Do You Need a Break?

Many people come to Spain hoping for a break—from workplace and cubicle monotony, from the demands of a high-powered job, from the stresses of everyday life.

5 Ways to Tell it is Time to Get Away Infographic

But Spain is not the only place to “get away from it all.” Indeed, Mario and I will be heading to Destination #2 (Romantic Getaway) in mid-November. He’s never seen Paris, while I have.

Destination #1 (See the Sights)—London

Kaley London

I totally agree about London being a place to “see the sights.” Sometimes Spain’s monotony of cathedrals and castles gets old, and it’s fun to be in place with a ton to see! I loved the red telephone booths, of course, along with just about everything else!

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Denied Entry—Or How an Expired Tourist Visa Got Me Deported

denied

Okay, it wasn’t technically deportation, but I wasn’t allowed into Spain.

In 2009, I was blissfully unaware of all things Schengen. I came over to Spain in September to work a campus organization at the University of Salamanca. Before coming over, my then-future employers had advised me not to worry about a visa, as it “had never been a problem before.”

Famous last words.

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Airplanes

If there’s one thing I hate, it’s airplanes. I know, I know, they really are quite useful and they allow me to see this one guy I like. He’s kinda worth it, you know.

But still, airplanes really and truly suck. Nowadays, they charge you, as my mother would say, “out the wazoo.” Luckily, on international flights, they still let you take a free bag and eat something. Otherwise I might start munching on my forearm four hours into the eight hour transatlantic journey.

Negatives about planes (yes, a list is needed):

  • Neighbors who talk to you. Yes, I like people (for the most part). But good golly Miss Molly, I like to have my free time to read, watch movies, and try to sleep under the influence of strong sedatives. Okay, scratch that last part.
  • Crappy food. It’s not too hot, believe me. However, I’m not picky.
  • $7 cocktails. WTF. I want some wine to ease my transition into a peaceful slumber. That crap you serve me is not worth $7. Just no.
  • No knee room. As a 5’11” tall woman, I need leg room. There is none.
  • Middle seats. There are of the devil. Period.
  • Lack of personal movies. I really like British Airways and it sounds spoiled, but jeez, personal movies are amaaaazing. They make the flight go 100x faster.
  • Crying children. I do realize that parents also need to fly (I will probably, ironically, someday be such a parent), but it still doesn’t make it unannoying.
  • Crappy coffee. I need strong, black, ESPRESSO when I pull into Madrid at 8 a.m., and my body thinks it’s 2 a.m. These four ounces of brown water do. not. cut. it.
  • Coca-Cola Light. Eww.

Okay, so for today, I think that’s about it. Thanks for humoring me, y’all.

See you on the next Iberia flight to Madrid!

Detainee!

Kaley Detained

I’ll try not to be terribly cliché here, but you know that saying, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade”? (Of course you do.) Well, life definitely handed me some lemons, but lemonade just ain’t gonna cut it here, folks. I’m making margaritas because I. need. a. drink.

I had it all in Spain: job prospects, a temporary place to live, an amazing boyfriend, and then I just go and throw it away. Oops, I mean the Spanish government did that for me. Or rather, my former bosses. But I digress. Upon attempting to enter the glorious country known as España to the locals, the passport control officer looked at me strangely. “You live in Salamanca?” he asked me, only in Spanish. (You see, I’m translating. Aren’t I nice?) “Yes,” I answered – honestly. It turns out that I no longer did, according to them, anyway. I’m making light of a scary situation, but keep in mind that I am a 23 year-old girl who just wanted to see her boyfriend – a boyfriend who was waiting at the gate with her favorite cookies in his pocket. That kind of boyfriend. Sigh.

Oh, sorry, this isn’t a sappy love letter. Back to business. So yes, I was detained for 1.5 days, kept in some underground bunker with my fellow detainees. Now, I wasn’t eager to make friends with any of them, but even if I had wanted to, it would have been rather impossible, seeing as they all seemed to speak Portuguese. One guy only “spoke” Arabic and English. I put spoke in quotes because I asked him simple questions and he stared at me blankly as though I were speaking, hmmm, Mandarin Chinese. Nevertheless, I used my time well there, speaking on the phone with M (my lovely Spanish novio) for several hours, stealing my own cell phone from my confiscated carry on luggage they were keeping in a separate room, eating disgusting airline food, and working as a translator. Yes, you read that right. I was working for them, though I’m still waiting on my check. Spanish police usually (okay, never) know how to speak more than a few words of English (hail to the queen!). To give you an example, while M and I were on the phone, he asked me if, in the U.S., police also were the type who “don’t like to study.” Personally, I hate stereotyping, so of course I quickly answered YES. It made me feel so much better to say these terrible, awful, no good mean things to my boyfriend, who of course was nodding at my every word. At least I assume he was nodding – he better have been! M, are you reading this? Call me later. We gotta talk.

Oh yes, back to translating. Well, I translated from Spanish into English for the Arabic guy who barely spoke English. Complicated enough for ya? No? Sorry, I got nothing. After my translation of the phrase, “Your flight leaves tomorrow at 4,” the guard asked me what, exactly, tomorrow meant, proving that Spanish police hate studying. You see, it is generally a requirement that all children study English from an early age. Tomorrow is generally a word one would know even if one’s skills are limited to the most basic.

However, my favorite part of the whole experience was how most people (except the guards) seemed to think it was very, very strange that I was there. The Nicaraguan sisters questioned me intensely as to exactly why the Spanish police wouldn’t let an American in…I explained to them my evil intentions of seeing the boy with whom I was in love, and they asked if he wouldn’t help me. If only they knew how M was calling every person he had ever met since the age of 2, then they would understand. The flight crew on my way home laughed and laughed, telling me I’d soon be back. My lawyer advised me to lose my passport so I could get back sooner. Everyone, it seemed, thought I should be allowed in, except the law. The law is cruel and unforgiving and hates love. It has never had a girlfriend, so it’s understandable. We need to get it laid. (I kid, I kid.)

So, as for now, I’m in good old Crawtucky, Indiana, applying to be a substitute teacher and spending my time on Skype. Skype is a wonderful tool and I wish to personally kiss the feet of the person who invented it. I take that back, actually, as I have this fear that, somewhere, the inventor is actually reading this (highly unlikely, but possible) and will soon be calling me up. I wish to avoid such situations. It’s only prudent. I ask only that you continue reading and that you do not tell me if you feel asleep reading this post. I’m sensitive.