Trading Pine for Palm: an Introduction

Authored by:
Chloe H.

Chloe H.

Hola! Buenas! Buenos dias! And other greetings that I mumble quietly to try and disguise my painfully obvious accent. Bienvenidas a mi blog :)

I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Maine. If I were telling you this in person, you would see me clasp my hands over my heart and swoon while saying this. I. Love. Maine. I love the rocky beaches, the fragrant pine trees, the crisp fall days and the humid summer nights. I love the seafood, I love my people there, and I love making fun of tourists. I could talk for hours about my practically-Canadian state, but I practice self restraint and stop right here.

Spain is a very close runner-up to Maine on my list of places that I can’t shut up about. I was fortunate enough to have studied abroad in Bilbao, Spain during the summer of 2019. I have been living in the memories of being a fresh-faced 19-year-old galavanting throughout Europe for the past 3 years, itching to return. I became enamored with Spanish culture. The days here are long, slow, and tranquil. My professor in Bilbao summed it up well by saying that Americans live to work while Spaniards work to live. All aspects of life are centered around family in Spain, which is a stark contrast against the rat race lifestyle that I feel suffocated by in the US.

While I was studying in Bilbao, I knew that I wasn’t ready to leave this beautiful culture behind. I distinctly remember sitting on my bed in Bilbao finishing up an assignment very last minute. Some may call it procrastination, but I call this an epiphany. In that moment, I became very aware of how happy I was there. I felt like myself for the first time since I was a child. In that moment, I knew that I had to return to Spain and continue my journey of self realization. I started researching opportunities to work abroad, and discovered TEFL. I began making plans to enroll in a TEFL course right then and there, and felt ignited by the decision. The opportunity to work with children was exciting to me in and of itself, but the chance to work in a classroom setting in a country that I love, with plenty of free time to travel around Europe, really sealed the deal for me.

Three years and one apocalypse later, I’m finally here. My plans to teach in Madrid in the fall of 2020 were uprooted just a smidge by said apocalypse. But here I am. Sitting in Retiro Park. I’m sitting on my canvas bag and using my laptop case as a back rest up against a very sad-looking palm tree. I had originally planned to write this at the café approximately 30 feet in front of me, but when I asked to sit down the waitress said something very quickly to me that I interpreted as a ‘no’. My legs are itchy from the grass and ants are crawling on my back. I am here.

That’s all for today! I look forward to sharing my experiences with you all through more sappy blog posts. Now, I am going to head to a pharmacy because my body has become covered in hives since beginning writing this.

Adiós! Hasta luego! Chau!

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