How to find an apartment in any city in Spain

Main room in my Ciudad Real apartment. 2011

First of all, congratulations on even thinking that you’d like to give living abroad a try! I think everyone should consider expanding their wings every once in a while. This world is so vast that staying in just one tiny place on the map would be a waste. There’s just so much to see out there…

Moving abroad may sound overwhelming and even more challenging when you don’t speak the language of the prospective country. But if I did it, so can anyone. Granted, I already had some advantages going for me: I speak Spanish and I had been to Spain.

Speaking the language helps—or more like, it’s necessary—because contracts and policies are written in Spanish. Also, the people renting the pisos tend to be retired older Spaniards, for the most part, who never learned English. You might get lucky, but that’d be very rare if the landlord spoke English. And having visited the country before moving helps because you can familiarize with the culture, the people and the way they do business.

The very first thing you need to do is figure out how long you’ll be staying in Spain. (There is a visa process if you’re staying longer than three months.) Both times I’ve lived in Spain I had a student visa, which I think is the easiest visa to get. The consulates of Spain each have their own individual website in accordance with the US state where they are, but you can look up Spain embassies and consulates here and types of visas here.

You can of course still live in Spain for a period of three months or less without a visa. The problem with this renting option is that people hardly rent under short-term contracts, especially to foreigners, and without an identification number (passport won’t work everywhere) a person can’t legally work or open a bank account in order to meet financial criteria. You’d have to find a landlord who agrees to rent without you having a bank account or documents, other than your passport, that prove your identity and that you’ll be able to pay rent.

Luckily, a lot of students and young professionals sublet. That is probably your best bet. I, for instance, found a room in the heart of Madrid for a month and I didn’t sign a single paper. Yes, verbal agreements apparently still work in Spain. Well, the tenants were Americans, but it still worked. So it’s really a matter of luck and connections sometimes. You’d be surprise at the amount of posts on social media from students who are subletting their rooms or apartments. Just do a thorough search.

Renting in Spain longer than three months?

For this you’ll need a visa first — if you want to follow the “legal” route :-)— and a bank account, and sometimes even an employment contract. In my case, I went to Spain with a job contract as an Auxiliar de Conversación (teaching assistant), but at the same time my job fell under the category of studies because this is a grant from the Department of Education of Spain. With this job contract, I was able to get an identification card (NIE), and with my NIE I was able to get a bank account. So, once I had all my paperwork in order, I was able to rent a long-term apartment.

Now, this is how I found a vivienda (home) in Spain

There are always pisos (apartments) and houses en alquiler (for rent) in Spain. Months before I moved to Ciudad Real, Spain, I spent a good amount of time searching for the best deals. There are a bunch of websites where you can get started with your search and here are the ones I recommend:

En Alquiler – this is probably the broadest site and it’s where I found my long-term furnished apartment in Ciudad Real, Castilla La-Mancha. Pisos are for rent by owners and realtors.

Idealista – this site is very popular among students because it’s very straightforward and there are a lot single rooms and homes for rent by other students and by the owners.

Fotocasa – this is another wide-ranging website with lots of options

Segundamano – at first, the name of this site scared me away—“Segunda mano” means secondhand. But I was wrong to judge. It’s a good site with not just homes for rent, but a whole lot of everything!

Ya encontré – also a big site with good leads

And though I didn’t use them, these are some Craigslist-types of sites with possible good leads: Loquo, Mundoanuncio, and the very Spain Craigslist.

A few things to consider when conducting your apartment search by location, price, type of housing, whether you want it furnished or not, and whether you’re looking for properties by the owner or by inmobiliarias (real state). If I may suggest, renting straight from the owner is generally cheaper and there’s less paperwork! Most websites I mentioned above give you the option to narrow down your search by categories.

Don’t ever, ever agree to rent a piso or to pay any money without first seeing it. After my contract was up in Ciudad Real, I was looking for a room in Madrid and I came across some creepy ads. On a teaching assistants Facebook page, students and locals advertised apartments and rooms for rent all the time. I saw one I liked a lot. I mean, this room looked clean and perfect in the picture and it was located in La Latina, a major area of Madrid, and for a very low price. So I contacted the renter and, when I went to see the room in person, it was a complete catastrophe! Actually, this is quite an understatement; it was really the most disgusting thing I had ever seen for a home!

I don’t know what the owner was thinking —was that picture even of the real place? Who knows! But the ad definitely, almost deliberately, was misleading. So watch out for weirdos and rip-offs!

The other room I found on that same page looked like it had a good-sized bed, but in person it was very small. I took this last room, but let me remind you that things aren’t always what they look like online!

Second Room I Saw, and rented, in Madrid. 2012

One last thing, don’t even bother clicking the “contact person or realtor” link when searching for housing in Spain; unless you don’t pick up that phone, you will most likely not hear back from anyone.

Hope this helps and good luck on your hunt, everyone!


Five Nice Hotels in Ciudad Real


Ciudad Real Capital was my home for eight and a half months. It is a city-turned small town. Ciudad Real isn’t exactly aesthetically appealing and there’s not a lot to do, but it allows for cheap relaxing living and vacation. It is also in the heart of Spain, in the region of Castile La-Mancha, which means you can easily travel to different major cities by bus or train. The Renfe high-speed trains are about five minutes from the center city and the transportation system is extremely efficient. If planned well in advance, it’s possible to visit different cities by train in one day.

Where to stay in Ciudad Real?

The city has a small range of hostels and hotels. It can be hard finding people who speak English in Ciudad Real. Though, if visiting a country where the native language is different from yours, I’d suggest learning at least the basics before the trip! Anyway, people in Spanish little towns like Ciudad Real tend to be friendly, especially once you exchange a few words with them.

These are some of the top five hotels in Ciudad Real. They’re all located within walking distance from the center, where the “fun” is. (The city’s outskirts are desolate and quiet—or quieter). I never stayed at any of them, but I did visit the restaurant and bar at Hotel Alfonso X, the lobby at Hotel Santa Cecilia, and I used to walk (and ride) by the rest of these almost every day. As far as I could see, they looked really nice!

1. Hotel Silken Alfonso X

Probably the most centrally located hotel in Ciudad Real, it’s at Carlos Vázquez 8, Ciudad Real 13001, Spain. “The beautiful nineteenth century building that houses the Hotel Alfonso X has kept its original façade, integrating it completely into the historic center city, next to the Plaza Mayor and the City Hall.”

The hotel interior has been refurbished with contemporary furniture. It offers free Wi-Fi, a private parking lot, smoking floor, handicap-accessible rooms, and exclusive junior suites with terrace.

The restaurant is on the second floor of the hotel and it offers a daily and a traditional menu with typical dishes of La-Mancha. (I can confirm that the food and service are really good.)

Popular and fine Spanish shopping stores are within steps from the hotel.

2. Hotel Doña Carlota

Located at Ronda de Toledo 21, Ciudad Real 13003, Spain

It is practically next to the University of Castile La-Mancha, Ciudad Real Campus, and close to the train station. The Plaza Mayor, restaurants and bars, and shopping stores are within a 15-minute walking distance.

Hotel Doña Carlota is a luxury hotel in the inside.  It’s one of the largest in Ciudad Real: 161 rooms, of which 16 are fully furnished apartments with all the essential amenities included.

It is also easily accessible by bus, taxi, or by foot and it’s close to the shopping stores.

3. Hotel Santa Cecilia

Located at Calle del Tinte 3, 13001 Ciudad Real, Spain, next to Plaza del Pilar. The Hotel was renovated in May 2011. It has 70 elegant and modern rooms.

The hotel has a restaurant, “Guijas de la Mancha,” which offers La Mancha’s typical cuisine. The hotel also features several halls for conventions and conferences, banquets, weddings, a typical Manchego patio with natural light, an outdoor swimming pool and private parking.

4. NH Ciudad Real

Located at Avenida Alarcos 25, Ciudad Real 13001, Spain

From the well-known chain NH Hotels, the NH Ciudad Real is near all main attractions in center city. It is within a few steps from the big park Parque de Gasset and about 500 meters from the beautiful, almost-too-modern-for-this-small-town public library of Ciudad Real.

NH Ciudad Real is a big and basic modern hotel, with just the right amenities for a comfortable stay. It’s perfect for business stays.

5. Hotel Cumbria

Located on Carretera de Toledo, 26 13005 Ciudad Real, Spain

Cumbria is very new and it’s not just a hotel, but it also hosts businesses and recreational activities for the community. It’s a “unique contemporary building” in Ciudad Real. It is about 20-minute walk to the center (five minute-drive), but it’s located in one of the main access roads to the center of Ciudad Real which makes it easily accessible. This hotel offers all amenities necessary for a comfortable stay.

There is a big pool, a tennis court, a gym and full spa. The pool and gym aren’t completely private; residents of Ciudad Real who hold a membership can swim and exercise here.

On the outside, the building looks huge and round. (I thought it was a mini-stadium at first.) It features large rooms fitted to host any kind of event and a playroom with a playground for any kids in the house.

In terms of location, even though two or three hotels are more centrally located than others, anywhere you choose to stay in Ciudad Real (capital) is relatively near to everything.


My Top Five Favorite Activities to do in Any Spanish City

Ir de tapas (Go out for tapas)

Español: Tapas de gambas

It is called el tapeo and it’s one of the funnest things to do in Spain (if you truly want to experience the Spanish lifestyle). Tapas are basically small bites served with each drink you buy. Whether the tapas are free or fairly-priced, depends on the bar or restaurant entirely. But most bars offer a free tapa with every drink.  It’s not a sit-down meal; it’s a very informal way of getting your belly full for free. 😉

Try the region’s typical dish

Español: Albóndigas en salsa con guisantes

The food in Spain is delicious for the most part (see My Top Five Favorite Spanish Dishes) and, if you travel through as many Spanish cities as I did, at least try the typical dish of each region you visit. Don’t hesitate to ask the servers for suggestions, which they will always recommend you try something “de la tierra” (from the region) anyway. I don’t consider myself to be a true food-adventurer, but hey, when in Rome…

Watch a soccer game at a bar

Watching the Eurocup final

The experience is unique. I don’t know of any other culture that is crazier than Spaniards when it comes to soccer. OK, maybe Central Americans? Hm…maybe not. But really, the energy is insane and they transmit it to everyone around them. I’m not a Sports fan, but watching a game (especially a Barcelona vs. Madrid match) with a bunch of soccer enthusiasts make anyone get into it—quick! Next thing you know you’re biting your nails, cheering for whatever team appeal to you in the moment. It’s crazy. Experience it.

Dar un paseo (go out for a walk)

Every evening after taking the siesta, Spaniards go out for a walk with their family, friends, or dog. It is rare to see anyone walking alone. Like many of our traditions, I don’t know how the paseo originated (other than the actual act of walking to exercise), but I know for them it’s about a moment of relaxation, maybe a breath of fresh air, spending time with loved ones, keeping family values. Everyone comes out; people sit at park benches, at a bar terrace or they may just go around the block. It’s different from the kind of going for a walk that we’re used to here in the U.S. People don’t look rushed, just relaxed.

See Major Cathedrals of Spain

English: Mezquita of Cordoba Español: Mezquita...

Maybe not for too long as this activity may get old for some (it temporarily did for me), but Spanish cathedrals are a must-see. They have great historical, religious and architectural value. They’re simply incredible. (See how pretty the Segovia Cathedral is.) The styles of the cathedrals in Spain are usually Gothic, Romanesque and Baroque and I was always blown away by their beauty and grandeur.

Feel free to share your favorite things to do in Spain!

Take a picture, it’ll last longer

I thought I was invisible until I came to Spain. Seriously, walking on the streets of cities like New York and Philadelphia you are literally invisible to other pedestrians. Perhaps it’s not a great characteristic of the States. Alright, scratch that; it is a really awful quality of the US. I think people should always try to be aware of their surroundings (we’re not humans anymore, we’re robots). Yet, it feels so good having your own space. There’s this sense of privacy even though you’re walking outside, in packed streets. It’s incredible.

But why am I writing this? Well, I just came back from taking out the trash and crossing the street to the Chino grocery store by my house, and this old man walking by my building almost stopped and stared me up and down and then some. He actually turned his head around and kept walking like that, staring at me for a good few seconds. I was like, alright…this has gotten a bit ridiculous.

When Chris and I went to Castellón for Semana Santa, he wanted to walk in the middle of the processions with everybody else. However, people’s eyes kept moving wherever we moved, so much that in the end I had to suggest we got out of the way so that our Alien selves didn’t distract the masses.

The point is, Spain citizens stare. They stare hard. It’s part of the culture. And I don’t mean just the “you look familiar” kind of stare. No. It’s an empty fixed expression on their face that I have yet to figure out. Out of curiosity, I asked a few Spaniards I work with if they could elaborate on the subject and send some enlightenment my way, but they say they’re not sure. They do think it’s rude, nonetheless (though they’re not any different). But don’t know what exactly turns on the stare-switch. I may never find out.

If you come to Spain, especially if you visit small towns (like Ciudad Real and Castellón), you will see what I mean and you will wonder; do I have something on my face? Is it my clothes? Is it my hair? They stare to the point of discomfort and you just want to go to a corner and hide. ha ha. Ok, maybe not to that extent, but it is something. It intrigues me. I really do want to know what it is they’re looking at.

Anyway, I just wanted to share that experience. 🙂

The bank you should avoid in Spain

Another new Santander bank

Yes, it’s not a typo, you’ve read correctly: bank, not banks. To be completely honest, I’d tell you to avoid ALL banks in Spain (the system is ridiculous AND they’re only opened M-F until 2:30PM!), but if you are a current or future Auxiliar de Conversación, you will need a bank account in order to get paid. So here it goes. There are several banks, but I can only speak about one: Banco Santander.

I want you to know that there are a lot of options for you and I suggest you do your research first. Trust me, I did my thorough research before finally signing up with Santander and still didn’t get the best. Caja Madrid was one of my last two options, but circumstances sort of forced me to pick Santander.

One of those circumstances includes a bank representative at Caja Madrid bank telling me that I needed an initial deposit of 700€ to open an account with them (when I know it’s not true). The funny thing is that I didn’t even get to touch the chair to sit down and talk with him; therefore, there were no questions asked, no help or options offered, and he just completely disregarded me as a possible client. I just walked away because first impressions matter for the customer, as well. The exact address of this bank is: C/ General Aguilera, 12, Ciudad Real, Tel. 902 246 810. Evidently, I don’t recommend it.

Banco Santander became an option because it is a big bank and many students and people who lived here in Spain before recommended it. Also, I thought that since it is in the United States (in the form of Sovereign Bank), that it could (somehow) allow me to link to my US bank, or PayPal. Well, I am able to link to PayPal, but a transfer from the bank can take up to 14 business days. Unreliable.

The unreliability with PayPal didn’t bother me as much as the following: Banco Santander has taken the freedom to charge its customers random fees without explanation. They charged me a 15€ fee for a debit card that I never received. Then, there were “liquidación del contrato” fees that nobody really understands. If my Spanish is correct (I’m a native speaker), liquidación del contrato means “termination of contract”—I have ended no contract with them or anyone linked to my bank.

When I called my branch inquiring about these fees, the rep had no idea what they meant and suggested I waited until the fees cleared. I then called the customer service center and the explanations they gave me made no sense.

I found out I wasn’t the only one. On an Auxiliares Facebook page, discussions about Santander Bank look something like this:

Those are just some of the most recent comments I’ve seen. I won’t cancel my account with Santander because I’m closer and closer to the end as an Auxiliar. As for good banks, I’m clueless, but I’ve read a lot of posts by now about BBVA bank being a good bank. Doesn’t hurt to try.

Well, enough said—you’ve been warned, my friends. 🙂

Bruises, Scrapes and Missing Teeth: A Day with 1st Graders

When working with children, you never really know what to expect. At any given moment, anything can happen. Kids are very clever, but they are also so fragile. Among my students for instance, many of them always seem to have a runny nose—it’s like the eternal cold—and, on occasions, one or two will hurt themselves while playing outside, thus scratching their everything.

A few weeks ago, first grade student Esther came running, showing me her smile, which was now missing two front teeth. Filled with excitement she said, “I lost two teeth over the weekend!” Esther doesn’t talk that much in class, so I felt very special she wanted to tell me this. She’s such a sweetie. As adults, we’d be terrified if that happened to us, but the little ones get so excited about their teeth-less smile…I find it adorable.

My nieces are around that age and one of them got a complex about her smile when she started losing her teeth. I didn’t know kids that young could actually feel insecure. It wasn’t a big deal in my time, but times have changed. So now, every time I see kids losing their teeth, I make sure to let them know how CUTE I think their smile looks. And it’s true.

Anyhow, what I witnessed today wasn’t all that cute. There were bloody mouths, bloody noses, scratched elbows and bruised knees. My first grade students didn’t see me last week (I had switched my schedule around in order to make it to Las Fallas) and they were very excited to tell me all about their past two weekends. As I entered the room, they ambushed me: “Teacher Marcia! Teacher Marcia! [Incomprehensible speech as they all tried to speak at the same time.]”

It was getting a little out of control, so I had to lay down the law. I asked them to sit down and raise their hands if they wanted me to hear their stories. One by one they began raising their hands. Lucia goes first: “I was running and I crashed against a tree.” Ouch. Poor girl had cuts and scratches all over her nose and cheeks. What kind of tree was this? Or how fast was she running? I wondered. Alejandro then raises his hand, “I lost one tooth today.” Then it was Beatriz’s turn, “Me too, teacher!”

I see Manuel, the most active little boy I’ve ever known, jumping by his seat (typical) trying to get my attention. “Yes, Manuel?” I say. He comes running to the front of the class, rolling up his pants leg above his right knee. “Seño, look, I fell on the playground and hurt my knee AND my hand.” Oh my…  I always worried about that little boy; he moves around way too much. It can’t be safe. Manuel set the standard by showing me his wounds because then everybody wanted to show me something. Maria also came up to me rolling up her sleeve, “I fell, too, like Manuel and cut my elbow.” They went on and on and on…

I couldn’t believe they all hurt themselves at once, in one day. It was only 12:30 past meridian! How much energy is in these kids?

Then, as I am finally ready to start my lesson, Maria—the same little girl with the bruised elbow—interrupts, “Teacher, I’m bleeding from my nose!” ¿Cómo es posible? Seconds later, Beatriz’s mouth is all bloody from the tooth she had just lost… Meanwhile, my face looks like this:

HA! I must admit, I was terrified after all that shows and tales. But we all made it through. Class was quite fun today, actually. After everybody cleaned themselves up and settled down, we did the “Hula Pokey”…

Belgian beer and Saint Patrick’s Day in Madrid

I think the amount of holidays in Spain is overwhelming…in a great way. There are more Saint Days on the Spanish calendar than there are working days. I’m normally off on Mondays and some Fridays, so when a holiday falls on the days I’m already off, I’m just like oh mannnn! 🙂

I have done nothing (nothing! (sleeping is overrated, apparently) but travel, eat, drink, and travel since Thursday. Today I got back to school (normally I start my week on Tuesday) and everybody who didn’t know I had switched days kept asking if I was feeling better. Confused, I respond “yeah…” And then I say, “I was in Valencia.” Then I see the expression of sorriness on their faces slightly changing to bitterness and then they hate me for being able to have so many days off and travel to places that not even their native selves have ever been to. Ok, they don’t hate me. They think I’m very lucky…as do I.

Anyway, lots of activities this past weekend. I started last Thursday by having a “pre-celebration” of Día de la enseñanza (Teaching Day) with colleagues. We hit a few bars after school. The thing is that every Friday they get together and go out for what they call a “caña” which means going for a beer, wine, or whatever (I guess it translates to US Happy hour?). Since I almost never work on Fridays, I don’t get to hang out with them after school. They also do their happy hour in Bolaños, not in Ciudad Real. I don’t drive a car here and that’s two towns apart. But last Thursday they decided to go out in Ciudad Real and I was able to hang out. Chris was able to come, as well.

Well, we had a blast. I guess Ciudad Real is a lot more fun when you go out in groups. We started out with some tapas and drinks at a bar called Dallas. Later a table was set for us and we had a few “raciones,” small bites, and more wine. After we ate, we walked to another bar for tea and coffee, and then cocktails—well, Gin-tonic is the closest they get to a good cocktail here, which is still better than their Bloody Mary’s.

We hung out at that bar for a while. We even played some games. The Spanish teachers taught us some fun card games I had never heard of; a bit confusing but fun. Chris then showed them how to play other drinking games, including the overly played out college game “A-hole”—what a great introduction to American games! They couldn’t be more confused, but had fun. The younger three of us who didn’t want to go home then visited another bar around my piso. The bar has pool tables and a darts games (obviously not my choice). But I played and ended up beating the two guys, which is very odd because I’m very bad at these games. All in all, it was a great time.

On Saturday we left for Madrid. There weren’t available hotels in Valencia for the beginning of the weekend, and when we can’t find something in the city we want to go to, Madrid is our safe haven. But it’s always fun no matter what. It was Saint Patrick’s Day and the Irish were everywhere. Typical Irish bars in Madrid were packed, it was fun. Unfortunately, we didn’t stay at our usual Puerta del Sol little spot—this time we were rather far from the center, off the Metro Canillejas, and let’s just say that I will remember NOT to do it again. I like the energy of the city, as crazy as it gets. Besides, the metro closes at 2am and we don’t like curfews.

On Sunday we continued roaming the city and my brother suggested Cuatro Caminos. So, there we went for the first time. It is Dominican town up there; we stopped at a restaurant for some Sancocho and Tostones. There was music and dancing everywhere. Monday was also a holiday, so a lot of people were out on Sunday night. But before we wandered around in Cuatro Caminos, we had stopped at a bar called La Casa de La Cerveza in Chamberí. I am NOT a beer person, but a year or so ago my boyfriend introduced me to Belgian beer. I’ve been hooked since.

Earlier Sunday we went back to the Irish bar Dubliners in Madrid—we spotted chicken wings on the menu and went back for it. They were yummy. Somehow the conversation with the server ended in Belgian beer. Dubliners didn’t have that kind of beer, but our server suggested La casa de la cerveza.

He didn’t even know the actual name of the bar, but he told us the name of the metro (subway) we needed to take or walk to and search from there. So, Chris and I walked aimlessly for approximately 25 minutes. HA! We made it to Metro Bilbao and asked for “an Irish bar” in the area. Long story short, La casa de la cerveza was RIGHT by Metro Bilbao on Calle de Luchana. The beer menu is huge and irresistible even to a non-beer lover like me. I recommend it.

On Monday, we headed for Valencia.

Que difícil es hablar el español (funny video)

A very funny, VERY clever video about “how difficult it is to speak Spanish” (and not just according to the Anglo people; this is also true even for native Spanish-speakers). Not exactly “speaking” Spanish, but “understanding” the different varieties should have been the title.

If you’re familiar with the different dialects spoken in Spain, Latin, Central and South America, this video is a must see (it’s in Spanish). If you speak Spanish and you have experienced any language confusion before, ¡Te vas a morir de la risa! Maybe not, but it’s so true! And if you don’t speak Spanish, don’t let this discourage you I think Spanish language rules are the easiest and have the most straightforward pronunciations of all languages. As for the dialects, it’s just a matter of clarification. 🙂

Chefs, Cows and Minie Mouse: Carnival at school

As you all already know, Spaniards celebrate Carnaval in the month of February and for the last week of February, the theme for carnival at the school was “Fashion Week” — where pre-K students dressed as Egyptians, 3rd and 4th grade teachers and students dressed as chefs, and 5th and 6th graders did what they like most: be cool. They got to create a whole fashion show, walking the catwalk in their cute “cool” outfits to the rhythm of Michel Teló music and more.

The teachers decorated everything and made the chef hats themselves, and they were asking if they should make me a hat so that I could be one of them. But I wanted to wear something a little more out of the ordinary, a little more fun (NOT that the chef choice wasn’t cute!). That’s just me. One of the pre-K teachers mentioned that she had an extra costume at home that perhaps could “look good” on me, she said, and said she could bring the whole thing for me the next day. (This teacher is usually a hell lot of fun, so I trusted that it was going to be good.)

Then Fashion Week arrived and, while it was nothing never seen before, as I would have liked (it was a Minie Mouse costume), it was very CUTE once I saw it and I decided to wear it. First of all, I have to say that I work with really nice people; I’ve never had absolutely everyone at work being this nice to me! It’s going to suck when I have to leave. 😛

So, yeah, here are some of the pictures from that day. We had so much food and so much fun! Spaniards know how to have a good time…I had a blast.

Los Burócratas (Bureaucrats)

ha ha —  I had watched this video last year and I just have to share it. It’s so funny, yet so true. Every day that I have to face a customer service person (like today) or employees of the Spanish government (which is what this short film is about), I think of this short masterpiece that somebody at the Instituto del Cine Madrid had the brilliant idea of making. I think it portrays it perfectly. You may think it is exaggerated, but, trust me, it isn’t! Not in the least bit…

Enjoy it. 🙂