Come what may…

I finished my Diploma of Languages in Spanish 2 weeks ago (yahoo!) and I’ve been so busy that I haven’t yet had a chance to reflect on the amazing experiences I had during that course! When I was in Europe I travelled in Spain for three weeks with only 2 semesters of Spanish under my belt and had an incredible time, managing to get buy and purchase ever-important coffees with my limited skills. After four semesters I travelled to MEXICO for one month, where I stayed with a host family and studied at Universidad La Salle in Mexico City, before travelling to three other cities with friends (more on that here). This sparked my absolute adoration for Mexico and its people and has pushed me to get through my Masters degree (in Primary education) so I can find a proper job and save up to get over to Central/South America for an extended time! Learning Spanish at RMIT was an incredible experience, I made some wonderful amigos and I know that this is just the tip of the iceberg for my language learning journey…. after I’ve got Spanish down pat I would love to learn German or French…. let’s see!

When I finished my course the tutor sent us this beautiful e-mail which was rather inspiring, I’ll translate it vaguely for any non-Spanish speakers 🙂

Feliz fin de semana y no se estresen demasiado durante las proximas semanas de exámenes y tareas. Cuando tengan 40 van a ver que nada es tan grave y que en la vida es bueno tener planes, pero también ser flexible con lo que venga en nuestro camino.

Have a great weekend and don’t stress yourselves out too much during the next few weeks of exams and studying. When you are forty years old, like me, you are going to see that nothing is so bad and that in life it is good to have plans but also to be flexible and accept whatever comes in our journey!

So lovely.

P.S. If you ARE a Spanish speaker, particularly in Melbourne AU, I’d love to connect! X

Me in a Puebla Alleway, December 2015

Some time in Spain

I’m sitting on the bus from Madrid to Zaragoza, gazing out the window at endless green and brown plains and strange sparse shops. I’m listening to some Jack Johnson and the occasional John Mayer, having the ultimate relax after a very intense but fantastic week of Sangria, mini 1€ sandwiches (Cien Bocadillos), new friends and lots lots more sangria. I met up with some friends from my German summer camp in Madrid and we had an incredible time filled with sun and laughter. Yesterday we spent our last day together in Madrid at the Central Park (Retiro), napping in the grass (we were extremely hungover), playing guitar, eating too many Pringles and iceypoles, listening to Radiohead and discussing whether anybody would trust me with looking after a baby (hypothetical scenario) amongst other interesting topics. After a week of travelling alone it was so refreshing to have friends to share food and laughs with; someone to hold my coffee while I put my backpack on (an endless struggle of the solo traveller), and someone’s shoulder to rest my head on in the Metro when we got home from the club at 8am and had to check out of our hostel at 10:30. It’s the small things 🙂

I am now en route to stay with my pal Marina in Zaragoza, where she lives and studies. I’m ever so excited to indulge in some home cooked meals and be away from the big city and tourists! Apparently it’s a beautiful city so I am very excited to arrive. Afterwards I am heading to Paris for several days and then onwards to famous London. I’m currently considering a brief trip to Dublin to visit dear Hannah – I’ll probably regret it if I don’t go so I think I’ll do it! Apart from all the amazing teaching experiences which will help my career path and the endlessly hilarious memories, I think the best part about my Camp Adventure experience was all the international friends I have made. When I next come to Europe I know I have friends in Ireland, Wales, England, Spain, and especially Germany. Additionally I’ve got new friends in the USA and I’ve already planned a California road trip with one friend this December! We will drive from San Diego to San Francisco via LA and Santa Cruz, with many burgers, beers and selfies to be enjoyed the way. And most importantly I have the exciting prospect of having international friends come to visit me in Melbourne! Over and out, X.

NOTE: I have been editing these posts and moving them from my tumblr page to here because it is a *more serious* platform and encourages me to work on my writing. Two musings have come of this. Firstly, it has allowed me to edit and reflect on my writing style, in particular to veer away from the use of the ever notorious ‘really’ and even more so, “very”. I despise both words and I am trying so hard to avoid them wherever possible in an attempt to deepen my vocabulary and think more about my writing. Secondly, I have been considering planning a trip to USA and Guatemala in the mid-year University break next year (from May to June). This post and its mention of friends and cherished memories has started to sway me more towards the “just bloody book the flights” side of things…. so we’ll see. Lots to think about. Thank you for reading, I’m so glad you’re here. X

“So avoid using the word ‘very’ because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use morose. Language was invented for one reason, boys – to woo women – and, in that endeavour, laziness will not do. It also won’t do in your essays.” – N.H. Kleinbaum, Dead Poets Society

Midnight watch at Summer Camp

It’s 1am and the fire has died down but alas, I must sit here until 5:30am in case a kid wakes up in the night and needs my assistance. I’m zipped up tight in my sleeping bag, three cups of tea deep, with the Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera; some paprika chips and hedgehogs as my only friends. The only positive of this horrible job is getting the morning off kid-watch and getting to stay in bed until midday! I found out that there is potentially wifi down on the dock too, from a house across the lake (?) so investigating that rumour will be a good task for later. There is also a water trampoline in the lake which is super nice to lie in and stare at the stars, so I have a few potential activities to keep me entertained.

12 hours later. It was actually a beautiful clear evening and the ever so lovely Thom came down to offer me some company and we fell asleep by the fire after a silent book club. I was rudely awoken by hedgehogs eaten the remaining paprika chips that were left by the fire and I watched the most stunning sunrise over the lake – so alls well that ends well. I’ve been listening to a ludicrous amount of Xavier Rudd and I am having a wonderful time at Camp full of new (potentially life-long) friends, laughs and very little sleep. X

Somewhere near Poland

“All I was searching for was me
Keep your head up keep your heart strong
Keep your mind set keep your head on”

Ben Howard /// Ever providing deep thought and endless inspiration on bus rides.

Today we crossed the border from Slovakia to Poland through a stunning mountain pass in the High Tatras. The grass and forest are so lush and surprisingly green, given the intense summer heat that I experienced! The houses here are quaint and adorable with pastel colours, wooden archways and sweeping balconies. It would be so beautiful to live out here with the mountains on your doorstep and to breathe in the crisp air every morning with your coffee! I’m super excited for Kraków as we’ve been truly out in the sticks for the last few days, with an overwhelming abundance of pizza restaurants & beautiful landscapes but little else. The Slovakians sure love their pizza and pasta, which I find bizarre but comforting – you can never go wrong with Italian food. I’d love to return here in the Winter for a ski season, apparently a lift ticket is as little as €35 a day which is BONKERS compared to the extortionate prices back home in Australia! In Liptovsky Mikulas (a VERY small town in the middle of nowhere, near the low tatras) we stayed with an Englishman who moved out here to get away from the city and live on the cheap, and my goodness has he succeeded. His chalet is in a quiet tree-lined street, minutes from the main square but nothing like the hustle and bustle of villages that attract tourists (this one doesn’t, we were constantly being stared at). It’s only €1 to access the mountain ranges via bus or train and your options for hikes, caving, snow sports are endless. It truly is a magical area but very remote, it was a rather random choice for Ben and I to come out here but it was so beautiful and was an experience like absolutely nothing else! More on this later, long bus rides really take it out of me… X

Onwards to the East

Hola treasured and few readers,
I am on the bus to Prague from Nurnberg, chatting with a German scientist about whether coal power is or is not a better option than nuclear. Yesterday was 38 degrees in Neuburg at Camp and these last days have been sweltering work, filled with setting up camp, building water trampolines and fortunately, swimming in the beautiful lake at Joshofen. On Saturday night we went to the Renaissance festival at the castle in Neuburg an der Donau,  which has a rich history from the 1500’s. Everyone was dressed up (the festival is amusingly known as Schlossfest) and it was packed out with people, games, music, dancing, laughter and many a bier garten. Germany has such a rich culture and it is these scenarios which make me realise just how young Australia (as it is today) truly is. The cultures of Europe are so vastly different to my own. I am blessed to spend a month there (the gorgeous town of Neuburg) in August, but for now I’m glad have a month off, to explore Eastern Europe a little bit with my pal Ben and also spend a few days in Berlin doing some epic touristing. The absolute best announcement just came over the PA on my bus ride:

“Dear customers we are approaching the golden city of Prague. You will encounter rich European history here, please remember to take all your belongings.”

What a laugh. Soon I will depart the bus into yet another foreign city (always a nerve-wracking feeling but one of the ones I cherish) in search of an iced tea and a McDonald’s so I can steal some WiFi to post this update and crucially, contact my mother. All the essentials 🙂 Until next time. D