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Hello, there dear blog readers! It’s nice of you to stop by. We hope that you’re staying warm wherever you may live and that you’re enjoying the last few weeks of 2017. We’re excited to share with you what we’ve been up to and what we have planned for the future. In this blog post, we’ll share some spiritual highlights over the last few weeks. We’ll also share with you some challenges and how we are doing our best to overcome them. We also have some exciting things planned for the new year that we want to highlight. So let’s get to it!
One of the major highlights of November was our assembly in Granada. We always love going to Granada for the assemblies and this time was no different. It’s such a beautiful city and it’s nice to be in a new environment surrounded by mountains instead of near the beach. Now that some time has passed we’ve gotten to know more of the brothers and sisters in our circuit so it makes the assemblies even more enjoyable when we get to see them. This assembly was special because I had my first assembly talk. This was a great privilege and I was really excited about it. When we attended the assembly this time we stayed two nights so that we wouldn’t have to rush back home after the program because it’s about a four-hour drive. We’re so happy that we did it this way as it made for a much more relaxing and enjoyable weekend. The assembly was very encouraging and we felt like we received just what we needed at the right time. We have our next assembly in March which should be really nice as well.
One of the big challenges that we’ve been dealing with lately has been an injury that Kanicia suffered to her back. This happened in November and it has been causing her pain when standing or sitting for long periods. We had been going to visit a chiropractor in Portugal who was amazing. He’s actually an American and he is the only one in Portugal trained in certain procedures related to the back. So we felt really fortunate to be able to have him. The nice thing about healthcare in places like Spain and Portugal is that it’s either free or really affordable. For each visit he would only charge us 20euros and once he didn’t even charge us because he felt bad about the distance that we were traveling to see him. The doctor helped Kanicia to learn that she had injured a ligament in her lower back but that it would be possible to recover. He would help her to do special stretches with a special table and then after several visits, he showed us how to do them at home with a fitness ball. So currently this is what Kanicia is doing. She’s also taking some supplements such as collagen to help speed up the recovery process. She is noticing improvement as time passes even though it’s not a quick recovery process. We’re hopeful that if we keep up the treatment Kanicia will be somewhat back to normal as the new year progresses. Thank you, everyone, for your amazing and touching comments that you left on our Instagram accounts! We truly appreciate them all. So as you can imagine this injury is having an impact on our spiritual routine specifically the ministry. November and December have not been easy for us but we are learning to be reasonable and modest with what is possible. Initially, it was not possible for Kanicia to attend the meetings because of the sitting for long periods. You can imagine that it was a challenge to attend the assembly but we felt that we didn’t want to miss it. In order to make it work, we would stop driving from time to time so that Kanicia could take a break and not be sitting constantly. During the program, she would get up periodically and this seemed to be a good solution. We’re so happy that it worked out and that we were able to attend! We’re confident that in time we’ll be back to our normal routine but for the moment we are being patient and relying on Jehovah. She’s now able to attend the meetings again instead of listening in from home which is nice. So each day is a new discovery in what we can reasonably do.
HELLO AGAIN SPAIN
As this year wraps up we’re really looking forward to another change. When the year finishes we will be moving back to our apartment in Spain. We love this apartment and can’t wait to be back. We’ve spent the last four months here in Portugal and they have been quite interesting. We started off at the end of the summer in a nice, remodeled apartment within walking distance of the beach. After a little while though we had to leave that apartment due to construction that was being done on the building. This was unexpected and stressful but Jehovah provided us another place nearby which is where we are currently. There are several differences with living in Portugal compared to living in Spain. Some of these make life easier and others can be a challenge. First of all, in Portugal stores don’t close on Sunday which is a big one. In Spain, all of the grocery stores and many other types of stores are closed on Sunday. The reasoning behind this is so that employees can spend time with family on this day. In Portugal grocery stores and other large stores are open on Sundays which is really practical. Also, it seems like the store hours in Portugal are later with some grocery stores being open until 10 pm. We really love this because it allows us to do shopping on Sundays or after coming back from the meetings.
One thing that is nice about Portugal is that you have many different varieties of restaurants from different cultures. In Spain, you don’t have as much variety where most of the restaurants are Spanish. This is nice when we feel like having something different that may remind us of home. One thing about Portugal that is not so great are the tolls on the main roads. There are many road tolls whereas in Spain where we live there are none. This is something that we have to keep in mind when we travel long distances in Portugal. Something else about Portugal that is really nice is that most of the people that we interact with speak some English. This makes things a lot easier since we don’t really speak Portuguese fluently. Also in Portugal, the cost of food is less expensive than in Spain. This really shows when you go to eat at restaurants where you could get an entire meal for 5 or 6 euros. The food in Spain is already inexpensive but in Portugal, it’s even cheaper. One thing that we don’t really like about the area that we live in Portugal is that it caters a lot to expats. We prefer living in places that are more authentic and genuine. We often see many people that are not Portuguese which is great for the ministry but when you are trying to understand the local culture it doesn’t really help. Overall, we prefer living in Spain then Portugal. We like our apartment there more and it’s also closer to the Kingdom Hall and many of the brothers and sisters. Our apartment in Spain has been totally repainted and some other nice things have been added to it which is cool. We love the Spanish town that we live in because it’s very local. There are practically no expats there and it has a great classic Spanish feel.
NEW TRAVEL BLOG
Over past few weeks, we’ve been busy working on a new travel blog and Instagram account. This blog, Two People in Spain, is mainly focused on serving where the need is great and sharing our experiences. We also cover how to support yourself financially when moving abroad. Our new travel blog, Far and Away Places, will be focused solely on the travel side of things. We’ll share information about travel and also our own travel experiences. The Instagram account will have our travel pictures and will share some background info related to the picture. As we develop this blog we’re going to be learning more about running a travel blog and working with companies and brands. We’ve already invested a lot in courses and we’ll be upgrading our photography equipment soon so that we can share better images on the blog and Instagram account. So if you enjoy traveling and like to discover new places then come check out our new blog Far and Away Places and our new Instagram page. You can find them here.
We’re really excited about this new project and we look forward to seeing where it will take us! We have some upcoming trips next year to the Azores and to Berlin which we’ll be sharing on our new blog and Instagram account. Should be fun!
Another reason why things have been busy is because of Elders school. This will start next week in Benidorm which is in the south-east of Spain. It will last for five days and we’ll be staying in the area. There are actually four elders attending from our local congregation. Kanicia will be traveling with me since we’ll try to visit some old friends along the way as well as explore new areas in and around Benidorm before and after the school. We’ve never been to this part of Spain but we’re looking forward to it. Benidorm is a popular resort city with many expats from the UK.
CLOSING ACCESS TO TESOL COURSES & BOOK
Over the past several weeks many have enrolled in our online TESOL courses. If you don’t know what this is let me explain. One of the main ways that needgreaters, ourselves included, support themselves is by teaching English. In order to get hired by companies, you will need to have a teaching certificate. A TESOL course will allow you to get your teaching certificate and start working either in a physical location or online (we prefer online). We have been offering online TESOL courses for quite a while now from our blog and we constantly recommend looking into teaching English as an option for supporting yourself financially if you want to serve where the need is great. We also wrote a book that provides everything you need to know to start teaching English online. In it, we review over twenty companies and we also share insight and what we have found useful to be successful in this work. We will be closing down access to our TESOL courses and our Teach English Online book at the end of the year on Dec 31st, 2017. The reason for this is because we will be adding to the content of the courses and the book. We will be providing an added video course which will teach you everything that you need to know related to finding work and getting hired and everything in between as an English teacher. We’ll also be adding resume critique/template options and some other exciting things that we’ll save for later. Regarding the book, we are going to be greatly expanding it to include many more additional companies that we recommend. When finished the book will be packed with content that will give you everything you’ll need to get hired and start working as soon as possible. We’re really excited about these changes and we know that they will help many who have the goal of moving to serve where the need is greater. Because of the changes the cost of the courses and the book will increase. We haven’t determined by how much yet. We also don’t know how long access will be closed to the courses and the book starting at the end of the year. It could be a few weeks to a month or even longer. So if you’re thinking about getting your teaching certificate or learning about what it takes to start teaching English online December would be a good time to do it. We’re currently having a December special where you get $50 off all of our courses only in the month of December. Just enter “DECEMBER” when checking out. Everyone who purchased one of our Online TESOL Courses in the past up until December 31st, 2017 will receive a free upgrade to the new version of the courses once they are released at no additional cost. The same goes for the book. Everyone who has bought a copy of our Teach English Online book in the past up until Dec 31st will receive a free upgrade to the new version at no additional cost. If you are interested in learning more about our courses and book you can click the links below.
We hope that you check it out if you’re serious about taking action for the new year so that you’ll be in a position to move abroad to expand your ministry. We’ll be investing a lot of time and energy to make sure that the new versions will be top quality and give you everything you need to succeed. Here’s a 60-second video we made recently about our experience teaching English and how it’s been a blessing to allow us to stay in Spain continuously for over four years.
If you would like to learn from our experience moving abroad then check out our free Seven Day Moving Abroad Guide.
If you enjoyed this post be sure to follow our Instagram accounts @jwabroad and @kaniciacognard. We post regular updates from our experiences serving abroad. Turn on post notifications on Instagram for more photos and videos. If you like this post or have any questions let us know in the comments or email us and be sure to share it with others that would appreciate it and follow for blog post updates and other fun stuff by clicking the link below.