What Have I Been Up To?

This weekend marks 2 months of living in España, and let me tell ya, my day-to-day life here is pretty damn busy. I don’t know what I was really expecting to expect from life in Madrid or working as an Auxiliar, but I will say that for the amount of work I do, I run around and am drastically busier than I ever felt the past three years.  It’s becoming quite clear that even though Spain is all about the siesta, the vino, and the “no pasa nada”, it’s also a place about the hustle. Since we are paid mere pennies by the Comunidad de Madrid and are allowed to legally tutor, I’ve been trying to pick up private lessons left and right. So far I’ve picked up 2, one with an adorable pudgy 3rd grader, and another with a 7th grade boy twice a week, who also happens to go to the middle school that I was originally assigned to.  The pay is crap compared to Korea, like literal crap, but like I said, it’s all bout dat hustle!

As if the errrday hustle of regular life here hasn’t been enough, I’ve also enrolled myself in a 9 month online course en route to getting my teacher’s license so that I will in fact be a certified teacher….in the state of Florida. But more importantly, the world of the International school is about to be at my fingertips. After much deliberation, and pretty much two years of sitting on my thumb deciding if I want to do the course or not, I’ve pulled the trigger. I’ve come to the realization that after 4 years living abroad teaching, I really enjoy it, and most importantly, love the amount of traveling I get to do. So, it’s about time to bulk up my resume with legit certifications. I’m a little annoyed with myself for waiting until I got to Spain to do this, seeing as I was actually making good money in Korea, but then I give myself a lil pep talk that Spain would have never been an experience in my repertoire had I done it then. So, even if I may be broke again after this course, it’s only for a brief nano. Then it’s 3 month vacas and $$$. Eye on the prize. Eye on the prize.

And I'd have never taken this selfie with my first real Dali.

And selfie eye on my first Dali.

In other news, while I still don’t really talk with my roomies (which I’m awkwardly okay with), I really love my apartment. Even though the heat hasn’t been turned on yet, or that my landlords are a little bit too “ruley” as of late, I can’t really complain. I’m in the heart of Madrid, in Malasaña, where life is crackin all around me. I’ve got an exquisitely azulejo tiled bedroom floor, a balcony that opens up to the noisy but fabulous street below, and closes me into a cave come nightfall. My roommates are super clean, and there is NEVER a dirty plate left in the sink. I can hang. Perhaps my one complaint in living with 3 males that I don’t know is that I feel the need to scurry from bathroom to bedroom when I choose to be a girly girl and give myself a beautifying mask. Oh, and the no visitors past 11pm rule. Excuse me but dinner isn’t even until 11pm here, and more importantly, I AM A GROWN ASS WOMAN. But…

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Despite my extreme distaste for being told how to run my boudoir, I have finally gotten around to decking the walls with homey things. I’ve become obsessed with the podcast Serial, and while I listen (read: finished) I’ve been hanging and decorating. It’s proved successful, and my room finally feels like a little slice of home. All my jewels are displayed, and all the faces and places that I love and miss are all ova da plizace.

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Yes, I’m aware there is a massive disaster hanging above my head.

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And when I haven’t been domesticating or tutoring, I’ve enrolled myself in clases de Español twice a week! If you consulted with me about 12-15 years ago, you would very well know that I was not particularly fond of my clases de Español with Señor Sanchez and I-totally-forget-my-other-teacher’s name. I actually hated them, like I’m sure most other high schoolers could attest to. At that point you’re just sitting there thinking WHY DO I NEED TO KNOW THIS? But now, a shocker to myself, those 2.5 hours per week have easily become some of my favorite hours. While I don’t think my speaking has progressed exponentially in everyday life, my listening has really grown. I do always surprise myself though when I remember lots of vocab from way back when. The classes are super small, the teacher is so sweet, I love the other people in my class, and it feels so good to use my brain for harboring knew knowledge. Especially that can be used on the reg.

I've also found one of my favorite Korean snacks in European form.

Behold, one of my favorite Korean snacks in European form. This was a Happy “Peppero Day”.

I’ve also made some efforts to break up the week with friends and food and film. Wednesdays have been dubbed Cinetaco Wednesdays with Jen and Kristia, as that is discounted movie night in Madrid, which we have been following up with either 1 euro tacos, or in recent weeks, trying out the Korean spot I had a hankering for. The tacos are bomb, the Korean was aight, but totally satisfied the craving. And to conclude my work week, Thursdays have been spent with my new very Larry-esq homie, Justin, grabbing 5 euro all you can eat Italian food and vino at Aío, perfectly situated right down the street from me. I’ve also acquired a little wine glass collection from Aío because my klepto sometimes gets the best of me when I really enjoy some glassware. Don’t worry, I’ve only done it enough for a pair.

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The kimchi was lacking, but Gayagum Gallery Restaurante totally satisfied.

And finally, when I’m not domesticating, or tutoring, or teaching, or learning, I’m enjoying being lazy. That’s right. Laying in bed in my cave until noon. I don’t know what it is, but I don’t really feel bad about it when I do. In Korea, even though I did it OFTEN, I always felt kind of bad about laying in bed until who knows when because I felt I should get my butt outside. Perhaps because the city is constantly moving and Koreans act as if the night before never happened. Madrid is always moving too, but in a more leisurely fashion. That, and people are out until all hours of the morning and definitely remembering it when they lay in bed all day the next day.

I’ve also given Tinder España a go, but that’s for its own amusing write up.

Until next time, enjoy looking at this picture of an extremely moist piece of double down dark chocolate cake from Federal Cafe in Malasaña. It was no Dark Baby, but oh my!

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España, I’m Comin’ For Ya!

The cat’s been let out of the bag, peeps! In a little over 4 months I will be calling Madrid, Spain my second home away from home! It took me a hearty nanosecond to get back to the thrill I had when I first clicked apply, but I have since found my way back and BOY, AM I FUCKING EXCITED!! Excuse the emphatic fuck, totally necessary.

This is coming as a bit of a shocker of shocks to at least a handful of you, I know, considering just as recently as Monday I was on the boat to make Shanghai my next hop. I talked to a recruiter in China, sat at my desk preparing a spreadsheet of countries I’d like to hit on a 4 or 5 month backpacking excursion, sent text messages attempting to recruit travel companions to India, and when that was a bust, because you know, people have jobs back home, psyched myself up to bite the bullet and hit India on my own to get down and dirty with myself. I began concocting this plan to travel through the end of the year, be back home for a few months to watch people tie their knots (and quite possibly go mentally insane), and then peace out after that.

That flipped almost instantly as soon as I got my 2nd acceptance from Spain.

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I applied to two programs that are specific in getting us North American’s legal working rights in the European Union. BEDA and the Ministry Auxiliares de Conversación program through the Spanish government allow Americans to work in Spain under a student visa for one academic year. This is huge because work visas for us are notoriously near impossible to come by in Europe, and well, my dream must be conquered!

I found out I had been placed with BEDA at the end of April, and decided to turn it down since the start date is 1 week after I finish my contract in Korea, the pay is super shitty, and that big of a move with zero time to decompress frankly stressed me the flying fuck out. The Ministry program in turn starts at the beginning of October and runs through June, meaning I’ll need to get myself to Madrid within the last two weeks of September to get settled and attend an orientation. The pay is still crap, albeit a teency bit higher than BEDA, but I will be working less hours than I would with BEDA, for a smidge more money, AND 4 day weeks! YAYAYUYUH! The program doesn’t provide housing, so I will be tasked with finding a little nook to call my own. That should be fun, considering the last time I was in Spain MayMay and I got horribly lost during our first hop on the metro, and my Spanish needs some severe help. Rosetta Stone I’m coming for you.

But we survived, and very much fell in love with Barcelona (and a boy named Giuseppe).

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I’m sure you’re curious about my sudden change of pace, right? Well, lately I had gotten the notion in my head that I’d be turning any offers from Spain down because I decided I fancied making a bit more money, something China would ensure, and up until recently, I thought I’d enjoy an extra cherry on top (read: man). Even though China still is a massive adventure I want to conquer, when this offer popped into my inbox, something snapped. I instantly remembered why I jumped through hoops in a flurry to make the application deadlines. I wasn’t basing my next move on the money, but on following my heart for the experience I’ve always dreamt of. Cue sappy music now and an ecstatic 4th grade (and 30 year old!) Danielle.

Not to mention, cobblestone streets, architecture adorned with character, paella, wine and delicious espresso need a fatass place in my life right about now.

I won’t lose my Asian touch though. That shit sticks with you like kimchi to your refrigerator and apartment and breath. Sorry Cori.

So now begins the annoying task of getting all my legal documents in a pretty little row. I feel pretty overwhelmed right now. It was a huge pain in the ass when I had to get everything for Korea, and now that I’m abroad I feel a little more flustered because there’s all that distance from America. I also have to get all these documents translated to Spanish to add another layer of fun. But it’s all in excited good flustering. Since all my classes were cancelled on Wednesday, literally all I did was scour blogs of people working in the program and it got me SO PUMPED!

To think, just a year ago I was on the phone with Papa Schaeff freaking out about staying a third year, and how my major goal to tackle in the next year was to really figure my shit out, because I was not going to stay in Korea for a 4th year. I’m quite proud of myself for sticking to it and putting myself en route to checking another huge experience off the ol’ bucket list.

Whether or not I will be home in between contracts is up in the air at the moment. I have plizans to hit up the motherland on a free flight that I get for being Bat Mitzvah’d and now in my 30th year (don’t ask), and pop on over to Greece to visit the man my family once asked to bring toilet paper up to our hotel room just because we wanted to see him (don’t ask again).

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So if I don’t see you in Korea before August, or home, I better be seeing you in Spain. I’m on a mission to get double the amount of visitors I had to Korea (and that’s a big number to top).

In other news, it looks like I’m gonna need to start brainstorming a new, broader name for the ol’ bloggy blog. I may just stick with Seoul Tapper because I am quite fond of it, but something all encompassing of the globe may be nice. If you have any ideas, please, help a sista out with your creative seeds.

Hasta luego purple people eaters!