Life, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Au Pair Visa – Preparations for Spain

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Over the past month or so I’ve been talking to family in Spain who wants me to be an au pair for them. I have been gathering paperwork in order to submit them to the Spanish Consulate on January 7th in San Francisco. This week I leave to submit the paperwork and then I have to wait a month to see whether or not it gets approved. After I find out if I get the visa in February, I make plans to leave the country by the beginning of March.

The family I have been talking to is really cool. Out of all the families I had talked to, this one seemed like the most appealing and understanding. I have been talking to the mother of the family mostly, M. Angeles, and she seems very kind. She has been helping me through this process the whole time. She even paid for the tuition for me to attend a Spanish University online in Madrid while I’m staying there. The children are all above the age of 13, which was ideal for me. The other families I had talked to had children that were around the ages of 2-8, which would have been difficult. I like that the children are older because they understand and speak more English, which is good since the only language I’ll be able to communicate with them while I’m there in is English. I also don’t have to actually watch and take care of them, I’m just another member of the family. I wanted to be able to focus on actually getting to know the family, the country, the culture, and the language, so being free from the responsibility of childcare was ideal for me.

I am both excited and nervous about the prospect of being in a Spanish-speaking country. I’m not the best at communicating in English, and my Spanish is really poor. I took Spanish for two years in high school and French for a year in college, but I don’t remember everything from the lessons. People have been telling me the best way to learn a language is to be immersed in it and the culture, so I guess this is the best way for me to learn. I also will be attending a Spanish University online, taking Spanish classes for 20 hours a week, so I’ll be learning the language both formally and informally throughout my stay there.

I have some fears about traveling with my mental health. My mental health has been up and down over the years, and although I have been pretty stable with my new medication, I still have worries that I’ll have another manic episode overseas. This is my greatest fear, because if I have an episode overseas in a country that doesn’t speak my language, I will be in very different and stressful circumstances than my last episode.  My family and I are hoping everything will turn out okay and that I’m healthy enough to travel. I wanted to do this opportunity because I don’t want to constantly be afraid of my mental illness, having it stop me from doing the things I want. I don’t want to be thinking throughout my life, “What if I had done this?” I want to be living in the moment and embracing what life has to offer despite what I’m suffering through.

All in all, I am excited for this trip. I think it will be a great opportunity for me to learn as much as I can in a new country with exciting people and experiences. I have always wanted to travel and explore the world, and this might be the first of many opportunities in the future.

Life, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Anthony Bourdain R.I.P.

I was on Facebook today and saw this picture posted by one of my friends. As I near the ripe age of 22 and prepare for my trip next Monday, this quote connected to me a lot:

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Source: Facebook – The Chef’s Circle

Anthony Bourdain was highly admired, a star chef, and a lover of life. He showed us the importance of traveling and adventuring and experiencing another person’s lifestyle. In witnessing his exploration of the world I was taught empathy and passion and a love for food.

Growing up, my mom and I spent little time together as she worked the majority of the day and wouldn’t get home until late at night. Most of the week I was either in school or with my grandparents, where we spent our television time watching game shows or sports. During moments where my mom and I would be able to spend time together at home, we took pleasure in watching Anthony Bourdain’s: No Reservations on the Travel Channel. My mom and I loved his poetic and raw outlook on life, and it was always interesting to see what adventures he experienced. I have many fond memories of us watching his trips together, reacting to the dishes he would eat (how we would want to try this or that someday), laughing at his (sometimes crude, but always real) comments, and wishing to one day go where he has gone.

Anthony Bourdain suffered from heroin addiction when he was younger, the same difficult struggle my late brother battled with. While they were both alive, Anthony Bourdain’s triumphs and long life gave me hope that my brother would beat his addiction and life an equally full life.

He also suffered from depression, but didn’t let that prevent him from experiencing the world as much as he could. I also suffer from depression and other mental health issues, but Anthony gave me hope that the world could be better, that I could accomplish and experience things that I’ve only dreamed of. It saddens me that his battle with depression ended this way.  I was told that he never sought treatment, dealt with it by himself without trying to seek help. I am grateful for the community I grew up in and the information I was given about mental health and depression, to be able to seek and receive treatment. No one should ever be pushed to this point in life, where they feel like there is nowhere to turn to.

For anyone reading this: If you feel like you are alone and have nowhere to turn to, know that there are always options to get the help you need and that there are people out there who will care and support you. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255.

Anthony Bourdain, you fought your demons for as long as you could and inspired so many people to live their best life. My condolences and best wishes to your family and friends. Thank you for all that you’ve done to bring the world together.

Life, Uncategorized

I’ve Been Away…

Hello again. I’ve been gone for a while… like five months or so… and internet time that’s like a few decades. I have a lot of catching up to do and a lot to fill you all in with.

 

The main reason why I dropped off of the face of the interworld was because I was mourning the death of a very close family member. I’m not going to go into that much detail about what happened or how I was during that time. If you know me personally, you probably know what happened anyway.

 

To be completely honest, the internet and blogging didn’t really seem like a good way to spend my time. I thought that if I were to blog about how I was feeling or what I was doing during that point in my life, that my blog would turn into one of those depressing, angsty, teenage drama blogs that everyone loves to read so much (sarcasm, if you couldn’t tell). So, I basically shelved my computer and my blogs and most forms of social networking. Since then I’ve been trying to cope and continue living life.
But after three months or so of being cut off from most forms of social media, I realized that I missed sharing my life with the world. I want to be able to share what I love to do and what I think about things with you all. And I know that most of you have probably stopped following this blog, but for those who haven’t- I’m back, and I’m hoping to stay.

 

I’ll be posting another update about what I’ve been up to over the summer very soon. Thanks everyone!

Uncategorized

Valentine’s Day ALONE.

It’s that time of year again- Valentine’s Day. Its the time for love, chocolate, and flying babies in diapers wielding bows and arrows. If you’re like me, you’ll be spending Valentine’s Day by yourself. Without a significant other. Without a “secret admirer”. Without a Valentine. Alone…

But don’t worry! Because February 14th also happens to be SAD, or Singles’-Awareness-Day. On this empowering day, single people everywhere celebrate their independence. On this day, women everywhere sing, “Single Ladies,” at the top of their lungs with their equally-as-single girlfriends, eating buckets and buckets of cookie dough ice cream. On this day, men are free from the excruciating pain of having to plan a special day and buy the perfect gift for their lover. And on this day, YOU can have the best time of your life by yourself while couples watch cheesy, vapid romantic comedies and struggle to find a reservation at some fancy, over-priced restaurant. Not sure what to do? Here are some ideas:

1. Hang out with SINGLE-minded people. Gather your friends and have a singles’ day out. Play a game where whenever one of you point out a couple, you get a point. Whoever gets the least amount of points buys dinner for everyone else.

2. Buy a beta fish. Beta fish are independent. They don’t like company. Let them remind you of how being single is totally fine.

3. Girls- pamper yourself. Go to a spa, get your nails/hair done, or stay at home and use one of those freaky, green, alien face masks. You don’t have to try and impress anyone on this day, so go all out.

4. Guys- I don’t know. Blow something up. You don’t have anyone hanging around you, begging you to do this-and-that. Play those videogames your significant other would hate to watch you play all day. Work out. Go off and… do whatever guys do.

5. Eat chocolate/dessert/candy. You don’t have to be in a relationship to enjoy something sweet.

6. Watch anti-Valentine’s Day movies. I’d recommend any horror or comedy movie. Some of my personal favorites are, “Scream,” “Dial ‘M’ for Murder,” “So I Married an Axe Murderer,” and, “The Break-Up”.

7. Do absolutely nothing. This is the one day where couples all over the nation go all out for each other. Why not just enjoy the day to yourself and relax? Take a nap. Browse the web. Hang out with your cat. Or you can just carry on with your day like normal, because Valentine’s Day can just be like any other day.