05 August 2012

I'm an Olympian

Gabby Douglas won Gold.  She is on the Corn Flakes box.  She is 16 years old.  She knew what her dream was when she was 11.  She took huge risks and left her family to follow her dream.  When she felt like giving up, she stuck with it.  She knew what her goal was and she was going for it.  She had conviction.  She wanted to be an Olympian, so she invested everything.  And sacrificed time with family, friends and community to achieve her dreams.

So... when will I know what I want to be when I grow up?

When will my Gabby Douglas conviction set in?

I'm still trying to figure out what to declare... in life!  Do I want a Masters in Fun? How about an MA in Write my Own Schedule or Be My Own Boss.  Do you know who offers a PhD in Three Day Weekends with an emphasis in Late Start Mondays, Early Finish Thursdays?

Nonconformity works for me! And of course I love a good adventure.  I've bounced around a bit.  Sometimes its for fun and sometimes its because I just can't decide what exactly I want to do... so I try to mix things up and hope the answer will... arrive.

I'm still waiting.

Well, not exactly. (I'm not so good at waiting for things to come to me, I'm a bit better at making things happen, anyway... )

Globetrotting, travel and exploring cultures are my forte!

It gives meaning and richness to my life.  I love how I connect with people when I'm abroad. Finding those likeminded people is just downright exciting and totally invigospiring* (new vocabulary - credit to Kahlil).  There is something magical about being abroad, I can't quite explain it.

Don't get me wrong, I love home - my family is here, its where I grew up, and many long time friends.  And Northern California is downright awesome.  I could not ask for a better place to call home.

AND yet... In just 5 short weeks I'll pack up two suitcases and fly several thousand miles away, 14 hours of plane travel and across an ocean.  I will go alone, and arrive to a country I've never been to and know virtually no one.  I will start from scratch, in pursuit of this idea of what I want my life to be like.
When Gabby moved several thousand miles away from her family to pursue her dream, she got homesick. She wanted to go home and back to her family, where things felt safe and certain (and she was like 13, remember).  I totally understand that (I'm 28 and 3/4).

I am having my own Olympic trials.

Where I'm at now is nice, and safe, and cozy, comfortable and beautiful.  I love visits with grandma, weekend trips to see my sister, mani/pedis with mom, visits with dad and the idea of sinking some roots and being more consistently part of the community here. Sounds good, right?

Let the Olympics begin!  It goes something like this:

Why am I leaving? maybe I should stay... I have it so good here.  Oooh airfare is so cheap in Europe,  Milan is only a $40 flight! Wow the beaches look awesome in Barcelona, I can't wait to see the Alhambra in Granada and wine tours and walk the Camino de Santiago... I wonder if I'll make friends with lots of Europeans? Or Spaniards? or expats?  Where will we eat dinner, whats the food like? is the wine really better?  I wonder what I'll do for my birthday, and Thanksgiving, I love my mom's stuffing, aw man I'll miss my nephews first Christmas, crap.

And if I stay? I'll miss all those experiences in Spain.

Allow me to say something very true, not that original, perhaps profound, I'm sure you've heard it before.

Life is full of sacrifices and hard decisions.  Waaaa

Sometimes you get a Gold medal and sometimes you just keep faith that the journey is all worth it.

(and confessions of Olympic trials of mental gymnastics!)

03 August 2012

What's in a name?

I need a bit of feedback...

I am working on moving my blog over to Wordpress and with that, I'm doing a bit of an inventory of, asking myself all sorts of questions such as... Whats this blog for? Whats my message? Who is my audience? Is the name transferrable over the next few years?  Is there a better name I could use for my site?

The main thing is, I am not quite sure if "Gringa" is going to work globally speaking... In the Western Hemisphere, it is a pretty commonly known word, not only in Central and South America but also North.   Now I am heading to Spain and I learn that gringa is not really used... instead they use the term "guiri" or "yankee" (Bleh!)  I really prefer gringa thank you...

I'm just wondering, maybe I'm over thinking it... but anyway I thought I'd write a post and see what you might have to say...

Any thoughts? Opinions? Speak now or forever hold your peace :)

14 July 2012

A journey to China

I went to China for 3 days.  It was absolutely impressive and eye opening.

Professor George Renwick was our guide, he masterfully wove a tapestry using threads from history, culture, politics, people, places, poetry, art, philosophy, past, present and future China...

He shared wisdoms from 2,500 years ago

He painted pictures and told stories

He taught us new words, their meanings, origins and symbols

He introduced us to Henry Kissinger, A Tiger Mother, diplomats, scientists and former Chinese presidents who shared their reflections on China and its people.

He told a story, painted images, and left us with wisdoms from 2,500 years ago

Now, I sit reflecting on everything that was presented.   We did not stick to the traditional US Cultural Style and try to move from Point A -----> Point B in a linear style.  Our discussions, his presentation and the topics flowed outwards and back around, in a circular motion.  Pulling things together, showing their reference, reliance upon each other and relationship.

Everything in China seems to be about relationship, symbols, meaning and connectedness.

The word for Morning, is the symbols for Tree + Sun together.  When is the Sun behind the Trees? in the morning...




The way to say "Hello" in Chinese is: nǐ hǎo

In Chinese the characters to write hǎo are two symbols together, woman + child.

So even represented in their language - that which is good shows the value of family, relationship and connectedness.

I learned about the importance to roles, duty and the collectivist perspective of life.   The importance of your role in a group and to play out your responsibilities.  That success for the group was success for everyone. That failure for one person, was failure for the group.  Furthermore, a group needs a defined, appointed leader - inherent in the unifying qualities of GROUP collectivity, an important role is a Single leader to give direction to the group.

I became extremely aware of how individualistic and completely direct I am as a US born and culturally educated person. For people in the US, the idea of a dictator and single leader is far more uncomfortable for us, than it is for the Chinese.  From their cultural perspective, this is a necessary and vital role for their system of organizing themselves.

A team without a leader, is not stable or secure - very important values for the Chinese.

We learned some impressive numbers as well!

- From 1950 - 1980 China doubled in population! It went from 500 million - 1 billion.  In the next 30 years 1980 - 2010 it has grown to 1.3billion
- In the last 20 years there has been a migration of 150million Chinese out of the rural inland areas and into more urban Eastern cities
- In the next 15 years, China will build ten new cities each the size of New York City
- 1/2 of the clothing provided to the entire world is Made in China
- 1/2 of the shoes provided to the world is Made in China
- 2/3 of DVD, Microwaves and Photocopiers provided to the world are Made in China

And perhaps one of my favorite tidbits, was that the Chinese are planning to build a GREEN CITY, outside of Shanghai on an island.  You are probably familiar with the impressive capacity of China of mass reproduction.  For many cultural and contextual reasons, this is very true.  For creating replication, first there must be a MODEL, and that is exactly what the Chinese are doing.  They are building an environmental, green city as a Model... and for future building projects city planners will be invited, not just from all over China, but from all over the world.

I hope you enjoyed your journey with me to China.

28 June 2012

Greener Me

When I was a kid I was an environmentalist.  I wanted to save the rainforest and the whales.  And be like my big sister who wrapped our Christmas presents in newspaper.   In high school my friends called me a hippie.  I ended up going to college in Santa Cruz - thinking I'd find others like me!  Well, I did and I didn't.  What happened was I found out ABOUT ME and how much of a certain type of environmentalist I really am not.

I don't like it when people will take their dogs to an acupuncturist but feel uncomfortable talking to a black person on the bus.  Or when someone will insist on an organic, gluten free, raw food, ayurvedic diet but smoke weed everyday.

Ok, I know, I know, there is hypocrisy everywhere, we are all guilty of it - duh, we are human.  What I didn't like was that there was this arrogance, or attitude around "I'm better than you because I care about the environment and show this by what I eat, where I shop and what I buy."  There is something wholly wrong with this attitude.

When I was in college I met a girl who considered herself a "freegan" instead of a "vegan"... She would eat vegan when she could, and then if something was going to waste (example: oops the restaurant forgot to leave the bacon off my salad) she wouldn't throw it out or freak out, but would eat it, because otherwise it would go in the trash.  If someone wasn't going to finish their burger, she'd take it home for dinner later.  She was against waste, not fanaticism.  I totally appreciated this perspective.

The crazy-over-the-top organic obsessed privileged rich white hippies in [__insert town name here__]/Santa Cruz totally jaded me. And I didn't want to be like them.  I stopped thinking of myself as an environmentalist.  Even though I still recycled, I didn't freak out if someone threw a can in the trash.  I never bragged about buying a natural, organic or eco product.  I decided that it's up to everyone to decide how they want to live and it's not up to me to preach about what I do or tell others how to be.

Just recently I have started blogging about natural living for a blog called KeenForGreen.com and have been doing quite a bit of research.  I realized that the green movement still has the nutsos out there (Gotta love Portlandia for making fun of these people!)

Now that I've been doing a lot of research on the chemicals in cosmetics, food, household cleaners and all the other unhealthy aspects of mass produced items - I'm getting back into the greener way of things.  And really enjoying it!  I take everything with a grain of salt- I prefer the laid back approach.  Do the best I can when I can, dont fret too much about it otherwise.  It's better to chose the lesser of two evils than obsess about perfection.  If others are interested in this information - they will ask or find it on their own.  No preaching necessary. 

I still think the yuppy-hippies in Santa Cruz are obnoxious.  Some things will never change :)

Check out what I've been writing on:

A Packing List for the Ecotourist and stay tuned for more!

05 June 2012

Election Day

Today is the primary election day in the United States.  And I can't help but have Mexico on my mind.  Their presidential elections are just weeks away... on July 1st.

It is an important event, because in Mexico a president only serves ONE term that last 6 years.  That way the incumbent president is not seeking re-election while they are trying to run the country.  I am no expert about Mexico, or their political system but I know a few things worth sharing:

(unofficial) GRINGA GUIDE TO 

There are currently three dominant political parties in Mexico, all of which are referred to by acronyms: the PRI, PAN and PRD.

Recent presidents of Mexico:

2006 - 2012: PAN Party / Felipe Calderon
2000 - 2006: PRD Party / Vicente Fox  
1928 - 2000: PRI  Party dominated the political scene

The 2000 elections were historic marking the moment Mexico no longer under the dictatorial rule of the PRI party.  Mexico was now a democracy.

For 2012 the two leading candidates up for election are:

          Enrique Peña Nieto of the PRI                            Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the PRD 

Obrador was the actual winner of the 2006 elections, the elections had been rigged and Calderon actually eluded to this during his acceptance speech!

There has been corruption and campaign sabotage during the last months as we inch closer and closer to yet another momental moment for Mexico.

Having the PRI back in power in Mexico, IS NOT GOOD.  As a friend of mine in Mexico said "I'm afraid we will lose what little progress we have made as a democracy if the PRI return to presidential power."

Overcoming the PRI's power hungry dominance in the country is still an uphill battle, the PRI holds power throughout local, state, and national-level offices.

A word or two on the PRI:

The PRI has been widely described as a coalition of networks of aspiring politicians seeking not only positions of power and prestige but also the concomitant opportunity for personal enrichment. At the highest levels of the political system, the major vehicles for corruption have been illegal landholdings and the manipulation of public-sector enterprises. In the lower reaches of the party and governmental hierarchies, the preferred methods of corruption have been bribery, charging the public for legally free public services, charging members of unions for positions, nepotism, and outright theft of public money.

Why I support the PRD:

The PRD is a revolutionary party born out of the political upheaval of the 1980s.  The PRD's party program emphasizes social welfare concerns and promotes economic nationalism, as opposed to the structural neoliberal changes that focus on increasing trade and foreign investment to boost the Mexican economy introduced by the PRI.

You might know about NAFTA - a disastrous neoliberal program created under the PRI - it is the North American Free Trade Agreement involving Mexico, the US and Canada.  This made the US rich, fast and was hugely beneficial at first, now its a mess.  If you need to know why NAFTA still sucks for everyone and has killed jobs in all three countries, read this.  The PRD seeks to boost Mexico's economic autonomy. A stronger healthier Mexico is a good thing.  A co-dependent unequal relationship with the US, bad news for everyone.

As Hilary Clinton recently commented - The PRI will return to presidential power in Mexico - over my dead body!

Please keep your ears open in the next 25 days leading to election day.

Change in Mexico = OBRADOR  2012 - 2018. 

Also, check out the ANTI-Peña Nieto student protest that has gone viral in the twittersphere - #YoSoy132

04 June 2012


I guess its time I came out with it.  It took me a minute to feel comfortable saying it.  But truth be known,
(as in Spain/España/Europe/OMG/WTF)

So, let me catch you up... Back in October I submitted an application to be a teaching assistant in Spain.  It was a "just in case" plan.  For those in my life that think I always have something up my sleeve, well this time it was Spain. oops.  Here we are in June and I have officially been accepted into the position. (bureaucracy in Spain is a little slow).

I have been finger printed, got an FBI report (no records uncovered, phew!), the Secretary of State gave me the official Apostille stamp, I have my four passport size photos, my visa application, official record of my health, immunizations and mental sanity (dumb luck), I have proof of employment, savings (pennies), income, planned travel itinerary (unplanned), a new passport (brand spankin new!), photocopies of passport, a money order for the visa, a visa appointment (July 3rd) and let me see...

Am I forgetting anything? Probably.

My employment is through a grant from the Ministry of Education - better known as the Language and Cultural Assistants of Spain program. The position is part time, so I am also actively seeking consulting and interning opportunities with SEITAR and other intercultural firms.  Of course I will also stay active with InterNations and you know me... networking like crazy :)

I am designing my new Madrid life via Pinterest --- and dancing around the blogosphere of expats in Spain... slowly its starting to feel REAL, but I still have a few months until I depart (in September).

As some of you know, I like to be warm (all the time).  I also like to be near the ocean (or at least water).  Madrid is neither near water or warm all the time.  So, it took my spoiled California gringa booty a moment to adjust to the idea of being in the MIDDLE of a country at 2,000ft above sea level sans agua. I had originally asked to be placed in Barcelona (partially because its called Barça for short, and I think the ç is really cool) and also because its near water and has a warmer climate.  However, the program was cancelled in Barça due to the financial crisis in Spain.  Oops.


I still have lots of things to figure out, like...

Where will I live?

What will my job be like?

Will I start speaking Spanish with a lisp

Will I root for Real Madrid or Barça?

Where do I begin?

(Wine regions of Spain)

Who will visit me first?

25 May 2012

Music Friday

A Mexican artist that I love. 
No Spanish required.

Just listen. 

23 May 2012

Whine and Coat Hangers

I have moved many, many times.  In the last 8 years I have spent stints living in San Francisco, London, Bangkok, Seattle, Portland, New York City, Cancún and soon to be Madrid.

I'm working on the process of packing up my things, sorting through old stuff and selling things off.  I have to put all my personal belongings in storage. Which means it will cost me money and that takes away from my travel budget, therefore STUFF HAS GOT TO GO!

I'm getting rid of all the things that just sit in a drawer and I never use like the calculus calculator from high school, or the clip-on-book reading lamp I've never used, a box of stickers I was "Saving for a special occasion" since I was a kid.

I'm taking some jewelry, clothes and shoes to consignment. The closet is getting a major filtering - skinny jeans and fat jeans are going - if you don't fit, I don't want you in my closet (I have weighed the exact same for almost 10 years, I think it's time to part ways).

All those books I bought and haven't read (including one from college that I wrote a paper on that I never read, but always thought it sounded interesting and would get around to it.... well I haven't).

I have some stuffed animals and Barbie's I thought my kids might want some day, but that's still many years away, so time to keep one or two and let go of the rest... Time to move forward.

But you know what I'm keeping?  My coat hangers.

I know, it's so random.  I have this weird thing - I HATE BUYING COAT HANGERS!  I have moved so many times, which means I have bought hangers more times than I like to think about.

And it has become a totally random pet peeve.

I don't like buying hangers. They are expensive.  They become invisible and there is no cool gadget or fun feel to them.  They are just hangers. A necessary item for the closet, that quickly become forgotten and invisible and there is no avoiding their expense.  Believe me, I've shopped around for the best deal (Quality and price).  There isn't one.

I've tried the cheap ones - they always break.
No thank you to the metal ones from the dry cleaners - they morph.
I'm not a snob, I don't need fancy wood ones.
I just want a decent hanger for cheap.

I usually opt for a mid-priced sturdy plastic type.  Which are about $0.75/each.  Doesn't sound bad, but translate that to a normal-size closet, that works out to at least $40.

But then of course I need a few for pants or items I don't want to wrinkle - so I have to get the kinds with clips which usually are ~$1.25/each.

In the end we're talking $60 for HANGERS.  And that's just too much for THAT.

When I move to Madrid, I guarantee you I will have to buy hangers.  Ugh.

But I have decided that when I move back to California I will have MY hangers neatly stored away and waiting for me.  And those $60 I won't be spending on hangers can go towards something else...

p.s. Duly noted that this is a bratty First World Problem post.

22 May 2012

Globetrotters Bucket List (At Home Edition)

I recently read a blog post written by a globetrotter, she did something brilliant - created a Bucket List for returning home.  After months and months of being on the road and traveling the world she was about to return HOME.  A scary moment for any world traveler.

I've been back in the Bay Area for a few months and will be departing again in October (moving to Spain - woot!)  I have about 4 months "to kill" and I'll be damned if I just waste them away!  I think a Bucket List is most appropriate... here it is! Already done a few!

Bike ride across Golden Gate Bridge

Do More Bike Rides!

Go camping in one of the National Parks

Movie at the Kabuki Theatre

Giants Game at AT&T Park

de Young Museum - Jean Paul Gaultier Exhibit

Bonfire at Baker Beach

Climb the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps

Summer concert (TBD!)

Golden Gate Bridge 75 Years Anniversary Celebration

Stern Grove Free Concerts in the Park!

White Water Rafting - American River

Dance, dance, dance - Salsa whenever possible

Eat at some of the restaurants on this Top 100 SF Restaurants list

That's what I got for now, MORE ideas welcomed!


Here's another good Bucket List for the Bay Area.

19 May 2012

The Beach in Me

I'm a coastal girl.  Take me anywhere in the world and if the ocean is near me, I'm happy.  
There is something about growing up near the ocean that makes me never want to be away from it.  Maybe its the fact that the human body is 80% water, perhaps we used to be mermaids (merpeople? mersons?) or maybe its because thats what makes EARTH unique from all the other planets in the galaxy - WE GOT WATER.  Who knows.  I'm not here for some philosophical rant or even a mushy-gushy ode to the ocean.   What I'm trying to say is that I've learned a thing or two from the beach!

Humans United, woot!

Ever been to a beach in Thailand? Or Japan? Or India? or Mexico? or the US?  Notice anything...?  Everyone does the exact same thing:

We swim
We relax
We sit
We read
We jump
We giggle
We play
We build things with sand
We snack
We spend time with family and friends
We drink beer
We enjoy the moment
We allow ourselves some freedom


Humans are drawn to beaches.  And pretty much do the exact same stuff, and have for a long time.  Beaches are a place for leisure, relaxation, calmness and being free.  So, if I'm right.... that means that we all kind of seek the same pleasure/enjoyment/sense of just being in the moment and having a little fun.

If these waves could talk...

I was at the beach one day and I was noticing the marks where the tide had come in and gone out.  I thought - Wow, it does that everyday.


Since...... ??? I don't know how old this beach is.

"Beach- How old are you?"

Millions (or billions?) of years?  This beach has been here for a while.  The waves are constantly coming and going, THEY NEVER STOP.  It is a consistent rythym, and for what point?  Does it need a point?

The sand is old too.  Wait, what the hell is sand? Where has it been? How many times has it come and gone? I guess it used to be a shell, or fossil or a rock, but how many times has it been something else and become sand and then done it it all over again?

Ok so maybe I'm getting a little lalalala here... Or maybe you get me.

When I'm at the beach, I always have the feeling of "ahhhh, livin the good life"

Every. Time.

There's just something special and I never can get enough.  I have a wonderment for the ocean.

Maybe you do too?

Just think for a second.... the fact that the WAVES and the TIDES are related to the MOON (WTF?) is just crazy.  And I realize - what the hell do I know?  I'm just one person, one lil dot on this teeny lil planet in this infinite galaxy, in a tiny lil blip of history that is part of something much much bigger than me.  This beach has been here FOREVER.  And Millions of people have pressed their foot in the sand and made a mark, and the waves have washed over it... over... and over again.   And that's when I realize worrying about my salary or my to-do list or how many people follow me on twitter, just.... doesn't. matter. at. all.

Photo by Alfredo Fiori

Then comes the moment... When everything matters less.  And I feel


Ok, so if others all over the world are heading to the beach for the same relaxation---- to just enjoy and just BE... then maybe,


hear me out here... MAYBE they've thought similar things too...

And... that makes me feel like I'm connected to EVERY PERSON on the planet in some lil way

That we are all equally part of this whole planet/moon/universe/galaxy thing, and then I feel like


Life Is Awesome

17 May 2012

Social Media Takes Over my Life

I started blogging recently and its been a waterfall of SOCIAL MEDIA ALL DAY EVERYDAY.

Wow.  I didn't see that coming. I thought Twitter was lame (I still kind of do!)

I was one of the last of my friends to create a Pinterest.

Facebook and I have relationship issues.

I started my blog 2 years ago and ignored it for the last year and 10 months.

So what gives?  Well, I'm a SOCIAL person and I can do it all day long and in my sleep wherever I may be.  But what else? Because you can make money off it.  You can get a job.  Make friends.  Build a following (woot! I feel popular).

Put that all together and it feels like I am creating a path for myself that's leading to something.... something I'm gonna like a whole lot.  I don't know what it is yet, but something is brewing.

Basically being social means creating connections.  Creating connections leads to opportunity and discovery. And that is GOOD STUFF.

I'm no expert, but here are some resources around getting a job, marketing yourself and building your skills and a career using Social Media

Social Media Misc...

  • Check out one of my favorite sites - The Suitcase Entrepreneur and sign up for her newsletter, get a free eBook on Social Media Workout! 
  • Danielle Sleeper gives her feedback on what worked and what didn't using social media in job searching in the field of International Education. Check it out
  • Other favorite person is Lea Woodward who built a business educating others of how to create a Location Independent Career (Read: You get travel/live anywhere)!
  • AND WHO DOESNT LOVE THIS NAME: SheTakesOntheWorld.com <--- YES!  Check out Natalie MacNeil and her online business that rocks and how she is using social media and online marketing to have fun and live a life she designs. (I'm next! I'm next!) 
Pinterest - its the new hottest thing!

HAVE FUN! And find me 

15 May 2012

A Man I never knew...

Carlos Fuentes died today.  I didn't know who he was.

All the Spanish language news stations and Latin America related websites that I follow had postings about him.  So, I decided to check out who he was.

He was a writer.  And all over Latin America today, people are probably mentioning "Hey, did you hear Carlos Fuentes died?"  So, let me share a bit about what I learned...

Born in Panama, son of diplomats, he grew up in Uruguay, Brazil, United States, Chile, Ecuador, Argentina and studied in Mexico City where he started writing novels.  His first were published in the 1950s, his most accomplished are “The Death of Artemio Cruz” and “Terra Nostra," he is one of the best-known novelists and essayists in the Spanish-speaking world.

etc... etc... etc...

This is a guy who had a lot to say, and he did.  He believed in the power of his words and he shared them.  He took the time to educate himself and get out there and tell others what he knew, believed, felt and thought.

Rock on.

He traveled the World.  And through his travels he learned about his identity, became passionate about justice in Latin America and spoke against the corruption within it.

I am inspired.

He thought of himself as a “transopolitan”- one who felt at home anywhere history and culture were valued or debated.

I would have liked to have him in my circle of friends.

This Washington Post article describes that, Mr. Fuentes in addition to his career as a novelist, he led an intellectually restless life as a political provocateur, an essayist, a screenwriter and playwright, an editor, an ambassador and a cultural historian.

One cool dude in my book.

Learning about Carlos Fuentes today has done one obvious thing: inspired me to follow up and read more on him, pick up one of his books or essays, bring his words and life into my cultural knowledge.

It also inspired me to tell you about him. Because the thing with learning about other countries is not just about trying the food, going out dancing, or just visiting the sites.  Its about understanding the people.  By learning about Carlos Fuentes today, I feel a more connected to a culture that is different than my familiar.  I have a better sense of some of the cultural values of Latin America, México in particularly, and the type of people who make that country.  I know a bit more about the history, politics and consciousness of the people.  Now you also know a little bit about him.

And what better way to leave this world, than to be remembered. 

Señor Carlos Fuentes
November 11, 1928 – May 15, 2012

14 May 2012

Learn to Laugh in Spanish! jajaja

Learning a language is not easy! But the best thing is, it's pretty fun.  I love learning Spanish and even more so I love speaking Spanish, and EVEN BETTER than that is being able to understand humor in Spanish.  Laughing in Spanish is fun fun fun, it sounds like this:


(if you are lost or confused: in Spanish "J" sounds the way "H" does in English, therefore J is used by Spanish speakers in virtual laughing, I think it just looks funny so it makes me laugh more!)

Here's some of my favorite ways to laugh and enjoy learning Spanish...

Bueno, Entonces...  

One of my all time favorites! The creators have a great sense of humor and teach fun stuff... using funny photos, cartoons, they'll help you know the street words you will run into!
Check out their free trial!
They also have fun videos like One Semester Spanish Love Song:

Fluent in 3 Months
This guy speaks 7 languages and has millions of resources and ideas of how to learn., for example listening to Podcasts, here's some tips.   Check out this blog post how to learn Spanish from music, featuring "La Tortura" from Shakira.

If you are willing to pay, this seems to be the best option out there. I'm not a fan of Rosetta Stone, their strategy puts me to sleep.  Fluenz is more interesting, modern looking and a whole lot cheaper.

Spanish Pod
I've never used it but it gets a lot of great reviews!  Check it out and report back to me!

I also try to get my news in Spanish, so I follow CNN Español, BBC Mundo, and my horoscope sent to me en Español. FUN STUFF :)

Check your skills - how many do you already know? 100 Spanish Words To Know (I knew 99, guess which I missed?)

Anyone have a favorite language resources? Spanish humor website?  I'm collecting more resources! :)