Hearing bad news about a family member while I am so far away from home is one of my worst fears. This week, my Uncle Tom passed away suddenly from a heart attack. I don’t really know the best way to process this information, but because I can’t be with my family right now, I want to share with you one of my favorite Uncle Tom memories:

When my brother, Mike, and I were little, we would sometimes spend summer weeks with our Uncle Tom while my parents went on vacation by themselves (rude of them). We didn’t mind that my parents were away though because we always had fun when we were with Uncle Tom.

One summer day, Uncle Tom wanted to take me and Mike to the pool. For whatever reason, his swim club was closed when we arrived, so Uncle Tom cultivated a Plan B. He drove us to the nearest Hilton instead. Uncle Tom escorted us straight through the lobby of the Hilton and to the hotel’s pool. Because we were not Hilton residents, we did not have a room key to access the pool deck. However, there was an open notebook near the entrance of the pool that listed room numbers, and with his quick wit, Uncle Tom peeked at that list before telling the lifeguard on duty our “room number” and stating that his wife will be coming down shortly with the room key. I was so excited to join this acting expedition, but I think Mike almost peed his pants. The lifeguard let us into the pool area, no questions asked, and we swam for a while until my brother couldn’t take the pressure any longer. We eventually left the pool in fear of tarnishing his good conscious.

On our way out of the hotel, we must have made a wrong turn because we found ourselves, wrapped in our towels, with dripping wet bathing suits and squishy flip flops in the midst of a wedding reception.

I will always remember my Uncle Tom how he was on that day; adaptable, clever, and entertaining.

I only wish during the past couple of years, I spent more time with my Uncle Tom. He was a big part of my childhood, making the most delicious deep fried turkey on Thanksgiving (almost blowing the house up on numerous occasions) and always bringing the best dessert to Christmas Eve dinner. The week before I left for the Canary Islands, I had dinner with all of my Philadelphia relatives, including Uncle Tom. I sat next to my Uncle Tom, and we had intentional time to catch up after a busy 4 years of college with not too much time spent together. I’m lucky I had this moment, and I wish so much that it was not the last one.

Uncle Tom, my Mom, Mike, and me in Rittenhouse Square Park on the wedding day of my Aunt Heather and Uncle Chris.

Reach out to your loved ones you haven’t spoken to in a while. See how they are doing. Remind them you love them.

Un Saludo,



If anyone has been paying attention to the moon lately, it’s been wacky. A Full Beaver Moon and the penumbral lunar eclipse occurred on Monday. If you don’t know what that is….I didn’t either. The Farmers’ Almanac explains, “The November moon got its name for the time of year when beavers scurried to their shelters ahead of winter.” Below is a diagram I copped from USA Today to give a closer look at the penumbral lunar eclipse:

Long story short, the moon looked really freaking cool this week. I could even see it clear as day when I walked to school in the mornings. I don’t know much about astrology or the moon, but I really love pointing out of a car window, and saying, “The mooooon” as though no one in the car with me has ever seen the moon before. I only understand my own astrological sign (Leo), and I’m not 100% convinced I actually embody the characteristics of this sign, but I do think there is some depth and realness behind astrology, and I believe the moon can affect people in various ways.

With all the moon nonsense going on this week, my friends and I got on the subject of the lunar cycle and the menstrual cycle. How are the two similar? How do they interact with one another? My friend, Rocio, happens to be an expert on this subject, and she laid it all out for us. I love learning new things, and I found this mini-lesson at our dining-room table fascinating.

Below is the Menstrual/Lunar Cycle as drawn by Rocio:

Let me break this diagram down for you in English:

There are four phases in the Lunar Cycle and four phases in the Menstrual Cycle. This type of diagram was created to represent a world in which we live in complete darkness. For this reason and due to modern birth control, this chart is not a complete and accurate representation of how the moon and menstrual cycles interact, but it demonstrates the traditional ideas and beliefs surrounding this topic. It suggests that women embody four archetypes during the four different phases. This cycle follows a 28 day pattern.


New Moon

This is the phase to rest. The woman feels inspired and introspective. This is a time where the woman feels more in touch with her feelings. Menstruation occurs.


First Quarter Moon

This phase is the moment to act. Clarity abounds. This is a good time for the woman to begin new projects, as her energy is heightened. Clear thoughts and a feeling of independence accompany this phase.


Full Moon

This is the phase to just be. The woman feels secure, sexual, creative, and fertile. Ovulation occurs.


Third Quarter Moon

This is basically the worst phase ever. It’s like falling off a cliff. You sleep and feel mentally groggy. This phase is a jump from high to low.

Of course, every woman and every body is different. Whether you subscribe to ancient beliefs or not, it is so important to be in tune with yourself! If you have the urge to track your cycle in relation to the lunar cycle, you can google “Moon Cycle Charts” and a myriad of options are available to you. You can also download apps to your phone (moon-related & not). I have been using the monthly cycles app for about a year, and I think it is a simple and easy tool to keep track of your period. I’ve never used a moon chart before, but maybe now I’ll give it a try. Let me know what tracking systems you have used or are curious about in the comments below!

Un Saludo,



So… I had this idea for my obligatory Thanksgiving blog post… I planned to write about the people I have met in the Canary Islands that I am thankful for. Novel idea. I know. I started my entrevistas or interviews with my roommate, Julia, and I immediately realized that this plan was insufficient. I don’t know how I could possibly fit the stories of fascinating people, like Julia, all in one blog post. Thus, begins my interview series! Name TBD. If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comment section. Although I know I can not widdle down the story of any one individual to a meager blog post, I will do my best to introduce you to Julia and others with my limited resources and amateur interview skills.

First, I should tell you that in Spanish “Js” are pronounced like “Hs”, so instead of “Jul yah”, think “Hul yah”.

Julia is one of the first people I met here in the Canary Islands. She is 22 years old, and she is a naturally likable and friendly individual. Julia hails from Madrid but came to the Canary Islands to take her driving exam. She is a very introspective person who places meaningful connections with people over all else. I admire her calm demeanor and her unmatched optimism for life.

Tell me about your home

I like Madrid for the variety of open minded and friendly people. There are many places to go, old monuments, street art, and parties. Parties before COVID were really good. In Madrid you have lots of possibilities.

Tell me about your village

My village is where my family comes from. My grandmother, grandfather, and father come from a village called Rascafria, situated in the north of Madrid at the base of the mountains. In the winter, it is really cold, and I like to sit by the fire and relax. In the summer, the climate is pleasant. I spend time with my cousins and friends. We all know each other. The village is where I learned to rock climb. I enjoy riding my bike. There are natural swimming pools, and we have a lot of stray cats. The parties in the village are famous. The 15th of August is Fiesta Patronal. We have a whole week of parties with costume competitions, car racing, and a water party where kids play with soap and water. Rascafria has lots of animals, is agricultural, and we have a wood factory. The one thing I don’t like so much is the very traditional thinking. They are not very open minded. Some people stay in the village their whole life, but others leave and go to Madrid or other places to study. I know brothers; one who went to Madrid, and one who stayed home, and they think so differently. With COVID-19 and travel restrictions, more people than usual have been visiting Rascafria because it is within their zone of travel and they have nowhere else to go. They stay in hotels and rural houses. When 3, 4, 5, people from outside Rascafria arrive, you notice.

If you could do anything without limits, what would you do?

Travel around the world all the time. I want to have many houses…not around the world. I also want to help other people. I want to have money and resources to help them, but I will never in my life be a politician. Volunteering and traveling. I want to learn about people and know cultures. I don’t mind where I go, as long as where I go is a learning place. I like traveling alone. It’s a good thing for you, and knowing yourself in many situations. I don’t care where I go.

What are you thankful for?

I am really thankful for my parents. They push me to do lots of things, without me knowing they are good things. For example, I didn’t know what to study. Instead of arguing with me, my mom told me to calm down, take my time, make my own decision. My mom is the first one who tells me to travel. She says do it without thinking of anything else. I am what I am because of them. I’m thankful for all of my friends, all of the people in my circle because they teach me lots of things. I am really thankful for myself. I am thankful for this house. I like good people in my life, and I think I have that.

If you could eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?

Pasta. You can mix it with lots of different things. If I was a sporty person, pasta would be really nice. I am not, but I’m still going to say pasta. I’m not going to get bored with pasta. My favorite food is cuban rice. It is the best, but I would get bored of that.

How has COVID-19 changed your outlook on life?

I became more mature. In quarantine, I spent a lot of time alone. I realized many things about myself. I realized how I am. I have lots of different feelings about people. I want to think that we are a good planet. But I don’t know. I don’t really know. I think COVID changed a lot of people. People feel COVID in different ways. We do not all have the same perspective about COVID. I think COVID is a good thing to unify us. I think if we do that , it’ll go better.

Anything to add?

Now a days, I’m in a really good mood with lots of ganas de aprender.


Don’t @ me

With so much change recently, running is a constant. It’s hard to explain just how much this sport means to me, unless you are a runner yourself. In this case, you probably understand. If not, try to conjure up an image of your favorite pastime. Think of the feeling you get when you go fishing, bowling, watch golf on tv, or do whatever it is you’re passionate about.

1. Running allows you to FREE YOUR MIND

Cheetah Girls GIF - CheetahGirls Strut Travel GIFs

Whenever I have thoughts racing through my head (every day), I take to running to sort them out. I always come off a run feeling a bit lighter and with a sense of clarity. In this way, I keep unreasonable thoughts from running around my mind all day, ha.

2. Be the main character.

new york running GIF by CBS All Access

When I’m running, I pretend I’m a movie character. As cliché as it may be, I really like the “I’m the main character” mindset that has surfaced recently on social media. I recommend keeping a “my life as a movie” soundtrack featuring key songs such as Electric Light Orchestra’s, Mr. Blue Sky. Why not pretend you are in a movie about to have your great adventure?

3. Supportive community of runners

fun running GIF

With a background of high school and collegiate running, I’ve experienced the community that the sport provides. Although running is considered individualistic, I have NEVER felt more of a team bond in any other sport. Even now, without a team behind me, I still consider fellow runners my teammates. Ya know when you pass another runner during a run and you give each other that ~look~ and you just feel that internal bond of “Yeah, you’re a badass? I’m a badass too. Keep up the badassery.” ? Love that moment.

4. Runners high

wgn news lol GIF by WGN Morning News

There is nothing like that post-run feeling.

5. I like to eat and drink a lot. Need I say more?

happy jim carrey GIF

6. Bragging rights

london marathon kipchoge GIF by Virgin Money London Marathon

“Yeah I’m a runner.” For some reason, people are impressed when you say you are a runner. (hint: anyone can be a runner)

7. Unpredictability

Surprise Reaction GIF

Some days, I feel winded after 2 miles, and the next day I bust out 8 miles like nobody’s business. Sometimes my watch stops in the middle of a run. Sometimes I get lost. Sometimes it starts raining. Spontaneity keeps life interesting, amirite?

8. Passing boys on runs 😉

9. No equipment necessary!

Expensive gym memberships or COVID concerns keeping you from working out? Fear not! All you need to do is put one foot in front of the other. *Warning: your feet will likely end up looking like this:

Feet Gullible Pants GIF by SpongeBob SquarePants

10. You can do it ANYWHERE

My favorite running spot in Puerto :’)

Wherever you are, you can always run. It is an efficient way to explore new places and quicker than walking.

Anyway, those are just a few of the reasons why this sport brings a warm fuzzy feeling to my heart. I love running, yes I do, if I love running, so can you!

Un Saludo,



This year has been a shit show….no doubt about it; a fascist president, a global pandemic, police brutality, protests and riots… all resulting in a divided country causing strained relationships among friends, families, and neighbors. I could go on, but those are the basics.

This year has separated time into periods of “before 2020” and “after 2020”. I’ve heard people pleading for the end of 2020. To this, I ask, “Why? What changes when the clock strikes midnight on January 1st, 2021?” We will still be in the “after 2020” period. This life is still our reality. Adapt. Keep moving. But don’t wait until January 2021 for a magic spell that will transport us back to “normal” because I promise you, it ain’t coming. A vaccine though?? One can hope.

I can’t say I was all that surprised that the U.S. elections loom so large on the world stage. However, I was curious to gage the opinions of non-Americans on our current political climate. For the most part, the people I have met here are not big Trump supporters. The one outlier was an Italian man I spoke with who admitted his limited knowledge on the subject, but thought Trump was better for the global economy.

Even from 4000 miles away, I have seen countless news stories and heard people discussing election drama. On Friday, my roommates excitedly pulled up the Electoral College map to show me that my home state, Pennsylvania, had flipped to blue. Students in class have asked me who I predict winning the elections, and I subtly bragged that Joe Biden’s campaign team is awaiting results at the conference center where my Dad works. My boss has sent me memes of Donald Trump, and even the police officers at my TIE appointment recognized the state of Pennsylvania listed on my passport. My 9 year old tutee told me that he would vote for Biden. Todo el mundo has been paying attention.

Mom and Dad excited as heck at the election night celebration

It is certainly an interesting time to be an American abroad and witness the whole world hold their breath. This week, I will have some cool stories to share with my students about how my parents partied it up with The President Elect and U.S.’s first ever female VP over the weekend. There’s a lot of work to be done to mend relationships in such a polarized nation, but today, I feel proud to be an American and especially a Pennsylvanian 🙂

Un Saludo,



I never considered Halloween my favorite holiday. I never considered autumn my favorite season. But not-so surprisingly, missing out on these familiar realities, had me feeling some type of way. While there is not much I can do about the lack of changing leaves and sweater weather, I can prioritize Halloween.

As I have learned from my students, Halloween is not really a big deal here. It happens, but it is not a whole season of celebration, and it is certainly not ~spooky~. Yes, there is trick-or-treating and costumes, but that’s about it. One teacher told me that Halloween only arrived in the Canary Islands about 15 years ago, building on the customs seen in the U.S. (which we took from Ireland/Great Britain) centuries ago.

The Canarians do observe a holiday known as Finoas in which people eat chestnuts and pay respect to the dead, but this holiday is a little antiquated, and the younger generations know little of its origins. However, I did have many students tell me they partake in egg-throwing on Halloween, and I was an ever-so-gracious recipient of the tradition this year 🙂

So what did I do to get that Fall feeling? I made Halloween (or a version of it) happen. Pumpkins are not easy to find in the Canary Islands. Pumpkin Spiced lattes? Forget about it. The pumpkins aka “calabaza” here are what Americans call gourds. My roommate, Julia, and I considered what our success rate would be if we tried to carve gourds until a friend told us about a grocery store that was selling the “rounder pumpkins.” By a stroke of luck, we found candles in our house that were the perfect size to put in our tiny ashen pumpkins. I actually don’t think I’ve carved a Jack O’ Lantern in years, and it was exciting to watch Julia partake in an unfamiliar American custom. Because of my eagerness to share my country’s traditions, I tapped into my own child-like admiration for the simple things.

Bringing American Halloween traditions to the Canary Islands
Celebrating Halloween by carving Jack O’ Lanterns

Not wanting to let any bit of Fall escape, I roasted the pumpkin seeds with a bit of olive oil and salt, and I used the pumpkin innards to bake a pumpkin cake with cream cheese icing. Believe me when I say, that the only pumpkin flavored treat in all of the Canary Islands can be found in our kitchen.

While I had trouble convincing my new friends to deck out in complete Halloween costumes, Julia painted some spooky makeup on our faces, and we celebrated the night with a bit of Sangria (typical Spanish) and some pong (typical American). It was not the Halloween I am used to, but it was a wonderful Halloween nonetheless. I can’t wait for Thanksgiving.

Halloween makeup
Not pictured: the tutu I got for a few euros at a store down the street.

Un Saludo,



The longest amount of time I have ever been away from home by myself was 20 days. I visited Barcelona during my winter break, junior year of college, and I did not know a soul there. However, I had the privilege of meeting a wonderful mix of American and Australian students through a travel abroad program (CIS Abroad) upon my arrival.

This time is a bit different. I have now crossed the threshold of my 20 days, and I have done so, for the most part, alone. There have been no organized activities or tours of the city, no excursions, no classes, and no three-course Spanish lunches followed by trips to see Gaudi’s most famous architectural designs. But, we are comparing apples to oranges here. And while apples are crisp and shiny, sometimes you crave a different flavor. You might have to get a little bit of rind underneath your fingernails to get to that sweet center.

This month has been slow and then fast and then slow again. I have spent a lot of quality time with my roommates, who I am extremely thankful for. Meeting Julia and Adrí my third day on the island was by no stretch of the imagination a blessing, and they have helped me keep some semblance of normalcy during such a transitional time. One night, as we were walking outside, Julia looked up at the moon and said, “We are all under the same moon. That’s what I like to think about when I’m missing my mom.” Later that week (and I don’t know how I didn’t notice it before), I was staring up at my ceiling, trying to fall asleep, and I noticed that my room has those scattered twinkling stars I always wanted as a kid…and of course.. a little sliver of a moon right dab in the center of the pattern.

I started teaching, and it is not unlike how I expected, but I do have a newfound appreciation for my American schooling and for teachers in general. Teaching, ladies and gentlemen, is not a job for those who can’t. My self-directed mission during week one of classes was to understand my students’ English abilities. How should I approach the different ESO (Secondary Education) levels? And will I be mistaken for a student? The answer to the later is yes, many times.

A note my roommates left out for me on my first day of school.

I arrived at school with a presentation about myself and a “Create your Instagram Profile” activity that I prayed would last the class period. My first week taught me I will have to adjust sessions for the more basic classes (alphabet, colors, greetings, etc). As, I went to college for Business (ha!), I have no idea how to make a lesson plan, so if anyone in the field of education wants to drop some knowledge, please do. So far, google drive and a plethora of dutifully named subfolders has been my approach.

I am teaching high school, and while I admit some of the students are intimidating, most are genuinely curious and kind. A highlight of my week was when a student approached me and asked me to join him and his friends in their football match. Another girl from my lower level classes proclaimed, “Hi. teacher. I love you!” when I walked into the room. The eagerness to learn English is evident in many of my students, but the classroom structure is so different from anything I’ve ever seen. The notion to raise your hand in class is quite literally a foreign concept, leaving the quieter students unable to fend for themselves in classroom discussion.

In other news, Pedro Sánchez, announced a 6 month (pending approval from the Congress of Deputires) State of Alarm due to COVID-19. The government set a 6am-11pm curfew, is limiting gatherings to 6 people, and setting travel restrictions. This state of alarm applies to all of Spain except the Canary Islands, due to its low amount of cases. In fact, the Canary Islands were just recently added to the UK’s safe travel list. When I applied to be an auxiliary (before anyone had ever heard the word coronavirus), I chose the Canary Islands on a whim. Live on an island? Sounds good. Maybe I should have done more research, but my good fortune in this particular situation proves sometimes you just have to follow your gut.

Like anything in life, my experience here will be a mixed bag. If I dig far enough and have just the right amount of luck, I may be able to pull out a small treasure. Or, I could live through a Charlie Brown scenario and repeatedly score some rocks. On that note, I will be introducing Halloween to my classes this week. What are you being for Halloween? How do you plan to celebrate Halloween in a COVID-19 world? Drop your answers in the comments below.

Un Saludo,



I am one lucky gal. Not only do my roommates share their Spanish language and culture with me, but they FEED ME. In turn, I introduced them to grilled cheese, peanut butter, chocolate chip cookies, and swear words in English.

I have learned there are three rules in Spanish cooking (or at least with my roommates’ cooking) : 1.Garlic 2.Oil 3.Onions These three words fit nicely into my vocabulary and don’t stray too far from my already basic knowledge of what makes food taste good.

Not only is the food buenísimo, but eating is an event. In the typical Spanish way, lunch is the largest meal of the day and requires the most work to prepare. I’ve been taking notes, watching Adrí and Julia in the kitchen as they prepare the food. So far, we’ve had a few pasta dishes, salmon and rice with homemade garlic aioli, and Spanish style lentil soup with blood sausage, chorizo, Canarian potatoes, and bacon (Spanish *beicon* is a thicker/fattier meat). Yesterday, we had a taco spread (provided by yours truly), but I let Adrí handle the cooking of the taco meat and veggies.

I have learned to forego my typical, and one may say boring, 12pm lunch for a more traditional Spanish lunch time of 3pm or 4pm full of flavorful food and great company, leading me straight into my siesta.

I have been writing down some of the recipes and styles of cooking to save for a later date when I want to remake these creations. Más para seguir 😉

Un Saludo,



This week, I feel like I have been all over the world, and I guess quite literally I have been. I’m glad I know a lick of Spanish because I don’t know how I would get by without it. My first revelation; no one here speaks English. Those who do have more of a Spanglish approach (like me). My past experiences in Madrid and Barcelona led me to believe that English was widely spoken in Spain. I was mistaken. I try my best to speak with locals in Spanish out of respect…I’m on their turf now. I want to become fluent in the language, so I guess diving right in is the best approach. Three university classes taken my freshman year and two years of tutoring basic Spanish have prepared me enough, but I’ve got a ways to go.

This brings me to my second revelation; people are really freaking nice and willing to help. I don’t know if it is because I am a young wide-eyed girl very far from home who looks like she needs some help (I’ve used this card a lot) or if it is the nature of the people here, but I am very thankful for the kindness I’ve received.

Here’s a short story:

While I was searching for a place to stay in Fuerteventura, I mentioned to one of the flat owners (Maximo) that I can not use my phone without WIFI. After showing me the flat, Maximo told me to follow him and walked with me a few blocks to a Locutorio (phone store). He proceeded to look up the best/most reasonably priced phone plan for EU roaming and llamadas nacionales (calling in-country) and explained to the woman behind the counter what I needed. If that wasn’t enough, he also put me in contact with his son who is fluent in English and lives on the island. Even after I decided not to rent Maximo’s flat, he told me his family was still there to help with anything I needed. *Cue the tears* This is only one example of the generosity I’ve experienced.

While I have been lucky with my encounters, I also have done more work than necessary trying to obtain my TIE (kinda like a green card). I still do not have it, and the process has been a massive headache, but I am taking things step by step.

For any auxiliaries reading this, here is what I wish I had known:

Step 1: Find a place to stay. This will be important because you need to put your address on all your documents.

Step 2: Make an appointment with your Ayuntamiento (town hall) to empadrar (register) in the country. You may have to make this appointment online or through the phone due to COVID. I made the mistake of going to the Comisario first before registering because I thought I had all of the paperwork I needed. Nope. I did not.

Step 3: After registering, you will have to come back to pick up your contracto de empadramiento.

Step 4: When you have your contract of empadramiento, make an appointment with the comisario. You will need to bring:

  • Contract of empadramiento
  • Passport
  • Visa
  • Tasa and receipt for the Tasa (I had no idea what this was, but the police officers pointed me in the direction of a local print shop, and I found out a tasa is like a money order. After obtaining my tasa, I had to go to the local bank and use an ATM machine to pay for the tasa and receive my receipt).
  • 3 passport sized photos
  • Copies of your passport and visa (black & white)
  • Contract of employment

I hope these steps prove helpful. I wish I had known to go to the Ayuntamiento right away because their appointments are all booked up for the coming days. Spanish bureaucracy is sloooow moving especially with COVID, but I am making moves poco a poco and trying my best to find my way here with a little help from some friendly Spaniards.

Un saludo,



I am coming to terms with the truth that life is unpredictable. Even as a kid, I abhorred change. As a very structured person, I like my routine; same bed time on repeat. While some routine is beneficial, at a certain point it becomes limiting. Little changes scare me more than big ones because the big ones happen so fast I can’t control them if I try….AKA CORONA…Massive changes force me to adjust, but consciously making small changes is f****ing hard, man.

What scares me more than anything is not knowing, and I DON’T KNOW SO MUCH (even though I pretend I do.) This age is so weird. At 22, I am young enough to take many different paths, but I am old enough that I have to be responsible about my decisions??? I feel off kilter. If there was a book detailing how to live life right, I think I would follow those instructions to a T… but where’s the fun in that?

A quote I have been thinking about a lot lately is,

“If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.”

-Lao Tzu

Idk if Lao actually ever said this, but I probably found it on a Pinterest board or something, and the words really stuck with me. If I am honest with myself, I spend way more time than I would like in the past and future. I think most people spend their lives trying to reach that “peace,” but I wonder how many actually achieve it.

I’m not sure what the point of this post was, but as I am planning to leave home, these thoughts have been on my mind. I am hopeful for this new change, and I will try to stay in the present…practice mindfulness and all that blah blah blah.

Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk 😉

Un Saludo,