Monday, November 24, 2008


What a fun weekend. I am so happy we were able to get away for a whole weekend and not just a day. Salamanca was so much fun and full of young people since it is a University town. The night life was spectacular as well which was the main reason we visited. Our youth hostel was a bit farther away from the city center than we thought but luckily was right on the bus line. I was impressed with the hostel. It was nice, clean, comfortable and cheap. I paid 14 Euros!
There were six of us Au Pairs. We hopped on the train Saturday at 11 and arrived in Salamanca around 2 in the afternoon. After walking around the city and having lunch we ventured to our hostel where we could drop of our bags, rest and freshen up. Then off to have dinner and go out on the town. We had a great time and met some people from Belgium who had studied in Salamanca the year before, so they were able to show us around and take us to the bars with the best deals.

Salamanca is also famous for "la rana de suerte", the lucky frog. As you enter the entrance to Salamanca University (Universidad Civil) you'll see the enormous facade dominated by the Catholic Monarchs in the center and all kinds of floral designs and skulls around them.
But can you spot the frog?
It is said that if you can spot the frog without any help you'll enjoy good luck and will marry within a year. (Too bad I had help finding the frog ha!)

So with Thanksgiving coming up, (which is obviously not celebrated here in Spain) I have decided to make a green bean casserole and a pumpkin pie for my host family. I am excited to have some good ol' American food! My friends and I are also having our own Thanksgiving dinner Saturday night at our friends apartment. We will each make a bring something. American food here I come!!!

Oh and some great news! The kids(especially Julia) have taken a great liking to me. Mar, my host Mom says that when she picks the kids up in the evening they are always asking about me, telling her they love me and want to see me. All of the sudden I am getting hugs a kisses in abundance. It's a great feeling and makes my job ten times easier! I actually am quite happy here now, but I am counting the days down until Italy!

MySpace Countdowns

Monday, November 17, 2008


This weekend I visited Ávila which is located slightly NW of Madrid. It was about an hour and twenty minutes by train. The cool thing about Ávila is the fortress wall surrounding the city. These protective walls were built in the 12th century. Extending for 2,500 meters (8202 ft.) and encircling the old town, the massive walls are punctuated by ninety, heavily fortified stone towers. The things I have been seeing in all the places I have visited I thought only existed in fairy tales and movies. But behold, this weekend I was walking on a stone fortress wall!

We also visited a very cute restaurant located right near a small river where we had Zumo de uvas(grapejuice that was yellow and VERY good!) and free tapas.

Then when it was time to head back to Madrid we ended up catching the wrong train(but on the right route) and we had to sit in the corridor of the train! UGH! But we made if to Madrid in one piece.

Sunday we visited two Au Pair friends who live about 40 mins outside of Madrid by train. It is a town called Alcala de Henares and it is a University town. There were many young people and many Spanish families who also had come to visit for the day. I don't have pictures uploaded yet but will post them as soon as I do. Another really cool thing were the numerous Storks who had HUGE nests settled up top of the old buildings. They were everywhere and very beautiful.

Some funny things I have thought of about my life in Madrid:
1) I have not paid a bill in almost two months! (Because I don't have any:)
2) I have not driven a car in almost two months! (walking a lot!)
3) I don't have to balance my checkbook every week because I have not been using my saved money! (yay!) Which has also saved me a lot of stress!
In conclusion: less stress and less hustle and bustle!

Great things I know I need to appreciate while I am here! :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

A weekend actually spent in Madrid!

This weekend was a great adventure and we didn't even leave the city. I think I had the most fun this weekend than any other. It was spent with my friends exploring new things Madrid has to offer.
Friday night my friend Leah and I were craving a little American culture, so what better way to satisfy our craving than to go to The Hard Rock Cafe! We arrived there around 9:30pm and there was a 1hr20min wait. No Problem! We ventured to another restaurant to grab a drink and appetizer then went back.

The Hard Rock was so fun(and loud!). I love music and they were playing all the top 40 hits with music videos on all the TV's. I ordered a veggie burger with a salad. We were so happy because sitting on the table were French's mustard and Heinz ketchup...and the best thing yet, they had ranch salad dressing! An example of little things taken for granted in the states!

Saturday I slept in, YAY!! I met with my friend Anne-Mari and we went to Casa de Campo. The Casa de Campo is a large urban park situated west of central Madrid. It was formerly a royal hunting estate.

From the city side we took the gondola over to the park. It was a beautiful day, perfect for great views! My friend Anne-Mari had three free tickets to the Parque de Atracciones(amusement park). So our friend Tina met us there where we relived our childhood. We went on a big roller coaster, the ferris wheel, another kiddie ride and even shared Algodon de azucar(cotton candy). I have not laughed so hard in such a long time. I think its important to let go and be a kid again!

That night I met with some other girlfriends and we hit the town, venturing with my friend Dee who lives here in Madrid. We had a great time and as usual, my Spanish got better with every beverage(or so I think it did!).

Sunday we had a picnic at Retiro park. It was such a beautiful weekend and I could not believe we were able to have a picnic in November!
Now of coarse I am suffering from the Monday blues! But soon it will be the weekend again, thank GOD!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Cuenca and new friends!

This weekend was great. I live for the weekends when I can escape and frolic with my fellow Au Pairs :) We have so much fun together and it is amazing how we all get along so well.
Saturday we all got up bright and early to meet and catch an 8:50 am train to Ceunca. Cuenca is 100 miles east of Madrid. It was a 2-1/2 hour train ride. Cuenca is more famously known as the Eagles Nest due to its position - atop a hill. The city is separated by a mysteriously large rock where the Huecar and Jucar Rivers meet.

Originally resided by the Arabs, this provincial city is divided into two obvious parts - the modern and the old part. Obviously, the modern part of Cuenca includes new residences, apartments and tower blocks. On the other hand, the old part is considered one of the most magnificent cities of Spain.

When we exited the train station we were put into the modern part of the city and we were all thinking "this is it? We can see this stuff in Madrid!". But thankfully we found a tourism booth and the guy gave a us a map and directed us to the "old" part of Cuenca.
We all agreed that so far Cuenca is our favorite place. It sits up high so the views are amazing! There are "hanging houses" that are built right on top of the cliff, like an extension. Amazing but I don't know if I would want to live in one!

Sunday I met with (ready for this?) My Grandfathers neighbors granddaughter. The day before I left for Spain I attended my Grandparents 50Th wedding anniversary where I met their neighbor Tom. He found out I was going to Madrid and insisted I contact his granddaughter who lives in Madrid. Her father is Toms son. So yesterday I met Lola and we went shopping, had lunch and spent the whole afternoon walking around the city. It was great and we got a long very well. It's exciting to have Spanish friends. I practiced my Spanish with her a bit but we mostly spoke English.

All in all a great weekend!

The Kiddos, Julia and Pepe!

So I guess since this is an Au Pair blog I should probably mention quite a bit more about the kids. Aaah yes the kids....Julia and Pepe. I can tell you one thing: HANDFUL...of fun!?

They are fun most of the time but like any children they have their moments. Julia is 4 and can be very loving and can also be a little mean to her brother. Pepe is two and a half and like most kids his age he is very busy! They both WHINE a lot!! I am used to parents not allowing their children to whine but here they let them. It really attacks my eardrums!! But they also have moments where you wanna grab them and kiss them! They love to be tickled and have the cutest laughs. There are more good moments than not!

My schedule with the kids is like this:
8am- Wake up Julia, take her to the living room and put on a cartoon for her. That way she is distracted and wont protest what clothes I put on her. Then I give her a bottle(yes she still drinks milk from a bottle) with milk and some ground cereal mixture and a touch of Nesquik chocolate mix.
8:30- Off she goes with her father and I am left with a screaming Pepe "Papi, Papi!!!"
He calms down quickly thankfully.
8:30-1pm- Pepe and I hang out. Depending on the weather we either get outside, go to the park, play with toys inside or watch Thomas the Train, his favorite.

I am free from 1pm till about 7:30.
7:30-9-Bath(every other night) and help the parents feed them dinner.

I enjoy my time with the kids but I have come to the realization that when I come back to Seattle it is time to find a new career. I feel my candle of patience burnt out a long time ago and I don't enjoy taking care of kids as much as I used to. Don't get me wrong, its a great job but after taking care of kids for over 15 yrs I feel in order to gain back a desire to have my own children I need to take a break!

So I will enjoy my time here with the kiddos knowing that they will be my last charges for a time to come. It is bittersweet I know.