This week’s blog post is dedicated to one of my oldest and closest friends, who is about to embark on the experience of a lifetime so most of this will be directed to her but, hey you other people might get something from it! Bon voyage, Helen!
The months that lead up to my move to Barcelona were nothing particularly unusual or anxiety inducing. I had been accepted for my TEFL course way back in the February and wasn’t actually leaving until the end of September, it was all so far away. Four weeks before I was set to leave with flights booked, course paid for and accommodation sorted I still wasn’t quite feeling it, it didn’t really feel like I was leaving to start a new life in a new place where I knew nobody but that’s what was about to happen. It wasn’t until the few days before my flight that nerves set in, mostly just my fear of flying to be honest because really, deep down I was just excited.
In the time that lead up to me leaving I had so many people call me brave for doing such a thing and ask me if I was scared and I thought it was odd at first that I kept getting asked these things because I wanted to do this. That is why I applied for it in the first place and planned it all meticulously for months before I even applied for my course. This is what is important to remember about times like this, times where you are about to throw yourself into the unknown and feel that twinge of nervousness. You have to remind yourself that no one is forcing you to do this, you chose to do this and in a year from now you’re going to get to say to people who you have travelled to all these amazing places, met some incredible people and maybe best of all, you got paid for it at the same time. Doing something like moving to another country, travelling or (as you’re going to do, Hel) working on a cruise ship is going to be one of those things that you look back and realise how it helped shape you and make you grow. Isn’t that insane? Isn’t that beyond exciting to know what lies ahead of you is not only going to give you some unforgettable memories but serve as a way to better yourself even more?
Personally, I know that I felt like I had already come so far before my own little adventure; I wasn’t sure how much further I really had to go from there but experiences like this will propel you towards who you are meant to be, that best version of you, in ways you cannot fathom yet. You are going to have a wonderful time, I can guarantee you that and I can also guarantee that home will still be waiting for you when you return and we will all be loving and missing you from it.
When it comes to travelling I normally try to go somewhere new because if I am going to put myself through the trauma of getting myself on a plane it may as well be for a place I have never been to before but sometimes holidays like that don’t feel like a holiday at all. When you land in a new city, desperate to see the sights and try out some new food, while figuring out where you are staying and generally gathering your bearings it doesn’t leave much time for relaxing in the end. Luckily, I get at least one week of R&R a year when I head to the center of France with my parents (and special guests sometimes) and proceed to eat my weight in croissants and power through as many books as possible. Continue reading Rest & Recuperation in Limousin
This week, I was lucky enough to visit a new city in a new country; Lisbon. The original plan for my first holiday of the year had been a trip to Amsterdam (finally) but owing to the nature of booking so late and during peak holiday season it was a little out of my price range so Amsterdam is just going to have to wait for me a little longer. However, all was not lost as myself and my friend, Yvie, landed on Lisbon as a place we both wanted to visit so at the end of last month we booked ourselves flights and an Airbnb for a little 5 day holiday. Continue reading Lisbon: A strange but endearing city
I would like to precursor this post with the obvious; I do love Barcelona. However, like any place you live in for a while there are always things you’re going to hate and mostly that’s because other people exist and do things that drive you insane. So yes, Barcelona is great but there are somethings that just really grind on me. Here it goes:
1. The noise.
If it isn’t your neighbours having either an argument or a really loud discussion in the interior of the building whilst slamming doors in the middle of the night then it’s the street cleaners humming along at 3am that’s going to disturb your beauty sleep. Now, I am not a light sleeper. I infamously slept through a near riot happening at the pub opposite my old house in York that woke up the other 6 people I lived with. However, in a city of single glazed windows and buildings packed tightly together it’s hard to avoid disturbances. Even when you’re living in the ‘penthouse’.
Also, the metro or the street or anywhere public forthat matter is not the time to be playing a game/ watching a video on your phone with the volume on full, asshole.
Continue reading 5 Things I hate about Barcelona
Now I know that you’d think working as few hours as I do a week and getting to live in the beautiful city of Barcelona would mean that I’d never feel the need for a holiday but sometimes, you just want to get out of your surroundings and have a break – even if that means going an even busier, louder and drearier city. With my Matt and Hayley (my brother and sister-in-law) living in London, I’ve had the opportunity to visit the capital quite a few times but this trip was different. I was really excited for several reasons including getting the chance to see my friends/family, meeting my new cat-nephew, Xenopus and most of all not really having a plan for much of anything meaning I had the freedom to do things as and when I pleased instead of trying to cram in a lot over a few days. This trip was my mini-holiday and one of the best presents Matt and Hayley have ever gotten me and trust me when I say they are the best gift-givers; they set the bar pretty high when they gave me a vintage Underwood typewriter for my 21st.
Continue reading A Few Days in London
Thinking about doing a TEFL course and moving to Barcelona? Read about my experience and life in Barcelona as an EFL teacher! There are some good photos too!
Source: How did I get here?
El Raval is my neighbourhood, on top of its proximity to Port Vell it also had a lot of good places to grab a bite to eat and have a drink. As my parents were visiting me a couple of weeks ago, I got a chance to visit a few more new places near my flat and as my area is a place that tourists don’t seem to usually venture out to I wanted to recommend some places away from La Rambla. In no particular order:
Continue reading Best Food & Drink places in Raval
small refuge that was made for stray cats by the beach
This week, I was lucky enough to have my parents fly over for a two-day visit in which we managed to pack in a trip to Sagrada Familia, the Botanic Gardens and Sitges! When I first arrived in Barcelona I was told by the person who helped me get from the airport to my accomodation to visit Sitges but for some reason or another I kept putting it off in favour of doing things inside the city or for visits to Monserrat, Montpellier and Munich (posts about all three can be found here). The idea to visit Sitges with my parents came about quite serendipidoulsy as my Mum was told by a friend that Sitges was a nice town and after she accidently posted about it on my Facebook thinking it was a private message I thought a little trip out whilst they were here was a no-brainer.
Continue reading Weekend Excursions: Sitges
All week I was unable to avoid signs of upcoming carnival; a tradition that appears to have be born sometime in the 14th century and was revived after the fall of Franco as a time to celebrate the beginning of the Easter period. My students would show up to lessons covered in face paint or with their hair sprayed different colours and on the streets I saw many a strange costume. The children told me how one day they had to dress in their pyjamas and on another in their parents clothes, which I really wish I had a chance to witness. I was getting pretty excited to see what the carnival fuss was all about but the celebrations themselves were somewhat elusive. Continue reading Barcelona Carnival Fail