Fair warning, this is going to be a long post since I’ve been bad about posting this summer.
I spent the summer months in Alicante living with family and getting to know the area. The region is beautiful and palm trees abound. The mediterranean is warm and inviting, very differnt from the Atlantic beaches up where I live. It’s been a wonderful summer of meeting new friends and finding new ‘chosen family’ members. :) I now feel I have a small community of people in Alicante in case anything would ever go wrong. I spent my days tutoring, studying languages, walking around Alicante, laying on the beach, and eating great food.
Alright, let's take this month by month.
I got to Alicante in June just in time for Fogueres de Sant Joan ("Hogueras de San Juan" in Spanish), the city's week long bonfire festival ("Bonfires of Saint John" in English). The week is full of Mascletás (day fireworks), night fireworks, night partying, day partying, parades, and the ultimate bonfires. The bonfires are set all throughout the city at midnight at then end of the week, burning through to early dawn. The groups and organizations that design the statues for the bonfires spend months planning, creating, painting, and building their creations. Then the giant statues are judged on creativity and other categories. It was a crazy week and fascinating to experience, though I spent most of the time hiding from the huge crowds and loud bangs of the daytime fireworks. hahaha ;)
I spent June exploring Alicante more and my family and I visited the city of Guardamar del Segura with friends. It's a beautiful town with a sprawling forest planted originally to stop the encroaching sand dunes from taking over the town.
The last part of June I spent celebrating Pride Month. After not being able to make it to Madrid Orgullo this year, I was able to have a great time at Alicante Pride. The parade was awesome and the atmosphere was just so much fun. I'm glad I got to go, and I hope next year I'll get to go to Madrid's Pride celebrations .
In July my parents and I volunteered at an English immersion camp here in Spain. It was lots of fun and we got to spend the week with teachers helping them practice their English. There were some really interesting people there who had done pretty amazing things. We also took a trip to Cordoba with the camp and got to visit the mosque and explore the streets in 100 degree heat. I wouldn't recommend visiting the city in the summer. ;) The history and the architecture was fascinating though. The mosque and church were gorgeous, though I find it incredibly sad that Muslims are not allowed to pray in the mosque anymore, while Christians can still go to the church for mass.
In other news, I had planned on going back to the US for August to visit all the family and friends I miss. Unfortunately the visa (renewal) process is (almost) as convoluted here as in the US. My appointment for visa renewal (which I made in June) is in January. Yes, you read that right. January. Crazy, right? So I thought I could get a "a permiso de regreso" to be able to leave and come back before my visa appointment, but the earliest appointment for the "regreso" was in late December. What sucks more, is that if you are able to get a "regreso" appointment, you have to make sure it's not too close to your departure date, because it can take 3 weeks to get the paperwork back. So...in other words I won't be going back until summer 2020. It's upsetting to not get to see my family and friends, but I'm trying to just look forward to next year.
In August I was nearing the end of summer, and getting ready to head back up to Logroño for the school year to start again. I enjoyed spending time with my parents and the many people who now form part of their friend community here in Spain. They are all awesome people and I've really loved getting to know them. We went to expat get togethers, flamenco shows, languages exchanges, book groups, and more. It was definitely a good summer overall.
I also started a teaching English online in August with a Chinese company called VIPKid. So far I've had a pretty good experience and I'm learning a lot. Hopefully it will help me save up for future adventures and/or getting a Masters. :)
Right before I left at the beginning of September I cut my long hair back to a bob. It was time for a change, since I hadn't cut it since freshman year of college.
Now, I'm back in Logroño getting ready for the school year to start. I'm excited to see the kids again and be back in Lantziego. Here's to another year of learning through teaching!
An aspiring polyglot and globetrotter, an avid reader, and a lover of good food. :)