Mom and daughter prove that independence and bucking societal norms make for a happy, loving life!

Tag: BEDA Program

How We Get Around In Madrid

Before we left the United States to come to Madrid, I can’t tell you how many people asked me what I was going to do with my van, and if I was going to either rent or purchase a vehicle when we arrive in Spain. […]

Keeping Up With Your Favorite TV Shows While Abroad!

One of the thrills of traveling overseas is immersing yourself in a completely different culture. However, there are times when you just want to curl up on the couch or in bed and watch a familiar television series from home. Before we left, I purchased […]

I am Exhausted – Getting Used to My New Teaching Role

As you may have guessed, these past two weeks have been incredibly busy as I have been getting acclimated into my new role as a Language Assistant/English Teacher here in Madrid.

School Hours: In Madrid, the children begin school in September, but they don’t have full days until October. They begin the day at 9 a.m. and get out between 1 and 1:15 p.m.

In October, the hours are 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Lunch is from 1 p.m. until 2:30, then classes re-convene from 2:30 until 4:15 p.m. This is my schedule in October, and Scarlett’s is slightly different with a 30 minute difference in her lunch schedule. Her school gets out at 12:30, so I will walk over and pick her up as soon as I am finished. This makes it a bit inconvenient, but at least we will be able to eat lunch together everyday and get a nice break.

Taking the Train: The subway, or Metro as it is called here in Spain, is a very efficient form a transportation. However, it does get old when it takes a good 45 minutes to an hour to get to your destination each morning. It took us a few times taking the route to figure out exactly when we needed to leave each morning, but if we leave by 8 a.m. we can usually get there on time. We live in the area called La Latina in Madrid, which is close to the city center, and our schools are in a town outside of the center. We have about 14 stops we have to go through each morning to arrive at our destination, and this includes switching trains for a different line.

Teaching: I teach at a bilingual school, and grades first through fifth have bilingual classes. They have both English and Science classes taught completely in English.

Since my title is a language assistant, I need to have a teacher in the room with me although I am teaching most of the classes on my own during my scheduled hours. The first week I mainly observed, and showed the classes a Power Point presentation about myself. I had a few photos of me and my children, and a couple of theatre photos, etc. to show my hobbies and talents.

Since this is my first time teaching in a formal teaching environment, I am getting used to planning lessons. Since I am teaching via the BEDA program, I have to attend a certain amount of classes during my time in Madrid. So far, I have found these to be extremely helpful since the classes are all about how to teach and plan lessons. This program is a wonderful way to gain teaching experience while living abroad while also getting paid.

Blessings Among Chaos: There is definitely a learning curve to being an English teacher overseas, and there have been a few frustrations during my first two weeks of teaching. There are a couple of classes that just don’t seem interested, or even respectful, but when I see the children in the hall and I am greeted with a smiling, “Hello Amie!” it warms my heart. When the children randomly come up to give me a hug, I think that perhaps I am doing something right.

My teaching goal this year is to help the children enjoy learning English. I don’t want them to hate it. As I continue learning Spanish, I know very well how frustrating it can be when it is difficult to communicate.

Scarlett seems happy so far with her school although she is in a class with students who don’t speak Spanish, and only one other student speaks English.  Her class is a welcome class that is basically only teaching her Spanish. She said that everyone has been nice and friendly so far, and that thrills me to hear.

We have both had a few ups and downs since our move to Madrid, and we are still getting settled after living here for one month. I remember thinking that it probably won’t be until November before we feel completely settled here in Madrid, and that seems to be the case. Moving anywhere can be daunting, but packing up and completely moving to a different country and culture can be both frustrating and exciting. Both have proven to be accurate! There are days when I am thrilled to be here and wake up feeling blessed that I have this opportunity. There are other mornings when I find myself questioning the sanity of my choice to move here for the umpteenth time.  All in all, we are happy with the decision and looking forward to the learning experience this next year brings.



3 Weeks In Madrid! Apartment Hunts, School and More!

Finding Our Apartment: I have been promising a blog with the details about our apartment hunt, and here it is. Apparently finding an apartment in Madrid is very similar to finding an apartment while living in New York City. While I have personally never lived in […]

We Got Our Visas! (A Step By Step Guide to the Visa Application Process)

After receiving the news that I was accepted as a language assistant in Madrid, I knew that both my daughter and I would have to apply for visas. Thinking that this would be about as painless as obtaining a United States Passport, I soon realized […]

Nice to Meet You!

Hello: My name is Amie, and it is my hope that my experiences will not only entertain in some fashion, but will also serve to compel those who may feel stuck in some way to realize that it is possible to live life and be happy. My daughter and I will be moving to Madrid, Spain in a few weeks, and it has been a stressful and exciting process, but one that I hope to share with you.

A Little Family Background: I have three children, two that are now legal adults, and one that is always by my side.  My relationship with my daughter, age 12, is synonymous to that of Rory and Lorelai Gilmore of “The Gilmore Girls.” Honestly, that is usually the best similarity I can come up with when it comes to describing our mother/daughter bond.

As many before me have done, I got pregnant at 19, married to my son’s father at 20, got pregnant with his brother three years later, had our baby girl six years after that, had a whole lot happen in between, and got divorced in 2010 after 13 years of marriage.  Whew! Say that ten times! Without going into too much detail in my intro blog, let me just say that it was my choice, and it was something that needed to occur. My ex and I are completely opposite people, with opposite views on virtually everything under the sun. With that being said, our working relationship regarding the legalities and custody arrangement of the children has always been stellar for the most part, and I consider myself very fortunate.

Work and School: I went to college later in life and graduated in 2013 with my Bachelor’s degree in journalism. Thinking that since I free-lanced for a couple of news publications and a foodie magazine in Austin, TX before graduation, plus reporting for the criminal courts in Middle Tenn., I just “knew” I was going to get flooded with job offers. Flash forward to today, and well, here I am, and I am still not reporting for a newspaper on my way to winning a Pulitzer!

After graduating, I worked for the State of Tennessee for almost a year, then took a job working from home as a customer service agent, and within that year and a half got a promotion as an escalations supervisor. I decided to apply to law school as this is something I had been working towards for a while now after having taken the LSAT a couple of years before. I got accepted, and went for a year, but the tuition got the best of me, and student loans weren’t an option this time around. During one of my summer breaks, I took a job at a law office that did eviction law, and that was hands down one of the most awful jobs that I have ever had. I thought that having a job at any law office would be great experience, but I was sadly mistaken. That wasn’t the type of law I wanted to practice at all. I wanted to be a criminal defense attorney, and after leaving that job, I started thinking long and hard about how I wanted to spend the rest of my life.

Embracing My Free-Spirited Nature: My first instinct as I was looking for another place of employment was to start packing and put our belongings in storage when our lease was up so that we can move to Europe. However, after doing more research I soon found out that you need a visa and can’t just move to Europe without a plan.

The light bulbs began flashing as a more realistic approach to traveling on a budget began to take form in my thought process. How do I obtain an ESL teaching certificate? There are several ways, and I opted to try the online course. I will go into this more later, and explain the pros and cons of both, but so far it has been positive and I was even offered a teaching position in Vietnam but I turned it down. My heart and spirit have been yearning to visit to Europe, but it is much harder to get a job in Europe if you aren’t an EU citizen.

I was, however, able to find out how to apply to become a teaching assistant in Spain. My next few posts will delve into the application process and interview as well as all of the excitement and stress of this process of moving to Madrid.

Stay tuned for our crazy, non-traditional lifestyle!