A word from your sponsor.

Hi everyone! Thanks for reading. (Una versión en español sigue abajo la versión en inglés.)

When this post publishes, I will be travelling through Portugal during my Semana Santa holidays. They weren’t what I thought they would be.

Originally, I planned on going to Munich, Salzburg and Innsbruck. I had the flights purchased with the 100€ I won in the Christmas lottery. Turns out…I wasn’t going to be able to afford the trip, so I had to change plans.

To be honest, there was another reason why I changed course for my holidays.

Last autumn and winter were a very hard time for me as I tried to settle into València after three years living in Bilbao. After the  farce that was the 2016 election (both in Spain and the US), I was building a new life for myself seeing as how I’m struggling to find a real job in Spain after nearly nine years.

I applied to graduate school in Toronto to pursue Hispanic Studies, and they had accepted me and were awaiting word on funding. I didn’t want to leave Europe without returning to Portugal, so a few weeks ago, I changed my holiday plans.

You know how in Amores perros, they talk about how if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans? Well…….

The funding fell through. I had applied to renew my “job” here for next year, and I also thought things were going to be okay. Turns out, due to budget cuts to punish the Comunitat Valenciana for not having a right-wing government, I may not even be in València next year as they will be less positions. If I get València, it may not be at the same school as there are more positions than people and they want different schools to have native teachers.

It may have taken a while for me to readapt to València, but now that I have, this city is my home and I don’t want to leave. This job only provides me with a student visa, which, although I could EASILY change it to a work visa with a contract, no one wants to do the paperwork. (Who can blame them with Spanish bureaucracy?) I am desperate to spread my wings with a new job instead of wondering when I’ll be paid and relying on private lessons that tend to cancel on a moment’s notice.

I would love to be a writer, for my novels (I’ve written three now) to be published, and to live in a small town close to Valencia or Barcelona on the sea with a beautiful husband, two golden retrievers and a German Shepherd.

I am just trying to figure out how to make that dream reality.

I’ve been recovering from the serious depression I’ve had most of my adult life. I just feel extremely stuck in a rut and very unsure and insecure in a world that’s going slightly more crazy every day. I also keep all of this to myself.

My vision board is exactly as I said. I’m a published writer and can live off that. I have an amazing husband and those three dogs, and we live in a coastal town near either València or Barcelona, close enough to enjoy the cities but far away to avoid the masses of tourists.

I have the dreams, I have the hopes. It’s now just figuring out how to make it happen.

¡Hola a todos! Gracias por leer.

Cuando esta entrada publique, estaré viajando por Portugal durante mis vacaciones de Semana Santa. No son lo que pensaba que iban a ser.

Tenía planes para ir a Munich, Salzburgo e Innsbruck. Compré los vuelos con los 100€ ganados en la Lotería de Navidad. Al final, no tenía la pasta para pagar el viaje mientras estaba allí, y tenía que cambiar planes. 

Para ser sincero, había otra razón porque cambié planes para mis vacaciones.

Lo estaba pasándolo fatal durante el otoño y invierno pasado mientras intenté hacer València mi hogar después de vivir en Bilbao durante tres años. Después de la farsa de las elecciones de 2016 (ambos España y EEUU), estaba construyendo una vida nueva para mi como sigo con problemas de encontrar un trabajo digno en España después de casí nueve años.

Solicité hacer un máster de estudios hispánicos en Toronto, y me aceptaron pero estaban esperando noticias de tener fondos o no. No quería marcharme de Europa sin volver a Portugal, y hace unas semanas, cambié los planes de vacaciones.

En la película Amores perros hablan como si quieres hacerle a Dios reírse, dile tus planes. Pues…

Al final no había fondos para hacer el máster. Ya había solicitado prorrogar mi “trabajo” para el próximo año escolar, y pensaba que todo iba a salir bien. Bueno…como hay recortes para castigar la Comunitat Valenciana por no tener un gobierno de derechas, puede ser que no me encontraré en València el año que viene como van a tener menos plazas. Si me dan València, quizás no será en el mismo colegio donde estoy este año. Hay más plazas que personas, y quieren colegios distintos para tener profesores nativos.

Vale, igual me ha tardado un rato para adaptarme de nuevo a València, pero ahora que me he adaptado, esta ciudad es mi hogar y no quiero irme nunca. Este trabajo solo me da un visado de estudiante, que, aunque puedo cambiarlo fácilmente a un visado de trabajo con un contracto de un año, nadie quiere hacer el papeleo. Y lo entiendo perfectamente, con lo que es la burocracia española. Estoy desesperado para hacer algo diferente en un trabajo nuevo que me da retos nuevos en lugar de no saber cuando me van a pagar y tener que dar clases particulares que suelen cancelar en el último momento.  

Me encantaría ser escritor, publicar mis novelas (he terminado de escribir tres ahora)  y vivir en un pueblo de la costa cerca de València o Barcelona con un marido bonito, dos golden retrievers y un pastor alemán.

Me toca averiguar como hacer el sueño realidad. 

Estoy recuperando de una depresión grave que he tenido durante la mayoría de mi vida adulta. Me siento atrapado sin salida, y bastante inseguro en un mundo que se vuelve aún más loco cada día. Además, no se lo cuento a nadie lo que está pasando conmigo. 

Mi tablero de visión es exactamente como lo dije. Seré un escritor publicado y podré hacerme la vida escribiendo. Tendré un marido DPM y esos tres perros. Viviremos en un pueblo por la costa cerca de València o Barcelona, no muy lejos para poder aprovechar de la ciudad pero no muy cerca para poder evitar las masas de turistas.

Tengo los sueños. Tengo las esperanzas. Ahora, solo…¿como puedo hacerlos realidad?

 

Real Neat Blog Award

I was nominated by PassaporteEnOBolso for the Real Neat Blog Award.

Thank you  for the nomination.

The ‘rules’ of the Real Neat Blog Award are: (feel free not to act upon them if you don’t have time; or don’t accept awards; etc.):

1. Put the award logo on your blog.

2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.

3. Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.

4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.

5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)

Now, our seven questions are:

  1. What you find most difficult on blogging?  At the moment, it’s motivation to keep writing while dealing with a lot of personal issues. I also can’t find the Buñuel films, and I am broke, so kind of hard to write about travel, eh? Lol.
  2. What is your favorite author? John Irving, Nick Hornby, John Grisham, Miguel de Unamuno
  3. What is your favorite comfort food? Patatas bravas. I am eating them too much at the moment.
  4. What is your biggest achievement? Moving to Spain.
  5. What makes you smile? Golden retrievers.
  6. What makes you sad? Every time I read the news, I get depressed or anxious. People’s lack of respect makes me sad. I’m in a really bad funk at the moment.
  7. What is your perfect day? Any day hiking or travelling and discovering new places!

I nominate anyone who reads this and wants to participate. Everyone’s blog is really neat to someone out there 🙂

Bucket List Valenciano

It’s another rainy weekend in Valencia. Es otro fin de semana lluvioso en Valencia. 

Did I not move to Valencia to not have to worry about rain? Is Valencia not the land of 300 annual sunny days? Why is it raining more in Valencia than Bilbao? Moving to Valencia from Bilbao partly because rain and grey skies affects my mental health has been a disaster. I haven’t been able to get out and about like I have wanted to. It’s been either rain, or they’ve been late paying me. Pero…¿no me he traslado hasta Valencia para no tener que preocuparme de la lluvia? ¿No se dice que hay 300 días de sol cada año? ¿Por qué está lloviendo más en Valencia que Bilbao? La traslada de Bilbao a Valencia porque los nubes me afectan la salud mental ha sido un desastre auténtico. 

I have a lot of things I should be doing, like working on my novel, preparing my Fallas and Semana Santa holidays (I’ve lived through Fallas once. Once was more than enough.), job hunting for a better job, etc. However, I do publish every Monday, and I’ve been meaning to sit down and come up with a Bucket List for Valencia. My Basque Bucket List was never fully completed. Maybe I’ll have better with the Bucket List Valenciano. Tengo muchas cosas que debería estar haciendo, como trabajar en la novela, preparar las vacaciones de Fallas y Semana Santa (he sobrevivido Fallas una vez. Una vez ya basta.), buscar mejor trabajo, etc. Sin embargo, publico todos los lunes, y he querido hacer un Bucket List para Valencia. Nunca he acabado el Bucket List vasco. Espero tenre mejor suerte con la “Lista de Cubo” valenciano. 

-Ruta between Ontinyent and Bocairent
-Alcoy, Elche, Aldea and Xàbia (Javea) Alicante
-Climb Garbi and visit Serra
-Benicassim (Castellón)
-A return to Cuenca
-A return to Teruel
-Albarracín (Teruel)
-Alcalá de Jucar (Albacete)
-Riba-roja de Turia, Bétera and Lliria
-Watch the sunrise over the Mediterranean
-Ruta de 1000 Escalones
-Antella
-Cartagena (Murcia)
-Return to Calpe
-B2 in Valenciano-Catalán

A lot of places, and not a lot of money. Whatever am I to do?  Muchos sitios y yo sin mucha pasta. ¿Qué voy a hacer? 

Hygge.

Hygge (pronounced hue-gah) is a Danish word that is a feeling or mood that comes taking genuine pleasure in making ordinary, every day moments more meaningful, beautiful or special. -www.hyggehouse.com/hygge

For those who don’t know (I was one of you in November), “hygge” is a Danish word that expresses a concept of a combination of being at home, coziness, happiness, being in the moment and figurative-if-not-literal warmth. I was given a book on hygge  for my birthday, and I just finished reading it. Para los que no saben (era uno de ellos en noviembre), “hygge” es una palabra danesa sobre un concepto de una mezcla de estar en tu sitio, intimidad, felicidad, estar en el momento y calor (figurativo si no literal). Un amigo me regaló un libro sobre hygge para mi cumpleaños, y acabo de terminar de leerlo. 

Although not related to Spain, it is an international idea, so I thought I’d try writing about it, especially at a time in the US that many people are in need of comfort. I hope I’m not offending anyone with that, as I don’t think diehard Trump supporters would be reading a bilingual blog written by a gay expatriate that feels more Spanish than American anyway, but you never know. In a time where so many of us are extremely worried about the future, a bit of comfort is needed. Aunque no está relacionado con España, es un concepto internacional, y quería escribir de ello, especialmente en un momento como hoy para los estadounidenses que les hacen falta consuelo. Espero no ofenderle a nadie por decir eso (como creo que los apoyadores reaccionarios de Trumpo no van a leer un blog bilingue escrito por un expatriado que se siente más español que estadounidense, pero nunca se sabe. En un momento que hay tantos que estamos muy preocupados del futuro, algo de consuelo es necesario. 

For me, hygge is a cup of coffee with a good book in a cozy café. It is the feeling of the waves crashing against the shore, seeing a happy golden retriever play, being under blankets on a cold winter day, driving on an open road (not in a city traffic jam), hiking through scenic mountains or forests, or watching a favourite film (especially if it were in the arms of my non-existent boyfriend. However, my bitter comment goes against hygge.) It’s the shower after a workout. It’s the arriving at home after a hard day of work. It’s the experiencing another event on my Bucket List. Para mi, hygge es una taza de café con un buen libro en un café acogedor. Es el sentimiento de las olas llegando a la costa, ver un golden retriever jugar, estar bajo unas mantas en un día de frío del invierno, conducir en la autovía vacía (pero no estar en un atasco de ciudad desde luego), caminar por el monte o bosque bonito, ver una peli favorita (especialmente en los brazos de mi novio que no existe. Sin embargo, este comentario amargo va en contra del concepto de hygge.) Es la ducha después de entrenar. Es llegar a casa después de un día duro de trabajo. Es poder tachar otra cosa de mi Bucket List. 

Spanish hygge would include beer or wine and tapas or pintxos with friends (Pintxo-pote in the Basque Country is definitely hygge for the Basques, especially on those rainy Thursday evenings) or the Sunday family meal. It would be that morning cup of coffee at a favourite bar. It would be the dinner of Noche Buena (Christmas Eve) or seeing the little ones play with their gifts from Reyes (Three Kings Day/”El día de los reyes”). It definitely includes sobremesa, or lingering up to an hour after finishing your meal chatting with friends or family. Hygge español incluye, creo, unas cañas o vinos y tapas o pintxos con amigos (Pintxo-pote en Euskadi y Navarra es hygge para los vascos y navarros, especialmente un jueves lluvioso) o la comida familiar de domingo. Incluye la taza de café por la mañana en el bar de siempre. Incluye la cena de Noche Buena o ver los peques jugar con sus regalos de Reyes. También incluye sobremesa. 

For you, what is hygge? The Danish love candles, cakes and time with friends or family. I think while hygge might vary some from place to place, the basics might just be the same for all of us.  ¿Para tí, que significa hygge? A los daneses les encanta velas, tartas y tiempo con amigos o familia. Creo que aunque hygge puede variar en lugares diferentes, el básico, a lo mejor, sea igual para todos. 

La La Land (2016)

La La Land, for me, is one of the best films in recent memory. Although not a Spanish film, it opened in Spain on Jan. 13, and I need to write about this amazing film. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, as it is a musical inspired by the MGM films of the 1950s. However, as I just wrote an entry about hygge for tomorrow, and the film touches on what is hygge for me, I feel the need to write about it. La ciudad de estrellas (La La Land) es una de las mejores películas desde hace mucho. Aunque no es española, estrenó en España el 13 de enero, y tengo que escribir de ella. Sé que no le va a gustar a todo el mundo, como es un musical inspirado por las películas de MGM de los años 1950. Sin embargo, como acabo de escribir sobre “hygge” y la peli es hygge para mi, he de escribir sobre ella. 

There will be spoilers. If you haven’t seen it, and you do not want to be spoiled, I will not be offended if you skip it. #spoilerfree Hay espoilers. Si no la has vista, y si no quieres saber lo que pasa en la peli, no me va a ofender si saltas esta entrada. 

I SAID, THERE WILL BE SPOILERS HE DICHO. HAY ESPOILERS. 

The film is about a jazz musician, Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), who feels more at home with the jazz music of the past which he feels is a dying art. He meets Mia (Emma Stone), an aspiring actress who is ready for her big break. The film explores their relationship and poses the question, “What happens if living my dreams doesn’t mean I end up with the person of my dreams?” La peli trata de un músico de jazz, Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), que se siente más agusto con la música de jazz del pasado, y tema que la música jazz está muriéndose. Conoce a Mia (Emma Stone), quien quiere ser actriz y está buscando su primer papel importante. La película es sobre su relación y pregunta…¿Qué pasa si vivir mis sueños no incluye estar con la persona de mis sueños?” 

For me, this question is a big one. What is your dream? What is the cost of pursuing your dream? Para mi, esta pregunta es muy importante. ¿Cuál es tu sueño? ¿Qué te va a costar para perseguir tu sueño? 

For both Sebastian and Mia, pursuing their dream cost them their potential dream partner. In the coda of the film, the five years later epilogue, we discover that Mia got the part she auditioned for when she was on the verge of giving up, and she is a big time actress (bigger than Emma Stone is right now). Sebastian got his dream of owning a jazz club. Para ambos personajes, perseguir su sueño les costó la persona de sus sueños. En el epilogo del film, cinco años después, nos enteramos que Mia recibió el papel que quería cuando estaba a punto de tirar la toalla y rendirse. Ahora es una actriz super famosa, más famoso que Emma Stone es ahora. Sebastian vive su sueño de ser el dueño de un club de jazz.

But they are not with each other. The price they paid for their dream was love. The film asks, could they have been together and live their dream had they stayed together? What would it look like? A dreamy world where everything was perfect. Pero no están juntos. El precio de su sueño era su amor. La película pregunta ¿Podrian estar juntos y tener todo si no se hubieran dejado para perseguir sus sueños? ¿Cómo sería su relación? Un mundo ideal y todo es perfecto. 

The film returns to reality as they share a winceful look and go on with their dream lives…missing one component. Después, la película vuelve a la realidad. Les dan una mirada triste y sigue con sus vidas de los sueños…sin un componente importante. 

I think, for me, the film is so amazing because it examines the price of living one’s dream. I often wonder, would I have a boyfriend and a real career if I had moved to Seattle in 2004? If I had chosen that life, would I have ever made it back to Europe and experienced all the travel opportunities I’ve had in Europe? Is it possible to have it all, the career of your dreams and the person of your dreams? Creo, al menos para mi, la película es tan impresionante porque examina el precio de vivir tus sueños. Me pregunta a veces, ¿tendría un novio y una carrera real si me hubiera traslado a Seattle en 2004? ¿Si hubiera elegido esta vida, habría vuelto a España y habría tenido todas las oportunitades de viajar que he tenido en Europa? ¿Es posible tener todo? ¿El trabajo ideal y la persona de tus ojos?

As I wake up on “Another Day of Sun” in Valencia, I’m not wondering what my life would be like if I still lived in Bilbao. I am wondering if it’s possible to live out my Spanish dream fully, finding a decent job, and finding that principe azul. Mientras me despierto con “Otro día de sol” valenciano, no me pregunto como sería la vida si quedara yo en Bilbao. Me pregunto si es posible vivir mi sueño español, encontrar un trabajo digno y conocer mi príncipe azul. 

The film is colourful, vibrant, and I hope it wins a lot of Oscars for the message it brings. Gosling and Stone are incredibly talented actors (their singing is not perfect, but their acting and dancing make up for it!) and bring this fantastic script to life. El film es vibrante y espero que gane muchas Oscars para su mensaje. Gosling y Stone tienen mucho talento (aunque sí, pueden ser mejor cantantes. Pero son buen actores y bailarines.) y dar vida a un guión fantastico. 

Rating: A

(I’ll get to my next Spanish director soon!)

Real Neat Blog Award.

Thank you and gracias to Fede for the nomination for a Real Neat Blog.

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The Rules:

1. Post the Award logo and answer the questions asked by the person who nominated you.
2. Thank the person who nominated you in your post and link to their blog.
3. Nominate and link to some bloggers you’d like to see respond.
4. Create 7 questions for your nominees to answer & let them know they are nominated in a comment on their blog.

My answers:

1. What is/are your hobbies besides running a blog? I like reading, writing, travelling, hiking, Spanish cinema, Body Combat, and cinema.

2. What is the thing that you would like to buy/have the most in your life? I would like to buy a world travel ticket always open to travel the world. I would most like to have job stability in Spain, a quality boyfriend and two golden retrievers.

3. What is the thing you treasure the most in your life? My travel experiences. A tangible thing would be my laptop, as helps me to keep in touch with friends and such. (I have a mobile, but I hate it and only use it for Whatsapp.)

4. What is the biggest achievement you had so far? Moving to Spain and having been able to stay living here for eight-going-on-nine-years now.

5. What is your favourite season? Explain why. Autumn, as I love the changing of the trees and the sense of renewal (I’m a teacher so) of a fresh school year. There is just something in the air during autumn.

6. What is your favourite cuisine?  My favourite is Iberian food, specifically Valencian paella. Paella valenciana is chicken and sometimes rabbit. I can’t do seafood.

7. What is the language you would like to speak the most? I already have a B1 in Catalán, but I want to be completely fluent in it. For me, it’s the most beautiful language. A language that I am 100% not fluent in that I would like to learn is Greek.

I nominate the following. Feel free to participate or not.

Kevin
ClearSkiesCamino
TheCaminoProvides
Begin with a Single Step
The Single and Queer Project

Questions:

1. What is the first place you remember travelling to?
2. What has been the best place you have travelled to thus far in your life?
3. What is your dream vacation or holiday?
4. What is your most memorable hiking or outdoor experience?
5. What has been the worst hostel or hotel experience in your life?
6. What is one thing you hope happens in your personal life in 2017 (that you can share!)
7. Where is your dream home?

2017. A look forward.

It’s time to close the book on 2016 and start the new chapter of 2017. The world is in a precarious state, but I can only hope that 2017 begins a change and things are not as bleak as they feel at the moment. Ahora toca cerrar el libro de 2016 y empezar con una nueva página de 2017. El mundo está en un estado precario, pero puedo esperar que 2017 empiece un buen cambio y que las cosas no sean tan desolados como parecen ahora. 

This year, I plan to print out my goals and keep them in a personal journal so I have them handy and know where I want to be when the book closes on 2017. Este año, voy a imprimir las metas y guardarlas en un diario personal para tenerlas cerca y saber donde quiero estar cuando el libre cierre en 2017.

Goals for 2017/Metas para 2017:

1. Come out to my mom. It has to be done. Live a life free of lies and find a meaningful relationship. (saved from 2016! Okay and every year since 2002!) I’m pretty okay with being gay. It’s more about the potential fallout as my mom is getting old and doesn’t have a very open attitude about gays. Salir del amario a mi madre. Hay que hacerlo. Vivir una vida libre de mentiras y encontrar una relación importante. (¡Guardado de 2016! Vale, y de todos los años desde 2002.) Me gusta ser gay. Eso es sobre los efectos colaterales como mi madre está envejeciendo cada vez más y no tiene una mente abierta sobre los gays. 

2. Continue work on a positive ascent out of the abysmal hole that depression and anxiety can take me. I do feel at a better place at the end of 2016 than the beginning of it, and while it will take time, I hope to find myself in much (mental) healthier place. I’m going to try to meditate, even though I *hate* meditation, for six months to see if it really works after that amount of time. Seguir trabajando en un ascenso positivo desde el abismo que depresión y ansiedad me llevan. Me encuentro mejor al finales de 2016 que al principio del año, y aunque va a tardar su tiempo, espero encontrarme mucho mejor al final del año. Voy a intentar meditar, aunque lo odio, durante seis meses para ver si de verdad tarde este tiempo para empezar a funcionar. 

3. Continue with the gym. I’m back at the gym on a regular basis, I’m almost at my healthy weight again, and I’m loving it. I hope to go four days a week, three weights/cardio and one to Body Combat and Body Balance or yoga. I’m going to include “try yoga” in with this goal. Seguir con el gimnasio. Ya he vuelto ir al gimnasio. Casí he vuelto a mi pesa sana otra vez, y me gusta. Espero ir al gimnasio 4 días la semana, tres para hacer pesas/cardio y un día para Body Combat y Body Balance o yoga. Voy a incluir “probar yoga” con esta meta.

4. Find a better job. I really am thankful to have a job that gives me the opportunity to live in Spain. However, I need a job that will help me with a steady work visa and a job that pays me on time. I will submit CVs every chance I get. Encontrar mejor trabajo. Agradezco tener un trabajo que me permite vivir en España. Sin embargo, necesito encontrar un trabajo que me dé un visado de trabajo fijo y un trabajo que me pague a tiempo. Voy a mandar curriculms cuando pueda. 

5. Continue to submit my novels for publication. I plan on finishing the third novel by Semana Santa, then I will edit the second to submit and continue submitting my first one. Maybe I’ll get word it’s accepted soon! The fourth novel is in my head. I plan to set aside time every day for writing and a special time for Setmeravelles on/at the weekends. Seguir a mandar mis novelas a editoriales. Voy a acabar con la tercera novela antes de Semana Santa, y después la editaré y también la segundo para mandar a editioriales mientras seguir mandando la primera. Quízas me digan que me vayan a publicar pronto. La próxima novela ya tengo pensado. Voy a hacer un hueco para escribir todos los días y una hora especial para Setmeravelles los fines de semana.

6. Learn to cook! I say this every year. I also want to eat healthy. I keep saying I will learn a new dish every Sunday, but I never end up doing it. I also hope to try to go vegetarian for a week and go gluten free for a week and write about my experiences for Setmeravelles, just to see how easy it is to be vegetarian or gluten-free in Spain. (I’m an omnivore and not at all a foodie.) Aprender a cocinar. Digo eso todos los años. También quiero comer más sano. Siempre digo que voy a aprender un plato nuevo todos los domingos, pero nunca lo hago. También espero intentar ser vegetariano durante una semana y no comer gluten durante otra semana y escribir de ello para Setmeravelles, solo para poder decir si es fácil hacerlo en España. Soy omnívoro y no me importa mucha la comida.

7. Arrive to Santiago on the Camino del Norte! Arrive to Xátiva on the Camino del Levante (only one more day) and arrive to Requena on the Camino de Lana de Santiago. And, of course…I am doing the 40-route challenge again! ¡Llegar a Santiago por el Camino del Norte! ¡Llegar a Xátiva por el Camino de Levante! (Solo me queda un dia más) Llegar a Requena en el Camino de Lana. Y claro, voy a hacer el reto de 40 rutas otra vez. 

8. Try surfing again and go kayaking. On the list since 2015. Ummm. Intentar hacer surf otra vez y hacer piragüismo otra vez. En la lista de metas desde 2015. Errrr.

9. Work toward finding a place of my own where I can have a golden ‘triever dog. This is for the second half of the year, after I finish the Camino del Norte. Espero poder vivir en un piso para mi solo donde pueda tener un perro golden retriever. Este es para la segunda mitad del año, después de acabar el Camino del Norte. 

10. Travel to the five remaining provinces I have left to visit in Spain! I already have Albacete and Huesca earmarked. The other three will come when I take off on the Camino del Norte due to proximity (Lugo, Ourense, Zamora). Viajar a las cinco provincias que me quedan visitar en España. Ya sé cuando iré a Albacete y Huesca. Los demás será cuando haga el Camino del Norte dado a proximidad (Lugo, Ourense y Zamora). 

11. Travel to at least one new country. I’m doing my Semana Santa research at the moment. No spoilers! Viajar a al menos un país nuevo (para mí). Estoy investigando mi viaje de Semana Santa ahora. 

12. Explore a Buddhist approach to Christianity. Related to meditation, nirvana, Zen. I think a few of these concepts work with my non denominational Christian upbringing. Explorar Buddismo/Cristianidad con meditación, nirvana y Zen. Creo que esos conceptos coincidan con mi sin denominación creencias. 

13. Take advantage of social opportunities. I am such a lone wolf 🙂 I will try to go on every hiking excursion with Samarucs. Aprovechar de oportunidades sociales. Soy una persona bastante solitaria. Voy a intentar ir en todas las excursiones con Samarucs. 

14. Read Shakespeare, Dickens, Thomas Hardy, re-read Quijote. To this end, my goal is to read 100 books. This year, on Goodreads, I just made it to 100 this week! Leer Shakespeare, Dickens, Thomas Hardy y leer de nuevo el Quijote. También, tengo la meta leer 100 libros. Este año, con Goodreads, apenas llegué a 100 esa semana. 

15. Explore the world of Bigas Luna and Luis Buñuel here at Setmeravelles. Explorar el mundo de Bigas Lunas y Luis Buñuel en Setmeravelles. 

16. The B2 exam in Catalán-Valenciano. I will study 30 minutes a day instead of watching another episode. Ja vorem.  Hacer el examen de B2 en Catalán-Valenciano. Voy a estudiar 30 minutos al dia en lugar de ver otro capítulo. Ja vorem. 

Once again…¡feliz año! Bon any 2017! Urte berri on! Happy New Year!

2016. A Review.

2016 was a clusterf**k of turbulent events that I’m not going to look back on. I’d much prefer focusing on the goodness of the year. For me, on a personal level, 2016 brought a lot of progress. 2016 fue un lío de mierda de eventos turbulentos que no voy a repasar mucho. Prefiero enfocarme en lo positivo del año. Para mi, en un nivel personal, 2016 fue un año de progreso. (Uso pretérito y no imperfecto para mostrar que 2016 ya se acabó.) 

I moved to Valencia. It’s been an adventure trying to get established in a new city after three years in Bilbao. I feel things are going to go smoother from here on out. Me trasladé a Valencia. Ha sido una aventura para establecerme en una ciudad nueva después de tres años en Bilbao. Creo que las cosas van a mejorar ahora. 

I am making slow but steady progress on anxiety, depression and social anxiety. Estoy progresando poco a poco con mi lucha con ansiedad, depresión y fobia social. 

I travelled to Málaga, Barcelona (three times), Berlin, Prague, Bratislava, Tenerife, Turín, Dublin and the United States. I had day trips to Basque France, Navarra, Soria, Madrid, La Rioja and Cantabria, plus various places in the Basque Country and the Comunitat Valenciana. Viajé a Málaga, Barcelona (tres veces) Berlín, Praga, Bratislava, Tenerife, Turín, Dublin y los EEUU. Hice viajes de un día a País vasco francés, Navarra, Soria, Madrid, La Rioja y Cantabria, y también a destinos en Euskadi y la Comunitat Valenciana. 

I accomplished (more or less) 40 hikes. Logré hacer (más o menos) 40 rutas. 

I saw a lot of great films and read a lot of great books. Vi muchas películas buenas y leí muchos libros buenos. 

I am still making vodka limones with all the lemons life throws at me, and life does throw a lot of them! I can only hope for the best for the future. Todavía hago vodka limones con los limones que la vida me tira, y la vida tira bastante. Solo puedo esperar lo mejor para el futuro. 

Goals completed for 2016? I continued to submit my novel for publication (No luck yet), made slow but steady progress at the gym, almost almost almost arrived to Oviedo on the Camino del Norte, moved to Valencia, visited three new countries and one new Spanish province. Not so bad. ¿Retos logrados en 2016? He mandando mi novela a editoriales para consideración de publicación (sin exitó todavía), hice progreso poco a poco en el gimnasio, casí casí casí llegué a Oviedo en el Camino del Norte, me trasladé a Valencia, visité tres países nuevos y una provincia española nueva. No fue tan mal. 

Now I will share with you two memes that I always share every year. Ahora, en ingles, comparto dos memes que comparto todos los años. 

The first, the places I slept in 2016: Lawrenceburg, Kentucky; over-the-Atlantic; Bilbao, Spain; Málaga, Spain; Barcelona, Catalunya/Spain; Berlin, Germany; Prague, Czech Republic; Bratislava, Slovakia; Madrid, Spain; Valencia, Spain; Casas del Río, Valencia, Spain; Gandia, Valencia, Spain; Santander, Boo de Piélagos, Cobreces and San Vincente de la Barquera, Cantabria and Pendueles, Llanes, Piñeras de Pria and La Isla,, Asturias on the Camino del Norte; Oviedo, Asturias, Spain; León, Castilla León, Spain; Tenerife, Spain; Ademuz, Valencia, Spain; Torino, Italy; Dublin, Ireland; Mt. Washington, Kentucky, USA; Norwalk, Ohio, USA.

1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?:  Camino del Norte, joined a hiking club.

2. Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?: Some, and I always have goals for the New Year. The goals will come soon.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?: It seems everyone is having kids this day. I can’t remember who was in 2016.

4. Did anyone close to you die?: My aunt on Christmas Eve.

5. What countries did you visit?: Spain, France, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Italy, Ireland, United States

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?: Dogs, money, and a boyfriend!

7. What date from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?: Camino del Norte days, and Nov. 9th (for a horrible reason!)

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?: El Camino, moving to Valencia.

9. What was your biggest failure?: Coming out, financial issues, social issues.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? A couple of colds, and depression-anxiety.

11. What was the best thing you bought?: Plane/train/bus tickets 🙂

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Social justice warriors.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?: Donald Trump, certain ex-friends of mine (keeping from 2015. Scary!)

14. Where did most of your money go?: Travel, café con leche, books (kept from 2015).

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?: Travelling and the move to Valencia.

16. What song will always remind you of 2016?: Perfect Illusion by Lady Gaga, Troubled Times by Green Day

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Happier
ii. thinner or fatter? two killers more
iii. richer or poorer? about the same (poor!)

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?: Writing, travelling, hanging out with friends.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Procrastinating, being afraid to be who I am, worrying, and binging tv!

20. How will you be spending Christmas?: I spent it with my mom in the States.

21. How will you be spending New Years? Eating grapes at 6 PM Eastern Standard Time, which is midnight in most of the Iberian peninsula

22. Did you fall in love in 2016?: Blah.

23. How many one-night stands?: Even Americans living in Euskadi never kiss and tell.

24. What was your favorite TV program?: Jane the Virgin, The X-Files, The Gilmore Girls, Veep,  Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Merlí, Black Mirror

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?: I never *liked* my dad’s side of the family, and after the US election, I will no longer speak to them due to their bullying.

26. What was the best book you read?: Good question! El desodren que dejas de Carlos Montero, Wild by Cheryl Strayed, The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, Avenue of Mysteries by John Irving (my fave writer), Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig, La Isla de Alice de Daniel Sánchez Arévalo, Duma Key by Stephen King

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?: Unfortunately I just discovered George Michael this year.

28. What did you want and get?: I’m still in Spain, and in Valencia a lot.

29. What did you want and not get?: A lot. But I am coping.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?: I really don’t know. JoyJulieta…I will have to think about it.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?: 35 and went to Barcelona and Italy.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?: Stability and less anxiety/depression/loneliness! (Kept from 2015)

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?: Preppy-casual

34. What kept you sane?: Jordi, my iPod, the Camino del Norte and hiking in general.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?: David Villa, Mario Casas, Justin Badaloni (Rafa on Jane the Virgin)

36. What political issue stirred you the most?: Anyone who has been offended by Donald Trump, please raise your hand. I see everyone raising their hands. Enough said.

37. Who did you miss?: Fallon Fey, my golden retriever, and a few friends.

38. Who was the best new person you met?: I’m going to say outside of my co-workers, my new friend Mr. From The Street (¡hola!)…I hope we’re buenas migas for life.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016: Don’t stay quiet.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year: It was a perfect illusion.

¡FELIZ AÑO NUEVO! BON ANY NOU! URTE BERRI ON! HAPPY NEW YEAR!