mushy

Dear Future me

I came across the site futureme.org when I was teaching English in Spain because I thought it would be a fun final activity. What I should have done was start with it so that the students could receive their e-mail at the end and laugh or say “wow” or whatever. Basically you compose an e-mail to yourself and send it to the “future” and it has to be at least 6 months into the future (I think). I’ve done it a handful of times now and it’s always a nice little surprise in my inbox. Especially nice to have a break from unsubscribing from Banana Republic and UDems, which I wasn’t even really in, but now I’m permanently on their mailing list. DEM4LYFE.

I just wanted to share 99% of what I wrote. I only changed one percent to just take out a name and like one other touchy thing…

Dear FutureMe,
Hey, you just got a letter today from March- talking about breaking up….living at home…all of the very difficult times you went through last year. Right now there is a light at the end of the tunnel in ALL senses of that phrase.
1. Surgery is done and recovery is going well. Aside from having numb chin and lips, can’t complain. Hopefully when you read this you are like wtf, I can feel everything on my face yay.
2. Braces for only 3-4 more months (maybe less?!?!) Last time I had an appointment he said around 3 months, but again that was 6 weeks ago. I have one Jan 5th and I hope he can give me more of an idea of that date. PLZZZ BE SOON!
3. Moving to wicker park! I’m so excited. It’s taken me literally an entire year to get to this point. I stayed after the break up and then I just kept staying during my surgery. Now I can finally be independent as fuck. yes. yes yes.
4. Teaching is great this year. Not getting observed has really calmed me down a LOT. I also have pretty nice classes and I’m not completely clueless about what I’m doing. Thank goodness.
I can also see myself staying …… longer than I originally anticipated. I thought I’d do my 4 years and be so ready to fly out of here but the more time passes by it seems pretty easy to just stay a little longer. Get my loans forgiven. Do a really good job. I think I will move on eventually, but closer to year 10 than year 5? We shall see future me.
5. Hope you’re still eating healthy as fuck. I’m having a smoothie right now that’s like fruits protein powder, flax etc…all that good stuff. Keep it up.
Wonder if you’re still single? Obviously haven’t talked to any boys  since…… so that’s a pretty long dry spell. You are so ready to get out there if you aren’t already. Go on a date with like literally anyone. Why not. A bartender, a clown, a baker, just not a bum or a jerk lord.
All right I came to school to grade. You are on summer break now you lucky betch. Hope you’re enjoying it!

 

 

So man that last paragraph had me in tears. Just not a jerk lord. Those are my standards. And yes, I decided to eat healthy AF this morning so I’m having yogurt with berries. Thanks past me for that reminder.

Whatever it takes, figuring out the best ways to take care of yourself and be the best version of yourself. The most effective ways to get a variety of workouts in and never get bored! Studiohop Fitness! via Lauren Jade Lately

In the meantime….

xoxo

Master

Some of my hair is blue, I have a masters degree and I confirmed that I don’t like yoga and do love netflix. I still drink wine almost every day, because it’s cultural and I finally read a book for pleasure. I’m also going to be making a “real person” salary soon, but not soon enough. I guess that’s the summary of my year and it seems pretty bleak considering all of these things minus the wine drinking happened in the last two weeks of it.

I could tell you more about yoga but what annoying “writer” hasn’t written a blog post about a yoga class. Having an experience. It was crazy, it was funny, the characters- really. Experience your way into this pose. Feel your heart. Feel your shoulder blades. Ignore see through stretch pants woman, don’t get startled by sharp teacher yoga breaths. Figure out what any of it means and you won’t be napping on the mat while everyone else is cross legged in praying pose (I don’t know the official name).

Or I could tell you I was inspired to write this post because of some brat in an elevator commenting on a receipt that had the date written in the “European way” and she remarked to her older brother “you mean the logical way”. I just about died. She was also in the yoga class. Of course. It is so logical, but don’t act all high and mighty. I am more than looking forward to going back to Spain because I miss so many things, and the way that they write the date wasn’t one that initially popped into my brain, but I’ll take it. I did also already consider my big cup of ice water that I was drinking out in my back yard and how I chose to eat lunch over the course of an hour but it was at one p.m, oh the earliness of it.

I made a tortilla the other day for dinner and flipped the thing while letting all thoughts rush out of my brain, like the gooey yolk layer still at the top, and it worked and it was delicious. My dad says I’ll never lose my touch. As if it makes me ‘more Spanish’. But I had only just remembered this skill of mine as the anniversary of my leaving Spain approached. I came back this time last year to start the AUSL program. Flung back into the American school systems and large watery cups of coffee on long dark commutes-both ways. Please don’t wash my windshield sir, and dear lord how did I not just run over the 20 + people that casually embark on conversational journeys in the pot hole filled streets.

I guess my year does have a lot more to it when I really reflect, but I was too busy to do much of that. I think some parts I’d rather not remember and even the parts I’d rather not remember and yet still do are “funny” now. It’s all worth it.

I’m going back to Spain mid July. This time as a vacationer, a visitor. I don’t have to teach anyone English but I do have to figure out how I am going to stay cool and stylish. I might burst into tears at my new role. I envy so many of my friends that remained there this year and will remain indefinitely.

In my interview for AUSL I was asked something along the lines of, ‘are you sure you’re ready for this, convince me that you are…’ I was kind of feeling like Elaine in that Seinfeld episode when she knows there is no way she is getting the job so I don’t think I knew what I was talking about when I said ‘I just know that this is the time for me to do this, no other time.’ I still don’t know if I was right, but I can’t imagine myself anywhere else right now. Then I had a nice little thought of myself about twenty years down the road. I had taught and was somehow a wise professor and a writer and I got to be in Spain just writing and being wise.  I never want to do this year over, but I think it will take me to where I want to go.

Besos

 

 

Shamrock shuffle. Hardly an aside that I became a runner...but I kinda did.

Shamrock shuffle. Hardly an aside that I became a runner…but I kinda did.

Make my hair blue, I don't care if you mess up. Radical rebel.

Make my hair blue, I don’t care if you mess up. 

#emo

#emo

With my mentor at AUSL graduation.

With my mentor at AUSL graduation.

 

 

Where it started and ended: Santiago de Compostela

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We clean up pretty nicely

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Pink blazer saves the day

 

I wasn’t going to go to Santiago originally. I had this thought that if I made it there it would be because I did at least part of the camino. I have realistic expectations of myself and my capabilities, and I know that time, lack of foot comfort and my iffy about camping attitude are not the ingredients to being a successful peregrino. So it was going to be another place where I was like oh yeah, I’ll go back. I am going back to Spain of course. However….being that I was already over on that side of Spain with a car and that ever lovable time….well here’s the trip.

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Being in the plaza with all the walkers, bikers and other tourists was a trip in itself. Some groups of people came attached to each other like five year old children on a  field trip holding a  rope and singing a song I had never heard before. Other people were doing what I imagined I would do- laying down relieved. Most people were just pushy and it was kind of annoying to try and have any kind of peaceful thought provoking experience when it seemed like this was nothing more than the largest ball of twine in Spain. All a big show made popular by some religious freak, but there I was. Part of it. I even bought something at the gift shop and lit two “candles”

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Candles lit for special people

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Here, you can enter and touch St. James James! Well, I don’t honestly even remember what the wait was for because everyone was so pushy and the people watching was way more interesting.  My memory is weak now, but I do remember being by a group of older ladies. Actually, a majority of the crowd were older ladies having some kind of ladies visit/vacation. Perhaps their version of Vegas. Unfortunately it seemed wrong to complain about clusters of shrunken perfume reeking vessels cutting me in line to see something I wasn’t exactly waiting my whole life to see. What was another five minutes…plus we already ate lunch so I was content.

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After a good amount of walking about, I can say that Santiago is a nice city and has some charm aside from just the cathedral, but I really would not plan on spending more than one day there. Luckily Diego booked us a special place to stay, and it goes down in the history of my life as one of the best places ever and solidified the happiness and joy of the whole trip.

http://www.bachao.es/

It is a rural house just outside of the city and you get to it on a tiny winding road. You’ll think you have arrived a few times, but you haven’t until you’re pretty sure you are just driving deep into an unknown forest, and then the property just pops up like a glowing and beautiful siren calling to you except you aren’t in the Odyssey and everything will be okay if you just follow the two overly friendly dogs that just ate half of the snacks that fell out of your side car door. (ehem, Jimena).

We went all out on our room and got the giant suite because you know we had to have the best after camping….

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We feasted on our St. James cake in bed along with other bits of food we had been schlepping around with us and totally passed out with big plans to explore the beauty of the grounds in the morning.

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These two dogs may look like your average fools, but when we asked about a good route to walk and see the river, the owner said oh just follow the dogs, they’ll lead you. Even if you don’t want them to, they’ll go with you. So with no actual idea of where we would go, and with the hope of ending up back at the house we let Jimena and the other old mystery dog lead us down to the river. Really legitimate.

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Before we started off on this journey I personally wished that I had had the appetite of Michael Phelps upon seeing the breakfast buffet….yet the word buffet does not do this spread justice because for some reason buffet has come to be an ugly word for me. It brings to mind Old Country Buffet…which I used to love and I think goes without saying why I perhaps have grown to not love it.  IMG_5158 IMG_5159

They had the most amazing homemade tortilla, yogurt, fresh juices, jamon, olive oil, toast, coffee, really great coffee…..just all you could ever want in a breakfast. I wish I had taken more pictures now but I felt like enough of a dork taking this one because I was trying to keep it cool like this was the kind of trip I go on all the time. And I was wearing a Pull & Bear windbreaker with the American Flag on it and that was probably enough.

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Jimena flouncing about. IMG_5171 IMG_5172

Really she was a decent guide but she could have gone with a few less bathing breaks. IMG_5181 IMG_5182

My pictures aren’t doing the justice I want them to to the scenery. You just have to go to know. I think it was also the feelings I was having at the time of the trip that made the green greener, the river more beautiful and the rain even rainier. I just know that I’ll always love that day and smile when I think about it. Thank you to the kind people at the Casa do Bachao, and thank you to your wonderful dogs that crack me up.

I am finally coming to the actual final leg of the trip: A Coruna.  I am way late on all of these but it wasn’t that long ago that I made the final payment on the rental car.

The one year anniversary of my sisters wedding also just came and went….and it will be one year ago that I flew back to Spain for the second time to meet my crazy high school students. I’ll make sure and wrap it up by next weekend.

besos

 

 

At the end of the day….

all we have is who we are.

So we should all resolve to be better as much as possible and not just January 1 until going to the gym gets boring…. until you realize it’s almost spring break.

Each year people say they will “be nicer”  “exercise more” “spend more time with family” but those are about as solid as a politician’s promise to “make America better.” Does anyone know what that means by the way? My so called resolutions are about as fluffy as my examples, but they are things that I’m already doing and just want to continue doing….more….and better. Shoot.

I consider myself extreme. I don’t mean a wildly outgoing, thrill chasing, wackadoo. Although I know most of my students would define me as wackadoo; if they were even brave enough to utter such non-sense. I’m hard on myself when it comes to the work that I do. If I don’t feel like I’ve produced something amazing, then I feel it’s a total failure. I like to put my heart and soul into things, yet I tend not to because I don’t like them to get hurt. It may appear complex, but I promise I lead a simple life. At least in my daydreams.

What I really resolve is to do is make resolutions more often. My goals and dreams change pretty regularly especially since accomplishing them takes them off the to do list.

1. Run: I have recently taken to running. I currently run in bursts of 4 minutes max, then walk a little then run again…so I’m still on the couch to 5k plan and I’ve been on it since summer BUT I used to loathe running. I’m sure because I’m naturally terrible at it. This is also probably my 29th “go” at becoming a runner. The reason I keep trying is because it’s exercise and I like being active, and it’s free. What it has taught me is that if I keep trying something I don’t like, I could eventually change my mind about it. This has also happened with shrimp and minty things. I used to say that running a marathon is something I had zero interest in doing; like going to India; but as all of my students least favorite person sings “never say never” – Justin Bieber.

just runnin with my friends

just runnin with my friends

 

2. Cook: In college I could not have lived without a microwave. I used to microwave store bought cookies in an attempt to have that fresh out of the oven warmth and gooey-ness. I even microwaved a zebra cake once which I will warn you not do because they are already quite soft. College is that time when people say “oh, I live on my own so now I have to cook!” Well, actually you don’t because these places called stores and restaurants supply many already made things.

But I understand why cooking is better, healthier, cheaper etc. etc. I can’t pinpoint when this change came about but this summer I started to have this thing called lots of free time in a house stocked with food, so I guess It was my way of saying thanks to my parents for letting me live with them by occasionally supplying them with dinner after a long day at work.  Here in Spain I’ve had days where I throw some shrimp and vegetables in the frying pan and feel awesome, and others where I eat an apple a carrot and a flour tortilla and call it dinner (tonight)…..work in progress.

This really happened in my kitchen.

This really happened in my kitchen.

This really happened in a restaurant, but COULD happen in my kitchen one day.

This really happened in a restaurant, but COULD happen in my kitchen one day.

3. Teach: I always strive to be a better teacher. Who knows if I’m even any good. I sure don’t, and it’s hard to see any progress at all in my students when I only see them once every 2 weeks for 50 minutes. I also have no real curriculum and no real focus aside from the goal of giving my students many opportunities to speak a lot of English. Thus, I present whatever interesting topic or current event that pops into my head. It’s really an amazing opportunity that I have to purely teach. I don’t have to grade papers, or deal with parents, and no one is really watching what I’m doing.

It’s only slightly frustrating that I don’t know some of their names, but in general it’s a teaching dream. I can experiment with lesson ideas on these poor Spanish guinea pigs and they have to let me. What I really must do is prepare more. The weekends escape me, and I hardly have a spot in the day to take a deep breath. Saturday and Sunday I will henceforth dedicate at least an hour of thought in regards to teaching. Sincerely, me.

Can't say I haven't thought about this method

Can’t say I haven’t thought about this method

Sometimes...this is how I feel.

How I feel when my students say they are fine and didn’t do anything over the weekend. ZZZZzzzzzzzz.

 

4. Random acts of kindness: Today it was really cold, and since the supermarkets here don’t sell blankets like you might find at a Jewel or Dominick’s, I settled for a bag of croissants to give to the man who begs outside of Simply. He’s probably one of my favorite beggars because he doesn’t hassle you or make weird moaning sounds. In general I prefer to give bread or food items to those people anyways, just in case. But it gave me a bounce in my step to see him so grateful and smile.

I always think nice things about people, but sometimes I forget to say them out loud. Now when something pops into my head I’ll try and remember to say it “hey you look great today” “nice shirt” “cool shoes” “nice face” I know I like hearing those kinds of things. It can really turn a whole day around.

Be-Kind

 

well mush mush mush, blah blah blah now you know, and I promise the update on my fabulous weekend in Palma Mallorca is coming your way.

un beso

 

 

Never boring

Do I belong in Spain, Chicago, eating on a rock, in Iceland, Sweden, Costa Rica?

Do I belong in Spain, Chicago, eating on a rock, a chocolate factory, Sweden, Costa Rica??

This year in Logrono has been a lot different for me for many reasons.

1. It’s my second year so I’m not that same fresh faced, eager dorky adventurer.

2. I’m at a high school now, and I actually get to teach instead of read horrible stories in a semi-British accent.

3. I’m 99% sure that I won’t be doing a 3rd year here.

 

That third reason freaks me out. I love Spain, and teaching, but I don’t feel so certain that Logrono is for me forever. It’s too small and I’m too big figuratively and literally….people still ask me if I’m on a basketball team every once in a while. I thought maybe if I had a special someone here that would convince me to stay a little longer, but I’m an independent woman and I have to think about my future more seriously.

All I know for certain is that I like teaching, writing, and eating.  I also find it difficult to imagine myself so far from the people who love and understand me the most in this whole world, and have given me the world by letting me travel.

If I’m a teacher back home I won’t be able to pull off showing up at the time that school starts, but that will be easier considering the sun rises at a much earlier time making it seem like it’s the day when it is.

This is at 8:20 in the morning.....so difficult to wake up.

This is at 8:20 in the morning on my walk to school which starts at 830….so difficult to wake up.

I’m slowly composing those essays that ask you to explain what an outstanding teacher is, and how do I teach to a range of abilities, and why the F do I want to teach anyways.

I’m reminded each day both why, and perhaps why not. I had a class that had such a successful debate I don’t think they noticed when I just went back to my desk and stared at them all talking from a distance with my mouth wide open semi smiling.

Then I had some other jerk shoo me away when I asked if he had a question. As if I was a fly.

I have one class who thinks i’m in insane in a good way, and another in a bad way.

I have kids that look at me like I just crawled out of a pile of dead rats, and others who look at me like I’m a celebrity.

I have kids that look like they are 11 years old, and 27 years old sitting next to each other.

I teach because it’s never boring.

This summer I asked my mom why she married my dad, and she said because she knew she’d never be bored.

I hope I can find a love like that in my life, and a person who thinks i’m the juiciest peach even when I’m rotten.

iphone pics nov-dec 074

 

un beso