The Alicante Diaries: Flight booked

Hey guys,

So as I am studying Spanish in University, next year, I am doing an Erasmus which means I will be going to Universidad de Alicante next year. I am really excited and I thought I might as well chronicle my adventures while I’m there.

In August, I, along with 3 class mates and another 4 people from UCC will be arriving in Spain for the year. We are required to take classes that to relate to our course, so as I am a business and Spanish student, I need to balance my subjects equally between Spanish and various business subjects, be they law, economics, tourism or anything else related to the business world that I find interesting and can make it to. I also need to take some Spanish language classes which will be interesting seeing as my Spanish is currently pretty dismal.

A friend of mine is in his 4th year of Spanish in the same Uni as me and he spent last year studying in Mexico which is really cool. I was considering going to Mexico but if I was there, I would be there for the year. whereas when in Spain, I can come home for Christmas and the odd weekend here and there if I really wanted to. It’s a bit more peace of mind being only 3 hours away as opposed to being on the opposite side of the world.

I have already begun looking at places to stay when I go over! I have my flight booked for August 29th and the excitement is starting!

Write soon with more updates,

Thanks for reading,

Kathy ❤

 

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New year, New me?

At the risk of sounding totally cliché, this year is going to be my year. I may be slightly late with this post, I do realize that it is indeed more towards the end of January than the beginning but better late than never I suppose (I really am killing this whole cheesy thing today right?)

The last few months were pretty rough for me, I broke up with my boyfriend in October, in the end it came down to the distance being the biggest problem, I was overrun by college work and so stressed out about exams and assignments, I was working all the hours that were given to me in an attempt to save money and even this week, I found out some bad news about my Gran.

Despite all these setbacks, I refuse to let them get to me. I was in a bad place a few months ago, very few people know but at one point I felt so low and shitty about myself, I tried pulling apart a razor blade to use to harm myself. I had a bad 2016, a lot like most people it seems. Some nights I went to bed and hoped that I wouldn’t wake up the following morning. In some ways, I feel like my breakup was the best thing that could have happened to me. Yes it was awful to lose someone who I loved but since then, my confidence has been boosted, I feel more confident in myself and I have grown into the strong, independent woman who I always knew I could be. I took the best stab at my exams as I could. I worked really hard for them all semester long and for the first time since starting Uni, I don’t think I failed any of them! Work has its own challenges, crazy colleagues, intense hotel guests and a workplace that could have its own soap opera!  But hey, its providing me with a somewhat steady income! 🙂

Since the start of 2017, things seem to have fallen into place somewhat, I paid off some of my college fees, I reached a major milestone in my savings and I even managed to have some money left over to spend on myself in the sales! 🙂 I have begun going back  to the gym since going back to college too. No this is not a New Years resolution, it is something I promised myself I’d do long before the beginning of January. My justification of it, I am moving to Alicante, Spain in August and I want to look hot in a bikini on the beach.. Shallow? Maybe.. But its working for me! 😛 In addition to the gym, I have tried starting to eat more healthily.. This is the bit I struggle with a bit more, I have a massive sweet tooth and I love me some food.. Any hints, tips or advice on how to stick to clean eating would be greatly appreciated! This year is going to be the year I reinvent myself, into a person I am proud to be and I plan on documenting every moment of it!

As always, thanks for reading,

Write soon,

Kathy ❤

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 ❤

The Sheep’s Head

Hey guys,

I haven’t written in a while due to there being nothing exciting in my life going on right now. My family holiday consists of me spending my days in front of my laptop trying to absorb as much information as humanly possible before I go insane. A bit of advice, pass your uni exams first time round!

I failed two exams this year in college, not my finest moment. That means that I have two exams coming up, one on the 3rd of August and the other on the 8th. I am so, super excited (I am beyond freaked out it isn’t funny!!). I am usually pretty good at dealing with stress but this week between the exams and other personal drama I haven’t been dealing so well!

In other news, I a currently down on the Sheep’s Head peninsula in West Cork. I might be biased but I think it’s just about the prettiest place in Ireland (when the sun shines, of course :P). This is my 6th year coming down here and I do really like it. Despite liking the place, I was reluctant to come down this year. I would have preferred to stay at home, house sit and hang out with my cats (I know, I sound like a crazy cat lady..) due to the stress of studying and getting myself all worked up. I am so glad I came down! The scenery down here is just gorgeous and there is loads of walks you can do on The Sheep’s Head Way. Being able to get up from my laptop and being able to take myself and the dogs out for a run is the best thing ever! I will insert some photos I’ve taken below!

I’ve a favor to ask you guys, please pray for my exams/ wish me luck/ send good karma my way.. I could use all the help I can get!! 🙂

Thanks for reading,

See you again 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 ❤