Saturday, August 16, 2014

Chunky Monkey!

As I said on my previous post I am in El Paso, TX at the moment and can I just say that I am having such a hard time with this move! I am going crazy. I miss the intensity and frantic noisy Egypt. I also miss my beautiful tropical island. Anyways the only way I am surviving is Chunky Monkey!!!! For those of you who don't know what that is... is Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream! I was two years and half without this glorious treat and now I am so happy to be able to eat it while I get use to this crazy place.

Let's start with the fact the we are in the border with one of the hot spots in Mexico. Ciudad Juarez. So everyone has this fear and are always saying be careful where you go and of your surroundings. So I left everyday harassment, bombings and all the crazy things going in Egypt to end up in pretty much a same scenario. No where is safe and I wish people will understand that. Puerto Rico is not safe either so I think I should definitely find a place to learn some self defense since I pretty much like to travel to different places. But one thing is for sure we should always be safe and do research and try to learn as much as you can before you find yourself in a very sticky situation.

Do not fear, I'm in a very safe place! I am not saying where but is a fortress! Moving on there is something that has been bothering me lately and is people's attitude. How much I had forgotten that people here are not friendly! Urgh! El Paso is full of Latinos so that means for me that is OK to talk in Spanish I mean is my first language! But no, can you freaking believe that I am seeing them I know they are Latinos I am a Latina, and they have the audacity to say excuse me? I don't speak Spanish. What? Yes, you read that right. I can hear this thick accent and I just, I am speechless! How can you deny your first language? I can hear your English is bad and your telling me you don't speak Spanish! The other day I just laughed at her face I couldn't help myself. How did we get here?

Latinos have always been subjected to racism in the US and now we are denying our roots and our culture and to top it off we look down on our own! Shame on you Latinos of El Paso who do this! I myself don't have trouble with English on the contrary but my Sister in Law gets so shy and I see her ask if they talk Spanish and when they refuse to speak it to her it sends me in a mood that I just have to step in. I think is a blessing to be able to communicate with people in different cultures who speak your language. I remember when I found Latinos in Egypt I got so excited to speak my language! I am the kind of person that I always want to help. I can't stand people who understand the language and choose to ignore those who need help. Just so you know this people have the audacity to speak Spanish in front of you when they answer their cell phone!!!!!!  It happen to me in Bath and Body Works! I understand the ones who look like Latinos but don't know anything in Spanish I have cousins in Chicago who don't speak Spanish!  But the people I am referring to are the ones who understand the language and deliberately say they don't.



Wow, that felt good! Can you understand why I need the Chunky Monkey now?! A few things I have found is this good website called Meetup.com where you find different groups of people to do stuff like hiking, reading clubs and such. I checked and there are some groups in Egypt too for my friends there who read this blog. So between looking for things to keep me occupied, finding a job and eating chunky monkey I have also spend my time reading Craiglist adds... I know! I never thought about those things but I kind of find so romantic and sometimes I laugh at the way people see each other. You don't know what I'm talking about? Check Miss Encounters on Craiglist and see the ads some are super romantic others well they are just plain stupid but I always hope that those people kind of get their happy ending! Also is good material for my book! Anyways I think this is it for now I will keep you guys posted on my adventures!

Thank you for reading and following me!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Reverse Cultural Shock!

You must be wondering where have I been, since my last post. Well I am back in America! I decided it was time to move, a lot of things happening in Egypt and to be totally honest I was too isolated and depressed. I love Egypt with all my heart and I am hoping to visit soon but I needed fresh air!

After two and a half years of being away from my family I got the extreme pleasure of being with them again! I thank God I got the chance to be with them again. Now one of the things that happened to me was the reverse cultural shock. As an expat is something I have read about but to be honest I didn't think it was going to be so bad! First off my clothes were so out of place for Puerto Rico that my brother and dad were insisting I needed new stuff. Ah! What would I do without this men in my life?

The first time I wore a sleeveless shirt, I felt naked! Yes, a little extreme but I was use to dressing for life in Egypt. I feel so free now to be able to wear whatever without the fear of being harassed or judged. Is kind of invigorating. But I still have to fight with it!

In the food department... I am still struggling. My stomach is in constant pain and my colon is just not used to eating all those things I missed but now they are so bad for me! I hope I get better soon. The good part is that I have finally eaten Captain Crunch and milk!! Oh my word! What about the Krispy Kreme donuts! I am telling you I am in heaven!

I love being back home but part of me change in Egypt and some friends and family still don't get some of my changes and look at me in a weird way. But that's what happens when you open your mind to different cultures and you adapt and you redefine yourself and embrace new things in your life. My advice is to try to travel back home once in awhile I will not let it go that long again!

I will keep writing about my adventures and mishaps is kind of therapeutic for me! At the moment I am in El Paso, Texas visiting with my brother, let's see where the wind blows next time! Thank you for reading and following me!

Here are a few pictures of my beautiful Puerto Rico!!




Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Teaching in Egypt

Is now summer and every teacher is enjoying one of the perks of the profession, which is being on vacation! This is the perfect time for teachers to look for new jobs and I decided that I wanted to give a few pointers about what to expect while teaching in Egypt.
 
Teaching is one of those careers that requires patience and  a lot of hard work. It gives us the opportunity to connect and make changes in our students lives. If you are looking for new job in Egypt as a teacher and you are not currently in the country please read these carefully.

  1. Your best chance at getting a good salary is to go with International Schools. Salaries depend on qualifications but do not let the fact that maybe you have only one year of experience deter you from taking a good salary. You are not in the US or the UK anymore and things here are different. 
  2. Negotiate and Expat package. If you are not in Egypt this the best time for you to negotiate accommodations, transportation and salary. Schools are always stingy and tell you no but you have to be firm about it because after it you cannot change anything.A good salary ranges between $2000-$2600 a month. They pay you monthly.
  3. Work permit. This point is very important, must of the schools will either ignore this or tell you that you need to do it yourself. Do NOT let this happen. Mogama is the place where you get visas and believe me it is not apt for foreigners. The place is a nightmare. I know of people that don't renovate their visas just to avoid going there. You do not speak the language and frankly this is not something that is up to you. The school needs to stop being lazy and get this done. Fight it if you have to they are not going to fire you for it. With the new government issues they are actually visiting schools to check this out.
  4.  Education in Egypt is Business. This point made me crazy before I really understood it. Is never about the Education and how the child needs this and that. No, is about mommy and daddy paying money, outrageously amounts of money so therefore they now what is best for their children.  You are never good enough. Egyptian parents are the worst, the child is never wrong. Bad thing is they don't just go to you they go the administration and demand to know what is going on. Then the administration comes back to you and says just re issue the test and give him a a review again with the same test. Education much? I think this is why this country is the way it is, lack of good Education! 
  5. Never give your number to parents. They will ask, they will demand but you have to be strong! You sanity depends on it! It is not a joke. I always say, I don't remember the number or the school policy is not to give it. I don't care what I use at that moment as long as they don't get it. They can be your worst nightmare, calling you at all hours of the night and talking for hours if you let them. You giving your phone number is like tutoring them whenever the parent feels like it. 
  6. Never give 100% They are some great schools here with good administrations... maybe in my dreams. Anyways my point is the more you give to them the more they will exploit you. There is no concept on teamwork on this groups of teachers and everything will fall back on you. Look first how the school works and then follow the example.Working in Egypt is laid back and not fast paced.
  7. Brace yourself for Quizzes and Homework.  The amount of quizzes I had to give in one of the schools made me the most unbearable teacher in the universe. I hate for anyone to tell me what is best for my teaching program when they don't know what they are talking about. Can you believe I had to give 2 quizzes a week per each of my classes I had two grades so make that 4 quizzes a week. One page of homework is not enough they ask you to give them at least 10 pages of homework for first and second graders a day! Madness.
  8. Changing Schools. For those teachers who want to change schools and stay in the country I have some bad news. Do not expect an expat salary. Is very rare that this happens. After you are here they pay you more than Egyptians of course but not the same as if you were back home making the negotiations. This is one of the things that makes me upset because is just plain ridiculous. Did I just loose my English skills because I am living in Egypt??! 
Consider this tips and try to make the best of it as all of us who are here do. Egyptian children can be difficult and spoiled rotten but overall they are very loving children. Prepare yourself for the personal questions the
little ones do not care about personal space this is Egypt. Be sure to plan carefully and explore before making any choices. I hope you find a good school this year!


My students in an outdoor activity

If you have any questions or comments about your experience feel free to comment! Thank you for reading and following me.



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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Home or Away?

I am thinking of visiting Europe this year. I absolutely hate long airplanes trips and going back home is a long way. One of the best things about Egypt is that is close to Europe! One of the biggest hassles is trying to find a good website that offers you good deals and are true to what they are offering. Is good to always do a search of the websites and other customer’s experiences. Never take something at face value because they have a website. Remember to check with your credit card company too in case of fraud to see what your options are. Some credit cards give you a few days for you to make a complaint and stop the payment

As I was checking deals to try and sneak a last minute trip with habibi I found the page of Parkdean. They have different parks around the UK for family vacations. While in their page I saw a quiz that said home or away? Basically you take this quiz and you are also participating in a contest to win a holiday. 

Honestly this is the first time I visit their page and I love the options they have for every type of budget. you can also take your furry friends! I definitely recommend them and their reviews on their Facebook page are great.

I went the the quiz and saw this amazing beautiful pictures and then saw that they had a timer! So I started choosing the ones I thought were the correct ones. I was feeling so confident until my score came up. I got 320 points! Then they take you to this Leaderboard to see how you did... that's when I knew I needed to get a better score. I decided to make a competition with my readers to see who can get a better score.  Are you  up to the challenge? You can access the quiz directly here http://www.parkdeanholidays.co.uk/homeorawayquiz/#



Enter to win a fantastic Parkdean Holiday worth up to £750




















Know your Newquay from Nice? Take the Home or Away Quiz to be in with a chance of winning a UK family holiday worth £750 with Parkdean Holidays.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Crazy times!

This past months have been a roller coaster for me. There where a lot of holidays in Egypt and the heat has started! Also very important thing I am dealing with taxes situations back from home and that is just stressful enough. A few things that I will like to point out is that Egypt is making a great advancement and is changing to daylight hours starting tomorrow. The clock will be one hour ahead. So be aware that this is going to change. Also they are going to change it back during Ramadan... no idea why because is the same, but hey whatever rocks the Egyptian governments boat.

This month a lot of foreigners are leaving the country to go back home. Others are staying like me, and enjoying the different tourist sites. If you are going home remember to take an extra suitcase to buy what you can't find in Egypt!

My advice is please check the weather before going anywhere I do not recommend you to go to the Pyramids in a 40C weather! You are going to melt! For those looking for vacations check the best deals now is practically very low season in Egypt there is absolutely nothing going on.

The elections are coming so avoid coming during the last two weeks of May. Things may get dicey. Always carry water. This heat is something that we are not use to. Is dry and you feel like you are waling in an oven. Also if you get a taxi, before you get in ask if the AC is working. They are always wanting to save money or lazy to turned it on. For them is normal to sweat and be hot. Do not compromise on this, traffic is awful is some areas and what you think may be a short ride can end up being a long one.


I promise to write more often, I have been crazy busy and also catching up on series! Yes, I found a way to look at TV series from the US, UK and Canada. Projectfreetv.com and watchseries.com are great sites for this. So no need to miss out on anything. If you are home and there is nothing to watch catch up on some of the most favorites TV shows online.

Here is a picture of one the mosques in Downtonw Cairo.



Thank you for reading and following me!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Aspects of Expat life

The great guys of HiFX have come up with a campaign which offers tips to people looking to move abroad. When I was approached I immediately loved the idea. I am both happy and excited to be working with them in this new campaign. You can visit their page for more information and other contributions from fellow expats at www.hifx.co.uk/resources/expat-tips/.  In my contribution I decided to start with a list of a few things that future expats may consider. Do you have what it takes to be an Expat?
Let’s find out! Being an expat is not an easy task. You have to think hard and plan ahead. There are some factors you should consider. If you have what it takes, your life will be full of surprises, challenges and adventures.
Here is a list of things that will put in perspective what life as an expat is like and will help you make a decision.

Be ready to miss Special Events: If you are thinking that you will get a flight when your best friend or family member gets married… think again! When you are living in another country and far away from your family and friends it is not going to be easy to attend these special occasions. Not because you don’t want to, sometimes it just might not be possible.  

Social Media and the Internet are your new best friends! If you are not a big fan of social media, well I suggest you reconsider it. Social media is going to be your best way of staying in touch with your family and friends. Share with them your experiences and also for you to keep up with what’s happening back home. It also works as an excellent tool to find expat groups.

Search for words like expats in (country you are going to) you can ask to join them and most of them are very friendly and willing to help you out with any kind of information. I recommend you join before going to that country as it will help you. They have gone through the same things and can lead you in the right direction.

 Language- This is your opportunity to learn a new language! Embrace it. At the beginning is going to be a little difficult but do not despair, keep moving on. I suggest that you try to learn some basics before moving, that way you won’t be so lost. Learning another language can have a positive impact on your CV. If you love languages this is your opportunity to expand your knowledge. Do not make the mistake of thinking that because English is the universal language everyone will understand what you’re saying. You are no longer in your country so not everyone will be happy to talk to you in English and some may not even understand.

When in Rome… Ever heard this saying? Make it your motto for the first few months. Become an observer and try to blend in as much as possible. Some countries are easier than others to adapt to. Be careful and always be aware of your surroundings. Become a chameleon. If you are a person who complains about everything, then maybe you should reconsider the idea of becoming an expat.  

 The eternal tourist: Do you enjoy being a tourist? Well when you are an expat you’re kind of an eternal tourist! Isn’t that amazing? Everything is new for you! Even the smallest things get you excited.  Don’t forget to explore this new place, go out and make new memories.  

 Try new things: Lose your reservations and go all out! This is a time to try things you normally won’t try at home. Don’t be shy! Especially with food! What a wonderful experience is to eat new things! Forget about searching for new recipes, you have the opportunity to learn from the locals.  If you don’t cook, then is your chance to indulge and be happy doing it.  Picky eaters can suffer in an expat life but there are always ways to find your favorite foods.  Choose your country wisely so you do not encounter too many problems in the food department.

 Fight for what you want: This point is very important. For you to be a successful expat you need to be a fighter. Do not give up when loneliness rear its ugly head. Do not consider going back because it just wasn’t what you expected. If you really want to be in that country and enjoy this new path, sometimes you have to fight for it.

I hope that you find these tips useful. I have been an expat for two years and I don’t regret it. Sure there are times I get homesick but I love my life. If you are thinking about being an expat let yourself be captivated by where you’re going it will help you ease in to your knew life to have a little crush on the country. If you want to learn more about my life you can look for me in Facebook and Twitter




Saturday, February 15, 2014

Opposites attract?

Hey everyone! I hope you had a fabulous Valentine's day yesterday. I passed the day thinking about love and relationships. I mean me and habibi have been together for two years already and we feel like it was the first day all over again. At the same time we are total opposites! I mean I am the kind of girl that likes to laugh, hyper, love food, I am totally loud in everything I do and love music! My habibi is so quiet and serious but still has a sense of humor he is the one that does things and you are not sure if he did it or not! He doesn't love music as much as I do! I mean I hear music for everything! I sing out loud and dance. I concentrate the best when I'm hearing music or background noise. My habibi is the total opposite, he likes silence and if he wants music he enjoys classical the best.

He always says to me you are so noisy! LOL I say yeah so what? He already got use to it. If I am too quiet he just goes to me and says, "You okay babe?" to what I am surprise and say "Yes, Why?" he says "Well you are so quiet today... you sure you are ok?" Isn't he a cutie? He understands me so well! Same as me I already know when instead of putting the music loud just use earplugs because he is in thinking mode!

Even in food we are different. He is the kind of healthy eater. I am the total junk food eater! I learned to make a balance with the food but not with desserts! I am a total sugar freak. I mean I can eat pizza, french fries, potato chips, nuggets, burgers and sweets every day. See a unhealthy pattern there? Habibi loves to eat veggies and fruits. He loves french fries and burgers too don't get me wrong but he prefers always healthy things. I have ruin him in a way he loves to eat desserts with me now! There is always cookies, cupcakes and anything you can imagine. I make them or he buys them for me.

My point being that I feel like we complete each other. I believe opposites attract because in a way they have things the other doesn't have. I am totally emotional for everything he is totally rational. But in a way we make it work. There is not a dull moment in our house. We laugh more than anything and we play pranks on each other. We enjoy the chance that we have. We learn from each other also. Our religions are different, our cultures are different but in all the difference we found a perfect blend.

Love is in the air! Well maybe is not! LOL My advice just enjoy life. Sometimes we focus too much in finding someone perfect and we are not going to find it. There is compromise in every relationship and the secret of success is to look at the bigger picture. Focus on the good things and not the bad things. Forgive and forget and move on. Wishing you all the best from a very rainy day here in Cairo!




Sunday, February 9, 2014

Abdeen Palace Museum

This past weekend I went to Abdeen Palace Museum. It was built by Khedive Ismail to become the new official government headquarters. The construction started in 1863 and it took 10 years to be finished. It was inaugurated in 1874. Now it serves as a Museum.

The lower part of the palace was divided into five museums. The Arms Museum, Medals Museum, the Presidential Gifts Museum, The Silverware Museum and The Documents Museum. All of this are not that big and the prices are 15 LE for the entrance and 15 LE for your camera. Is open from 9am to 2:20pm from Saturday to Thursday.

The ticket place is a little tricky because it doesn't have a sign. I suggest you just go to the back entrance which is the one opened at the moment and ask there, they will redirect you. The first thing you see when you enter is this huge chandelier which is stoning! Then after passing security you get in the gardens. The gardens are beautiful but unfortunately you can't see much because is closed due to the Army closing off most of it. They will provide you with a guide once you enter the museum if you don't see anyone, don't be afraid to ask they are very polite. The tour will last about maybe two hours maximum. If you want to see the living quarters and ballrooms you need to pay 350 LE which to be honest is too much! You can see a movie of the inside of this rooms once you finished visiting this mini museums, so you can decide if is worth a try.

I enjoyed the collection of weapons. I am a little of tomboy in some of these things and I love swords, daggers and all that stuff so for me was fascinating. King Farouk the 1st was a vast collector and the museum is filled with every weapon you can imagine. He even had a dagger from the Nazis. In the document section I saw letters from Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1936 as well as a letter from Adolf Hitler. All in all it has a lot of great history. If you are a history buff and want to see some interesting weapons, documents, silverware and medals this is the place for you. Even if you don't is a good place to go and see for only 30 LE.  One of the things I really found hilarious was the Presidential Gifts you would think that country's will give meaningful gifts to one another... not! That was interesting to say the least. I would give this museum a 7 out of 10.

Here is the website of the Palace for more info. http://www.abdeenmus.gov.eg/intro.html


Here are some pictures I hope you enjoy them and go visit the palace. Thank you for reading and following me!















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