Cola Cao

A little gift from the roomie today reminded me that I’ve been wanting to blog about the phenomenon of ‘Cola Coa’ for a while now.  Cola Cao is the Spanish version of hot chocolate mix. But instead of drinking it during a cold day or at night, most people drink it for breakfast or in the afternoon when they take their coffee break…every day. I fell in love with it after being introduced in January, and now I always have a jar of ‘Cola Cao turbo’ in my cupboard (turbo only means it dissolves faster). There’s no caffeine in it because it was originally designed for children, but you can find people of all ages drinking it in the cafeterias. I’ll be sure to bring a jar back to the states in June.


December 11, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

School fun!

This year in IES de Llanera, we’ve been having fun with projects and keeping up with the traditional American holidays:

First the students made collages of their personality, friends, family, etc.; and then they presented them to the class. Some students really got into it!

Then we celebrated Halloween with face painting and a costume contest

And then we made some turkeys for Thanskgiving

And finally, we made a super awesome advent calendar!

Now I just need to think of a big idea for Christmas…

December 8, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Year Number Dos

What a different year it has begun to be compared to the last. For one thing, when I arrived, I was picked up in a car (instead of taking a 5 hour bus) and driven to Igor’s (my bf) place where his parents spoiled me to pieces (like Tracy last year) with a comfortable bed, delicious food, and all the comforts of home. Last year I had zero intention of getting into a relationship with a Spanish boy. We all know how well that turned out. Secondly, going to my school was much easier. I only had a handful of new teachers and two classes of new faces. When walking into the rest of my classes, I was met with familiar smiles and hugs and dos besos from everyone. And finally, I arrived with 9 months of authentic Spanish under my belt, so when I told my students that they were doing a project right away, and one responded under his breath ‘no me jodas‘ I was able to respond, “no I’m not kidding. It’s due next week.” But no worries, I’m not a harsh teacher, it was fun: a collage of their friends, family, likes, dislikes, all in pictures.

Now because I have not updated my blog in moths, I’ll give a brief rundown of my first three months back in Oviedo:

  • I moved into a three bedroom apartment with my Cape Cod friend from last year, Beth.

  • We didn’t have internet for over a month
  • When we finally got it, the fan of my computer died and I brought it to the biggest department store in Spain, Corte Ingles, to be fixed
  • There was noone in Oviedo, or the northern half of Spain available to fix my computer so it was sent to Madrid for a month and a half
  • The government wasn’t able to pay us for almost two months (luckily I had my private lessons from last year and my wonderful parents to hold me over for a little while)
  • I have traveled to Pais Vasco, La Rioja, Barcelona, and London and enjoyed every second of those trips! (more details in future posts)

  • I am spending my free time preparing classes, catching up on things back home with and facebook, and drinking delicious, cheap wine with friends

As Christmas is fast approaching, I’ll give you a little taste of how Oviedo decorates. They put up big lights across the main streets and speakers on the light posts to play Christmas music while people are strolling through the center.

Thanks for reading! Missing you all

December 8, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Destination: Greece!

At the end of my first year teaching English in Spain some friends and I decided to take a vacation to Greece. SNelson, a friend from college studied there and has ever since said amazing things about it, so I knew it was going to be wonderful 🙂 What I didn’t expect was how incredibly hospitable and sweet the Grecian people were going to be! From the moment we arrived to the second I got off the plane in Madrid I felt like I belonged in that country, even though I only knew one word in Greek, Efharisto (thank you). But what I learned was that knowing that word and putting on a big smile can really go a long way (or maybe it was the fact that nearly everyone spoke English that made it so easy).

Each day in Athens and Santorini was filled with something exciting to do. One day we toured the Parthenon and all the ruins of Athens

Another day we took a day tour which consisted of walking on an active volcano, swimming in hot springs, journeying through a typical Grecian town, and climbing hundreds of stairs to watch a beautiful sunset.

Another day we rented 4-wheelers to tour the three most beautiful beaches of Santorini

Selfishly, however, my favorite day was my birthday! The girls really made it a special day. I awoke to a groggy rendition of Happy Birthday to You and a beautiful present. Then we explored the biggest ‘city’ of Santorini, Fira. And we ended the day walking around picturesque Oia, eating the most delicious baklava and being serenaded at an ‘off the beaten path’ restaurant, and lots of dancing at an Irish bar.

Saying hasta luego to the girls and adios to Greece came all too soon…

June 22, 2010. Uncategorized. 2 comments.

Summer Book Recommendation

This spring in Spain I had a mini ‘quarter-life crisis’ as many twenty-somethings do. In response to this, Igor surprised me with a very eye-opening, philosophical book named The Monk who Sold his Ferrari. It’s all about mind control, which then leads to controlling your life (which I think most of us can agree we would like to do better from time to time). I took everything with a grain of salt, of course because it has some very ‘out there’ techniques to achieve mind control, but I turned the last page with a very positive attitude towards the overall message. I’m using this summer at home in Green Bay and the advice in this book to train myself to think more positive thoughts on a hour-to-hour, day-to-day basis. If anyone’s looking for a short, easy, positive summer read, I would recommend checking it out. Thanks again Igor!

picture courtesy of

June 21, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

A Very Touching Afternoon

9th graders

Today a group of my Tercero de la ESO or 9th graders threw a Fiesta de Amy!! After school was over they ran to their room and set up for at least 15 minutes, until finally Montse, their English teacher said ‘venga, venga chicos!” I then walked into a balloon and food filled room with a line of beautiful smiling faces clapping and cheering 🙂

Definitely putting the poster up in my room this summer!

Then each of them said something they will remember of us from the year. Even the students that barely talk said something, reminding me that you never know who you’re going to impact, so treat everyone with kindness.

We finished the hour out with traditional Spanish foods, English music, and popping balloons. I feel so very special! I guess this cancels out all the times they annoyed me with their ridiculous noise when I was trying to give class. Looking forward to another year with them!

May 25, 2010. Uncategorized. 1 comment.

La Ascension

This past weekend was my last here in Oviedo for a while and I was incredibly lucky with gorgeous weather, the festival “La Ascension” and some quality time with great friends 🙂 La Ascension is an annual festival to showcase all the traditions of Asturias. There were tents covering La Losa, a raised, fountain filled, pedestrian walkway and a medieval market right in front of the cathedral. I visited the festival both Saturday and Sunday to sample lots of different cheeses, hams, and honeys, check out all the cute farm animals, shop through traditional markets, listen to bag pipping, watch traditional Asturian dancing and take in the sunny 85 degree weather. Below are some pictures of my favorite moments from the weekend. Enjoy!

The girls and I finally able to pull out the sundresses

Cheese everywhere!!!!

A stop in the animal tents brought us closer to Emus, a kangaroo, birds, kittens, chickens, baby goats, baby raccoons, baby ducks… baby everything!

Only 15 Euros! It took every ounce of will power not to buy one

Traditional Asturian dancing

Heading to the Cathedral part of the festival we found the medieval market…

Look at that cloudless sky!

And after spending money on unnecessary medieval trinkets, we made a lazy stop in beautiful Parque San Francisco

Everyone had a great bittersweet weekend!

May 25, 2010. Uncategorized. 2 comments.

Homemade Sushi :)

Posing as Japanese would

This past weekend, I made my first attempt at sushi…and surprisingly it didn’t turn out that bad!! One day I was walking through Hipercore (the biggest supermarket in the city) and I noticed a fabulous international aisle. And in this isle was an 8 Euro ‘sushi making kit’ which included everything except for the filling. I thought to myself…”who can I convince to make sushi with me???…IGOR!” (He is equally obsessed with fabulous food). So, we finally found some time this weekend to partake in this adventure.

We decided on salmon, carrots, and avocado. Probably would have been better with cucumber, but I can try that next time. It was quite interesting (for me) getting the fish because the butcher just grabbed a full salmon from the ice and chopped off a portion, right in front of me. I’m sure this is quite normal for a lot of people, but I prefer not to look at what I’m about to eat in its original form. Nevertheless, it was fresh and delicious. All in all it took about an hour to make…and only about 5 minutes to devour 🙂

May 17, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Robot Project

Recently at my school the technology and art teachers teamed up and designed a really cool project for the kids. They instructed the students to make a robot out of recycled materials! The kids got really creative and had lots of fun with this. The student who made the one above (with the Cola Cao box) said he wanted it to look like Jason Mraz. Do you see the resemblance?

Here’s a few more examples. We even got a girl robot in there! They turned out great! Way to go guys 🙂

May 15, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Natalia’s Flamenco Skirt


On Tuesday evenings I tutor a lovely Spanish girl named Natalia. Her English is great, so we just get to have fun and talk about life. Ever since I met her, she has been talking about her dance classes and performances. She is a ballerina and a Flamenco dancer! A couple months ago we had a conversation about Flamenco dancing and how elaborate and important the skirt is. Look at how long the train is! Can you imagine dancing in that? Well, last week she finally received her custom made Flamenco skirt! She was so excited that the second I walked in to start the class, she ran to her room and pulled it out for me. It was beautiful! I can’t wait to see her perform in this next year. Good luck practicing Natalia!

May 14, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

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