Goals for 2017

I super belatedly posted my 2016 wrap up, so now it’s time for the obligatory goals and resolutions post. How boring, right? Um, maybe to you guys! As I think is clear by now, lists and goals are my happiness bread and butter. This is basically my favorite time of year.

  1. I start this year much like the last. One of the main things I want to refocus on is my health. I was successful last year mostly, but the move to Spain really threw me off. The food here! It’s delicious, but man is it unhealthy. It’s all fried and meat and cheese. And it all comes with basically free wine. I haven’t been able to find a pilates class, and it’s too cold/wet to exercise outside. This has led to a lot of inactivity and a lot of unhealthy eating. It’s time to make a change! I want to drink more water, start taking a daily multivitamin again, eat healthier, and exercise (much) more. Also I’d like to get on a more normal sleep schedule, because apparently sleep is a little important.
  2. I want to keep working on my Spanish. It has improved massively from when I first arrived, but I’ve never been more than a high beginner, and the weeks away in December have really set me back. I want to try to do three classes a week, Tuesday – Thursday, and instead of reading 10 books in English this year, I’ll read 10 books in Spanish.
  3. I want to write as much as possible and recommit to this blog. So no more weeks/months between posts–I want to be able to look back on this time and have a complete log of what I was thinking and doing. I’m going to try to commit to a schedule of three times a week, which will definitely take some planning but it’s not like I don’t have things to write about!
  4. I want to volunteer more. The election, and I think also just the result of living internationally, has really made me feel a duty to dedicate more of my time to improving the things about the world I think are unjust or underserved. It’s time I do more. I want to try to do something based in the US, possibly here in Spain if that language barrier doesn’t get in the way, and internationally.
  5. I don’t know how possible this will be, because I make so little money I only break even at the end of every month here, but I hope to save an additional $2,000. I’m not sure how I’ll do this, I’m looking into VIPkid, or maybe getting another private lesson where that money is solely put into savings, but I hope I can at least come close. In addition to this, I want to start tracking every cent I spend, so I know exactly where my money is going!
  6. I want to go to new places. So far this year I have the following trips either booked or planned. Obviously things change, so this is tentative, but so far I have:

JanuaryBelgium. I actually just returned from here yesterday! I went to Bruges and Brussels, and there is a full post coming soon. I also did a day trip to Pamplona.

February – I’m not totally sure what February will be. I know Gareth is coming here for my birthday/THE SUPER BOWL (!!!), but I’m not sure if we’ll try to plan anything else that month.

March – I’ll be going back to London in March, and my friend from LA will be in Europe, so I’ll be meeting up with her somewhere!

AprilSpring break! I’ll be spending most of it in Italy and Slovenia, but I might try to add a trip to Budapest and into Transylvania, Romania to the end of the trip.

May – Again, nothing is really planned here yet. I’ll have to go to my new city to do my renewal forms so I don’t lose my visa, so (hopefully) a trip to Andalucia, and maybe Portugal or Palma?

June – This will be another big travel month. Hopefully I’ll spend a few weeks in Lebanon volunteering with refugees. Then I’ll go back to the states, and road trip from the north down the west coast to LA, where I’ll see my friends.

July/August – These months are super unclear. I have a few options. Au pair, work in summer camps, move home, or do a work visa for a few months in Australia?? Not sure, but I could really wind up anywhere. Exciting/terrifying.

September – I’ll return to Spain and find a place to live/get a new life set up. And hopefully take a few weeks to do a cheap overland trip from Zagreb all the way down to Greece!

From there I have no plans, but I’ll be teaching again starting in October and will probably fit in a few more trips as well. Definitely to the southern Spanish cities, and hopefully to Portugal and/or Palma if I haven’t made it there yet.

And lastly, there are a few 30 before 30 goals I think/hope I could accomplish this year.

  1. Go to Italy
  2. Go to Greece
  3. Stay in Shakespeare and Co bookstore
  4. Learn to cook 5 meals very well
  5. Run a 10k (or maybe a 12k Spartan race? I’d count it 🙂
  6. Learn Spanish. I hope to make that my main focus this year, and by January of next year, feel confident saying I speak the language.

So, I’ve got some plans and things to focus on. Maybe a few too many things to focus on, but that’s a problem for future Kristen!

2016 Wrap up

I don’t really know how to begin to wrap up 2016. It was definitely a rollercoaster, but the only two things that really, really marred it were Brexit and the presidential election. Also Katie didn’t come to visit me. She is the worst.

It was a year that started rough, with a health scare, loss of health insurance, unemployment, and debt, and ended much, much better. This was the year I finally got the courage to leave the (relatively) secure life I had for myself in LA, and follow my dreams of traveling and living abroad.

Here are the 16 best things that happened to me in 2016:

1. I got a job! After months of unemployment, I was hired on an amazing show run by amazing people. Teenage Kristen would never have believed she’d go to work every day with Damon Lindelof, and yet, that was my life for nine months.

2. I got out of debt. Not only did I get out of debt, but I managed to save enough that a RTW trip is looking entirely possible, which would be another dream come true.

3. I got promoted at my job. No longer was I a writers PA, instead I was an assistant and suddenly I worked for someone who cared about my notes, talked out story ideas, and trusted my opinion. It was a great accomplishment, and one that made leaving all the more difficult.

4. I didn’t take my last months in LA for granted. When I first arrived in LA in January of 2012, no part of me thought I’d stay long term. I didn’t like the city, and couldn’t imagine ever feeling good living in it. Cut to nearly five years later, and wow do I love LA. I love my friends, I loved my apartment, the weather, the passion and drive. The landscape. I sincerely hope I end up back in California one day. And I’m proud I built a life there that was so hard to leave.

5. I went to Vegas to see Kesha with some amazing people. And the Hoover Dam. It was really hot, I lost $20 gambling, ate (and drank) way too much at a buffet, and had the time of my life.

6. I got Gareth to like LA. The first time he came to visit, I was unemployed, broke, and not super happy with my life there. I don’t think I showed him the best side of LA, though I did get him to love Santa Barbara. This time, I was in full on appreciation mode, and I think that really shined through. Also he brought a skateboard and was able to see more than just the main roads which I can admit are not the most attractive of sights.

7. I went back to the Pacific Northwest! Seattle had been on my list for years, and I realized I was leaving the west coast with no sure timeline of when I would be back. So the morning after Gareth arrived, we hopped on a plane at LAX and checked out Portland and Seattle. I love Seattle. (Portland was okay but also kind of terrifying!)

8. I MOVED TO SPAIN. That´s the big one. I can’t explain to you guys enough–for years I spent all my free time planning trips I had no time or ability to take. I obsessively read travel blogs and died of jealousy. I basically figured out my ideal life and then refused to live it. Until now! It was super scary and hard and I barely knew Spanish but here I am!

9.  I road a tandem bike!

10. I voted for Hillary Clinton. Because I am a good person who did not want a racist, sexist, homophobic, islamophobic, predator in the White House.

11. I prioritized travel. In my first month here I booked tickets to Copenhagen, Berlin, Amsterdam, Prague, Wroclaw, London x2, and Belgium. Finally making up for my lack of travel while studying abroad!

12. I found my favorite city. I haven’t written about it yet, but it’s Amsterdam. I love that place so much and seriously hope to live there one day. I have a lot more to say, but that’ll be in a separate post.

13. I improved my Spanish. It’s not nearly where I want it to be, but hopefully I won’t be leaving Spain for a while yet, and I am committed to continuing to improve until it is.

14. I introduced my mom to Europe! This was one of the highlights of my year, and something I’ll treasure forever. She wants to start learning Spanish. She wants to come back in the spring. I’ll make a world traveler out of her yet! Also she got to meet Gareth’s family and it wasn’t horrible… I might even say it went well. So, that’s a real relief.

15. I ended 2016 right–with friends and (some) family, and we went back to the Priory, aka heaven, for New Year’s, which was spent in a tiny house in the middle of nowhere with some of my closest friends.

16. I moved to the same continent as Gareth. Wow. Can I fully explain how amazing it is to go from a 12 hour flight and 8 hour time difference to a 2 hour flight and a time difference that levels out the fact that he goes to bed stupidly early? I can’t. But trust me, it’s amazing.

A lot happened in 2016. Let’s see what 2017 has in store!

Dual Italian Citizenship: When the Going Gets Tough (you cry and then hire a lawyer)

Hi friends, I know it’s been too long since my last post, and while I have a huge backlog of stuff (G’s visit, I saw Kesha in Vegas!, etc), something really big/exciting happened last week that I want to talk about.

My last post about Italian Citizenship was not a happy one. I think we all deal with bad news in different ways, like I said earlier mine is to immediately get sad and feel beaten, and then get angry and SUPER motivated. My already low amount of patience ceases to exist, and I go into research overdrive until I come up with a game plan. This time was a little more difficult, because it was so dependent on other people, but when I’m determined, I’m pretty unstoppable.

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Hollywood Assistant – What I Do

Before I moved to LA I crazily searched the internet for blogs about Hollywood assistants. It was such an unknown world, but one that had quite the reputation. Everything I read said it would be hard, demeaning, demanding, and that the pay would be terrible. I was told to expect to be screamed at, to be ready to dodge office supplies that may be thrown in my direction, and be prepared to sort M&Ms so only the “right” colors were left in the bowl.

My experience? Pretty different from that, though I can see how those stories got started. Also I do know people personally who have had all of those things happen. It’s allowed, you can put up with it or find a new job, but I definitely would not say it’s the norm.

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In 21 days…

I’ll be in Portland! I found out I was going to have a few days off the week before Gareth gets into town. Which was kind of the worst timing ever and felt a little like the universe was mocking me. He’s always worked when I’ve been in London, but he has much more sociable hours (if I’m also not working–if we were both working with his crazy schedule, we would literally never see each other). But he’s come to the states three times, once in May of 2015 after my job had ended, once to LA before I found a new job (during the dark months of unemployment), and once over Christmas (which I guess was still during the dark months, but I could pretend it was just the holidays). Never when I’ve been working. And I work like 12 hour days, which is going to feel like pure hell when I know he’s just down the street and I’m sitting in my office, trying not to feel like I’m wasting his whole trip working.

BUT! The extra days off. Before he was set to come. Well, he changed his plane ticket–only by a day, because all the flights were booked before then–but then we suddenly had a long weekend together. So we did the only rational thing–immediately booked tickets to go on what is shockingly our first proper trip away.



We’ve spent time in Cornwall with G’s family, gone to a few Crossfit events, had the best new years ever on a secret island with all our friends, hung out on Martha’s Vineyard with my mom, spent a weekend in Boston, and NH, and a night in Santa Barbara–but none of those places felt like getaways really. They were either spent with family or places one of us had already been. There was no mutual discovery or exploring together. We never had that feeling that it was the two of us out in the middle of the world, far away from “real life.” (That’s a lie, I’ve felt that in his mom’s house and in my parents’ houses, but it’s still different.)


We had to take a boat to get there!


And it was crazy beautiful

So we’re doing a jam packed long weekend in both Portland and Seattle. We’re going to fly to Portland at 6:00 am on Friday, getting in around half 8 in the morning. We’ll spend all of Friday and Friday night in Portland, before eventually taking the train to Seattle, where we’ll spend Saturday night. We don’t fly out until Sunday at around 8 pm, so we’ll have a little more than a day in each city. Definitely a quick stop in each place, but we are happy to just stroll along the waterfront, have some delicious donuts, take a photo booth picture at the Ace, maybe go to the space needle, and definitely check out Powell’s Bookstore (but not spend the whole day there!). Also find as many happy hours as we can, obviously.

I’m SO excited. That we get to go somewhere neither of us has been. That I get him a day earlier and a day longer. That this four month (minus my last minute whirlwind bday trip) separation is finally over. We’ve done four months once before and it was horrible and I insisted we’d never do it again, but here we are. Thank god, almost on the other side of another one. But I mean it for real this time. Never again. It’s just too long.