Next Saturday, I will fly to Madrid.
Typing these words is like reminiscing with a dear friend I haven’t seen in years. It feels incredible and rejuvenating, and simultaneously melancholic to write about Spain once again.
Although I visited for three days last summer, this will be my first extended stay in Madrid since leaving Spain in 2013.
Why am I going this time?
I’ll be leading a group of American high school students for an entire month. On Saturday July 7, I’ll meet my group of students in the JFK airport in New York City, where we’ll fly together to Madrid. During the month of July, students will be taking language courses in the mornings with local teachers. During the afternoons, I’ll be picking them up and leading them through the city to complete activities and tasks that force them to practice what they’ve been learning in class. Some example scenarios might be taking students to a restaurant to order food, go to a clothing store and ask for the right size, etc. There will be two excursions: one to Segovia and another all-weekend trip to Granada, which, if you remember, I’ve never been and it’s the last major city in Spain I have yet to visit.
Why haven’t I written any blog entries since 2013?
This blog began in August 2010 right after I graduated college and was getting ready to move to Spain where I’d remain for the next three years. After two years of teaching English in Madrid, I relocated to Barcelona in 2012 to complete a one-year masters degree in International Relations and an internship with a study abroad company. By June 2013, my visa had expired, I had no job prospects, ran out of money, and had no other option but to fly back home to the US. This is where this blog left off.
Since leaving Spain, I’ve had numerous jobs with study abroad companies and universities spreading across the country starting in Albany, NY, then on to Denver, CO, and then Austin, TX before finally settling in Boston as a Spanish teacher. Today, I am reopening this blog to construct a new chapter of my journeys in Spain.
How will this experience be different from the others?
Reason 1: I’m an adult (or something).
This time around, I’ll be able to explore the city as a true adult. I am no longer going to Spain as a young, eager person, thirsting to learn as much of the language and culture as possible. In fact, I’m going to be responsible for providing a space for others to accomplish just that. Now, with a career as a Spanish teacher, I will be facilitating enriching experiences for young students. I hope to support and encourage them to be inspired by Spain like it has inspired me.
Reason 2: I am ready to reinvent myself.
As with any international experience, one hopes to spread their wings. I’ll also be using this journey as a way to reinvent myself. Every time I had gone to Spain in the past, I got to choose the best version of myself and portray that person to the world. I am excited to see who I will become this time. What I hope to accomplish is to find a new identity for myself in Spain as an adult and professional. I hope to establish a new connection to Madrid and see what it is like to live here outside of the chaos of being in your early twenties (I’m thirty years old now, after all). There – inevitably – remain the ghosts of my previous self echoing the streets of Malasaña, but I’m ready to create new memories.
Reason 3: I will be living with a host family.
For the first time, I will be living with a host family. I’m looking forward to the interactions with the family and hopefully getting my Spanish rhythm back up to what it was by the time I left Spain in 2013. By living with a local family, I am excited to learn a different perspective of what life in Madrid is like and to develop a connection with new people.