Excuse my French, but I’m in France

After a grueling two weeks of working less than 12 hours the Spaniards had a holiday to gift us 5 days off. October 12th was known as “Día de la Hispanidad” or Hispanic Day which inadvertently gives you October 13th off as well! Two of my room mates and myself went straight to our computers after receiving our academic calendars and were  scouring the internet for the best airline deals we decided on Paris, France!

Paris is one of those places that you dream about. It’s presented in so many TV shows, films and romance novels. It is known as the city of love, and it definitely lived up to that name.

Day 1: Thursday 12 October 


We arrived on Thursday at 8:30 am into Beauvais Airport. Little did we know that because of our cheap Ryan Air tickets this airport was about an hour and fifteen minutes away from Paris. Luckily, there was an option for airport transfer to the city for about 14 Euros! When we arrived at St. Christophers Inn Canal hostel we had about an hour and a half till check-in time. It was a cute hostel with a built in bar/restaurant and seemed to be where many other twenty-somethings congregated. Considering our already early morning we planned to take it easy by visiting the Louvre, Catacombs and The Eiffel Tower. We arrived to the Louvre fairly late (around 5/5:30 pm) which apparently means they don’t sell tickets anymore to view the Mona Lisa. Unfortunately we were never able to get back to see the Mona Lisa but watching around The Louvre was still exciting! We decided then to opt out of the metro and walk to the Catacombs and then onto The Eiffel Tower to get a feel for Paris. *Side note: THEY ARE NOT THAT CLOSE about 2.7 miles, I thought I would need feet replacements! The Eiffel Tower is everything you can think of. It also lights up every hour after 9 pm for about 5 minutes and that is quite a site to see. We decided to be smart on the way back and take the metro since we were rather famished and just needed to grub. After we got back, we walked around a bit and happened upon a pizzera called “Pizzeria Cordial”. We got 2 medium sized pizzas for about 10 euros and boy were they good!

Day 2: Friday 13 October 

Luckily my room mates are just as impulse as me. We happened upon a flyer for Disneyland Paris and after looking online saw it was only $57 so of course we bought tickets right away. I’ve been fortunate enough to live 15 minutes away from Disneyland in California for a majority of my life. The opportunity to visit Disneyland Paris was finally a dream-turned reality. Disneyland very closely resembled the one in Anaheim but in many ways it would give you little reminders that you were in France. The language of course was the biggest difference but many of the rides varied greatly! For example, at Disneyland Anaheim the Indiana Jones ride was an adventure through the movie in a moving Jeep. In Disneyland France it was a small-scale rollercoaster with a 360 loop, and no reference to Indiana Jones. The food was also a huge difference. It was not only cheaper but better! No chicken nuggets and fries at every stand. We were able to get a full meal for about 12 euros which helped fill us up for a majority of the day. We continued to go on rides and walk around until 8 pm when the fireworks show started. The fireworks show, which included both fireworks and Disney movies both old and new being streamed on the castle. The language would switch from English to French and the fireworks went to the songs! It was definitely a highlight from the day.

Day 3: Saturday 14 October 

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Saturday stared off with one of the BEST EGG BENEDICTS I’VE EVER HAD. Thank you Emily Giglio for the incredible recommendation. It was a small hole in the wall type restaurant called Eggs & Co. and it was FABULOUS. I could probably write a whole other blog post on our meal but I’ll stop here. Next we visited a French bakery called Laduree which also had some of the best macarons I’ve had. (French bakeries in the US got NOTHIN on Paris… obviously). Our tummies were full and we began to proceed over to Notre Dame. The line was insane so we mainly enjoyed from the outside. Next up was the Luxembourg Gardens which had a whole array of people sitting outside due to the beautiful weather. Tiredness then began kicking in as it’s not as easy to sleep with 9 other people in a room. We headed back to the hostel and decided to have some quick R&R before heading to an ice bar that we discovered online. I had always wanted to go to an ice bar.

Day 4: Sunday 15 October 

After having spent my life savings the previous 3 days we decided to make Sunday our “bargain” day. We were determined to do anything we could for free (minus eating of course). We started the day out by getting some great crepes near the Arc de Triomphe. I’m pretty sure nutella is a food group in Europe and it’s definitely become one of mine. We went over to the Arc de Triomphe and with our student visas (I know I’m a teacher not a student, it’s a funny thing here) and got in for free! Looking back, I wish we tried more places to get into with our student visas since the requirement was a visa for at least 3 months. We climbed all 260 steps to get a beautiful view of Paris from the top.  After getting our workout in for the next week we headed over to the Parc du Champ de Mars which gave us an excellent view of the Eiffel Tower during the day! Since we were determined to get to the Sacre Coeur before sundown we only had a few minutes to spend in the park. We headed over on foot to the Sacre Coeur which is similar to scaling a large mountain… just kidding, but it felt like we were always walking at a ninety degree angle. We missed the sunset because of some confusion with a festival that was currently happening around the Basilica. I’m not sure what kind of street fair it was but boy it was packed with people. We then decided to end our night at the Moulin Rouge, but of course by just looking at the outside. As we walked towards Moulin Rouge we stopped to satisfy our sushi craving which was actually pretty darn good! (Can’t remember the name). As we began to get closer to the Moulin Rouge an array of cat-callers started to make themselves known. Although it was good to see the lit up signs at night, I could do without the constant “hey sexy, ooh baby…” you know the type of cat-calling that makes you want to shower for a week. Although our trip to Paris wasn’t over until our flight left the next day at 5 we were rather tired and knew it was best to relax until our return back to Mallorca.


  • Go to Eggs & Co.
  • Visit Disneyland Paris
  • Combine walking & the metro to see the city
  • Watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle


  • Pay to go in certain museums if you are a student, check first if it’s free
  • Worry when you’re stared at for wearing a dress in 78 degree weather. Yeah I know, people had SCARFS on.
  • Eat dinner/lunch/brunch in a touristy area. Ask your hostel or friends for ideas. The restaurants were not only pricey but not very good.
  • Go too late to museums. Even if they say there open they might not allow entry if tickets are not previously bought.

We No Speak Americano

What I observed in my first week in Spain

**Obviously these are just MY thoughts & observations, this no way means that everything I wrote is 100% true about the Spanish lifestyle.

  • Drinking is acceptable anytime, anyplace. And no, this isn’t the drinking we participate in America where the goal is being belligerent. You spend so much time talking to the people you’re with that you end up nursing a beer or glass of wine for quite some time.
  • LOTS of people have dogs in Spain, but they aren’t too keen on you trying to reach out and pet their pup. (Unfortunately for me this is something I need to remind myself of each and every day since i miss my puppers). **Side note I was told by one of my flat mates that you can pet other people’s pets so maybe I’m just acting too intensely… LOL
  • People stare at me a lot. It’s not like a uh huh honey type of stare but more like why do you have blue hair and a nose piercing stare and are taller than the average spaniard and wearing yoga pants all the time with flip flops kind of stare. I remember this stare in Italy. I was seemingly the only blonde in the town so I was very obviously a foreigner. I don’t really even register the staring anymore, you just kind of get used to it and proceed walking.
  • Spaniards don’t smile at you on the street or say “I’m sorry” after bumping into you. I’ve gotten pretty used to this too in the first week but It will forsure feel weird returning to the states and forgetting about that cultural norm.
  • SIESTA’S ARE STILL REAL YALL, and pretty fabulous. After a rigorous day of working 9-1 I get to go home and take a nap. I wasn’t even a regular napper in the states unless I was REAALLY tired… but now it’s just kind of the culture so I’ll participate if I must. 😉
  • Lunch is late, dinner is later. I think because the siesta usually falls mid-day and then Spaniards get back up and running again for a few hours before calling it a day and eating delicious food.
  • Many times when I would tell someone I was in Palma to teach english they would ask me how to say certain things or if they were saying things correctly. This was always fun! I met so many people who genuinely wanted to practice their English with me.
  • Public transportation and your feets are the primary method of traveling. People do have cars but you can get almost anywhere across the entire island on a train, metro, bus or by foot!
  • Friends and family beat out responsibilities a majority of the time. I love that. I loved my job in the states but it was difficult at times working late hours. You can get the feeling here that Spaniards will do anything they can to see their friends or family during the day no matter what work they had. I felt like so many times I said “I’m sorry I can’t, I have to work” but haven’t said that yet!
  • I feel less anxious here, and I think it’s due to the pace of life in Spain. It’s pretty nice for a change to focus on more important things like friendships and being active over working!
  • I’ve RARELY seen someone walking around Palma with a coffee cup in their hand or food. I think because when people grab something to eat/drink they want to genuinely enjoy it. Whether it’s while sitting with friends or people watching sitting down was way more the norm than rushing to work with goodies.



  • So I have two schools I teach at, both for 6 hours a week. One is in Palma which is the main city here in Mallorca and the other is in Pollenca, about 45 minutes by bus.
  • *JEALOUSY WARNING* I have Friday, Saturday and Sunday off every week. (Which doesn’t even begin to include all the holidays Mallorca takes).  Everyday I work for 3 hours with varying hours! Really doesn’t make me miss the crazy schedule of hospitality! AND IT LEAVES SO MUCH ROOM FOR ACTIVITIES!
  • There is always someone looking to take private English lessons. This is a way to gain extra income during my program to help pay for things like rent and travel! I haven’t quite set it up yet but hopefully that will come soon.
  • I am more or less an assistant teacher. I am in the classroom to provide fluent English assistance to the teacher and give any information about the American culture I know.

Adios for now!

Living Like a Local, While Looking Like a Tourist.

After a cab ride from hell to the JFK airport we were finally boarded on the flight to Barcelona. Considering my unsettling flight anxiety I was both excited and terrified to spent 8 hours 35,000 feet above the ground. We spent quite some time taxing on the runway making me hope the plane could just drive us to Spain (yes my anxiety is THAT bad). Before I knew it though we were finally on our descent into the Barcelona El Prats airport. The jitters set in and the sadness seemed to leave my body somewhere over the Atlantic. I finally felt ready for my new adventure with my head peering out the window searching for the morning sunrise to glisten upon my first sight of Spain. Then after a few moments I looked out my small window to see what I had dreamed about for so many years, Europe. As the altitude slowly decreased and the captain notified the flight staff to returned to their seats emotion swelled completely over my eyes. After spending about a month traveling around visiting friends and family and only having slept in my bed for 3 days in the span of 3 1/2 weeks it felt real. I was home.

After getting off the plane my mom and I headed over to baggage claim, It slowly set in that I would need to begin to use the Spanish I learned in high school and college to get to my airbnb. Fun thing was, the Barcelona airport either has no WiFi or very poor reception so trying to navigate around without the internet seemed like a task a millennial was unable to accomplish.

With the help of some previously printed out directions and a very patient cab driver we made it to the airbnb! A nice Brazilian named Marcelo greeted us to the door and welcomed us immediately. Unfortunately the jet lag reared it’s ugly head and I needed a solid catnap before proceeding to explore Barcelona. Three hours later we were out the door!

I already have a bad reputation for not capturing a lot of photos while traveling but looking back I’m bummed I didn’t snap some of the restaurants we ate at. The first one we went to was a tapas style lunch and dinner restaurant. We started out with a large Sangria and some various little bites that Spain is so well known for. We were able to use our Spanish enough for him to bring us some free “cava” (Spanish champagne). After filling our tummies it was time to search for a sim card that would work with my cell phone for the course of my year. This didn’t come easy though. I was used to vodafone from when I studied abroad previously but considering our lack of GPS ability we relied on locals to search for the nearest one. You really don’t realize how important your electronics can be to you until you don’t have the ability to use them.

The day continued on now that we had GPS capability and whatsapp to contact our airbnb host in case anything went wrong. Since the jet lag still felt like a heavy weight the best way to make the use of our day was to simply wander. With the thanks of Marcelo we were made aware of the underground subway system that can take you almost anywhere in Barcelona. They have a nifty 10 ride card for 9,99 that would allow 2 people 5 different rides. We would just sit in the subway, point at some location and hope it was somewhere worth seeing (then again everywhere in Barcelona was worth seeing).

After some much needed rest it seemed like the jet lag was finally staring to wear off (it wasn’t) but today was the day to see much of what makes Barcelona famous. We took the subway over to see Park Guell, one of Gaudi’s famous architectural wonders. After what felt like 1,000 stairs to get up to the top I saw just what everyone was telling me about. One of the most beautiful views of the city is at the top of the park and you can see what feels like all of Barcelona. Next we rode the subway again to walk by La Sagrada Familia, another incredible piece by Gaudi, it is still unfinished with a expected completion date of 2030. While walking around we saw a few terrace cafes but only one made my tastebuds water. Strangely enough it was a pizzeria (I know it’s not Italy) but I had a hankering for some carbs with cheese on it.

The rest of the day was spent walking around Las Ramblas and looking at the mall and even doing a little shopping. With only the GPS on my phone and our four very capable legs we went anywhere the felt worth seeing. Stumbling upon an outdoor market, a cathedral and many street performers. Wandering around made me feel like I was 16 again, the small streets, the cars that look like they could be driven with remote controllers and music on almost any block. I looked back to the times this month that I spent crying, worried about everything to come and panicked I’d spend more time missing my family than enjoying my new adventure. It all changed when I arrived to Barcelona, the eagerness set in as I saw my roommates arrive in Palma one by one. I was excited to think of all the adventures we would have together and ready for all this year might bring. I’ll be spending the next two days in Madrid taking in all that beautiful city has to offer before I can settle in to what will be a very exciting year.

My take on Barcelona:

-Stay at an airbnb

-Try to speak any Spanish you know to your waiter, they always appreciated it even when it took a few moments to explain something.

-Use the transit system and buy the T-10 card, you could go visit ALL the known monuments with this.

-If you do use the metro, make sure to stay to the right side of the escalator so people can walk up it next to you. (YES there are stairs right next to the escalator but I was informed this is just a thing in Spain).

-Sangria is known as drink for 16 year-olds by many Spaniards (as i was informed) try going for a vino tinto/blanco/rosado or tinto de verano if you want to look like a local.. But hey, sangria is pretty good so no judgements here.

-Beer is also served as whatever is on draft, you order it by the size and not by the brand. Yes craft beer lovers they don’t have bottled iPA’s quite yet.

-Don’t set a plan and walk as much as possible. Yes Barcelona is a HUGE city but we happened upon all of our restaurants by just walking down a street and looking at various menus. Always ask for the Spanish menu.

-Sitting on the terrace is great, but many restaurants include a %15 surcharge for the added service.

-El Menu del dia is a great way to get lots of food, wine and bread for only about 10 euros. (Don’t try that at dinner though or it’ll be more expensive)

-“Lo Siento” is not used when you bump into someone. I was rarely even said “perdon” to, it only seemed to be used when trying to pass someone who maybe was distracted by their cell phone.

-Water is not readily available at restaurants and comes in bottled form. I already dearly miss my Oregon tap water, but bottled water is only about .75 euros so I tend to opt for that instead,

-If someone heard us speaking english before walking into a restaurant they would address the entire meal to us in English. I still tried using my Spanish regardless for good practice.

*Note- We went to Madrid as well but because of the shorter time we had with flights & trains going to/from cities I decided to focus on Barcelona