Another year abroad meant another trip home to California for Christmas. If the Christmas season is the happiest time of the year, imagine how much lovelier it is when it means reuniting with family and friends for the first time in months. And this year, I added a cherry to the top: through careful strategizing, I managed to turn a multi-hour layover in Nadi, Fiji into a four-day vacation in paradise.
There are few things I love as much as learning a new language. I dream of one day being a polyglot who can communicate in more languages than I can name, and, while my multilingual aspirations remain lofty, I’m working toward them slowly but surely. Beyond English and Spanish, I took French and Italian classes in college (and even a bit of Nahuatl, although I couldn’t tell you how to say a thing!), and I’m currently enrolled in a weekly Mandarin course.
Sadly, the real world limits the amount of time I can devote to language learning, which is where language apps save the day. I’ve played around with a lot of apps, but few have truly impressed me. I am a huge fan of Duolingo, through which I’ve refreshed my Spanish, French, and Italian and can now communicate some basic sentences in Portuguese and German. However, until now, that’s the only language app I’ve really used regularly.
I’ve been hoping to launch an traveler interview series for ages now, and it’s finally arrived! In my first edition, I’m talking to a first-year auxiliar de conversación (participating in the same program I taught in Spain through) and active, lovable member of the expat blogger community: Betty of The Pumpkin’s Head.
Hi Betty! Please introduce yourself to our readers!
Hey, ya’ll – my name is Betty J. Ogburn, and I’m a 22-year-old Southern Belle from Greensboro, North Carolina, currently working as an auxiliar de conversación in Zaragoza, Spain. After graduating from Wake Forest University (God bless Mother, so dear!!) with a B.A. in Spanish with International Studies in May 2014, I left my life in small town USA behind for la vida española!
With February already here, I’m quite the procrastinator, but it’s been a hectic past few weeks, traveling home to California for Christmas, stopping in Fiji on the way back to Sydney, and frantically (and ultimately successfully!) apartment hunting since I’ve been back. But since 2011, I’ve done a yearly recap of my travels that year (see 2011, 2012, and 2013), and, while 2014 wasn’t quite the whirlwind travel year some of my past years have been, it still warrants a nostalgic recap…even if it’s over a month late.
I could probably spend hours on end poring over maps, and the fact that Spain is one of my favorite geographical subjects comes as a surprise to nobody. So without further ado, here are a few of my favorite Spanish maps I’ve stumbled across in my internet travels.
Evolution of Languages in the Iberian Peninsula (credit)
Spain is a country that is still peppered with a wide variety of dialects and independent languages (just where did Basque come from, anyway?), so it’s interesting to see how the languages spoken across the peninsula have evolved over the centuries, as Castilian came to dominate the country.
The frenzy of the 2014 midterm elections is a few months behind us, and, believe it or not, the 2016 presidential election will be here before we know it. The first caucuses will be held less than a year from now, with other local and state elections held in the months between. For some expats abroad, American politics may seem a world away, but the results of U.S. elections still have a major impact on our lives, no matter how firmly planted on foreign soil we may be. Fortunately, while we’re off exploring the world, we can still contribute our voice to American elections.
Happy New Year! I’m currently at LAX awaiting my flight to beautiful Fiji after an action-packed past few weeks home in California. I’ll get back into the swing of things on this blog with a few of my own posts once I’ve returned to Australia, but for now, I present you a guest post about a place still on my bucket list: Niagara Falls. Enjoy!
Niagara Falls is one of the most majestic places on earth. As one of the top natural wonders of the world, this is the perfect destination for your next vacation. Niagara Falls receives a large number of tourists that visit this area every year, and it’s easy to see why.
Whether you’re planning your next big business trip, or even if you’re planning your next family holiday, you’ll certainly want to consider Niagara Falls. Below are five reasons why you should make your next trip a stay at Niagara Falls.
Life is chugging along splendidly here in Sydney, and Christmas is almost here! Here are a few miscellaneous updates from my life over the last few weeks.
- In exactly [checks countdown app] 10 days, 1 hour, and 20 minutes, I will be on a plane for California to spend Christmas with many of my favorite people! I’m absolutely loving Sydney summer, crazy thunderstorms and all, but, as we all know, there’s no place like home for the holidays.