Showing posts from April, 2014

4 Things America Can Learn From Spain

I’ve been living and working in Spain for almost two years now, and in this time, I’ve been lucky to have such a unique opportunity to learn, first-hand, the everyday culture that surrounds the Spanish language. I’ve had to come to terms with the culture of Spain and the way Spaniards do things; most things aren’t wrong, they’re just…different. While I’ve learned a lot about this country since moving here in September 2012, one thing in particular I’ve gained is a new perspective on America; sometimes you need a fresh pair of eyes to see both your homeland’s faults and what places, foods, and times of the year are really special. Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to take what I’ve learned in my experience living here in Spain and talk about what I think American culture and society could stand to learn from Spain (this post) and vice versa. Now, before the haters come out of the woodwork, let me just say that living in Spain has made me love America more  than before I ca

How to Get Around Galicia by Train

Last year when I lived down south in Úbeda , I mostly took the bus around from village to village or even on long-haul trips to bigger cities. It helped that Úbeda was a sort of regional bus hub, and while the nearby Linares-Baeza train station had decent connections with the rest of the country, it was always a hassle to catch an infrequent bus just to get to the station. But this year, I’ve taken full advantage of Santiago de Compostela’s full-fledged, bustling train station, and I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve had to take the bus. Because of this, I’ve gotten to know the Galician rail network fairly well. (Source: Wikimedia Commons ) The region of Galicia in northwestern Spain sometimes seems a world unto its own—a different language, abundant seafood and baked goods, a foggy, mystery-laden landscape—but you can go from one major population center to another via train just as easily as anywhere else in the country. The Spanish national rail company Renfe o

Sounds I Miss From Texas

At the Texas State Fair I miss the sounds of: Crickets as they keep vigil through the night, their whistly sopranos petering out and being replaced by the next in turn The Doppler effect of the lawnmower as it passes by my bedroom window, and the calm relief that returns after it shuffles off Squirrels thumpety-thump-thumping across the roof The bright, bouncy cry of the cardinal The whooshing of the trees as they all clap their hands to welcome in an imminent thunderstorm, or the lazy flicker of leaves rustling together on a balmy, breezy day Thunder in all its forms: the uhhh-I-don’t-wanna-get-out-of-bed-Mom grumbles, far off in the distance—the basketball that bumps from one carpeted stair step to another—the large fart denied a way out of the bowels—the kind that shifts between rumble and boom that makes you wonder if it’s gonna be A Big One—the bedroom door slammed by an angsty teenager that makes the bookshelf fall over and spill all the books and knick-knacks on

Gathered Thoughts From a Trip to Portugal

It only took me half a year to get there, but last week, I finally made my way down south to Galicia’s long-lost cousin, Portugal. For Semana Santa  or Holy Week celebrations, I got a whole week off of school, so I had the opportunity to do the country justice rather than a brief, whirlwind weekend trip. Early Thursday morning, I caught the regional train down to Vigo in southwest Galicia, where I made a transfer to the direct “La Celta” service between Vigo, Spain, and Porto, Portugal. Two nights in Porto led to four nights in Lisbon the capital, where I made daytrips to the monumental neighborhood of Belém and Romantic-era retreat of Sintra. View this post on Instagram em lisboa A post shared by Trevor Huxham (@trevorhuxham) on Apr 13, 2014 at 1:25pm PDT As per usual, there will be the expected travelogue-style posts about my time in Portugal to come, but for now, I’m sticking with tradition and doing a

Confession: Why I’m Renewing for Another Year in Galicia

It’s that stressful time of year again: the Spanish Ministry of Education has now begun assigning native English speakers from North America to work in public elementary and high schools across the country. First-timers anxiously (and impatiently) wait to hear back from the government to see where they will be spending the next eight months of their lives, and veteran language assistants have their fingers crossed, hoping to get placed in their preferred region. Placements are already rolling out this early in the spring, which inevitably means fellow teachers, expat friends, and family are asking, are you going to renew? View this post on Instagram The green Galician countryside, somewhere between Santiago de Compostela and Ourense. I'm off to León province to the east this weekend & looking forward to a change of pace (and weather!) // #green #galicia #spain #travel #vsco #vscocam A post shared by Trevor Hux

How to Recycle in Spain

Like any responsible society, Spain has a well-developed system of recycling used materials like paper, plastic, or soda cans. You can find recycling bins, receptacles, and containers all over the country, from the biggest metropolises to the tiniest villages. However, these bins usually come in multicolored troupes of four, and unless you know the specific vocabulary surrounding, uh, waste, it can be a little confusing the first couple times you have to throw stuff away. Recycling bins in Madrid Green: trash ( residuos ) (Source: Wikipedia ) Okay, I know this isn’t really recycling, but you always find green-colored bins for all your trash alongside the other recycling containers. Throw your trash bags in here. Often they’re labeled with residuos orgánicos (organic waste), but it means the same thing as basura  (trash). Blue: paper ( papel ) (Source: Wikimedia Commons ) Throw your loose paper, cardboard ( cartón ), newspapers, and magazines in here. Although

Photo Post: The Street Art of Zaragoza, Spain

When I was gallivanting around the region of Aragón in east-central Spain a month ago, my first stop was the huge capital city of Zaragoza. I’ve got a travelogue post in the works, but today I want to highlight an attractive draw to the city’s old town: the street art. Having been tipped off to Zaragoza’s strong street art scene by Lauren Aloise’s blog post , I was on the look out while in town and managed to come across some beautiful and intriguing pieces throughout the historic core and the neighborhood to the west, El Gancho. The next time you’re passing through Zaragoza, keep your eyes out for some surprising graffitied walls! Singing houses near a music center Splotches of color “Undying Love”