All posts by seasoninspain

2015 already? Wasn’t it just 2014?

About a year ago I wrote a post about all the things I hoped to accomplish in 2014. And then I basically disappeared from the blogosphere. I’m sure most of you thought I had given up on this little ol’ blog but here I am once again. I think about this writing space all the time but just never really seem to find the time to sit down and put my fingers to work.

So here I am on a Saturday night, listening to my doggie (yes, we got a dog!) snore while my husband watches a football (American football that is!) game as I curl up on our new couch (we bought furniture, like real adults!) and decide to finally get back to this blogging thing. I am going to do a proper update one of these days (hopefully not a year from now) but tonight is just not that kind of blog. Tonight is all about what I did and did not accomplish in 2014.

I feel like I did a lot.  We moved from Spain back to the USA.  Both my hubby and I  managed to get jobs, buy a car, move into our own place and not kill each other in the process.  In my world that’s what I call success.  But looking back on the goals that I had set a year ago, I had hoped to do so much more.  And the weird thing is that of all the things we did get around to this year, few were actually on my list.  The only way I can make sense of it is that what I thought was going to be important to me a year ago, wasn’t really as important as it seemed.  And that’s ok.

So, what did I accomplish this year that I had wanted to?? Here’s what went down:

Goal:Being better (and reminding myself that this does not mean perfect).  I want to be a better wife, friend, sister, aunt, daughter.  They say showing up is half the battle and I can’t wait to just show up this year.

Reality: This is probably the one I was most able to accomplish and the one I am happiest about!  I have to say that I have worked hard this year to be a better person, better friend, sister, etc.  I’ve been there for so many important events that I haven’t been able to attend for years.  I’ve been to birthdays, holidays, weddings, graduations, school programs and countless days just hanging out.  Reminding myself that I don’t have to be perfect is going to be a lifelong goal but this year I am one step closer.

Goal: Being a tourist in my own country.  After moving back to the States in 2 weeks (!!)  I’m sure my international travel will be put on the back burner.  But I’m really looking forward to getting to see my own country through new eyes.  I’ve been away for a long time and have gotten a new perspective.

Reality:  I have not traveled near as much as I would have liked.  In fact, the hubby has traveled way more than I have due to his new job.  I did get to visit Arkansas twice to see one of my best friends, which was amazing because I had never been to this part of the country.  Now that we’re a bit more settled, I hope to accompany the hubby for a few of his work trips.

Goal: Getting back into shape.  I admit that I’ve been a bit lazy lately.  Getting active and healthier is something on my list of things to do.

Reality:  Yes and no.  I have been more active but still wish to be even more so.  Daily walks with the pup are good but I still crave more.

Goal: Reading more.  I love to read and this is something I haven’t been doing much of lately.  I don’t know what to read and being here in Spain I sometimes feel out of the loop so actually going to a bookstore to pick out a book sounds great.

Reality: Big. Fat. Fail.  I read about half of one book and still have it sitting on my night stand.  Note to self: Make more of an effort and get with it!

 Goal: Not lose my Spanish and learn more Basque.  I’ve worked really hard to get to where I am with my Spanish and it would be such a pity to lose it all.  I have to find a way to maintain this level I’ve achieved.  And I would love to continue learning Basque.  I know it won’t be easy but I’ve got to find a way.

Reality: I don’t think I’ve so much as lost any of my Spanish but I do sometimes have to think a bit more.  I spend most of day speaking English but still try to make an effort to speak in Spanish.  And it’s always nice to know I have the ability to communicate in a different language when I don’t want others around us to know what we’re saying.  As for my Basque, it’s not gone but I definitely have not found a way to improve.

Goal: Cook more.  I love to cook and be in the kitchen.  It inspires me and give me an outlet to be creative.  I would love to work in a restaurant and learn everything I can.  Even if that doesn’t happen, I want to spend more time in my own kitchen.

Reality: At the beginning of this year, I didn’t cook at all.  We were staying at my parent’s house and I was working at a bar/restaurant so I ate there most of the time.  I would make something easy every once in a while but mostly it was more convenient to eat at work.  Now that we are in our own place and I have much more time, I cook every day and am getting back into it.  I still have a dream to work in a restaurant kitchen (anybody out there want to hire me?!?) but for now my own kitchen will do.

 Goal: Figure out what I want to do in my life.  I’m not so sure I want to teach anymore.  Yes, I love it.  Many would say I’m good at it.  But I’m not sure it’s my passion.  I really do like being my own boss and my hubby jokes that I could never have a “normal” job so figuring out my next professional step will be important.

Reality: I’m still not 100% sure of what I want to do in life and I’m not sure I ever will.  I am absolutely in love with my new job and love the stability it affords me.  Will I stay there forever?  I don’t know.  Would I maybe like to do something else in the future?  Possibly.  I think this is going to be an ongoing and life-long decision in the making.

Goal:Blog more and better.  I started this blog over a year ago to give me a place to share stories and connect with others around the world.  I want to keep blogging about my new life in the States, my old travels and whatever life brings my way.

Reality: Not even close!  Maybe 2015 will be the year of more and better blogging?

Goal:  Learn more about photography.  One of my big purchases this year will be a new camera and I really want to learn how to take better  pictures.

Reality: I definitely did not purchase a camera this year as it has been the most expensive year in our entire lives.  A new car. Furnishing an entire house. Medical bills for the first time in my life. Catch-up cocktails with friends.  All of these things were priorities over a new camera so my iPhone has had to do the trick.  I still want to learn more about photography so maybe this year will be the year.

 Goal: Rekindle old friendships.  Being away from home takes a toll on relationships.  It just does.  Even with all the technology we have, there’s nothing like sitting down with a cup of coffee and just talking to a friend.  Instead of relying on Skype, Facebook & Instagram I want to be there in person and be a part of the new memories.

Reality: I feel like I have made this a priority and succeeded!  I am happy to report that some of my closest friends 7 years ago before I moved to Spain are, once again, my closest friends.  It’s been amazing having girlfriends around again and sometimes I wonder how I went so long without them.

Goal:  Keep new friendships alive.  I’ve been so lucky to make some really great friends here in Spain and I don’t want to lose them.

Reality:  I haven’t been the best at this but have to cut myself a bit of slack.  There are only so many hours in the day and my hours have been filled with lots of things.  I think about my friends in Spain all the time though and hope to be in better contact with them this year!

Goal: Get to know my in-laws better.  It seems like just recently a new leaf has been turned over with my in-laws.  Just yesterday my suegra told me that she counts me as part of her family.  Our relationship has improved tenfolds and I want to just get closer and closer.

Reality: This one has been hit and miss.  We do try to Skype with them at least once a week and I admit that the hubby is way better than I am about this.  But we managed to convince them to come to Nevada for 2 weeks during Christmas and it was nice to catch up with them.  Our relationship has gotten neither better nor worse so I guess it’s not a complete fail!

As for this year, I’m still thinking about what I want to accomplish.  As soon as I figure it out, I’ll (hopefully) get back on here and let you all know my goals are!

Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions?  Are you one to usually keep them?

My favorite photos from Paris

Back when the hubby and I were still in Spain, my parents came for one last Euro trip before we headed Stateside.  We spent two weeks running around The Basque Country, Southern Spain, Paris and Normandy and it was a great time.  I’m getting around to writing about our trip but I was looking through some photos of Paris today and just had to share them.  While Paris is not my favorite European capital, I can’t help but admire the beauty of this city.  My thought about Paris is that everyone should see it once in their life because there really is nothing like it.  I had been to the French capital a few times before but never really had the chance to see it like this.  So here are a few of my favorite snaps of this one-of-a-kind city.

One of my first shots after arriving to the City of Lights and probably my favorite!
One of my first shots after arriving to the City of Lights and probably my favorite!
Notre Dame
Notre Dame
Jardin des Tuileries
Jardin des Tuileries
Catacombs
Catacombs
Place de la Concorde
Place de la Concorde
My mom and dad in front of the Eiffel Tower
My mom and dad in front of the Eiffel Tower
French flag on top of the Palais Royal
French flag on top of the Palais Royal
Stroll through the Lourve Gardens
Stroll through the Lourve Gardens

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Celebrating my dad's birthday
Celebrating my dad’s birthday
Freezing at the top of the Eiffel Tower
Freezing at the top of the Eiffel Tower
Crepes! French street food!
Crepes! French street food!

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What are your favorite things about Paris?  Which shot do you like best?

Train travel in the USA…I’m certainly not in Europe anymore

Living in Spain, public transportation was my transportation.  Buses, Trains. Metros. Trams.  I took them all and some were even a daily occurrence.  Even though I lived in the city center, I had 3 public transportation options within 5 minutes of my house.  I didn’t always need them but it was nice to know that they were there should the need arise.

Moving back to the Nevada, my public transportation options are scarce.  In the small town where my parents live, there is no public transportation.  There is a Greyhound bus that stops twice a day (I think) but most people from the town have never taken it and would be scared away by the people getting off and on if they ever did consider it. 

I have to admit that I have never taken public transportation in the States.  I did take the BART once from Berkeley to San Fran but that’s it.   So at 30 years old, I decided it was time.

I had to get from my parent’s town to the nearest airport in Reno to fly to Arkansas to see my best friend graduate from college.  Deciding that there was no need for my parent’s to drive me 3 hours one way just to drop me off and drive another 3 hours back home, I booked a train ticket on Amtrak.  According to the website, it was going to be an easy almost 3 hour journey from the train station (also 50 miles from my parent’s house as there is no stop in my hometown).  The train was scheduled to leave at 5:40 am and arrive around 8:30 the same morning in Reno.

Waking up at 3:45 this morning, the first thing I did was check the train status.  I logged on to the website and it immediately told me that my train was 7 hours late and wouldn’t be departing until 12:30 pm!!!   I sat there looking at my computer screen in shock, thinking there had to be a mistake.  I’ve never heard of a train being 7 hours late.  An hour late seemed possible but not 7.  So I looked for a phone number to see if there was someone I could call since I knew something had to be wrong.  After I called and was given the same information as the website, I thought it was best to download the Amtrak app and see what it said.   Well, it gave me the same departing time: 12:37 pm.

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I decided it was best to get ready and see if something had changed 30 minutes later.  As you can imagine, nothing had.  So I told my mom that I was going to go back to bed and check it in a few hours.  She decided to do the same since she had been up even earlier than me getting ready.

At 10:00 am I checked the freshly downloaded app on my phone and it now said the departure time was 12:21.  This time I knew something had happened but also knew that I wasn’t getting on that train earlier than 12:30.

I finished getting ready (again), had some breakfast and we decided to drive the hour to the train stop.  We arrived around 12:00 and there wasn’t a soul in sight so we went to grab a bite to eat.  Returning 20 minutes later, we saw a girl waiting also.  Well, that’s a good sign we thought.

Another 20 minutes later, a few more people showed up and then right after that, a few men wearing Amtrak uniforms.  I talked to the man taking tickets and he explained that there was a problem when the train left Chicago and there had only been more problems since then.  A few minutes later the train actually arrived and some interesting (to use a nice word) people got off for a smoke break.  The very first girl I saw was wearing some very old pajamas and looked like she hadn’t showered in days.  While I was waiting to find out where I needed to get on, I began to smell the faintest hint of weed.  Very soon after that it was quite obvious that someone was definitely enjoying their smoke break.

At 1:00 pm I boarded the train, found the nearest empty seat and got ready for the 3 hour ride.  Guys that had been on the train for 2 days and were headed to Sacramento, CA surrounded me but I decided to put my 3 hours to good use and pulled out my laptop to write this very blog post.

It’s now almost 2 hours later and I am beginning to understand why public transportation is not so common in the USA.   We haven’t even travelled what would be an hour in the car and stopped twice in the middle of nowhere for God only knows what. My first (and probably last) experience has told me that it’s highly unreliable, really slow and filled with some colorful characters (although there is a group of Amish people and I was really excited about that!).

We finally arrived to Reno at 5:00 pm, 8.5 hours after our scheduled arrival time.  We stopped twice on the tracks and our 2.5 hour journey ended up being 4 hours long.  There was even an hour that we were stopped on the tracks without any fresh air and didn’t have the possibility of getting off.  A guy behind me mentioned that the toilets had overflowed which explained the rancid smell and made my stomach turn even more.

As soon as I arrived to my sister’s house, I sent an email to Amtrak demanding my money back.  That’s not too much to ask for, right? 

So, this question remains: Is this just Amtrak having a bad day?  Or is this normal for train travel in the US?

Let me know what your experiences have been like in the comments section!

 

 

 

 

 

 

No es un Agur, sino un Gero Arte

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a couple weeks now.  I was going to write it before I left Spain.  But then life happened and I didn’t get a chance.  Too many people to say goodbye to.  Too many gintonics to drink with my prima.  Too many “lasts” to fit in.

Then I was going to write this post on the plane.  Well after being awake for almost 48 hours, my brain wasn’t functioning correctly.  Then I promised myself I’d write it the weekend I spent at my sister’s house.  But my little nephew needed some much overdue auntie time.  We spent quiet mornings watching cartoons and making bracelets and exciting afternoons jumping on trampolines.

Once I arrived to my parent’s house, I was sure I’d have a moment to fit in a blog post.  Almost a week later, I’m finally finding a moment.

But to be honest, I’m not sure it’s because I just couldn’t find the time.  I think it was because I wasn’t really ready.  Emotionally and mentally I just wasn’t ready.  Every time I began to think about the reality of our decision I cried.  And anyone who knows me knows I am not a big crier.

I know that I’ll always have a home in Euskadi but saying “Gero Arte” has been really hard. I created my own little life there.  I created my own job.  I made great friends.  I met my hubby there.  Together we created our own little life there.

I would like to give a big shout out to everyone that made our last weeks in Irun so fun and memorable.  We couldn’t have asked for a better send off.

Thank you to all my students who stopped by one last time to say goodbye.  Thank you for all the boxes of chocolates, scarves, posters, pictures and cake.  Thank you Asier for the Olentzero.  We love it!  Thank you Karla and Xabi for staying until 3:30 in the morning to help us pack and clean and, more importantly, keep us entertained.  Thank you to our Basque family for the surprise on Sunday.  Spending one last day as a family meant the world to us and it was perfect.  Thank you to the suegros for feeding us and taking us to the airport on a very rainy morning.  These may have been small details in your lives but they were big gestures in ours.

Here’s a few pictures of our last couple days in Spain:

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2014….I’m coming for you!

I’m not one to really make New Year’s Resolutions.  Just like many people, come March I’ve forgotten all about them.  I prefer to make some goals to work on throughout the year.  Knowing I’ve got 12  months to do the best I can gives me a little wiggle room to screw up and try again.

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So here’s all the things I’m looking forward to doing this year:

* Being better (and reminding myself that this does not mean perfect).  I want to be a better wife, friend, sister, aunt, daughter.  They say showing up is half the battle and I can’t wait to just show up this year.

* Being a tourist in my own country.  After moving back to the States in 2 weeks (!!)  I’m sure my international travel will be put on the back burner.  But I’m really looking forward to getting to see my own country through new eyes.  I’ve been away for a long time and have gotten a new perspective.

* Getting back into shape.  I admit that I’ve been a bit lazy lately.  Getting active and healthier is something on my list of things to do.

* Reading more.  I love to read and this is something I haven’t been doing much of lately.  I don’t know what to read and being here in Spain I sometimes feel out of the loop so actually going to a bookstore to pick out a book sounds great.

* Not lose my Spanish and learn more Basque.  I’ve worked really hard to get to where I am with my Spanish and it would be such a pity to lose it all.  I have to find a way to maintain this level I’ve achieved.  And I would love to continue learning Basque.  I know it won’t be easy but I’ve got to find a way.

* Cook more.  I love to cook and be in the kitchen.  It inspires me and give me an outlet to be creative.  I would love to work in a restaurant and learn everything I can.  Even if that doesn’t happen, I want to spend more time in my own kitchen.

* Figure out what I want to do in my life.  I’m not so sure I want to teach anymore.  Yes, I love it.  Many would say I’m good at it.  But I’m not sure it’s my passion.  I really do like being my own boss and my hubby jokes that I could never have a “normal” job so figuring out my next professional step will be important.

* Blog more and better.  I started this blog over a year ago to give me a place to share stories and connect with others around the world.  I want to keep blogging about my new life in the States, my old travels and whatever life brings my way.

* Learn more about photography.  One of my big purchases this year will be a new camera and I really want to learn how to take better  pictures.

* Rekindle old friendships.  Being away from home takes a toll on relationships.  It just does.  Even with all the technology we have, there’s nothing like sitting down with a cup of coffee and just talking to a friend.  Instead of relying on Skype, Facebook & Instagram I want to be there in person and be a part of the new memories.

* Keep new friendships alive.  I’ve been so lucky to make some really great friends here in Spain and I don’t want to lose them.

* Get to know my in-laws better.  It seems like just recently a new leaf has been turned over with my in-laws.  Just yesterday my suegra told me that she counts me as part of her family.  Our relationship has improved tenfolds and I want to just get closer and closer.

What about you?  What are the things you’re looking forward to in 2014?  Do you usually make New Year’s Resolutions?  Do you always keep them?