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September 21, 2008 - Posted by Erin in Uncategorized

The vacation is over my friends – this last week I officially headed back to work. It felt so good though to finally have a real purpose here! It was a very, very long week, but at the same time very gratifying. I’ve definitely found the right place here. I’ve also decided to postpone my return to school for a semester or two so that I can focus on work first.

So, a little about the company. It is a startup with under 20 employees, most of whom are in Bucharest, Romania. In Madrid, it is just myself, the CEO, and one other part time employee. I am managing the marketing end of things, which is proving to be a challenging, but very enjoyable task. Erepublik is a hybrid of many things, but can most closely be described as a massive online social strategy game. I know, it’s a mouthful, so here’s the translation – it is an online social experience in which people from all over the world can reinvent today’s real world countries in an accelerated reality. I may not be the typical player, but I have to say, this game is absolutely fascinating. Not a day goes by that I don’t hear about a new occurrence in the game and am not completely blown away by the creativity, passion and innovation of our players. Truly, if you know anyone who likes gaming at all (without the crazy time commitment – the game only takes 15 minutes a day, and is free!), let me know and I will try to get them an invitation to the game – otherwise the game officially launches in the next month (it is currently in Beta). You can visit the site at www.erepublik.com.

The office is in the very best part of Madrid – at least in my opinion. It’s close to the best shops, great restaurants, and even a Starbucks so that I can get my US fix! I actually went to a yummy restaurant in the area earlier this week and found myself admiring the food and how much it reminded me of home. I grabbed their business card and sure enough their cuisine is considered “California Cuisine” – the discovery was the highlight of my week!!! The office itself is on the 7th floor of a charming old building – which also includes a charming old (and I mean really old) elevator that seems to be hanging by dental floss…I’ve been taking the stairs as much as possible.

The commute to work has been exhausting to say the least. I’ve been leaving the house at 7:00 (which is very early here considering we don’t ever go to bed before midnight), driving to the outskirts of Madrid to park, catching the metro, then I switch metro lines halfway, then I arrive near my office and walk a few blocks. It’s tiring. Right now, fortunately, I have Jacob’s car, but soon I won’t. That is why yesterday I went car shopping for a Smart! They are awesome little cars. I just need to figure out the car insurance situation here and then hopefully I will have a new car in the next couple of weeks.

Ok friends and family, that’s all from me for now. Don’t forget to tell your friends about the site if it’s something that will strike their fancy :). Hasta luego!

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September 14, 2008 - Posted by Erin in Uncategorized

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Today marks the beginning of Fashion Week here in Madrid and this afternoon Jacob and I were lucky enough to see one of the shows. We were able to go because the designer was incorporating the BlackBerry Bold (the new BB model) in some of the looks. It was a unique space for a fashion show as it was not the traditional long catwalk flanked by rows of chairs, but instead a large, theatrical-type room, with tables and large chandeliers. A beautiful space for the event. Plus it was in Retiro Park, and I never mind an opportunity to walk through Retiro (especially in today’s weather – which felt so much like the weather at home!).

The line was fantastic – I would have liked to have worn several of the dresses right off the runway. What also made the show special is that they had two of the Spanish Olympic gold medalist walk the runway. I believe they received golds in rowing…but really, I would have been impressed if it were trampoline (which I secretly want to start training for for the 2012 Olympics!).

The rest of my weekend has been spent relaxing and getting things done since it is the first weekend in a month that I have not been off traveling somewhere. I especially wanted to get mentally prepared for my big return to the work world. I must say, while I am excited to return to work, I sure was getting used to my life of leisure! Not much else from me for now. Until next week….

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August 20, 2008 - Posted by Erin in Uncategorized

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Hi all – I just wanted to post a quick blog to say that I am OK and everyone we know is OK (as far as we know at this point). The number of casualties seems to be rising tremendously, sadly. Above is a picture that I took of the smoke from our bathroom window right after the crash.

Not that I would have been flying to the Canary Islands – it is, however, definitely frightening since I arrived to Madrid at the exact same time yesterday, and my friend Kim will be arriving tomorrow.

A very sad day for Madrid.

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April 15, 2008 - Posted by Erin in Uncategorized

Well, if you are reading this, then you were probably there because I think pretty much everyone came to the party! It made me feel so special and grateful to have so many wonderful people there to wish me bon voyage – from my elementary school friends to those from high school and college, to my co-workers (who’ve truly been like family), my mother’s friends whom have watched me grow up, and especially my family who came from near and far. And the sweet little ones that came! My darling niece and nephew Marley and Donovan, as well as precious little Anna and Nigel! It was such an amazing time.

Mara and Ben went all out with the preparations, absolutely blowing me away with amazing food and a dessert bar that will not soon be forgotten (I think I might still be full from the several cupcakes).

My mom threw a fantastic party and it couldn’t have been a more perfect day to enjoy the weather with a glass of wine (ok, many glasses of wine). A big thank you to her and to everyone for coming and making me feel so special. It certainly isn’t easy to go, but I know I will see everyone very soon – if not in the Bay Area, then in Spain!

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April 8, 2008 - Posted by Erin in Uncategorized

A week left in San Francisco. A week left of having my own Victorian apartment, painted by me, decorated by me, furnished by me, and wow, really loved by me. A week left of driving my own car, or driving at all for that matter. A week left of doing the job I’ve loved for the last four years. A week left of English. A week left of the Bay Area and all the things I love about it – the food, the people, the weather, the water, the list goes on. A week left of having my friends, family and puppy close by.

This isn’t excruciating at all, is it?

I have to remind myself that I’m about to begin the adventure of a lifetime. Actually, I suppose the adventure has already begun – meeting a random Spaniard in a Madrid bar while on a chance three-day trip to Spain, talking to him for only 15 minutes, barely remembering the guy, and then forming a relationship purely over email and just hoping that he wasn’t a total creep. That first trip to Spain three months after we met was a huge gamble, and surely my biggest adventure to date. And the best gamble that I ever made.

Now I’m taking another gamble, moving my life a continent away to give a shot at love. So cheesy, but I guess these things really do happen in reality.

A week until Madrid. A week until my world won’t revolve around a nine-hour time difference. A week until endless supplies of jamón and tortilla española are at my fingertips. A week until I cram my life into someone else’s small apartment. A week until I get to be with the guy that I love. A week until the real adventure begins!

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