Category Archives: Learning Diaries

Week 3..

..done! My week started with two free days so I headed to the beach of Tarifa. Loved it and it’s 10 km long beach, so there is space enough for everybody. The place is perfect for kitesurfers, because there is quite windy and big waves so there were lot’s of them on that day. Sometimes if you are lucky enough you might see dolphins and even whales at the sea, but I’m never lucky so I just saw my inner eyelids, cause I focused on relaxing.

Views to Africa

Days have gone so fast and again I have learned lot’s of new spanish words and new things about my job. There has been quiet days and very busy days and sometimes I wish I could be a octopus, because my hands can’t carry so much stuff than needed. Now I’ve told immediately to our Spanish customers that I don’t speak well spanish, I’m from Finland and student, so they have been very understanding and helpful and I try to speak spanish as much I can. Many little mistakes have happend, but nothing serious..yet! And I learn from those everytime, so I won’t repeat them. One day the Hoteles Globales “big boss” was visiting here and we had to be even more precise and look professional. Of course I was even more frightened that I was dropping something or doing something stupid, but it went well I guess.

Last week couple Finnish groups came to the hotel and were very surprised at what I did there and said that I looked like a Spanish. My coworkers call me “rubia”=blond so my Spanish camouflage colour is not quite finished.

Lobby area

Me and lovely Mariangeles. It was her last night at the hotel. We tried to look stylish but it did not succeed!

Till next time…


Week 2

After the first week culture shock and the beginnings constriction, I have already settled here fine. Of course I still miss the people at home, but I have a good feelings and doing pretty good to be only with your own thoughts. Fortunately, nowadays there are good communication tools so everyday video call to home helps solitude.

On Monday me and the hotel asistant manager Julie went to a local police station to get me my NIE number, what you need to have in Spain if you are going to work here.

My work days were between 9-13/ 12:30-16:30 and 19:30-23:30. The days go by the same routine almost everyday. Clean up tables, chat and help customers, pour drinks etc. And after every dinner you set all ready for the next dinner. After work we eat together and it is still quite weird to eat decent food at twelve o’clock in the evening and then try to go sleep after a huge dinner. I try to eat just a little bit, but sometimes it’s hard to resist those delicious looking cakes and other goodies.


Main courses: there is always options of fish, chicken and meat, rice, pasta, potatoes and vegetables

Every day I have learned something more and some new spanish words stick in to my head. It is still hard to make correct sentences and I’m shamed if I don’t know how to pronounce the words correctly. Maybe I just have to start using it bravely and my co workers are always helping with pronouncement and teach me new words. I’m still 0happy that the are so many English customers who I can speak with and it’s now much easier than first week.

The Weather has been warm, not so many sunny days but the temperature is still +26 and moist. My body begins to get used to this heat and it’s not so suffocating to work here anymore. Hotel is so near the harbour that you can hear many noises coming from there. Lot’s of police/coast guard helicopters, ships honks etc. At the beginning it was quite annoying sometimes, but now i’m used to it either.

I had couple day offs and I headed to Tarifa, which is only 45 minutes bus ride away from Algeciras. Tarifa is a bridge between Europe and Africa and divides the Mediterranean from the Atlantic. Lovely little beach town, surffers paradise and the southernmost city of Europe. There were lots of little boutiques, restaurants and cafes in the small, charming alleys. I definately come back with beachwear and lots of money, because there were so much unusual stuff what you can’t find at shopping centers. I also visit at the Castle of Guzmán el Bueno, which was built in 960. Really old castle and great history, but most of it was renovated too modern looking, so only old things which were left were the walls.


I’ve noticed a lot of differencies between spanish and finnish peoples behaviours and habits. They are very straightforward so it is not possible to avoid controversy, but once the air is cleaned everything is back well. When you meet someone, everyone is always asking how are you doing or is everything ok. Friends usually give a cheek kiss when meeting and otherwise touching and standing near each others when you talk is somewhat different to the Finnish character. We have been laughing here about our different eating habits. Especially younger people don’t eat here much vegetables and salads, so their plates were full of chips, pasta etc. and I had many green things. In Spain it is common to eat something sweet for breakfast so even here my workmates may have just churros or cakes and juice or milkshake to drink. And no coffee!! I have to get my daily coffee with breakfast or it’s going to be a really bad day!

Till next time…


First week


Fist week in Slovenia, Nova Gorica is been really nice and of course pretty new too. We arrived here last Saturday – Sunday night, 9th of September. First we flight from Helsinki to Frankfurt and there we switched to another plane to Venice. When we arrived to Venice our driver Tomaž picked us up from the airport and drove us to Slovenia, to our dorm.

When we arrived to the dorm, it was past might night and we were so tired. But unfortunately we didn’t get our own room then, because only person at the time in the dorm was security guard who didn’t know that we were coming, so she gave us a random room and said that we should come switch the rooms first thing in the morning. So we got up at 7am and went to reservation but we ended up switching to our own room way later that day. In Sunday we discovered the town and find out that everything is so close to our dorm. And of course let’s not forget that you can walk to the Italian border from our dorm, that close we are.

First week at work was nice, people here are so nice even if they don’t speak good english! Mostly we were just learning how things are done here. Monday we made inventory and later on that week we worked on lot of departments and learned lot of things and got to know people were working with. On Thursday was my 18th birthday and I was so surprised when we were called to come to the break room and all staffs started singing to me and they even had birthday cake with candles on it. The cake was by the way so good. Our work days starts at 7.30 and usually we’re walking there cause its close and in mornings weather it’s nice and cool.

The weather is been super hot here, everyday it’s been close to +30 degrees. I also had opportunity to go to Duino, Italy. It’s nearest place to go to see sea and of course to swim! It was so beautiful and the water was so clean, I loved it. The car ride to there lasted just about 30 minutes, so it wasn’t that far away.

Because the week was after all pretty hectic and everything was new, this weekend we are just chilling and resting for the next week.

Loves, Julia ❤️✨

Week number one..

..completed! I’m still alive and ok. I didn’t broke anything, I didn’t do any big mistakes and I have learned something so let’s continue that way for next seven weeks. My work shifts were most of the days between 8:30 – 12:30 and 19:30 – 23:30 so I did breakfast and dinner settings. At breakfasts my job is to collect used plates off the tables, change dirty tablecloths to new ones, set new cutlerys on tables and of course, be nice to customers, answer their questions and so on.. At dinners my job is pretty much same as in mornings, but then we serve drinks to our customers and also in the lunch time too. After every setting, we set the tables ready for next dinner, polish all cutlerys and glasses, take tablecloths to laundry, pick up empty bottles and glasses from the hotels floors which cleaners have collect from rooms.

Only problem is still that I don’t understand everything what our Spanish customers or my collagues are saying. And it’s hard to get answers to my million questions, because there is only couple workmates, who speak english and they are not always there when I needed. I still don’t know everything what I should know, but I guess I’ve learned before my last day at October 26th. I’ve been studying Spanish since last autumn and I know some basics and understand words here and there, so I can answer some questions made by our spanish customers. Fortunately there are now lots of customers from England and Germany, so I can easily communicate with them. I have to say that I have never had so many praise in my life than this week. Those lovely english customers are so polite and every night they praise how good the customer service representative I am, and how well I can speak English, (which I’m not) but I always try to do my best to make them happy. There are also a couple of Finnish customers here, so it’s nice to switch a few words in Finnish too.

My workmates are awesome, even we don’t all the time understand each other, but they have been so nice to me and teach me Spanish words.

Natalie, Victor, Maria, Esther and Belen

My freetimes and days off I’ve been on the beach and just wandering around the city and shops and stopped by cafes and of course read my Spanish book. Weather here has been very hot, even when it’s raining the weather is warm and feels almost tropical.

That temperature may be a bit of a lie.. 😊


So here I am… the big world all alone. Or actually I’m in Algeciras where is about 119000 people living here so I won’t quite be all alone here.

My name is Sanna, i’m 33 years old and I study second year at Tourism Industy in Gradia Jämsä and I do my work placement in Hotel Reina Cristina in Algeciras. Here has been couple students before and they liked working here and teacher recommended me this place so I said yes.

Last couple days before leaving were awful. I didn’t undertand why on earth did I wanted to do this and didn’t want to leave, but like some wise guys said that sometimes you just have to do something out of your comfort zone to experinence new things and learn a bit more of yourself. Of course I wanted to go because I love Spain. I’ve been travelling here, mostly in Canary Islands, but I wanted to try what it would be like working in this country. I also wanted to learn spanish language more and improve my english skills. But beeing away from my loving boyfriend, family and friends is hard but I can do this!

I came here two days ago and I have been exploring the city and also met some of the workers of the hotel. I read somewhere about Algeciras, that it is just an ugly port town in the south of spain and there is nothing to see. Well maybe it is not the idyllic spanish town with white houses and red brickroofs, but there are some beautyful parts and yes it is a port town where there are lots of shippingindustry and big steel and metalbuildings in harbour and also many old buildings because it’s quite old city.

Tomorrow I start my work at the hotels restaurant as a waitress. I don’t know yet exactly what i’m going to do, maybe cleaning tables and pouring drinks or something. I’m little bit worried cause I might be a little clumsy person sometimes, like dropping things or even stumble with my own legs. I’ll try my best not to break everything!

I’ll get back next week and tell something what have I done,learn or destroyed 😬

Hasta luego amigos!


The last week.

Had a heat stroke on last weekend, yep, not that awesome. I did a little walk to the nearest town which was about 5 km away from me and I knew they had this craft’s store that I wanted to see and also it was on the coast. Weather was nice, sun was shining and I walked listening to the soundtrack of the Greatest Showman and life was good. I popped in the Bosham walk which was a shop that was selling all the local crafts goods and I just walked there a bit. Then I walked in their “marina”,  sat down to eat my lunch enjoying the view and people watching. well it was more dog watching really, there are lot of labradoodles here and I’m alert for corgis (which I haven’t seen yet?!? Royal Corgis as they are) and any bulldogs. They have quite few French bulldogs here as well as Staffordshire Bull Terriers, if I have recognized the breed properly. After my lunch I popped into a pub and on the way there I saw these 2 kids trying to get a dog into this little stream because the dog was very muddy for running down the low tide. Well let me tell you, the dog wasn’t really that into going to bathe so I offered them my help and dragged the dog into the water. It was fun and again made me homesick. I had some ice-cream on my way back and I also popped into this other pub where I met a lovely old lady who was a widower. I had a nice talk with her and even though being homesick and ready to go home I was happy and glad that I got to know her. Isn’t this what all this I about, to meet new people, learn their cultures and everyday life even though you might never see them again. She invited me to see her again next Saturday and I might even go if I have time.  After that I walked back home, I had plenty of water but only thing I was lacking was a hat. I usually have a hat or a scarf on my head on my holidays where I know it’s hot and sunny, I just really think to pack a hat with me. When I got home I was feeling ok, but then at some point I got an awful headache and I could feel my skin burning hot. Whenever I would get up I felt dizzy and I couldn’t see properly and was feeling very sick. So not fun at all, I had plans to go to the beach on Sunday but I decided to skip it. People remember to wear a hat when the sun is up!! No kidding, it was horrible experience.

Started my last whole week in the office with light spirit and I’m planning my upcoming summer holiday, I have to say I still haven’t been to Kingley Vale and it might be that I won’t go at all. I know I really wanted to go there and I still do, but all the times we were discussing to go with my host lady the weather wasn’t on our side and then we just didn’t have the time and so on, because you would have to drive there and buses really don’t go there or it’s rather difficult and I must say I’m running out of time. I know I could just decide and go, but I’m kind of getting the feeling that I would like to leave it and do it when I would come back and have a reason to come back and do it. Does that sound stupid? I have done this before with my husband, we left a couple of things in Vegas undone just so that we would have a reason to go back.

This is my second last blog that I’m writing and I have a feeling the last one will be long one, so be prepared for that one. Until next time.

Almost home.

I have done a lot since I last wrote. As you all know my husband came to visit me, so I went to see him at the airport because every minute counts! I was so excited, that when I finally saw him walking from the arrivals I was literally jumping for joy and as soon as I could I just ran and hugged him, might have shed some tears of joy. But I was so happy! Our bus to Chichester wasn’t due till later so we got ourselves some breakfast and I saw that he had a Novelle water bottle with him which had maybe like 0.6dl of water inside and I asked him if the water was Finnish or did he refill it at the airport in here and he said that it was from Finland and I just sunk it down my throat. And let me tell you, it tasted sooooooooooo good! I have been traveling a lot and I must say, the best water comes from Finland. Period.
Weather was good and warm, but apparently really muggy and humid according to my husband, but I was glad that it didn’t rain, because the weather forecast had promised thunderstorms but luckily it only rain during night time, or not at all.  I showed him all the places in Chichester and we did a lot of walking. I showed him the wall that we have here, which was built by the Romans, we also walked through this old cemetery, well at least it used to be a cemetery and now the old tombstones where put to the side on couple of rows. I took him to the same Arundel Castle as I took my sister, but I knew he would enjoy it as he did. We also happen to be there at the same time as they had a re-enactment of a siege of the castle.
We took a little trip to the Isle of Wight. We were thinking of going to see the Osborne house which was Queen Victoria’s and Prince Albert’s summer home and rural retreat, but since we only had that one day, we knew that we would enjoy the sceneries more so we decided to see the coast line. It took us 1 change of train, 1 ferry ride and 3 change of buses to get to Freshwater Bay where we walked the coast line all the way to The Needles. Well, we didn’t walk to the tip of The Needles, because we wanted to see the white chalk rock formations. There was a chairlift down to the beach, but we decided to walk down because the lines where so long at the top and and took the chairlift back up instead. Oh, and it was a bank holiday plus midterm, which meant that the kids had a holiday week so pretty much all the families where there vacationing. There were people everywhere, even Arundel Castle was full and we had to wait in line to go inside the castle. But I must say Isle of Wight was beautiful and I think we might go there again, but definitely we must book a hotel and stay over a few days.
On early Wednesday morning my husband went back home and left me here, it was so great that he came to see me here, but it just made me more homesick. I got exactly 2 weeks left, and then I’m flying home to my family. I do have plans for this weekend though, and I’m going to make the most of the time I have left. I have a huge bag of candy of all the people I’m working with which I’m going to bring to work on my last day, I also planned baking pulla, and hoping those will succeed, I’ve had some bad experience baking stuff in foreign places and it’s usually catastrophe. Until next time, see you!

I do.

Did you watch the wedding? Yep, in here it was on everywhere. My local Tesco had a display of the royal wedding stuff from tea mugs to grocery bags, and then couple of days before the wedding when they had clearly sold all the memorabilia they made this huge display in front of the entry with Union Jack pennants, strawberries, sparkling wine, BBQ stuff, disposable grills etc. Basically, everything you need and should have to celebrate the happy couple. On the day, I had a nail appointment at 12 ‘o clock and I had booked that 3 weeks ago, not realizing that it’s on the wedding day. I went to the nail salon and there they were watching the royal wedding via iPad and crying. Oh my, I thought but sat down and this lady did my nails while watching the wedding. I enjoyed it, it was fun to interact with the locals while going through the wedding which obviously was important to them and I felt I bit of jealously towards them and their royal family and its traditions. I spent most of my Saturday in the city and I noticed that almost every shop’s windows had congratulations to the happy couple or they had decorated their shop windows with red, white and blue. They also had these block party arranged for the occasion and I thought that was just brilliant. I got 2 requests to bring home some Harry and Megan memorabilia, something with their faces but unfortunately haven’t found any, and I’m afraid they might have sold out. I only wish I would have known this beforehand and I would most definitely have gotten them.




Couple of things I have noticed while being here, is how people talk to one another. I knew that the Brits were polite and that they have good manners, but it has nice to notice that it’s true. I wish us Finns could be as polite as the Brits. For example, I think I have heard people say my name more times than my entire life; “Good morning, Netta!” “How was your weekend, Netta?” “Is everything alright, Netta?” “Netta, how are you doing?” “See you tomorrow, Netta?” “Are you alright, Netta?”. Well I think you get the point. For me, this is very weird. I have been trying to be polite, as I’m leaving from work I say to my coworker; “Bye, see you tomorrow!” And I feel very proud, but then she says “Goodbye, Netta, see you tomorrow, have a nice afternoon!” And I’m like, damn, I still couldn’t be as polite as these people. Of course, there is the thing where I don’t know everyone’s names, but I do know some of them and it still feels weird using people’s names. 




Before I finish this week’s blog, I must say that so far, I have enjoyed being here, it has reaffirmed me the fact that one day I wish to live somewhere else, and hopefully I get to do that for more than 2 months. The only thing it requires is my husband and my dogs. I don’t, and I won’t regret this journey I took upon, but what I do know now that it’s not just my life, it’s our life and there’s no point going through it without my family. So, I must doff the hat to those who lead this kind of lifestyle where the other half is working abroad and the other is waiting home with possible kids. I couldn’t do it in a long run, I don’t even have kids, just those 2 dogs, and I miss them like crazy and I can’t image how much I would miss my own kids if I had any. Anything that doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. At this point, I just want to get through with this week and see my husband again.

Thinking of getting a hot water bottle…

Last time that I wrote I was expecting my sister to come and visit me, so on this blog, I’m going to tell about our weekend and upload more pictures than usual. And yes, I have my phone!! I had a wonderful weekend with my sister, we went to Brighton and did some shopping, and we just love Primark! We walked to Brighton pier had a drinks by the ocean, it was lovely even though it was a bit windy but the sun was shining. 
I showed my sister the city of Chichester and went to the Cathedral and saw the Cathedrals garden and then we just walked around the city center and I got to show all the places that I’ve been. It was really nice, I also showed her the place where I worked and we did a lot of walking. Also when my sister was visiting it was the Eurovision song contest weekend and we decided to watch it, because it was raining. First we thought we could watch it in pub somewhere, but apparently the Brits really aren’t so into the Eurovision anymore so we decided to watch it at my place.  It was nice, especially that Graham Norton was hosting it and me and my sister both love him, he is so funny. Only thing that was kind of bad was the fact that we were freezing. I always thought that when people say that it’s cold in Britain and you have to use hot water bottles in the beds I somehow thought that it’s an urban legend.  But let me tell you, it’s no urban legend, it really is cold. The funny thing about it was that I forgot to mention this to my sister, because she wanted to pack super lightly so all I said that you won’t need that much. Oh well, then again I didn’t expect us to stay in the house, but that’s English weather for you.
 We took the train to see Arundel Castle, it only took us 20 minutes to get there from Chichester, so it was nice and close. The castle was such a spectacular visage, when we walked into the city from the train station and walked towards it.We did this river side walk, which was over 5 km long, because we walked to this pub at the side of the river. We got the gold plus ticket, which got us inside the castle plus we got to see the castle bedrooms.  It was so amazing, all the narrow steps to the guard tower and all the amazing furniture in their bedrooms and it was just so luxurious. The castle grounds were also a sight to see, the garden was big and beautiful. Sadly almost all the tulips were dead due to the weekend before that with all the heat, but still it was gorgeous.  It was Sunday when we went to the castle and on Sunday most of the pubs serve Sunday roast and we wanted to try that. We walked to this pub that had a beer garden and we just wanted to sit outside and enjoy the sun because it did rain on Saturday. Then we ordered the roast but it was all gone, they had been super busy that day and they had none left. We were fairly disappointed but luckily they had other stuff on the menu as well.
On my sister’s last night I wanted to take her to this nice pub where I had been twice before. First time was the time me and my host got soaked in the rain and mud and this time it was nice to walk there. Of course we had done pretty long walk that day already but I knew this pub was something I wanted to show her and I knew the food is great and they had this huge beer garden ( in Finland we’ll call that a terrace) and the weather was nice and warm so I wanted to take her there. When we arrived at the pub they tell us that they are closing due to staff training. And there we are, hungry and tired and options are to walk back that same route we came, which was 2.5 km in pretty bad terrain, or go even longer way, where the ground is better but cars are driving next to you, or we could order Uber. Guess what we did? Let’s just say that we had to
wake 4.30am next morning to go to the train station so it made the choice a bit
It was just the best that my sister came and see me and all of a sudden this place that I have been calling home started to feel home, but now she’s gone and let just say that I’m a bit homesick. I’m missing my husband and my dogs!!! I have been literally stopping people who have dogs and ask if I can pet them. Now I have a week and a half to wait before my husband comes! I hear it’s nice and warm in Finland, enjoy you all, go to the beer gardens and have one for me! Cheers!