Saturday, October 27, 2012

Madrid Memories

I will miss the smell of bollerias in the morning - croissants, napolitanas and apple tarts. I'll miss hearing dishes clanking for dinner time at 9:30 (at the earliest) through our windows. I'll miss botellon, drinking in the plazas with friends 'til the wee hours... And Gran Via, Cibeles, Plaza Mayor - all those grand things that make you feel tiny, but tiny in a good way, like you have so much more to do and see in this world. I'll miss picnics in the park. I will miss the leisure, the invaluable time I was able to spend reflecting on what's important to me, what my dreams were and are now, and what I'm doing. I'll miss the culture. Work/life balance. The mentality that there's no day busy enough to be forced to skip lunch or even take a 5-minute one. I will miss the friends we have made here. Though we will continue to be friends for ages, the moments we've spent here together could never be recreated. I'll miss being able to walk to everything. I'll miss our tiny first home that David and I have shared together.

Throughout the year, we've posted photos from our travels and visitors, but this album is a collection of some of my favorite memories in Madrid, our day-to-day shenanigans. Please excuse all the food pictures.

Check out my album here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

New Photos

We've just uploaded another batch of pictures! Since our last update we've been exploring Spain. In June we spent a long weekend on Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands. It was a great beach get-a-way on a huge volcano. In August we had visitors from the states join us on a road trip through Andalusia. We visited Sevilla, Cádiz, Málaga, Nerja, Granada and ended in Valencia to celebrate Tomatina, the world's biggest food fight. It was a crazy two weeks.

Click on the photo player to the right to view our photos on Picasa.


Friday, July 13, 2012

TEFL Teacher Lessons Learned: Vol. 2

As the regular teaching year ends, I've been getting surprisingly sentimental about some of my students. You grow attached. For many people in Spain, the ability to speak English well is not just a hobby or a trick to bust out at parties (though pick-up lines and drinking games have definitely made their way into a lesson or two). Lots of my students need to maintain a certain level to keep their jobs, find a job or get promoted. My kiddies need to pass certain English exams to have the best chance at being accepted into their top university picks.

To see someone grow and learn new things under your care has been a rewarding and satisfying experience for me. It's also been an interesting way to learn about the people and culture of Spain.

OK, on to the TEFL/ESL lessons learned!

  1. It gets easier after the first 3 months of teaching.
    "It" being namely the lesson planning. The trainers at our certification program, TtMadrid, said it would, and they were right. After the holiday break (our 3-month mark), David and I resumed classes with this newfound feeling of "I got this sh*t." Which - believe me - was so warmly welcomed after weeks of "wtf are we doing."

    Tip: To acquire aforementioned "I got this sh*t" confidence, read on....
  2. Recycle, recycle, recycle. Recycle your lessons. You will save so much time, and you'll just get better and better at teaching that lesson.
    Blank board game and dice that can be used for ANYthing         
    Tip: Plan good lessons that are adaptable for any level or age. For example, jot down a different set of vocab words upper-level Ss, or make a note to review difficult phrases before reading a passage for lower-levels. Nothing fancy.

Friday, July 6, 2012

New Madrid Photos!

We're pleased to announce that we have finally done a huge update to our Madrid photo album! Check it out... click the photo player to the right of this post.

Madrid Pride parade 2012 - Gran Via - XL tintos in hand

Time is flying by. Among the latest events are....
  • David's parents come to visit during Semana Santa
  • Impromptu surprise engagement party (surprise for our friends, not us :) they thought they were coming over for David's birthday)
  • Emilio & Ashley come to visit
  • Various picnics and lazy days in the park
  • Our 2-year anniversary 
  • Dei Dei's birthday
  • Exploring Casa de Campo
  • Shannon's karaoke birthday
  • Sushi night at the future Rodriguez's!
  • Greego's going-away extravaganza, AKA emotional roller coster weekend
  • Justin & Monica come to visit
  • Juliana's UEM graduation 
  • Rachel & Indu's birthday festivities
  • Pride Weekend - parade
  • Euro Cup celebrations - CAMPEONES! 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

When in Rome...

eat lots of mozzarella. And get engaged!

Here's to the rest of our lives together.

Thanks, everyone, for sharing our love, happiness and excitement!

Alexis and David

Saturday, April 28, 2012

I am TEFL, and so can you!

Nowadays, there are three questions I am asked on a weekly basis that make me giddy like Christmas morning: Where can I find some good cupcakes around here?... Wanna have a picnic?... And, my most favorite, How can I travel and teach in Spain too?

  • Happy Day on Calle del Espiritu Santo.
  • Always.
  • One word: TEFL.

If you've thought about teaching in Spain - even for a second - I know it may seem daunting at first. How the hell would I make that happen? Well listen up because I'm going to tell you in this blog post that I wish had existed for us ten months ago. While there are many paths to the same destination, here is our path, which has been a successful and enjoyable one. This is what you need to do:

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Just a little roundup of what's going on lately. Teaching, Madrid and our friends have all been fantastic. We're just coming off an amazing "spring break" (I guess you could call it?), which is Semana Santa here in Spain (or, Holy Week). We've still got love, and yes we're still traveling.

Chicken veggie fried rice

My bitchen may only be as big as your pantry, but it's been quite busy these days thanks to inspiration from a little website called Pinterest. I'm addicted. But I think it's the most productive kind of social web surfing (if that's even a thing) long as you actually DO some of the stuff you pin. I've got a long list of recipes to try including: s'mores pancakes, sweet potato burgers and cauliflower tater tots (I know, right?).

Let's not even get into the crafts...
Easter eggs with Rachel

We've been lucky to have so many people come visit us so far! And even more