In my junior year of college I decided to go to Spain on a whim. A serious whim (as in, no real planning went into this decision). I didn’t know anyone in the study abroad program, I knew nothing about the culture other than what I learned in class, and I was trying to finish up my minor degree in one semester. I was having some other life crises at the time as well, but that’s another story…
So, with the program, I moved to Cádiz in Southern Andalucía for four months (Andaluthia, if we’re being really accurate here). I had an amazing time. I made lifelong friends that I was able to travel with and see Europe for the first time. I tasted delicious food, wine, coffee, and pastries. I saw so many amazing pueblos and Spanish cities that looked untouched by time and modernization. I also had a warm and caring host mom who force-fed me tortilla and gazpacho on a regular basis, and I loved it!
However, I did have a few regrets at the end of the journey. I think I went for the wrong reasons and therefore did not fully appreciate being there. I was afraid to speak Spanish so I relied on English and didn’t immerse myself in the language. It was also my first time in Europe, so rather than using free weekends and trips to see the rest of Spain, I went to see other countries, like Ireland and Morocco. As I said before, I had a wonderful time! But by the end of my four months there, I was homesick and distracted and ready to move on.
Now, nearly 4 years later, I have an intense desire, dare I say need, to go back to that wonderful country and appreciate it in all its glory. I want to keep traveling, to keep teaching English, and most importantly, to use my Spanish! I miss the food, the people, the lifestyle, the small towns, the lisping S’s and rolling R’s. I want to do well by Spain this time, to be a true and caring lover (yeah, I’m using an affair metaphor here, that’s how serious we’re talking!).
So, I have applied to two English teaching programs in Spain that will allow me to legally live there for a year. So far in this blog, I am writing about my efforts to get into the programs and the torturous anticipation of the waiting process. In the meantime, I will regale you with my stories of European travel and weigh you down with my hopes and dreams for my future year abroad. Or, for something a little different, you can always check out the Thailand portion of this blog. Enjoy!