Welcome to my travel blog! I document my adventures through words, pictures, and videos. Hope you enjoy your stay!

โœˆ Chicago

(Next: Toronto, Canada)

[Recap] First week abroad

[Recap] First week abroad

I think this is true in most instances but the first week(s) in any new environment is always tough. This is what they call a "transition period" so things are kind of stuck in limbo since you're moving from one place or phase of your life to another. The latter might be something completely brand new, a bit uncomfortable, and at times lonely but exciting, such as my first week abroad. 

Making friends...

This is still a slow transition as in I haven't really made a lot of friends yet. It's different than when I was backpacking through Europe for 6 weeks. Then the purpose was to stay in one location for a few days then move on and I made a ton of friends while mingling at the hostel. But this time, I'm actually living in an apartment and working so there isn't a safe place to really make new friends, others who are doing the same thing you are. I've become friends with other hostel workers since they're my roommates and made friends with a few people here and there. There hasn't been a lasting friendship yet but I guess it has only been 1 week so I can't expect too much. I've attended international dinner parties, language exchanges, and couchsurfing events. The transition is slow but I think through meeting all these people there will be a few who will become great friends, which is all I'm looking for. If I'm able to gain at least one lasting friend in each destination I go to, then I would be very satisfied. So for now, I'm still exploring and doing a lot of things on my own. I'm not against it and I do enjoy my alone time but it would be nice to meet some cool people. 

At all of these events, I'm meeting some very interesting people... some eyebrow raising type of interesting but I guess that keeps the night entertainment. I did meet someone who was born in Pasadena and knew about the 90 and now works in Rotterdam so knew all of the clubs I used to go to. What a small freaking world!! I also spoke to this older lady who has done the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage 4 times and going on her 5th next week... If you don't know what it is, it's basically a walk from either Portugal or France to Santiago, Spain which can last from a few weeks to months. You walk the entire time... I think she told me this trip will be about 500 km. Props to her! 

Learning Spanish...

This has literally been my achilles heel being here! It's hard making Spanish friends because my Spanish is terrible, aka basically non-existent. I've mastered the "Si" and nod every time someone asks me as question. I also feel like I'm not getting the full Spanish experience since I don't speak the language. The longer I'm here the more I regret not taking High School Spanish more seriously... so kids, pay attention in class because Spanish will come in handy later on. When I go to language exchanges, it's hard for me to get better since I'm not at all conversational or even know how to form sentences. If I get a bit better then I'll be more comfortable speaking and that's when I'll really improve. But for now, I've enrolled in a 10 week Spanish course and using Duolingo daily. Here's to hope that by the time I leave for South America, I'll have developed some bases of Spanish...

Living in Malaga...

The weather here has been absolutely beautiful! It ranges between 75-80 degrees everyday and nights aren't too bad either. I sleep without a blanket, just a sheet over me with the fan running. I've worn shorts, tanks, and dresses my entire time here except for today. It actually rained for the first time in forever. Someone told me it rains about 5 times a year in Malaga, and I'm experiencing the first two back-to-back. The rain is a nice change though because it's bringing a nice breeze through the air that I've been sort of craving. Don't get me wrong, I love the weather so I think one or two days of rain will satisfy me just fine. I've done a few sight seeing things but not as extensively as I would like since my work and sleep schedule is so out of wack. On my days off I've done a free walking tour, love these! I do one in every city I go to. Went up to the castle to watch the sunset. Absolutely. Breath. Taking. I'm still editing pictures but they will blow you away! The beach is also amazing! I rented a bike yesterday on my day off and road it along the beach and did a bit of suntanning. Check out some sunset pictures here: bonvoyagechi.com/spain

Food here is relatively pretty cheap from 1 euro tapas to 1 euro beers. A big glass of sangria is only like 3 euros. So I basically can't say no whenever I'm out. I've been cooking most of my meals, which I'm very proud of (pat on the back). But I do love trying new things so two of Malaga's specialties are Sweet Wine (15% alc so be very careful) and Espote (grilled sardines). Don't be freaked out by the fish, it was actually quite tasty! I mean, it's not something I would crave and want to have again anytime soon, but it wasn't bad. 

The absolute WORSE part about living here is the mosquitos... I thought I didn't need to care about them since I rarely ever get bit, like when I went to Ghana I was fine, but oh no, these bad boys have no mercy. The first few days I was naive because I left my room window open, didn't have any mosquito repellent in my room or used it on my body, or covered myself up when I slept. They definitely taught me a lesson... My legs, arms, chest, neck, so basically my entire body is covered in small red bumps. I look like a diseased person... not attractive when meeting new people. This is only a small portion of everything but you get the idea. But don't worry, I've learned my lesson and have been taking all precautions. 

In general, Spain has an extremely relaxed culture. Everyone works a little and play/rest a lot. I mean I'm not complaining... There's a reason why everyone is so happy and look/act a lot younger than they are. There are people who are in their mid-30s and look 26, it's kinda crazy. They've found the fountain of youth! I've been trying to workout everyday with a mix of running and insanity. I even convinced one of my roommates to do insanity workouts with me. 

Up next...

Sorry my first week hasn't been that exciting! I guess it's hard to have crazy stories when I'm not able to go out past 1:45am because of work. It's okay, I knew what I signed up for. I'm planning to take a short trip to Granada next week and a 3 day trip to Portugal the following with. Hopefully since I won't be working then, my life with get a bit more exciting. I'm also hoping to take a bus to a great hike close to Malaga one of these days. 

A quick trip to Cadiz, Spain

A quick trip to Cadiz, Spain

First crazy encounter working at the hostel

First crazy encounter working at the hostel