Today’s social media are a true double-edged sword: they can be a real time waster, an arena for cyber-bullying and online ostracizing and an efficient way to distribute often mundane content to a large network of people. But social media can also have tremendously beneficial effects, and in my case, Facebook has connected me with a number of like-minded people. One person that I linked up with through Facebook is Karla Aguilar Perez, who, with her love of travel and languages, reminded me very much of myself. Karla was born in Latin America, moved to Montreal as a young child and grew up there, and has lived in and travelled through a number of interesting countries. Today, Karla is teaching English in Korea and she has many more interesting plans for the future. It is my pleasure to introduce you to Karla Aguilar Perez – world travellers, English teacher and a true global soul:
1. Please tell us about yourself and your family background, where are you from originally and where did you grow up?
My name is Karla, I am 34 years old. I am originally from El Salvador and I moved to Montreal Canada when I was 7 years old. I grew up in la Belle Province until I graduated from University. I have lived in 6 countries (Canada, USA, Australia, Italy, South Korea and Spain) since then. I also made a temporary stop from 2008-2010. I am currently living in South Korea.
2. You inherited a spirit of adventure from your parents. Please tell us about your early adventures in Canada.
Well the very first trip I took was when I moved to Canada. My father travelled from El Salvador all the way through Mexico where he worked and lived for a year. He applied for Canadian residency for himself and later for the rest of the family while he was there. He told me his stories later as I grew up. He was a brave and adventurous soul to begin with. Otherwise he wouldn’t have been able to get to Mexico City on his own.
My mother too is a traveller, following her husband and taking her 3 kids with her. I am very fortunate to have such parents because they always took us to new cities or towns in Canada. I believe my very first trip was to Ottawa. I remember us going to the bus station and head towards the capital in the winter time. Little did I know then that I would live there for a little while later in life! 😉
Then in the summer they took us to Quebec City, little towns around Montreal and the ever famous lakes and mountains.
They did all of this without having a car at their disposal. I am amazed now at their strength, willingness, complicity and determination. They worked hard and saved funds in order to take us out and explore our province! I guess I learned then that indeed nothing was impossible to them 😉
3. You seem to have a very strong knack and love for learning foreign languages. What about your educational background?
As I mentioned earlier, I am Latin American. Hence I started my education by learning 3 languages at the same time: English, French and Spanish. So that kind of set the tone & traced my path from the very beginning. My dad had a better knowledge of English and French. However, I had to translate and interpret for my mother. I remember that at some point during my childhood I used to go to the parent/teacher meetings with her. I was conveying messages from my teachers 😉 Fortunately they were good as I behaved well & showed so much interest and enthusiasm in class (it’s still true to this day – he he)
4. After graduating from university, you went on a trip to Europe that was a major milestone for you. Please tell us about the places that you visited, how you travelled and what this trip meant to you.
After working for the government during the summer (the best job ever, I was a translation intern), I took a little over 2 months off to travel to my dream destination: Europe!
With my plane ticket and Eurail pass in hand I crossed the pond for the first time.
I started my trip in London, England where I spent about a week. Then I took the ferry from Dover to Calais, France. I headed to Paris where I spent about 5 days. I remember very vividly getting my Eurail train pass stamped at La Gare du Nord before taking the Thalys, the high speed train on the way to Brussels, Belgium. I then moved on to Amsterdam, The Netherlands, followed by Berlin, Germany. I met an angel on the train. That day a nice blond, blue eyed guy named Stefan sat next to me on the train and we started talking until I mentioned to him that I had studied German for the past 5 years! We talked in German all the way to the main station in Berlin. He kindly offered to show me the way to the youth hostel. He even hailed a cab, a Mercedes Benz of course, and took me to the front desk. I honestly have never had anyone do something like that for me but I did it for others. I thanked him and he just left. I looked back and he was gone. Even until this day I think he was sent by god!
After spending a few days there, I took the ICE fast train to Frankfurt am Main. I couldn’t have ended my 1st month in a better place than Munich just in time for the best party in the world: Oktoberfest! 😉
I then left for Salzburg, Austria (I’ve always loved The Sound of Music) which was incredible. Then something called me in Innsbruck where I spent a couple of days! 😉
Then I finally made it into Switzerland! I arrived in Zurich and met my long-time friend. I stayed with him for about a week. He rented a car and we had an amazing road trip: Zurich-Interlaken-Lucerne. It was magical. The Swiss country side and scenery is simply spectacular. I couldn’t have asked for more. That has been one of the best short trips ever!
Sadly I had to leave but I was so looking forward to go to where I’ve always dreamed of going, il bel