Saturday, September 16, 2017

Summer Catchup & A Sailing Trip to Menorca

*Note: This post contains an affiliate link (for a product I love!)

So, you're probably wondering:

Greenwich Park, London

Where have you been?!

It's been months, I know!

Well, the truth is that I've been pretty busy over at The Teaching Cove, running my blog for English teachers and creating teaching resources. Since my ebook on 25 TED Talks for Your English Class seems to be a hit, I'm getting really excited about my growing community.

In fact, I'm developing a course for English teachers that's taking so much of my time, but is so much fun! Of course, I was also teaching English all summer, both in person and online (It turns out when you're one of very few teachers with an active ad in July on Tus Clases Particulares, you get a lot of students!)

Oh, and naturally, I'm about to dive back into the PhD. Actually, I'm hoping this is my last year! The goal is to submit by June and defend by next September, and have one article accepted for publication before then.

So, here's a summer catch-up:

A catch-up and catch-all post, I suppose! Other than the few points below, it's been a summer of intense workouts, trying to re-learn to swim (wow it's harder than I remember!), hanging out with Kiara,  teaching, and running my other blog!

May Trips

    Kiara in Cadaques (Before she ripped open her paws on the rocks and got heat exhaustion). No more hiking for us!)
  •  May is when I headed over to Lisbon, Portugal with Alex, for a much needed break before the end of the term. If you missed it, you can read all about my wonderful time in Lisbon.
  •  Summary: I didn't think there was a place more relaxed and more slow than Spain! 
  • Oh, and the markets are heavenly!
  • Of course, I can't forget my disastrous hiking trip to Cadaques with a meetup group, who told me it was perfectly fine to take Kiara along and that there were a "few rocks". Actually, it's more like a rock-ridden ridge - and the organizer was neither very organized nor helpful. Thank goodness for the family we met along the way who stopped to help us, carried a heat-exhausted, burned-pawed Kiara 10 minutes  up the mountain, and drove us home. So, long story short, we can add it to our list of adventures.

June Sailing to Menorca & A Quick Trip to London

Sailing with 6 other people from Barcelona to Menorca!
  •  So, I learned that photography on a sailboat is not the same as on land!
  • Plus, in addition to speaking Spanish the entire 5 days and picking up a few expressions, I learned that I'm kind of scared of the beautiful sea!  Yes, that's right. Being on a sailboat, in the middle of nowhere, especially at night, definitely inspired me to take swimming lessons the next month (Spoiler alert: I'm a terrible swimmer. Lots of work ahead!)
  • Did you know that you need to take turns being "night watchman" on a sailboat? That meant we slept in three to five hour shifts to make sure our boat didn't crash into another boat during the night
  • Cooking on a sailboat is HARD. The ocean is bumpy!  Also, Spanish islands aren't so vegetarian friendly. So, thank goodness we bought veggies and tofu, but I ate very little over the five days. (I refuse to pig out on bags of chips even if they are the only veggie snack aboard...)
  • We also saw the Festival of San Joan in Menorca, an overcrowded, disorganized mess of drunk people. The horses were beautiful, though! Also, I managed to get a great pair of shoes made in Menorca  (apparently the "Mallorquina" shoes everyone raves about are too narrow for my feet)

Trip to London

Holland Park Peacocks (yes, really!)
  • Then, I got to see Alex again in London! A beautiful weekend, hanging out, walking in Holland Park and visiting the London Design Museum
  • I LOVE that London museums are free and beautiful!
  • We also hung out in sunny Holland Park and saw some peacocks

  • Plus, I got to see Camille, who I hadn't seen in four years. Pure coincidence that we happened to be in London on the same day! I love the way old friends can pick off as if neither of them ever left home ;) 
  • Also, bonus! Camille introduced me to one of her favourite museums in London, The Natural History Museum and we learned a lot about animals.

Sapna at the Design Museum
Alex at the Design Museum

Camille and Sapna at the Natural History Museum


  •  Well, to be honest, July was mostly about work, work, work!  Oh, and by that I mean teaching and blogging, of course.  
  •  It was also organization mania!  Like I do every year, I did a deep summer clean, organized the closets, got rid of anything I didn't need, and super cleaned everything. It feels so good to have a fresh start every summer!
  • Oh, and this year's highlights included an electric "barbeque" that is awesome, apart from the stand that nobody can figure out how to build properly. Also, I did some research on plants, bought a lemon tree (no lemons yet!), planted some herbs like basil and lemon thyme (who knew that was a thing?) and started to care for the plants that came with the apartment better. However, I managed to kill my orchid. *Sigh*.
  • I also bought a great suitcase by Eastpak (That's affiliate link, which means if you buy one, I get a tiny commission to help offset blogging costs). However, I would never promote anything I didn't love. (It is incredible! It has two zippers inside, so each half of the suitcase is like its own pocket. You can squeeze a jacket between the two zipped halves, too. I love the material and the fun designs they come in. It's as a light as a backpack! If you know me, you know I'm not that great at packing (getting better!), and this spacious bag definitely helps. Thanks to Kristin G for introducing me to this brand on our road trip last summer.

My Eastpak Suitcase!

Kiara on the terrace


  • So, August, again, was work, work, work and checking out a couple of the neighbourhood fiestas (where they decorate the streets, like the Fiesta de Gracia)
  • Mostly, I worked on my social media strategy and Facebook ads for The Teaching Cove


Life is incredible!
  • My parents were in London, so I headed over for a quick family visit. We mostly hung out at home, but we did take an afternoon walk in beautiful Greenwich Park
  • Before I left for the airport, I stopped at Victoria station and hung out with a couple people from the Oxford days (Alex and Dima!) Dima!!! So excited you moved to London. We'll be hanging out more often, I'm sure.  Actually, I'll be back in London (in transit) in a few weeks and I'm planning to meet up with the girls again :)

Alex, Dima, Sapna selfie, London 2017

Sailing Trip Slideshow: Menorca

So, here's that slideshow I promised of my sailing adventure! Enjoy!  (Unfortunately, this won't work on mobile - sigh, Blogger and Flickr, c'mon....)  If you're on mobile, please click here to see the pictures in the slideshow

Well, I hope you enjoyed the slideshow and quick summary of my summer! Stay tuned for an upcoming post on my wonderful Canadian visitors (Pam and Cody) this weekend, and our adventures touring around with the beautiful baby Isla!   Also, Dayna is coming to visit in a few weeks, so stay tuned for more Barcelona tourism and a week in Croatia :)

Know any English teachers? Please send them my way at The Teaching Cove, a place where they can find my latest blog posts, free printables, and a whole lot more on the way!

Have a lovely week!


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