Catching Up on My Life

It’s been a while; since, I wrote a post. I will start back in June and work my way to October. Back in June, I went to the U.S. to get a new visa. I switched programmes, so I could stay in Madrid. I spent the summer seeing friends and travelling to different parts of the U.S. I went to places like Las Angeles, Seattle, Angel Fire, Yellowstone National Park, parts of the north on a family holiday, and many other places. I was back in the States for a total of 9 weeks, but I spent 5 of the 9 weeks on the road and travelling. It was nice to see family and friends, but when it was time to go, I knew, I was ready to get back to Spain.

When I got back to Madrid, I started looking for a place to call home. This year was worse than the last two years. I took me nearly a month to find a place that I loved and wanted. I live in the centre in a very nice and clean flat with one other person. I am happy.

I like my new school a lot. I am working with students as young as one years old and students as old as sixteen years old. I will say that I am becoming more of a fan for students between the ages of five years and ten years. Why they are so sweet and cute. Plus, the lesson plans are much more simple.

I have managed to meet some very nice girls in my new teaching programme. We get together and have brunch, traveling, shopping, visiting museums, and many other fun activities. I think this year will be great with the new people I have met. I am going on a trip soon with some of the girls from my new group of friends.

In December, I will be going to Munich and London. Then in January, I will be going to Budapest. I am looking forward to revisiting two of my favourite cities and getting the change to Explore Budapest for the first time. I think my life has been great, but I need to do a better job of keeping up with my life on this blog. I will post again soon.

An Emotional Visit to Auschwitz

On March 18th, 2016, I went to Auschwitz a concentration camp in Poland. The experience of visiting this concentration camp opened a door that showed the un-beautiful and evil side of humanity. I still can’t believe how recent the crimes that took place here happened. It was nearly 71 years ago when Auschwitz closed on January 27, 1945. The Red Army (the Soviets) liberated the prisoners of Auschwitz. I’ve read a lot on this topic.    Plus, I’ve watched many documentaries about World War II and Auschwitz. I have learned a lot, but all the learning I have done didn’t prepare me emotionally for my visit.  There isn’t anyway to emotionally prepare for a visit to Auschwitz. The emotions one will experience will be dark, depressing, and just shock.

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I experienced all kinds of different emotions while at Auschwitz. I was mainly in a state of shock during my visit. It’s one thing to watch or read about Auschwitz, but to be present at the crime scene where such evil was committed is a totally different level of emotion and realism. I couldn’t believe around nearly 1.1 million people were murdered at this concentration camp at the hands of the Nazis. It’s a massive camp with smaller sister camps nearby. For me two exhibits set everything into reality: the room with all the shoes and the room with women’s hair of the murdered victims.The hair and shoes once belonged to a living person. A person with a name and life story that disappeared from this Earth in less than two hours to ash. No more and lost to time. GONE. To think this happened is a very eerie feeling and bone chilling.

All the torn and dusty objects on display still can’t help someone comprehend the large scale, for the mass destruction that took place at Auschwitz is unfathomable. One in six Jews who died in the Holocaust were murdered here, and more people died here than the British  and American lives lost during World War II combined. The life lost here is the highest in the history of mankind. It’s so high that I had a hard time trying to imagine the people lost. It’s impossible.

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As I was touring Auschwitz, I felt a heavy emotion of sadness over come me. I felt this way the whole time as I was walking around the concentration camp. This heavy emotion was like a dark rain cloud above me. Kinda of like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh with his little rain cloud that follows him around in the cartoon series. I can’t remember another time in my life where I felt such strong heartache and misery at one time. These emotions were deeper than spells of depression I have experienced in my life. When I was in my late teens to my early 20s, I had some very dark spells of depression that I had to wrestle through. It’s hard to describe such senses in writing. To feel these depressing emotions and to fully understand what I am explaining, one needs to make the trip to Auschwitz.

Many people call Auschwitz a museum, but to me it is more than a museum or memorial. It’s a cemetery to those who were murdered by the Nazis. There are no individual tombstones marking every single victim killed, but there are building remains from 1940-1945 and memorials setup as reminders of what happened to all the victims. The victims’ ashes were thrown in the nearby river or placed on the soil.

Going to Auschwitz is a form of paying your respects to the victims of the Holocaust and remembering the evil that was committed there. As mankind as a whole, we mustn’t forget these evil crimes committed. We need to remember what happened and never repeat such crimes. If we forget, we have set a destiny of repeating such tragic and horrendous crimes again to our fellow brothers and sisters of the human race.

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One thing that really annoyed me while I was at Auschwitz was the lack of respect had people had for this place. I saw a lot of people taken selfies with selfie sticks. Let me ask. Would you take a selfie with a dead loved one in their casket? The answer is probably no.I think it’s unacceptable to take selfies with selfie sticks at such a place.

I recall seeing people taking selfies with the entrance gate with the famous words Arbeit Macht Frei sign. Just made me sick seeing people take these pictures. Another incident was a person climbing over a chained off area to get a selfie with the remains of one of the crematoriums. Absolutely totally no respect for the victims of the Holocaust. Seeing people have no respect, made my stomach twist and turn. I was very sick seeing these people take out a selfie sticks and take pictures at Auschwitz. I definitely believe selfie stick should be banned at this location because it is a cemetery and memorial to the victims of the Holocaust.

I do realize that humans react differently to events, stories, and ect. However, I still believe many people would experience the same kind of emotions I described above. I just do not understand how people could think it’s a great idea to take a selfie with the remains of a crematorium where innocent peoples’ corpses where burned and turned to ash. Maybe I’m overreacting, but I think it’s very disrespectful to take pictures of this nature here.This was the only thing that made me very upset about others at this concentration camp. This is my only complaint. Now on to why everyone should visit Auschwitz.

I believe everyone should make the trip to Auschwitz. Why? Auschwitz shows mankind how evil and dark the human race has been. It’s an important reminder that humankind mustn’t tread in those waters again. Seeing Auschwitz shows the soul the dark side of human nature that is possible if one is allowed to do such horrid acts against their fellow brothers and sisters of the human race. We mustn’t forget where we have come from because if we forget we are doomed to repeat such atrocious acts. History can and will repeat itself, so it is our duty to be educated about the events of the past and not to forget what mankind has done.

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After this trip, I feel that I am better human because I have seen the remains of what happened at Auschwitz. Going to Auschwitz has been on the major life changing highlights of my life.  I am aware of the dark side of humankind and how this evil can act towards fellow humans. I pray we never enter this realm again. We must never forget what happened during the Holocaust.

Visiting Paris During the Terrorist Act

 

On Friday the 13th of November, Paris was attacked by a group of terrorists in the 10th and 11th districts. Before the attacks happened, I was finishing dinner with my tour group. I was 10 minutes walking distance from the restaurants, cafes, and bars where the shootings and bombings took place. I am still in shock about how close I was to the events. This event was a wake up call for me about life and death. This was the first time in my life that I had experienced a close call with death. I could have been caught on the street walking back to my accommodations and shot dead. Thankfully, I took the underground back to my hotel. At the moment, I am still coming to terms with the possible fact that I could have been killed in Paris. This fact still sends chills down my spine. I am thankful I wasn’t killed, but it is still tragic that there were victims from this awful crime against humanity.

I pray ISIS is destroyed, but I do realize another group will come into power. I wish bombings and shooting were not in this world. It’s awful to do such acts against your fellow man. Even though there’s negativity in the world like ISIS, there is still beauty and good in this world. It was amazing to hear and see how citizens of Paris were allowing strangers into their houses and cab drivers were offering free rides home to people. It’s amazing to see the world support France during her time of need. I am sad how this event was highlighted and how other events like this have not been brought to the attention of the world. Events like this are happening in many places around the world that the media chooses not to cover. The world needs to join forces to wipe out this evil and make the world a better place for all of mankind.

I know this event has made some Americans nervous about traveling to France, Europe, and anywhere else. This kind of event could take place in my hometown of Austin, Texas, or anywhere else in the world. This event has not changed my views on traveling and living overseas. Life and bad things happen, but we have to keep on living. I am not trying to sound cold when I say this, but I am trying to make the statement that life moves on and we mustn’t be stuck in the past. Life is meant for living in the present and not in the past. I will continue to work and live in Madrid, Spain, and travel throughout Europe because this is my dream. Nobody is going to keep me from achieving my dreams.

I pray for a better tomorrow where there are no acts of terrorism.

Found a New Flat

I have been in Madrid now for 5 days now and finally got a room. I have a double bed, balcony,cleaning lady, big closet,  5 minutes walk from the park, natural lighting, and more. Plus, the price is right and all bills are included in the rent.

 I feel so lucky! I am ready to start working on my green card and planning trips for the coming school year. This year is going to be great!

Annoyed

I won’t lie. I’ve been searching Skyscanner for the perfect ticket to return home for the summer. I can’t buy my ticket yet. Why? I am unsure of when I will be returning home. I want to have a clearer idea of when I will be returning home for the summer. I am getting annoyed waiting to find out what the next few months will bring. I am finished with my contract for this school year at the end of June. Then what?

  1. I could stay in Spain for another month working at a summer camp and make some money
  2. I could return to the US in early July or travel 
  3. I could stay in Spain all summer as a beach bum

Out of these 3 options I really want to work all of July at an ESL camp and return home for 6-7 weeks. Then return to Madrid for round two. Right now I am waiting to receive news that I’ve been offered some kind of summer job. I am nervous. I want a summer job.  I want to know what’s going to happen after I finish my school year contract.  Staying in Spain all summer would be too much for me and I would be forced to become a beach bum. I miss my family and friends and would like to see everyone back home. I don’t want to return to the US at the start of July. Traveling in July would deplete my funds for year two, so that plan is out!  I want to save up some more money for when I return to Spain to start year 2 and I would like to go one more trip. Early August is when I want to return home. I hope this is what is in the cards for me.

End of Rant!!!!

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