I’m sure many people think that I have lost my mind … and if I was looking in from the outside, I might think the same thing. Within a span of 6 weeks, I quit my job, packed up my beautiful apartment in Rittenhouse Square, and moved to a foreign country where I knew no one. Always the perpetual planner and perfectionist, spontaneous was not a word that I would have used to describe myself until now.
Traveling and exploring the world was always one of my dreams, but back in Philadelphia, I was beginning to feel like it might never happen. Maybe it was pure luck, but all of the moving parts in my life seemed to fall into place at once, and I knew that the time to take a huge risk was now or never. So, I took a huge leap of faith, left everything I had ever known, and I AM SO FREAKING HAPPY THAT I DID!
I know that I am super late in starting this blog (as with most things in my life), but the last two and a half months have been an amazingly busy whirlwind of new experiences and adventures in Spain and throughout Europe. While there is no point in going back and explaining everything in detail, I will provide a brief synopsis of some of the highlights.
I moved to Spain in November to complete a TEFL certification (Teaching English as a Foreign Language). The class was really intense, but it was a lot of fun, and learning to teach in a classroom setting was a great experience. Plus, I was lucky to meet some awesome new friends during the class which made my transition from a clueless Philadelphian to a semi-cultured Barcelona chica a lot easier. All of us Barcelona newbies spent our first month exploring the city, while also studying English grammar and teaching methods. During this time, I fell head over heels in love with Barcelona, and I think the reasons why are pretty self explanatory from my pictures.
After our month-long course, my Wisconsin friends Taylor and Amanda and I decided to go on our own EuroTrip for a few weeks in December, as most Spanish schools are off for the majority of the month. We traveled to Berlin, Amsterdam, Nice, and Monaco on our little jaunt throughout Europe. This was my first time outside of Spain and it was so AMAZINGGGG.
We started off in Berlin because we were able to get flights from Barcelona for 15 euros. Yes, I said 15 EURO (around 17 US dollars). Berlin was FREEZING, and the majority of our trip was spent sightseeing and going to World War II memorials and monuments.
Next, we ventured to Amsterdam. I absolutely loved Amsterdam. From my very limited personal experience traveling in Europe, as of now, Amsterdam is my second most favorite city that I have visited (Barcelona is #1). The buildings and houses are beautiful and quaint, the canals are picturesque, and the city seems to be full of active, friendly, and environmentally-conscious people. During our time here, we went to many of the most popular tourist destinations in the city- the Heineken Brewery, the Anne Frank House, the famous Red Light District, the IAMSTERDAM sign, and, of course, the famous coffee shops 🙂
Our next destination was the French Riviera. Nice is a beautiful little city in the South of France where we were lucky enough to spend a few days. We explored the city and were able to get some great pictures of coastline and the port in Nice. We also took a day trip to Monaco and hiked up to the Prince’s Palace to take pictures. It is not difficult to understand why the French Riviera is such a popular vacation destination during the summer. I will definitely have to return when the weather gets warmer.
Amanda, Taylor and I finally flew back to Barcelona after almost 3 weeks of traveling because my family came to visit over the week of Christmas. I had so much fun during their stay. We did all the major sightseeing things in Barcelona (with a selfie stick, of course), and I was so glad that I was able to show them the city that I have fallen in love with. It was so great having the whole Wall crew here over Christmas, I definitely would have been sad and homesick had I not been around family on that holiday. The only thing that would have made their visit even better would have been if Tucker could have come too <3. By the time they left, my stomach hurt from laughing so hard and I was very sad to see them go.
Now, fast forwarding to the present time, I have been working since the beginning of January teaching English classes for students of all different levels. I do enjoy the actual teaching part, but I never realized how much time and planning goes into the job. I give so much credit to all of the great teachers that I have had, because it is not easy. I also begin formal Spanish lessons tomorrow, which I am excited about!
Every time I talk to people from home they ask me if I am homesick yet. And, as of now, my answer is still no. I miss my family, my friends, and Tucker (of course), but I don’t miss the lifestyle in the United States. The Spanish lifestyle is such a breath of fresh air. I think that this is the first time that I have ever felt completely relaxed. Yes, the whole process of moving was not the easiest and finding a nice apartment here was an absolute nightmare, but for the most part it has been pretty smooth sailing. In Barcelona, most people “work to live”, not “live to work” like so many people do in the good old US of A. It’s nice to see people relaxing during the typical two hour siesta that many people take in the afternoon. The coffee, food, and wine here is amazing (and cheap !!), the pace of life is slower, and there is always something new and fun to do on any day of the week. I am fully enjoying my time in Spain.
I know this is a long post, but I had to get through almost 3 months of activities! I’m going to try to update this blog on a more regular basis. I am heading to Paris this weekend with my friends Hanna and Jessie, so my next post will be about my adventures in France. Adios amigos!