¡Venga, Vamos!

I have wanted to put something into this blog since I’ve been back home from Spain, but I just couldn’t quite find the words. I wanted to say that America is this crazy foreign place now, but after a few days it was basically exactly how I remembered it. I mean, it was a bit odd hearing English spoken all around me (which was also kind of a godsend), but other than drinks being enormous and the food being all processed crap, it was all the same.

I thought coming home would be a good way for me to reflect upon this past year’s incredible experiences, but I haven’t had that moment sink in where you go, “Wow, that was unbelievable.” I think I’ve already had those moments several times over while I was living there. I don’t think I needed to come home to have some great Eureka! moment.  And by now, I’m pretty sure all of my friends here are pretty sick of me talk about my friends and my apartment and my experiences abroad, so as to not beat a dead horse, I try to avoid the subject all together.

But now I’m about to go back, this time with a renewed vigor and excitement. I learned a lot of things this year and I’m going to correct the wrongs and do a bit more for myself.  This year I tried so hard to be as Spanish as possible. But this year, I’m going to go as myself. If I need to go off and not party one Friday night so that I can write or just have a chill night watching movies and drinking coffee, then I’ll do it. I’m also going to write more to my friends and the first thing I’m going to do upon arrival this year is buy a ton of international stamps so that I can send my friends and family postcards from all over Europe.

I went to a close friend’s birthday party the other day and they all made me feel like I wasn’t going back to this great adventure, but rather I was leaving them. I don’t want them to think that I’m leaving anybody, because I’m not. I’m going but not leaving. So I feel that if I connect with my friends at home more this year and include them to the best that I can in on this adventure, they won’t feel so left behind. I love my friends, I hope they know that I’m not leaving because I don’t want to see them, I leaving to further my own life and experiences.

This year I’m going to learn a lot of new things: for one, I’m going to learn French. I’m going to sign up for a course in October. Also, I’m going to travel all over Europe unlike this year. I focused my first year on just Spain, I tried to immerse myself as best as I could in the culture and I really feel successful. I also feel like I’ve become fluent in Spanish and this was my main reason for going over there. Now that I’m comfortable with Spain and the language, it’s time for me to take on the world.

Furthermore, I’m starting a new job and one that I couldn’t be more excited for! I’m teaching history and geography which means not only am I going to be teaching a subject that I love and also at an age-level that I want to teach at, I’m going to be learning the history of Spain and of Europe more than I probably could have imagined. I have a very weak knowledge of European history (with the exception of Rome because I took a course in college) but for the most part, my history degree was focused on 20th Century American history. Having the opportunity to teach a part of history I know little about is incredibly thrilling because I will be learning just as much, if not more than, my students.

So yes, it will be difficult once again to say goodbye to everyone, but as my last few days here approach, I am getting that renewed excitement and desire to get abroad again.  I have high hopes and even high expectations for this new year, and I know it will be different than what I expect, but I know it will be better than anything I could imagine, because that’s how it was this year.

So here we go, year dos in España,

Graham

7 thoughts on “¡Venga, Vamos!

  1. “This year I tried so hard to be as Spanish as possible. But this year, I’m going to go as myself.”
    Love this. So many people travel/move abroad to become someone else, and try to squeeze themselves into boxes of what being “Spanish” or “European” means. Will definitely keep your words in mind as I start my second year here. Keep writing!

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  2. Graham, buy some stationary, too! It’s tougher to find over here. And a great book to read is Ghosts of Spain, a thorough overview of Spain since Franco.

    The new gig sounds awesome. Wish they had that while I was an auxiliar! Suerte!

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  3. Well Graham, you were here all summer and I never even got to see you much less did you get to ride the bus with Kevin and I KNOW YOU ARE TERRIBLY DISAPPOINTED BECAUSE OF THIS………so come back so we can try again. Have fun!!!! Pat and Kevin

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  4. I just read this and I totally understand what you’re saying! I went back to the US expecting such reverse culture shock, but really it was as if I’d never left. Then I came back to Spain and felt even more comfortable here than ever. I guess it’s not always about extremes…

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