A Series Of Unfortunate Events

Is one way to describe how my summer has gone.

This summer was supposed to be the best summer yet but alas, no. I was so excited at the start of the summer, I was starting this blog, I was going away and doing a lot of travelling and I was ready to embrace my freedom and wanderlust for those few months. I was then planning on coming home, acing my college exams that I had to repeat and getting a job, all the while hanging out with my friends and seeing my boyfriend as much as possible. I had a bucket list for this summer… And this is what happens when I make plans…

It couldn’t have turned out any different if I’d tried. If you have been following my blog for a while, you will have seen that I was an Au-pair in Madrid and was planning on going from there to Krakow in Poland for World Youth Day (WYD or JMJ as it’s also known as). My au pairing situation turned messy quickly and I left the position early. This then meant that I was unable to stay in Spain as I had planned and travel from Spain to Krakow as I was planning. Instead I came home. As I am a student and was unable to find a job for the Uni year, I had little enough money to my name and coming home early from Spain and paying for my flight etc. left me no money to travel back to Poland. I missed out on the one experience I was looking forward to most since I left WYD in 2011. I was devastated. My sister went anyway and she had a fantastic time! I am so glad that she got to go and experience the atmosphere and the intensity of the week. It is quite something, being surrounded by over 2 million young people, all there for the same reason that you are, to profess their faith.

Instead of travelling to Krakow, I spent my family holiday in West Cork sitting in front of my laptop studying. I got myself into a rhythm, unhealthy as it might have been, waking up at 1 pm (ish), studying around half 2, taking a break for dinner and another one for coffee at some stage. I would then sometimes go for a walk around 8 and come back and watch Netflix with my sister until around 2 am. (Gilmore Girls, American Odyssey and a few episodes of Gossip Girl were what we watched). My studying was long and intense but I was happy with how things were going. I left my holiday house one morning to get the bus to UCC where I had an exam. I knew leaving it that it didn’t go well for me but I hoped with everything inside me that I had passed it. The second exam a few days later went much better than the previous one and I was very happy with it.

After doing my exams and being finished with study, I then turned my attention to finding a job. I applied to the local supermarkets and also ones closer to my college in the hopes that I would get something. The day I turned 20, I spent in Cork City handing my C.V’s into places and hoping that somebody would hire me. Not exactly how I had planned on spending my birthday, needless to say.

Fast forward a few weeks and here I am. After failing one of my exam repeats, not knowing what will happen to me for Uni next year (I have been in contact with the Students Union and I have to say they have been an amazing help) and still waiting to hear back from places, desperately seeking a job!

What about my bucket list you may ask? Well I honestly haven’t looked at it in quite a while. Here are the 20 things I hoped to do before I turned 20:

  1. Have sex in a car
  2. Jump into a pool fully clothed (Accomplished in July 2015, it was more I was pushed than I jumped though 😛 )
  3. Go to a fancy party (I’m counting this as Accomplished too… In Ireland we have this prom like event when we finish school called the Debs/ Grads. I wouldn’t say no to another one though!)
  4. Go zip lining
  5. Throw a badass house party
  6. Take a summer to travel – I still plan on it!
  7. Get unbelievably drunk – Just once
  8. Take a huge financial risk
  9. Get a tattoo or a piercing somewhere – I have my ideas
  10. Take up a really odd hobby
  11. Make a new friend group (I think I managed this one in Madrid! I met some of the most amazing girls)
  12. Climb a mountain and scream as loud as you possibly can
  13. Book the cheapest flight you can find to another country
  14. Sneak into a hotel conference
  15. Spend the night in jail – yeah I think I might take a pass on this one!
  16. Get rid of your phone for a week – This one will be very hard
  17. Write a letter to your future self
  18. Pull the ultimate sickie
  19. Give your lunch to a homeless person
  20. Take part in a protest (Which I did this year!)

Although I have turned 20, I still want to accomplish these things. I don’t want to remember my life by the negative times, I want to remember the good. The night I went swimming fully clothed was one of the best nights I had while in Spain teaching English in summer camps. My Debs was such good fun and I felt beautiful. I made some amazing new friends in Madrid from all over Europe and further afield. I stood up for something I care about in a protest (protesting repealing the 8th amendment in Ireland which protects the life of both the mother and her unborn child).

Some of these things may seem slightly crazy to some of you but I’m ready to get back to living my life on my terms.

It’s good to be back,

Hope you enjoyed,

See you soon

Kathy ❤

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When being an Au Pair doesn’t exactly go as planned…

Hey guys,

I think this might be a therapeutic thing and who knows if I will ever actually post it? So it is now Sunday. On Friday, I got fired. Myself and the host parents here didn’t exactly see eye to eye and I was told I needed to leave on Friday evening. They said that they didn’t like how I was with the kids and that we just didn’t mesh. I tried my best! Hand on heart, I really, really tried to stick it out, to suck it up and to try my best.

There have been so many phone calls home that I have said I want to go home. When talking to my mum, she told me I’d made a commitment and I couldn’t leave the family in the lurch. She was right. The family on the other hand told me I could go stay with my friend in Valencia until I went to Poland. They wanted me to stay there for 3 and a half weeks!!! :O I couldn’t ask my friend to put me up for 3 and a half weeks!! That would be totally over staying my welcome!

The first thing I did was tried to find flights. At the moment, flights from Madrid to Dublin are €200/ €300. I am a student who was working as an Au pair! There was no way I would be able to afford that much money for a flight that cost me about a quarter of the price to fly over! I then looked for flights to Dublin from Valencia. They immediately looked more promising as I was able to book one, on Thursday for more than half the price of the ones from Madrid. The flight is longer and everything! I don’t know why the flights are so damn expensive from Madrid!

The one good thing that I can take out of this situation is that the family gave me time to make plans and to get from A to B. I have heard stories about people who have been kicked out of their host family and have been given an hour or two to get their stuff together and get out!

I have to say that the Irish Embassy in Madrid were beyond kind to me! I rang them in the middle of the night in tears and not being able to breathe but the voice on the other end of the line was so reassuring!! I can safely say that as an Irish person, to hear another Irish voice on the phone was so comforting!!

I have booked my flight back to Ireland. I have booked my bus from Dublin home and I am waiting for my train that will take me from Madrid to Valencia where I will be able to spend the next few days without kids and drinking a Mojito like my good friend recommended for me to do (She also said she wasn’t promoting alcoholism but sometimes a good drink just helps)

So I will leave you with this: sometimes things don’t work out, sometimes plans chance but no matter what, you are not a failure. You are you. You tried and you will be OK.

Thanks for reading,

See you next time,

Kathy

Trying to focus on the good

Hey guys 🙂

So this week I’m back to my normal update about whats happening in Madrid! 🙂 It’s safe to say I ain’t too happy with my family here but I’ve done enough venting about that so I’m gonna focus on the good! 🙂

It is safe to say that I absolutely LOVE this city! It is so beautiful, so easy to get around, so reasonable and to top it all off, I have made some pretty amazing friends here! 😀 I first fell in love with Madrid when I was here in 2011, I was blown away by the city, Spanish people and Spanish culture! It was my first time away in a couple of years and it was my first time away without my family. The second time I was here, my love for the city was only fueled and I got to experience it with my Mum and my sister, two very important people in my life! (Even if my sister did nearly kill me by dragging me out in front of a bus in  Plaza de Cibeles..). I am glad that I have had two good experiences in this city, otherwise this experience wouldn’t encourage me to come back!!

I have met an amazing group of girls since arriving in Madrid! They are all other Au-pairs and live all over the city and in its surrounding areas. I have made friends from Scotland, France, Italy and the US! Being from Ireland we make up a pretty diverse group! 😀 BONUS: we all speak English 😛 I speak French but switching between French and Spanish results in me speaking some strange mixed up language with words in one language and more in another! I’m currently dancing around to Spanish music and keep making mistakes!

On Saturday night I got to properly experience the night life of Madrid and boy was I impressed! 😀 We met up in Puerta del Sol at 9.30, where we were passed by various hen and stag parties. We went from there to get tapas in a place one of the girls had heard about called El Tigre.. I cannot recommend this place enough! The thing about this bar is that when you go in, you order a drink (beer, vodka, sangria, cider, wine, cocktails.. just about anything really) and then they give you a mixed plate of tapas. There were 6 of us so we had a lot of alcohol and a lot of food! 🙂 I paid €5 for a ‘vodka and orange’ that was literally 75% vodka and the rest was made up of a fizzy orange drink. From there, we went to the infamous club, Teatro Kapital. I was shocked by how much it cost us to get in! It was €17 per person with two drinks. (and that was with a discount!) At home on nights out I usually pay €6.. Granted they are student nights out but still!

The club was sooo worth the €17!! It has 7 floors with a mixture of bars, dance floors and chill out areas! 🙂 The music they were playing was great and we just had so much fun! If you are ever in Madrid, check this place out! As far as I know there are some nights that are free before 1 am or girls get in free but I’m not 100% sure! The Madrid nightlife starts late and finishes in the early hours of the morning! When I left, there were still people in my group of friends on the go!!

Madrid is such a beautiful city and I’m sad that my stay here has been cut short but I fly back home to Ireland on Thursday from Valencia! I can’t wait to go there and to see my friend who I haven’t seen in a year!!

Talk to you soon guys,

Kathy ❤

Liebster Award Nomination

Hey guys!!

As you can probably tell by the title, I GOT NOMINATED FOR A LIEBSTER AWARD by the wonderful Candidlyangel (Thank you again by the way!). Clearly I’m only slightly excited by this.. 😛  I  only started blogging at the end of May and I haven’t used any of my social media platforms to boost my readers so I really appreciate each and every person who takes their time to read, like and follow my blog! The only person who I have told about my blog is my boyfriend who hasn’t even been allowed to read it yet!

liebster-award-nomination

The Liebster Award is an award given to bloggers by bloggers in an attempt to boost each others blog! The award is given to new bloggers with less than 200 followers and the rules are pretty simple! 🙂

The Rules:

  1. Thank the blog who nominated you and link it back to them
  2. Nominate 11 other blogs to receive the award
  3. Answer the 11 questions from the blogger who nominated you
  4. Tell the readers 11 facts about yourself
  5. Give your nominees 11 questions to answer about themselves

My nominees:

  1. College life when you’re 5″ nothing
  2. Teiya Oloilole
  3. Joy’s Travel
  4. Plant-Based, World Bound
  5. Love Travelling
  6. Style and a Half
  7. Greasy to Gilded
  8. The Confessions of a Wanderer
  9. Happy At Twelve
  10. A Girl’s Voyage
  11. Anyone else who would like to complete the task! 🙂

The questions I was asked:

  1. What is your favorite quote/motto? Why?

When I was leaving school, my French teacher signed my yearbook with “souriez à la vie et la vie te sourit” which loosely translates as ‘smile at life and life will smile at you’. I really like this as it inspires my to be positive when things seem to be looking down! 🙂

2. If you can be a new character in a show/series/movie (or anything that is shown on a screen), what would it be and what kind of role would you play?

I would most definitely be the badass who beats everyone (who deserves it) up! 🙂

3. If you could have personally witnessed anything, what would you like to have seen?

I know I should have some deep response to this question, in reality if I could have seen anything, I would have liked to have been at my parent’s wedding.. My great-grandmother was there and so was my grandfather who has since passed away. I would have loved to see my parents get married, maybe its the hopeless romantic in me!

4. What is the strangest name someone has introduced themselves as to you? What is their real name?

Ok so not an exact answer to this but when I was in first year, my friend was introducing herself to people and said ‘Hi, my name is Abigail’ to one of the girls in our year, the girl responded with ‘Agaba, that’s a nice name….’ From then I affectionately called Abigail Agaba! 🙂

5. What type of music do you listen to? Who are your favorite artists?

This question is something I don’t ever have an answer to! 😛 I am currently listening to Michael Franti & Spearhead – The Sound Of Sunshine but I will literally listen to pretty much anything excluding rap and heavy metal! I love artists from Bruce Springsteen to Walking on Cars to Bruno Mars to Taylor Swift! My tastes are pretty varied! 🙂

6. If you could marry a fictional character, who would you marry? Or if you don’t want to marry anyone, which fictional character do you believe is the most like yourself?

There are fictional characters who I admire simply because the actors who play them are insanely attractive.. As to who I believe is most like me? I honestly don’t know! I am me! 🙂

7. What are your life and career goals in the present and in 10 years?

When I was younger, I wanted to be an equine physiotherapist, then I wanted to be a doctor, now I am studying Commerce and Spanish… A bit of a difference! A part of me regrets not studying for medicine and trying to become a doctor so who knows if I will go back to college and study GEM. I am also considering doing a postgraduate degree/ masters in Law as it is the element of commerce that I am enjoying the most at the moment!

I would like to be married in 10 years time and to have traveled the world with the person I love. Work wise, I want to be doing something I love!

8. For you, what is the more logical to follow – your heart of your brain?

For me the most logical thing to do would be to follow my head but as a hopeless romantic I am ruled by my heart! I also believe strongly in things and I believe that these beliefs don’t come from my head, but my heart.

9. If you had met me before, how would you describe me?

I haven’t met you 🙂

10. What is the funniest thing you have ever done?

The funniest thing I have ever done? I have no idea! Some of the most fun I have had include spending a month in Valencia, Spain last summer with one of by best friends Grace.

11. If you could read minds, whose would you want to read?

The person who is going to get a 1.1 in my exams in college!

11 Facts About Me

  1. My first name is Kathy and Kat came about when during the fore-mentioned month in Valencia, the kids I was looking after (I was teaching English in summer camps) either couldn’t say or remember Kathy so I told them to call me Kat.
  2. I have been in 9 countries (Wales, Bosnia, Croatia, Spain, France, Belgium, Scotland, Germany and Holland) and have worked while in 2 of them. Madrid happens to be my favorite place I have ever visited but I have a special place in my heart for Antwerp in Belgium ❤
  3. I am currently a bit obsessed with Micheal Franti & Spearhead (especially their song ‘Say Hey (I Love You)’
  4. I have only told my boyfriend about this blog. No body else in my everyday life knows anything about it!
  5. I really want to get a tattoo or two.. 🙂 I have an idea for one and I know where I want to get another one but I don’t know what I want to actually get there!
  6. Westlife, U2, Nanci Griffith and Bruce Springsteen were the soundtrack to my childhood.
  7. I love Disney movies! My favorite would have to be Mulan (Mushu is the most hilarious sidekick ever!!) I do also love Beauty and The Beast and Frozen! I just a bit of a Disney nut… 🙂
  8. I am the oldest of 4 children and when we were younger and staying with my Dad’s parents, my Granny would give us twisters for breakfast before my parents got up!
  9. I love animals! I have 3 dogs, Angie, Liath and Cherry, and 2 cats, Hallie and Berrie.
  10. I am 5″8 and have naturally curly hair which drives me demented at times but I do actually love 🙂 My Gran gives out to me when she sees me with my hair straightened.
  11. I adore food but I am intolerant to wheat, gluten and dairy!

My 11 questions for you:

  1. What is your favorite place you have ever visited and why?
  2. Would you prefer to live without food or without WiFi for 24 hours?
  3. Do you prefer books or movies? What is your favorite book/movie?
  4. What does your life look like in 15 years?
  5. What is your favorite thing to do with your friends?
  6. Sport. Yay or Nay? Why?
  7. What is your favorite animal?
  8. If you could wake up anywhere in the morning, where would it be and why?
  9. If any Hollywood star dead or alive could play you in a film about your life, who would it be? why?
  10. If you were going to be an animal, what type pf animal would you be? why?
  11. What inspired you to start blogging?

Thank you guys for reading and best of luck to those who I have nominated! 🙂 I hope you have gotten more of an insight into my life and it will encourage you to come back and read more! 🙂

See you soon,

Kathy ❤

Madrid Meetups

Hey guys,

Its been a bit if a hectic week! Who knew having 3 kids would be such work! Their behavior has been improving slowly so I’m hoping that’s going to keep going like that!

So I have me weekends free and last Saturday I met up with some other Au pairs who live in different areas to me in the city center! We were supposed to all meet up at 12 but of course I overslept and didn’t end up waking up until around 11.. Needless to say I didn’t get into the city on time! I went in any way and went shopping.. I honestly don’t know how I am going to get what I have bought home seeing as I decided it would be such a fantastic idea to bring just hand luggage. I then met up with the girls for lunch at TapasTapas just next to McDonald’s on Gran Via (McDonald’s is MAJESTIC by the way..) I had a tortilla, a typical Spanish dish that is made from potatoes, eggs and usually some onion too 🙂 It was small but gorgeous!

It was great to meet up with some of the other girls! There was a girl from France, who has just spent the last two years studying in Dublin, a girl from the Czech Republic, A girl from Liverpool in England and a girl from Finland! It was great to have such a diverse group and I really enjoyed meeting people my own age and just having a bit of craic!

Then on Sunday, I went on an adventure to McDonald’s in Pozuelo de Alarcón, where they have taken McDonald’s to a whole new level! You even get your food delivered to your table!! They also try new food in the restaurant and it’s just pretty cool!

Yesterday, I went on another adventure into the city center with another Au-pair who lives in the same village as me. We got the  Metro to Plaza de Espagne and went from there to Plaza de Cibeles along Gran Vía, only making a couple of stops along the way 😛 It was beautiful! While there, we met another girl for lunch and went to a place called El Diario near the Prado Museum. I had a veal burger that was possibly the nicest thing I’ve eaten since being here! It was so beautiful! In addition to this, the guy who served us he’d a great sense of humor and had us all laughing, despite speaking completely in Spanish!

We went from there up to Puerta del Sol, another tourist spot in Madrid and got the Metro from there. It took us over an hour and a half to get back here, it should have taken about 30 mins. The joys of Metro strikes and certain parts of certain lines being down!

I am enjoying the social side of being an Au-pair… That said, I wont be going anywhere until the Metro drivers stop striking and I can get from place to place normally!

Thanks for reading,

Kathy 🙂

My first few days as an Aupair

Hey guys,

So of course I am writing this instead of studying for an exam repeat I have coming up in August and have just watched 3 episodes of Suits.. It’s a good thing I didn’t plan on being very productive today 😛

So my first few days of being an Aupair have been interesting to say the least! I traveled from Cork to Dublin overnight on Sunday night andd from there I flew to Madrid.. meaning I got a grand total of 4 hours sleep (and that’s being generous!) I slept for a while on the bus and then another bit on the plane. When I arrived in Madrid, my host family weren’t there to collect me, they were at a First Holy Communion about 6 hours away. I was being picked up by a friend of theirs who wasn’t there either.. Sure I was grand! They arrived shortly and I went back to their apartment.

What is crazy about the couple who collected me is that they lived in Dublin for almost 10 years and they knew my Mum while they lived in Ireland!! :O In addition to that, I am on the board of an international charity in Ireland and the wife who I was with works in the charities headquarters in Madrid! Of all the people in Madrid, I just happened to be collected by the people who I have not only one but two connections to!

I spent the day with these people,who I felt like I already knew, until I was collected by my host family. They brought me to their house which is about 5 minutes away.. As is typical in Madrid, they live in an apartment complex that forms a square around a garden with a pool and a paddle court along with various toys for the kids to play on. I don’t know if this is typical anywhere else but I found it pretty damn cool!

I met the kids who I am going to be looking after for the next 5 and a bit weeks. They are adorable! Their names are Nico, Pablo and Ana. The first evening I was looking after them, they were great fun but we didn’t get anything done! I had to help Pablo with his homework and then get them all to have showers. Pablo took about 3 years to start his homework! If anyone needs hints on procrastination, this kid is a master! They were a bit of a handful but I eventually got them sorted!

Yesterday on the other hand they behaved perfectly! Nico did his homework on time and then we went outside to play paddle (It’s a Spanish game that’s like a mixture of Squash and Tennis). They came in when they were told to and took their showers without me having to ask twice! My secret you may ask? Candy Crush, Temple Run and Angry Birds! Who knew they would come in so handy as bribes!! When one goes for a shower, the other gets to play and then Ana with play it for about 2 minutes before she gets bored and goes and does something else! 🙂

I will have them again at about 5.30 and I am hoping they are going to behave as well as they did yesterday!!

If anyone had any tips on how to manage kids and for getting them to behave, please let me know!

Thanks for reading! ❤

Until next time,

Kathy 🙂

3 cities, 2 countries, 2 months, 1 carry on

Hey guys,

So I am writing this after eating my last dinner with my famalam. I have just finished packing my bag and in about 4 hours time I will be leaving my house and Cork until the 1st of August. (Well that’s when I started writing this post..)

I wanted to write a post on how I packed for this trip. I am away for 2 months and just brought a carry on bag.. Yes I do think I’m slightly nuts.. I wanted to bring enough that I don’t end up living in the same clothes but not too much that I needed to bring a check on bag. I found that rolling my clothes was the best way to get them all into my bag. I was cursing myself during the week when I tried packing, I genuinely packed and unpacked at least 3 times!!

I am a chronic over-packer! It’s a problem I have.. 😛

I brought about:

  • 4 pairs of shorts
  •  A skirt
  • A pair of nice ankle length pants
  • A pair of gypsy pants (The ones with the tight legs and they are baggy then up the top and are high-waisted)
  • A Maxi dress
  • 3 swimsuits and a sarong
  • about a million tops (OK slight exaggeration, but I did bring plenty)
  • and lots of underwear and socks
  • I also brought a pair of runners, slip on shoes, two pairs of sandals and a pair of flip-flops.

Somehow I managed to fit all the above into my carry on suitcase. I also brought a ‘Personal bag’ with me which had my laptop, book, makeup, a small handbag with my purse, passport, phone etc., my chargers and of course some food 🙂 My laptop being the brick it is made the bag weigh a tonne and one of the straps broke off it before I even got on the plane (go me!)

Hopefully this stuff will be enough to keep me somewhat sane!

Until next time,

Kathy

Packing 2