Wednesday, May 30, 2012

So you had a bad day...

    I hesitate to write this post because even though I get personal on my blog, I've veered from getting too personal, other than my thoughts/fears for the future, and missing people back home. Today was different, it was just one of those days. 

    I get into class with my 7th graders and I'm finishing up preparing their activity for the class about personal attributes and relationships. While I'm simultaneously cutting the cards and making conversation with the kids about what kind of exams they have coming up, and what kind of fun things they have going on during the weekend, one kid asks me, "Miss Cathy, how old are you?" I hesitantly reply, "24." He smiles and says "Really? You look like you're 18!" I smile and continue to make conversation with the entire class.  Then the little darling asks, "Miss Cathy, do you like spaghetti, pizza, and hamburgers?" I slightly brush off the the question, and continue explaining what the activity we are going to do that day in class. Then he says "Because it sure looks like you do. My heart stopped. Did he really just say that. I ignored his comment, and kept on with the class and allowed them to do their activity. 

    I probably should have sent him back to class or to the principal for a comment like that, but part of me was thinking if I do that, then I am giving that comment power. Not to say it didn't hurt my already fragile ego/self image. I've always been a big girl, and I've struggled my whole life with banter about it. Recently though, I've lost some weight. I can't give numbers because I haven't been on a scale in a long time so I don't really have something to compare to, but I've definitely noticed in the way my clothes fit, and all that jazz. Not that I really care what some 12 year old boy thinks, but it really does kinda suck. 

As class went on I also gave a talk about respect, as some of them used foul language and definitely inappropriate occupations their little adolescent male minds came up with. The last few minutes of class I allowed them to chill since our activity was pretty much done and there wasn't that much time left in class. As I was getting my paper and things ready to go, said class clown decides to open our huge window and put his head out and start flailing around from the 2nd floor! I told him to get to his seat before anything happened. One of the few moments you really think... Saved by the Bell.

Here's to a better Thursday!

Much Love,

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Oui, what?

Hey Hey Everyone, 

   Spring break has come and gone, along with my birthday, and now I'm left with a few stories to share with you all. 

    My sister and some of her friends came for Spring Break with the incredibly horrible mediocre trip planner I am the itinerary for the week was as follows: Friday-Sunday Madrid, Sunday-Wednesday Paris, Thursday-Friday Malaga, Saturday- ship the girls back. All of this meant a lot of early mornings, a lot of packing and repacking, but overall it was an adventure.

Since so much time as gone by I've decided to share this post in comic-ish form. Enjoy.

Hopefully that was a breath of fresh air, I actually had a lot of fun creating these. Until next time!


Sunday, May 27, 2012

7 Things I've Missed While Abroad

So our new Reader Spotlight Miriam wrote this blog entry based off of a Huffington Post article, and I decided to jump on the bandwagon. So here are my 7 (in no particular order).

1. Not having to think too hard about what time it is when I want to call someone. 
The difference between Madrid and home is a whopping 9 hour time difference. So it can get a bit annoying when I want to call my mom when I get home from work, but it's 5am. Or I get a phone call from my best friend but it's 3am so I missed it. Also dealing with "business" things like calling about student loans and the like around 11pm in a noisy apartment doesn't make for the best either.

2. Being able to take out the trash whenever I'd like/need to

Spain as far as I've seen has got a bit more of a handle on the whole waste scene, with recycling bins everywhere to separate cardboard/glass/plastic/waste. The thing is you can only throw away your trash at a certain time. For my building they don't take out the trash bins until around 8pm til about 12am. Monday-Friday. So if I get a burst of energy to clean and get the dirt out around 3pm, I'm out of luck. The trash stays in the house. Or if I get home late from a long day, once I get in and get comfy, I have to go out again just for the trash. Boo.

3.  Ross

This wonderful store that has been the leader in my retail therapy meanderings for a while now. Lots of cute things for decent prices, and in sizes that fit more than just my 2 year old niece. And to add to it, I miss shopping the way I used to, I'm kind of scared to do too much shopping here because of the suitcases I'm going to have to pack when I'm finally going home.

4. Being able to do laundry in a Day

If you're like me, and procrastinate immensely on getting your laundry done, that huge pile of clothes can be intimidating. Set aside one day to do a handful of rounds of washing, 45 minutes in the washer, 20 in the dryer, fold put away, and you're set for the next month!! (lol) Here in Spain with no dryers...great for less energy consumption...for my clothes, not so much. Hanging clothes to dry on a line takes significantly longer, making time in between loads greater, and living in a house with 4 other people, that time can be precious.

5. Home Cooked Meals

Nothing beats having a warm plate of delicious food prepared by a dear family member. Carne asada, arroz, pupusas, tamales, pasteles, caldo de pollo, carne guisado, or a turkey sandwich. It's all good in the neighborhood. <3

6. More Crosswalks with Traffic Signals

I've been a bit of a scaredy cat my whole life, so having to cross a big street with lots of cars on a crosswalk with no traffic signal is a bit problematic for me. Trusting that the car coming at you is going to stop just because you have the right of way is never easy. Sometimes you gotta do it though because you'll either get looked at like an idiot for waiting for cars to cross, or wait forever. I usually wait until someone else shows up so in case someone is going to get hit, I'm not leading the charge jaja!

7. Family and Friends

This really goes without saying... but with so much going on back home the people are what I really miss the most. My niece is talking up a storm, nephews and cousins playing baseball and soccer, friends getting married, graduating, getting together and having a good time, all while I'm 6,000 miles away.

Perhaps this wasn't the best idea now that the fact that I'll probably be separated from my loved ones for at least 2 years, but I have a lot going on here for me too. It's great to have good things all around the world. 

Fellow expats- What are your 7? Feel free to link up or share in the comment section!

Much love,


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

To Be Continued...

Well this posts title can be attached a number of ideas. The first being, I've left you all hanging for a while now without a REAL update on what's going on in La Vida de Cathy, so stay tuned...

Life in Spain has been a roller coaster, countless times have I just sat and thought, "Is this really happening?" I've climbed social mountains, health mountains, housing mountains, and much to my surprise professional mountains as well. 

Just as I was on the rise of enthusiasm with my experience here, I was hit with an atomic bomb, that I was not wanted at my school for the upcoming year, just before having to super glue a smile to my face in front of 20 adolescents and keep them excited about their progress in English. I allowed myself the cry a river on the bus ride home, then put my game face on. Up until that moment, I had not been sure about my stay here since it had been so rocky, but in time it took for me to realize that staying might not be an option, my gut told me that's what I wanted to do. I went to talk to the people I needed to talk to, but to no reward, it was only in the hands of those who I work under. So after gathering a support team, highlighted all of the regulations I needed in my corner, I went and pleaded my case. Even if they didn't keep me at the same school, it was a death sentence (okay, so I'm a little dramatic) to keep me out of the entire program. Perseverance paid off and I was able to get the papers I needed in order to renew my contract here in Spain. In order to get what I wanted though I had to send everything to the office where you change regions, essentially meaning I wouldn't be in Madrid, in theory. I banked on the the inefficiency of the system, that because I had preferenced Madrid on my application, and it has the most positions in all of Spain that the odds were in my favor to stay, but I wouldn't know that for sure until I got my letter. And the waiting game begins. 

A few weeks after the deadline to turn in the application all of my auxiliar friends in Madrid had received their Madrid placement emails. My inbox was still empty. A bit disheartening, but not all hope lost. I continued to wait as the facebook wall of the Auxiliares group was filling with posts about placements. 

One afternoon as I got comfortable in my room after a long day of teaching, there it was, as sly and unexpected as can be, my email from the ministry of education. I held my breath and clicked on the link, and in that moment I saw my outsmarting had worked. I received a placement for MADRID for next school year!!! I didn't know what to do with myself. For what seems like soo long (2 months) my future was hanging by a thread and now the biggest weight was off my shoulders. I have something to work toward, a goal to upkeep.

This news brought me to looking for tickets home for the summer to go and see my family and friends who I miss incredibly (Yes, I miss you incredibly). Unfortunately, tickets to go home for summer are looking right around $1100 to $1500, a very depressing sight. And with nothing secure here in Spain, it was even more depressing. Too poor to live in Spain, and too poor to go home. AHH! Talk about between a rock and a hard place. The summer job I had sort of been counting on fell through, and I played around with applying at camps, and/or otherwise racking up massive credit card debt and be poor at home. 

Well today my email graced me once again with some good news. I got hired to teach at a summer camp for the month of July, with not a bad salary. Unfortunately, it's not enough to send me laughing all the way to the airline counter, but things should be a little easier for the beginning of next school year. Which brings me to why this news is bittersweet. It's the realization that I am probably not going to go home for the summer (never say never...but...). It is also the realization that it may well be until NEXT summer that I get to be home. I know what you're thinking... Cathy you're living your dream, stop complaining. I know this, I just can't help, but think about my parents, and my sister who is going to be getting married!!, and my babies back home,  and my friends. 2 years just seems like a really long time. Either way I know I am blessed to have such great opportunities and people around the globe, and I appreciate them all and know how fast any of them can not be an option. So ending the pity party, and wrapping up this post. 

Lots of things to look forward to, putting on that smile and doing it. Some great posts about trips and events around Madrid, as well as more writing of articles. For now you can go check out the poetry explosion on my other blog (videos soon to come). Thanks for reading, and sticking with me y'all. We're still on the ride. 


Picture Source: 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Write, Write, Write...Right?

So given the fact that it's been over a month since my last post, the title doesn't make much sense, but despite my minor absence (okay, you can say missed me a whole lot... lol), a bunch of writing has been going on, and even more writing ideas have been forming in my little mind to share with you all. I promise I will fulfill them...eventually.

The reason why I guess I actually gave my self the kick in the pants to get on here and start writing something is because I was reading an article about Carlos Fuentes, one of my favorite author's who passed away this week. In this it gives Carlos' 10 tips for Writers, and number one is right on the ball with what I need to work on.
1. Discipline: Not as an antidote to dreaming but as a necessary regimen to focus on the purpose of your task. It won't write itself. One must dream, but not in a place of working, and never await inspiration. Work in focus, get it done.

So from today I can say I'm going to put effort into getting from the brain waves to the page ( and the added step from the page to the website most of the time too.. lol). A bunch of more poems to post on CathyBean Poetry for April's National Poetry Writing month.

Not last (because I have lots of writing to do.. lol) and certainly not least... I was afforded the great opportunity to be a contributor for MadBudget, a local guide to Madrid. So without further ado my first piece was published this month, and I'm working on a second!!

Anyway, thanks for reading and staying with me everyone, it really does mean a lot. Oh and I gave in, now you can follow me on Twitter @CathyArely.

Much Love,