BB Monthly Recap: October 2016

Between getting back to work and starting an internship, October in Madrid has been busy busy BUSY. Talk about hitting the ground running.

I’ve also been writing a lot, and like being back in Madrid, it feels freaking amazing! One of my fave bloggers, Adventurous Kate, inspired this monthly recap. I always enjoy reading what she’s been up to, so here’s my attempt at informing and entertaining you in a similar fashion!

bb-monthly-recap

Destinations Visited

La Coruña, Spain

Madrid, Spain

El Escorial, Spain

Highlights

Starting a book club. Since last year, I’ve been searching for an English book club in Madrid. I’ve looked on Meetup and inquired at bookstores but haven’t been able to find exactly what I wanted. I was about to give up hope when I thought: why don’t I just start my own book club? Thus, Not Your Mother’s Book Club was born. I wasn’t sure anyone would be interested, but the response has been overwhelming. The group already has 50 members on Meetup, and our first meeting is in November. Ten women have already rsvp’d to meet and discuss The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Reading is cool!

Even Harley Quinn knows reading is the absolute coolest.
Seeee even total badasses like Harley Quinn read books! PC: IBT

 

Meeting new people. Last year was filled with lots and lots of traveling. This year, I still have a lot of places I want to visit, but I also want to put down some roots in Madrid. Specifically, I want to meet new people and, hopefully, make some friends. Buuuuut, making friends is hard. You’ve really gotta like put yourself out there. I’m trying, and it’s paying off. I met some fun people this month and had a couple wild nights out. Definitely looking forward to more of this as the year goes on.

Finding a language exchange. Another of my goals for this year is to improve my Spanish. I’d like to take the B2 (perhaps C1, shoot for the moon!) proficiency exam at the end of the year. If I’m going to pass, I need to practice practice PRACTICE. I found an awesome language exchange group that meets in bars near my apartment three times a week. I’ve been twice so far, and both times it has been a lot of fun. I haven’t had positive experiences at language exchanges in the past, but this one is super welcoming. Participants make an effort to have balanced exchanges. Even though there is no official timer, each time I’ve felt like I spoke half the time in English and half the time in Spanish. If you’re interested, the meetup is hosted by Multilinkual.

Celebrating Halloween. This was my third year celebrating Halloween in Spain, and I think it was my favorite time yet. October in Madrid wouldn’t be the same without it! At school, I told scary stories to the students as part of the festivities. Do you remember The Hairy Toe? Weird and not too scary, I always liked that story when I was a kid. My students got a kick out of it too. Their reactions to hairy toe soup were priceless. I could go on and on about Halloween, but I think I’ll wait and do a full post on it.

Children in Spain prefer to dress up as zombies, ghosts and vampires for Halloween.
This is from Halloween last year. Can you spot the ghost in chains?

Challenges

Recovering from El Camino. El Camino really took a lot out of me. Believe it or not, but 125 miles in eight days wasn’t easy. Initially, I thought I’d give myself just a week of rest. No gym. No running. No nothing. Well, one week turned into two then three. When October finally ended, I hadn’t exercised once. For me, that’s positively unprecedented! My body needed it though. In November, I’ll get back into the swing of things and start training for a 15-mile trail race I’m planning on running in January.

The Cathedral of Santiago Compostela marks the end of many pilgrims' jounrey.
La Catedral de Santiago de Compostela was a welcomed site…sort of. I still had four more days of walking to go! PC: Jose Antonio Gil Martinez

What I Read, Watched and Heard

I’m always looking for recommendations for books, blogs, movies, tv series, music and podcasts. As part of this monthly recap, I’ll share one thing I read, one thing I watched and one thing I heard. If you have any suggestions for me, leave them in the comments!

Read: I’m trying to read one book a week, and this month, I fell a little short and only managed to finish three. My favorite book was Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver. Beautifully written, it’s a story about a woman searching for her place in the world. Travelers know going home isn’t always easy and will be able to relate to the main character’s struggles.  

Watched: My life has purpose again aka The Walking Dead is back! Despite counting down the weeks for months, I almost didn’t want to watch the season premiere. Too much anxiety! I did though (a day late because #expatprobs), and it was intense. Nothing says October in Madrid like me screaming at my tv on a Monday. No spoilers, but I was like woah, did TWD get too f*cked up? I know it’s the zombie apocalypse, but like, this is cable! Normally, I watch each episode two or three times the week it premieres, but I can’t bring myself to watch the season premiere again.

Negan is the super terrifying new villain on AMC's The Walking Dead.
Really terrifying but also super hawt? TAH TAH PC: Popsugar

 

Heard: Starting work again means hours of commuting. I try to make the most of my time in transit and am able to do so with the help of podcasts. My latest obsession is Popoganda. The weekly hour-long podcast from Bitch Media offers feminist takes on pop culture. A few of my favorite episodes were about cults, magic and nostalgia tv.  

Coming Up in November 2016

I’ll be attending the THRIVE conference in Madrid. Hosted by Las Morenas de España, THRIVE is a one-day conference with speakers and panels discussing finding your passion abroad. I’m looking forward to hearing Cat Gaa and Haley Salvo speak. Former language assistants, the duo founded Como Consulting, a blog with a wealth of information geared toward ex-pats going to and already in Spain. After I was accepted into the Auxiliares de Conversación program, I bought their e-book on moving to Spain. Def recommend it. Conferences are fun, and I’m excited to connect with other creative people in Madrid!

What destinations will you be traveling to in November? Any recommendations for places I need to check out in Madrid? I’m always looking for new spots!

Featured Image Credit: Manuel, Text Overlay: Backpacking Brunette (aka yours trulyyyy) 

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