Because it requires its own post, I present to you the Church of São Francisco in Porto, Portugal. The greatest feat of baroque architecture I have ever seen and the only church that almost had me in tears. To put it in perspective the last time I felt this emotional was when I watched Big Hero 6 in 2014. To be honest you should start looking at plane tickets now because the pictures do not even do it justice.
My first weekend here I decided to go to Madrid with some friends, not because I necessarily like it (it’s by far my least favorite city here) but because soccer duh. I love soccer or should I say futbol and where better to go to get a front seat that Madrid.
So obviously I’m here, but here’s a throwback to my final freakout in America.
The countdown has begun and it is less than a couple of weeks until my departure time. My room is packed (ish) goodbye have been said (ish) and I’m totally ready (ish) to leave. So let us continue with our normally scheduled program.
Step 6 – Say your goodbyes. This is the most cliché thing I’ve ever said but it’s true – there’s never a perfect time to pick up and leave. You can always find a reason to stay and not say goodbye. I look at life in parts – personal and professional, some people might say when one is good the other is not, while one is flourishing the other must suffer for me this was not the case. At the time that I made my decision to apply everything was going just peachy; my job was great, my milkshake was bringing all the boys to the yard (well not all, just one) and one of my best friends was planning her move to the city. Why would I want to leave? Lucky for me life is not kind and what comes up must ultimately come down. The boy left the yard, my job started completely changing and the rollercoaster was back down. I got into the program and was ready to leave, like yesterday, but of course a few weeks before my departure things started to look up. Once again and I questioned myself, is this the right time? Things are going so well for me again, am I making a mistake? WTF am I doing. I’m leaving in the middle of my lease, quitting a perfectly good job (with a ton of perks might I add) to go and flail around in a city I’ve never been too, I don’t even know anyone on my program and will be jobless. Whereas in New York – I’m making new friends, the job change might not be so bad, and the yard, well you get the point. There is no such thing as perfect timing, something will always be off balance, but you just have to ask yourself, is this is as close too perfect as you’re going to get? If the answer is yes, then do it.
Step 6.5 – The goodbye parties. If you’re like me and went to school and now work in the same city you’ve probably amassed a good amount of friends who will want to say goodbye with lots and lots of parties. My departure just also happened to fall around the holidays so tie in Holiday parties and you’re looking at a massive set back in your savings. Usually I’m always down to party, rounds of shots, goodbye dinners, the whole shebang but remember you’re supposed to budgeting. My advice and life motto – ball on a budget. Have a goodbye happy hour, host a brunch at your apartment, and that creepy guy in the bar who offers to buy you a drink? Just say yes – you’ll be happy you saved the $11 later.
Step 7 – Do not share your business with everyone. Believe you me, not everyone will get, or understand why you’re leaving and they will doubt you 10349%. At the time of my acceptance here were the 3 things I heard ‘Is this really a good time in your career to be doing something like this?’, uh I think yes, it is and I don’t think I signed up to sit on a beach and paint my nails (although I would absolutely love that) ‘What about finding a boyfriend? You’ve talked about wanting to get married what about that?’ So apparently now it’s impossible to leave the country for a few months and still get married. My absolute favorite one is ‘well it seems like things were going great for you and now they’re not and you’re just running’….and your point is? Whether I’m running from my problems, looking for scratch a travel itch or just happened to apply and be accepted into a program that is starting with timing that makes it seems like all of the above is none of your business. The justification for why and how you do what you’re doing is nobody’s business. If you want to share, then share if you’re escaping something, escape. Do what you want – you don’t have to explain, justify or reason with anyone (except maybe your wallet, but we’ve already covered that part).
Step 8 – Start packing. Ok this might seem pretty obvious but if you’re like and have been living in your same apartment for the past 3 years you have accumulated a ton of stuff and need to seriously do a cleanse. I started this process at the end of the summer and am so grateful – thus far I’ve sent about 5 suitcases full of things home and given away 4 bags of clothes. Thank you fall cleaning. Especially if you’re subletting your apartment to someone you don’t know. You would be surprised at how therapeutic this whole process has been for me – I’ve learned a lot about myself, my shopping habits, my hoarding habits – I’m shocked at how many packs of sticky notes I have actually. But really it’s an interesting exercise having to pack your life in suitcases 0- trying to think ahead to the next 4 or 5 months of your life, what you will and won’t need, what you can and can’t survive without. Even if you’re not traveling try some fall cleaning see what it does for your spirit and your wallet! I like many people have eyes bigger than my wallet and tend to occasionally splurge on items I cannot afford – because of this I’ve amassed quite the collection of designer handbags and clothes that are new or slightly used. Take this as an opportunity to either sell or donate your clothes and other gently used items. I know there are a ton of sites but for me eBay’s always been the best. It’s super easy out use, there are a ton of items on there from shirts, to shoes, accessories jewelry etc so you can sell literally almost anything on there. Alternatively, if you want to donate your items be sure to ask for receipts for tax returns! Just think about how nice it will be to see a couple hundred extra dollars pop up in your bank account while your browsing the baths of Budapest!
Honestly when I was trying to come back to Spain I focused all my attention on Barcelona. It is my favorite city in Spain and I wanted to live here so badly. Madrid is a little too city and touristy for me and although Zaragoza will always have my heart I needed a change of pace. Unfortunately finding a program to teach English in Barcelona was harder than I thought, despite almost every spanaird here being able to speak English. Most people here learn Catalan/Spanish then English. The city is pretty spread out but it’s not as overwhelming or expensive as London. Honestly I’m into all aspects of it and would love to come back again (for the 10th time). I love that the people speak Catalan, I love the variety of food and restaurants and I love that it’s so easy to get a cab.
I love you barca.
By far my favorite city I’ve visited this far. Keep in mind I’ve only been in Spain for about one month and only visited 3 or 4 places but once my program ends I for sure want to come back and spend some more time in Ireland. Despite the shit weather the sun was (normally) always shining, the fish and chips were banging and let me just say I feel in love with a bartender who had the greenest eyes I’ve ever seen.
I went to London this past weekend. I think I liked Dublin more (more of that later) it’s a very international city with tons of foreigners – I was really hoping to hear more of that adorable English accent. It also snowed, rained and hailed while I was there – like make up your mind please. Plus the air bnb was freezing and didn’t have any soap? (It’s the little luxuries I look forward to) on the bright side the food was amazing and the clouds made for great photos.