It has been a while since my last blog post and I apologize. I should probably just start making that the header of all my blog posts because I feel like I have been very inconsistent when it comes to writing on my blog. There is just so much to do and I am busy trying to get as much done as I can.
I have been here for almost three months now, which seems unreal. Although I have been here for three months, I am about to hit my first big holiday away from home. Sadly, I will be away for Thanksgiving this year and all of the holidays to follow. My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving, and it makes it that much harder to be away for. Although, I am very sad to be gone for all of these fun holidays that I cherish so much in the United States, I am trying to make the best of the situation. I get to spend the holidays in Europe. That is such an incredible opportunity, and an experience that not many people get to have in their lifetime. It is going to hurt being gone for all the holiday spirit, family gatherings and baked goods, but I am hoping to manage by traveling in Europe over Christmas break instead. My good friend Celia and I decided to take an eight-day vacation before New Years Eve to see some parts of Europe that are exceptionally beautiful during Christmas time. We will be traveling to Vienna, Prague and Norway during this time. If anyone has any suggestions about these three places, I would be happy to hear them! We are very excited for the Christmas markets, the snow, and the holiday lights. It will give us a sense of home.
My students and classes are still exceptional. I get excited to see them everyday, and it feels like a long time going without seeing them for three days of the week. I constantly think I see them on the streets or on the metro, but that is just my mind playing tricks on me. My fourth graders are currently learning the present and past tense of English. As a native English speaker, one would think this is a simple task to teach but it is not.
I have learned our language is so irregular and diverse and some situations in the English language I do not have an explanation to why it is the way it is. It just is.
We say things in English that do not follow the correct sounds of the alphabet that we were taught, but we just say that way. My students are constantly challenging every sound, letter or word. Although it is difficult to explain to them the differences in our language without me using my Spanish, they are teaching me and I have been brushing up on my English (that has gotten lazy over the years).
Now that I have been living in Spain for about three months, my friends and I can conclude that “real life” situation and challenges are starting to happen. I had this same rollercoaster effect in Barcelona when I lived there almost two years ago. Right when someone arrives in a foreign country, they are amazed and enlightened about their surroundings. Everything is new, fun and cool to them. As time passes this sense of newness goes away and this “paradise” turns into a foreign country that you are living in and reality sets in. We are now in the stage of living in Spain, that it is not rainbows and roses anymore. It is real life. We live in Spain; we have jobs that we are required to be at. We have rent to buy. We have budget our money. We are your typical out fresh out of college young adults, who just happen to be taking on their first steps out of college in Spain. It has been challenging, to say the least and this will probably be one of the most mentally and emotionally challenging things I will ever do. Although I feel like I am making this sound so difficult, this is something that I did not have the courage to say last time I lived in Spain.
I remember coming home from studying abroad and everyone wanted to hear about it, they wanted to know the adventures and the excitement. Of course, yes my time in Spain will always be exciting and adventurous and a challenge. In contrast, nobody asked nor wanted to hear about the hard parts and in a way it made me feel guilty for saying it was hard. I always had a sense of feeling ungrateful that I was complaining because I was living in Spain and living a dream of mine. Although it is a dream of mine to be here, it does not mean isn’t challenging and it is just as hard as “having a job in a foreign country” sounds.
This is the big part of me that has changed.
I have accepted that life is going to happen no matter where you are. It does not matter if you are living your dream life, there will be highs and lows. I have no fear in saying that this situation and this experience are difficult anymore. I have learned that the most monumental parts of my life have been tough. Good things do not come easy. All you can do is keep growing and keep evolving into the person you were meant to be. That is the beauty of life.
As I spend my next couple weeks missing home from the holidays, I am beyond grateful for this opportunity to be in the place I love.
I will be constantly sending my love to the United States throughout the holiday season.
Until next time,