and this is...


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

When Even Your Dreams Turn On You

This post is kind of short and silly...

It's just that my dreams always have a way of fanning the flames of any hysteria that I may be experiencing at the time.

Oy vey!!!

So, last night I had this whole crazy dream (surrounded by scenarios that in real life would probably make me clinically insane) but at the end of the dream I am sitting in a room that appears to be a high school library. You know, the two level kind where you can look down on the lower level and hold full conversations with the people down below...

Well there were several people sitting around, some familiar but mostly not, and we were all really anxious. Some people were crying, some holding papers and screaming with joy. There was a girl in a camp counselor outfit calling out names. It took me a minute to realize that with each name, she held up a paper and called out a location. All of them were in Spain.

The next few people that were called looked confused and started to ask, with growing panic: "But where is this? I've never heard of this!"

The counselor's face grew more maniacal by the moment. I started to sweat and immediately began to pray. "Please say Andalucía. Please say Andalucía! Just let me get to Granada or Sevilla....Granada or Seville...Granada or Sevilla!!!!"

She called my name...and then I woke up...

So yeah...its official! My lack of patience may actually drive me insane....I can't take the wait! For anything!!!

Ok...and scene! Back to

Hasta Pronto!!!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Spotlight on the Microphone: 1

So, as a writer there are so many people that I admire, envy, and wish to emulate. I have been surrounded by beautiful writing my whole life. When I was younger, it was books that I snuck from my mother's shelf. In college, the writing circles formed in Creative Writing classes. And as an adult I have been profoundly blessed to meet and befriend several amazing talents that consistently leave my jaw hanging slack on the ground. So this is my writers corner.

Yes..I know. I thought this was a blog about Spain? WTF? is. But I'm not just a girl in Spain. I actually have an existence beyond that which just so happened to precede Spain and I am sure will outlive that experience. Not to mention that a large portion of my desire to travel stems from my desire to have more things to write about.

With that in mind, I realized that since I am constantly sharing awesome poetry/stories with my friends, that maybe some of you might enjoy it too...if this is not true for you, fret not! I will keep the title of these blogs consistent so that it can serve as a sort of DO NOT ENTER sign to you bat shit cray non-literary folk that would rather not be cultivated bothered. lol j/k...kind of...

Some of these writers will be friends of mine that I am also a fan of and some will just be people that I wish would be my friend so I could hear their poetry all the time...this first poet falls into the latter category.

Anywho, as my first highlight, I'd like to share one of my favorite poets of all time **insane applause** Terrance Hayes (this poem can be considered a bit controversial to some and if you are not one for homosexual themes, you may want to never come back to my page again bypass this post).

Terrance Hayes- Favorite Book of His: Muscular Music

Without further ado:

At Pegasus

They are like those crazy women
who tore Orpheus
when he refused to sing,

these men grinding
in the strobe & black lights
of Pegasus. All shadow & sound.

"I'm just here for the music,"
I tell the man who asks me
to the floor. But I have held

a boy on my back before.
Curtis & I used to leap
barefoot into the creek; dance

among maggots & piss,
beer bottles & tadpoles
slippery as sperm;

we used to pull off our shirts,
& slap music into our skin.
He wouldn't know me now

at the edge of these lovers' gyre,
glitter & steam, fire,
bodies blurred sexless

by the music's spinning light.
A young man slips his thumb
into the mouth of an old one,

& I am not that far away.
The whole scene raw & delicate
as Curtis's foot gashed

on a sunken bottle shard.
They press hip to hip,
each breathless as a boy

carrying a friend on his back.
The foot swelling green
as the sewage in that creek.

We never went back.
But I remember his weight
better than I remember

my first kiss.
These men know something
I used to know.

How could I not find them
beautiful, the way they dive & spill
into each other,

the way the dance floor
takes them,
wet & holy in its mouth.

Brava! Brava!!! (I'm kind of a groupie for his poetry lol...) Hope you enjoyed it...give me your thoughts? What was the imagery in your mind? Were you drawn in, repulsed? Any great writers I should know of?

Hasta Pronto!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

There Can be No Rainbow Without a Bit of Rain....


In the interest of full disclosure I will admit that last night was not a good night. (The multiple glasses of wine didn't help me out of my whiny sap mode either)

Randomly, after a night out at art class, it hit me. I am moving to the other side of the world in 8 months. Yes. I know. 8 months? A little early to start the water works. But truly this is where I am in the process. The part where it becomes real.

I think it might have been easier for me if I was fresh out of college. At that point you are primed to exit your comfort zone and sail off into the world, leaving everyone and everything you know and love behind. It's just what people do after college. No biggy. (slight exaggeration for dramatic affect)

But what happens if you've already done that move? You already struck out on your own? Sure not across the world...nothing really adventurous. But you did it. You created this whole new life for yourself. Established new friendships. New families (in addition to your birth given one). You have dogs! How do you decide to leave all of that?

Quick summary of my current state: Afraid, Thrilled, Excited, Selfish, Anxious, Nervous, Confused, Pumped, Giddy

Yeah...all that...

A friend once told me (regarding a different situation): "Sometimes you have to walk away to get what you want. Just be prepared because you may have to keep on walking." --this has been ringing in my head as of late.

So this is not to say that I am not still bouncing in my seat over this upcoming move...but a part of me can't help but wonder, "What part of my world am I throwing away for the chance to see the world?"

Hasta Pronto!!!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Latest Obsession

So I would like to send a resounding screw you! to Rick Steves . Yes, yes. He shows off all these great places in Europe and makes it seem all lovely and fun...but wait! He also gives it to you real! In the episode about Andalusia there were a few places that I can only now describe as "bleh" ((picture this with a screwed up face and a tongue hanging out--got it--exactly!))

This is where my recent paranoia has come from. Now I'm afraid of my placement. In my mind I am one hundred and ten percent committed to going to Spain next fall...but now I'm afraid that I could end up in some God awful tourist trap of a dirty city. Or some beach town that's nothing but a South Beach 2.0. This is not what I want. I'm from Miami. I have DONE South Beach. (insert: Algeciras- another city I could do without)

No thanks...I can stay home for this...

I want cobblestones and art. Little cafes and tapas. Not shitty shitty Americanized or Britain-ized cities that just happen to speak no English.  I want the FULL immersion.

So, I have turned to Annie Sibonney to bring me back to excitement. Her show comes on at 7:30am on Saturdays (that can report straight to hell). But with a little DVRing, I can enjoy it whenever I want. Every week she explores a different culinary aspect of Spain. And then I begin chomping at the bit to get me gone!

Of course, the worry is still there. But hopefully ((with enough chanting my desires to the universe--I may even consider burning some candles or something)) there will be a light at the end of the tunnel in the form of a awesome placement letter in May....please pray for me...or chant for me...or send me good juju...whatever you it with my name and Granada...or

*fingers crossed*

Hasta Pronto!!!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Home Should Be Where The Heart Is....

So…patience is not a virtue that I have ever claimed to possess. I just don’t have any. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada!
So I am still waiting to hear back from CIEE regarding whether or not I have been accepted (this should take place somewhere around late February/early March). However, now that I know that I am going to Spain regardless, it doesn’t have the same thrill as before. Sure, I’m all geeked up about getting my official placement from the Junta but that is coming with more anxiety than excitement.

Not to sound like an ingrate or anything (I feel really lucky to have this experience, regardless), but I am really on edge about where I could be placed. I specified that I wanted an urban area (vs. the middle of an unknown forest) but that’s about as much as you can choose on your own, with the exception of your region. Although, even that is a coin toss! I chose my three preferences (Andalucía, La Rioja, and Castilla la Mancha). I won’t know until about March which one of these I have been chosen for and then it’s up to that region to decide where I will work and live for the next year. I am praying like a newly appointed saint for Andalucía. However, even within that amazing region I have researched enough to know that there are some places I hope not to be.

The dream would be someplace like Granada, Seville, or Cordoba. I would even thrive in a town like Malaga, I believe. Young crowds.  Great weather.  Tapas galore.  Art scenes. But I believe I would sob silent tears if I had to live somewhere like Cadiz or Jerez. Or God forbid Jaen (which I hear is like the Detroit of Andalucía---sorry Shae, no offense lol)

Keeping the dream alive!

I really just want to live somewhere that feels truly Spanish, with a young feel, and not overly industrialized. I want to be in a city environment without being in a huge city. I’m sure this makes no perfect sense.  I’m sure that I am putting wayyy too much thought into this and I’m probably freaking myself out just to have something to pass the long wait. We shall see….

*Fingers crossed*

Hasta pronto!

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Song in A Flat

This is a poem I knocked out a little while back...I'd rather not be too detailed as to what it is about, rather I'd like to hear your thoughts...I welcome and desire honest feedback...good, bad, or ugly, let me know what you think....

I remember that I used to sing. I would catch a melody in my mind and raise my voice to it. Daring it to come down to me. I pushed it. I rocked it. I dragged it into my throat, often unwilling, and made it dance with me across my tongue. (Don’t even get me started on what my feet could do). I remember that I used to sing. Swish notes around my mouth like sour candies until only the sweet parts were left. Chew on rhythm until it crunched to my liking. Mere breath was once music. I remember that I used to have a song. Something that played in my head on repeat. Regularly lulled me to sleep. Pacified my nightmares of loneliness. My song conjured up flights of fancy. It spoke of past hurts long forgotten and todays that needed no tomorrow to make it through.

I sang for you a song about you.

But I don’t sing anymore. My lungs used for nothing but shallow gulps of air and skin-bare survival. My feet stay rooted now with no beat to move them falling from my mouth. Tongue in cheek. Afraid to move lest it remember that song and fall again. Music frightens me with its familiarity. It screeches into my mind with broken promises and one-sided affections. It mockingly plays love songs about things I’m not sure I ever knew. A taunting sound. And I don’t sing anymore. My mouth stretched on a vibrato that instantly becomes a scream or choked sob.  Tongue flexing and rolling through unsung bass lines. Silence.

I remember that I used to sing. But you took the song with you when you left. And now I can’t stand music anymore. 


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

How Stalking Pays Off... (Admitida Status) of today, I have officially been "Admitida"-ed (#355) into the Language and Culture Assistant Program through the Ministry of Education in Spain....I am sooooooo stoked about this. I am still keeping my hope alive with the CIEE program so that I am as likely as possible to get placed in a desirable location...

But either way the cookie crumbles... I AM going to SPAIN!!!!!!! Woo hoo!!! (Can you tell that I am excited?)

Unlike a lot of the other people that I have spoken to, I am one of the rare people that has never even traveled abroad for leisure or study. So this is truly a sink or swim situation for me. I am so nervous/excited that I'm kind of jumping out of my skin...its a very high school girl giddy sort of thrill.

I went through a little stress dealing with the Miami Consulate (they refused to pick up my calls, allow me to leave a voicemail, or respond to my emails...). It took me over 2 weeks to have my "Registrada" status changed to "Admitida". Apparently, the secret is sending them a series of straightforward, to the point emails repeatedly over the course of 3 days and they will get back to you. <Insert Steve Urkel voice: "I'm Wearing you dooowwwnnnn!!!!"> lol

So now I'm all set and officially allowed to head off to Spain (provided that I don't end up on an episode of Snapped between now and August) and all I have to do is feign patience until April to find out where I have been placed....

Dream Places (in order):
-Any urban city in Castilla- La Mancha

So here we go...expect lots of bemoaning bureaucratic nonsense for a while...followed by (hopefully) joyful tales of travel...Also I think that my next post will be a sample of my writing...I just really need this space to feel like my own...skip it if you like, give feedback if you have any...

I was this kind of excited to get my Admitida case you were wondering lol

Monday, January 16, 2012

Casting Oars: How to Teach in Spain

So I am trying to move to Spain next year. I think I’ve made this pretty clear. But, how? Illegally hide out in someone’s suitcase? Nah! I’m short enough, but I think the airport scanners may find me out.

The European Union, like the US, is having a really hard time right now with employment. So it’s pretty understandable that they aren’t handing out jobs all willy-nilly to foreigners like me that want to move there and soak in the culture. However, there is always a loophole. Enter: Teaching and Cultural Assistants!!!

Basically the idea is that Spain wants to be more competitive on a global scale while taking advantage of the fact that it would increase tourism and cash flow to have Americans come over. Put the two together and you have the programs that I am applying for. They allow a few thousand Americans and Canadians to come over for a year and assist teachers in teaching English. You are by no means a “real teacher” in this scenario. You teach for 12-16 hours a week and make 700 Euros a month (approx. 1000 USD). From what I understand, I could be placed with teachers of any subject and it will be my job to help them infuse English into their lessons. Simple enough! Especially after 5 years of lesson plans, parent conferences, detentions, referrals, faculty meetings, middle school hormone surges and physical altercations over lunch. This should be like a vacation with a paycheck.

So the programs I went through (both land you with the exact same job):

CIEE ( This is a program that you have to pay for (a few grand, in fact). I like this option solely because it offers the option of a 2 or 4-week language immersion. You stay with a host family while attending daily Spanish intensive classes. For someone like me, with sub-par language skills, this seems like it would be really helpful. They also hold a week long orientation where they give you useful information on how to open a bank account, get your NIE card, and, I don’t know, how not to get mugged while looking like a helpless tourist. Their application is pretty straightforward and easy to navigate.

Spain’s Ministry of Education ( - This is a free application. I like to think of this one as the “thrown to the wolves” method of teaching in Spain. There is no language immersion or easing into Spanish life whatsoever. But, you do get to hold on to your cash and use it on some awesome European travel. This application is a little confusing and entirely in Spanish. Although, there are some helpful manuals available that walk you through the whole process. (This link takes you to the 2012-2013 application manual. It will tell you step-by-step how to navigate the site and where to input information…it’s in English, too! Yay!) (This link takes you to last year’s manual…obviously not updated but it does tell you a clear list of what needs to be sent to your consulate…)

Both ways to apply are on a first-come, first-served basis. So the earlier you apply the better your chances. More so than anything they are just looking for completed applications. CIEE does not add you to the line until your entire application is complete. The Ministry of Education assigns you an Inscrita number as soon as your CV is created online…you can upload all needed documents once you get your number (be quick…the smaller the number, the higher your chances).

My CIEE application is complete and I am just waiting to hear back—they should be letting people know in late February/ early March.  Also, I sent everything in for my Ministry of Education application (#355) and had my status changed to “Registrada”…keep in mind that “Admitida” is the holy grail of statuses in this case…that should be coming soon *fingers crossed*

There’s plenty more to say on this topic, I’m sure…but quite frankly…I’m tired of typing…this weekend has been quite full…. what with: Epic lesbian parties, amazing curry goat, and vegging on the couch to celebrate MLK day.  So I’m off…anyone else going through the application process? How’s it going for you?

Hasta pronto!

Monday, January 9, 2012

By Golly, I will be fluent!!! Even if it!

So let me keep this really...real. I cannot speak Spanish! Well...about two months ago, I spoke NO Spanish. That is not to say that I am suddenly and miraculously fluent...hell no! But I have been inching my way along trying to make myself at least semi-coherent in this new language on the hope that I will need it soon to make it through daily life.

So…when I started this whole thing, I could have such rousing conversations as:

Me: Hola. Como esta?
Someone else: Muy bien, gracias. Y tu?
Me: Mas o menos.

(That last line used to really make me feel ahead of the curve…sad, huh?)

So why would I choose Spain with such abysmal language skills? Simply put, it just feels like it’s where I’m supposed to be. Yes, I’m aware of how heebity-jeebity that sounds, but it’s true. You know how people feel like they are supposed to be in New York City, sipping manhattans and chasing that Broadway dream (this is plan B lol)? Or that they should dart off to California and become famous for…I don’t know…living in the same city as the Kardashians? Most of these people never had to go to these places before making the big leap to move there. And for the most part, we consider this behavior normal…mostly. So it’s the same for me…just a little further away.

Now I will be honest. My original goal was just to make it to Europe. Anywhere in Europe really! Just get me there. I’m aware that, once you’re on the continent, the rest of the continent is just a hop, skip, and plane ride away. So the decision for Spain came from my need to challenge myself. I like the idea of jumping completely out of my box and daring myself to make it amazing.

Like I said in my last post, I teach middle school. I teach Language Arts in a violence and ignorance driven economically challenged middle school. Without going into too much complaining detail, I will just say that I have been very unhappy in this job. The irony is that I am actually really good at this job. I could love this job. But the place and the people make it not so. Therefore, I am determined to try it somewhere different. If, halfway across the world and in a new language I STILL hate this job then I know that I tried and gave it my all and can walk away feeling somewhat like less of a failure. Besides, how else would I see the world on a teacher’s salary? Better to let the job work for me, I say!

Besides who wouldn’t want to live here every day:

I would love to live somewhere that incorporates art everywhere....A little taste of Atlanta home shall meet me abroad

I wanna live in a box of crayons!!!

I want this to feel like normal everyday life...

If I can't find something to write about there...where can I find it? Good starting place at the very least...

So… back to the language deal. Again the teacher job is a hindrance. I do not have the time for extra classes and it’s not really in my budget to go buying some expensive program that promises me fluency by next week. So I’m doing my own method…and while slower than a methodical program, its coming along rather nicely. I can have basic conversations now at about a 4th grade level (awesome considering I was like a toddler about two months ago). Here is how I’m doing it: The actual website kind of sucks to me but the app for Android and iPhone is pretty awesome! Its main focus is memorization, grammar, reading, writing and listening. Not very much practice speaking but it’s really fun and an easy way to keep up practice on the go.

Spanish practice workbooks- I have hit up the Spanish teacher at my school like a crack fiend on several occasions to get new activity books. Doing puzzles and games are just a fun way to practice and test myself to see what I have retained.

Libros en espanol on my Kindle- It is a very long a tedious process, but I am forcing myself to translate El Jardin Secreto. It’s a novel that I am very familiar with in English so I know the gist of the story, plus I am learning Spanish in the same way that I usually learn new words in English…context clues.

Searching for pisos in my dream cities- Not only does this get me used to daily vocabulary and learning the names of daily items…but it keeps me really excited about the prospect of moving abroad and keeps me motivated through all the crappy red tape stuff.

And my favorite method: TV! - I am addicted to a few Spanish novellas now and I have relearned a love of cartoons (Go, Diego, Go! in Spanish is a little bit like awesome)

Skype- Pretty simple...go on Facebook or and find someone that lives in Spain or is from there. Ask them to be your skyping buddy and start having conversation! Its a really sad process at first and I'm sure that I sounded like a stroke victim...but I suck a little less each time (or so Juan tells me)...and I choose people who are learning English too so we can trade off on helping each other...not to mention that this is great practice for the job that I'm attempting to have.

So yeah…it’s a hodge-podge of mess but somehow I keep making mental connections and randomly knowing words that I didn’t remember learning. There is a special sort of pleasure that I get from knowing that I did something on my own. And it’s a wonderful distraction from the mundaneness of everyday life. I have even gotten my students involved. Several of them are now trying to learn with me and we try to beat each other to see who can find the most amounts of cool new words every day. Having that game together has even helped improve classroom behavior as we have this fun new connection...

As far as I can tell, Spain has already brightened some things up!

*Disclaimer- - I do not expect Spain or Europe to be the Holy Grail and cure all my woes…I just know that I am long overdue for a refreshing change*

Hasta pronto!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

This could bite me in the butt later...

...but let's hope not!

So this is my first entry into this blog. Why am I doing this, you ask? (I'm positive that's what you were thinking...) Well, the long and short of it...or just the long...or just the short...(I haven't decided yet)...Basically, I'm trying to get the hell out of Dodge. And by Dodge, I mean America. I've had this crazy desire to live overseas since the first time I realized there was something on the other side of the water. And like many people that have voiced this desire...I have bitched and moaned my want for years without ever lifting a finger to make it happen. I did the cowardly sensible thing and went to college, immediately followed by working the 8-5 as a middle school teacher and quietly hating my life ever since. So now I'm trying to do the insane fun thing and move to Spain to teach English and American culture. On one hand, I could be awesome at this. On the other, I could be setting myself, and possibly an entire region of Spain, up for a dismal failure/disaster.

Points for me:
-I have been teaching English for the past 5 years
-I have an odd fascination with talking to strangers
-I am known to wander off alone
-Names for food and shopping stick to my brain in any language

Points against me:

-I have been teaching English for the past 5 years
-I have an odd fascination with talking to strangers
-I am known to wander off alone 
-Names for food and shopping stick to my brain in any language

In the interest of making this plan feasible, I have applied to two separate language and cultural assistant programs in Spain, and my entire home, plus classroom, is peppered with post-its of Spanish terms. (I will get more into my application processes and how I'm learning Spanish from the ground up in other blog posts). 

Expect this blog to be all over the place. It wouldn't be mine if it wasn't. There will be some useful information accidentally sprinkled in throughout. There may also be the occasional poem that I've written and feel like sharing or a song that is speaking my feelings at the moment (I'm kinda sappy that way). Who knows what you will encounter here. But hopefully, soon, this will be a blog telling you all about my new life in España. 

Anyhow! This is me...and this is my journey! Enjoy!

Hasta pronto!!!