Studying, Stress and a Subluxed shoulder

Hey guys,

My apologies for not uploading sooner, I have had a kinda crazy month! College for the last month has been nuts! Between RAG week (where I was really boring and didn’t even go out once) and study my time-table has been pretty full. I also managed to injure myself at work so that’s always fun.

So during the summer I had two exam repeats as I failed them the first time I took them. That couple with a bad ending to my au-pairing experience left me in a bad mental space. I felt worthless and genuinely didn’t want to wake up in the morning after falling asleep. I got into a bad routine of not going to bed until around 2 am and not waking until around noon. I would then spend the entire day sitting on my bed on my laptop studying for my exams. It was bad and it was a contributing factor to how I was feeling. Things were also not good with my parents at the time, partially due to them not liking my then boyfriend and partially due to me coming home early from Spain. All these factors added up led me to have daily panic attacks and to my self harming. Obviously, none of this was ideal. This led me to go on and fail one of the repeats I had to sit. Once again, not ideal. I found that once my boyfriend and I broke up in October, I felt much better. I was able to focus more on uni and work and my mental health improved. I was on an upwards stretch until I hit a bump recently. The month of March is crazy for me, I had an exam on the 9th, an assignment (3000 words) due for the 27th and a Spanish test worth 30% of this years grade on the 29th. It’s a lot of pressure by itself but when you have your mother on your back EVERY FRIKIN DAY it makes things even worse. Recently things haven’t been so great for me. Stress levels are high and I started self harming again. I haven’t in about three weeks and the marks on my arms are healing but they are still there.

I haven’t told most people about how I’m feeling, mostly just one of my best friends, who I regret telling because he gets so worried about me. I don’t know why I’m writing this but it feels kinda good to let it all out and put an order on things. I still haven’t told anyone about this blog so I won’t be spilling my secrets to my friends and family. I have 5 exams coming up at the end of April/ start of May and I am absolutely terrified of failing. I can’t take much more of feeling like a failure, despite me spending nearly all my free time in the library since this semester began.

In addition to this, I haven’t been able to keep up going to the gym which is my stress relief due to injury. At the start of February, I sprained my ankle coming out of a lecture. It took about 2 weeks to recover and I was looking forward to being able to go to the gym. One Monday at work, I was all excited to go to the gym the following day when I was carrying a crate of beer and suddenly I had a crippling pain in my shoulder. I immediately dropped the crate (Onto a keg so it didn’t have far to go) and went in search of my manager. When I found her, I explained what happened and she was all concerned but there was  nothing she could do and she just reckoned I’d pulled a muscle. The following day, I went to the medical center in college and went to see the physio who diagnosed my shoulder as being subluxed. She said basically, my collar-bone popped out-of-place and back into place spontaneously. Fun right? Basically its just been one thing after another recently. I now have an infected finger cause stress is quite literally making my body break down. Yayyy.. Another prescription!

Anyway, Thanks for reading guys,

See you soon,

Kathy

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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 ❤

Coming Home

Hey guys,

I know its been a while since my last post, that’s what happens when you are an absolute genius and leave your laptop charger on the bus home from the airport (Yay me!). I’m writing this in the library of my university seeing as my laptop is still out of commission and I need to study.

I spent 4 days in Valencia with my friend and her family before coming home! After spending the few days there, my Spanish came on more than it did the entire month I was in Madrid. It was great! I spoke so much Spanish that since coming home and having a French student in the house, I’m speaking Spanish to her instead of French! My French is a million times better than my Spanish!

So I came home last week and a small part of me regrets it (it’s a lot colder in Ireland) but mostly I’m happy to be home! My flight home was, just my luck, delayed for 2 hours. I was not impressed, I know these things happen but it sucked! I was travelling for over 11 hours, including a half hour metro, a 3 hour flight and a three and a half hour bus home.. It was a long day. I did take some gorgeous pictures of sunsets on the way home though. I didn’t realize how much I missed sunsets in Spain until I was home! It’s hard to see them over the apartment building next to you…

Since coming home the best ting that has happened is seeing my boyfriend! 😀 It had been 6 and a half weeks since I’d seen him and I needed cuddles! 😛 We had a great few days together. I talk to him everyday for at least an hour but it is so different seeing him! 🙂 I even voluntarily got up before 7 am to be able to go see him! I really like my bed and am currently falling asleep as a result but sure.. All for the sake of love.

Next weekend I am going to West Cork with my family for a few weeks. It is where we usually go and I usually can’t wait to go! This year, I was planning on still being away for most of it and then not going down due to my exams but alas I am coming! 🙂 Its beautiful down there but again, I need to work.. Seriously guys, if I can give you one piece of advice, don’t fail your exams.. I have spent the summer being stressed out about mine ans studying for them! DAMN IT! I even have an exam while on holidays with my family and one the following week so I won’t be relaxing then either.

 

I have a feeling this is a slight rant more than anything,

My apologies,

See you soon (I’ll be nicer, I promise!)

Kathy 🙂

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 ❤

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 🙂