A Fading Figure

The truth is I´m not the best writer that I can be. I feel like I need to go back and take some basic writing classes and read more. After all this time, I´m still struggling to find the right words to convey my thoughts and emotions. So much for a cum laude graduate.

In the my whirlwind of problems, who would think a mere memory and what it could have been would continue to haunt me, and worse yet, affect my concentration to deal with the actual problems right in front of me.

Yes, guy problems.

Like I previously said in an older post, I met someone that I fell for in a ridiculously short amount of time. I wanted to make it work knowing full well that it wouldn´t. Somehow I managed to build on from his words uttered drunk. The idea of ¨long distant¨ relationship had gone from a absurdity to a possibility.

But bro sobered up, went home, and insisted on being friends.

I´m sorry but I won´t be able to watch him get back with his ex. That is just offensive to me and all women he had come across after the ¨breakup¨. A la mierda la amistad.

The cold treatment is what I get for overlooking his looks and him not telling me that he is a FATHER of a little girl, who, according to a recent post, has just turned 4.

There is just no place and time for me to be in his life. Not because I don´t want to, but he doesn´t make room. And he shouldn´t.

What´s disgusting is the fact that I had been reduced to think that I´m not worth it – not worth the time, the effort, a second thought. No one, NO ONE, should ever be made to feel this way.

While I am grateful of having the chance to meet him and have a nice time, I´m afraid I have to be the decisive one and retreat silently. He is doing just fine, marvelous – actually. He is at the top of the game professionally and personally. It´s time for me to borrow his words: ¨I wish you the best¨.

But now I´m gone – like the breeze that brought him joy in the early summer days.

A mere memory that he could forget but can never tell.

Like a song that has not been sung. A beginning that has never begun.

An existence that he will continue to seek in another one.

My tears have flown once, twice, and now thrice – but never more.

I am but a fading figure, leaving through the back door.

Wishing him the best of luck, for ever more.

~ Brisa

 

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The Types of Guys You Might Meet In Madrid

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Photo Credit: LuxeMont.com (JustLuxe)

My interests in international relations took a literal turn while I was living in Madrid. (Typical blogger’s disclaimer alert). I am not a fan of stereotyping AT ALL and despise when people make assumptions about me based on my race and background, so I will try my best to avoid doing so in this blog. This post, of course, is biased and based solely on my experiences with a small number of men (I sure tried to research as much as possible but this is all I got, y’all). So how do I write without making careless generalizations of millions of men? Easy, I give them a name and pretend I am talking about a specific individual.

*Actual disclaimer, the name has been changed and a person described below may or may not be one actual person or a combination of people with similar traits.

Pues, comenzamos.

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Ok, I love this gif by hearbeart27 from Pinterest
  • Jorge el hipster

You might spot him smoking outside on the balcony of his quaint little apartment or run into him in cute coffee shops or small bookstores. He spends time in the alternative Malasaña and the hip Chueca neighborhoods. His closet maybe full of plaid shirts and tight jeans, but he loves all things vintage. He may say that he is open-minded, but never expect to see him in El Corte Inglés nor play mainstream pop/raggaeton/trap music near this guy. While his English skills may not be perfect (or near non-existent), he loves to incorporate English vocabulary into his speech. This diamond in the rough could sport a man bun or shave twice a year.


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Mr. I-Would-Steal-Ya-Girl-But-I’m-Busy, pictured here wearing Massimo Dutti
  • Hugo el hombre de negocios

He wears a nice silver watch on his left arm and carries his suitcase with the other. His hair is carefully styled with the “no-hair styling” look. If his outfit could be any sharper, it will literally cut you. Hugo looks like he steps out of a Massimo Dutti ad and knows where he is going. He can be seen during lunch in the Justicia, Castellana, or Castilla district (take a look here).  However, you will lose sight of him during rush hour in the Santiago Bernabeu metro station among the sea of men in business wear. Luckily, black is not the only choice of color, so pay attention to the fashion-forward ones in grey and navy suits. Chances are he lives in the suburbs and only comes into the city for work. Sigh.


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If only… Thanks DigitalSky for this gif.
  • Tomás el tinderero (Not sure if that is an actual word but I sure made it up)

Finally, the man you have always been looking for: he is direct and honest. It will not take long for him to be upfront about what he wants (but seriously though, what is ¨cyber sex¨ anyway?). However, he will not be that way when you ask him point-blank about what he is looking for on Tinder. His response will most likely be ¨Lo que surja¨ (¨whatever comes up¨…like, really, bro?). You will see him based on his schedule. Be patient with this one, he is juggling all that he can without dropping anything to wake up his girlfriend. But when he finally makes the effort to take on you a date, he wears shorts and t-shirts…or even a tank top. Yikes.


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Perfect gif from giphy.com
  • Pedro el party animal

While he cannot particularly dance, he claims to be a lover of music. He is friends with the DJ’s and knows bouncers on a first name basis. He has a group of close friends that he will always hang out and get rowdy with in the club. He flirts by tapping you on the shoulder or bumping into you from behind. His day may start as early as midnight, but will not end until 6AM. On a 3-day weekend, he will most likely make a quick escape to Gandia or Benidorm. You will most definitely run into him in a foam party somewhere in Ibiza in the summer, if he wasn’t at Tomorrowland, that is.


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Pic from my bff MadridLux.Com
  • Alejandro el alumno

He goes by Alex. His goal is to stay in school as long as possible. While he may or may not be a native of the city, he probably lives in a flat in Moncloa. Alex owns hoodies with American collegiate logos and many print t-shirts with ridiculous quotes that make no sense because he shops at Bershka and H&M. He could go “tapeando” in Lavapiés with his buddies if he was in a good mood, but he doesn’t mind eating in 100 Montaditos either. He enjoys his student discounts to museums nightclubs and is often seen in white, light blue, or baby pink long sleeve button-down shirts – it’s a uniform. He will claim to be studying during exam time either to avoid seeing you or lure you to come to his place. My advise is just let him study and finish school already.


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From https://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk/p/keep-calm-and-yo-soy-espanol/
  • Enrique el español

I avoided putting him first on the list because some readers will roll their eyes and stop reading, but we cannot leave Enrique out. While it is perfectly ok for him to criticize the government, his fútbol’s team performance, or the transportation, it doesn’t mean that it is ok for you to do the same. He thinks Spain has the best food despite the fact that he has yet to explore the endless possibility of foreign cuisines. Even though he does not go see bullfights (at least not on a regular basis), he sees it as an art that should not be prohibited. Hates FC Barcelona and makes fun of Shakira. Thinks he is smooth with the ladies but actually isn’t. Far from it.


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Ok, they don’t all look like this but the charm is there. Gif from Maluma’s “Borro Cassette” music video.
  • Luís el latino

If it is anyone who is smooth with the ladies, it’s this guy. Chances are he’s Colombian or Dominican. Unlike Pedro, he knows how to approach a woman and seduce her with words (and empty promises). Soon enough, he will offer to teach you how to dance salsa or bachata. His outfit is usually not as neutral as the others’ and he may not have the best fashion sense, but his seduction game would be strong enough to blind you. He likes to build just enough trust and intimacy to make the sex great, but it doesn’t mean shit that he is genuine. If you confront him about him lying that he was single, he will call you crazy and you might believe him. My advise is run and don’t look back.


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Photo from TtMadrid
  • André el africano

He is from North Africa and speaks perfect Spanish and English. While your average Alvaro’s are hanging out and about (read: not approaching you first), he is not afraid to come up to you to start a convo. If he wanted to dance with you, he would ask…even though you were clearly already dancing with someone else. André does not care. If you refuse to dance or flirt with him, he may ask ¨Is it because I’m black?” with a straight face. Like Pedro, he has a lot of contacts for the nightlife.


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Pic from Erasmus Is Madrid’s Twitter
  • Emmanuel the Erasmus Bae

A possible roommate of Alex, Emmanuel is spending a semester or a year in Madrid. He will use the Bear in Sol as a meeting point despite knowing that there are a thousand people there. While his apartment is somewhere in the dead center of the city, it is ridiculously tiny and he prefers to be somewhere less claustrophobic – like La Kapital, Joy Eslava, or Fabrik. Expect him to send you invitations to university parties and Erasmus events on Facebook. You will definitely meet him at language exchanges. Even though his looks could pass him for a local, the way his clothes are fitted is usually a giveaway. Spaniards generally wear clothes that fit them well (too tight by American standards) and no one is better at it than they are. Well, except for the Italians.


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Thanks HerCampus for this meme
  • Brian the Bro

Someone has managed to dress worse than Emmanuel. Brian walks around in his old college t-shirts and flip flops (not going to the beach) or sneakers (not going to work out) and carries a backpack. He is studying abroad or doing a gap year teaching English, but is not ready to leave his frat ways behind. On Sundays, he will organize an NFL-watching party at his place or in some American bar. While his goal is to “meet” as many Spanish women as possible, he finds himself in the English-speaking bubble and ends up hooking up with a compatriot. While you may hear him chant “America!” ever so frequently, he frequents Irish bars and gets white-boy wasted. Just because there’s music at the bar doesn’t mean it’s for dancing, Brian. Sigh.


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Gif credit to Shape Magazine
  • Ethan the Experienced Expat

Lastly, Ethan is everything Brian isn’t. He plans to never going back to America, a place that he feels lacks history and culture for his taste. He does not identify with the “basic” expat circles and has a deep appreciation of the Spanish ways…and tries too hard to fit in. He likes to correct and lectures others about Spain – his adoptive home. Because he cares not for superficiality, he doesn’t care much about his wardrobe. He prefers off-beaten path places, so don’t force him to hang out in Callao. His preferred getaway destinations include places in Asturias, Galicia, or Basque Country. If he was to go to Catalunya, he avoids Barcelona at all costs. Try catching him during his vacay’s by closing your eyes and throw a dart at a map of Spain.


And so I will end with an almost actual meme of myself.

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Thanks PopKey for the truth

 

~ Brisa

 

Idea for New Blog: ¨De Compras: Madrid’s Shopping Guide”

This blog was created with the purpose of… Umm… I’m still not really sure. While I wanted to talk about my travels, I ended up documenting my feelings and emotions more than anything, and I have been doing this the most while I wasn’t having the time of my life. Most of the time, I expose my insecurities and personal stories that I should have kept to myself. Consequently, it is best to have readers who don’t know me personally…but that’s about to change.

I want to create another blog with a clear purpose. What am I most passionate about? SHOPPING. I feel like I could give readers some insights about shopping in Spain (specifically, Madrid).

I will be copying the post from my new blog to post it on here as well 🙂 Below is a very rough draft of potential posts. Can’t wait to start on this project.

~Brisa

 

Part I – Stores to Die For

Part II- Products to Live By

Part III – Shopping Zones

Part IV – Cosmetics

Part V – Rebajas (Clearance Seasons)

Part VI – Fall/Winter Essentials

Part VII – Summer Basics

Part VIII – Ojo! Return Policies

Part IX – Shoes! Walk like a Madridleña

Part X: – My Store, Mango

Part XI: My Fav Store, Mary Paz

Part XII: My Fav Store, Primor

Part XIII: My Fav Store, Stradivarius

Part XIV: My Fav Store, Women’s Secret

Part XV: My Fav Store, Calzedonia

Part XVI: Spotlight on Bershka

Part XVII: Spotlight on Zara

Part XVIII: Spotlight on Pull & Bear

Part XIX: Spotlight on Intropia

Part XX: All About Inditex

Part XI: Spotlight on Massimo Dutti

Part XII: Decathlon vs. Decimas

Part XII: Groceries Shoppin’

Part XIII: Lingery

Nightmare When I Wake Up

5:43 AM:

I turned on the computer with an immediate urge to open Facebook despite the fact that that isn’t the reason why I woke up this darn early.

…Right after I typed that sentence, I did go to Facebook – not due to my social media addiction but I remembered that I had to send a message because some one was concern about my safety.

Why? Hurricane Irma.

The entire state saw an impact from the storm. People were panicking like never before, especially before the storm’s arrival. The stores’ shelves were practically empty and gas stations had long lines for hours. Last time I checked on Friday (before the store came on Sunday), 40 percent of gas was gone in my town. It was apocalyptic – and it brings the worst out of people.

At times like these, you’d expect to see compassion of good Samaritans offering help or at least a mutual understanding. Instead, people were hoarding whatever food and water they could get their hands on at an necessary amount. No one had patience on the road, especially those blocking traffic in a line at a gas station. Even worse yet, looters were out there breaking into closed stores…to steal SHOES. While power was out in many places, the security camera was working just fine and there were bystanders recording their deplorable actions, so, of course, they were arrested.

All of this was going on during my 3-day lock-down. Fortunately, I was safe from harm and even had water and electricity for pretty much the whole time (except when the power went out around 3 o’clock on Saturday but it immediately came back on). Needless to say I had plenty of time to spend on Netflix, Youtube, snacking, job applications, and self-reflecting.

School has started in Spain and this year, I am not returning (thanks to the Spanish law that puts a 2-year limit on the program). As each day goes by, I am missing my old life in Madrid more and more – which is the opposite of what I was expecting.

So I woke up early…from a good dream. I was still in Spain and planning to take my mom and grandma to Granada. I was texting my girl friend to go out dancing on a Friday night. I was going for an evening stroll in Madrid. I was going to do so many great things.

In the dream, my aunt was there telling me that I had it all: I was young, beautiful, had a job and money to do as I wish and go wherever I want – which was easy to do so in Europe.

I feel like she was just a conscious part of me that had been silent about what she said but had been thinking so the whole time. And I am left more confused than ever. What do I really want in life.

I turned down an offer to work at a local embassy in Madrid (due to paperwork complications and me trying to prove a point that hell, I can leave Madrid and travel throughout Latin America – which is easier to do from Florida). I wanted to come back and find a more stable job of something that I wanted to do. Although I am passionate about education, I don’t see myself as an English teacher for the rest of my life. And yes, I wanted to work in foreign affairs – but really? Had I not been brainwashed by my own mother about how great this career would be with its benefits? Do I really wanted that path?

And so here I am – back into the squalid square known as a bedroom that is too big for its purpose.

I imagined 5 years of what I called a “solid” life: stable job, good pay with paid vacations, comfy apartment, decent neighborhood in the sunny South Florida – somewhere close to the water. But it seems like Hurricane Irma has blown this illusion away.

Instead, I am back living with my mom and returning to my part-time job that I despise. I felt like I had cut my own wings and fell down the heaven.

I’m stuck. For now.

~Brisa

 

 

 

 

 

 

La tormenta

Sigo buscando trabajo mientras el hurracán Irma está llegando para acá…

Como ya le dije, había una entrevista hace poco pero al final no me lo cogio. Al vez es mejor aqui porque si me haya elegido, habría evacuado de mi nueva casa en el sur de Florida.

Por eso, sigo aquí en esta ciudad pequeña de mierda dependiendo de mi madre. Volví a trabajar en el mall y cada día me odio por eso pero hay que hacerlo.

De momento estoy bien enfadada, no porque la madre me hizo recordar que debo ayudarla más y ser agradecida porque me está apoyando, sino porque me siento inútil. Se me he perdido mi libertad y inpendencia que tenía cuando vivía sola en Madrid. Me he cortado mis propios alas y se me he caído del cielo.

Esta noche mejor no dormir. Tengo que encontrar trabajo y marcharme lejo de aquí.

La tormenta en mi cabeza da más rabia que la Irma esa. Parece que no va a pasar pronto.

~Brisa

36 Fun Interview Questions

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Two weeks ago, I had a phone interview for a Study Abroad Advisor position. I could not be more excited to be selected to go on to the next round: a face-to-face interview.

The interviewers had already asked the basic questions: ¨how do you see yourself in 5 years¨, ¨describe a previous challenge you had and how you dealt with it¨, ¨what types of clients you have worked with¨, ¨describe your biggest accomplishment¨, etc. So what is next?

I suppose the next round will be if I was a good fit for the university – with regards to working style, vision, and ethics…

OR they would like to get to know me better as a person, like whether or not I would be a decent and likable co-worker. If that was the case, they may throw some unexpected questions at me (like, describe yourself with 3 adjectives. Hello, I´ve already prepared the answer and they were pleasantly surprised that I was able to come up with the 3 words so quickly).

So I found a quirky list of interview questions from Fastonomy that I will answer quickly right after I finish reading the questions. The responses below are my initial and immediate answers…which I will have to revise later but let´s see how this goes. 3…2…1…VA!

  • Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer? (Glassdoor)

I am more of a gatherer. I like to observe my surrounding resources first and analyze their usefulness as well as how much effort and energy are required to obtain them. If I see that there is not enough to gather, then I will become a hunter.

  • You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why? (Glassdoor)

I would be the color purple. It´s not one of the primary colors, but rather a combination of the hot red and cold blue, meaning that it has complexity and flexibility to be both warm and empowering but also cool and soothing.

  • We finish the interview and you step outside the office and find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do? (Quora)

It depends on how I ¨found¨ the ticket. Normally, I don´t buy lottery because I prefer using the money that I earn from my hard work. If I find a ticket, I would not even touch it. However, for the purpose answering the question about budgeting, I will definitely put it into my savings´ account first before sitting down and making a list of things that I would like to spend immediately. I would probably move $10,000 into my checking´s account and make a 3,000-donation towards the Scholarship Program that sent me to college. As for the remaining 7,000, I will save it for my travels in the near future to Puerto Rico, Colombia, Brazil, and Thailand. If I was hired, I would come to work like I had never won the lottery.

  • What do you think about when you’re alone in your car? (Glassdoor)

I think about the places and the people that the songs (from my CD) remind me about, while keeping an eye out for the speed limit signs and constantly checking my rear view mirrors to make sure that I maintain a good distance between the car behind me.

  • What’s your favorite ’90s jam? (Glassdoor)

(I actually had to Google this one…All that came to mind was Britney Spear´s ¨Hit Me Baby One More Time¨ and the Backstreet Boys…But keep in mind that I was born in 1994 , so I was too young to enjoy all the fun. Not sure if I should mention this.)

As Long As You Love Me, by Backstreet Boys. It is such a feel-good song.

  • If you could be any animal in the world, what animal would you be and why? (Quora)

A feral cat that lives by the sea! Cats are such elegant and calculating animals with a never-ending curiosity. They are independent yet affectionate to those worthy of their trust.

  • What was the last gift you gave someone? (Glassdoor)

For Thai Mother´s Day, I gave my mom gift cards to Banana Republic and Loft, which are her two favorite stores. It´s not much, but it the thoughts that count! I hope it will help her buy something that she likes that isn´t on clearance yet.

  • What were you like in high school? (Quora)

In class, I was very serious and focused. I paid attention to the lesson 100% and liked to take notes. I was often the last one to turn in the exams because I liked to use all of the time given to check my answers. If there were extra credit opportunities, I would take them even though my grades were already 100. I also wanted to be a well-rounded student, so I volunteered and became the Student Government President. However, with my friends, I either liked to joke around or have deep conversations, mostly about the future.

  • What’s the last thing you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it? (FlexJobs)

I don´t have a TV, but the last thing I watched was an old episode of Narcos on Netflix. I watched it to remind myself how much I loved the show to prep myself for the next season, which will come out on September 1st. I loved this show because it was loosely based on true events and was shot in Colombia, where I would love to go next. I also get to practice listening to Colombian Spanish.

  • Any advice for your previous boss? (Quora)

(Shoot, this one is making me think a bit because I don´t want to sound too smooch-y or too harsh. Hmmm.) I would advise her to distribute the hours more evenly among the sales associates, so that no one would end up with a shift that is 9 hours long while her co-worker only gets 4 hours. It is a labor-intensive job that requires one to be on her feet all day, which can be very difficult – even for someone who is in good shape.

  • Tell me something about your last job, other than money, that would have inspired you to keep working there. (Quora)

My last job was very flexible when it comes to scheduling. The managers are very understanding and empathetic, and try to accommodates the sales associates´ requests. You can tell that the company and management cares about the employees.

  • What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently? (Glassdoor)

I was working one day when an older lady came in and asked me to help look for a shirt for her granddaughter since I was about her granddaughter´s age. At the checkout, I asked her how old her granddaughter was, and she said 39!!! I am actually 23.

(Is this appropriate to say at the job interview? Or am I bringing ageism?)

  • What do you want to be when you grow up? (FlexJobs)

Like my mom, bilingual, strong, and financially independent.

  • Which two organizations outside your own do you know the most people at and why? (Quora)

(OH NOOOOOO. Tough one. If not impossible. Shit) The Erasmus students who were friends with my Puerto Rican roommates and the professional Muay Thai boxers in Madrid because they occasionally come to the same workout classes.

  • Pretend you’re our CEO. What three concerns about the firm’s future keep you up at night? (Vault)

Thinking about the upcoming big project, re-imagining leadership style, and having to lay off employees that are not a result of the employees´ actions.

  • If I were to hire you for this job and I granted you three promises with regard to working here, what would they be? (Quora)

Providing clear instructions and communications from the beginning, giving honest and constructive feed backs, and opportunities to attend professional development workshops.

  • If you don’t get this job, what’s your backup plan? (Quora)

Continue to work at my part-time job while keep applying for jobs in study abroad and international education.

  • What inspires you? (Vault)

Self development through gaining new experiences, skills, and knowledge. Being able to pursue my interests in travelling, international education, connecting people together, broaden minds, and empowering others, especially women from under privilege background.

  • Teach me something I don’t know in the next five minutes. (Quora)

I will go a great length for my hobbies! I love watching MotoGP and have been to all circuits in Spain (some twice). I have seen my favorite singer perform in Madrid, Germany, and Barcelona! If I like something, I will find the time and place for it.

  • What are you known for? (Quora)

My effort and passion for what I love.  Having the grit to achieve my academic, professional, and personal goals.

  • What do you work toward in your free time? (Quora)

My next trips! I´m always looking for flight deals and things to do in the cities that I want to visit next.

  • What’s the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t learn from your resume alone? (Vault)

(Well, darn, this is a tough one), that I am inspired by my grandmother, who had to end her education at 4th grade because no one supported her and her family told her that education was unnecessary for girls. So I was determined to do well in school despite knowing very little English when I first moved to the US and remain committed to my own education, and hopefully others´.

  • How would you rate your memory? (Glassdoor)

7.5, which is why I remember to take notes and set reminders!

  • Code something from scratch in three hours. Then explain your design and solution. (Quora)

(???? I don´t think this question pertains to me.)

  • If you woke up and had 2,000 unread emails and could only answer 300 of them, how would you choose which ones to answer? (Glassdoor)

I would check the emails´ senders, purpose, and urgency, but with an emphasis on last two. I will answer most urgent one that I requires me to take action first. For example, a student is requesting additional health insurance information because he/she was in a foreign hospital. If the e-mail is mostly informational and does not require me to take responsive actions -even if the sender holds the highest position – I would most likely not reply. For example, I would not reply to an email about a hurricane warning from the Vice President.

  • How many pennies would fit into this room? (Vault)

(Hopefully, they won´t ask this.)

  • Can you name three consecutive days without using the words Wednesday, Friday, or Saturday? (Quora)

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday

  • Estimate how many windows are in New York. (Glassdoor)

1,000,000 windows. (Silly question.)

  • How would you value the store on the corner? (Vault)

(I don´t understand the question well… Is it asking me to give a monetary value to the store or for me to give a criteria of what makes a ¨valuable¨ store??)

  • How many square feet of pizza is eaten in the U.S. each year? (Glassdoor)

(Ok, I had no idea, so I googled the answer and found a helpful article about how to answer these interview maths´ questions).

  • Describe the color yellow to somebody who is blind. (Glassdoor)

It´s bright, like the ray of light from the sun, which is yellow itself. It is associated with warmth and happiness.

  • If you were to get rid of one state in the U.S., which would it be and why? (Glassdoor)

(I would rather get rid of the U.S. territorials)

  • You’ve been given an elephant. You can’t give it away or sell it. What would you do with the elephant? (FlexJobs)

I would have to take care of it…or hire people to help me to. To raise the funds, I would make an educational program/field trips that charge a reasonable fee and accept donations.

  • Who would win a fight between Spiderman and Batman? (Glassdoor)

Batman, he is more well-equipped and well-researched. He would have studied his enemy and plot for ways to defeat Spiderman.

  • How would you convince someone to do something they didn’t want to do? (FlexJobs)

First, I would make sure that they do not feel the need to be on guard. I would encourage them to open up and talk about themselves (as most people like to do), and find out their wants and needs, and how doing something will benefit them.

  • A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here? (Glassdoor)

¨Excuse me, would you be so kind to get me back to the South Pole??¨

Good night!

 

~Brisa