One Picture Post I

I’m trying to update more often, even though I’m no longer bouncing around Spain (or the European continent). Since I’m not inspired by my current Portland-based adventures, I’m going to do a series based on some of my random favorite photos from Europe. Today is inspired by one of my best friends, former roommates, and fellow awesome traveler: Quila Doyle.
Quila e o estalotes
Backstory: We were hiking down a mountain, searching for an old monastery. Why? Continue reading

5 Things I Miss About Santiago

It’s well into 2014 and in honor of the new-ish year, Jeannette is feeling homesick…and apparently speaking about herself in the third person.
However, because I’m a special pretentious snowflake, I’m not homesick for the place I grew up–ewww, rural southern Oregon…shudders…But I do deeply miss my beloved Santiago de Compostela.
The Specialness Continues…

Leaving Santiago…Again!

So it’s summer again, the time when Jeannette throws half her belongings into the dumpster, packs up her increasingly shabby suitcase, and flies off to a different country. However, unlike last year, I’m not coming back to my beloved Santiago in the fall. Therefore, the last couple of weeks were filled with the requisite tearful farewells.
I had to say bye to all my students–hyper little terrors all of them, but still I will miss them, as well as my awesome coworkers at IES Marco do Camballon.
It was especially sad to leave all my amazing Galician friends. You guys are fantastic and I’m definitely coming back to Santiago to see you again!

So what now?
Well I’m currently playing in Munich, because living in America is boring! If all goes according to plan, I’ll find a job within the next couple of weeks and then devote some serious study time to the German language. (Yeah right now I’m utterly failing at communicating in German).

Playing Bagpipes in the Forest: Fiesta de Carboeiro

5 a.m: Hiking up a dark hillside, listening to the echos of bagpipes and tambourines. The monastery sits quietly in the field below us all, right next to the crowd of assorted dancers, musicians, and inebriated singers. I was leaving my final foliada in Galica–intoxicated and footsore, both signs of a good one!

Back up, you say. What is a foliada? Continue reading

Island Paradise in Galicia: Las Islas Cíes

Last week, the weather took pity on all the soggy Gallegos and we had a couple days of sun and heat! Shocking, no? Well, my friends and I took full advantage and headed out to the Islas Cíes, a pair of wonderfully gorgeous islands off the coast of southern Galicia. These islands have one of the best beaches in the world, no joke!

Continue reading

Spain is Different: Health Care

In this episode, I will explain some of the differences in attitudes toward health care. Now, because I am a lazy ex-pat who spends her time in Spanish bars and not researching the nuances of international health care systems, I can only tell you about attitudes, not the ins and out of public health policy in Spain.
Basically, explaining American health care to Spaniards is fun. When I talk about my personal history, I always get looks of scandalized horror. 

Why? Because I am an American who grew up without consistent health insurance.
Even explaining this little fact usually takes a few minutes. Because all Spanish citizens are a part of the public system. They have the right to go to any public hospital or clinic and pay nothing, or very little. Yeah there’s long wait times and run-arounds, but it’s always available. And, despite the impression many Americans have of the scary “socialist” Europeans, wait times are comparable to America: a couple hours to half the day without an appointment, wait a couple weeks to a month for a specialist if your case isn’t urgent.   

Now, once my friends grasp the concept of an all-private system, we move on to: Jeannette didn’t have any form of health insurance from the ages of 18-22.
Cue the bug eyes. Cue the, “But what would you have done if you were hurt or sick?”
And then I have to explain about the little avoid-going-to-the-doctor dance that so many people play: like downing Vitamin C and praying your colds never go into pneumonia. Or being in your early 20s and relatively healthy, so health care is NOT a priority. Not compared to rent, food, or even beer money.
“But what happens if you have to go to the hospital?”
“Giant bills and huge debts if you can’t pay cash.”

More bug eyes.

Let’s make an analogy. Imagine your friend just admitted he never wears a seat-belt and drives without car insurance. Stupid, right? Now let’s say that you know for a fact that said friend also speeds occasionally (who doesn’t?) and will drive home from the bar after a couple of drinks. Whoa man, that’s nuts!
That’s what my Spanish friends think of the Americans operating without health insurance.