Updates!


Yes, well I thought it about time to update everyone, and anyone interested in recent and interesting events.

Things, seemingly, have settled down.

Is this the power of positive thinking at its best? I am inclined to think so!!!

OK, I have, *cough* and drum roll, officially become an English teacher. How the Hell did that happen?! She asks bemused!

I mean I had to be THE most unlucky and hap-hazard teacher in ALL of Madrid. Everyone else had floods of students, and me, well I couldn’t catch a fish if, well, if I fell in the river and, however the saying goes!

 

Yet, with a little ‘networking’; hehe, get me, a little networking, well I never! Seems that International Politics degree did give me some skills to transfer into my life after all! I’m being cynical, it has worked wonders for me so far, honestly.

What makes the work situation better, is that I am calling the shots. This is the great thing about taking on private classes! Oh, but I may have an interview on Friday.  Just thought I’d throw that one in the mix too! It has taken long enough, so I am EXTREMELY happy!

NO jinxing me, please! Remember, what goes around WILL come around.

So, from all of this soon to be teaching, there is money in the bank? Well, not yet, but it will happen! Yipppeeee! So, I can tick one ‘to do’ off my list then? Hoping so!

The social groups are revealing THE most interesting people. ‘Like attracting like’ (rules of attraction); there I go again, blowing my own trumpet, dear me.

I have met so many people who have just been able to open the relevant doors for me. I actually feel, although reticent to say it allowed, blessed.

For once in a long while, I feel my direction is going in a direction! I feel like I am walking on rose petals and not poisoned thorns, a little dramatic I know, but so true.

There is fertile ground, land ahoy, the storm is over – OK, not over, just a temporary reprieve and I am sure it will resume soon enough. So, I err on the side of caution, BUT, maintain a positive outlook!

I have also managed to meet some pretty cool friends too. I have been a bit of a social butterfly recently, and am loving it! Why not, I am young and although not single, I am free (not cheap, merely free).

The volunteering is still going well, I am chief researcher; ta dah! I maybe a real ‘geek’ , but I LOVE research.

Oh, and I am writing for ANOTHER blog, as a guest writer! This is great, as there is a ready made ‘fan base’. I am so unused to lots of people merely just liking my writing without prompt, I could get used to it!!!!

Finally, but not nor ever will it be THE end of it; my Spanish practice. Mas or menos igual; in other words, it is more or less equal to what it was. Though, I am feeling more confident.

Today I have had to speak to people in Spanish via the telephone. What the Hell has happened to me????!!!! Actually speaking on the telephone in a language I have been quite afraid of using!!! Telephone conversations were posing an obstacle for me on the confidence stakes. Yet, I managed it, although, not in a hurry to repeat it.

Oh, but I have found THE best ‘intercambio’ partner though. She is a Spanish teacher, and so nice. I do feel my confidence to increase my communication is on the rise, yes actual conversation, woo hoo! Watch this space people, anything is possible!

 

 

 

 

 

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Top Ten Things That Shock Brits In Spain


This post has come as a response to a feature article from an online newspaper/magazine, which reports Spanish news in English. The publication is called ‘The Local’.

The article by reporter Alex Dunham; ‘Top Ten Things That Shock Spaniards In The UK’, made me immediately have a response with the opposite opinion.

What is shocking for us ex-pat Brits in Spain?

Well ponder no longer as I have constructed a list for you all to peruse!!!

Here are the top ten I have come across; not just me though, I am not that biased folks! Others I know have raised these points too, and they definitely make a worthy top ten.

Manners: Let us forget Spain as the traditional, quaint and quiet little idle, full of flamenco and sangria. This is not the Spain of today! The people in Madrid can be grumpy, rude, ignorant, pushy and annoying like any other nation’s inhabitants can be!! It is a shock to realise they say ‘speak to me’ upon answering a telephone or greeting a customer. People will normally reply with ‘I want’ and ‘give me’, which are demands many from the UK might be uncomfortable with! Yet, odd manners are replicated out on the street, metro and in general too. People will quite happily barge you out of way, won’t think twice about hogging the isles in supermarkets, and of course jump queues; all of which is quite normal in most countries though! They may not be Spain specific, but are still annoying!

Time: Lateness is normal in Spain. Meet friends and expect to wait at least 30 minutes for them to arrive. OK, the relaxed atmosphere surrounding social gatherings encourages this, but in business, not a good idea. Most nations respect and expect punctuality, otherwise how would any deal get done, and any work get completed? It is just common sense, be on time to the office!

Vacations: Some companies apply a summer timetable. In effect people begin work early and finish early. Great, and yet I don’t know anyone in the UK who finishes work at 2 or 3 in the afternoon, just because it is summertime. Not to forget the long lunch hours! Oh, and that some places close for the entire of August!

Binge Drinking V’s Drinking Everyday: Spaniards drink daily. They are allowed to have a drink during their lunch break, even on company premises! They can buy alcohol in the cinema! Drinking is encouraged; a sherry after dinner, followed by beer and wine and then finish off with cocktails after 1.00 AM. Alcohol is sold in any cafe, bar, restaurant and club until the small hours, but you won’t be able to purchase it at the supermarkets after 10.00 PM. That rule makes ALL the difference!

Shopping: Certain shops run on a repeat loop; every street you walk down seems to have the usual suspects – Tiger, Starbucks, H&M, Zara, Lefties, Cafe & Te, Bijou Brigitte, Bershka, and so on. Also, Pharmacies are BIG in Madrid. You cannot purchase a little pack of paracetamol from Carrefour (Supermarket), ONLY from a Pharmacy. Yet, from that same Pharmacy you can be sold a pack of highly addictive Codeine based painkillers without a prescription.

Skimpy Outfits: Now Spain has ample excellent weather for the women of the country to parade around in skimpy outfits, so just because they have to wear a coat in winter to cover up on the streets, doesn’t mean their dress sense has suddenly become demure. No-one is that easily fooled!

Home Design: Home decoration tends to favour flounce and frills, brown and pinks, flowers and dark wood. It is quite traditional, and dare I say, a little 1980’s! The other odd thing I have noticed is that wherever there is a bathroom, the make of the suite is always ROCA! A little weird!

Food: Wholesome and healthy, well, I suppose in some places it can be. Yet, a favoured Madrid dish, fried Calamari on baguettes, doesn’t constitute as such! Olives, processed pork, tortilla, chips and fries don’t fit that bill either!!

Make Under: Women in Madrid ARE tan fanatics. They sunbathe in local parks, and break the cardinal rule by not applying sun-cream! Women don’t often dress up (as in going out on the town) or differently. Let me explain; I see plenty of plain clothes such as jeans, shorts, little skirts and tee shirts. These are all over Madrid, they are the norm for summer and winter. Fashion seems to be quite regimented in many parts of Madrid, and for those who like to embrace expressing themselves via fashion, they will find people staring at them oddly! Britain’s urban chic is however slowly catching on in certain areas within Madrid, which is good news!

Tea: great if you happen to favour the green variety or flavoured fruit teas, not if you want milk and sugar! Oh, and they aren’t fan of kettles here in Madrid; microwaves are used to heat up drinking water. Their coffee, well, it is the same as ordering a coffee in any other bar (etc.) in any other country, it is just coffee!

OK, I had to add in another point for good measure, hehe!!

Personal Space: Now the Spanish air kissing or facial kisses are fine with me, well, ordinarily. Yet, meeting people for the first time, and them expecting to get up, close and personal, is a little off putting. I like close contact and am not afraid of hugging people, but I do love my personal space too. On the Metro people will come and sit right next to you, even if there are ample seats available elsewhere. They are there up and close to you; talking loudly, snogging their boyfriend/girlfriend, allowing their children to stamp all over your feet, or applying their make-up. Oh, and in the parks, expect to see extreme make out sessions in full swing!!

Don’t get me wrong here, I do enjoy living in Madrid. It is just that NO country is perfect!!! I would be THE first to stand up and say that UK has it’s own issues too!

Hope you like the list? Please let me know what are your top ten shocks from the countries you have visited or lived in. I would be interested to know your experiences and of course, opinions!

The Real Deal


A few weeks prior I decided to join a meet-up group by the name of ‘Positive Thinking’. I was particularly drawn to this group, to the ethos of being positive, and what wonders awaited upon adopting such an affirmative outlook on life, self and the world.

I suppose with feeling that I myself had been, and was going through many changes, that this group came about at the right moment. It had something to offer me.

Coincidence, well it could be described as such, yet, I don’t think so. I don’t believe in such things, as for me, everything happens for a reason within your life.

Now learning that such things as ‘coincidences’ (not quite worded as such), actually have a place within the theory of positive thinking, added extra weight to the notion that everything does happen for a reason. This group perhaps had made itself known to me, because it had something that I was looking for.

‘The Laws Of Attraction’, ideas currently being utilised by Abraham Hicks, AKA Esther Hicks (the motivational speaker and author); explained such ‘coincidences’. Although, the actual ideas, and terminology had been conceived of long before Mrs Hicks began talking about them.

Now, until the Positve Thinking group, I knew nothing of Mrs Hicks or any of the theories surrounding being positive! Yet, having read, listened and watched more about the topic, I realise what they ‘preach’ are things I always suspected to be the truth about us and life. It seemed therefore, Hicks et al had hit the nail on the head, it was the real deal so to speak.

Perhaps what they are selling is merely a sort of sense? A sense we all have about us, our lives and our place in the world. It is perhaps a sort of order to the universe or us as energy.

Allowing ourselves, our perceptions, minds, hearts and whatever else to be open to ideas; to make decisions, to choose to know what it is we want from ourselves, and from others and our lives. This all helps to obviously point us in some direction. Yet, what makes things come to us just when we seem to need them the most?

Basically; like attracts like. We get what we give, or put out into the ‘vortex’ of energies surrounding us all. Our energy effects all energy around us.

I feel this is true.

What you expect will be confirmed; in a way it is similar to a self fulfilling prophecy (a sociological theory).

Now I see that Mrs Hicks has a real good, and dependable money spinner going on here. They never deviate from the message (like preaching), they repeat the same things (like indocrination), they never offer an exact solution (like therapists), it could be a placebo effect (like some medicines), and basically – it has all the whisltes and bows of any good self help mantra.

Yet in stating all of these things, if it works for some people then why not consider it? Why dismiss it all as hokum until you try it?

As I have mentioned already, most of it makes sense! The stuff being discussed are things you will indetify with, you will no doubt have thought about already.

The topics Mrs Hicks discusses actually pull some things together. For me it helped, as I reconsidered things in life from a different perspective. Or, more precisely, from a perspective I had all along (in some form – don’t necessarily buy into it all). Hearing the seminars, it gave some of what I had already been thinking credibility/acknowledgment. Don’t get me wrong here I am no new age guru follower, or converted disciple or trying to sell any one idea! I just find the concepts of positive thinking, and laws of attraction to be interesting, appealing and useful.

However, the BIG question surrounding all of these ideas/theories still remains unanswered. If everything we need is there for us, out there in the universe, and all we have to do is in effect ‘will’ it to us, why aren’t we all happy, healthy and wealthy?

I can’t provide one air tight, logical or rational explanation for this disparity in life. The best I can do is suggest that we, and our lives are all different; and as with any feel good therapy, I don’t have to explain myself more than that!

What I do know, from my own experience is; like or need attracts like or need, your connections in life are with those who connect to you, mind can win over matter, positive can help you overcome the worst situation, being open to new experience is far more rewarding than hiding away, being clear on your own desires helps you find ways to make those desires a reality, and knowing yourself is the best way to help yourself. All of this wisdom courtesy of little ol’ me, ummm, perhaps self help or life coaching should be my new life goal!

Seriously though, positive thinking is my new way forward. Of course I can’t be; doped up with a silly grin, not a care in the world and never angry, positive ALL of the time, every hour of day! Now that would be silly to expect. Yet, I am trying to increase the positive injections and decrease the negative ones! I hope this change in my internal balance will help readjust some stuff, and steer me clearer on a clearer path.

How about you give it a go too? Go on and do it, and see what, if anything, changes for you.

Not So Social, Social Groups


After the incident at the Skeptics Group, I found myself re-evaluating what the Hell these meet-up social groups are really about, and who are they for?

They cater for an idea of what constitutes a social gathering, that is true, but its not really my idea of what that should be.

I have, I think, been kidding myself by seeing these meet-up groups as the best way of locating new friends. These groups are sold as meetings to find friendship, so, it is this marketing that has deluded me.

I now see that this meet-up group set up, is akin to picking up a man/woman in a bar, and then expecting to get married and live happily ever after with them! These meet-up groups offer no real, connected or longevity relationship; nothing substantial can come from this setting. It is empty, self serving, shallow and based on no form of real identity or trust.

I am not looking for a sexual partner, don’t get my words twisted, I am looking for a friend or friends. These are what such meet-up groups are supposed to be about; friendship connections, fun and interesting people, yet, they aren’t. Why aren’t they?!

It is a BIG FAT CON!

So far there have been empty promises, cancelations, being used for english language practice, men and women trying their luck, bitchiness, arrogance, self importance and ‘intellectualism’ (but really it has been delusions of grandeur)!

Put people together in such phoney settings and see the worst surface in them.

Are there genuine, and decent people existing in cities such as Madrid? Or, are they all too wrapped up in themselves, and their lives to allow potential decent folk into their little bubbles? Are they afraid of change, of something new, of a challenge?

I never felt it was hard to make friends before, OK, not all of those I have been friends with remain my friends, but at least I had friends! Here, in Madrid, it seems an up-hill struggle.

I feel as though I am having to make all the effort to connect, and it peeves me! I think I have eventually met a potential friend, and then it begins, the same old; ‘I can’t do that’, ‘have to cancel that’, ‘sorry but,’, blah, blah, blah!

Perhaps it is me? Perhaps I come across as weird or something? Perhaps being talkative, listening, being friendly and polite is weird? Perhaps I should try being rude, aloof and obnoxious? Perhaps next time someone says, let’s arrange to go for coffee, I should reply, if you want a coffee with me then you get in touch with me first and then we shall see.

I wonder if they would get in touch, but I won’t wonder for long! The answer is going to be that 99.9% of people won’t bother to get in touch!

This makes me doubly peeved; if I was looking for no strings sex here in Madrid, I’d have no issue, sex is everywhere. Yet, finding decent friendships is like asking for the sun and the moon on a gold platter! I really don’t get it; empty and meaningless sexual encounters holds more place in people’s lives than decent, fulfilling, longevity and substantial friendships!

Friendships are important, they can encourage, improve and stabilise mental, and spiritual well-being.

It is really quite sad when you think about what this ‘sex culture’ has to say about people, and their priorities.

The Man-Child


Over grown, over educated (maybe even still in full time education whilst in their 30’s), living with family or friends (like some frat house experience), no commitment, if employed working on some type of made up position derived from some internship, opinionated, socially uncomfortable, self absorbed, full of their own self importance, stuck in their ways and clinging onto what they are used to, domineering, shifty body language, uncomfortable around women and women’s opinions.

The man-child.

Oh, and let us not forget when he cannot get people to succumb to his wants, needs, desires or whatever, he throws a tantrum. He demonstrates inappropriate anger in inappropriate ways to unsuspecting people.

Such a horrible specimen of ‘manhood’ was in my presence last night.

I have joined some social meet up groups within the Madrid area, and one of these was the Skeptics Group. Yes a skeptics group! Now usually I refrain form associating with Philosophers in general, why, well as a rule I have found them to be, I don’t want to generalise too much here; full of their own self importance, and of their own intellectual status. Yet, the group sounded interesting, so I thought I’d go along and see.

For some reason the organiser, the usual organiser, decided he couldn’t return from Germany for the meeting. So, he randomly nominated me as the stand in organiser for the meeting. As I explained to him, I was not familiar with Skeptical theory and it was my first meeting. Yet, this did not bother the organiser.

OK, well I assumed the group would be a nice bunch of individuals; understanding, able to listen, oh, and respectful of others. So, what the Hell, I gave it a go!

Throughout the meeting I felt a bad vibe from the only man in attendance (the friend, and associate of the actual group organiser). Now, the group was small, four including me – three women and one man. Yet, he wasn’t interested in us as people, he didn’t ask us anything about ourselves, our life or background. He was very clinical and odd. Strange body language, shifty and as though he wasn’t too happy with how the discussion was progressing.

Maybe he felt threatened by the female presence, frustrated he hadn’t been nominated stand in organiser by his friend (the actual organiser), perhaps he misconstrued some of what had been said (he was Spanish, and I think his English level wasn’t as good as he thought it was). I wonder if our native English tongue intimidated him, plus, the fact we didn’t necessarily agree with his opinions and views might have riled him too. Who can be sure!

It wasn’t until the conversation split; him and one woman, and me and the other woman present. I spoke only to say I had to leave soon, as I was tired, nothing much more. well, when I related this to him, he didn’t like this and decided to ‘flip out’. Only way to really describe it, he flipped out!

It was like he had been waiting patiently all night to say something, to cause an argument with me, and why, who knows, and who knows what bee was in in his bonnet!

Anyway, he accused me of lying, the reason I was leaving was another that I was too afraid to admit, I was being untruthful about my thoughts and feelings. I was concealing something from him!

What the………!! Did I just doze off, and wake only to find I had arrived in the Twilight Zone?

I had only just met him – two hours previous, and already he was convinced he knew my inner motives, he knew what I truly felt. I mean, if he had, he would have known I was thinking what a loser he was being at that particular moment! It seemed he was trying to depict me as this distrustful liar to the group for a reason. Wow, what insight, NO, what rude audacity!

I took it lightly, an argument with what was obviously an aggressive man was not on my list of ‘to do’s’ that day. So I said,
“Is he joking with me? He is fooling around right, he doesn’t mean it as I think he does”?
One of the women then replied,
“Yeah, he is fooling around, as no one would act like such an arse-hole” (jest intended to lighten the obvious prevailing bad atamosphere).

Oh dear, that was a mistake. He then turned his venom upon her.

Now my understanding of Spanish profanities is limited, as I am a lady 🙂 Yet, I am pretty damn sure he used everything in his arsenal to create one moment of utter hatred, which was aimed at an unsuspecting woman.

I was aghast. I was already standing up to go, and I could only just stand there, in complete shock. I didn’t know what the Hell he was playing at and why. I wondered whether it was a good idea to lurch across the table and spank him! Yet, the woman he spoke to with such a vile, and disgusting attitude was so calm; as too was the other woman witnessing it! They were cool and level headed, intelligent, articulate and capable women- admirable.

I was a little less cool; thinking and feeling, WTF!

For me, this is a massive NO! People, especially men, never speak to women as he was doing to this one. I was disgusted. I was shocked. I realised in that moment, this was no man, this was not a person worth my attention or time. He was nothing.

I told them all that I was leaving, and won’t be returning any time soon to a group with such a vile fool in attendance. It made no difference though, as he kept on; he had his argument, he was making himself feel better at any cost.

Intelligent, philosopher, man, human – NO, he was just an over grown child, an insecure and idiotic fool with a foul mouth.

I remember he said he had a blog. He said he had been writing about his attempts to meet a new person every week. What a sick joke! That was exactly what he was doing within the ‘skeptics group’, and look how he treated and responding to them, to us! God help those he does meet, they will be psychologically scared for life if he acts as he did with us!

This has made me really reconsider which groups I attend.

If there aren’t shouting bullies, there are pervy men trying their luck, and staring at your breasts and bum.

How am I ever supposed to meet nice, and genuine people in Madrid? Do they actually exist?

What this has suggested, though I hate to even consider it; women are never really able to go anywhere without feeling they maybe harassed at any moment.

Why is it men feel they have some power to weild over women?

Why can’t they just go out, and enjoy themselves free of being abusive bad mannerly fools, bombastic and opinionated chauvinists, and sexual predators?

Are all men really just versions of men-children?

As you can probably guess, I am still extremely annoyed by this ‘person’s’ behaviour. It has impressed some ‘downer’ upon me regarding human relationships, interactions and behaviour. Plus, this fool will never know nor admit he was in the wrong.

Also, to sum up the whole experience or night; the whole thing was some elaborate charade. It was some game set up by this nasty and foul mouth fool, and his friend the Skeptics Group organiser. It was as though they had planned such an end, it was as though they were setting us up for this, to test us in some way.

Sounds paranoid? Well, having witnessed the behaviour and considered the motives, and the things that just didn’t add up about the group, that weren’t bona fide about the night in general – this is my only conclusion. At least my conclusion isn’t a diatribe of disgusting profanities, though it could have been quite easily after what occurred!

Oh, and if you find yourself in Madrid, avoid the Skeptics Meet-up Group at all cost!

Peace In Our Time


A little quote I forgot I even wrote, and was reminded of today by Julien of ‘Mirrors Of Encounters’.

“Peace is a conundrum; often sought and rarely found”
Bex 2013

I feel that these words are ladened with relevance at this moment in time, considering the heated debate regarding the fate of Syria.