Friday, 24 August 2012

Getting a little Philosophical

Wow, that's the first time I've figured out how to use the 'Title' function in this site, nice one Sarah!

So last week I got in a bit of a rut. My excuse? It's August. I ALWAYS spend at least one or two weeks of August doing absolutely nothing and feeling totally useless about myself. It's kind of like an annual mid year crisis and this year it manifested itself in a week long sofa bound Gossip Girl marathon. Now while this sounds like a week well spent, it left me feeling totally lost in terms of planning this whole year abroad thing. My school still hadn't (and still hasn't) contacted me, I had no where to live and no contacts in the city at all. Not good.

So I decided to sort my life out, starting, of course, with an enormous clear out and my old friend: multiple lists :)

That night I found the Facebook group for all the other assistants in my area next year.

I used to scout out potential rooms and I have a possible flat next year! 3/4 spanish girls, all students, looking for another flatmate. They're sending me pictures once they move in next week!

I tried phoning the school but got no response however the lovely assistant from last year has sent me the address of the bilingual co-ordinator so I now have a new contact.

                                                            And now to satisfy my list craving I've made myself a little
      Spain scrapbook, look:

      In it I've included the following:
             Reasons Why I'm Doing This
             Pre Departure Checklist
             Packing List
             Arrival To-Do List
             Personal Documents
                                                               Numbers and Addresses
                                                                   Places I Want to Visit
                                                                   Useful Websites
                                                                   What I Want to do There
                                                                    Books and Films

This post is already getting wayyyy too long so I'll explain it more fully in another post but the one I want to focus  on is the last: Resolutions. I don't want to go to Spain and get into the kind of rut I did last week so I've made myself some resolutions to try and make the most of my time there.

  1. Go out every evening (unless sick and hangover does not count). I can stay inside when I'm back in rainy Belfast. Whether it's to a bar, a cafe, or even just a walk on the beach  GO OUTSIDE (like pippin, RIP) 
  2. Take a picture everyday. Of anything or anyone. 
  3. Smile even when you're feeling sad. No one likes a grumpy tourist. 
  4. NEVER say no to something that doesn't compromise your safety. Someone suggests snorkling, tap dancing, mountain climbing, japanese sword dancing, I'm doing it. 
  5. You can sleep when you're home. 
  6. Speak and never be embarrassed for getting it wrong, if you tried. I think I'm going to need to remind myself of this one a lot! 

When I was at school my Spanish teacher told us a phrase "Los hombres son del viento, pero las amigas son para toda la vida" Men are of the wind but friends are for life. 
I've adjusted this slightly to "Los problemas son del viento, pero las memorias son para toda la vida" Problems are of the wind but memories are for life. Incredibly cheesy, but also incredibly true. 

Hasta la vista :) 

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

5 weeks to go!

Wow it sounds insanely close when you say it like that....

So I have a little more information now which is a relief seeing as I've still had no contact from the school :(

We were given the email addresses of all the assistants in our area last year. I emailed two, one who lived in Almería and the other lived in Aguadulce and taught at the school I'm going to. The second replied and was soo helpful!

She says the school were great last year in getting her settled- picked her up at the airport and helped her with accommodation. She told me about websites she used to find a flat, and advice on how to do it. She's also offered me numbers of people she knows in the area who want lessons (plus teaching resources to use) and seemed to see this as one of the most enjoyable parts of her year abroad.

It's quite a nice feeling to have some kind of personal connection to this whole thing at last. Before this it's mostly been official government emails or friendly but impersonal messages from the British Council so an actual human conversation is nice to see!

I really really really really really need to start learning some Spanish again. I think I've forgotten all of it.

I'm running a 10k in Belfast in September and after a weekend of being either drunk or hungover the entire time I really need to detox so for the next three weeks I'm tee-total and healthy. Maybe this'll help me be a little more dedicated to being studious/organised.


Wednesday, 1 August 2012


Nope I've not found another two sides to Mr Grey.

Hey that's the number of my granny's house :D

Sorry, got side tracked. It's 52 days until I leave for Spain. In fact, in exactly 52 days and ten minutes from now I should be arriving in Almería.

I think I've worked out my plan pretty well:
Thursday 20th: Head down to my uncles house in Belfast to stay.
Friday 21st 7am: Set off for International airport.
9:35am: Flight to Malaga
1:45pm (local time): Arrive in Malaga and head to the central bus station about 10k away.
3:30pm-So I have time for lunch in between!:) : Bus to Almería
6:30pm: Arrive in Almería!

I think I've used the phrase "man up" to myself at least 20 times in the last week. Travelling is going to be a HUGE part of next year. For someone who lives in a country where you can drive from one end to the other in about 3 hours, it's going to be a shock to the system. 

I've purposely arranged it so that I arrive on a Friday night, therefore I can use the weekend to settle in without the temptation to immediately start organising/ registering for everything. I'd like to be able to ask for a coffee without shaking before I actually attempt to read and sign a contract.

I've also booked into a hostel for a week once I arrive! It looks pretty student friendly so hopefully they'll be used to lost little auxiliars asking for advice about- well about pretty much everything.

One major positive of going to a little city no one has ever heard of has also become more apparent as I've searched for info (usually fruitlessly) to the very edges of the internet- Almería is bloody cheap! :D Well according to everyone who visited it/stayed there as recently as last year. It seems that it's one of the last places where tapas comes free with your drink (which is also not extortionate) and the rent is reasonable too if you look around. Oh and someone also talked about being on the beach in their bikini at the start of February. Considering I've just come back from a run that left me looking like a drowned rat this news could not be more welcome!