I see London I see France… in Less Than 48 Hours

After returning from Morocco an impulsive London trip was booked. London is one of those places that so many dream about, especially during the Christmastime. Ever seen Love Actually? Well this impulsive trip was going to be quite short since we booked our flight arriving into London Gatwick at 10:30pm Friday night and leaving Sunday morning at 8 am. Anthony Bourdain step aside because these girls know how to do a layover trip!

Anywho, Friday night we arrived and had a series of travel issues. We touched down early into London around 10 pm. After I turned my phone off of airplane mode I saw an email from our hostel stating that we would need to be there by 12 in order to check in. After researching where it was in relation to us (yes I swear I did this before too) I saw that it was about an hour and fifty minutes by train… While we were searching for other possibilities near the center  we attempted to figure out how to even arrive into the center. For those who don’t know, Gatwick is London’s second largest airport behind Heathrow and it is MASSIVE. It’s funny how we had an easier time getting around with the Paris metro without even knowing the language.

When we finally figured out our stay for the night and located the correct train to get to the center it was about 1 am by the time we got into London Victoria. A quick 15 minute walk to the hotel and our night just about ended as soon as we got there.

The next day we woke up ready to explore the city! After another delicious meal of eggs benedict (are you starting to see a theme with our breakfast preferences?) We were about 25-30 minutes walking from Buckingham Palace which was just about 20-25 minutes away from many other London sights. It was pretty crazy to see Buckingham Palace in person after hearing about it so many times before! After walking through all the gardens and viewing all the intricate details of the gates we proceeded to go towards Big Ben. On our way we happened upon Trafalgar Square which had many street performers and little shops all around.

While we continued onto Big Ben we saw that there were many scaffoldings on the building with did not allow you to see the clock during the daytime. I was unaware at the time that it was under construction! Even so, we got a good glimpse of it while walking back at night time.


(Big Ben in the distance with scaffoldings)

We had contemplated going on the London Eye much of the day but it carried a larger price tag than we were hoping to pay £26! After going back and fourth on it we eventually caved in. Although some locals told us it was a “tourist trap” I was pretty happy with my purchase, we got some INCREDIBLE views of London from the top.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Many of the famed Christmas light streets were too far away from where we were, determined to find some Christmas themed lights we headed over to Harrods. Harrods is a large department store with many stores like Gucci and Tiffany & CO located inside. It had a beautiful Christmas tree and many strung lights around the store and the adjacent street! We even picked up some Macarons from a local bakery and ate those in about 3 seconds.

Fairly close to Harrods was Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park. The park was filled with everything Christmas from food, decorations, drinks and rides. It reminded me of the Tustin Tiller Days I used to go to as a kid. We drank copious amounts of apple cider in the brisk 32 degree weather while trying not to freeze. I even found a place that was serving swedish meatballs! Take that Ikea!


As our trip was coming to a close I felt sad that it wasn’t long enough. It was also such a pleasure to speak English to all the locals. It can be tough sometimes living in Spain because even when you have a general idea of the language, you might not be well versed enough to have a few laughs with your cashier at check out. This was something I definitely missed and truly enjoyed while in London!

Do I even MISS the US?

Since it’s been an adequate amount of time that I have been outside of the US I figured it is always fun to reflect on things I miss and don’t miss, enjoy!

Things I miss about the US

1.My dog/friends/family (of course)


2. Dryers 


3.Driving– Alright, mainly because I bought a lovely new car before I even applied to this program and sometimes I wish I could have brought it over with me!

4.Access to every version of baking goods (learned that this Thanksgiving while trying to hunt down ingredients)

5.Having a 40 hour week week (I KNOW) this one sounds crazy, but there’s something about working 12 hours a week with a private lesson here and there that can start to make you feel a little lazy and quite useless. Then again, maybe that’s the American in me?

6. Smiling Spanish people don’t smile at you, not in a rude way but they value a smile to be more personal. I just like smiling at people though and after you’ve lived in smile-friendly Eugene it’s hard not to.

7. Medicine Getting over the counter drugs is quite different in Spain that it is in the US. In the US you walk into any grocery store and can buy dayquil, allergy medicine, sleep aids in almost 100 different brands each. In Spain, you ask a pharmacist for almost anything and they give you one MAYBE two options. Then again, maybe that’s why the US has a drug problem??

Typical Looking Spanish Pharmacy

Things I do NOT miss about the US

1.Donald Trump 

2. Expensive wine I could have 17 euros in my account and STILL have enough to buy a round trip ticket to Barcelona, two bottles of wine and go out with my roomates for tapas with the money left over.


3. Lack of public transportation (I know this is only true for some places)


4. Expensive flights– okay let me break this down for you. So in order to travel from SoCal to Eugene for school I would usually spend around $200 dollars for a 2 hour flight. We’re currently looking up ideas for traveling over spring break and I can go from Palma -> Milan -> Athens -> Sofia -> Amsterdam -> Palma for ONLY 154. CRAZY RIGHT

Screen Shot 2017-11-26 at 5.50.41 PM

5.Tipping people- The way Spanish people view jobs is quite different from the US. Bus driver? Waitress? Store clerk? There all decently paid jobs and no one cares even if you’re working while living at home till you hit 30. If you’re in the US and go on a date with a store clerk living with his parents you look for the nearest exit.

6.The fast-paced lifestyle- Which might seem like an interesting one after stating that I miss my 40 hour work week. Spaniards know how to take vacations and know how to relax after a long week or a long day. In Spanish culture many times the friends and families will override the workplace. Even with an early morning I see many Spanish people out on weekdays enjoying tapas with friends.


Well there ya have it! Every so often I miss something rather materialistic or silly like today when we returned from London all we wanted was some campbells canned soup!

It’s the little things. 🙂

A Week in My Spanish Life

Well I’m nearing the end of my second month in the program and BOY how fast time flies. It feels like just yesterday that I was spending hours on google maps trying to understand where I would be moving to in a few months. Still can’t believe it sometimes that I’m actually living in a Spanish paradise.



Now let’s take a look at a week in my life, shall we? 

Monday: While working in hospitality and retail before Monday’s really didn’t give me the blues because many times, they were my Friday! Well here in Spain, my Monday’s are the LONGEST day of the week…

9:50 am- First class of the day, with primary kids in the 6th grade

BREAK- 10:45-12:15

12:15 pm- Second class of the day, with primary kids in the 1st grade

1-3 pm- LUNCHTIME: This school is a little different than some others in Palma, since it is a private school the day finishes at 5 but kids get a 2 hour lunch break giving them time to go home and eat or eat at the school and play.

3 pm- Third class of the day, with primary kids in the 3rd grade

4 pm- Last class of today, with primary kids in the 5th grade

5- 6:30 pm- Private Lesson with a girl and her brother

8 pm- Spanish class (which I have yet to attend but I will be this week)


Monday is my absolute least favorite day because I spend 7 hours at the school while only working 4, the classes itself though are pretty fun.

Tuesday: On Tuesday and Wednesday I spend my time in the beautiful town of Pollenca, it is about an hour bus ride from Palma which isn’t so bad considering all the wonderful views!

7:30 am- Bus departs for Pollenca

8:30 am– First class, with primary kids in the 1st grade

9:30 am- Second class, with primary kids in the 2nd grade

10:45 am- Third class, with primary kids in the 3rd grade

1:10 pm- Bus departs back towards Palma

4:45 pm– Private lesson with 2 VERY energetic 3 year-olds


8:40 am- Bus departs for Pollenca

9:50 am- First class, with ESO kids in the 1st year (equivalent to our middle school)

10:45 am- Second class, with ESO kids in the 2nd year

1:10 pm- Bus departs back towards Palma

8 pm- Spanish Class!

Thursday: Back at the Palma school!

9:50 am- First class, with primary kids in the 1st year

11:15 am- Second class, with primary kids in the 2nd year

5:30 pm- Private Lesson with a very intelligent 11 year old!

Friday, Saturday and Sunday are my days off every week which is pretty weird to have weekends off! The weather has been extremely nice for November so far with most days getting a bit about 65 which allows for outdoor activities! The nights can still get cold though, especially with the humidity!

Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone

My desire to visit Morocco came after talking to many previous auxiliares about their experiences in the African country. However, with that desire did come a bit of fear. It wasn’t exactly the type of fear that I feel about flying or losing family members but more a fear of the unknown. I had never stepped foot on Africa, or any country similar to Morocco. Outside of the US I had only ever been to Canada, Mexico (on a cruise) and Italy. I just really didn’t know what to expect of Morocco… and now that I’m back, I’m ready to push myself even further out of my comfort zone.

A few of my friends and myself signed up with a program called Discover Excursions which I would highly recommend if it is your first time to Morocco. Everything was pre-paid for except for drinks and any souvenirs you would buy which made it easy to save our money while we were there. The trip began on Friday in Sevilla which is an absolutely GORGEOUS city in Spain, 10/10 would go there again.


We departed from Sevilla to Tarifa which is actually the southernmost point in continental Europe. Once we arrived in Tarifa we took a ferry to cross over the Strait of Gibraltar into a coastal town known as Tanger. Then after arriving in Tanger, we still had another hour and a half bus ride into Tetouan. Considering we all took flights at 6 in the morning into Sevilla and didn’t arrive until 11 pm Spanish time we were more than ready to arrive at our hotel. We were greeted by some traditional Moroccan mint tea and a meal of couscous and chicken with chickpeas. After stuffing our faces we were eager to get to sleep. Everything instantly got better when we opened our hotel room to find a California king sized bed after having slept in a twin for the past two months. Needless to say I slept like a baby.


The next day, breakfast which included various cheeses, meats, breads and sauces was served at 8 am. Then we needed to board a bus to head to the “Blue City” known as Chefchaouen. After a long bus ride up the mountainside we could begin to see all the shades of blue in the distance. Chefchaouen is known as an older city located within a medina. It was built entirely in the mountain side but once you get closer to the top you get some pretty gorgeous views of Moroccan countryside. The first part of our excursion in the blue city was a walking tour led by one of the locals of Chefchaouen. As we walked through the city we were told about the history of the town and influence that Spain had on their culture. Many of the locals would great us with “Welcome to Morocco” or simply a kind “hello”. We finished our walking tour at a the restaurant “Aladdin” which had traditional Moroccan food in an enchanting atmosphere.


We were then sent off for 3 hours of barganing. Those who are unfarmiliar with the bargaining expericence it is definitely something you should do at least once in your lifetime. In Morocco there are many little shops with handmade goods and local products. You have to have a set price in your head of what you´re willing to pay for a certain product and try to work with the shopkeeper to negociate the price. For example, you would want to pay about 7 euros for a pashmina. The shopkeeper would start at 15-20 euros so you would need to negociate your way down to 7. I was able to bargain my way into quite a few different items!


After our shopping experience we went back to the hotel to have a dinner with rice and some moroccan chicken. We were then serenaded later that night by some local muscians while enjoying Spanish sangria.

With some much needed rest we were ready for our adventures in Tangier! Tangier is a costal city in Morocco which over a million habitants. It has influence from Spain and France which you can see in the architecture and many signs that show Arabic, Spanish, French and English! French is compulsory in the Moroccan school system so many menus and shops had French as well as the Arabic. Our day started at the Caves of Hercules after a driving tour of the city. After the caves, we headed into the city of Tangier accomodated by a local tour guide who knew about 5 different languages fluently! We were able to see how different this city was from the small town of Chefchaouen. Our tour ended at a pharmacy which was rather different from what we thought of a pharmacy. This store had all sorts of oils and lotions that would help everything from a headache and nausea to split ends!

The pharmacist showed us all the different lotions and potions and what they were good for. I ended up buying WAY more than I needed including argan oil and cactus cream but hey, it was so worth it!

After the pharmacy we had our final lunch with the group at a cute little restaurant in Tangier. This lunch included chicken skewers (yeah more chicken) and french fries. I can´t say I was thourougly impressed with the food. I think between the cost of the trip and all of the travel I´m sure there wasn’t tons of options left for food. We then headed back to the port and were bid adieu by some kind locals. After a ferry ride, bus ride, night in a hostel, flight and one final bus ride we were back in our lovely flat in Palma. Boy does traveling take quite a lot out of you!