10 Lessons I’ve Learned in 2014

1. Nothing lasts forever. Enjoy the moment or time you get. =)

2. My life is changing all the time.

3. Beware of who yourself open up to and let into your world.

4. The only people you can count on is family and yourself.

5. Be happy and grateful for the gifts and experiences you get in life.

6. Always tell loved ones how much you care and love them.

7. I am the only one in control of my life, so I must make the best choices for myself.

8. Life is one big mystery and you must except this fact!

9. You must push yourself out of your comfort zone to fully understand yourself.

10. Take life one day at a time.

BONUS: Moving overseas makes you realize who is worth keeping in your life. This one was an eye opener for me.

Joyfulness

I don’t know to describe the emotions that flood me. I’ve been living in Madrid for nearly 90 days and happy. I am living in Madrid and living a dream that I’ve had for years. I’ve not been happy like this in years. I know that I can’t stay here forever. I’ve excepted this fact. It’s all about enjoying the time I a have here. That’s all I can do. It’s a gift to live here and travel around Europe.

XOXO Chelsea

Why Living on Your Own in a Foreign Country is the Best

I spent most of my college days living at my dad’s place. So many people got on my case for my choice to stay at home during college. I personal think staying at home during college is not a bad idea. My dad is a relaxed parent and everything worked out for me. I had a free place to stay. I didn’t have to work and worry about bills. I could focus on my studies.

I finished a bachelors and masters by staying home. Now I am on my own living in Madrid, Spain, 5,000 miles away from Texas. I am living my dream of living in Europe! I sacrificed living on my own at an early age to make sure I finished school and to allow me the chance to do what I wanted to do with my life.

Moving to Madrid was one of the best choices I made in my life. Why? I believe moving to a Non-English speaking country made me improve my Spanish, break barriers, overcome fears, meet new people, discover more about myself, independent, and improve my confidence. I had to find a flat on my own speaking sad broken Spanish! I got a flat in just 9 days after landing in Madrid. I successfully opened a bank account! I had to visit a Spanish only speaking doctor for medical help. I had to make new friends.

I’ve learned how to accept another type of society and culture into my daily life.  I am living in a place with different customs and traditions from the ones in the USA, I had to be accept and be open to Spain’s customs and culture. .

The most significant effect of living away from home is the independent behavior that grows inside of you. Living on your own far from home gives you a lot of experiences toward organizing your life. Since it’s just you,   no one else to help you.  You develop a good and strong meaning of responsibility. Being independent and responsible will help you get through life every goal you want to achieve.

We have to remember that all changes are difficult, but they are necessary to go through them to build character. Most important of all, it helps us appreciate everything we have. Not realizing how lucky we are can be a really bad mistake because things don’t last forever and we have to make the best out of them.

Seeing a Doctor in a Non-English Speaking Country

Going to a hospital in a foreign country has  been one of those fears in the back of my head. I never thought I would experience going to a hospital in a foreign country. If you are not fluent in Spanish, trying to communicate with a Spanish speaking doctor can be stressful and worrisome. I brought the medicines I take, my passport, a translator app, a note from my GP, and paper and a pen. I could understand bits and pieces of questions being asked to me. Responding back in Spanish was hard, but I used what Spanish I knew to show the doctor my problem. I drew images on a note pad to show the doctor where I was hurting.  I even pointed to my problem areas on my leg and back.  After spending 45 minutes trying to explain my problem, the doctor understood what was wrong with me. Thank goodness for non-verbal communication skills!

My Experiences

When I moved into my flat, slipped down the stairs and needed medical attention. I sprained my foot and needed to see a doctor, but I had a big problem. I didn’t have my medical card because my employer the Spanish Ministry of Education didn’t send the health cards out on time.  I went to school to get my boss to help me with the problem. I was sent to ER with my headmaster. She spoke Spanish and French, so she was briefed on what happened to me. I was giving pain killers and told to go home to reset for a couple of days.  This experience was not as scary as me going to the ER by myself.

I made an appointment to see my GP that spoke English. He referred me to the hospital because he didn’t have the proper tools to help me (X-Ray or MRI). So, I walked over to the nearest hospital that would take my health insurance and checked in at the ER. I was very fortunate! I had my doctor write a note in Spanish for the ER workers to see and the admin spoke a little bit of English. The admin helped me check in at the ER, made an appointment for me to see a specialist, and offered to help me in the future.

I could some what communicate in Spanish what was wrong with me. Doctors have one thing in common regardless of language: Latin base term,  knowledge of pain and illnesses, and  non-verbal communication with patients. I am grateful that English and Spanish medical terminology is all Latin base, so understanding my diagnosis in Spanish wasn’t too hard.

English                              Spanish 

Disc                                    Disco

Herniated Disk                   Hernia de Disco

Sciatic Nerve                     Nervio Ciático

I left the ER with Rx’s to be filled and an appointment to see a specialist for my back. I went to a MRI appointment and a specialist appointment without help. I asked my boss if she would be willing to go with me to my follow up appointment in January. I want to make sure everything is being communicated clearly and there are no issues.   More to come!

Tips

  • Bring all the medicines you take
  • Bring someone who speaks the language if you can or a translator app
  • Bring a list of medical terms that are related to your problem
  • Be calm and breathe
  • Ask if there is someone who can speak English
  • Use what Spanish you know to communicate

Links

Hospital Survival Guide

Spanish Vocabulary

My 15 Discoveries: Living Abroad for Nearly 90 Days

1. Being separated from my home and the familiar has allowed me to spring clean my life. I’ve flushed all the negative out of my life and allowed myself to have a new life.

2. I’ve accepted that life is constantly moving and changing. I’ve accepted that most things and people in life are just passing through my life. I am learning the right balance between bonding and letting go.

3. I am improving my Spanish one day at a time. I’ve become better at listen and understanding Spanish on the streets. My vocabulary has expanded a lot. In the past, 2 months I’ve been to the ER 2x’s and a Bone Specialist all together 3x’s. I’ve communicated in sad broken Spanish, but I’ve been successful in getting what I need treated. Plus, medical terms in Spanish are very similar to English. I think I’ve faced one of my worst fears as in seeing a doctor that didn’t speak English.

4. I don’t look so far into the future. I focus on the present and what is taken place in front of me.

5. I am a much simpler person now. I brought 2 luggage bags and a duffle bag with me from home. I’ve realized that you don’t need that much to live and make it through life. I now live out of my 2 luggage bags and duffle bag. Yes. I have a Louis Vuitton back in Texas, but that bag does not mean the world to me. Living in Europe, experiencing life, and traveling abroad means more to me than a high end designer bag. Yes. I love high end designer bags like Burberry, Louis Vuitton, and Prada; however, experiencing  life overseas is more valuable to me. I can always get another bag, but I can’t experience an amazing moment more than once.

6. I’ve learned there are times that you really need to reach out and ask for help. I’ve asked for help for different things such as a coworker calling my health insurance for a reference code, getting a translation, or my boss going to the doctor to help translate what I want the doctor to know. I may not be fluent in Spanish, but I’ve accepted that there are times when you need help from others.

7. Being patient in life. Spain’s system on how things are done is approached at a slower pace. I’ve learned that when something crazy happens breathe and look at the overall picture.

8. At the end of the day everything will work out and life will be okay. In the end, everything will come together. Focus on what need’s to be done.  =) These are words coming a spaz.

9. There’s nothing wrong with going out by yourself and enjoying the day.

10. You are in control of your life and how you feel. Make the best of what you got and smile.

11. Living in a foreign country makes you get out of comfort zone and experience life in new ways.

12. No matter where you go you will find to people to become friends with. I’ve met so many interesting people in the last 90 days.

13. Skype is the greatest invention ever! I can keep in touch with people without an issue other than a timezone difference.

14. My life has become the unfamiliar, but I am excited for this change in my life.  I don’t know where I will be next or living 10 years from now. I want to live overseas for a while. I am happy. I don’t want to live in Austin, Texas, ever again.

15. I have a strong lust for living and traveling abroad.