I signed up with iTalki!

So after coming back from Austria, me and my husband have started to speak more Spanish to one another. It’s hard though because the environment we are in is only English, and I don’t feel comfortable speaking Spanish in front of my family, so we have really just been speaking it when we are alone.

I remember months ago reading about the website iTalki and how you can chat to people all over the world, so I decided to go and have another look at it. I wanted to get back into speaking Spanish so I looked at private language places where I am now and they were just too expensive. So that went out the window!

I signed up to iTalki and it seems quite good. I put around €30 on my account, and then I chose a person who I wanted to have a class with. You can have a 30 minute class with them for half the price of a normal class as a tester class. The lady I chose is from Mexico and she charges around €8 for a class, with prices varying for the duration of the class. I was able to choose the day, time and how long it would be for. Then I organised the way we could have our chat and I picked Skype.

The cool thing about it is that you can choose the price of the class. Some can be over €20 whereas others could charge €5.00, so it’s good that you can decide how much you are willing to spend.

As much as I like talking to my husband in Spanish, there really is only so much you can talk about. When we did try and have practice conversations it was difficult to find a topic to discuss when we know pretty much everything about each other! That’s one of the main reasons why I want to try out iTalki!

I know my Spanish has weakened since I started going to college again, but at least if I do this maybe once or twice a week I will feel like I’m putting the effort into it once more. Even now after coming back from Austria I’m slowly starting to remember words again. At one stage I forgot what the word for ‘dog’ was in Spanish, which I was shocked about!!

So I’m looking forward to the class and hopefully my Skype will work fine. I always worry because electronics aren’t always reliable and I’m afraid that it wont work, but I rang my husband on it as a tester and it seemed fine, so fingers crossed!

Aisling

I’ve Been Busy

Since I’ve started writing this blog years ago, I’ve been trying to hit a target of 4 blogs or more per month… and this month I’ve just hadn’t had the time to write anything!

I’ve been busy writing writing essays, going to class, and usually I wake up tired because my mind just doesn’t stop racing when I go to bed, so it’s been hard to write anything here. So I do need to try and start writing something on this blog of mine!

Anyway, my course is going fine. I’ve noticed how a few of my classmates have been asking me for advice for things for the assignments. They would come over with their assignment brief and I think “Oh they want to ask me something about the assignment”. I don’t mind though at all, I know for others it’s a struggle to come up with things and they might not understand something, so I’ll try and help them if I can. I suppose because I’m the oldest as well they think “oh well she’s the oldest she’ll know”. I think I was like that too. When I was doing my degree from the age of 18 I remember I kept asking the mature students to help me with my work. I remember thinking “Well they seem to know what they are doing so I’ll get them to help me!”

I think now I’ve realised that I don’t want to stress about the essays that are due and I’d rather just get them done, so I do them. When I was younger though I always left things to the last minute, but now I just couldn’t do that! Unfortunately I get stressed much more now than when I was in college, so I want to alleviate that as much as possible! But I still like the course and I don’t mind going in so that’s good!

With regards to the weather-it’s getting colder now. Especially in the morning I really dislike having to get up in the freezing cold to get dressed. As we live in a mobile home this means when we wake up we can see our breath. I even woke up once because my ears were ice cold! We’ve taken to getting dressed in front of our gas heater; huddling together to get as much warmth as possible. haha. So this will definitely be a test of our endurance with the cold! At one stage I actually tried to get dressed while I was in the bed but that was a disaster and I took about 15 minutes. So that didn’t work at all!

I’ve started to keep the electric blanket turned on at my feet during the nights because they were very cold some nights. Thankfully the blanket allows us to turn it on only at our feet so that’s great for us. So yeah… it’s quite cold here in the mobile home!

And Halloween is just around the corner! I only just realised that I’ve never had a Halloween with my youngest nephew! It just hit me when I was watching TV that this will be my first Halloween with him, and he’s 4 already! It’s actually my first Halloween in Ireland since I left for China, so about 6 years ago I think. It’s mad how time just flies.

I also realised another thing…… I have to buy Christmas presents!!! In China we didn’t buy Christmas presents. Maybe I would buy something small for my husband (boyfriend at the time). But because of the language barrier in China, we didn’t really go out and buy things for each other. Then in Mexico my husbands family don’t really celebrate Christmas ( I know, it’s shocking!) so again we didn’t really buy presents for each other.

But now…… I have to buy them for my whole family…. and my two nephews. . . So that’s something that I will have to think about once more.

And thankfully now my husband has been working since September so we finally have money coming in. I don’t have a job at the moment but I don’t mind because I’m actually busy with my college work and I know I would just be extra stressed if I took on a job. Plus many only want full timers which I can’t do at the moment. Maybe after Christmas I will find some work in something that is beneficial to me. I’d like to get a job dealing with customers so I can get more experience working with customers. Through my course I’ve realised that customer service skills is great to have on a CV.

So anyway there’s an update on my life so far. I’ve been watching ‘Bates Motel’ on Netflix with Vera Farmiga (she’s a great actress) for the past couple of weeks before I’ve gone to sleep. I’ve been watching it in Spanish and I understand pretty much all of it. (I’ll write another post on the disappearance of my Spanish). I’ve enjoyed it so far but the last season hasn’t been great unfortunately. I’ll have to take an hour out to look at another show I can watch in Spanish when I’m finished ‘Bates Motel’.

Aisling

I lied!

photo of people walking on street

Photo by Lukas Kloeppel on Pexels.com

So, my last blog I wrote about our plans for Mexico and what not….. was a lie! We have actually arrived back to Ireland at the beginning of June! My last blog was really for my Mum (she is the biggest fan of my blog) and I didn’t want her to suspect anything.  You can check it out here: Looking To The Future

After my parents left Mexico after visiting us, we decided to leave in the next few months. We realised we were in Mexico too long and it just didn’t work out for neither of us. We weren’t able to get a job because we were busy with the weddings (ours and my husbands sister), then we would have had to move to Mexico city because in the city where we were there just weren’t any jobs for me.

I don’t see it as a failure though; I enjoyed my experience there, I came from literally zero Spanish to now being able to have day to day conversations, we got married and had our perfect wedding, and finally my parents came to visit. So some things didn’t work out but a lot of others did. It’s nice to be closer to my family though in Ireland. The weather is crap though, so I do miss the weather in Mexico! But I’ve been enjoying eating lots of white and brown bread.

I’d also like to think we are getting back on course to figuring out where we want to live and all that ‘life’ stuff. Maybe it will be in Ireland or maybe somewhere else in Europe, we will see!

But it’s nice being with my family for a while, with no flight to leave for for a while!

Aisling

Looking To The Future

sky earth galaxy universe

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

With our wedding and my husbands sisters wedding over, we have been thinking of what to do. As I’ve mentioned before, we couldn’t really sort out jobs because we knew we had our wedding coming up, and my parents were also going to be here for 3 weeks, so we knew it would be difficult to get jobs with these on the horizon. So we made the decision to wait until all these events were over to look for jobs.

We are quite open to anything though. (country wise!) Because we are now married, it’s easier for my husband to live in Europe with me. It’s not 100% plain sailing, but it’s much easier than if we weren’t together!

We were talking and we are in agreement that if Mexico doesn’t work then both of us are open to any country really. My sister in law was very excited telling us about Paris and how she could help us get jobs. We are interested of course, but we need to think of the pro’s and con’s of moving to France. But the option is there.

Another option is Spain. My husband has an aunt that lives in Madrid and I’m sure she could help if we decided to move there. Also in Barcelona we know someone who lives there. So we have options.

I would prefer to live in Spain because I’m learning the language, but I won’t say France is off the cards though.

I think the fact that we lived in China makes us feel like we can sort of survive in any country now, because really, if you can live in China then you can pretty much live in any country! It doesn’t feel like such a daunting task, especially if you plan to move to somewhere in Europe.

But anyway, Ireland is the most viable option at the moment. For my husband it’s the easiest way to get to Europe as all he needs is a visa that shows we are together, so it’s very easy.

For Mexico, it’s on the cards but probably not in the city where we are right now. Mexico city has more opportunities, so I would just have to learn to love the city if we decided to move!

So, as always, we are still up in the air with everything….

But the good thing is my spanish is improving!

So yay for that!

Aisling

Mexico City; I think it will grow on me

I’ve only been to Mexico city a few times, so I really haven’t seen much of the city at all. From my overall impressions, I’m not too keen on it; it’s just too big to able to comfortably travel to. First it’s a pain to travel into; once you hit Mexico city the traffic is terrible and it take hours to get to where you want to go. Second the road layout isn’t good at all. Whoever built the roads didn’t organise it enough and it’s not a city that is car friendly.

So anyway my husbands uncle invited us another few family members to eat with him in one of his restaurants that he owns so we decided to travel to where the madness is! The restaurant is literally right in the heart of Mexico city, and it’s located in a lovely old looking building. When I was in the centre of Mexico city the first time I visited the area but because there was a festival going on, I couldn’t appreciate the lovely architecture that was there. So this time round I was surprised at how pretty the buildings were.

Before lunch we went to visit some ruins which are free to enter on Sundays for nationals. Thankfully I had my residency card so I was also able to enter free! We spent about an hour and a half there and then headed to eat with the family.

I think my view is slowly changing about the city though. I think I’m just used to the city of Chengdu and how much more advanced it is. It was very easy to live in it, and I miss it so much sometimes. But anyway, there are good things about Mexico city, and I suppose I need to live in it to be able to appreciate it more and see all the good things about it!

Aisling

The Magic Town of Tepotzlán

Tepotzlán is a magic town that is about a 1 hour drive from Cuernavaca and we decided to go and visit! My sister-in-law was actually having a wedding photo shoot there so we didn’t mind going with her. I went a few weeks ago with my parents on a Sunday, but it was a different experience that time! At the weekend the town comes alive with hundreds of stalls lining the roads with all sorts of handicrafts and souvenirs on sale.

This time around we went on a Monday and the place was much more quiet! They were going to do their photo shoot on the Monday and then on Tuesday morning we were going to walk up the big mountain that overlooks the town. At the top their is a small ruin of a small Aztec temple and it’s extremely popular to climb during the weekend! I hear that the walk up the mountain is full of people during the weekend, so when we went on Tuesday it was much better. We probably met about 10 people on our way!

Anyway, on Monday evening we organised with the hostel we were staying with to try out a traditional sweat room. It’s called a ‘Temazcal’ and it was a great experience! It originated with pre-Hispanic Indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica and it’s still practiced today!

We started at 9pm and we had to do a ceremony with a shaman and he says all this stuff in Spanish (that I didn’t understand), then we entered into pitch blackness! We couldn’t see a thing! The man comes in, covers the entrance with a blanket and we are there sitting sweating like crazy as this shaman talks and tells us what to do. At one point we had to rub our bodies with aloe vera, and then honey. (All this in pitch blackness). Then we had to say things that we want to improve while he was banging a drum. We were shaking shakers and shouting and all sorts! There were 3 stages to the ritual and during all of them he would throw water into a big bowl in the middle and it would create even more heat! I have to say it was extremely hot by the end of the ritual.

At the end when we were leaving, we all had to kneel beside him and he poured cold water over us, then we went out and he gave us fruit and water. Little did we know the ritual lasted for 1 hour!

I really didn’t know what to expect but I have to say I really enjoyed it! All of us were absolutely wrecked after it though…. and at 7am we had to get up for our hike up the mountain!

As my body was still in shock from the experience from last night, it was really tough to get up for the hike! It was the last thing I wanted to do to be honest.

While we were walking through the town to the base of the mountain we met two friendly dogs and they walked up the whole mountain with us! We heard that the local dogs always do that; they find someone and go with them all the way to the top, then they’ll go back down, see another person and up they go again!

While we were waiting for them to open the gates to the entrance to the summit we met a couple and they ALSO had a dog with them. The dogs aren’t allowed up to the summit so they left us while we went up. We took some great photos and it was a lovely morning! The night before it was really really windy and up at the summit a lot of big branches fell on the walkway up.

Then when we started to walk back down, we met one of the dogs that came up with us and the other which walked up with the other couple! (However they left us halfway down the mountain….. I think we were too slow for them)

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Cute little coatis at the summit

All of us really enjoyed our time, and my sister in law got some beautiful wedding photos too! If you want to visit here, I would recommend you to come on Sunday and spent the day in the town and looking at all the handicrafts, and then on Monday morning hike up the mountain! That way you get the best of the two!

Aisling

 

Let’s Get Talking (Spanish) Again!

auditorium benches chairs class

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

With my wedding, my parents coming to visit, I had to stop going to my Spanish class with my teacher for at least 1 month! Then there were holidays here so that added to classes being delayed.

When my Mum and Dad were here I rarely spoke Spanish. I didn’t want them to feel uncomfortable and left out when everybody was speaking Spanish. I know that feeling! So I just spoke English while there were here.

Then when they did left, I felt as if I forgot loads of things! I forgot words, verb conjugations, how to form the correct sentences. I really did feel like I forgot everything! I started studying again and I’ve found a Mexican TV show to watch on Netflix when the in-laws aren’t using it, and I think it’s helping me quite a bit. I remember a few words from it and simple phrases. It’s called ‘La casa de las flores’ if you are interested! It’s not something I’d want myself, but I’m getting more interested in it and it’s good for my listening practice.

So today was my first class with my teacher and It turned out well. I was a little apprehensive in case I was struggling to talk, but thankfully I spoke fine. I noticed though that I had been confusing él with ella. He and She. So I’d be talking about my husband with ella and my teacher would constantly repeat el! I didn’t even realise I was doing it. (and this used to drive me crazy with my Chinese students when I was teaching!)

I really enjoy my class though; I can make as many mistakes as I want and she won’t mind. That’s what I like. I’m not judged. (I feel I’m constantly being judged when I speak Spanish around others) She was also all praise about my Spanish too. I really do feel like it’s terrible, so when she congratulates me I really don’t know how to respond. I’d love to agree and know that my speaking ability is good, but at the moment I just can’t. When I’m not with her my Spanish hides and I can’t get the words out! So that’s my problem!

The class kind of reminded me that it’s still in my head somewhere…. I haven’t forgotten it…. and that I can talk with some degree of fluency…. with confidence I might add!

Aisling