The best commute

I am definitely not a morning person. When  my numerous alarms go off all I want to do is snuggle back under the covers and sleep. Eventually I drag myself out of bed and get ready for work and sleepily set off on my 10 minute walk to work. I do feel lucky that my ‘commute’ – if you can even call it that – is so short. I feel even luckier that whilst walking to work I get to see the most beautiful views. And, as my job involves cleaning cottages around the island, I get to see the most gorgeous views as I walk to each cottage. Here are a few pics I’ve taken on my way to/at work:

I live in paradise

The Isles of Scilly is the most beautiful place I have ever been. It’s also one of England’s best kept secrets. Whilst the archipelago off the coast of Cornwall thrives off tourism, I’m always surprised when I meet someone who, when they ask me where I’m from, doesn’t respond: ‘is that in Italy?’, or something of the kind.

I moved here when I was four years old, so I consider myself to be from Scilly, as the majority of my memories of growing up were made here. The only problem with growing up in such a beautiful place is that you become used to your surroundings and often forget how incredible they are.

There was a time when I didn’t want to come back. After moving to college in Devon at 16 and having the most amazing time, I didn’t want to come back for more than a few days. However, after finding my experience in Spain quite difficult, I couldn’t wait to return.

Now I’m living and working here for the summer season, I am truly able to appreciate the paradise I live in. From my bedroom window I can see the beach and smell the sea and hear the seagulls early in the morning. Most people hate that noise but it reminds me of home so when I wake up to that sound I feel content. On my way to work I walk past two beautiful beaches and on my days off I can take a boat over to another island and soak up the sun (when it’s not raining). The views are breathtaking and I feel so lucky to get to see them everyday.

Dublin

This weekend I headed to Dublin for a Hen Do. I think I say this for every city I go to, but I completely fell in love with it. 

It’s definitely the friendliest city I’ve been to so far – even friendlier than Amsterdam. The people are lovely and really welcoming. 

On our first day we went to a traditional Irish themed night and listened to an Irish band and watched Irish dancing. The atmosphere was fantastic and the dancers were incredible. We went to several Irish pubs over the weekend and listened to lots more live music. 


One of the best parts of the trip was the pedibus tour that we did: a pedibus tour involves cycling around on a cart and stopping at pubs along the way. It’s a great activity to do on a sunny afternoon although my legs were aching the next day!

On our last day we went to the Guinness factory. I love Guinness so I was super excited about going. The highlight is going to the Gravity bar at the end of the tour where you can drink a nice cool pint of Guinness whilst looking out over the city. It was a good experience but compared with the Heineken museum in Amsterdam, the latter was better. The Guinness factory was a little less organised and less interactive.


Anyway, right now I’m sitting in Newquay airport waiting for my connecting flight. I want to go back to Dublin! 

Coming home

I had my last day of working as an auxiliar de conversación on the 31st of May. My colleagues and students gave me gifts and made me cards and I was given lots and lots of group hugs! It was really sweet to know that the kids enjoyed my lessons and I hope they continue to study English and keep improving.

Then early Thursday morning I left Llanes for the last time and started the long journey back home. Four buses, two flights, two trains, an overnight stay and two taxi rides later, I finally arrived back home on the islands.

Although it’s been hard, I’ve learnt a lot from the experience and my Spanish has certainly improved. I’m glad to be back home with my boyfriend, family and friends and I’m looking forward to the next chapter in my life: enjoying the summer and saving the moneys!

Peace and love x

In love with Amsterdam

I’ve been to Amsterdam twice: in the spring of 2011 and to see in the 2016 new year. Both times I completely fell in love with the city. I could (and did) spend hours just walking around those streets and alongside the canals admiring the beautiful architecture and soaking up the atmosphere. It’s the friendliest city I’ve been to; everyone seems to be having a good time.

On my first trip my mum and I visited the Anne Frank museum twice as I was studying her life at the time. The queues were long but without a doubt it was worth it. After reading her diary, it was so surreal and moving to be walking around the tiny place she’d been in hiding.

The highlight of the trip at new year was our first night, which my boyfriend and I spent on a dinner cruise. Our trip coincided with a festival of lights, so we enjoyed a 4-course meal and plenty of wine whilst viewing Amsterdam and the light display at night. With our dinner cruise we booked the Heineken experience at a discounted rate. The museum is fun and interactive and of course involved drinking beer! The sex museum is also fascinating and fun and entry only costs a few euros.

Another place I loved visiting (as I’m a sucker for markets), was Waterlooplein outdoor flea market. It had a great variety of products and stalls which sold things from clothes to furniture and art to tacky souvenirs.

I made lots of great memories in Amsterdam and I hope to go there again soon!

How to learn a language and stay motivated

When you’ve been learning a language for a while, it can be hard to stay motivated. I’ve been learning French since I was a kid and I’ve been learning Spanish for three years. Since I’ve been in Spain my Spanish has improved quite a lot, although there’s still a long way to go in terms of my speaking ability. I’ve been pretty bad with keeping up my French since I’ve been here; I’ve only recently started to study regularly using Babbel.com.

I found out yesterday that I’ll be living in Besançon (France) from October 2017-April 2018 and I’m worried that my level of French isn’t good enough. I’m spending the next four months back home in England and I really need to find a way to keep motivated to regularly practice both Spanish and French. Here’s some ideas for how I (and you!) can learn languages and keep motivated.

1. Remind yourself why you are studying a language
You started studying a language for a reason, so try not to forget it! There are many reasons why I study languages: to be able to travel, to be able to work abroad, to be able to enjoy different cultures…

2. Write down your language goals
I love lists. They help me organise my thoughts and my life. Writing down your long-term and short-term language goals can help you keep motivated. They could be anything from learn how to use the past perfect tense to pass the C1 exam by the end of the year.

3. STUDY! STUDY! STUDY!
If you’re not learning a language by living in a country where it’s spoken, it can be hard to maintain your level and make progress. Sometimes it’s necessary to sit down with a textbook and study, whether it’s grammar, writing techniques or vocabulary. It may be a good idea to set aside some time every week to study from a textbook. It doesn’t have to be a great amount of time, maybe even just 15 minutes each day.

4. Make language learning fun and easy
My favourite way to ‘study’ a language is by watching films and series. I’m currently addicted to a Spanish series called Mar de Plastico which I love. Avoid putting subtitles in English, though. Try watching with the subtitles in the language you’re learning. That way you’re listening to the speech whilst seeing how the vocabulary is written down.

5. Use a variety of resources
Using lots of different resources can really help to avoid making language learning laborious and monotonous. Read books and translations of your favourite English texts, watch series and films, listen to podcasts, use grammar books, use textbooks, read newspapers, listen to songs, write stories and speak as much as you can.

6. Be patient
Learning a language is a long and never-ending process. Language is constantly evolving and there will always be something new to learn. You must be dedicated to improving and accept that you won’t become fluent in a short amount of time.

Getting inked abroad

I finally got a tattoo!

I’ve wanted one for ages and I eventually plucked up the courage. I was so nervous about everything, especially as I was getting text! Will they spell it wrong? Will I spell it wrong? Will I be able to stand the pain?! What if I regret it? What if it looks bad?! So many worries…

I was also really worried about getting it done in another country, especially as my Spanish still isn’t that great. I looked around for tattoo shops in the two major cities in the region and chose my favourite. I emailed them in Spanish, but luckily the guy who runs the shop speaks pretty good English. I told him what I wanted and we set up an appointment.

I was pretty intimidated when I first arrived but the guy who I’d been emailing and the tattoo artist were really helpful and put me at ease straight away. They told me not to worry about the pain and assured me I’d be fine.

My tattoo is on my arm and it really didn’t hurt at all! It’s very hard to describe but I wouldn’t use the word ‘painful’. It feels tingly and sharp and at some points I’d even say it felt nice!

I’m so happy with the final result and I look forward to getting my next one!