Day 45 in Spain: mi familia aparte de mi hogar

My family away from home is Joseph’s family from Madrid, Spain. His great cousin and her children have been living here for about 12 years.

They identify as both Dominican and Spaniard, and are such welcoming, caring people. They remind me of my friends back home. They remind me of the Latina people, culture, and neighborhood I was raised in. They remind me of a part of home I was not expecting to have here. They remind me of my own family in New York–graciosa, comprensiva, hermosa, ruidosa, en una mantra buena–humorous, understanding, beautiful, and loud in a good way.

A day in family is really what it felt like.

And that, it was.

p.s. Shakira and her family treated my roommate and I to a Chinese buffet called El Reino (The Kingdom) yesterday. I am a fan of Asian cuisine for sure, and she remembered that from when we first met. We enjoyed our time picking whatever we wanted to eat time and time again, meeting her daughter, granddaughter and other son, and joking in Spanish the whole time.  Here’s to a day in family!


Day 44 in Spain: Rainy Days

call for sleeping in

cake dipped in Spanish coffee for breakfast

a steaming-hot shower to shake off the cold

the blinds raised for some light to gift my sight and skin

a cracked-open window for a bit of cold, fresh air

Spanish jams mientras (while) working on assignments

a trip to the mall not too far from home

and churros with chocolate

a dessert before lunch

right before brick-oven pizza like Italian pizza from New York

and a get-to-together with what seems like long- lost friends in Madrid

p.s. My Friday was not too shabby. I enjoyed catching up on personal things, heading out despite the rain to do something, and meeting new people, locals, in a neighborhood I have been wanting to visit for a while. Here’s to rainy days in Madrid! There’s lots to do if you just step outside and enjoy the little things and  moments and sounds and people.






Day 43 in Spain: Power of the Siesta (Nap)

I crave for relaxation on Thursdays–what I call “My Fridays,” since I begin my weekend.

I come home to treat myself to a hot shower.

Then a power nap for a couple of hours.

Maybe a phone call or two.

And of course, I delve into watching That’s 70 Show–my favorite series this academic school year. It never fails to make me laugh or smile.

Then I listen to my favorite Spanish pop hits to get in the mood for the weekend.

p.s. Happy almost Friday!

Day 42 in Spain:  Prepping for Morocco 

I am ready for an average of 60-degree weather

I am ready to wear scarves to cover up as a sign of respect

I am ready to ask permission to take photos of what appeals to me

I am ready to see stray cats everywhere

I am ready to hear so many languages and dialects

I am ready to see the cafes that dominate life in Tangier

I am ready to explore blue-hued Andalusian town of Chefchaouen

I am ready to see mosques knowing that I cannot enter as a non-Muslim

I am ready to try Couscous, which is baked in communal wood-fired ovens–the very same food my sister had as her staple in Senegal, Africa

I am ready to see a traditional Moroccan house (riad), which is built around a central courtyard with windows facing inwards for privacy

I am ready for a camel ride across the desert.

I am ready for you, Morocco.

p.s. Super excited to head to Morocco next weekend! I did some research yesterday, and am so stoked to explore a new country. I am heading their by bus and ferry with a big group that’s part of the Citylife Madrid organization. What a way to travel!  Here’s to traveling to places I would have never thought about until later in my life! Who says you can’t travel on a student budget? #4continentsandcounting #America (#andtheCaribbean) #Asia #Europe #AndnowAfrica

p.p.s.  Here are the articles I found to help me prep! Enjoy 🙂

Day 41 in Spain: Prepping For The Future 

Though I am living in Spain, I still have to work on things for my life back home.

I have to prep for potential interviews—one for a job at school, and one for a paid internship for this summer.

I have to make time for phone calls and emails —hellos, birthdays, rants, and advice.

I have to think about what my life back at New Paltz will be like—where I will live, what courses I am going to have to take, how much graduation fees will be…

I have to make sure everything I am doing now will count for the future—in credits, in value, in memory.

p.s. Yesterday was a reminder to me that things don’t happen magically. You have to ask the right people the right questions. You have to take time to do research and understand. You have to be willing to adjust your plan, way of thinking, and schedule to invite more positive changes and opportunities in your life. So, here’s to prepping for the future!

Day 40 in Spain: Fave Snacks


Fairy cake muffins called magdalenas

Plain vanilla-flavored cakes

Apple pastries

Apple-cider donuts called rosquitas


Chocolate-filled croissants called croissants relleno de colacao

Integral strawberry cornflakes cereal

p.s. I tried going to a different supermarket today. It’s called Mercadona. So far I am obsessed with chocolate-filled croissants. I want them every time I am hungry (which is a lot if you know me, haha).  I’m definitely eating a lot of bread here, but my host mom cooks really healthy things for dinner. I also walk a lot as I am a commuter and of course, a tourist. Here’s to my favorite meriendas (snacks) in Spain!


Day 39 in Spain: Things Back at Home and Abroad 

All my friends are celebrating their 21st year of life—how fun!

I resubmitted my Student Activities Manager application for the fall–woohoo!

Family and friends have reached out about the letters they have received from Spain–so happy!

I got notice from my home school, New Paltz, about participating in a blog dedicated to studying abroad for some money—so my-kind-of-thing!

Joseph just had the time of his life doing the things he went to Australia to experience—surfing, visiting The 12 Apostles,  exploring the The Great Ocean Road, going on a hike in a national park, and seeing kangaroos! He’s been documenting it very well with all his gadgets: Iphone X, go pro 5, and drone–super proud!

p.s. Yesterday I went to a cafe to get some work done, and discovered a nice neighborhood near my home with a new park, a candy store, and so many pastry and flower shops. I also made phone calls to catch up with friends and family. I got to speak to my mom, my sister, my best friend, Melisa, and my aunt in Florida. Life keeps going no matter where you are. Here’s to being happy that everyone else and everything else is going good, too!

Day 38 in Spain: Dominican Food, Lavapiés Neighborhood, & a Wonderful Park

My family friend, Isadora, who we call Isi, invited me to lunch, and I savored eating mofongo (fried plantains with meat), con camarones (with marinated shrimp), and chicharrón de pollo (pieces of fried pork with other meats). I miss my Puerto Rican /Dominican/Carribean Spanish food so much. There’s nothing like food from home, and of course in between eating, I discussed my new challenges with my host mom. Haha. That being said it was great food with great company and great conversation all in Spanish.

I also had a nice stroll in Lavapiés neighborhood which is full of authentic shops, yummy pastries, and cool-looking restaurants.

And a wonderful park, called, Parque de la Araganzuela, full of fast slides, lovely bridges, a sunset and city-like lights.

p.s. I got a little bit of home, fresh air, and remembrances of childhood. I enjoyed the atmosphere I was in so much with so many locals, children, and families enjoying the day. Hope you all had a lovely Saturday as well!

Day 37 in Spain: El Escorial 

hidden rooms in chambers

treasured white-ivory coffins

candle-lit hallways like a dungeon

beautiful cherry-oak wood

gorgeous bronze-plated art frames

royal gardens with flourishing magenta roses

wooden bridges across a bright blue lake

ceilings that make you stare

a magnificent monastery beyond words

in detail, size, and color

you would think

you were back



p.s. I LOVED being in this monastery. I was so amazed by how beautiful this place is, and that it has housed and honored people of high stature such as King Felipe and Queen Elizabeth. It was such a humbling feeling to be in awe within every room. I even bought a bookmark to remember this place in a different way. Here’s to feeling so lively here in El Escorial on Friday!