentality. It's this line of thinking that has led me to not give into my slight temptation to get in on the tweet scene, and just commit the "horrible" crime of placing hashtags in my status anyway #addicted :P

But even though I have not given into twitter, there is still the pending question of Google+ (as illustrated in the comic above. And I think this video really describes it best. On the one hand everything with facebook is familiar (until they decide to do their latest update....), and you're pretty well set up (Thousands of photos and friends). Google+ isn't really fun right now because of the minimal people on there (which was also the case when fb was new and MySpace was the shizz).

Another interesting point that the video makes is that of starting over. It's kind of like what I'm doing in going to Spain, and what I got to do when I went off to college. You get to reinvent yourself. Instead of having to go through every picture/status/group/friend to censor, you just nip it in bud at the beginning and create the settings you want, and up.

We all have our own motives and means that we use (and abuse- see picture below lol) social media, but as it was mentioned in a previous post, It's a great tool to have while connected with the world, your circles. So go on and check your email, your facebook notifications, your blog comments, your twitter, your LinkedIn recommendations, your google reader, and all that jazz.

How many social networking sites do you all use? Have you succumbed to Google+ yet?

Well there's my two-cents. Thanks for reading <3


Monday, September 5, 2011


Hey Hey Everyone!

So this post is very special for a couple of different reasons. The first is we have our Reader Spotlight for the month!! Congratulations and Thank You to Kenya for participating! Go check out the page and show some love, yes? I'm hoping for this to be the start to getting connected through my blog, for those that are close to me, they know I'm all about the networking ;).

The next thing that I am excited to write in this post is that 

WE HAVE PASSED 1,000 views! 

To think that about a month ago I had only about 250 views for my blog since it's birth in May 2009, and in a month that has quadrupled. Not only that in the same amount of time I've also  more than quadrupled, followers of my blog (from 3 to 16)

It's information like this that keeps me motivated to continue writing, to continue having new ideas, to allow my blog to grow from a diary that only I would read in my moments of feeling nostalgic to a mini community of people that are actually taking the time to read my words.

I'd hoped to have 25 followers by the time I left to Spain, but seeing that I leave in 7 days, 18 hours, and 41 minutes, I don't think that it's really realistic anymore. I'm okay with that though, the 16 pairs of eyes that are dedicated to reading my blog are enough to keep my heart content, and will leave me more time to deal with  the "This is not good-bye it's just see you later" moments that have been filling up my schedule. 

Anyway thanks for reading, and who knows maybe you'll be next month's reader's spotlight :)

<3 Cathy

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Love Story Waiting To Be Written...

Hey Hey all,

  So it is officially SEPTEMBER (Ahh!) The month I've been anticipating since last November when I started investigating my auxiliar application. The month I've told people my new life would begin. It's here, and all I can say is (Ahh!) lol.

  As you can tell though, that's not what this entry is about. It's something that has been on my mind for a while, and I guess now is as good of time as any to write about it. 

 You see the thing that the first thing that most people tell me when I tell them that I'm moving to Spain is "I'll be waiting for the wedding invitation" or "Oh you're gonna fall in love and never come back." I usually just laugh and say "We'll see..." I know what some of you are going to say....Don't anticipate anything, what is supposed to happen will come to you... And I know that. I guess the lonely girl scared of growing old by herself really wants those assumptions to be true. 

I'm not saying I'm going to go actively look for love. All I'm saying is I'm just at a point where I hope it's my time. I want a Mario or an Álvaro (Two excellent love stories from fellow auxiliares). I want to be able to write about a different kind of butterflies

I know I'm being silly and real life isn't like the movies, but a girl can dream...

Thanks for reading all. Remember first to comment gets to be the first Reader Spotlight for Mi Nuevo Capitulo.

Until Next Time,

<3 Cathy

12 days, 9 hours, 8 minutes left!