About

Hola! Thanks for stopping by.

For the past four years, this blog has been my attempt to put my finger on just what is so irresistible about living abroad in Madrid. Don’t worry, you won’t find any stale Spanish stereotypes about sangria or bullfighting. Instead, you’ll find such things as musings on the Spanish language, lesser-known Madrid parks, and the undeniably Spanish experience of ordering coffee in an old-man bar. I like to infuse my work with humor whenever possible–partly because I’m sarcastic, but mainly because many aspects of living abroad naturally appeal to the funny bone.

At Madrid’s Parque el Capricho

Who is this Gee, Cassandra person?

As you might have guessed, my name is Cassandra. I’m originally from Arkansas (USA) and have called Madrid home since 2010. Interestingly enough, my name is not common neither here nor there. In fact, in Spain there is a famous witch who goes by the name Cassandra. It’s enough to make a girl say Gee!”

Dwarfed by Roman ruins in Mérida, Spain

How did you end up in Spain?

That is a very good question. Can the answer be traced back to my insatiable love of reading, learning (and by extension), traveling? The fact that Spanish was the only second language offered at my high school? The way I wanted to tag along on the study abroad semester my classmates were planning?

Yes, let’s start there. I was deathly afraid of missing out on all the fun my college classmates were going to have in León, Spain. I arrived in this region in the dark days of January, which promptly burst any ideas I’d had of Spain being an eternal land of sun and sangria. Instead of being disappointed, I was charmed. At the end of those six months, I already wanted to go back to Spain.

In 2010, I won a Fulbright scholarship to teach English in Spain. (Actually, “won” sounds very passive and lottery-like. In reality, I spent as much time on my application as I did on a college class, had a nerve-wracking set of interviews, sealed and shipped the app, and then nervously fretted for 10 months before the news came in.) I was elated when I found out I was chosen. Madrid–where I had only spent a weekend previously–was to be my home for the school year. I stuffed one lone bag with 25 kilos of clothes, my favorite dental floss, and teaching supplies, and flew back to Spain.

A street in Madrid’s Conde Duque neighborhood

Fast forward, please. What has happened since then?

This blog was birthed at the beginning of that Madrid adventure. I’ve got a soft spot for the Spanish capital, you see. The more time I spend here, the more I enjoy it. Sometimes I want to tear my hair out at the bureaucracy and the lack of customer service, but I do love everything else this European capital has to offer. I especially love the variety of the different neighborhoods. I want you to love it, too!

My Fulbright year was just the beginning. Since then, I’ve taught English in Madrid through various programs. I got my Master’s degree from the University in Alcala de Henares. I went back to teaching English. Whenever spare moments–and money–were prevalent, I traveled all around Spain and Europe.

There’s no denying I’ve changed as a person since my arrival in Madrid. My Spanish has changed, my outlook on life has subtly shifted, and I’ve amassed experiences (read: funny stories) as an English teacher. Last but not least, my bio would be incomplete without mentioning my boyfriend, Andrés. We meet when he came to Madrid to complete a Master’s degree, and we’ve been inseparable ever since. Andrés is from Colombia, and you’ll find stories of our South American adventures here, as well.

Colombia without high heels

Visiting Colombia’s Barú Island

So, to recap: 

On Gee, Cassandra you will find…

….Madrid as a springboard for exploring Spain and Europe

…odes to the highlights of la vida española

…English classes gone awry

….linguistic musings

…confessions of the hair-pulling cons of life abroad

…photos and reflections for all of the above

 You won’t find…

…recs for a life of luxury

…photos with flash

…any photos of the blogger in a flamenco dress

…tips for snagging a Spanish girlfriend/boyfriend

…posts about the Prado, bullfighting, or sangria

*****UPDATE*****

Keep in mind that this blog is NOT an official Fulbright, Department of State, nor Comunidad de Madrid website. The stories, photos, and information presented are courtesy of yours truly and do not represent these programs.

*****FURTHER UPDATE*****

Your questions and comments are welcome. Leave me your thoughts!

39 thoughts on “About

  1. I love your blog!! Please keep updating. Always.

  2. Hey Cassandra! I’m so glad you found my blog and that I found yours! Looking forward to keeping up on your adventures!

    • Igualmente, Erin! I just read about Patones de Arriba on your blog and am now scheming about the how and when. Keep up the great suggestions!

  3. One of these days we should get a group of us blogger girls and head out there. I’ve got a car ;)

  4. I just discovered your blog, and I love it!!! I love connecting with all the other Spain related bloggers out there :) I am looking forward to reading about your adventures this year in Madrid! Let me know if you ever make it up to La Rioja :) Mind if I add you to my upcoming blogroll?

  5. Thanks, Elizabeth! I’d love to be on your blogroll; I’ll add you to mine, as well since I pop over often to read about your own adventures.

    I will certainly let you know about future Rioja madness (it’s on the tentative agenda)!

  6. Hey Cassandra! Loving the blog and the photos and argghghghghgghgh you make me want to go back right now (I’m sitting in cold, lonely London!)

    Anyway we can get in touch other than the blog? I’m interested in writing for you if I could!

  7. Will, gracias! I hope you’re enjoying London despite the chilly temperature. I’ll shoot you a message tomorrow, I’m definitely up for having guest posts!

  8. Hi Cassandra,

    Wanted to let you know that we have your blog listed as one of our favorites for 2011. Happy New Year.

    http://www.thespainscoop.com/blogs-from-spain-weve-loved-in-2011/

    Nancy Tpdd

  9. Hola Nancy + co,
    Thanks so much! I’m tickled to be included in your 2011 roundup!

  10. Just discovered your blog and love it. You’re funny! Will be back.

  11. Found your blog through Hola Yessica! You are also an English Teaching Assistant living in Madrid! I wish I had found your blog sooner. I’m actually leaving Madrid at the end of the summer after living here for 2 years. :( But I’ll keep reading your blog so I can reminisce. :) By the way is there a way to subscribe to your blog? I can’t seem to find the button…

    • Thanks, Amelie! I don’t think there is way to subscribe to my blog, but I hope you keep following!

  12. Hola Cassandra!

    Good blog!! We would like to link exchange with you!! Please send me an email if you are interested too :)

    We are from Spain, a couple of years ago we decided to leave our jobs and go around the world for a year. After that we decided to start a small business related to travel, called Way Away (way-away.com): an online platform to help independent travellers to build their own trip.

    Keep in touch! Waiting for your email
    Un saludo,

    Belén

  13. Hi Cassandra, Would like to send you an email. Please send me your email address. Thanks. Nancy

  14. Pingback: The Next Big Thing | The Spain Scoop | Traveling in Spain / Stay in Spain | Blogs About Spain | Spain Festivals | Culture Spain
  15. Hi Cassandra! I really really love your blog! Thanks for giving me your blog because it’s so interesting!

  16. Thank you for your kind comment on my blog!.
    I’ll add you to my blogroll, I want to follow your adventures abroad!
    Wishing you the best of everything,
    Merisi

    • Thank you, Merisi!
      I hope to visit Vienna one day and there’s no doubt that I’ll be living vicariously through your own Austrian adventures–one Kaffee at a time.

  17. Hey, I love your blog! Respectfully, I’ve nominated you for this blogging award, Liebster. If you’re interested, join in! Here’s the rules. http://annafrisk.wordpress.com/2013/03/26/liebster-award-thanks/

  18. Hello!

    Just stopping by after reading your lovely comments on my blog. Thank you so much! I’m jealous of your worldly adventures… makes me wish I’d paid more attention to learning a second language when I was growing up. Spain looks absolutely gorgeous, and I’m really enjoying exploring it through your words and photos.

    Anyway, it’s nice to “meet” you! If you ask me, that’s what the internet is all about. Making new connections with people you would never have gotten to know otherwise!

    Cheers!

  19. Thanks, Willow! I agree with you, it’s terrific to be able to meet, connect with, and learn from people from all over via the internet. Three cheers for that!

    Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate it. Stay in touch!

  20. Hi,
    Great blog. We seem to share some things in common. Would you like a complimentary copy of this?

    http://goo.gl/AC13i

    Let me know.
    Saludos,
    Jeremy Dean

  21. Hi Jeremy,

    Nice to meet you! We have several bloggin’ friends in common but I hadn’t come across your blog before so I’m glad you stopped by to leave a note.

    I’d certainly be interested in reading a copy of your book–let me know if this is still possible.

    Hasta pronto!

  22. Hola, I came across your blog through Cat’s and I have really it. If it is ok, I had a couple of questions about Fulbright and your Master’s study.
    p.s. I read Jeremy’s book, you will enjoy it. :o)

    • Hi! Yes, please send me any messages you may have. Are you considering doing one of these programs?

      • Thanks so much, I was thinking of doing Universidad de Acala’s Masters in Bilingual/Multicultural Education. I did the Language Assistant program through CIEE during the 2011-2012 school year. I was wondering if a Masters degree earned in Spain would carry any weight if I decided to use it stateside.

        • Hi Christine,

          This was one of my most pressing questions upon applying–how would the Masters help me get a job in the US / Spain?

          Honestly, it depends on how you sell it and how the employing body views it. I have heard of alums getting bilingual positions in the States with no problem, while others have had to take a few grad courses to get the degree recognized. If you are on the FB auxiliares de Madrid page, you can find some more info on individual situations. Hope this helps!

  23. Ditto to what Christine said- the new layout looks fantastic!! Definitely tempting to just keep clicking and reading and clicking and reading…

  24. Such a lovely blog, and brings back so many memories of my time studying at U. Autonoma de Madrid! I found your site through Polly of A Girl And Her Travels – is there a ‘follow’ function? A way to sign up for updates?

    • Hi Anna, thanks for this! Yes, you can now follow along via email updates; see the top-right of the page to subscribe to this service. Thanks again for the comment, I hope to see more of you around the site!

  25. Hey,

    Stumbled onto your blog from the post on Curiosity Travels about “Expats Favorite Bars”. Are you still in Madrid? Can you recommend any fun/chill places to hang out in the Retiro area?

    I travel around a lot for work, but usually only get to stay for about 7-9 days at a time. Because of the short turnaround, I usually end up picking a lot of people’s brains.

    I’ll be visiting in mid-September. Any tips would be awesome.

    Thanks,
    John

    • Hola John, thanks for reading! If you are near Retiro, I recommend wandering down Calle Ibiza and Calle Sainz de Baranda and see what strikes your fancy. These two streets have long stretches of terraces, so it’s a great place to sit outside. A good place to start is Sin Reservas (C/ Lope de Rueda 49, on the corner of Calle Ibiza), which is a bit more expensive than others on the street (with commensurate tapas and speedy service). Hope this helps!

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