Monday, February 28, 2005

The end of the world is coming !!!!!!!

Hello Everyone,

Have you been sinning lately? Have you been leaving Jesus out of your daily routine? Then you better repent or invite Jesus into your heart. For I have received a sign that the Messiah is about to come.

It snowed this morning in Barcelona. That´s right. I woke up and opened my bedroom window to a the sight of white blankets over the apartments. It was unreal. I live on a small hill, so the snow stays there. It was wierd seeing everyone try to walk in the snow in their sneakers without trying to slip and fall.

 But when I went to work, although it was snowing heavily the snow wasn´t staying on the ground. Yesterday I enjoyed pleasant weather with the sun shining brightly, and today it snowed. So wierd.

As you know I moved into my new flat. My roommate got her pursed snatched so I am still without keys because she needs the keys. I also was without toiletpaper and the lamp in my room was broken, not to mention the vent in the bathroom. I kinda miss my old flat. Moving and getting adjusted all over again is never easy. It was a little hard and it makes me just wanna go home for good so I don´t have to keep moving and adjusting. I have 4 more months in this flat. I hope that I will enjoy my stay here. I think that I might feel better as I stay longer and as the weather continues to improve. I also will continue to hang out with my old flatmate on the weekends.

Anyways, I will try to capture the snow with my digi cam tommorow morning. It was almost like a white Christmas 2 months late.

Okay, gotta go and buy toilet paper. Ciao.

 

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Hello Everyone,

Well, I spent my last night in this apt last night. Tonight I will be in a different place. I still have to pack. I am so not looking forward to that. I have so many papers and clothes lying around that I have to sort out. You know how that goes. Plus, I just feel so lazy. It´s the weekend and I was really busy this week.

The weather seems to be improving. It´s not so cold. The coldness isn´t so cutting anymore. I just want to ba able to go outside without having to wearing a heavy jacket.

I can´t believe that the end of February is just 2 days away and that March will be here. The time is going by so fast.

Anyways, I better go and think about packing and cleaning my room.

 

 

Friday, February 25, 2005

Books :)

Hello Everyone,

I am here at my apt and just chillin. I am taking it easy because I think that I might be getting sick again. I have to teach tommorow for a couple of hours so I wanna make sure I am good to go.

The kiosk at my job just got good novels in English. I am so happy. I still can´t read novels in Spanish without stumbling over the first few pages. So I still like to escape in a good book in English.

Over the summer I bought and read The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown. (That man is a genius and I wanna read all his books.) That book was off the hook. I couldn´t put it down.  Today at work I bought " The Shadow of the Wind" by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. This book is an international best seller. When I am on the metro, I always see people either reading The DaVinci Code or The Shadow of the Wind.

The author was born in Barcelona and now lives in LA. The novel takes place in Barcelona after the Spanish Civil War. It is so neat to read because I don´t really have to imagine what the center of Barcelona looks like(where the story takes place.) I already know, and I can follow the plot better. With the Da Vinci Code, I had to imagine the settings and museums because I have never been to Paris. But I do have to say that book inspires me to visit La Louvre.

What is happening to me??? I never used to read books. I was into my trashy girly magazines like Cosmo and Teen. Now I am hungry for books. I am also itching to go to the 2nd hand English book shop here in town. Since when did I feel this way? Does this mean that I am getting smarter ? Haha.

Traveling really does open your mind awaken your desire to learn about the world. Although I may miss home from time to time, my desire to learn new languages, cultures and how to interact with others is only getting stronger. I am also realizing the things that I took for granted back in the states.

There is so much to see in other countries, and of course I can´t see and experience it all. But at least by coming here and spending time away from home I know that there is so much to see and learn. The US is very multicultural, but I do believe that we are sheltered as a whole. The media controls the images we get to see, and I feel that we as Americans in GENERAL don´t really know what´s going on outside US borders. I also think that we are spoiled and have many things at our disposal. As a result, we are comfortable with our surroundings and don´t feel the need to go outside of our comfort zone. At least, that was the case with me before I came here to Spain.

I don´t feel like I am learning anything in depth just yet. I feel like I am still getting to know what´s out here. That doesn´t mean that I have been sitting on my duff and doing nothing. Quite the contrary. It just means that there is so much to see outside the US that I am still getting used to it all.

Anyways, better go now.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Happenings in Barcelona

Hello Everyone,

Well, the weather here is really cold. It is cloudy and freezing. One of my older neighbors told me that it hasn´t been this cold in over 20 years. And yet, there still isn´t any snow. I wouldn´t mind the cold temperatures if there were a little snow to play with. It´s kinda depressing. The stores are starting to put out spring and summer clothes and I can´t wear any.

The bumps on my head are STILL there, and they hurt when I am stressed. I really wish that they would go away because its making me nervous. The doctor told me that they appear to be made up of fat. I just wanna know who the hell gets bumps of fat in their head? Shouldn´t people like me get some sort of award for this ? Why in my head ? I have enough in my ass already. Anyways, I will know for sure what it is in a couple of weeks. I am a little nervous, but not too worried.

I have been really busy lately trying to sort out my teaching schedule. I should know for sure by next week. I also had all my mail from home sent to me here. Oh Lord. The pile was huge. Basically all it was were credit card statements, bank statements and student loan information. Keeping all my bills up to date and making sure that I am not late has been a real hassle from here, especially since I can´t call toll free numbers from here.

I am moving this weekend and can´t wait to just get it all over with. I acquired lots of shit here and moving it all will be interesting.

Anyways, I better go. My updates should be a little more cheery as the weather improves, I get my schedule sorted out and move.

Ciao.  

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Holaaaaa....

Hello Everyone,

I am here typing this quick entry. I am here at my language school, and I SHOULD be doing my Spanish homework. Oopsie. I´ll get around to it.

I am busy getting my schedule sorted out. I might be able to teach Business English near the aiport. Just waiting to hear back from the director. I might also get another private student. I am a little stressed out, but things should be sorted out by next week.

I am also moving out this weekend. I really love the room that I have there. All the furniture was brand new and my bed was comfortable. But, I have to go. That´s that. I don´t really like the location of where I am living now. It´s kinda far from the center of the city, and there is lots of graffiti in my neighborhood.

I like the location of my new place better. It is on a hill and I get a nice view of the city. Plus the neighborhood is much cleaner and the air is fresher. I also will be getting a workout since it is a good walk.

Anyways, better get something to eat and think about doing my homework.

Ciao.

 

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Oh, guess what ?

Hello Everyone,

I was reading the newspaper today, and I came across an interesting article. It was about the new immigration laws.

You´ve all heard me bitch about how I can´t get legal working papers. Well, it turns out that 85% of the immigrants here are in the same position as me and we can´t take advantage of the new law. The Spanish govt makes a new law that makes it easier for illegals to get papers, and 85% of the people can´t even take advantage of it. Go figure. This is Spain. You´re bound to get screwed somehow. You think I am just being negative ? Or perhaps I just had a bad day. No. That´s not it. If you are a foreigner here, I can guarantee you that there is a 99% chance that you will get screwed SOMEHOW. And if you´ve been to Spain and you disagree with me, well maybe you didn´t notice that you got taken advantage of somehow. Whether you get robbed, don´t get paid or your applications to the government get mixed up. It happens to me, it happens to everyone.

What happened is that many people, myself included didn´t register in the town hall before August 7th. No one new about the new law at the time. It didn´t exist. There are some people that have been here before August 7th and they asked their landlords to help them register. But if you are African, Arab or Pakistani the landlords are more likely to be racist against you and won´t help you. They think you are more likely to commit a crime and don´t want to be connected to it. Strike One.

Another requirement to get papers is that you need to have a 6 month contract from your job. I read about a Bulgarian woman that works in a kitchen. Her bosses are charging her about a 1,000 dollars to get a contract because they know she needs it to get papers. Strike two.

The last requirement is proof of your criminal past or lack thereof. That takes a while to get, and many people are having trouble making the deadlines. Strike three.

I hope that the government will wake up and loosen the laws a little bit. I heard that they probably will.

The funny thing is even though I am screwed and can´t get papers now, I had a little feeling that somehow it will work out in the end. It´s just a feeling. Who knows if it will really happen or not.

Ciao.

 

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Little Update

Hello,

Last night I went to the hospital to get my head checked out. I swear I feel like an alien, because 3 bumps appeared on my head within a week, and they were giving me headaches. At first I wasn´t gonna do anything but my roommate convinced me so off we went.

Anyways, going to the hospital in Spain is a new experience for me. They DO NOT speak any English. Thank God I know enough Spanish, and thank God my roommate went with me. We waited for about 2 hours, but that´s to be expected. The last time I went to the hospital in CA I waited longer. And they sent me a nice fat bill.

The doc told me that I shouldn´t worry and that it doesn´t seem serious. But they took skin samples from my head anyway to test it. I will have to go back to get a consultation again in about two weeks. At least the doc was nice.

I am just happy that health care is free here in Spain. It is free to everyone as long as they are registered in the town hall. AND people can chose their doctors. In the states I could never afford to do this. I really do believe in free health care. From what I have seen so far, they do a good job here. I know people might blast me for this belief, but I would love to eliminate health insurance companies.

In the states we have insurance but they really screw around with you. Here it is a basic right. Everyone can see a doctor and people don´t have to worry about not being able to get medical attention.

Okay, gotta go.

 

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Moving

Hello Everyone,

Well, I am moving out of my current flat by the end of this month so I have been pretty busy. I have been visiting various places and most of them have been nice for the most part. I just need to make a decision by Tuesday.

I have seen about 5 flats now, but the one I liked the most was the most expensive and I had to haul my ass up a hill. But I really like the place and the girl there speaks English, Spanish and German. She is from Germany and has been in Spain for 4 years.e

I am still looking at other places, but I had the best gut feeling at her place. I still have to ask her if she invites lots of people over (I forgot to ask that). But she seems really clean and considerate. Like I said, I will know by Tues.

I also have a bump on my head, actually two, but I don´t remember how they got  there. It´s just that now I am starting to get bad hedaches. I think I will go to the doctors. How wierd.

Anyways, gotta go. Ciao.

 

 

 

Thursday, February 17, 2005

The Latest in Barcelona

Hello Everyone,

Well, this entry is gonna be short. I have been really busy lately. I can´t wait to sleep in on Sunday. I know I will spend half the day in bed.

The weather here is really cold. It is still sunny, but there are cold winds. Spring will arrive in about a month so I know that things will warm up soon. I am waiting for the beach weather to arrive. Oh Lord I miss the beach.

My coworker wants me to watch his dog in a couple of weeks over the weekend. He has the most adorable dog. (Even though it humps everything) He also lives by the beach so I can take the dog down to the beach. I will also have access to his DVD collection. I told him that I would think about it in case something important comes up. But I hope that I can do it. I love dogs, DVDs and the beach.

What else ? I am taking a Spanish class now until late May. We are reviewing the grammar that I thought I knew. I think that Spanish is an easy language to learn at first. Then as you advance it is sooooooo easy to mess up. There are so many grammar rules in Spanish.

What else ? The Christmas sales are still going on and stores are marking down the merchandise for the last time. I am just waiting to get paid. There are so many things that I really, really want that are really cheap now. It is hard to restrain myself.

Okay, gotta go. Ciao.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

A Touch of Luck

Hello Everyone,

You ever have little moments of luck ? I wanna share some of mine. About five years ago I visited my grandma in Austria. I walked by the bank on the way to the swimming pool and I saw about 50 bucks worth of Austrian Schillings worth just sticking out. I wanted to take it so bad, but instead I turned it in to the bank.

A few weeks ago I went shopping and found a cool pair of Diesel shoes for about 35 Euros on some little windy road near Barrio Gothico. For those of you that don't know, Diesel is the shit, and it's also expensive. I happened to find a pair of cool trendy blue choes in my size for 50% off. Sweet.

Yesterday after work I was walking to the metro and on my way there I found a 10 Euro bill laying on the ground with no one around to claim it. I had no money, and was stoked that I could buy myself some food before my Spanish class started. For those of you that don't know this city is a haven for theives. Purses, cell phones and cameras get stolen ALL the time. So finding money here is almost impossible.

I hear that having a bird crap on your head is a sign of good luck. I almost had a bird shit on my head twice. Does that mean that I was almost lucky ?

So....... what are your moments of luck?

Monday, February 14, 2005

Hello :)

Hello Everyone,

Well, the boss surely diassapointed me today. He didn't bring chocolates for us today :( Oh well.

Today was like any other day. I don't like Valentines day that much. And it's not because I am bitter. I am not. This year and last year I could have had someone to celebrate with and I just didn't want to. I would rather be alone. I don't know if this is good or sad. Maybe next year I'll change.

I was out with a friend from Germany yesterday taking pictures. We took lots of pictures of Barcelona and now my memory card is all full. I need to save all the pics to a CD so I don't lose them. My pics from yesterday weren't as good as I had hoped, but I still like them. I love taking pictures here. There is so much beauty and history in this city.

Anyways, gotta go, Ciao.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Hello Everyone,

I am gonna get straight to the point of what I really wanna say in this entry today.

I am not happy right now. I am not looking for any sympathy, and I certainly don´t want people telling me that I have to change my attitude. I know that already, and I don't like how I feel. I never liked feeling miserable. However, if you have any honest advice I am all ears.

I don´t know what I really want out of this trip anymore. That's my problem. Maybe I would be happier if I knew exactly what I wanted. In fact, I would really like a break and I would like to go home and then come back. But I promised I would stick this out until June because I can´t just give up when things are tough. After June if I still feel this way I am going home, no matter what anyone tells me. I am broke, and wouldn´t have the money to stick it out longer anyways.

Since I am not happy right now and I am not so sure what I really want anymore, I am losing my desire to stay here. All I can think about is when I will be able to get on a plane home. And I don't like counting down the time.

One thing that became really clear here is that while I like to travel, there is no place like home. I love traveling and learning new languages as well as meeting new people and hearing different points of view. I like getting out of the US, but I also noticed that I like traveling for a few months at a time. I wouldn't want to live for years at a time in a foreign country.

I came here to learn about Spain and learn Spanish. I am learning Spanish, which is a plus. I also came here to learn how to teach English. I got my TEFL certificate and am teaching private students. I expected to teach in language academies, but things didn´t quite work that way. I would still like to but it is a huge risk. I would be leaving a job where I am guaranteed to get paid to find work at a school that may or may not pay me on time. Plus, the pay they offer may not even be enough. At least the job I have pays me enough to live off of and I have the evenings and weekends to enjoy. The risks outweigh the benefits. But if I had the chance I would give it a try in September. Who knows?

I tried to get working papers, but things didn't quite work out and I have to wait and hope that maybe the laws will change in my favor. But I don´t even know if I even really want them anymore. Getting papers wasn´t my goal when I first got here because the opportunity didn't exist then.

 I would rather just suck up my crappy job, keep on learning Spanish, take dance lessons and enjoy the rest of my stay instead of worrying about whether I may or maynot get papers. Then when June comes around I can go home.

But then again if I have papers I can work in any EU country as an English teacher or in a multinational company.

I really wish I knew what I wanted. I wish things were clearer to me. Right now I don´t know what I want.

Anyways, normal entries will be continued tommorow. I promise. I was out today taking lotsa pictures with a friend.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Happy Valentines Day

Hello,

Happy Valentines Day ! (I know, I am saying it early)  For the last 4 years I always had to wait tables that day. This year is my first time I don´t have to :) Thank God.

People don´t really celebrate V Day here like in the US. I just hope that my boss brings in chocolates to work. The Spain version of Valentines comes later. I don´t remember when, but I will tell you when I do. All I know is that the guys give girls a rose and the girls give the guys books. Books ??? Yeah, go figure.

Anyways, I hope you enjoy the day of love. I know I will be too busy eating chocolates to think about love :)

Ciao.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Yeah !! The Weekend

Hello Everyone,

Gotta say that work today was so boring, especially since I have to talk to managers and almost none of them were there. I am starting to pass the time by playing games. I write down a really long word. Then I use the letters of that word to form other words. It's actually fun. And since I am not talking to anyone, the bosses really don't suspect anything yet. Because in the past I was busted all the time for talking to my coworkers.

Anyways, I plan on teaching my new students tommorow morning at 11 am and then going to a bellydance workshop for three hours after. That should be fun. I might also go see the movie Meet the Fockers. It just came out here in Spain in the theathers, even though it premiered in the US over the Christmas holidays. The Spanish title translates to " His Parents" or literally, " The Parents of Him".  The title "Meet the Fockers" just sounds so much better to me. I am going to see it in English. In Spain, they dub the voices and it is just not the same. I can't stand watching Hollywood movies in Spanish.

I also might go out with my friend from Germany on Sunday. It would be sad if he were to cancel on me at the last minute.  He is going back roughly next week. I met him over the summer when we were in the same Spanish class and I practiced my German with him. My German got so much worse here because I am focusing on Spanish. I know my Austrian grandma would scold me.

Anywho, gotta go. Ciao.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Update for today. Interesting read if you like immigration law.

Hello Everyone,

I am starting to get sick again. That is really not cool. I am broke and can´t afford to take off any more days of work. I really hope that I am not getting the flu again. Oh God. That would really stink.

In addition to being sick, I had to go to the US Embassy today. I need to prove that I was here before August 8th, but I registered in October. I was told by someone at the town hall to go to the US Embassy because if I prove to them that I was in fact here before August then they can sign a paper with an official stamp.

HAHAHA. I was wrong. I KNEW that this would be another dead end. The woman I talked to wouldn´t even let me finish my sentence when I talked to her. Even though I was there because a worker in the town hall told me to do it.  She was a little mean, and I overheard her talking to the other gal that I was there again. Bitch.

 The problem is that I didn´t register with the US Embassy when I first arrived here. I should have, but I didn't. Before I came here I read up as much as I could on living here and it was recommended for me to register with the US Embassy. Had I registered, they would have been able to fully support me and help me prove that I was in fact here before August 8th.

I didn't register for a reason. Because when I came here I planned to live here illegally and work under the table. Why? Because I would have never expected the Spanish government to pass a once-in-a-lifetime temporary law that makes it easier for foreigners here to get legal working papers. A law like this probably won´t come around again. The period for helping foreigners get working papers is between February till May. Basically if I don´t ask for papers by May I miss my window of opportunity.

Anyways, I figured that if I were to live here illegally, I wouldn´t want anyone knowing exactly how long I was here. I didn´t want to make it easier for officials to prove that I was illegal, so I didn´t register. Had I thought a little harder, I would have realized that the US Embassy deals with US laws and protecting the rights of US citizens, not enforcing the laws in Spain. The US Embassy isn't going to notice that I overstayed my tourist visa. And even if they do, it is not their job to send me home. That is the job of the officials in Spain. The national police to be exact. And the Spanish government most likely isn´t gonna go through the hassle of sending an American home, unless I commit a crime.

And now it is biting me in the ass. I feel kinda dumb, but how could I have known? This new law was announced in October, and then went into effect just now. And the requirements to be fulfilled changed a couple of times in between not to mention that it was so hard to get any information until now. So, believe me when I say it´s hard to follow up on immigration laws.

Anyways the only thing the women at the embassy could do for me was give me a signed sworn statement with a US Consulate stamp. Basically it means nothing and doesn´t prove anything but I gave it a shot for the hell of it. I mean, I took time off work to go all the way there. I might as well get a little souvenir out of it.

With the sworn statement, I had to write a statement and then it was signed by an official under oath. I wrote my little spiel of how I was in Spain since late June and that I have evidence such as my plane ticket and bank receipts to prove it. And then the official asked me if I swore that my statement was true before she signed it.

So now I have a sworn statement but it really means nothing. I could have wrote that I had two asses and told the official that " I swear I have two asses" and she woulda signed it. I mean, I paid 24 Euros for it and it takes no effort.

So yeah, I am still back where I was. I really want to go home in June when my plane tickets need to be used.

I do love Spain. Really, I do. Besides this process that is going nowhere and my awful job, I am having a ball. It´s not that I want to go back home and never return here. I just want to take a break for a couple of weeks and come back because I am a little homesick. I would love to return in September and give Madrid a try when the language schools are hiring and looking for teachers. Finding work would be so much easier there.

Anyways, enough for today. Ciao.

Wednesday, February 9, 2005

My Wednesday

Hello Everyone,

Well, tommorow I am gonna go to the US embassy. There is a chance that if I can prove to them that I have been here in Spain since late June that they can write a letter with the special USA stamp stating that I have in fact been here since late July so that I can have a better chance of getting papers. I am taking time off work tommorow to do it. If it happens, great. If not, I can live with it too. I just need to know so I can get on with my life.

I also have to go to the doctors office tommorow to pick up my health care card. With this card I can get any type of medical service. That´s sweet. Back in the states I couldn´t afford to even get sick. The health care system in the states stinks if you are like me with no money. And yeah, insurance helps but they do everything they can to screw you over. Can you imagine being in a serious car accident and after recovering you discover that the insurance company that you paid to cover you is actually trying to screw you over ?

I also just recently started my Spanish classes. I like it. That way I am not lounging around at home after work. There are 6 other people in my class.

And tonight is my favorite series. I watch it faithfully every Wednesday.

Okay. Ciao.

 

Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Letting it all out

Hello Everyone,

I gotta say that this journal has been therapy for me. That way I express how I am feeling and don´t really have to complain to anyone because I usually get it over with here. Sometimes I go back and look at my previous entries and I get to reflect and see how far I´ve come along.

I have been noticing that no one has been leaving comments. I don't even know if people even stop by anymore. I know my mom does once in a while, bless her heart. But I think that maybe I´ve been losing readers because I have been venting lately. It´s sad, but oh well. I am still not gonna change my format. I would rather be true to how I am feeling not to mention that I would rather bitch here than to my coworkers or roommate.

Anyways, I really think that traveling makes you discover a lot about yourself. I learned and confirmed so many things here about myself. The good, bad and ugly. My fears are coming out so much stronger and so are my strengths. I am also learning how to stand up for myself,  face rejection and relate to all types of people. 

Traveling here made me realize just how much I do not know. Lots of people that I have met here have lived in so many countries and speak 2-3 languages. They also have strong opinions about world politics because they follow up on the news.  

Anyways.... on to the news. After I wrote yesterday's entry my roommate came home and told me the bad news. Basically I lack one requirement to get papers, which is registering in the town hall before August 8th. I registered in October. I am too late. As of now there is nothing I can really do. I can´t get papers. Despite what my folks said, I didn´t get papers due to the fact that I am unable to fulfill a requirement. NOT because I didn´t try hard enough. And next time, if you are gonna tell me to be more creative at least back up your statements with evidence of HOW I could do it and what you know about the Spanish laws instead of spouting the Bible of how when there is a will there is a way. Because from our conversation, you had to ask me all about the Spanish laws which leads me to believe that you have no clue how the system works, which means you probably don´t know what you are talking about. Look you are so much smarter than I will ever be and make miracles happen all the time in the business world. But I think a foreign government in a different language withlaws changing all the time is probably something you haven´t really dealt with. Thankyouverymuch I feel better now.

Lord knows we´ve been all across the city, taken days off work and thought of everything we can. Sorry, but I am not Moses. Ican´t magically part the Red Sea or bat my eyes at the govt officials. Hell if I had powers like Moses I would already be flawlessly speaking Spanish with a kick ass job and David Bisbal would be my faithful husband. 

 All I can do is sit and hope that so many people are in my situation that the government will change the regulations. That is a possibility too. I am also looking for jobs where the government might agree to hire me and give me a job offer so that I can take it back to the Spanish Embassy in California to get a visa. That is also very slim, but it´s worth a shot.

 I could also sign a marraige certificate but I don´t want to. My roommate has been good to me so far. However, I am not willing to be legally bound to him and I don´t trust anyone completely.

I am still upset about not being able to get papers, but I am dealing. I thanked my roommate for all his help and am starting not to dwell on it as much. I have four months left. In the mean time I am taking Spanish and bellydancing lessons. The next lesson will be on Saturday. I miss dancing. Whether I get papers or not or I get a teaching job or not under the table, I will still make the best of my time here.

I also went to apply for free health care. I went to the clinic close to my apartment. It´s a relief. And it was nice of my flatmate to think of. He really has gone out of his way to help me and he didn´t have to. I told him to visit me in CA because when he does I will go out of my way to show him around and help him learn English. It´s the LEAST I could do after what he´s been through to help me.

Anyways I am sure that you can tell that I am very upset about me not getting papers. I was so close but the law changed at the last minute and the door slammed in my face. The whole thing was a slap in the face, but I am dealing. Kinda like a movie where everything is peachy at first, but of course it´s not a movie without a conflict. I still have my fingers crossed that the ending will be happy. Shoot, I wish that MTV could make a reality show about me. Oh man, all the emotions and drama are there not to mention that the wierdest shit happens to me here.

Okay, gotta go. Feel free to send me flaming mails if you want. My mailbox is kinda empty anyways.

Monday, February 7, 2005

Hola :)

Hello Everyone,

Well, I was shocked today. I expected to be very sore from skiing. But I am not. How wierd. Maybe I didn't ski hard enough. I had fun skiing on the mountains in Andorra, but skiing with my parents will always be my favorite. When I skied with my parents we always bonded on the lift and then skiied our asses off down the mountain. Then we would eat chili in a breadbowl for lunch and have burping and farting contests. I really miss that. It´s been four years. I really hope we can do it again next year.

But I gotta tell ya that skiing in Andorra was beautiful. Andorra is such a beautiful country. The drive home left me in absolute awe.

Today I read the news headlines where immigrants were presenting their requests for papers today. I am still trying to get my papers together. Unfortunately I couldn´t be among them.

I am still upset from Friday as it seems that doors keep getting slammed in my face. But we are gonna keep trying. My roommate still has a few tricks up his sleeve. As long as I don't have to sign a marraige certificate I am willing to try it.

I was talking to a couple of my folks back home about this. To be honest, I was expecting a shoulder to cry on because dammit, I it´s a little rough right now. My feathers are a little ruffled. To be fair, they told me the love me and they are proud of me. But, I ALSO got a little spiel of how I am not getting where I want because I don't want it bad enough or how I am not charming enough to the government officicals. (Gee, maybe I shoulda worn my little schoolgirl skirt that day.) Or if there is a will there is a way and apparently I am not doing everything I can. And that I have to look deeper inside me or be more creative. Then when I asked for specific things to do, guess what ? I wasn't given any. Thanks for the advice.

Yeah, I know I shouldn't be posting this here as it's family business. And I know I will probably hear about this, and it's understandable. And no disrespect to anyone. But damn, that made me a little upset. I am doing everything that I know how. I may not be doing everything I can, and thats because I don't know it is that needs to be done. I have only been here for 7 months. The immigration laws change all the time and believe me I tried to figure it out. My legal Spanish isn't that good and just because I speak enough Spanish to live doesn't mean that I can read legal fine print yet. Shit, I am still working on basic sentence structures. Luckily I have a roommate that is willing to help me. Otherwise I wouldn't even know where to begin because the window of opportunity to get papers is small.

Anyways, I am done getting this load off my chest. Ciao.

 

 

Sunday, February 6, 2005

Andorra

Hello Everyone,

Before I talk about today, I read a news article that the process for legalizing people like myself without papers that have jobs will begin tommorow. This also means that people that work in the immigrations office may finally have a clue about what they are talking about. My flatmate is doing everything he can to help me get papers. I left him with my TEFL certificate and passport. I sure hopes he gives me back my passport :) I always get nervous handing over my passport to ANYONE. I am just nervous about the whole thing in general.

Last Friday left me with a bad feeling. I guess it is up to God now. If HE believes that I should stay here then HE will make it happen. Cuz let me tell ya, I am missing one of the requirements to become legal and I think it will take an act of God (pun intended) to get legalized. Governments don´t just open their arms up to people. I barely have met all but one of the requirements and even though doors have been getting shut in my face, somehow at the last minute someone comes out and gives us a lead which keeps giving me hope to believe that MAYBE I can get legal. Wierd how that happens.

But then again, if I went through all this shit for nothing and all the days I took off work amounted to absolutely fucking nothing then at least I have two tickets back home. I am prepared for that too. Actually, I am looking forward to the trip home with a smile on my face. I have been missing home lately.

Now on to my wonderful day today........................

I went skiing in Andorra. Beautiful country situated in the Pyranees mountains. BEAUTIFUL. It is even more beautiful without snow in the springtime.

Andorra is a nice place for business people because if I remember correctly you don´t have to pay taxes there. Imagine that.

Although somethings are very expensive, gasoline and grocery products are so much cheaper there. My roommate bought lots of bags of sugar for his mom. And if you´re a smoker, oh my !!! Cigarettes are way, way cheaper.

I had a wonderful time skiing and I know that my legs will reming me about it tommorow. The first run was hard because before today I haven´t skied in over 4 years. But then I got back into it and let the adrenaline rushes happen. I love skiing.

And let me tell ya that the skii slopes in California have NOTHING on the slopes here. For starters in California we only have the lift. Hell , you´re lucky if you even have a safety bar to pull down.

Here there were three ways to get up the mountain:

1.) The Lift( Safety bar always included.

2.) Enclosed gondola or cabin. Basically you put your skis in a rack outside the gondola and get in and enjoy the ride. You don´t freeze your ass of AND it is faster than the lift.

3.) A pole with a disc at the bottom. You put the poll between your legs and hold onto the pole. You aren´t sitting down. So basically you are being hauled up the mountain with a pole while you were standing. It was kinda interesting, put I preferred to sit.

We also had restaurants halfway up the slopes. In California there was a lodge at the bottom and if you wanted to eat you always had to go to the bottom. Well, there was a lodge at the bottom and in the middle of the slopes. But they sure made you pay an arm and a leg for your food.

Anyways, it was fun and my face is red and I am tired. I even took pictures. But I took it with my disposable camera so I can´t just post them here like I could with my digi cam. There was no way in hell that I was gonna trust my digicam to the snow.

Ciao.

Saturday, February 5, 2005

I just can´t help it.....................

Hello Everyone,

Yeah, this is my second posting in the same day. Before you start telling me that I should get a life and stop spending so much time here, chill out. I am going skiing tommorow in Andorra ALL DAY :) Do you know where Andorra is ? It´s not a city like my ignorant ass used to think. It is a little country between France and Spain in the Pyranees mountains. It is the only country where the official langauge is Catalan.

Anyways, I am just going through one of those days where I want to be home. I REALLY miss home right now.  I can´t help it. I feel like I am getting smarter here. But to get smarter you gotta struggle a little bit. And shit, I am struggling. Sometimes I long for the lazy days I had back in CA where I was more ignorant and I didn´t have to think too hard.

I think that I am so unsettled with my life right now because I want something better for myself and I am struggling to find it. I am trying to figure out where I fit in. I am not happy just getting by like I am doing right now. I gotta say that I am having the adventure of my lifetime that I will won´t forget. You wouldn´t believe how many stories I could tell. But I am still not happy. It´s not that I am miserable. I am just not comfortable right now. Well, at least I am getting smarter. Or at least that´s what I think.

Anyways, I wonder how many people out there feel the same as me. How many people are confused like me. There should be some sort of club for people like us.

Anyways, Ciao for now.

Yesterday and today

Hello,

Today I went to try out a bellydance class. I LOVE it. And I realized just how much I forgot since I haven´t been taking any classes here in Spain. I am very rusty.

I was a little nervous because the they all speak Catalan and Spanish. Luckily the teacher spoke slow enough for me to understand and she was nice.

After that I went to teach my new students. They are teenagers with parents that are doctors. They seem nice and the parents are "concerned parents". They want a teacher that teaches their kids grammar and how to read and write in English. I KNOW that they will be making sure that the kids do their homework. None of my students ever did the homework I hand out.

I am still depressed from yesterday. It seems that no matter what I do it doesn´t work out in the end. My roommate has so many ideas of how I can get papers. And we try and it usually leads to a dead end.  I am SOOOO close. And yet I feel like I won´t get to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I felt like giving up yesterday. It just makes me miss home so much more. And now I am counting down the days left. About 4 more months. I will make the best of it.

As I was at the Foreigner´s Office and the city hall yesterday. In both places I was standing in line with lots other people in the same position as me. Except that I am North American and they weren´t. They were from Pakistan, various countries in South America as well as Africa.

Why is that so relevant ? They come from poor countries, where they can barely live off the salaries they make in their countries. They are lucky they can survive on the wages they make. Many South Americans are coming here to Spain because their governments are going to shit and the economy there is horrible. Plus the US immigration laws are so much more strict than here in Spain.

These people don´t have a choice, but to come here to Spain where their chances of living off their salaries are better, not to mention that the immigration laws are more relaxed in comparison to other European countries. They are depending getting a chance to work legally.

Yesterday we couldn´t get help for a long ass time because the computers were down. I saw the man next to me with his paperwork in his hands just waiting to get help. I am willing to bet that he took off a day of work to come register or ask about the immigration laws. I could see his frustration. I felt bad.

As for me, yeah I really want to get permisssion to work here.  I REALLY do. My life here would be a lot easier and I can continue to work here and improve my Spanish and work in other EU countries.

But at least if it doesn´t work out I can always go back home to the US. Life is not so bad there. In fact, I liked the life I had. But the people I saw yesterday can´t. Even though they want to. They work low paying jobs and don´t have enough money to go back to their countries. 

There are many people here and the US against immigration. But yesterday I got to see it from the other side and get a glimpse of how they feel. I am lucky I am American.

 

 

Friday, February 4, 2005

Thoughts of a girl trying to get legal in Spain

Hello,

Today really tested my patience. I really wanted someone to give me a gun so that I could shoot myself. I mean, what do I expect ? I am here illegally, and the Spanish government really couldn´t care less about people that wanna come and live here. For Christs sakes, I am convinced that the people at the Foreigners Office hate me. I went back there again today and the guard at the door gave me a look that translated to: Oh no !!! You are back !! Luckily I was with my roommate who is Catalan so he couldn´t mess with me.  I know that I am gonna have bad days. It´s expected. This is Spain.

So........ in a nutshell. I have a nice job waiting for me. It´s good money by Spanish standards and it is in an American corporation. The lady in the interview today liked me because I have my college degree in Business/Marketing, I speak enough Spanish and some German. But most importantly, I speak English. And as I already told you a million times the level of English here is awful. So yeah, they need me. And I could start as early as Monday and leave my awful job as a phone monkey.

The problem is that she can´t hire me unless I have papers. To get papers I have to meet certain requirements. And I meet all of them except ONE: I have to show that I have been in Spain since August last year. And guess what ? I was here !!!! The problem is proving it. To prove it I have to be registered in the town hall. Unfortunately I registered too late-- In October. I had no idea about any of the laws here. How could I? They keep changing.

So yeah, to be frank I am a little fucked. I could have a nice job and I MEET all the requirements. But no, I can´t prove one of them.

So in addition to the job interview today we spent all day running around like monkeys trying to find ways to prove that I have actually been in Spain since August. We were sent to three different places and got nowhere.

We started at the town hall where I registered. For starters the computers broke down and we were waiting just to talk to someone for a while. Then the man my roommate spoke to was a complete asshole.

Then we went to a police station.

Then we went to the famous Foreigners Office that I hate. I am convinced the guard hates me and he also uses pick up lined on innocent passing women. Luckily we got helped because my roommate speaks Catalan and they warmed up to him and gave us a paper and sent us to another office.

Then we went to another office and the woman told us that she couldn´t help us because the government is still negotiating the terms for the laws.

Then we went home, and had lunch and a siesta. And I cried. Then we went to the interview. At least the woman likes me. Too bad I just can´t seem to get my papers in order for the life of me.

Thursday, February 3, 2005

I am so nervous

Hello Everyone,

I am a nervous wreck right now. I hate my job and everyone messes around on the job. But somehow I am the only one that gets lectured. I know that I should put more effort into making call after call, but I just can´t take it anymore. I can´t sit there like a robot, make call after call, get rejected everytime and take it on my sucky ass salary. I can´t. It´s not that I am lazy. It´s just that my job is shit and the company is an illegal investment shop. Everyone in the office is either a pathalogical liar a pervert or both. I have a really good track record with my previous jobs. There has got to be something else that I can do. And believe me, I am looking.

I am trying to get my papers in order so that I can be an EU resident for the next year. Laws change, officials don´t know jack shit about their own laws and I am just waiting to see what will happen. My roommate is doing everything he can to help me so I am just waiting and trying to get all  my paperwork ready. The waiting and anticipation makes me nervous.

I have a job interview tommorow for a job that I REALLY want and I am so nervous. I am trying to print out my damn resume, but of course the printer ran out of ink JUST as I was trying to print mine. I have to go to another place to print, but I know that I will be waiting in a line for a while. I am really nervous. Especially because I am not legal yet and I know that there is a big possibility that she just simply won´t be able to hire me.

I want to just vent and write down my other problems so I can feel better, but unfortunately its too private. Sorry.

I am going out tonite with a buddy. I really would like to get drunk. But the thing is, I don´t like alcohol enough to get drunk. I have never been drunk. I just need to put my stress on hold for a day or two.

 

Wednesday, February 2, 2005

A List

Hello Everyone,

I was bored at work today. I was put on hold a lot and was tired of people telling me that they weren´t interested BEFORE I even had a chance to say what the hell it was that I was offering.

So, I decided to compile a list as I was forced to listen to bad hold music............... A list of things that I believed about myself, but were confirmed during this trip as well as things that I learned here. They are listed in no particular order. Here goes..........

1.) I hate smoking and having to inhale other people´s bad habits. Shoot, I don´t even wanna know how many boxes of cigarettes I inhaled here as everyone including their mothers smoke.

2.) I hate bars. I don´t drink , don´t smoke, and certainly don´t like flirting with drunk men. This belief was confirmed as there are so many bars here and my roommate dragged me to many of them.

3.) I don´t want to have children. My job as an au-pair lasted for THREE days. I didn´t even finish off the week. That in itself says a whole lot.

4.) I love to teach English. Especially to people here in Barcelona.

5.) I am a grammar nazi and make sure almost every mistake is corrected. I also make sure that my students work hard. They read aloud, write, do excercises and talk to me. The funny thing is that I am a slacker as a student and yet I am a little tough on my students. Go figure.

6.) I learned how to handle rejection here, especially over the phone. 10 people in a row could go tell me to fuck myself and I could still smile and make another phone call.

7.) Yeah, I would like to meet a guy that I can click with one day. However the thought of spending the rest of my life alone doesn´t bother me either. I can live with myself and I enjoy my own company.

9.) I want to live alone so badly. I am so much happier when I live alone and don´t have to share anything or answer to anyone. I can pee with the bathroom door open or burp if I please and no one complains. How about that.

10.) Since I will be broke for a while, I have to settle for having roommates. I prefer women over men. Men may be a little more laid back, but it is easier to bond with women and there is no confusion of feelings between the sexes.

11.) I have a huge passion for learning languages. Everytime I see or hear a different language, I am inspired to learn a new language.

12.) I don´t really care to travel to manycountries in a short period of time. Instead I prefer to travel to a country, settle down and live there for a while and learn the langauge before I move on to the next country.

13.) I am so bad at faking working. My bosses always catch me, and even though all of my coworkers are just as guilty as me for slacking, I am usually the only one that gets a lecture. See, this wasn´t really a problem for me before because I took pride in my past jobs and was usually always doing my job. I will be frank and say that I just don´t give a fuck in this job. It´s a miracle that I am still there and they haven´t fired me yet.

14.) People think that I am crazy for working towards getting papers to work in the EU. People also think I am wierd for wanting to learn Chinese. Well, I just smile and think that they are stupid for not wanting to learn Chinese as there will be many business opportunities with China in the future.

15.) Just because people you do business with are really nice and invite you over for lunch does NOT guarantee that they will pay you what they owe you. Even they are capable of screwing you over.

16.) If a man/woman/heshe doesn´t call you back there is a good chance that the person is just simply not interested. Shoot, if the person wants to get in contact with you bad enough they will. It´s so easy these days with mobiles and e-mails- I can´t tell you how many times I called people by mistake by leaving my mobile on in my purse.

17.) If someone is attracted to you and you aren't to them, don´t tell them "lets just be friends". That doesn´t exist. Even if they tell you not to worry and that they are taking you out for a friendly dinner, guess what .......... THEY ARE LYING. Everything will be fine again at first. But later you will owe the guy something for that "friendly dinner". And if you still don´t pay him in affections he will make you out to be the asshole.

18.) Bellydancing is not just a passing phase. It is my passion that makes me come alive and not care what people think of me.

19.) I would make so much more money than I do as a phone sex operator instead of trying to find people to invest in dodgy investment opportunities. I mean, either way I would be screwing people out of their money. I might as well get paid some killer money and make it worthwhile for the other person. It´s just that my head is screwed on my shoulders and my conscience won´t let me.

20.) I trust people less and less, but there are still a few people in the world that are trustworthy.

21.) Just because good opportunities magically appear in front of you doesn not mean that it was meant to be. The boy that somehow just walzted into your life that seems too good to be true probably is. 

22.) I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I am not dumb either. People mistake my ditziness( did I spell that right?) for stupidity and automatically think I am stupid.

23.) Everything happens for a reason, and sometimes we may never find out what it is. I am still processing that.

Tuesday, February 1, 2005

Cool things that happened today.........

Hello Everyone,

How are ya ? Today was a cool day. I brought my digital camera along with me. Lemme tell you that the digital camera I bought before I left was my best investment for the trip and it has paid for itself a million times over. For starters it is small, and with the memory card I have I can store tons of photos. Not to mention that I don´t have to buy film or pay for developing. Plus I can upload them to my website and I can always see the pictures that I took immediately.

I remember that one of my classmates in my TEFL course spent lots of money on a new digital camera, but she didn´t bring it to Barcelona with her because she didn´t want to get it stolen. Instead she bought disposable cameras and overpaid for them and the developing.

I am glad that I didn´t do that. And even if my digi cam gets stolen, it was still worth bringing it because I have gotten some of the most gorgeous pictures out of it that will definitely make me smile when I look back on this trip. And people love my pictures. I usually don´t toot my own horn, but I gotta say that lately I have been a fucking genious in the photo department. And I really, really hope it stays that way.

After I got off work I decided to take a nice stroll near the beach. On the way I found a palm tree with the monk parakeets in it. I swear that those birds play with me because they NEVER are around when I have my camera. And when I don´t have my camera they are wandering in plain view. Today I had my camera and of course they just had to be far away in the street across from me. I didn´t wanna cross the busy street so I settled for taking far away pics. They didn´t come out very well, but now I at least have some evidence that these birds exist.

I also discovered an Austrian restaurant near the beach called El Austriaco, meaning The Austrian. Too bad it was closed. Austrian restaurants are a rare find unless you are in Austria, of course.

I got lost while I was wandering around so as I was looking for the Metro, I saw a little indoor pool with little kids swimming. It was so adorable. The kiddies were in their bathing suits with their caps on and walking together to get dried off. I also saw a mother take her toddler for a swim. She held the kid closely and gave it kisses and stroked the little face as she was wading through the water. It was just one of those kodak moments. You had to be there.

And on the way home I saw an oldcouple walking together. The old man had his arm wrapped around the woman and the woman was kinda snuggling into him. They were talking to eachother like they were in their twenties. It was so nice to see.

Anywho, Ciao.