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

Monday, March 19, 2012

Linky Love

Sharing links to some blogs we love.

  • The Lovely Dept. - I went to college with this gal (everyone mistook us for the other, remember that, Rachelle?!) and knew her through some friends of mine. Now, I feel we've kept in touch more online than we did in person! Her site really is a department of all things lovely whose aisles I'll be browsing often. Jewelry, DIY, design... you know, pretty things. She's so talented and creative.

  • Life With a Fork - You know how every group of friends has "that healthy person"? Well Sarah is mine - lol. She blogs about her paleo diet adventures and about living in Madrid - complete with her Atlanta sass. Her recipe for mashed cauliflower perfectly feeds my latest obsession with the neglected step-sibling of broccoli. 

  • Portugalavanting - Love this title. This blog is kept by Alison, a spunky fellow traveler native to Cali whom we met as we were boarding the same flight to Marrakech (and while we were both staring at that rugby team napping peculiarly in a straight line). She's studying in Portugal and shares the same love for this wonderful Mediterranean lifestyle. 

  • English Girl in Madrid - The name says it all. This blog is by Rachel, our dear friend and one of our favorite Brits. I straight up die laughing when I read her posts because they do such a good job at capturing our group's moments - the funny ones, freaking hilarious ones, sweet ones, the tipsy ones... and maybe ones you couldn't remember. She's also got amazing photos from her travels in Spain.

Monday, March 12, 2012

NewER Photos

We're on a roll. Photos are up from our holiday travels - a fun Christmas with the Brits and New Year's Eve in romantic Paris - and most recently, the city that rocked our world: Marrakech!

To view them larger, click on the photo player to the right. That'll take you to David's Picasa where you can browse yourself crazy.

...We're staying local-ish for our next trip. Clues: it involves fire, and the city is known for badass paella. Any guesses?

Monday, February 27, 2012

New Photos

We've just uploaded photos from Lisbon, Portugal and Segovia, Spain. You can view them just to the right here or on Picasa. Check them out!

More to come soon from Toledo, London and Paris. Enjoy!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Food is Love

Forget the flowers. Valentine's Day was such a successful food day for us that I just had to share...

David was present for all v-day activities, I swear! He just takes better photos than I.

  • BrunchSince I no longer have to trek to morning classes (lucky me), I greeted a frozen-nosed David with homemade French toast and syrup (yeah, that's right, I made my own syrup), brown sugary bananas, and mimosas. Later followed by an equally scrumptious siesta.
  • Dinner. Sushi seems like more of a novelty here in Madrid than I'm-starving-Let's-order-a-million-rolls in New York. So, as a result, it's generally expensive. But for San Valentín, we decided to pull out all the stops at Banzai and indulge in the avocado, spicy sauce and tempura that we'd been deprived of for all of six months. Worth it.
  • Dessert. Yes of course dessert gets its own bullet! It is a meal, you know... OK, so we've recently discovered a cozy little magical restaurant tucked away from the bars and clubs of our neighborhood, Malasaña. It's called El Jardin Secreto - the Secret Garden - and it's especially known for its desserts...

Friday, January 13, 2012

Año Nuevo

Hi! You may not remember us, but we are in fact the authors of this blog. lol.

Paris Dec 30, 2011

During the end of 2011, we were quite busy with teaching, traveling and hosting. But we're back with loads of photos and stories to save here in this precious blog of ours. The task even made my 2012 resolutions list:

  1. Learn beginner French... I know, I know. I should work on my beginner Spanish first. But I fell head over heels for Paris and now feel this need to learn some basic fancy words.
  2. Blog... I can't even say "blog more" because that would mean I blog in the first place. lol. Trust me, I've been dying to write. More force to just sit down and do it is coming this year.
  3. Resume social media projects... I want to stay on top of my game, help organizations and make some extra money for travel. It's a
  4. Start designing... hair accessories and jewelry. I certainly love buying these things and perusing aisles and aisles of artisan stuff at markets. But now I want to make, craft, imagine. I'm excited.
  5. Try to get into modeling... for someone else. David said, if all he has to do is show up on time, I can be his manager and do all the boring stuff! Woo hoo! (I want to thank the 50-year-old former model man who we met on vacay for convincing him. Though introducing himself in the airport bathroom was a little creepy, he really did believe in David. :)) I don't really know what I'm doing, but I have Google and my intuition. Check!

What are your resolutions? What are you most excited for this year?