Thursday, August 14, 2008


well it has been a while since i have posted. during that time i have visited a few places, but have relatively few pictures to show for it.
one of the places i was able to visit was Toledo. amazing place. it was about 8 or so euro roundtrip for a 1 hour bus trip one way. i was not able to see as much as i would have liked so i am planning another trip in late september when the weather cools a bit.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

funny thing san sebastian

the town or village i live in is called san sebastian de los reyes and it its neighboring and touching town is called alcobendas. i have found something very amusing about these two villages...old men gomon their afternoon, mid morning, morning whatever time walks with out their shirts. ha ha ha! oh how i have wanted to capture this with my camera but how can i? i just can not force myself to ask an old man if i can take his photo without his shirt on. heehee. i have no idea if it is just something you can do around your local village or if the people of madrid do it as well. i have been on a few day trips to madrid and have yet to see a shirtless jerriatric man, although, i have only been to tourismo spots. in any case, everytime i see an old man leisurely strolling along i giggle to myself, becuase often as not, he´s got no shirt!

oh and on that fashion note, two things i´ve noticed. genie pants are in for women. they can go anywhere from the knee to to the ankle and be more like billowy sweat pants or full on i dream of genie going on. its quite intersting.

for men, they wear capries. i have seen this on a few guys in the states, but every other man is wearing capries here. again they go anywhere from under the knee to 6 or so inches about the ankle. i have to say...i like it. and i´ve seen everystyle of man wearing them. sporty, preppish, grunged, whatev.

oh! i forgot! when i was in london i noticed several guys wearing oldschool letterman sweaters, like the 1950´s thing. and again, the sweater was not designated to one type of look. kind of cool.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Faunia with Felix

wednesday felix and i went to a zoo/musuem/activity center about 20 minutes from san sebastian, where we live, called faunia. it is a small park with different sections where you can see different habitats and the animals that inhabit them. they also have a small water show with seals. felix told me that they did have dolphins. its a big enoough that you can spend the whole day there, but small enough that you do not need to rush. my favorite parts were the rainforest the african forest because the animals were not closed in. the path that you walked was completely open to the animals. i could have easily touched a lemur, some crazy bird things, parrots, squirrel monkeys, and in one of the exhibits butterflys flew all around. it was very cool.
the water show was pretty lame, but for younger kids it worked. i was hoping for a show like at seaworld or something. ah well.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

science museum

the science museum was a ton of fun. for some reason i fell inlove with these two things. the ¨sarah¨from the land before time skull and the albert dice mosaic. i should have taken a picture, but there was one of those electricity clear balls where victor and i spent the most of our time. we kept shocking each other over and over. we would try different things to make the shock stronger or just feel like ants or what not.
there were all sorts of exhibits that showed different geological, electrical, chemical, and every type of science. there were lizards, crazy looking fish, a wave machine, etc.
then we went to a presentation of microscopes. we started looking at a fly and then we were looking at all sorts of tee tiny little creatures. we saw bacteria floating and amoebas...yeah it was cool. ofcourse i didn´t understand a single being in spanish. but victor is a good interpreter.

Royal Palace - Madrid

i have had a few day trips with victor who is 10. we have alot of fun together. he is a very smart kid. we end up making fun of each other. he keeps me from being to serious, but remembering that he is a kid and so he has tender feelings. i can´t make fun to much. victor took the majority of these photos.

we went to the royal palace in madrid to see the castle, which is open to the public, and to see the changing of the guards. the first of every month is supposed to be bigger than anyother day. so turns out they do not do changing of the guards from july to september. we think because it too hot. but the castle was great. i can not believe how elaborate everything was! ofcourse i could not take pictures in the castle, but i did buy postcards of my favorite rooms.
there also is a royal armory. that was cool. it had weapons, shields,suits of armor, and horse armor from forever. they even had moorish weaponry and dress from the time when spain was trying to kick out all the moors (islamic). very cool.

as i was looking at the elaborate decorations and the weapons of war, i could not help but think about what my friend janae said. she expressed to me how she used to look in awe at the castles and the amazing structures that have stood for thousands of all she can see is the proof that the many were kept down, left without food, clothing, or shelter. The many were the ones to sweat, bleed, toil, and die for next to nothing (if anything) so that the very few rich could have their elaborate palaces. the many, the people, the masses left little to remember them by becuase they had nothing.

yes, i was in awe over the beauty and detail of this amazing building, but it was tinged with sadness for the people on whose backs this building rests.

Monday, June 30, 2008

spain trip: london continued

i paid close to 30 pounds approximately 60 american dollars a night to stay in this teeeeeny tiiiiny little hole. it was clean, yes, but still. the funniest thing of all was that i did not have a towel. i realized shortly after not having janae to care for me that i had not thought through my time alone very thoroughly.
so what i had to do was use the bed sheet for my towel. at least they provided that. it was wonderfully funny to myself, and i wish that anyone would have seen it too.
i bought a towel shortly there after.

the last few days

when i arrived on saturday i went grocery shopping with the father, javier, moved into my room, did a load of laundry, ate lunch, had a nap, and then was on the computer until chantal and javier came back from the airport with chloe and victor.

sunday was another easy day. after the family came back from church we had lunch, then nothing for the next few hours. chloe and victor both had friends over. about 7pm or so, we went to a family friends house to watch the european cup (soccer) spain verses germany. i wish i wish i would have brought my camera. all the food the hostess brought out was spectacular! i could not believe the spread. hams, fish, cheeses, of all sorts piled on top of slices of bread. and spanish omlettes. it was great to say the least.

so this might gross some of you out, but i like to eat raw bacon. Loyd will vouch for that. but its not really raw, it has been highly salted. so what do i see on the table? different types of hams that are salted but not cooked on the table to eat with your bread. i was so happy.

it was a very fun night. everyone was very friendly and eager to talk to me even though i can barely manage a correct sentence.

today, monday has been a little different. ofcourse because it is the first day that we are having english lessons. i tutor around the childrens schedules. they are very busy. july is going to be a busy month for all of us.

fyi: i´m losing weight! i eat less and less often so far. i thought i would gain weight in london with all the eating out i did, but no. i only ate 1 or 2 meals a day and then i walked so much it was incredible!
ps i have a badae in my bathroom....not sure of the spelling. i haven´t used it yet. i think i´ll video it when i do.
pictures to come.
i do put all pictures on

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A)


so you are walking down the block and you think :oh look at the chip missing. but then you keep looking and there are holes from small chips to massive chunks taken out of every part of the outer wall. it really is an amazing sight. many people never learn why the building is damaged because the memorial is simple and completely understated. i was looking at some of the damage and a pair of boys walked by saying "man look at this building. why don't they fix it"

this museum is great. i only walked the first floor so far but soon i'll see more.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

going going GONE!

i was supposed to head out of slc airport at 11:30pm june 18th but the plane was delayed over 3 hours so i was put on a flight with delta at 9:55 am june 19th. arriving in london heathrow airport at 7 am june 20th. it actually worked out very well. i was able to spend more time with loyd, get better rest, and completely de-stress from the packing/cleaning/ last minute details of the entire day of june 18th. man that was a crazy day!

so it is now sunday, june 22nd and i am sitting in a computer lab in london a few blocks from the flat i am sharing with janae. the last two days have been great. if you are bored in this city that means you are boring person. its amazing here! block after block of shops and food and museums and amazing architecture and more that i haven't seen! i river is amazing and the bridges never stop! i've never seen so many bridges span one river. its great.

i do know why most people are skinny here, its not from lack of available food thats for sure, but everyone walks. no reason to drive. driving is insane here. the tube (their subways) are amazing! they run every 3 minutes and they crisscross the entire city. the buses in utah are terrible. i didn't think so, maybe just under par, but no, they are a sad sad excuse for public transport. anyway...its great.

i have much more to write and say, so stay tuned. Pictures coming soon.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

-12- -11- -10- -9- -8-

quick countdown to spain! i went to the bank and bought some euros and english pounds. i bought my plane ticket from england to madrid. by the way, do not fly ryanair if you ever need to transport luggage! the ticket was super cheap, but they have fees applied to everything and you can only check 15kilograms in baggage total! that is about 30lbs. ridiculous. Although i am happy that i will have so much room for the trip back for everything i buy in spain. I will not taking ryanair back to england. i want to take the train and chunnel from spain to england.

i can not believe it is getting so close my departure date. i'm freaking out just a bit.

things i need to do: purchase international insurance (requirement of the company)
e-mail ryanair my passport number and personal info (required by spain)
purchase my student travel card
pack up my room (required by sylvia) :)
make copies of all official documents incase of emergency

so it doesn't seem like i have to much to worry about, but i'm still freaked out. i've never traveled to a foreign country before.

Friday, June 6, 2008

- 13 -

-13 - days and counting!
yesterday in preparation for my departure i've started cleaning and sorting my room. i need to pack up my books and other items that i am leaving behind.

today some of the other english tutors for the same company contacted me. it will be nice to have an instant friend group.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

- 15 -

15 days
my preparations begin in earnest today...or at least in my mind they have :) my apartment is a disaster. today is organization day so that i will be able to find everything i want to bring with me. today i finally filed my taxes (yeah i know). i'll have a few more dollars in my account to spend on food and travel.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Count Down to Spain - 16 -

not including today i have 16 days before i catch my flight and land in europe! my flight leaves salt lake city, utah at 11:30pm june 18th and lands in london, england at 9:30pm on june 19th. i have a layover in newark then off across the atlantic ocean. i'll be spending a few days in london with my friend and inspiration Janae Haas then off to spain. amazing to know that i'll be getting a flight from london to madrid for about 15 euros or 30 american dollars. i like that.

as the days count down i am getting more and more anxious. i'm so excited!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Boleis Family

this is the family i will be a part of for as long as i am in
Spain. they all speak english to one degree or another which is very nice. i will be bringing books, videos, cartoons, movies etc so they can be exposed to american culture as well as listen to english constantly. they seem like a lot of fun by their e-mails. apparently the little one in the middle is dieing to meet me :) the father and mother are both accountants, but the mother now takes care of the family. i look forward to getting to know them.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I've Been Picked

a host family chose me from all the profiles they were given to preview. from their info sheet they sound nice. i am so excited! they live about 30 minutes northeast of madrid and have 3 children. 1 girl (12) and 2 boys (10 and 7). they want me to teach 3 hours a day, monday through friday. and the best part of all is that they want me to stay as long as i want to. i'll keep you updated as i learn more about them.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hoping, Waiting, Wishing

i just spoke with my contact for the working abroad/ teaching english in Spain program. they have received all my information, everything is in order, and the branch in Spain is on the hunt for my new family. i have my ticket, my plans, but so far no family. i'm still not worried...just going a little crazy. i need all the prayers i can get, for my sanity if nothing else :)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

My Family

i have to thank my family. without them my trip to spain would be impossible. for about a year my parents helped me with rent, tuition, my car payment, and whatever else i needed.

my sisters all have supported me by always helping when i needed it. One let me use her frequent flyer miles so that my ticket was less than half what it would be otherwise. one has dropped my rent payment so i can save more money. they have given me gifts that will ease my preparations, and my stay in spain. they have been as excited as i am about my trip. they have given me constant encouragement.

i love you mom, dad, olivia, candida, camilla, sylvia, ivan, odessa, nina, adam, chad, and jake! thank you so much for being what i needed when i needed you!

no matter where i go in the world my family will always be my anchor.

My Inspiration

even though i've had the desire to visit europe for years now, it was really just over a year ago that the desire became an obsession. i could not stop thinking about spain. i tried a few different approaches...friends of friends, family of friends, i looked into study abroad. nothing was working out. after a month i just gave up. it seemed to difficult and to expensive to worry about.

i have a favorite professor; she has been my world civ, greek history, and scientific thought professor. i love her. the best way to describe her is that i am her reincarnated. i am utterly confused at having been born again when i have yet to die. strange. one day during greek class, she went on a spill about how in europe juniors in college take a year off and travel. they do not darken the doorways of their campuses. she said if we think we are too poor now, it is even more expensive when you are not a student. students get fat discounts all over the place.

i knew it was time. when i told her how i longed to go to spain she said "ew. i hate the iberian peninsula" that was awesome. now that i am seriously going she has offered priceless advice and plans to spend time with me while we are both in london. her love of europe, travel, and just experiencing has inspired me to live my dreams.

the time is now to live the life i want.

Why Spain?

since highschool i have wanted to be the foreigner. now ten years later i am going Spain. for at least three months i will be working and living in Madrid, Spain. i am teaching in english through an exchange program called interexchange. i will be teaching english for twenty hours a week in exchange for my room and board. weekends will be mine to explore!

why Spain? i really do not know. but if i was forced to give a reason, i would say i chose Spain because of my desire to speak spanish and travel to Europe all in one trip. i did not want to go to Spain in a study abroad program. true, i could get college credit but i would not get the real experience. i refuse to be surrounded by american students doing all that tourist blah blah. i still needed a secure environment though. i do not speak spanish yet; there was no way i was going to drop in and say "howdy y'all!" i searched for a program that would provide a safe, secure environment and still be able to learn spanish and meet people.

everyday that passes the more excited i become!