So I am currently sitting by myself on a 10th-floor balcony in Mallorca, Spain. It is 9:45pm, and the sun is just about finished setting. The temperature is about perfect, and there is a slight breeze coming off the water. As I was sitting here just enjoying the moment, classical music randomly started playing loudly right here on my terrace. I thought it was my roommate’s music (she has a pretty fantastic Bose speaker), but I was wrong. It is actually some sort of concert happening way down on the beach, apparently in a place with the most amazing acoustics ever. Seriously, it’s like I have my own personal classical concert in my living room. It was quite a moment!
It was one of those moments during which Kurt Vonnegut would encourage me to “exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.’”
As a cancer and a blue, I tend to be pretty reflective and nostalgic, and I mean really, what better time is there to reflect and nostalgize than when a random classical concert during sunset just floats its way up into your life? So here I am.
I have been checking the Facebook “on this day” section a lot lately, and it’s been so fun to see my photos and posts from when I first came here to Mallorca in 2014. I was just staring my ed leadership certificate program, and I had just finished a somewhat difficult-ish year at my old school in New Jersey (though let’s bet honest, folks, everyone knows I am Biotech4Lyfe). Actually, I had received a job offer from another NJ district literally the day before I left for Mallorca, and I was doing some seriously contemplation about my life. I had been wanting to teach abroad for years, but every year I found some reason or excuse to put it off just one more year. I was hoping that my summer semester in Mallorca would help me find some clarity.
Oh boy, did it! By the end of the very first day in my Intro to Admin class, I knew that this year was the year. It was like one of those moments they talk about when you fall in love with your soulmate…you don’t know why you know, but you just know.
I feel like the rest of my time over the past two years has been such a blur. I won’t waste your time writing about it here, since I have blogged the journey enough so that I feel like that story has already been told. And I don’t want to get too much into the sappy and emotional stuff I feel because #1 who wants to read that anyway? And #2 that’s all just a little too personal to share. But I dunno, I wanted to start this post with that little bit of reflecting because I love the poetry in the fact that I am finishing my Mallorca program in two weeks, and my life is completely different from what it was just two years ago.
Ok, now that that’s out of the way, it’s time to talk about my first week here! I will definitely be blogging less this time around since I already wrote so much about Mallorca in 2014, but of course there are always new adventures to be had!
Sadly, I was only able to be in New Jersey for about 10 days, including travel time, so that was basically a whirlwind. It was great to see some family and friends, although I wasn’t able to see everyone I would have liked to see. But hey, there’s always Christmas!
After a pretty painless redeye from New Jersey by way of Zurich, I arrived in Mallorca on the 4th of July. My friend Amanda (you remember her from earlier posts, I’m sure) arrived about an hour before me, and we were reuinited in the airport. This time around I built in a couple of days to let myself adjust better to the time change (last time it was horrific), so we had some time to explore and acquaint (or re-acquaint, in my case) ourselves with Palma and Cala Mayor. I won’t give you the run-down of every minute because that would take me too long to write and you too long to read (plus I’m already at 725 words!), so here are some highlights!
I am sharing an AirBnB place with my new friend Julie, whom I met on the TCNJ Mallorca Facebook page. The apartment (and Julie!) are great! I am basically addicted to taking photos of the view from our balcony, so here are a few!
We have use of the pool downstairs, which is pretty cool, and as you can tell from the pics, we are walking distance to the beach. Needless to say, I’m getting quite tan indeed this summer!
Pod and I have been down to the city of Palma a few times already, which has been fun. If you want to get away from the beach for a while, a trip into Palma is a great way to do it! On Tuesday we went to Tapas Tuesday, which is basically when all the bars have cheap tapas and beer. The food was delish, and it was fun to figure out the bus and walk around old city a bit. And of course, leave it to Amanda to find gummy tapas!
The next day we did some touristy things in the city, which was fun because I had skipped those things the last time I was here (too busy being a nerd, I guess). Again we did some walking in old city, and we made our way to the cathedral and palace. The grounds of the cathedral were so pretty, and I loved that they had street artists and things like that. It felt like a real European city (which, of course, it is!).
Cala Mayor is the name of the little beach town we are staying in. On the first full day here, Pod and I did some exploring and checked out the gorgeous ocean views from all sorts of vantage points. I was very excited to get new pics from the top of my favorite set of stairs!
We haven’t been to the beach every day (the sun is REALLY harsh), but we have definitely gotten a few swims in already! And, in honor of my friend Ligia, we swam out to the buoy, just like in 2014! I haven’t been bringing my phone to the beach because it’s too hot and I don’t want to get that “your iPhone is too hot” warning, so unfortunately I don’t have many pics to share. However, have no fear! We have definite underwater GoPro pics planned soon!
Oh, I would be remiss if I left out FISH PEDICURES!!! One day while we were eating breakfast, Amanda noticed a fish pedicure place across the street. Fish pedicures are actually illegal in the US (apparently fish are not “approved pedicure instruments”), so we decided we just had to get them! So, we worked that into our very busy schedule of walking around and enjoying the sun. We soaked our feet in fish-filled water for 15 minutes and ended the experience with great foot massages! It was really weird yet really fun. I was pretty creeped out by this one ginormous fish (well, at least it was ginormous in comparison to the rest of them) that kept chilling on top of my foot. The whole thing was just strange, but I’m glad we did it. And yes, it tickled!
One big difference between this year and 2014 is that we rented a car! Before my crazy driving adventures in Costa Rica, I would’ve been way too scared to drive a car in another country. But trust me, once you have driven in San Jose, you can drive anywhere. So, Pod and I decided to rent a car for the weekend and have ourselves some good old-fashioned adventure!
On Saturday we decided to go to a few different places in the northwest part of Mallorca. There was a mountain range I really wanted to see (Serra de Tramuntana) because it was the #2 thing to do in Mallorca (#1 is the Cathedral, which, as you know, we already had covered. When we looked at the map, we noticed that Valldemossa (a beautiful town I visited last time) was on the way, so we decided to stop there. We spent a couple hours in Valldemossa, where we checked out the monastery, had lunch, and walked around enjoying the vistas lindas.
From there we set Sa Calabra as our destination (this was largely due to a really cool pic of my friends in Sa Calabra that I had seen on FB months ago and remembered saying “I NEED TO GO TO THERE”). But the cool part about this was not necessarily the destination itself, but the roads we had to drive on to get there. If you’ve ever been on a winding mountain road, picture something winding-er. We basically drove this crazy road all the way up the west coast, and the last 12 or so km were the most intense km I have ever driven in my life! Luckily we had a tiny little Fiat Panda, so it was able to handle the hairpin turns like a champ. Even so, sometimes it was pretty scary going around the turns because we couldn’t quite tell if anyone was coming from the other direction, and we just sort of hoped that no one would come flying at us with lightning speeds!
By the very fact that you are reading this post, you know we made it out of there alive, though not with out some motion sickness medicine. If you are ever in Mallorca and you decide to drive the hairpin turns in the Serra de Tramuntana, just trust me, bring Dramamine.
The good news, though, is that the views were spectacular, and the trip was well worth every edge-of-your-seat moment.
On Sunday, we went east to the Cuevas del Drach (caves of the dragon). This is one of the more popular tourist destinations in Mallorca, and for good reason! The caves were so awesome…tons of stalagmites and stalactites, and really just an amazing creation of nature. At the end of the little trip through the caves, they had this short classical music concert, and the people playing the instruments came into the cavern (or whatever the room inside the caves was called) on rowboats! If I’m being completely honest, it was my hardest day of jetlag, so I actually almost fell asleep during the concert, but that was through no fault of the musicians. I was just really that tired. Either way, it was still enjoyable.
All in all, they were two very successful road trips!
Let’s not forget that the actual reason I am here is to finish my last two courses of the TCNJ graduate program in ed leadership. (I really need to write this section in case my dad is reading and thinking, “Does that girl ever get any work done? I thought she’s there for school!!”
I started my first class on Thursday of last week, and it’s been great so far. I am always amazed at how much we learn through this program, despite the fact that the classes only last for eight or nine days! School Law is actually much better than I had anticipated (to be honest, I have been dreading this course since I signed up for the program!), and I’m hoping the same for School Finance. It’s been a bit of a challenge to balance the workload, but I got myself all caught up last night and was able to spend today on the beach with some pretty minimal homework. So yeah, overall the school thing is working out quite well, too!
Ok, I just broke 2,000 words, which is ridiculous for a blog post. If you made it this far, thanks! If not, that’s cool too, since I really just write for myself anyway. So there!
Thanks for reading, and there will be more to come! Hasta luego!