life in sanlúcar :: part one

while i started this blog about two weeks ago, i am yet to write a post about my life here in sanlúcar! here’s a brief recap of the past month.

i began teaching at I.E.S. San Lucas on October 1–i absolutely love it. the teachers welcomed me with open arms and made starting this adventure far easier than i anticipated. the school is called a “bilingual center,” meaning that it gives students the option of taking all of their classes in English. a little more than one third of each grade decides to take advantage of the bilingual track, so i assist around 120 of the school’s 300 students.

i work primarily in English classes, but also assist science and p.e. [yes, you read that correctly] courses, too. in my English classes, the teacher [usually Rosario, Lola or Pilar] has me take about half of the students into another room to work with them on whatever they’re studying; it usually works out to be a ratio of about one to fifteen.

at first, this was pretty daunting. as you all know, before i started at San Lucas, i had no experience teaching, and a room full of hyperactive twelve year olds whose first language was not the same as mine seemed just a little bit outside of my comfort zone. but surprisingly, it went and continues to go quite well. my students, even in primero, are fantastic. they’re actually pretty cute. whenever i walk into their classroom, i’m greeted with a chorus of “HI!” “HI, LAUREN!” it always makes me smile & feel warm and fuzzy inside. [more on the students later.]

during my first week at San Lucas, the teachers all got together and had a party at Juande’s [p.e. teacher] house. despite the fact that i had only known them for two days, they invited me to come, and Juande even gave me a ride. [when i say the teachers at my school are fabulous, i mean they are 100 percent, without-a-doubt fabulous.] i have intercambios with two of them [Pilar and Carmen], and assist a larger group of the teachers with English conversation.

i don’t want to overwhelm you with too many updates at once, so i’ll use another post to continue this story.

un abrazo,


key words:

primero: 11-12 year olds

segundo: 12-13 year olds

tercero: 13-14 year olds

cuarto: 14-15 year olds

intercambio: an hour where a native Spanish speaker and i spend half the time speaking in Spanish and half in English


my adventure book…

i know this post is a little late, but better late than never, right? 😉 to catch everyone up, about two months ago, i decided to completely change the trajectory of my life [well, at least temporarily] by accepting a language assistant position in Spain. this, therefore, meant leaving everything and everyone in my hometown of Portland, Ore. [and other U.S. cities] behind, along with my fantastic job in PR.

while this sounded [and sounds] crazy to some, i couldn’t have been more certain about my path forward. i knew i had to take advantage of this rare opportunity. that i wanted [and needed] to explore the world outside of the U.S. again. that i needed to quench my thirst for adventure.

now, i’ve been in the town where i’m teaching English for three weeks, and i’ll be living here until June. it’s a lovely little town [pop: ~70,000] named Sanlúcar de Barrameda. so far, i really, really like it.

moving forward, i’ll be using this blog to document my European adventures [with photos, of course], and really anything else that i feel like writing about. i have a lot of free time here [i only work 12 hours per week], so i plan [but do not promise] to update fairly often.

thank you for following my adventure. i think we’re both in for a fantastic year. until next post, i’m leaving you with a clip from the film that inspired the new name of my blog, “Up.”


(22) Days of Summer

As many of you know, Oregon had one of the gloomiest summers on record. Lucky for me, I escaped not only Oregon but the country for 22 amazing days of travel.

I’ve always felt that nothing reveals more about oneself than travel, particularly traveling alone. This adventure of mine that spanned four countries, countless cities and multiple islands was by far the most self-revealing to date.


This photo epitomizes my time in Greece: an amazing ancient monument surrounded by the modern (In this case a fire extinguisher)


I learned that while I revel in my independence, I do need others to surround and support me; that I not only love history but am actually obsessed with it (Every time I saw a pile of rubble in Greece, I could visualize the cities these ruins once created, feel the energy that once radiated from them, see the ancient Grecians wandering about the now dusty roads…); that while I obsess over history, I always need to be up to speed with the present (I consumed a newspaper whenever I could get my hands on one, devoured a magazine that came within arms reach, poured all of my concentration into reading a new post whenever the Internet was available.); that I, in summation, am too social to be left entirely alone for extended periods of time, too independent to be constantly surrounded by people, too entranced by the present to be distracted by the past, and too fascinated by the past to ever forget its impact on my present circumstances

Wait, what!? I know that sounds overwhelming, contradictory and a bit weird, but that’s me. I did not anticipate finding myself on this trip (and rest assured, I know I still have a lot to learn), but that is what my independent travel brought with it, and I really could not be more grateful.

These 22 days of summer brought some pretty amazing “ah-ha” moments that I will never forget. Taking the leap and traveling this summer was one of the best choices I have ever made and one I will never regret.

How Quickly Life Changes…

This marks my first post-graduation blog post! I apologize for its tardiness, as I originally promised its posting during the first week of July. Life has been crazy to say the least.

In my former post, I discussed an internship I was offered at a boutique tech agency in Orlando, Florida. My set start date was June 21, but unfortunately I was not there. In the end, I decided to turn the offer down. It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made, but I know it was the best choice for me.

After I turned the offer down, my life was full of uncertainty… I had been planning on moving to Orlando, living with my grandparents and beginning my PR career for about a month at that point, and suddenly all of that was gone. This was self-inflicted, mind you, but I was still reeling. It didn’t help that I made this decision the day after my college graduation, where numerous others had been discussing their joblessness and how difficult the market was/still is.

Once I moved back in with my family for the summer, I began to reevaluate my situation. The way I saw it, I had two options: travel or continue to search for work. With so many of my friends having internships lined up for this summer, I felt a strong pull to continue looking for work. At the same time, the voice of one of my professor’s kept ringing in my ears…

“Take this time to travel or just take a break! Gain a greater understanding of the world because this is one of the only times in your life you will be able to. How long have you been in school, Lauren?”

“Umm, 17 years?”

“Exactly! Give yourself some time off!”

Upon my initial return from Australia in December 2009, I had said: “I am going to take the summer off after graduation, travel and look for a job in the fall.” Why had that changed so drastically? Being friends with some of the most talented and competitive PR students in the country: that’s why.

So, after much thought, I did a complete 180 from the general trajectory of my life and decided to take the summer off and travel. I booked a round trip flight to Greece and cannot wait for my adventure to begin.

I am definitely still searching for work. If the right opportunity arises, I will not hesitate to grab it by the horns, but until then I will be networking, searching for work and traveling. I believe everyone deserves a break at least once in their lives. I know I certainly needed one. (If you know me, you know how intense of an over-achiever I am 🙂 ).

My point is: No matter what point you are at in life, if you need to find peace or just need some air, take a break! So far, mine has been incredibly beneficial. I will continue to write posts pertaining to public relations and social media on this blog, of course, so fear not. If you would like to follow my travel adventures, head over to my tumblr page:

I hope this post was helpful for you, and thank you so much for reading.