A New Chapter, A New Look

Perhaps you’ve noticed that this blog has changed in appearance in the last few weeks. I have finally buckled down and tried to learn how to build a blog on my own (well, with a lot of really helpful plugins and gadgets). Why, you may ask? What the hell was I thinking? I’ve asked myself that second question a few times. I wanted to invest more time and energy into my blog to give you, my dear readers, good content and an easier blog to navigate. And boy did I invest a lot of time into building this thing! I had no idea I would spend hours and hours just figuring out how to change font colors, ‘continue reading’ buttons, or my favorite, changes that I would later undo.

makingblog

I’m pretty happy with how the blog looks now but will continue to tweak and alter it as I continue learning how to build a website. And I hope to be more diligent about adding posts, photos, stories, and information about my new adventures to keep you all informed and entertained!

View of Zaragoza
View of Zaragoza

What new adventure is this? Well, Reid and I have decided to move to Zaragoza, Spain to teach English once again. After being home for close to 6 months we have packed up our most important (and warmest) things to bear the cold winters of the low Pyrenees and put our rusty Spanish back into practice (we’re going to need a lot of wine to do both of those things, I think).

This map is not up to date but I like it, so we'll go with it...
This map is not up to date but I like it, so we’ll go with it…

‘Where the hell is Zaragoza?’ you may ask…Well, first off, it’s Tharagotha if we’re being accurate. And it’s located more or less in the Northeast of Spain in the region of Aragon, rich with history (Kingdom of Aragon, anyone?). It’s surrounded by regions like Cataluña where Barcelona resides, La Rioja which will offer a lot of future wine tasting, coastal Navarra which houses Pamplona (don’t worry, I won’t be running with any bulls), Castilla-La Mancha, etc.

aragon1
Source

Most importantly though, it’s back against the Pyrenees which will offer a lot of great hiking and lush terrain to explore. Unfortunately, that location apparently means freezing windchill in the winter according to other auxiliares and locals we’ve talked to. I’m probably going to be making a lot of soup and imagine I’ll look like Ralphie’s little brother in A Christmas Story whenever I go outside. I’m going to need at least three more coats…

Me
Me

Zaragoza is also the fourth biggest city in Spain, though you probably didn’t know that because no one has ever heard of it. There is a very old university in the city which, along with adding a young vibe to that area, has generated the need for a lot of great bars. There’s also an old town that houses the Basilica del Pilar (the site of an upcoming festival which I am excited to write about), and a street of tapas known as El Tubo that I am itching to explore. One of the people we stayed with in Amsterdam is from Zaragoza and she told me there is a restaurant on El Tubo that only serves mushrooms in various cooking styles! 

Source
Tapas, tapas, tapas – Source

As for the actual teaching portion of this journey, I’ll be working at the elementary school level and Reid will be teaching high school. We each teach 12 hours per week, shared between two different schools – what the hell am I going to do with all of my extra free time?! At first I’ll be spending it apartment hunting. Our schools are located in or near the city center so we have a lot of options as for where to live. I’m sure some good anecdotes will be headed your way soon about that adventure! We don’t know much else about what exactly we’ll be teaching or which grades, so that should be an interesting first day of school…

Sounds about right...
Sounds about right…

I have a lot of high hopes for this new endeavor, especially having lived in Spain for a short time and as the second move abroad for us. I hope that this new experience will offer a lot of opportunities to be uncomfortable, to stretch the way I think about life and my relation to other people, to improve in Spanish and become fluent, and to learn the customs of another culture and incorporate them into my life. Those more serious goals come out of past struggles to adapt well to a new environment and embrace all of the new opportunities a foreign country has to offer. As for the more playful goals…

I hope to siesta every day, to develop a taste for good Spanish wines, to make friends with Spanish locals, to try new ways of traveling that don’t rely on guide books but more on word of mouth and trial and error, to learn to stay up past 11 pm, to ride a bike through different parts of Spain, and to get that Spanish lisp down!

espana

So, stay tuned to this blog and you’ll see a lot of photos taken with my new camera (so exciting!), some travel stories and tips, stories from the ‘transition’ AKA me reverting back to toddler mode when confronted with a completely new environment, daily life in Spain, teaching in a Spanish elementary school, posts about Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries that are in the works, and much much more…

Thanks for reading!

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