Man, I’m really bad at keeping a blog…

So clearly time stops for no one. The last month and a half have been insane! 12 hour days at work and then lesson planning at night and trying to fit some travel and sleep in on the weekends.

So my contract ended and I am currently in Milan on vacation and caught up on sleep and have some free time and an espresso maker so I figured it’s time to update the page.
Last time I wrote, I had just arrived at Azé. I spent three weeks there during Spring session and loved it. Where I met Watson, Rebel, and Goldfinger. ❤

Then I was transferred to Tour du Buis, South of Lyon, and spent two weeks there during the pre-summer session. TDB was also fun but a totally different atmosphere. It’s funny how much your job changes depending on who you work with and where you work. I met a bunch of new counselors there- there were 14 of us that session! On our day off, Zenon, Kash, and I hitchhiked into Vienne to take the train to Lyon and ate pizza and watched the football match and as we were hitchhiking back we got picked up by a woman who drove us all the way from Vienne back to camp (a 20 minute drive) – so sweet! So many good times and inside jokes from those two weeks. 🙂

After our two weeks at TDB, Korra, Pineapple, and I did a convayage with 25 kids from Vienne to Paris and it was too stressful. Trying to get 25 kids and their luggage on a train before it pulls away from the platform is pretty close to impossible and will result in your entire body dripping in sweat, yelling in Franglais, and the entire train car of people hating you. Oh well- you can always have the kids teach them a cheer on the ride to Paris 😉

Then finally, I had one week left at the day camp in Paris during the summer session. The day camp isn’t my favorite because the kids don’t really get to know us or visa versa because they leave everyday around 7pm. We don’t eat all three meals together and, in my opinion, the kids that come from Paris aren’t as willing to look like idiots. Which is 100% of why camp is fun. However, I did have a very big classroom and plenty of teaching supplies and my children had very little behavioral issues. 🙂 In my last week in Paris I got super close with Pineapple, Korra, and Goldfinger and it was actually really hard to come to Milan and quit work. I even helped them plan for the next week of work for when I would be gone. 😦 However, in saying this, I’m fairly certain I’ll be back next year!

Well, I’m sure that I’m forgetting several things since I waited so long to write here but I’ll just hope that all of the photos from the last few weeks can do them justice. Sorry for the late update and thanks so much for reading! Someone asked me why I keep a blog and I really only do it for myself so that I can remember things more clearly when I go back to look at my travels and experiences but I have heard from a few people that they do enjoy my blog updates and it really means a lot to me that others enjoy reading about what I’m up to. So thank you! ❤

Shoutout to all of the counselors I’ve met this year that really made my last month and a half. You know who you are.




P.s. Not sure when I’ll update this next because I’ll be traveling for the next three weeks but I’ve got the next two days in Milan where I’ll see the Duomo, WATCH FRANCE WIN THE EUROCUP TONIGHT,  get a tattoo, fall asleep in the park, and eat all of the pasta I can fit into this body before Tuesday morning when I fly to Bergen to meet up with my mom and start a tour of the Nordic countries! Then I’m off to Boston to see Lindsay for a week. Alright, one more espresso and I’m off to explore Milan! Au Revoir, Ciao, and byeeee.

xx.thatrareygirl / Arizona

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So far so good… 

After literally 24 hours of traveling, I made it to my hotel in Paris. That night I ate pizza at a place down the street and people watched, took a shower and slept for 12.5 hours. I’ll attach this week’s sleep schedule as told by my Fitbit. It’s atrocious.
Anywho, on my free day in Paris I slept in, went to a cafe by the canal and got my daily requirement of espresso and croissants, went to Shakespeare and Company (an English bookstore) to get a new book to read on the train, sat and read by the canal for a few chapters, walked all over, people watched outside of the Louvre, and then went back to my hotel with a takeaway kebab because my feet were killing me and takeaway kebabs are my kryptonite. Everyone’s all about the wine and cheese (I am too) but stuff some French fries in a gyro and I’m in heaven. So then I showered and stayed up until 3am because time is a social construct that’s out to get me. In which time I did nothing productive but did, however, FaceTime with some goobers back home.

Welp, I hope I’m on the right train now because we’re leaving… Bye Paris. Hello Mâcon? Hopefully? Please?

Slightly surprised I made this far if we’re being honest.


I just got internet! Camp is beautiful. And my Irish roommate also knows all the words to every drake song. 😂 we don’t start work until Monday so today we walked into Azé to get wine and look around. Lots of sheep and vineyards. I’m in love. It’s currently raining with thunder and lightening and we start planning for next week tomorrow morning. I’ll let you know how my teaching goes! In the mean time, here’s a photo update… Also I got picked up in a taxi by Gino who only speaks French and Italian and we had an entire conversation with him speaking Italian and me speaking Spanish. Excuse me while I pat myself on the back!!! #lifegoalsmet


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Location, location, location.

I’ve been assigned my placement: I’ll be at the Chateau d’ Azé. And my camp counselor name is Arizona!

The grades from last semester are in and I made it out of there with all A’s again!

Also, I’m currently dog-sitting for my brother and attempting to pack. Why do I always need at least five pairs of shoes everywhere I go? Yes. I said need.

I’ve booked my hotel stay and my train ticket to Mâcon. See you in three days, Paris!

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xoxo thatrareygirl 😉

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Should get this off my chest…

So since my first trip to Europe after high school, I knew that traveling was something that would soon be a large part of my life. I went to college and jumped on the opportunity to study abroad in Italy for a semester. After I finished my bachelor’s degrees, I moved to Madrid to be an au pair for a family for a year.

The thing is… when I came back to the United States all I heard was: “You’re so lucky!”, “How can you complain about anything, you lived in *insert country*?!”, “I wish I could afford to travel”,”It must be nice!”, and the like. I have a few issues with these sort of comments…

  1. While I won’t say that I’m not lucky, my travel is not because of luck. I’m able to travel and live abroad because I work hard to.
  2. My “trips” aren’t vacations. While I may be living in Spain or Italy- I still need to do my laundry and pay rent. Life isn’t some RomCom just because I live in a foreign country.
  3. It’s more than likely that you can afford to travel or live abroad you just don’t make it a priority. Skip the Starbucks. Maybe you can’t go to that music festival this year. From studying to working to teaching – you can get yourself over there. But moving abroad is hard. Or everyone would be doing it.
  4. When you equate my time living and working abroad to a vacation, you’re blatantly disregarding all of the hard work it takes to be able to do it. We’re not talking just  keeping-your-instagram-profile-current-and-counting-passport-stamps-so-you-can-brag-about-it-in-your-tinder-profile kind of work.
  5. …But yeah. You’re right. It IS nice.

Another thing I’ve been seeing frequently on the internet are the “Why Everyone Needs to Drop Everything and Travel the Globe!” articles…

Travel is not for everyone. And making people feel guilty for not doing it is frankly, privileged and annoying as hell. Some people have goals of having a family, some people have career goals that don’t involve leaving the country, some people just don’t like to leave their comfort zone.  You don’t need to travel to be “successful”, “free-spirited”, blablabla. Do you.

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Hahah #eyeroll

 

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Let the Countdown Begin!

Hi…

I realize my last few months in Madrid sort of went undocumented last year. As I remember, I was super busy with my Spanish family and preparing for my DELE exam (which I passed at a B2 level)! And now I keep in contact with my Spanish family through email and skype regularly (still miss those kiddos).

So since my return, I have been living in Flagstaff, Arizona attending Northern Arizona University for my master’s degree in Teaching English as a Second Language and I am about to finish up my first year with a 4.0 (assuming these last few finals go well).

I am writing to update you that I’ve got a grand total of 17 days before I get on my flight to Paris! Well.. my flight to Seattle to Reykjavik to Paris. 🙂

This summer I’ll be working at an English immersion camp for French children teaching them English as a camp counselor with American Village Camps. I somehow passed all of the interview process and paperwork and will be working in France for a little more than a month! I actually kind of miss working with kids and this will give me some experience applying some of the things I’ve learned in the last year of my masters program.

I don’t know my exact location in France yet but should be getting an email any day now. Anyway, I’ve got three more finals to wrap up (that I should probably currently be studying for) so I will post more details later (probably when I should be packing). 🙂

Here’s the website of the company I’ll be working for: http://www.job-americanvillage.com/en/

Stay tuned to find out what my counselor name will be 😉

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France, I know you’ve missed me.

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A Greek Week

Hi and Happy Easter! I’m finally home from my vacation in Greece!

Antonio and I left Madrid on Thursday with a more-or-less Spanish board game for Maria’s two kids and two bottles of Spanish red wine for Maria. We met Maria in the rain at the center metro stop in Athens after she finished teaching her last class at the University (she’s a professor and Doctor in Nutrition and Crop Sciences). The first night we spent eating a home-made lasagna-type meal, drinking wine, and playing the game we brought with Myrto and Alex who are 11 and 13. Maria’s father came over to meet Antonio because he used to work a lot in South America and wanted to practice his Spanish with Antonio – it was a pretty entertaining exchange. 🙂

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On our first day, we went with Maria to Aegina Island with a class of French students she needed to accompany from the university (I had been to this island with Maria my last time in Athens). We rode the ferry for an hour and got to the island where we got a bus-tour, saw the ancient ruins of a Greek Temple at the far end of the island, visited a few museums, went to one of the famous Pistachio farms and got a tour of the farm and their organic processes of producing their Pistachios, and finally an amazing Greek lunch (complete with begging cat-friend). Aegina Island has an amazing amount of cats everywhere! Antonio is a cat guy, needless to say – he was going crazy. We had another hour to explore the port a little on our own, take photos, get a little lost, find a small church, and buy some Pistachio products (my only regret is not buying the Pistachio liquor.. amazing). By the time we rode the ferry back home we were exhausted. Maria ordered us all Souvlaki from the neighborhood restaurant and we ate at the table while Maria’s father played for us the traditional Greek guitar, the Bouzouki, and Maria and Myrto sang: VIDEO

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Our second day, we walked basically all over Athens after going to the Acropolis Museum. Apparently Athens built the brand new Acropolis Museum to house all of the artifacts and to prove to England that they had somewhere to house the ones that they have in England so they could get the artifacts back to where they belong… still in England. -__-  Regardless, it’s a great museum, we learned about everything from ancient Athens and it’s politics and structure to how the ancient Athenians used different waxes to color the marble statues of the Parthenon. Maria showed us all of the cool neighborhoods in the city – Plaka, and Monastiraki, and the Parliament building. For dinner we went to the restaurant I fell in love with my last time in Athens and had the most amazing Greek meal with a sort of mushroom and truffle rice, fried feta cheese in honey, honey pork, a really delicious salad with feta and prunes, and of course red wine. I think Greek food is my favorite type of food. After dinner, Myrto, Maria, Antonio, and I went bowling because we had seen the bowling alley on our way into the city that morning. We had a lot of fun, despite Antonio winning. Hahah.

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Our third day, Antonio and I went up to the Acropolis ourselves and explored and hiked around and then met Maria afterwards at the base to grab dinner. We drove to a restaurant of a friend a bit outside of the city and ate meatballs and Greek salad and met a few of her coworkers and drank a lot of house wine that was offered to us for free (happy Jocelyn).

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Finally on Monday, Maria took us to the port before work and Antonio and I headed to Santorini Island (an 8 hour ferry ride). The boats are amazing – they have 8 stories! We mostly slept and watched a movie on the iPad because the ride was a bit rocky and I wasn’t feeling super hot. We got to Santorini – what chaos! when the ferry comes there are a ton of people waiting at the port to offer you car rental, hotel, etc. and they’re all like sharks waiting for you to get off the ship! And it’s only the beginning of the high season – apparently Santorini in the summer is a tourist sea. Anyway, we found the ticket office and bought our return tickets for Wednesday in advance and then were the last two people on the last shuttle up to our hotel. Our hotel was sort of a condo with a view of the sea, and a 15 minute walk to the city of Oia, on the northern part of the island. We rented our place through Airbnb.com so the guy who owns the condos offered to drive us up to the town the first time so we could see how to get there and be able to get there before the sunset which is the best from the top of Oia. So we went to the market, bought some groceries, then headed to the a high spot to watch the sunset and take photos. After the sun went down we found a great place for dinner and I had rice-stuffed peppers and Greek salad and more wine 🙂 Also Santorini has more dogs than cats – and I was going crazy over all the pups.

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Our second full day in Santorini we got up and walked the road north to the beach with black sand. It was a bit chilly because it had been raining before we got there and the winds were still pretty strong but a light jacket and we were fine. So we walked the beach, I got some black sand in my water bottle, we took photos, and then had planned on walking back south to the Oia winery to do a wine tasting but on our way, we decided not to because it was 60 euro a person and we would rather learn that much about a Spanish wine so we decided to take a rain check on the wine tasting and headed straight for the town of Oia to have some lunch and explore some more than we were able to the night before. We met a very cute donkey on our way, and got lost in the hill-side homes of the Volcanic island. Finally we made it to the city, had another great lunch with calamari and Moussaka and we were able to spend more money on a bottle of the famous Assyrtiko white wine from the region that has a bit of a salty aftertaste and was delicious! We explored the town some more, I did some shopping (of course) and we headed back to the hotel with a take away box of Baklava. 🙂

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The next morning we woke up, booked a shuttle ride with the condo owner, but the power was out so we tried to make a decent breakfast out of our remaining groceries, and found a place in the yard to lay in the sun for a couple hours until the shuttle got there. Another 8 hour ferry ride (this time rougher) and we made it back to Athens around midnight and Maria was at the port to pick us up. We got home and went to bed. The next morning Maria had gone to work and the kids to school and had left a hand-made spinach pie on the stove for us to eat for breakfast. 😀 we packed up our things, Maria came back to the house on her lunch break, picked us up, and took us to the metro in the middle of the city so we could catch it to the airport. She bought Antonio and I some gifts (including grape-based alcohol she had made herself in her home on Ios island). We thanked Maria for everything (Greek hospitality is the most impressive, I swear) and headed to the airport (this time without tears from Maria or I – I am going to try and get back to Greece in July).

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We slept most of our flight home, and it felt so nice to be back in Madrid. We took the metro to the Garden House and went to the chino for something to make for dinner. The next day we spent cleaning the house (Spring Cleaning!) and because my allergies with the cat have been pretty bad lately. So we dusted and swept and mopped and hung up the hammock in the garden. It’s officially summer in Madrid! I showed Antonio the films “We Need to Talk About Kevin” and “Samsara” and together we watched “Magic Girl” which we both really liked.

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Anyway, now I’m home. And the kids don’t have school tomorrow because it’s a public holiday after Easter but I think I still have school. Back to work for me.

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Cuenca Weekend!

Yesterday Morgan and I went to Cuenca for the day! We caught the bus at 10am for 15 euros and got the bus back at 8pm for another 15 euros. It was great! A little colder than it is here in Madrid right now which I didn’t appreciate much because I’m dying for summer already but we managed. We walked around the city, saw the hanging houses or “Las Casas Colgadas” from the bridge, got lunch with a friend from school that was in Cuenca yesterday as well and then we stumbled upon the Contemporary Art Museum which only costed us a euro a each entrance fee and was a pretty rad museum! Anyway, we loved Cuenca and had a blast, afterwards we went to our favorite burrito place in Madrid and had margaritas before going home to sleep. Then we got up this morning, went to El Rastro market because it had been a few months since the last time and we remembered why we don’t go to it anymore – so crowded and it’s always the same stuff. Oh and on Friday we went running (my first time in almost 6 months) and my average mile time has actually gotten a bit faster! Partially because it’s not 120F/40C outside like it was in Arizona. Hahah. Anyway, we ran 3 miles and it felt great to be running again so I think we’re going to try to incorporate that run into our week at least once! Successful weekend 🙂 Also Morgan’s last day of school was on Friday and I get a new teacher on Monday and I have only a month left of classes (which I’m glad for because I’m pretty done with school at this point and could use the free time in the mornings). 11 days until vacation!

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