Apartment tour

Something I did way back when [2 and a half years ago] before the apartment life was a dorm tour! I loved getting to share my little home with everyone! Dorm, apartment, house, etc. tours on blogs and YouTube are my absolute favorite because I love seeing where people live and what they do with the space they have. I didn’t do an apartment tour with my last apartment [I might be able to if I still have the pictures I took of it] but I wanted to share my space in Greece.

I live in a studio apartment in a suburb of Thessaloniki known as Kalamaria. My apartment is on the top floor of a five-story apartment building with two apartments per floor. I am the only one currently living on my floor but people have been in and out of the other one for the past few days so I have to assume I will be getting a neighbor at some point shortly.

After unlocking the front door of the building, there is a small lobby area with mail slots, one apartment, a set of stairs, and a sketchy elevator. I take the elevator of course because I’m not trying to walk up five flights of stairs after a long day at school or with two arms full of groceries. If the elevator could hold my two 45-pound suitcases, my backpack, me, and another woman, I’m sure I’ll be fine.

When I get off the elevator, my apartment is on the left side of the platform.

The first thing you see when you walk into my apartment is everything. It’s a studio apartment so it’s very very tiny but it has everything I need. To the left of my door is my mudroom or mud area because obviously in a studio apartment we only have one room and then the bathroom. In this mud area, I keep all my shoes, my two coats, my teaching bag, hats, scarves, gloves, my umbrella as well as purses. There’s also a really nice mirror that I make sure to look in every morning before I leave so that I’m not going out looking a mess.

Right next to the mud area that is my bathroom. The bathroom is also pretty tiny, but it also has everything I need. There’s a toilet, a sink, a shower, and a laundry basket. My favorite part of the bathroom is the little counter underneath the mirror where I keep all the stuff that I use each morning and night like my skincare items, toothbrush, toothpaste, my sinus rinse, etc.

Something I love in homes are kitchens. I love cooking, eating, the homey atmosphere that kitchens bring so having this kitchen is a little bit of a challenge for me because it is so small but like everything else, the apartment is only for three months and it has what I need so I’m making it work. In my kitchen, I have a tiny microwave oven, three stovetop burners, a sink, a mini-fridge with a freezer built in and then a bunch of storage space as well. In the weeks I’ve been here I’ve only eaten out TWICE which means this kitchen is getting a TON of use.

One of my favorite parts of this apartment is my little coffeemaker area. I have a 10-cup coffee pot, a water heater, a toaster, as well as another toaster//Panini maker type thing. It’s rested on this cute little table and under the coffee pot I have coffee, sugar, tea bags, etc. Then underneath there’s a little storage area that I keep extra snacks in as well as my first aid kits.

I sort of have a dining room. In my dining area, I have a very small table with two stools that I really don’t ever use to eat. This table is more of my hub for keeping random stuff so when I go grocery shopping I put my groceries on there, after school, I put my laptop on it to charge, etc. It is still a nice little addition to the apartment and there are some days that I use it to eat dinner or breakfast which makes it nice to have.

Next, we have my closet. On top of my closet are my suitcases. Inside of my closet, I have a top-shelf which is where I keep underwear, bras, socks, and pajamas. I also have a shelf on the bottom and underneath that shelf, I have a vacuum cleaner and a couple sweatshirts that I brought. In the middle of the closet, I have a rack to hang things. When I got the apartment it only had a couple of hangers, so I do have to fold a lot of the clothes I brought and put them on the bottom shelf. I could go out and buy more hangers or ask my Airbnb host for some, but I’ll live with only hanging the necessities.

The next thing is my bed. My bed here is a sofa bed so during the day you can have it as a couch and then at night turn it into a bed however I prefer sleeping on the couch, so I usually just keep it as the sofa.

The balcony is by far my favorite part of the Airbnb because it is so big it’s really great to just sit and watch the sunset and sometimes I can watch the sunrise. I could literally sit out there all day. I work out on the balcony, do homework, lesson plan, etc. it is by far my favorite place and view in all of Greece.

What’s your favorite part of your home?
❤ Alicia

How I set up my planner

There’s absolutely nothing like the feel of a new planner. Having the opportunity to highlight, draw, scribble, sticker, and more to the hundred or so pages of a planner is unlike anything else. Before heading to Greece, I bought a new planner which was unlike all of my old planners. After seeing my schedule for the semester and realizing that it was different every single day, I decided to get a Day Designer from Target, which is a weekly hour by hour planner with additional room for to-do lists and other things to keep in mind. This planner is by far my favorite planner I’ve had and I’m using the HELL out of it. I still haven’t mastered my schedule so when I’m in five different classrooms in one day, this planner comes in handy. I wanted to share with everyone the layout of my planner to hopefully give some inspiration to those of you who have written three things for the whole year in your planer… in black ink.

Monthly view

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My old planners are scary compared to this one. Before this semester I had 334923957382 things on my plate each month, so the month view had white-out, scribbles, and 7 different colors of marker to sort my life out. This semester, while I feel a lot busier, I have a hell of a lot less to do. I have four obligations: school, lesson planning, blogging, and my trips. Really that’s it, besides the hell of the edTPA which will be over soon. Each of these things has color in my planner and that’s that. School is blue. Blogging is red and trips are pink. I also add birthdays and holidays which I keep in black so that I don’t overload my senses. I also decided to finally use the stickers that they gave me in this planner [as well as my last planner too] to spice it up. Who doesn’t love a good sticker… or 20???

Weekly view

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This looks like an absolute cluster, but I can tell you it’s organized. Day to day I have a lot going on and the only way I could keep it nice and organized was by highlighting, highlighting and more highlighting! My breaks are written in pink [just like trips because it’s a nice time to relax for me]. ESL is orange. Spanish is blue and Planning is yellow. Then, everything else from the monthly view transfers over to the weekly as well so that I know what I’m doing and what’s happening and when. I use the same colors for monthly and weekly so I can write fewer words and still know what I’m talking about i.e. I can put “None” in blue and know I’m talking about school because of the color.


All in all, I love this planner. If you have the same schedule day to day this planner isn’t all that necessary. However, for those of you who do have a lot going on day to day, BUY THIS. It comes in a bigger size which I didn’t buy solely because I wanted it to be smaller for travel purposes. Out of the 5 or so different planners that I’ve used, this takes the cake as being my favorite. I’m not sure if it’s better or because I’m actually using it every day, but this planner gets an A+ in my book.

What is your favorite planner? And why?

❤ Alicia

Why New Year’s Resolutions don’t work

We’re just about finished with January and almost everyone has already given up on their New Year’s Resolutions. Whether you made a resolution to eat better, lose weight, read more, go to bed early, etc. most people [80% of us] have already given up on our resolutions.

I think resolutions are funny. I make them, I won’t lie, but year after year we fall short on achieving our New Year’s goals for a variety of reasons. There are simpler ways to reach these goals, but people think just because they write them on their whiteboard above their desk that they will achieve them. Whether you’ve made no progress on your goals or have decided to give up completely, here are a few ways to actually achieve your goals, whether you start today, February 1st, this next Monday, or in 2021.


  1. Set attainable goals: A goal to write a book when you’ve never written more than 5 pages for a school paper is not realistic. Setting smaller, more attainable goals like writing a short story or planning out that novel you’ve dreamt of writing allows you to still make progress on your lifelong dream but they’re less daunting and you can 100% complete them and be happy with your success instead of being upset that you fell short on writing a whole novel.
  2. Don’t make tons of resolutions: The biggest mistake I used to make [2018 Alicia was far too ambitious] was to make 8-15 resolutions for the New Year. I could only focus on one or two of these resolutions and would get disheartened when I would fail the rest even though I was making progress in some areas of my life which was in fact, still progress.
  3. Make a plan on how to achieve these resolutions: Making a resolution to “Go Vegan” is so unrealistic it’s not even funny. I remember when I went vegan, it was hard. I ate fruits, veggies and protein bars [and Chipotle] for the first few months because I had no idea what I was doing. After hours of research about going and eating vegan, I was able to incorporate a variety of vegan foods into my diet. For larger and longer-term goals [getting healthy, learning a new hobby, etc.] you have to research and make a plan to achieve these resolutions if you want them to work out.
  4. Check-in on your goals every so often: Ever two weeks I have an event in my calendar that says “Resolution Check-in” where I look at what I’ve been doing, see if it’s working or not, make changes and sometimes even change the resolution as a whole. You won’t be the same person in March as you were in January and it’s okay to make those changes accordingly.
  5. Realize it’s okay to have setbacks: When you’ve been eating unhealthily or drinking soda or whatever for YEARS, you are going to have a setback or two. Realize that it’s okay. Don’t beat yourself about it and try to not do it the next time you’re tempted.

Finally, remember that completing a New Year’s Resolution doesn’t occur overnight. So many HUGE resolutions will take months if not the entire new year. Take it slow and you can [finally] achieve your New Year’s Resolution[s].

❤ Alicia

Saalt Period Cup Review

Hi all, Happy Thursday! Slowly but surely getting into that routine // self-care practice of writing when I can. As you’ve probably seen from my Instagram or blog posts here and on LVNG Limitless [RIP], I’ve been actively working to live a more sustainable lifestyle. One of the many ways that I produce waste every month is through period products. Tampons and Pads produce an obscene amount of waste over the course of a lifetime and I was 100% over that. So, after much self-debating and a trip to Target, I came home with the Saalt cup, a silicone cup that replaces single-use period products.

 

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In short, I’m in love. The Saalt cup has truly changed my life in such a short time and I am NEVER going back. After just six months of using this cup, I’ve saved over 24 pads and 60 tampons.

Short story long, I don’t have to worry about my period anymore. I will not lie, the first period I used the Saalt cup for, I was PARANOID. It’s a weird feeling at first, I cannot lie. I thought it would leak and I wouldn’t know, I thought it would get stuck, millions of thoughts flooded my mind during those first five days, and guess what? None of them were true! I didn’t need to worry about a thing [although I am glad I paid extra careful attention just in case].

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the cup itself

During all of the periods I’ve had that have followed using the Saalt cup, I do not worry about my period. Most days [except for day three which is my heaviest flow] of my period I change it in the morning after my shower and before I go to bed and that’s it. No leaks, no ruined underwear, no pain, nothing. It’s just like a regular week, with a little bit of added silicone.

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the storage pouch

So, of all period cups, why the Saalt cup? Well, besides the fact that it’s roughly half of what other name brand period costs retail for [Diva cup in particular], it comes in two sizes [most do], with the bigger size being blue [what could be better ??], the packaging is absolutely adorable, it comes with a carrying case, and three little pamphlets about usage, helping communities, and how to follow it. Not only this, but for every Saalt cup you buy, it gives one to a menstruating individual in need of period care.

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the how-to guide and their mission

The how-to guide was extremely useful [especially because I was quaking in my boots because I didn’t know if it would hurt] and reading about how women in 3rd world countries have to miss a month or so of school or work every year due to their period. Due to this, many people drop out or quit their jobs because it is so difficult to work or go to school while menstruating without the proper period products.

In my opinion, you don’t need to buy both sizes. I have the larger size and even on my lighter days, it does the job well.

I would recommend the Saalt cup [or any period cup for that matter] to every single menstruating human not only because of the lack of waste you are creating but also because of the care that they give to those in need.

A huge 5/5 stars for the Saalt Cup. Thank you for giving back, being affordable, and being the absolutely cutest period cups to line the shelves.

*Please note: If you use an IUD you cannot use the saalt cup because of the suction. You would run the risk of having your IUD come out.

❤ Alicia

Exploring my options: What does post-grad hold?

I’ve done a lot of reflecting during the time I’ve had this blog. From what I’ve done during college, outside of school, and before college, it’s one of my favorite things to do. However, in less than four months [WHAT??] I will be graduating college. What comes next? I know a lot of what I don’t want to come next, but I’m not certain what will come next. I have options. A shit ton of options actually and it’s terrifying. I’m almost positive everyone has as many options as what I’ll mention in a minute but everyone takes the typical path: grad school or a job because they’re easy and the proper ‘next’ thing to do in life. If we’ve made one thing very very clear from my time of writing, it’s that I never do the proper thing. So, what the hell am I going to do in four months? What the hell are any of us soon to be graduates going to do in four months? Beats me, but at least I have options and the ability to make a pro-con list. So, let’s have at it.


Grad school

I know that one day I will have to go to grad school. Whether I go to grad school for education, Spanish, business, etc. who knows? But I’ll have to go eventually. A month or so ago, my advisor told me she has recommended me for grad school into the Spanish department at OU. This would entail a “TAship” which would mean free tuition. I would still have to pay room and board but I would also be paid for being a TA so I would be able to manage on that salary. I wouldn’t be able to save much if anything, but I could live off of that.

I always knew I would go to grad school. However, I NEVER thought I would go for Spanish. I could do it, obviously, and it would be tremendous for my Spanish skills and teaching skills [since I would have to teach an intro level course] but it’s never something I thought I would do. I need a year off. So I would, if I took this opportunity, start in the fall of 2021.

Be a “Cultural Ambassador” in Spain

This is also a new option for me which was shown to me by my linguistics professor who is a liaison for the program here. I’m not 100% confident on my teaching abilities because I really still haven’t taught a class by myself even though I’m supposed to [lol] so I would like a bit more practice [which could change come the end of the semester] before taking on my own classroom. This Cultural Ambassador program would basically entail me being a part-time teacher in a classroom in Spain teaching about my language and culture. I would be making a living wage and living in Spain as well as having time to travel. It’s also very nice because it’s only a 9-10 month commitment so it’s not too much pressure for me to adore the job because if I don’t want to renew the job, I don’t have to. I can apply starting January 30th [which I will be doing] and if I get it, as long as I don’t get offered another job, it is probably what I will be doing right out of the post-grad gate.

The Peace Corps

The Peace Corps has been something I have always wanted to do. Since I first heard about it five or six years ago, I knew it was something I had to do before I die. My only concern with it is that it’s a 27-month program. I have a few friends I know doing it right now, so I want to talk to them before I do it in the near future. I will do it eventually, but I want to know if now is the time for it or not. Obviously, if I do it soon, I would probably go and teach. However, if I ended up going later, what I did would definitely depend on my career path then.

Get a job in America

The education job fair is in April and I will probably not be back in Athens for it so my advisors will give my resume and portfolio to schools of sizes, locations, etc. that I’m interested in. If I get offered a job either close to home or somewhere I could see myself living, I might take it. I would LOVE if they could pay // help pay for grad school. We will see what April brings.

Get a job abroad

There are two former COST students turned teachers here in Thessaloniki and it sounds like a dream. Having a year by year contract so you can go home or somewhere else to teach whenever you please is amazing. Not to mentions living in Greece and having ample time and places to travel. It would be great to live here but obviously, that’s not really up to me. If I were to get offered to stay here, I’d have to think it over, but I think I’d eventually take it. Who wouldn’t?

Something else??????

My dream would be to move to the Pacific Northwest, get a tiny house and a dog, and work at a vegan restaurant and write and read in the woods in my free time. However, I do not think that a small vegan restaurant or bakery salary could pay for the lifestyle I would love to live. So, this might have to wait.


As we can see, I have options upon options. I need to keep my focus and not let anyone or anything influence my decision for post-grad life [as I did with college] so that I can do what I want and be one happy camper after I graduate.

❤ Alicia

Bittersweet

*sidenote: I wrote this post a month ago but never posted it so to my friends or whoever that read this: imagine you read it last month or at least pre-Greece.

 

Bittersweet. This semester has absolutely flown by and I don’t know how I feel about it. I’m officially done at Ohio University and next semester I will be headed to Thessaloniki Greece to student teach for three months alone. I’m beyond excited to teach in Greece but I can’t help but feel melancholy to leave Athens and all my friends behind. Five semesters in one location is honestly not enough. Five semesters in a place that’s become my home is 110%, not enough time. I love Athens Ohio, Ohio University and every single person that I’ve met in my five semesters there with my whole heart and being away from them for the next four months is honestly not something I’m looking forward to. As I said, yes I’m excited to go to Greece [how can you not be excited to spend three months living out your Mamma Mia fantasy and seeing all of the history this country has to offer?!] I am so pumped I’ve made a packing list already, I’ve booked my flight, I’ve got my apartment and everything else is in the works but going to Greece and being separated from the people that I love more than anything is kind of a shitty trade-off.

I cried every day last week. I cried saying goodbye to my friends I cried listening to songs about leaving and new beginnings. I cried at bars. I cried in my apartment. I cried in my classes. I cried at work. I cried in front of professors, friends, strangers, etc. I’ve just been crying.

I want to end this with a little bit of a thank you. It’s impossible to thank every single person that has impacted my life at Ohio University, but I do want to thank the ones that have truly made by Ohio University experience the best experience of my entire life.

To my gorls, thank you all for always being willing to get donkey, hit the gym, and let me spill all of my tea. To Grace, thanks for introducing me to Harbour the Band and for always getting me to lift arms even though I never want to. I’m sorry I never texted you back when we were CHAARGmas babes however I’m really glad that we’re friends now and I consider you one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met in my entire life. To Hannah, you are the most beautiful human being I’ve ever seen in my entire life and I know you don’t always believe that, but I hope one day you do. You make my day every time I see you and you are such a bright light in my life you have no idea. To Jess, thank you for being the mom of our friend group and for always keeping us all in check. You were going to do the most amazing things in life [and at law school] and I cannot wait to be there for all of them. To Kenzie, I’m so glad you awkwardly snapchatted me that one night in February because I gained an amazing friend from that. Thank you for always letting me know that it’s okay to treat myself even when I definitely shouldn’t be. You can always use a little or a lot of treat yo self in your life. Finally, to Sami, the CHAARG gods [Grace] were really thinking about us last fall when they put you in my small group. You have become one of my best friends over the past year-and-a-half so thankful for that. From our nights out to our Friday shifts at Boyd and everything in between I’m so thankful to have you as a friend. Try not to die next semester.

To CHAARG, you’re the reason I stayed at Ohio University. When I transferred here I had no friends and was worried I would never make any at all during my time here. Thank you for giving me five of the best friends I could have ever asked for.

To Boyd Market, Thank you for the best 5 semesters of cold Monday morning shipments, dead birds, ‘crackhead’ hours, 10-2 smoothie shifts, Register 1 pow wows, Friday afternoon tea parties, ladies of Boyd tik toks, and the best people I’ve ever worked with.

To Olivia Labenne, you were my first friend at Ohio University and I’m glad that I can still call you a friend 5 semesters later. Thank you for dealing with me 24/7 from late-night coffee runs to Walmart fish shopping and of course the Adams first floor. I would not have survived sophomore year without you.

To Olivia Hovan, you made working at Boyd Market bearable and you were the reason I did not quit that job. I’m so thankful to have made a friend as great as you and I can’t wait to come back in April and work with you again. I’ll see you at Palmer 😉

To Anna and Liz, last year I didn’t think I could be friends with my roommates ever again however you guys changed that for the better. You two have become two of my absolute best friends and you got me through this fall semester, and I don’t know how I’m going to get through spring semester without you both. Thank you for always listening to my rants about my life my classes my work and my friends and never complaining. Sorry I can’t help but fall asleep on the couch.

To my instructors, thank you for challenging me, shaping me, and giving me support during my time here. I had the absolute honor of learning from some of the most intellectual, cultured, and compassionate people Ohio [and abroad] had to offer.

To Anne Scott, you are the reason I am graduating from this university. Without your constant support, guidance, and tools I would not be where I am today. I cannot wait to be the best teacher [or whatever I end up doing later on] because of you. I will always be grateful to you.

To everyone else not listed above. Thank you for dealing with my constant sarcasm, my snoring [now fixed thank you sinus surgery], my major changes, and everything else in between. I cannot wait to see where life takes each and every one of us. See you all at Homecoming [maybe 😉 ]

Alicia

Time for a change

Hello! I just posted and realized I had changed my blog URL and didn’t give anyone a fair warning. Live Pulchritudinously will forever and always have my heart but I figured since I’m growing up, about to be living my post-grad life, and wanted to have an acute and catchy name, that Living Off Leesh will be my new URL.

As you all know, I’m a part of an organization called CHAARG. CHAARG is very reliant on social media, specifically Instagram. I created my Instagram account for CHAARG roughly two and a half years ago and have almost 500 posts, 2600 followers, etc. on it. Since I’m basically no longer a CHAARG member [what can I do from Greece?] I wanted to continue my healthy lifestyle and blogger duo by maintaining that Instagram account as well as my personal blog. My _inCHAARG Instagram name started out as alicia.ou_inCHAARG and then morphed into leesh_inchaarg [leesh is a nickname that I have] which I then wrote a note in my phone that livingoffleesh [a mix of Live Pulchritudinously with the living and off leesh for my nickname and also the phrase lol] would take the place of that Instagram username once the time came. Well, the time has come for me to turn my student org Instagram into a cute lil Instagram blog as well as a platform to share my writing, which, as you all know, I’m trying to do a bit more of in 2020.

So, here’s to 2020, new goals, new friends, new writing, a pulchritudinous life, and of course, to living off leesh.

❤ Alicia

My first Greek week

Adjusting to Greece has been, in short, absolute hell. I love it here, I really do, however, I am struggling like no other. I spent my first 5 days alone outside of school with the exception of the three times that I spent with my coordinating supervisor. Every other time I’ve been to a new country I’ve been with people. This time, I’m completely alone. When I’m alone I retreat into my room, watch TV, play on my phone and sleep. And honestly, that’s all I’ve done this week besides the time I was actually at school.

I arrived Monday night an hour late. I was picked up at the airport at about 10pm. I made it to my apartment and talked with my host and supervisor for a while and was finally alone at 11:30pm. I unpacked a bit and fell asleep.

The next morning, I was picked up at 3 to go walk by the sea, explore my community and get coffee. I told myself I would explore on my own beforehand as well as go grocery shopping. I left my apartment for the first time at about 1:30 and went to a corner store nearby. I bought bread, pasta, lentils, etc. They only had nonperishables.

On Wednesday, I woke up at 3:30 and was awake until the following night. I was picked up at 8:30 from my apartment and we drove to school. I met at least 25 different people whose names I couldn’t tell you now. I then on 4 hours of sleep, had to observe 5 classes during the next 6 hours.  I got home, cooked myself dinner and went to bed at 6:30.

Thursday I woke up at 1:30am and was awake, once again, until the following night. Never in my life has jetlag affected me this hard, or at all really. I watched TV and tried to go back to sleep, without prevail, until my alarm went off at 5:45 and it was time to shower. I drank an entire pot [10 cups] of coffee this morning and boy did I need it.

After school that day, I was told to get on the wrong bus and ended up in a suburb I’d never heard of [not that I’d heard of any of the suburbs in Thessaloniki] which was a 97-minute walk from my house. With no uber, lyft, or way to get a taxi, I walked to a shell station which had wifi, called my dad and sobbed. It definitely wasn’t a matter worth crying over but my sleep-deprived, caffeinated self needed a good cry. A woman who spoke perfect English came over, comforted me, and got me a cab home. I’m forever indebted to this woman. I got home this night, cooked dinner, and went to bed.

Friday morning was the latest I slept, waking up at a smooth 4:00am. I made coffee early that morning and got ready for school. Fridays, are my new favorites because I get to spend the majority of the day with the ELL teacher. Something about her is very comforting and I love being in her class. Friday evening, I took 2 Benadryl and went to sleep.

Saturday was really good. I spent the morning with the COST coordinator here at an open market [it reminded me of a market I frequented in Spain] and at a cute little coffee shop.  I got to spend the evening with 2 former COST students turned teachers as well as another teacher from America. We got dinner and drinks and the whole night was a ton of fun.

Sunday was a day just for me. I woke up at 11 [thank the lord for sleep], ate breakfast [pasta because I ran out of bread and I forgot that shops are closed on Sundays], and relaxed all day. I could have explored, I could have done anything, but I didn’t. I finally did a bit of schoolwork and activity planning at around 8pm but all in all, I needed a day to relax and I’m feeling much better about my time here. Albeit I’m still anxious about everything and afraid the students hate me as well as unsure about how I’m going to teach using a curriculum I have no practice in, but hey. I survived my first week in Greece and if I can survive the week that I did, anything is possible.

❤ Alicia

My new home :)

Hi all. It’s January 7th at 2:38pm and I’m sitting on my couch in my apartment in Thessaloniki, Greece. Traveling always gives me a reason to write. Traveling always gives me a need to write. My favorite thing to do when at an airport [not this time but I’ll get to that in a minute] or in a hotel or at a café is to write. We all knew that. Just wanted to give everyone an update about my current life, what I’m currently doing and another promise that I won’t have time to write a lot this semester with 12 weeks of student teaching, the edTPA, living in a foreign country by myself for the first time, etc. However, on my first and only free day that I have while in Greece, I wanted to take a bit of time out of my hectic day of grocery shopping, unpacking, turning an Airbnb into a home, and figuring out this new city that I live in to write a little bit.

This semester I have the amazing opportunity to participate in the COST program teaching Spanish and ESL at the Pinewood American International School in Thermi Greece, a suburb of Thessaloniki. I will be working with 4 [yes 4] teachers teaching grades K-12 in Spanish and English. I will also be completing the edTPA [basically a huge 3-part project that I need to do well on in order to graduate and become a certified instructor] during my time here which will take up a huge chunk of my time.

Finally, I will be exploring and living in Thessaloniki. I speak absolutely no Greek so with the help of Duolingo, my students, and the people I meet I’m hoping to at least learn enough to get by in my day to day life.

I’m absolutely exhausted from the past 24 hours of travel, middle seats, layovers, delays, and 8-hour time differences. I

I don’t know much of what this semester holds for me, but I do know one thing, I’m the happiest at 11:30pm when I first get to a new country.

Now, I’m off to have coffee and a walk along the sea with the coordinating instructor here in Greece. Here’s to writing at least a smidge more this year, ❤

Alicia

Mindfulness & life updates :)

I’m working on being mindful. Something that keeps me grounded is writing. I get a real sense of peace when writing and after these past few weeks I need a bit of peace.

It’s amazing what doesn’t happen even though you think it will. Balancing work, school, orgs, blogging, life after college, LVNG Limitless, exercise, eating, sleeping, having fun, and probably more is HARD. I will be the first to say it. This semester I will admit, my class load is pretty easy. However, I have three exams that I am taking in the next month that will determine whether I graduate and become a licensed educator or not. I spend almost all of my free time either doing homework, working, or stressing about what on this green Earth am I going to do after I graduate [not to mention the fact that I still haven’t received my placement for next semester].

In August, I had planned out almost all of my content for 2019. I had four and a half months of blog content READY to go for myself. The sole thing I had to do was sit down in front of a blank word document and actually do the writing. And, here I am, roughly a month later, with all of this blog content ready to be recycled for some other point in the upcoming months. Anyway, here’s a little life update // rant post that I know everyone desperately missed.

I started my senior year of college! YAY! I’m almost a quarter of the way done with my final fall semester of my undergrad career. Bittersweet, to keep it short. All of my classes are going pretty well, photoshop is a BLAST and I’m learning so much. The rest of my classes are a lot of reading.. which is what I’m using to justify the fact that I haven’t read for pleasure since the first day of school L

CHAARG is in full swing. I had my first small group [a group of 5-15 girls who get together at the same time every week for a workout, coffee date, etc.] on Monday! I have five ladies who I get to spend every Monday morning from 7-8am with AND I LOVE THEM. We wrote letters to ourselves on the first day and chatted for an hour and a half about anything under the sun.

Work is a lot. I’m working 25 hours a week at the campus market where I’m a manager as well as my Learning Community Leader job. It’s all fun and I love everyone involved with both of my jobs, however, it’s still a lot for me.

I still have no idea what side of the planet I will be on in the Spring. I’m really trying not to think so much about it because it’s something I can’t control and I’ve been trying to not focus so much on the things I cannot control, but COME ON. This is a BIG thing happening and I have absolutely no idea when I’ll find out where I’m student teaching in the Spring.

I’m sick again! A mere two days after I got off the antibiotics, I got congested again and I think I have, yes another, a sinus infection. At this point, I’m pumping Dayquil and Benadryl into my veins until I can see the doctor again and get this whole sinus issue sorted out. This isn’t anything I’m not used to though, so I’m not letting it put a damper on my final semester in Athens.

I got a pet! This is a bit of a complicated [and also sad] story so I apologize in advance if it makes little to no sense. At the end of every summer, my family and I head down to visit my dad’s side of the family for a weekend because they have this festival, carnival, parade, flea market shindig that we have always attended. At the carnival, there is always a cup pong type game where you have to throw ping pong balls into this little fishbowl, and you can win fish. They also have a special bowl on top where if you land it in there, you can win an iguana. Now, knowing me and my inability to say no to a cute animal, my family and I spent roughly $50 to win this damn iguana because I KNEW I would take better care of it than a five-year-old and their mother. Unfortunately, I did not win the iguana [I did win 18 fish so obviously I’ve learned one thing in college 😉 ]. This other boy who was probably my age or a little older won the iguana. AND THEN HE GAVE ME THE IGUANA. Honestly, the realest one Illinois has ever seen. I took that iguana home [much to everyone’s chagrin], spent roughly $200 on his terrarium, lamp, food, etc. and then he made the trek to Athens with me. Unfortunately, again, he passed away a few days after I got to school because he had stopped eating. I really should have expected this because carnivals take already sick animals for these games since they know most people would have killed them anyway [I will fight pet stores let me tell you]. Short story long, I had spent all this money on a now-dead iguana [RIP Spyro], so I got a Leopard Gecko. Her name is Apple and I absolutely adore her. She loves to cuddle on my shoulder and run around.

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So much love,

Alicia ❤