Friday, March 30, 2012

Daily Life: Wednesdays

Wednesdays are the best.

My Wednesdays provide room for me to recuperate from my crazy Mondays and Tuesdays because I have no classes on Wednesdays!!

How luxurious is that?! Never will I have this schedule again in my life. :( But just because the day is technically free of activities doesn't mean it lacks structure.

Although I am not a morning person, I sincerely would like to be, and so I try and not to wake up too late (meaning after 10). And to help prevent me from sleeping all day, usually Wednesday mornings I meet up   with Jaime, my intercambio at a cafe or something and have a nice conversation in Spanish and English over a cup of café con leche (durrh). After an hour an half or two hours of conversing, we catch the same bus, and I get off by the International Institute of Madrid where the BU program is headquartered at.  Either I have some businesses to take care of at the BU office, or I hop on the Metro from there and go home.

Once home, I try to go for a very LITTLE run in the park near my house, come back home (take the stairs up to the 11th floor to try and compensate for the fact that I barely ran at all), take a shower (because after going up 11 floors, one is out of breath and slightly sweaty), and then time for lunch (what a counterproductive system)! Haha

Afterwards, I take a little siesta, get some homework done, or watch some TV, and then around 4 or 5, I head out to Kilometro-0 in La Puerta del Sol, where there is a prayer room for this ministry called Kilómetrocero.  The ministry is basically a street-evangelizing ministry, and people every day go out into a concentrated area of a city, stand on a red box and share their testimony.  The prayer is so awesome, and I got to meet some really cool people through this place.

I've been having a hard time having my one-on-one time with God at home, so I decided one week on a whim to go and be alone with God. Like a mini-retreat.  Since then, I try and go at least once a week to have a longer time with God.

After a couple of hours of being there, I head back home and eat dinner, etc. etc., with the only exciting thing left for the night is videochatting with lovely people back in the States.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Angela will be slightly MIA

Hello all! 

I'm leaving for Paris today (well, hopefully I can get to the airport with the strike going on and such!), so I'll be even more MIA on the internet world.  But I do have a couple of small posts that are scheduled to post--I'm not leaving completely leaving you all hangin'. 

And maybe, just maybe, I'll write a post while in Paris and/or London.  

  • I just cut my finger nails, and I think I cut one of them too short. I'm nervously waiting for the pain.
  • I still have to write an essay about Nudge by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein before embarking on this journey. HAH. Let's see how that goes.
  • The flight I'm taking is letting me check a bag for this flight (what a LUXURY!!)! So naturally I got excited, and I think I may have overpacked. (So much for packing light!)  Also, I think I'm feeling slightly pressured to look awesome at all times since I'm going to the fashion capital! (Sadly, this is almost an unfeasible goal since my wardrobe is severely limited.
  • I just heard a lot of chanting outside my window. HUELLLGAAA!
Happy (early) Semana Santa everyone! 


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

La Huelga

Tomorrow is the big Huelga here in Spain.

Also referred to as 29M, the syndicators of Spain has rallied together and called the nation to a nation-wide strike tomorrow protesting against the labor reforms the current government has/will be enacting.

I don't know too much about it, but I know that daily life in all of Spain will be affect by this strike.  Flights have been cancelled (thankfully not my own), the Metro is estimated to only function 30-35% of its normal capacity, and most all classes have been cancelled.

On campus, almost everything but the walls and chairs are spray painted with a large 29M in red or black, and everywhere you can see signs saying "LA HUELGA!" or "PARA VUESTRO FUTURO!" etc. etc. Spain and their leniency with the law never fails to surprise me.  This type of vandalism would never fly on Boston's campus.

I might get stoned for saying this, but from an Economic point of view (tainted with probably an Americanized bias), these labor reforms in general seem really necessary for the Spanish economy.  And as a college student who often fails to be well informed on the things of this world, I wonder if even half of the students who are rallying tomorrow will know exactly what they are protesting against. A colleague told me that the people are angry because these decisions were made only by the government and the businesses without discussing with the workers.  I don't know whether that is true or not, but in my humble opinion, even with these reforms, the workers in Spain benefit so much more than the workers in the U.S.

Let me give an example. If an employer wants to or needs to fire an employee, he/she needs a strong reason such as the employee comes to work naked or did something horrible. If such reasons don't exist, the employer is required to pay the employee he/she wants to fire 45 days worth of pay for every year the employee worked for the employer.

That is to say, if I wanted to fire an employee who has worked for me for 10 years because I needed to reduce the number of employees in my small business (which is not a good enough reason according to Spanish labor laws), I would have to pay 45 days of work multiplied the number of years the employee has worked for me. So in total I would have to pay 450 days worth of salary in one check if I want to fire this employee. !!! The reforms reduces this number from 45 days to 33 days.

Okay, it is only a small portion of the reforms, I'm sure, but either way, the workers here have it REALLLL nice.  A part of me wants to say, stop your whining.

Anyhoo, let's just hope that I can get to the airport tomorrow okay so I that I can be on my way to Paris to be reunited with one of my best friends.  YAY for Spring break! :)

El País Vasco part 2

Next day, we went on a day trip to the famous San Sebastian! Hands down the #1 tourist stop in the Basque Country.

Very famous for their crescent moon beach, La Concha, everyone I talked to about this trip gushed about how wonderful San Sebastian is.

Don't get me wrong, I am very happy that we went to San Sebastian, and got to touch the Atlantic Ocean from this part of the world, but it was not as great as people hyped it up to be.  But to be fair, we did go during the off season when you can't enjoy the lovely beach.

My friends and I took a bus to San Sebastian, which ended up being near 13€ round trip.  We mainly just walked, and walked, and walked.  We walked the entire beach twice, walked up and down the streets in the Old Town, walked from and to the bus station, etc. etc.  Probably the most exciting thing we did was go up tram to Monte Igueldo.  At the very top, there are remnants of a theme park, but it's so run-down and out of date that it almost feels eery.

(Going up the Monte Igueldo)
(La Concha from above)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Daily Life: Tuesdays

Tuesdays are long days as well, with the only plus being that it starts later than my Mondays.

Wake up by 8:30, pop in the shower, eat breakfast, casually get ready for school, head for the Metro by 9:30. I get to school for my 10:45 class, and naturally I have a café con leche in my hand for this three hour long class. The class is divided into two parts, and I DREAD the second part only because it's a discussion section, and we're expected to go in front of the class and present a summary and our opinions on the assignment.  If they were in English, no big deal, but the Spanish sucks out any self-confidence I had in my academic life.

The class usually lets out a little early (1:30ish), and afterwards, I head for a GBU meeting where I eat my bocadillos, while participating in a Bible study with other Spanish students.  After the GBU meeting, I do homework, watch TV, check facebook and gmail until my next class at 5. This is my whimp class because we study English literature, the class is conducted in English, AND we only meet once a week.  Hehe.

The class ends at 7, I head for the RENFE station. A bit weary from the long day, I head back into the heart of Madrid to go the weekly college night meeting my church has.  I meet up with my good friend, "Lena," we mingle with other international students as well as Spaniards, have service, munch on some snacks, and BAM, what do you know, it's already 10PM. (I love Tuesday nights. :D)

I get back onto the Metro, and get home around 10:30, have a light dinner, have a phone call with my parents, check email, etc. etc., and soon or later, I'm in bed, ready to catch some z's.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Angela today

I haven't written much about my personal well-being here in Madrid. Most of my posts have been about shallow daily occurrences, or my travels.  Therefore, I wanted to share a snippet of what this abroad experience has been like for me. :) Enjoy!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Daily Life: Mondays

So what's my day-to-day life like here in Madrid?

I'll give you a small run-down on what a typical Monday looks like for me.

I'm basically at the university all day. Aim to wake up at 7, but usually at 7:15, wash up, dress, eat, and get on the metro by 8:10 at the latest.  While listening to music, I weave my way through the sea of people while changing metro lines, getting on and off of trains.

Grab café con leche para llevar at the cafeteria to stay awake during class once I get to the university.  I get to my classroom around 9, which starts at 9:15 (the Professor is almost ALWAYS late,) and ends at 10:30.  I usually have a group meeting for my other class or a tutoring session, but if I don't have any meetings that I have to attend, I either watch a show on my computer, do some work, or AKA kill time until 5PM for another class. That class ends at 7 (or 7:30, as it has been recently), and by the time I get home it's around 8, 8:30.  My host mom and I watch Pasaplaba, a quiz show my host mom watches religiously,  have dinner around 9, do homework, watch another TV show, email, talk with my parents, facebook, tumblr, etc, until roughly about midnight, and go to sleep.

Nothing exciting.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


My host mom has been sick all day with what I think is a bad cold.  Maybe even the flu. [!]

I didn't think much of it until I started coughing a little this afternoon.  I don't feel sick, but I don't want to be anywhere being in the danger of sick, and this itchy throat is scaring me.

1) I'm going to Portugal this weekend! I can't be sick for that!
2) I consider being sick one of the worst things to happen to you while you're away from home. You don't have your mom to take care of you, you can't haphazardly skip your daily duties, etc. etc. Wah, I hope I'm not getting sick.

Let us pray.

God, please oh please, don't let me get sick! In Jesus' name. Amen.


El País Vasco, part 1

Bilbao (point B) and San Sebastian (point C) are here in relation to Madrid (point A):
The trip was off to a rough start.

I woke up at 5:45, hopped on the first metro at 6:20, and finally made it to the gate by 7:15 for my 7:55 flight.  And what do you know. They wouldn't let me board.

Monday, March 12, 2012


I'll send new update(s) soon your way with lots of pictures and just general updates on my life. :)

I want to write one right now just to avoid doing this one assignment for my Public Economics class, but it's already 11PM here, and if I want to get to bed a reasonable hour, I should get it done soon. Bleh.

As some say, Abroad Problems.

Just a teaser of my Bilbao/San Sebastian trip:

 Looks good? Well, looks can fool you. 

Artsy, eh? :)

P.S. did I mention that I'm going to Lisbon this weekend? Hehe

Saturday, March 10, 2012



This time we made eye contact, so I quickly got off on the next stop, tried to nonchalantly walk to the exit, only to wait for the next train.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Did I mention?

Remember this man?

Well I saw him again last week.

I was getting ready to get on to the metro, and as I was approaching the door of the train, I saw him. The Accordion Man.  My heart skipped a beat out of panic, and I quickly turned away from the train that he was on, which was the one I was heading for, and dashed onto the train in front.  Stupid me.

Just as I get into the train, I see him get off the train he was on, and walk into the one I just dashed into!  If I really wanted to avoid him, I should have gotten on to the train that he was on! Horrified at my lack of common sense, I leaned against the side of the metro, plugged in my earphones, put my head down, and tried to cover my face with my hair without looking suspicious.  The accordion man starts to play his tune, and then starts to walk the train around asking for donations.

Da-dum, da-dum, da-dum.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Let's get to know me part 2

I don't know if you have noticed, but I don't put pictures of myself on this blog.  This is in fact NOT because I don't like the way I look (I mean, the girl has her insecurities, but it ain't that severe!) It's more like there's only so much I want to share with the whole world.  My apologies, but I make small attempts to be safe on the internet.

I try and be honest with my thoughts and my adventures (granted, there is censorship and filtration), but I don't want everyone to know what I look like.  I mean, I have had my weird run-ins with strangers on the metro already. ;)

But in order to compensate for this, I decided to write another post about me like this one.

Sometimes how I feel

I would like to slow down this growing up process.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Sevilla part 2

Sevilla continued...

Saturday morning we were greeted by a FANTASTIC breakfast at the hotel.  Spaniards usually only eat crackers with café con leche, so we were delighted to have bacon, scrambled eggs, fried eggs, croissants, toast, coffee, juice, etc. Yum. :)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Role reversal

I'm not Catholic, so I didn't know, but apparently today is San Ángel Day, which means you get a little gift today if your name is Ángel or Ángela.  Well, my name is Ángela, so my host mom got me a porcelain box. How sweet of her! :')

This same host mom asks me during lunch, "Angela, do you like to dance?"

To this, I reply, "Yes, I like to dance.  But I don't know how to Salsa or anything like that. I would like to learn, though (smiley face)."

And then she says, "Well, you need to go to a discoteca then! There's tons of places to go for this! Salsa is very easy to learn. Other girls I have hosted went dancing Thursday, Friday, AND Saturday. You should do the same."

Well, to that I had no response. How is it that my 60-someting, conservative host mom advises me, a twenty-something (Asian-)American, to go out more at night?

LOL talk about a role reversal.