So I’ve been living in Madrid for six months and it is time to bring back the blog. It is so strange and bittersweet to read my last post. I was in such a different place! Too much has done on since the last time to explain so here are the big moments:
I left Ecuador in July 2015. I went home to the US for about 6 weeks to hang out with my family. It was weird and nice to be home. I also spent a great deal of time taking a million tests and attending workshops so that I could be certified to be a teacher in New York. (BTW – The process is ridiculous and I’m still not done. Shame on you, New York Board of Regents)
I spent a week in NYC learning about the IB mathematics program and how to teach. FUN!
I MOVED TO MADRID!! The first week here was crazy and fun and HOT. All of new teachers in my school participated in a great orientation that involved finding an apartment, going out for tapas and tintos de verano – my favourite drink here in Madrid.
My computer somehow figured out I was in Europe and switched over to British English. So any time you see an s or ou where a z or an o should be, that’s not me being Madonna-esque. I just can’t fight my word processor anymore.
I moved into an adorable apartment on a really fun street in a neighbourhood called Malasaña. I LOVE it – old tile floors, arched doorways, four balconies, and lots of light. It also has old windows that allows all of the noise of the street into the apartment. We are talking crowds of people walking around at 4am. I have gotten used to it but that late night stereotype about Spain is no stereotype – it’s the truth!
I teach at an amazing school with amazing people. The kids are always the best part of any teaching job. And the people I teach with are smart and fun and wonderful. I have really nice friends and I am growing professionally.
I have been able to travel around Spain and to Paris with my new colleagues and friends. Europe is really….European!!
E is studying in the Netherlands and we have gotten to see other a few times. We have met up in Madrid, Amsterdam, Brussels, Lisbon, and lots of other places. I miss him like crazy!
So there it is – a quick catch-up and now I can start my blog again.
Take a look at some of the fun photos I’ve taken since I last wrote. I tried to limit the photos so you get a taste of things that I have seen and done since moving to Madrid. Enjoy!
Once again, let me say I CAN NOT BELIEVE I ONLY HAVE FEW WEEKS left here in Quito. It makes me tear up for so many reasons:
I have come to love (and dislike at times!) this country.
I am going back to work after one year of doing whatever I want whenever I want.
I have to leave friends and family.
I have to leave E. (Yes, I will see him in Europe somewhere but not on the regular!)
In order to say goodbye to Ecuador properly, I am trying to do a little traveling and see the last few parts of Ecuador that I have not yet visited. This past weekend E and I went to his hometown, Tulcán, which is way up near Colombia – only 15 minutes from the border! We visited an amazing cemetery with beautifully pruned cypress trees that form kind of labyrinth. AMAZING! We ate hornado and tripa mishqui (or tripa mishki – I’ve seen both spellings!) We went to Ipiales, Colombia for the afternoon to do a little shopping. We visited E’s old stomping grounds. It was a fantastic trip. Hopefully next week, we’ll visit a few other places!
In addition to travel, I have been doing lots of fun things before I go. I had a fancy anniversary dinner at Zazu. I took a ride in the teléferico with my friend W and went hiking for a few hours at the top. E and I attended our friend W’s graduation. It was great to see him give a creative and fun speech that celebrated his classmates and their achievement. I saw a few of the teachers with whom I worked last year. They looked so happy too!
I’ve been gathering my things that I’ve acquired over my time here and selling them on a Quito expat Facebook page. I’ve sold my iPods (older and newer), cameras, kindle, etc. Next comes the kitchen stuff and beauty stuff. It feels great to be free of the stuff but really strange and sad to know that I will not need it anymore. I’m looking forward to use the money for summer clothes. Madrid’s climate is pretty nice for quite a long time so I’m going to need to clothes for warm weather. After living in a relatively cool place, I hope I can handle the heat!
I’ve been working on math for the last few weeks and I’ve started thinking about lesson plans as well. I found out I’ll be teaching two sections of Algebra 1, Algebra 2/Trig, and IB SL year 2. I feel like a first year teacher again. I’m really excited about what lies ahead in my professional life.
I made a promise to my friend N that I will be better about blogging in Madrid. There is so much to do and see there that I hope I will have the time. I really do want to be better about it! I have enjoyed reading the blogs of those who have gone there before me! Maybe I will be an inspiration to someone else next year!
The cable man came to fix my internet – Look where he is!
Hiking on Pichincha
Amazing flora on Pichincha
Views from the top!
Is it a vulture?
W’s graduation invite!
W giving his speech at graduation
Random pics taken on the way to Tulcán
Look at that green!
The main Church in Tulcán
Grilling the Tripa Mishqui
Market in Tulcán
The Juice Lady
He got carrot/orange juice and I got strawberry/guanabana! YUM!
One of the cool figures at the cemetery – she had a baby strapped to her back!
E really loved this one!
At the cemetery!
E in front of his old school
The view from E’s old street
SO DELCIOUS! I couldn’t fit all of this into my body!!
Tulcán’s new logo
Salsa documentary and dancing!
I saw this lady walking in the park. She had at least 30 pounds on her head.
My time here in Ecuador is winding down. I know that in my head but my heart has not caught on yet. Every once in a while I have a moment when I realize I do not have long in Quito and I have to catch my breath.
This means I have to take advantage of every opportunity to experience Ecuador. Last week, this meant driving with a friend to the coast to lay around on the beach for a week. It was fantastic. We stayed at Hostería Mandála which is a little piece of heaven on Earth. Continue reading →
So much has happened since the last time I posted a month and a half ago!! My whole plan to post every week fell by the wayside. Why? I was busy applying to international schools. What a crazy process!!
First I had to decide on a international school recruiting agency. This turned out to be Search Associates. Actually, they had to decide if they wanted to work with me! I had to ask for lots of references (current and past administrators, parents, and colleagues). I was Continue reading →
One of the goals I set for myself during my year off was to keep up with my blog. That hasn’t happened as I hope it would. But I’ve been reading lots of other people’s blogs and it has encouraged me to come back to my own and get going!
Since September, I have been taking yoga and Spanish. I have taken preCalculus in Spanish on Coursera and a Common Core Math Assessment class. I have been a voracious reader. I recently enjoyed The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert. I’ve been cooking up a storm and trying to remain faithful to my newfound healthy point of view. I am working my way through an IB HL math text where I spend an hour or two each day doing math problems and enjoying myself immensely. I visited my family in the US for Continue reading →
So September 1 was the official beginning of my year off. Except…it’s not really my year off. Since I quit my job, I have started taking Spanish classes at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador or PUCE. Every morning I leave the house by 8:25 and get home around 1:00. It is A LOT of work! I am learning the subjunctive again and I think I’m getting it this time around. I am starting to notice when I should use it in conversation and I Continue reading →
This past weekend Esteban and I went to Ibarra. E had to help his parents with their business and then we got to spend the rest of our time at cute little hacienda a little bit outside of Ibarra. E … Continue reading →
July 25th marked the last day of school for me. So for the last few days I have been free!! I spent my first free weekend at E’s house learning how to make quimbolitos from E’s mom, Marcia. Quimbolitos are a sweet cake steamed in an achira leaf – delicious! The next day E had a 7 hour BBQ with his friends which turned out to be a lot of fun too!
So Monday was my first day of vacation with nothing planned. It was amazing. I made a simple green smoothie with chia seeds while I flipped through the Lucky magazine that E had brought from the US for me and watched Live with Kelly and Michael on the internet. So luxurious.
I’ve started running again. I’m on Week 4 of the Couch to 5K. I really, really hate running. I’m trying to push through and find the good but I fight with myself to keep going because I hate it so much. I’ve been trying to find a workout that will give me the same benefits that running will but that doesn’t seem to exist. The words used in their names: blast, explosion, meltdown, insanity – make the workouts sound REALLY violent. I guess running is it for a while!
Stay tuned for more updates! I finally have the time to write some!
OMG. Never have I seen such hype, such excitement, such pure joy on the faces of Ecuadorians as when The World Cup (please note I capitalize out of respect) is discussed. I was in Cuba when that last World Cup ended and Spain won and I thought it was crazy there. Nope. That was nothin’.
First, you have to understand that everyone here has been filling official FIFA sticker books with FIFA approved stickers of players, teams, team insignia, and stadiums. You might think I am talking about kids when I say everyone. Nope. EVERYONE. Grown adults are Continue reading →
So my work as an SAT tutor is finished until September. I have to say I really loved working with small groups of extremely motivated and polite kids in extremely luxe settings like country clubs and penthouse floors of office buildings. You are probably thinking, “Sounds great! What’s not to like?” and you would be right to ask. The answer is nothing. It was awesome. However, it did take up some precious time of which I have little since I am always planning my classes and grading at my full time job. Continue reading →