Sunday, January 27, 2013

{life} almost at the finish line

Helllllo! It's me, here with yet another recap post. I promise I will get more exciting once my course is over!

Speaking of my course, I am more than halfway doneeee. Woooo! I really like everyone who works at my program, but man-oh-man, this course is TOUGH! I taught 4 classes over the last two weeks. I have two more classes to go tomorrow and Tuesday. Then it is exam time, moderation, & sweet, sweet freedom!

I can't wait to actually explore Madrid with all of our new friends in our course.

Here's what life has looked like through my iPod / my camera the last few weeks. A lot of the pictures are super fuzzy because it has been overcast here the last few weeks. I miss the sun!

Ready, set, & begin random post:

Shameless selfie before my first night out since before the course started!

Course friends!

Bre & I went to a vegetarian restaurant with a friend from class last weekend.
It was soooooooo good! We shared croquettes with pumpkin, mushroom, veggie pate, soy sausage and spinach. I ordered the arugula and goat cheese pizza with eggplant and mushrooms. Nommm.

Chunky sweaters and huge scarves have been getting me through the last few weeks.

 Life as a TEFL teacher - lots of tea and constantly going over lesson plans.

You can't see it.... but it is snowing in this picture! I had to capture the moment because it was my very first time seeing snow fall from the sky. weeeeeeee!

Celebration mode with ice cream and vino because I finally received a "very good" grade on a teaching practice!

PLL all day, every day.

Hi, I'm exhausted Jen.

Night out numero dos with course friends!

buckets of 5 beers for 3 euros.... bye bye


Yesterday was the first truly beautiful day in a while. 57 & sunny = terrace door open!

Phonetics on a Saturday night.... so fun.

Bre made delissssssh veggie chili for dinner last night.

That's all for now friends! I'm off to write two lesson plans, finish my group project, and study for my grammar/phonetics exam. One. More. Week.

Ciao! Jen

Sunday, January 13, 2013

{travel} life as a TEFL student

Hola chicas! I have been wanting to blog every day since I last posted, but haven't found the time!

It has been a whirlwind of crazy amounts of school work ever since our training class started on Monday. I knew that I was entering an intensive course... but didn't realize just how intensive it really is! We have a ton of assignments and lesson plans to complete in the next 4 weeks.

Needless to say, I've been trying to find my groove with studying again. I haven't had much time to explore the city this week.

Here's the past week according to my Instagram.

Cappuccinos are perfection here. I especially love the ones at a cafe called "Granier."

It has been muy frio for this Florida girl!

Sometimes you just really need some chocolate.

You can always count on wine being cheaper than water.

This American is really missing her dryer back home.

Word to the wise - you want a nutritious meal in Madrid?
Make it yourself.

I'm teaching my lesson on prepositions of direction TOMORROW to an Elementary English class.
By Elementary I mean adults with very low English language skills, not kids.

I took a break from studying and headed to El Rastro with some girls in my class.
It is a huge flea market Madrid puts on in the La Latina barrio every Sunday.

One of my friends bought the poster this vendor is holding for 8 euros.
I'm thinking I might want to find him again in the next few weeks.

I finally had my first truly delicious meal here today. I can't remember the Spanish name for it, but it is an open-faced sandwich with caramelized onions, pork sirloin, goat cheese slices, and a raspberry sauce on top of a slice of whole-wheat toast. I savored every single bite.

I am taking every second to appreciate the beauty that is Madrid, Espana.
I could see miles and miles of the city standing at this nondescript intersection in La Latina.

So nervous to teach for the first time tomorrow.... eeeek!

Ciao, Jen

Sunday, January 6, 2013

{travel} touring the city

Hola from Madrid!

We are quickly getting used to the area around us. We live in Tetuan, a barrio north of the center of the city. It is much slower paced around here, but there are still some fantastico cafes & bakeries.

viernes - 3, enero 2013

Breakfast with some of the girls in our class at Uvepan. 
I ordered the empanadillo con carne y un cappucino con leche. 

The meat department at one of the nice grocery stores nearby.

Here is our escuela for the next month!

Drinking vino on our terrace at 3 PM Spanish time. Why not?!

That night, we decided to head to the center of town, where we all eventually want to live. It was the first time I truly felt that I was living in a big city. 

You guys... Madrid is seriously BEAUTIFUL.

Calle Gran Via

Pedestrian walkway in Sol.

We went to a cerveceria called El Tigre with some of our new friends in our course. One of the girls told us to order a "tinto de verano," which is what locals like to drink instead of Sangria. It is red table wine and lemon Fanta mixed together, and is absolutely delicioso! It cost 3,50 euros, but came with an entire plate of free tapas. My kind of place!

After El Tigre, we walked around the Sol, La Latina, & Opera areas. We took pictures at the 'origin of Madrid,' and saw the pretty Christmas tree in Puerta del Sol.

Speaking of Christmas, the Spaniards celebrate Christmas through January 6th because they celebrate the Epiphany, when the three kings brought presents to Baby Jesus. They all eat "King's Cake," which has a special little token in on of the slices. Whoever gets the token in their slice is said to have good luck for the rest of the year. We ended up buying one from the bakery around the corner from our apartment and cutting into it with girls from our class. So fun!

Later that night, we went out with one of the girls in our course and some of her roommates. We ended up at an Irish pub, where we drank Irish beer, and listened to American music, and hung out with British people, a Spanish city. It isn't so different over here after all!

sábado - 4, enero 2013

We woke up Satuday with every intention of getting things done before our 1 pm walking tour booking that started at Plaza Mayor, but staying out until 4 am the night before really put a damper on that! Oops. We managed to get out of the house at a decent time and grab a croissant on the way to the metro, but the metro workers are on strike. It is currently only running at about 30%, so we missed our tour! Better luck next time.

Extremely excited for this buttery & flaky piece of joy.

We still walked around Plaza Mayor without the tour.

Our friends were all getting pretty hungry so we hopped on over to the tourist hotspot Museo del Jamon. It was definitely an interesting experience. I love jamon, but my sandwich was just so-so.

After lunch, it was back to Plaza Mayor.

There are lots of creepy American cartoon characters & street performers in Plaza Mayor. Like this poor Spongebob, who apparently only has one tooth?

I am in constant awe of the beauty around me. And hello... gelato!

Today we have to unpack some & get ready for our course tomorrow. We might go over to our friends' apartment and read through the course pack together on their terrace.

Ciao, Jen

Friday, January 4, 2013

{travel} MADRID!

Hi guys! I made it here all in one piece with all of my luggage!

The flight was pretty bumpy... but it was easy enough to get transport all of our luggage with the free SmartCarts they have in the airport. (Hey, US, you should probs make your SmartCarts free too.)

Here are some pictures from mine & Bre's Instagram & my mom's camera of our trip and our first day.

Four bags. One girl. One year.

My best friend met me at the airport and gave me a signed copy of Eat Live Run's novel. 
She wrote a little note in there for me, too. Love it!

Breanne & me with our parents during our tearful goodbye.

On our first flight from Tampa to Philly!

We made it! And it is a beautiful day. This is the view from our private terrace.

Our apartment.

Our first meal in our new apartment.

3 euro bottle of wine was pretty drinkable!

We're off today to find straighteners & blowdryers, and to explore this cute little bakery we passed yesterday on one of the main calles.

Besos, Jen