Growing up, I noticed a major divide between my friends who went to private schools and my friends who went to my public school. The differences between the two groups have changed as we have all gotten older, but one thing sticks out to me more than others as we are now choosing college majors: my private school friends seem to be much more concerned with making money.
I’m not quite sure why I am attracted to entrepreneurship. Maybe it’s because my grandpa started his own business, or maybe it’s because my dad started his own. It could also be because I do not do well with authority and the idea of being my own boss is appealing. I think ultimately though, the idea of being an entrepreneur is very exciting to me. The opposite of being a corporate drone is creating your own startup in my mind. So for the last twelve months I have attempted to be an entrepreneur in some way shape or form and learned a lot along the way.
Growing up I would have voted myself most unlikely to ever finish a triathlon. Not because I wasn’t athletic, but because I couldn’t swim or ride a bike. I suppose if my family were asked if that is true, there would be a bit of a debate. My sister would loudly proclaim that I could do neither. My dad would do his best to make it sound like I could ride a bike without definitively saying that I could ride a bike, and talk about how he was worried about my chances of survival in water. And my mom would likely make a joke about doggie paddling or tricycles. But I can now proudly say that after spending a month on Holbox Island, I can ride a bike and swim. I am now a part of the exclusive dual threat club, composed of people ages three and up from all over the world.
The inspiration was largely intrinsic, but this video also played a part in my motivation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaIvk1cSyG8
Often times, you don’t realize what you have until you’ve lost it. I’ve always enjoyed spending the holidays with my family, but I figured that being abroad for the holiday season wouldn’t be too different, and in fact might even be more fun! After all, I would at least be with my girlfriend.
As it turns out, I was wrong. Being away from my family and friends during the holidays was the hardest part of the year, surpassing even the depths of TEFL grammar tests.
In Costa Rica Kelsey and I stayed in a variety of housing situations, ranging from cozy bed and breakfasts to industrial tents. Our per person costs averaged $12/night, with one hostel costing as little as $7/night (thank you Rocking J’s). Europe is significantly more expensive than Central America, so we were prepared to pay more for accommodation. One way we were hoping to cut costs was utilizing couchsurfing, a website where people offer up their couch or spare an extra bed to travelers for free.
A week before leaving to go to Barcelona, I made a couchsurfing account and sent out eight requests. I thought I would have a decent chance of getting an acceptance or two; after all I did read (skim) the official couchsurfing guide to creating an attractive profile. Additionally, I put up a welcoming profile picture and wrote thoughtful couch requests. Unfortunately, as the week went by the rejection messages trickled in due to our potential hosts being out of town, having a full house already, or being too busy to host us. That meant it was back to the hostel grind.
When Kelsey and I went to Costa Rica the summer after graduating high school we were nearly always the youngest people in the room. That coupled with our inexperience in the travel/hostel/bar scene and modicum of introversion led us to doing our own thing most of the time. We would mingle with travelers when we went on tours or were hanging out at the hostel, and if we lost our wallets (if I lost my wallet) we would buy the dude who found it a drink. But when it came to exploring the town’s nightlife we would go without accompaniment.
A few weeks ago Kesley and I went to Northern Spain with my host family. My host mother's parents (my host grandparents?) live in a rural town in the Basque Country, about forty five minutes from Bilbao. The weekend was a good opportunity to relax, take in some beautiful scenery, and enjoy the best food of my life.
When I first signed up for my TEFL certification class, I was under the impression that I would be teaching school classes, as that is what the program's website states. After starting the course however, I learned that all learning situations in Spain are called "Classes" whether there is one student or forty.
Two weeks into my certification course I got an email detailing my first potential "Class." It was a hour and a half long with a three and a half year old boy named Mario. This confused me because classes with children less than seven years old were supposed to be a maximum of one hour long. An hour was apparently all the attention span of a young child could handle.
As I re-read the email I noticed a note in parenthesis that I missed the first read through: "We wouldn't normally accept a 1.5 hour class for such a small child but as you can see below his grandfather is Irish." I guess an Irish grandfather is worth a fifty percent increase in attention span...
Spain is a country full of beautiful architecture. The buildings were clearly not just built for utility; they are also works of art. Some of the most amazing buildings I have ever seen in my life have been Spanish palaces. One of my favorite sights in Spain so far is the royal palace in Segovia, which houses the Queen of Spain during the holidays.
The Spanish omelet, also known simply as a tortilla in Spain, is one of the country's most popular dishes. The tortilla was one of the first homemade meals I had in Spain. At first it looked like a normal omelet to my untrained eye...but my taste buds were in for a surprise!