How Things are Going- Part Dos.


From the other side………………

Haha.  Every time I say “hello” to my students, inevitably, one will say “from the other side”.  It’s a good song.  Another good song?  This Wake Me Up cover by Avicii. It was the cool down song in today’s Glutes and Legs class and I just about started crying while we were stretching.  

Hm what else?  This week flew by in a flash.  It was my first week of Spanish classes, which I like so far.  I only paid for one month of classes because I heard some negative comments about the school.  So far, I like it, but I’ll keep ya posted.  The only downside is that you don’t have a set “class” so new people come in and go out every week.  And the teacher changes too.  We had one teacher on Tuesday and another on Thursday, but the Thursday one is there to stay for a bit, so it’s like we started together, which is good.  I have some homework I need to do, but…tomorrow.  That’s what Sunday’s are for.

Classes (English, that is) are going well.  I spent this entire week doing the same activity with every class- just at different levels.  It’s called “getting to know you” and basically they tell me different things about themselves.  

  • My family is….”not very big.  I have one brother named Lee.  He is studying psychology in university.  My mom is Raquel and she stays home because she is retired.  My dad is Allen and he is a lawyer.  We have a dog named Teddy and a cat named Misu.  As a family, we go for walks, eat dinner together, and watch tv or movies sometimes.”
  • I can’t live without:…”my family, Teddy, and peanut butter”
  • In the future, I would like to…”always think that life can’t possibly get any better, but then it keeps getting better”
  • I’m proud of…”myself.  For teaching all you monsters and not quitting.”

Etc. etc.  Next week, I have lots of Halloween activities planned which I’m excited about!  Lots of Halloween Bingo and word searches and learning about Frankenstein and zombies.  Teaching about holidays is so easy because the theme is already set for you.  And it makes me excited to plan fun activities.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again….Fall and fall culture are just not things here in Spain.  It makes me a little bit sad.  I think the fall in the northeastern part of the United States is one thing I miss.  It’s something you don’t realize is a thing until it’s just not a thing.  They celebrate Halloween here, but they don’t celebrate it like we do with tons of big candy displays and costumes and pumpkins and squashes on the front steps.  Not that Halloween is so important, but having these things makes the cool weather enjoyable.  Hot apple cider, apple fritters, pumpkin breads and soups and stews and colorful leaves.  Those things don’t really happen in Spain.  It just goes from extremely hot to regular cold and people just change their clothes to match the season.  I’m aware that what I am saying might not make sense, but it makes sense to me.  Long story short, I am excited for my Halloween lessons.  Gonna put some fall spirit into these children (I originally wrote monsters, but that’s inappropriate…but I still told you) whether they like it or not ūüėČ

I’m typing this on a cold and rainy Saturday afternoon.  Despite absolutely everything I just said, I don’t mind the rain today.  Rain on a cozy Saturday is nice sometimes.  I went to the gym, did a little cardio and then got in line for what I thought was BodyPump class, but was actually Glutes and Legs.  At first I thought it was Zumba and I started planning my emergency evacuation out of there cause homie can’t exercise-dance.  But it was fine and a pretty decent workout.  And best of all!  I made a new friend!  A girl in line asked me if there is wifi and then I asked if she registered for the class and she was struggling to respond in Spanish and I was like…do you speak English?  And our relationship was born.  So…new gym buddy.  Then I came home and did a billion things because I was high…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….


…..on gym endorphins, silly!!!  I planned the entire week of school lessons and private lessons and found a bunch of different fun Halloween things.  I planned my teachers conversation lesson (I have class 1x per week with the teachers to help with their English) and I wrote two blog posts (this is #3) and I sent important e-mails and texts and did some laundry.  Now I’m sleepy but Luis is coming over so we can plan a little December getaway and then go have tapas because this weekend is Tapapies!  

Tapapies is basically a festival in my neighborhood where all of the bars offer a tapa and a beer for 2.50 Euros.  There is another food festival happening in a glass palace, but it’s raining.  All I really wanna do is lie in bed and watch a movie, but then I always feel like I don’t do enough “get out there and experience things” things.  So there’s that.  Tonight we are going to good ole 100 Montaditos for cervezas for his friend’s birthday.  I am one very, very lucky girl to have the chance to go out with him and his friends.  Yesterday I read a blog that said that dating someone from another culture gives you the chance to have all of these experiences and get immersed in the culture in a completely different way than you would if you just had friends from your own culture.  I may never “be Spanish”, but this helps me get so much closer.

What else….?  Oh!  Mom and Dad are coming on Monday!!!!  My co-worker and I coordinated to switch days off, so I get to meet and greet them at the airport bright and early!  They land around 8:30 am so they’ll be exhausted after flying all night.  I am planning to bring a big thermos of coffee and some homemade spiced squash bread.  Then we are gonna hit the ground running with fun activities!  Or they are going to sleep.  They’ll probably sleep haha.  They are only in Madrid on Monday and Tuesday and then they’re off for a northern Spain adventure, but I am meeting them Saturday afternoon.  I know they think they just saw me, but I miss them and I’m happy they’re coming.

Ok.  I usually ramble a lot, but this was over the top.  Have a wonderful, wonderful weekend and week!

Applying for Spanish Citizenship Due to Sephardic Origin: The DELE A2 Exam

I took the DELE A2 exam yesterday!  It sort of snuck up on me in the sense that I registered for it way back in May thinking “October is so far away”, but here we are…in October and finished with the exam.  

So, how was it?  Well, I don’t want to count any chickens before they hatch, but I think it went well!  I have a decent level of Spanish, so I didn’t really prepare for it.  All I did was look at a sample of the exam and run through some of the questions, just to get an idea of what the exam would be like.dele-sign

Basic Information

  • The exam runs ~1x/ month certain months of the year.dele
  • It is held at testing centers around the world.  Find a testing center HERE.
  • It fills up quickly, so register way in advance
  • The test is on paper and there is a separate answer sheet.  It was like being back in college!!
  • The price of the exam varies depending on the country in which you take the exam, but I paid 124 Euros and part of my soul.
  • Results are available within about 3 months at which time a diploma is sent to you if you passed.

Breakdown of the exam

  • 1 hour for the reading comprehension
  • 35 minutes for listening activities
  • 20 minute break to eat or have a coffee
  • 55 minutes for the writing section
  • 15 minutes for the speaking portion (plus 15 minutes beforehand to prepare the speaking)

What to Bring to the Exam

  1. ID or Passport
  2. The confirmation page from when you registered (la convocatoria)
  3. The registration information from the Cervantes website (your resguardo)
  4. A pencil
  5. An eraser
  6. A pen
  7. Food
  8. Water

How Test-Day went

I registered to take the exam at Universidad Complutense in Madrid, which is a quick metro ride away, but I left almost two hours before the start of the exam to give myself plenty of time to find the correct building.  I’m glad I did, because once I got off the metro, it took me almost 40 minutes to find the right building.

The test begins at 9:00 am, but they want you to be there at 8:30 am.  You wait for a bit and during this time, you can talk to other people, which is what I did.  Then they eventually walk you to the testing room and one by one, take you to your assigned seat (there were only 10 people per group).  They explain which parts to use pencil (every part except the writing portion) and how the exam works.  Then they pass out the exam and you can begin

  • Reading comprehension: Not too bad.  I thought there was enough time to finish all of the questions and go back and check everything.
  • Listening:  This was the most difficult for me since it keeps moving, even if you are not ready.  You hear each part two times and they give you time beforehand to read the questions.  I used that time to do a quick translation next to each so I could quickly refer to it when the audio was playing.
  • Writing:  This part was fairly simple.  There were three prompts (the first is 20-30 words, the second and third were 70-80 words).  I actually found it difficult to limit the number of words and wanted to write more than was allowed.  The first part had a prompt to review a restaurant, the second was the write an e-mail, and the third was to describe what someone did on their vacation based on 3 photos.
  • Speaking:  You do the speaking test based on your registration number.  I was the last in the group, so I waited almost 1.5 hours for my turn, but I used this time to chat with others in the group.  There are 4 parts to the speaking exam and you will know what you will be talking about beforehand and will have 15 minutes to prepare.  First, they ask you basic questions about yourself.  After that, they ask you to talk 3-4 minutes about a topic which you prepped in the first 15 minutes.  After that, you have to describe a photo (which you also prepped).  Third, you have to do a role-play with the interviewer about the second topic you chose.  Finally, you do another role play, which they tell you on the spot (mine was about making weekend plans with a friend).

Exam Practice:

Here is what I used to practice:  Level A2 Practice

You can also purchase books from the Cervantes Institute, which includes full-length practice exams, or join a class.  Both of these things can be very helpful if you are not confident with your level of Spanish.

Good Resources for Teaching ESL Classes

Last year, I spent a lot of time just randomly doing Google searches to find materials for my private lessons.  This year, I have done a better job of finding websites that continuously have good materials for private lessons.  You know, materials that don’t have random ads all over them.  Nothing says amateur teacher like bringing worksheets that have ads on them ūüôā  On the other hand, ain’t nobody got time to make their own activities, so with that being said- here are some great places to find worksheets, lessons, and games for your private lessons (or school classes!!!).

1 //

Good for:  Games, pre-made PowerPoints, pre-made worksheets and activities, fun things

Free website with downloadable (and editable) worksheets, activities, games, and PowerPoints.  I download pre-made PowerPoints to show in class.  This is a good website for private students, as well as group classes.  

It’s necessary to make an account, but then you have total access.

2 //

Good for: Printable PDFs to practice grammar, vocab, or other teachable categories.

This free website offers hundreds of printable pdfs that you can use with your students.  They have a ton of grammar and vocab practice, but not many games and fun activities.  They do say “another free worksheet from” at the top of the page, but hey…ya win some and ya lose some.

3 // Dave’s ESL Cafe

Good for: helping you (the teacher) explain many grammar topics that can be difficult to explain if you don’t have a formal background in education (like most of us!).  

For example, what on earth is an adjective clause?!  We all know that feeling when a student asks you to explain something like this and you’re just like….”a what?”  Now you know where to find the answer in a clear and concise way.

4 //

Good for:  printable worksheets, activities, games, lesson plans, reading material

I stumbled across this website in the summer and was amazed by the amount of material they have available.  It’s geared towards English-speaking students, but this makes it perfect for teaching Spanish students learning English because some of the activities that are geared towards very young children are great for normal-aged children in your schools.  I print a lot of their reading activities, as well as the crossword puzzles, holiday activities and games.

FYI this one is not free, but if you split it with a friend or friends, you can share the membership and cost.  

5 //

Good for:  a fun warm-up activity with a large group of older students

This is a website that has online quizzes that the students answer with their phones.  It allows them to compete against one another and you can give a small prize to the winner.  This is a great activity to use with a large class of students that have cell phones (with data!!).  I plan to use it this week to see how much they know about Halloween.  You can find pre-made “quizzes” and edit them or you can make your own. (My roommate showed me this site)

6 // British Council

Good for: more advanced English, such as business English, English in the news, etc.

This has a lot of activities for advances learners that help them practice English (by listening to news reports, or podcasts, for example) or learn English that is important for every day life (such as how to write an e-mail, or answer the telephone).  There are many activities available on this site.

Fall-Spiced Butternut Squash Greek Yogurt Bread


What a name!  But there is no other way to describe this bread that was born out of my kitchen last night.  It’s fall-spiced with loads of cinnamon, a pinch of cloves and a dash of nutmeg.  It is light and fluffy (and orange in color), thanks to the two cups of pureed butternut squash (easy to do- promise!), and light Greek yogurt gives this bread some tanginess and prevents it from drying out.dsc_0013

So back story on how this bread came to be.  It’s late October, almost November and I am yet to have a pumpkin-spiced anything or an apple-laden whatever and my inner totally basic girl is suffering.  I want cinnamon and spice and…I’ll stop.  Anyways, here in Spain, they just don’t do fall.  They don’t eat fun fall things (pumpkin breads and pancakes and coffees and cakes and apple desserts) of dress in cute fall clothing (flannels and jeans and boots) or go do cozy fall activities (why go apple picking when you could just go to the supermarket?!???!).  So…long story short, there is nary a baking pumpkin in site in this country.  Probably on this entire continent, to be exact.  I found a small stack of small Halloween pumpkins in the supermarket next to the apple display (5 star attempt, Carrefour), but they’re not the best for cooking.  So what’s a girl to do?  She’s gonna use what they do have…SQUASH.dsc_0012

I Googled “butternut squash bread” and a recipe came up (which I loosely followed..very loosely), but it is full of oil and sugar.  My version does not have any oil (hey, Greek yogurt) and has one tablespoon of brown sugar and one tablespoon of Stevia.  I think it would be  fine to leave the sugar out completely, but it adds a nice touch of sweetness that just pairs perfectly with a hot cup of coffee or tea.

Spiced Butternut Squash Greek Yogurt Bread
A perfectly spiced squash bread made with Greek yogurt, chia seeds, and minimal sugar. Perfect for pairing with a cup of coffee or tea.
Write a review
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
55 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
55 min
  1. 1 Tbs brown sugar
  2. 1 Tbs Stevia
  3. 1 cup regular or light Greek yogurt
  4. 2 cups pureed butternut squash
  5. 2 eggs
  6. 2 Tbs chia seeds
  7. 2/3 cup water
  8. 1 Tbs vanilla extract
  9. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  10. 2 cups oatmeal flakes or oat flour
  11. 2 tsp baking soda
  12. 1 1/2 tsp salt
  13. 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  14. 1 tsp ground cloves
  15. dash of nutmeg
  16. 2/3 cup walnuts (optional)
  17. 2/3 cup craisins (optional)
  1. Wash a large butternut squash and then peel it. Cut it into large chunks. Remove the seeds and save to roast later.
  2. Put a large pot of water on to boil. Once boiling, add the butternut squash and allow it to boil until soft (about 30 minutes).
  3. Remove the squash from heat. Drain the water. Using a potato-masher or a hand-held food processor, puree the squash. Set it aside to cool.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease any cake pan you have (9x5 inches is good).
  5. Put sugars and yogurt together in a bowl and mix until combined. Stir butternut squash, eggs, chia seeds, water, and vanilla into sugar-yogurt mixture.
  6. In a separate bowl, mix flour, oats, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg together until combined.
  7. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Add the nuts and raisins. Stir until just combined.
  8. Pour into greased cake pan.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick comes out clean, about 40 minutes depending on thickness. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before removing to a wire rack.
  1. The squash can be cooked ahead of time.
  2. Great served toasted with a smear of apple butter, peanut butter, or cream cheese.
  3. Sugar is optional depending on preference.
  4. Add more or less spices depending on preference.
  5. *These can also be made as muffins. Just grease a muffin pan and cook them for less time- about 20-25 minutes.
Adapted from Autumn Spiced Butternut Squash Bread
A Spoonful of TLC

Weekend in Words and Pictures.

This weekend was amazing!! ¬†The perfect mix of super productive and fun and relaxing and crazy…all wrapped up in one. ¬†And it’s Monday evening now and I need another weekend to recover. ¬†Pheeeew!



Spinning class // super sweaty


Espanol en la calle class // learned about tapas in Spain


Tried this // was NOT a fan



Friday night dinner date @ Lamucca de Prado 


Hummus // babaganoush // tabouleh // bacalao ceviche // bread // terrible photography // amazing


Delicious chicken curry // creamy coconut rice // leftovers still in fridge





worked off all that food with Kristen and a sweaty NTC workout // I look disgusting




the extent of fall in Spain // sad

img_7064 img_7067 img_7074

MadrEAT food truck festival // so fun // with new friends

img_7075 img_7076

mushroom and cheese empanada // ooey gooey // best food we had // love



went out Saturday night // drank …a lot // breakfast to cure my hangover // oatmeal and nectarine


Sunday night dinner ūüôā big salads // tortilla de mama espanola // burekahs

Hope you had a lovely weekend as well!


Restaurants in Madrid: Lamucca [de Prado]

Multiple people have recommended Lamucca as a great restaurant for a fun date night, so last night we gave it a go!  There are multiple locations (Plaza Carlos Cambronero, Calle Prado, Calle Almagro, Calle Serrano) [#success], but they only had a last minute opening at Calle Prado.  This one is near Anton Martin metro stop and it did not disappoint!

Lamucca [de Prado]la-muccapicmonkey-collage

  • Address:¬†Calle del Prado, 16, 28014 Madrid
  • Atmosphere:¬†Warm lights, exposed brick walls, funky decor, loud disco-ish music. ¬†Any place with warm lighting and exposed brick will win me over, but due to the loud music, I wouldn’t necessarily go to this¬†location on a first date or with someone you really need to hear. ¬†We could obviously talk, but the music was notably loud.
  • The menu:¬†The menu was actually quite long! ¬†They offered a number of various types of food and the menu actually seemed to have a bit of a Thai influence since they offered Pad Thai and chicken curry. ¬†To start, they had various dishes from nachos to foie to croquetas and a trio plate of hummus and babaganoush. ¬†The menu had a mix of various salads, vegetables and soups, and then meat, fish and pizzas….and thai food. ¬†Sounds strange, but everything was and looked delicious. ¬†They also offer a menu del dia, which would be a great way to try the restaurant, eat lots of good food, and not spend a ton of money. ¬†Menu del dia normally includes dessert and they looked amazing! ¬†Additionally, they have an extensive drink menu that would be fun to try. ¬†HERE is the menu.
  • What we ordered:¬† We shared two appetizers and a main plate: ¬†Mezze (Taboule, babaganoush and hummus with pita chips— about 8.50 euros) and the Esqueixada de Bacalao, which was like ceviche made with bacalao (about 11 euros) and as a main course, we shared the chicken curry (about 12 euros), which came with coconut white rice. ¬†This was the first time in over a year that we had¬†too much food! ¬†Seriously, we didn’t finish everything, but it was all so fresh and tasty. ¬†The appetizers are decent portions and we would have had enough to eat had we only ordered two. ¬†We also each had a glass of white wine. ¬†Loved the chicken curry (but it’s definitely a heavy dish) and the mezze plate. ¬†I like the bacalao, but might not order it again.
  • Tips: ¬†Make a reservation! ¬†And make it in advance. ¬†Ask for a table, not to be seated at a high top. ¬†Also, share with the table! ¬†There are so many great things and everything can be easily shared.
  • Would I recommend it?: ¬†Yes, absolutely.
  • Would I go back?: ¬†Yes! ¬†We have plans to go back and try the “menu del dia” at one of the other locations. ¬†Would love to go back for drinks, as well.

Rating: 9/10 for food, 10/10 for atmosphere.

Restaurants in Madrid: El Columpio

El Columpioelcolumpiopicmonkey-collage

  • Address:¬†28010, Calle de Caracas, 10, 28010 Madrid
  • Atmosphere:¬†I LOVED this restaurant for their design. Seriously….#housedesigngoals ¬† ¬† Warm lights, black steel, mirrors, distressed wood, hanging plants and turquoise accents. ¬†A great place for a romantic dinner or for a night out with friends. ¬†Also, it was big, so plenty of room!
  • Type of food:¬†¬†Your typical gastro bar. ¬†A mix of meats and fishes, pizza, burgers, pasta, rice, and lots of twists on traditional Spanish fare. ¬†The menu is short, so it makes it easy to choose. ¬†HERE is the menu.
  • What we ordered:¬† Taco de ternera con salsa chipotle (beef tacos with chipotle salsa) and a half portion of alcachofa a la plancha con romescu (grilled artichoke hearts with romesco)¬†and pargo al horno con patata panadera y vinagreta de manzana (oven-baked white fish with breaded potatoes and an apple vinaigrette). ¬†The meal also comes with bread and a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuge bucket of french butter. ¬†I’m not kidding, they put a bucket on your table. ¬†My favorite dish was the artichoke hearts by far. ¬†They were tender and perfectly salted. ¬†The tacos and fish were both good dishes, but nothing to write home about in my opinion. ¬†Loved that butter, though ūüėČ
  • Tips: ¬†Make a reservation. ¬†The restaurant is large, but it was completely full. ¬†ALSO. ¬†Be sure to ask for a table in the¬†main dining area, as they have this “middle” area kind of in the hallway. ¬†We were originally seated there, but asked to move.
  • Would I recommend it?: ¬†Yes, absolutely.
  • Would I go back?: ¬†Yes. ¬†I’m not kidding, I loved the decor enough to just hang out in there ūüėČ

Rating: 8.5/10 for food, 10/10 for atmosphere.

How Things are Going.

Howdy, ya’ll!!

I’m typing this up from my bedroom, wearing cozy sweatpants and an over-sized soft sweater with a hot cup of coffee and rain pouring down outside.img_6997

We have the day off today for¬†the National Day of Spain. ¬†When I asked my students why we had off today, the overwhelming answer was “i have no idea”, but in Spanish, because Gd forbid they answer me in English. ¬†Haha.

Anyway, it’s been a nice morning so far. ¬†I worked almost 10 straight hours yesterday and was out of the house for over 12 hours, so I was pooped at the end of the day. ¬†My roommates went out for drinks since they could sleep in, but the only thing I wanted to drink was my Sleepytime Celestial Seasonings Tea on the couch while watching BOTCHED (Chapuzas Esteticas). ¬†I slept in until about 10 am this morning and then jogged over to the gym! ¬†SO…I joined a gym!img_7002-1

Everyone loves a good bathroom/ toilet selfie.

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know I used to be a gym rat/ junkie. ¬†I think I was slightly addicted, in both good and bad ways. ¬†I loved going to the gym and got an extreme endorphin high, but also felt an insane amount of pressure to go, even when I was tired or busy or didn’t want to. ¬†I felt panicky and irritable and like omg I was going to get super fat if I didn’t go. ¬† I guess there are worse addictions and I truly did love the endorphins and I was strong and fast (ish), so there were good things. ¬†And then- two summers ago- at the end of the summer, I got some sort of bug that made me feel extremely tired and I had no appetite. ¬†I didn’t go to the gym for a month and then I moved to Spain and I kind of never went back. ¬†I didn’t join a gym last year, but walked all over Madrid (seriously, all over!). ¬†I average(d) about 9 miles of walking per day and I usually fit in 2 workouts per week. ¬†Either running outside or some NTC in my house. ¬†It worked for me and guess what? ¬†I didn’t get fat! ¬†And the guilt went away! ¬†I actually lost a considerable amount of weight over the course of the year, most of which was due to the fact that when you don’t do high impact workouts for an hour each day, surprise- you don’t feel as hungry. ¬†Or I didn’t. ¬†This summer, I went home for six weeks and started going to the gym a little bit with my dad and when I saw my lack of muscle in the mirror, I was shocked!! ¬†My muscles are gone! ¬†So I decided to join the gym here and for only 25 Euros/ month, I can cancel at any time. ¬†I still only go 2-3 days per week, but so far I am loving it. ¬†I don’t feel pressured to go, but it’s a nice little endorphin kick when I do.exercisepicmonkey-collageThe gym is nice and I don’t really have any complaints except two (major) things: ¬†THERE IS NO WIFI!!! ¬†(I understand if you go to a restaurant and there is no wifi, ok, talk to the people you’re with, but in a gym?!). ¬†And the other thing is that the machines are low-ish quality which means that the treadmills take a long time to speed up and slow down so it’s really hard to do an intense interval workout. ¬†I make it work, though ūüėČ

Today, for example, I did 10 minutes of incline speed walking, 10 minutes of running intervals (1 minute at a sprint pace- increasing the speed by .2 every 10 seconds, and 30 seconds of a slow jog) and then one mile as fast as I could…which was 7 minutes and 30 seconds. ¬†Haha. ¬†Not very fast. ¬†Then I did 30 minutes of NTC and was SO sweaty. ¬†See first photo for reference.

Other than the gym, which I just told you alllllllllll about, things are going well! ¬†During the summer, I was really, really excited to come back to Spain and do¬†all the things! ¬†Make new friends! ¬†Be a fun teacher! ¬†Teach private lessons (but not too many!) ¬†Take Spanish lessons! ¬†Travel! ¬†Go out more often! ¬†Go to cafes! ¬†But then I came back and reality kind of smacked me in the face. ¬†I am still doing/ will do¬†all the things but it isn’t as easy as the picture I was imagining in my mind. ¬†I work at school Monday-Thursday with this schedule:img_6907

Then travel home for 1.5 hours, eat lunch, and run right back out the door to my private lessons.  I like being busy and prefer being busy to having lots of down time, but my days are LONG.img_6926

I wake up to the sun barely coming up, get myself dressed, eat some breakfast, and go to school. ¬†My classes are completely fine! ¬†They’re even enjoyable. ¬†But last week and on Monday of this week, I felt absolutely horrible all day. ¬†I remember I used to get this feeling last year of “I think I was run over a train last night”. ¬†It’s like pure exhaustion, to the point of feeling like a zombie – totally out of it and unable to focus on anything. ¬†It’s a horrible feeling, especially when you know you have a long day of teaching AND private lessons in the afternoon. ¬†And all week, I felt extreme hunger, which is odd for me. ¬†Anyway, last week I felt a little bit down and like “how can I do this for another YEAR? ¬†I am so, so tired, but I feel so spoiled for complaining. ¬†My life is not hard! ¬†Maybe everyone feels this way?” ¬†Those feelings were really getting to me and making me feel like I can’t take on another year of this, but also worried about my health because being tired is one thing, but feeling like you can’t hold your head up is another and makes it difficult to do just about anything. ¬†I was tired, a little bit hot, and completely nauseated off and on for multiple days last week. ¬†I would be more alarmed, but this has happened my entire life at varying degrees. ¬†Luis suggested trying a multivitamin, so I promptly went out and bought Multicentrum vitamins, which I take every morning. ¬†My first day I took one, I was on cloud nine. ¬†I felt great!


Hey, placebo effect. ¬†But then Monday morning rolled around and, what do you know, I felt horrible. ¬†No amount of coffee or water or food could bring me out of this haze, so I started to read online about waking up when you’re in deep sleep. ¬†Apparently, it can f*ck up your whole day if you’re woken up in the middle of REM sleep. ¬†I found an app that monitors your sleep and you choose a half hour window to have it wake you up and it will wake you up in your lightest sleep. ¬†Maybe it’s more placebo effect and maybe it’s not, but I have been using it for two days and….so far so good! ¬†Like I said, I worked 10 hours yesterday and felt great throughout!! ¬†And that extreme hunger passed. ¬†Today I feel good, as well, but I’m not at work ūüôā ¬†I’ll keep you posted on how it goes moving forward.

Hmmmm what else. ¬†School is good. ¬†Classes are good. ¬†Teachers are nice. ¬†Students are…students haha. ¬†My private lessons are going well and I genuinely enjoy the classes, but I am having THE most difficult time organizing my schedule so that I can take Spanish classes and fit everyone in. ¬†All of the parents want Monday and Wednesday classes, so I organized my Spanish classes on Tuesday and Thursday, but I also need to leave time to relax and have fun and do all the things like I mentioned above. ¬†I don’t want to run around like a chicken with my head cut off.

Ah, I have written SO much!!!  I guess I had a lot to say.  I need to go hang laundry and return some way overdue library books and maybe take a nap.  All equally pressing matters.

Lastly, here is a picture from two weekends ago! ¬†Such a fun night of hookah and dancing and smoke-filled lungs the next day ūüôāimg_6876

Thanks for reading…

Checking In IV.

Making: Banana bread (with lots of Greek yogurt and only a little bit of sugar!  The recipe is so good and so easy.  Make it).  Tomorrow I am going to make apple muffins via A Healthy Slice of Life.
Cooking:  a couple weekends ago I had a little birthday party for myself (and housewarming party) and I made lots of things!  Bruschetta, light spinach-artichoke dip via Iowa Girl Eats, stuffed mushrooms, Nutella-Stuffed Blondies via Averie Cooks, a mix of finger foods like cheese and chips, andddd mango salsa with tortilla chips.  There was also buffalo chicken dip and lots of alcohol and it was an incredible night.cipicmonkey-collage ci1picmonkey-collage ci2picmonkey-collage
Drinking:¬†Celestial Seasonings Tea. ¬†This probably won’t change for many months. ¬†And lots of coffee. ¬†(atm, I’m drinking soluble powdered coffee crap because we ran out of the regular stuff. ¬†This stuff hurts my soul.)ci3picmonkey-collage

Reading: Ugh.  Nothing right now.  Not good!!
Wanting:¬†a new iPhone!! ¬†My phone lasts ~1 hour before it dies a quick little death and it’s driving me absolutely insane. ¬†It has 1% battery as I am typing this now, but I’m so torn between purchasing a new iPhone 5 ($250), or springing for a 6 ($550) or a 7 ($650)…or getting a new battery for this one ($80). ¬†Probably gonna go with that last choice because I’m #poor
Looking: forward to so many exciting trips coming up and a new year in Spain!  And at this very moment, looking forward to a day off tomorrow!  I love Spanish holidays.
Eating: a big bowl of oatmeal with creamy peanut butter, homemade strawberry jam, and a splash of milk.
Wishing:¬†It stayed warm a litttttttle longer or that fall was a thing here, but that’s okay- I can get my apples in the supermarket…
Enjoying: Seeing Madrid friends.  Annie was here a few weekends ago and we had brunch and went running and a bird pooped on her.  A great weekend, I must say.ci2picmonkey-collage
Loving:¬†the cool breeze that is coming through the window as I type this. ¬†And I’m drinking apple-spiced tea. ¬†Mmmmm fall.
Hoping: that this new app I downloaded helps me sleep better and thus feel better during the day.  Will report back.
Listening: Closer, by The Chainsmokers.

Quite catchy.

AND Chino y Nacho- Andas en mi Cabeza ft. Daddy Yankee.

Feeling:¬†nervous because I have my first conversation class with some of the teachers this morning. ¬†I hope they like to talk, otherwise this will be dreadful. ¬†Also, I have a super long day today but then a day off tomorrow so it’s not all bad ūüôā
Wearing: jeans and a black Zara t-shirt and black Nike sneakers.
Watching:¬†Nothing, but I caaaaaan’t wait for the Gilmore Girls movies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ¬†Get your cup of black coffee and your favorite cozy blanket, and maybe your mom, and get READY.

Bookmarking:  Gluten-free Homestyle Chicken and Noodles.  looks perfect for a cold night.

A Relaxing Weekend in Geneva, Switzerland.

Ahhhhh, Switzerland…..dsc_0112dsc_0002

Your mountains….and cheese….and chocolate…and complete cleanliness….and multitude of civilians that follow all of the laws (like not crossing on red when there are no cars ANYWHERE)…..

*I didn’t try the chocolate or the cheese…but it was so clean and those Swiss do follow their laws!dsc_0027

So, for the slower readers out there-  I went to Geneva, Switzerland last weekend and it was beautiful and cold and clean and expensive and perfectly relaxing.

Geneva is a beautiful little, classical town with old style buildings that line cobblestone streets.  There are tall mountains surrounding the city and bodies of water running throughout.dsc_0030 dsc_0028 dsc_0021

No, that jacket wasn’t enough to keep me warm. ¬†I was cooooold.swiss5swiss3

So you might be asking, “why would you go to¬†Geneva¬†when there are other beautiful Swiss cities to explore and mountains to ski?”. ¬†Good question. ¬†Most people don¬īt head to Geneva when they go to Switzerland, but it¬īs a nice place to see. ¬†Luis is working there for 4 months so I went to visit….and Geneva, while small, is beautiful and quaint and I didn’t try the fondue (yet), but I imagine it’s as delicious in Geneva as in Switzerland’s more happenin’ cities.

I left Madrid on Thursday afternoon (after an incredibly exhausting first week back at work!), but I enjoyed my nearly-empty flight.swiss8

I was so impressed by Swiss airline, from their friendly staff to the BOCADILLOS and CHOCOLATE they gave me on the 1.5 hour flight! ¬†Give me free food and don’t weigh my bag and I’ll think you’re a fantastic airline.

Friday I slept in, did a little exploring (but not toooo much since I was mapless, phoneless, and Luisless [he was working]).  So instead, I cooked.  I missed cooking!!swiss7 swiss6

And on Saturday, we explored. ¬†There¬†are things to see in Geneva, there just isn’t¬†a lot to see. ¬†Actually, that¬īs not true. ¬†I think there is a lot to see, but it doesn¬īt have a ton of popular sites that other cities have.dsc_0013 dsc_0018 dsc_0061dsc_0008 dsc_0010

I mean…type in “best things to see in Geneva” on Google and one of the top suggestions is “go out for cocktails”. ¬†Haha…but it’s still a beautiful city! ¬†It reminded me very much of Paris (WHO AM I??? ¬†I THINK I CAN SAY THINGS LIKE THIS NOW!!!) ¬†But really, it did remind me of Paris. ¬†Lots of small cafes and bakeries and people sitting outside. ¬†And $$$$$dsc_0054 dsc_0065 dsc_0076 dsc_0074 dsc_0141 dsc_0177

There was a beautiful park with views of the river and town below, and mountains in the back.dsc_0046 dsc_0049 dsc_0033 dsc_0050 dsc_0053He’s smiling, but he hates me and the camera.

And then we stopped for food.  I was actually feeling a little bit sick, so I had soup.  We stopped at a cute little restaurant and sat on their outdoor deck with these thick, wool blankets.dsc_0077 dsc_0078 dsc_0081

Fueled and ready to go¬†we continued our journey through Geneva. ¬†We stopped briefly at the famous lake with the shooting fountain (Jet d’Eau), but didn’t stay too long since it was cold and I was whining ūüėČdsc_0094 dsc_0100 dsc_0109 dsc_0113 dsc_0123 dsc_0126 dsc_0130

“LOOK! ¬†A bird!!!!!”

We walked some more….dsc_0153 dsc_0156 dsc_0161 dsc_0164 dsc_0177

Look how clean the water is!dsc_0180

And found this market that was shutting down when we got there. ¬†We would have bought some olives, but….they’re (much) less expensive in Spain haha.dsc_0186

And finally, before calling it a night, we played this huge game of chess…and I won!!dsc_0189

Ok, I didn’t really win. ¬†But I’m learning.

That night, we watched a movie and fell asleep earlier than most grandparents across all oceans do on a Saturday night. ¬†I told you, relaxing weekend! ¬†But to our defense, everything in Geneva closes at like…7:00 pm. ¬†The commercial center is close-closed by 7:30 with all employees home and warm with their families by 7:31 pm. ¬†It was dead by the time we walked through.

On Sunday, we got a bit of a late start, but walked through another market with incredible-looking food:dsc_0197 dsc_0198 dsc_0203s


And then continued along slowly before heading to the train station to catch a ride to the airport.dsc_0212 dsc_0215 dsc_0218 dsc_0220 dsc_0222

While we didn’t do all that much, this weekend was perfect in many different ways and Geneva, although not earth-shattering, definitely has it’s own charm.dsc_0091 swiss4swiss1

p.s. Look at the outlets they have there!swiss2