Break Free from Your Comfort Zone & Fears

Authored by:
Erika N.

Erika N.

     Imagine this you move to another country with just one suitcase, backpack and a small carry on. The irony that despite studying abroad just a year and a half ago I had no fears or worries about moving abroad for six months. But this time around I was moving to Madrid for a full year (and now I’m hoping to live here for a couple more) but mind you I didn’t have an apartment yet. I was going to start all over again. One of the many challenges was searching for a new apartment, adjusting to life without my own personal transportation, but also not working for a month and a half. Regardless of these external factors I was ready for this new challenge. Mostly because in my heart I knew that I had a deep yearning to Teach Abroad and live in Spain once again. This passion and desire was much stronger then my fear of the unknown. That is why I think it’s important that in order to grow we must learn how to break past our fears and take advantage of getting out of our comfort zones.

       Despite only living here for a total of three months I feel as though I have grown so much more as an individual. I was lucky enough to find two incredibly sweet roommates “Kerrina & Paige” who have quickly become my family. We all agreed that we shared the same fear of being unable to find an apartment but with perseverance and patience we were able to find an apartment within the first week of living in Madrid (in Gran Via the heart of the city.) That was one fear I was quickly able to overcome. The next was the means of personal transportation. Just to help ease any anxiety for anyone who shares the same worry, let me tell you they are not joking when they say “Madrid has the BEST public transportation.” If you’re under 25 you’re able to purchase the “joven” metro card where you only have to pay 20 euros a month. This allows you to use the metro, bus and cerncanias! Now let me tell you I know darn well I was spending more than 20 U.S dollars a month in gas, and other upkeeps for my car. If I am being honest with you I sometimes find myself hoping on a bus that takes me to different parts of the city (I just get off where I feel like.) This is another great way to not only get out of your comfort zone but to also explore this beautiful city.

       It’s ironic to reflect on the fact that I hadn’t worked for a month and half when I first moved here. It was uncomfortable to live off the money I had been saving over the years, but what I discovered was that it wasn’t impossible. The first two weeks I made the mistake of living life as a tourist where I constantly ate out at all the trendy restaurants in Malsaña. But after reviewing my bank statements I realized it was time to budget (stay tuned for my next blog “Save that Money Honey.) Before I knew it October 1st  came around, and I was on my way back into the workforce. Where my true love and passion for going to work was ignited. I can safely say that I look forward to work each and every day. My students make all the difference, walking into my classroom where I am bombarded by my first graders with hugs to even my sixth graders who are so excited to tell me all about their weekend. I am surrounded by future artists, writers, teachers, professional athletes and students who want to make a positive difference in the world. It was incredible to discover that a group of sixth grade girls I taught have their own animal shelter in their backyard (cat’s that they rescue from their neighborhood.)

        Breaking out of my comfort zone has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. Because in the end Madrid, Spain has become my new home.

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