So far in Spain, I am often asked, “So what do you do here while Brooks is at work?” Usually Brooks is translating that sentence for me, as almost everyone we’ve met speaks only Spanish. Of course, I would not expect anything different as I am the one living in Spain, and should be able to communicate in their home language. However, this process of communicating in Spanish has been much more difficult than expected. Which leads to my first key event in my day.
My daily practices usually start with the app Duolingo. Similar to Rosetta Stone, I use this program because I can take it with me as I walk around Rivas, our town. Honestly, it takes less self-determination than my workbooks, and it is a good way to start the day. While helpful and easy, my Spanish practice on Duolingo is a slow uphill grind with cute clip art figures cheering me on along the way. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve made a typo and then needed to re-type words like “escribir” four more times before I could move on.
Fairly, Doulingo is a great program to practice daily for all levels. Brooks, with his more advanced Spanish still uses the app to practice from time to time. However, I knew I needed intentional Spanish practice with people that I felt comfortable enough to fail a million times over. Knowing the need for this additional practice, our wonderful Airbnb roomate Andrei took me to get signed up for classes at the equivalent of a community college in our town. The College is called CERPA (Center of Education and Resources for Adults) and they offer free language classes! It is only about a 6 minute bike ride, or 15 walk from our place and ultimately it is exactly what needed.
I have a 2 hour class on Tuesday nights, and a 1 hour class on Thursday nights. Except for the fact that I only understand about 20 percent of what the teacher says, it is a place where I am learning the most. I have to remember that it is a slow journey, but with daily practice and hard work the language will slowly stick.
I mentioned earlier that I like to use the Doulingo app while walking around our town of Rivas. I do a lot of walking here as it is the easiest way to get around. It is also a way to have built-in time to Spanish practice. I am usually walking to find a place to work on my writing “gigs.” This first month or so I’ve worked primarily from the house, but now I am finding it far better for me to find spot in the city to work. What’s great is that no matter where I am working, there is not a feeling of being rushed to move and give up my seat. In fact, it is a Spanish custom to sit down at a table and wait for a server to come to you. Sometimes you wait 10 minutes or more for someone to approach you. Then they will not return unless you flag them down, to inform them that you need something or would like the check. It took a while to get used to this way of waiting, but it is actually really nice when it comes to my work.
WEE FEE Por Favor
Due to the type of visa I revived, I cannot work a normal job in Spain. Instead I found work online though a website called Fiverr. My friend Bre introduced me to Fiverr and she shares her experiences working abroad on her blog. Bre has been instrumental in helping me in this process of living in a different country and finding work online. While Fiverr has its pros and cons, it has been a great way to connect with people and discover new opportunities.
The majority of my work comes from business owners who contact me to write for their website or blog. This gives me the chance to research and write about many of different subjects. From outdoor gear to leggings, I’ve written mainly informative articles that website owners place on their blogs.
More often than not, I go to a restaurant or café to work. I usually need to ask for the wifi, or as they pronounce it here, the WEE FEE. If they cafe’s staff tells me the wifi password in Spanish, it is difficult to understand. After asking three times I resort to having them write it down, or resort to doing as much as I can without the WEE FEE.
Writing as my day job is actually a of dream come true for me, and I am living it up while I can!
Brooks explains more of the evening routine that we have in his article “Day in the Life of,” but our evenings are honestly all over the place. If we have opportunities to check out new events or areas, we will. If someone invites us somewhere, we’ll usually go. While we want to have a routine, it is more important for us to experience all we can here this year.
More to Come!
Speaking of activities, we have many to share from just our first month here. Follow us here for additional blog posts on some of the events we had the chance to experience in Spain.