Last Sunday I reached the six-month mark. I’ve now been in Spain officially over half a year, and in total, I’ve now spent over ten months of my life in the country, including my four months in Barcelona and a few trips here and there. One year ago this week I was living in Orange County, not sure of where I would be spending the next year of my life, or even if I would be leaving California at all. Nine months ago I was panicking, frantically applying for my visa and contemplating quitting a job that I really liked. And giving up a raise that I had just gotten. Six months ago I was traveling around the country alone, or, more accurately, with a selection of random facebook acquaintances, some of whom would become friends, others whom I would never speak to again. One month ago, I thought Spain had lost its magic for me. I thought I was cured of all my desires to live abroad, to constantly explore, to struggle through the foreign language. I thought I had achieved one of my secret goals for this year abroad: to get me to want to come home to California. Well, I was wrong.
Two and a half weeks ago I came to Madrid, and I remembered what I loved about living abroad. I remembered why I came back to Spain in the first place, and I remembered what it feels like to not have enough hours in the day. These past two weeks have brought back a million memories and thoughts and dreams, and they have completely overwhelmed the experience that I had the past five months in La Puerta de Segura. Yes, that was a unique experience, but just because it was “unique” doesn’t mean I didn’t spend half of it sitting on my unique couch in my uniquely cold apartment, trying to figure out how to save money and pass the hours while I waited for the months to slide by.
I haven’t posted to this thing in a while because I simply have better things to do, and that is the best feeling in the world. I have only stayed in Zona Norte two days so far (both because I woke up too late), and every other day I have ventured into the center at least once. I have class at 10:30 every day (Spanish class, that is), and on Tuesdays and Thursdays I have squeezed as many private lessons in as possible. Right now I have one at 8am in Sanse (the abbreviation for my barrio), and two hours in Las Tablas, starting at 1pm. I am super, super thrilled about this because it is more than doubling what I make each week, and so far the students seem really great and interesting. It gives me an opportunity to talk with some Spanish people…and then have them pay me. A guy at an intercambio I went to told me that Americans and Brits were taking advantage of people by offering lessons…but I completely disagree. We’re taking advantage of a situation, and that’s not hurting anyone.
On a personal level, things are still puttering along on the friend-front. I meet a few people every week, but I definitely have not established any kind of group of friends here, which I’d like to accomplish soon. It’s hard being new in town, but not nearly as hard as it could be because of my Spanish class and the intercambio events, where you can walk up to people in a bar and say “Hi! I’m an American. Where are you from?” and not be looked at like a raving idiot. This last weekend I got a break from the slight solitude and friend-hunting when Marshal braved the eight hour bus ride to come visit. It was honestly one of the most incredibly delicious weekends of my life, and we spent so much money on food. I checked off about 50 different places that I wanted to try in Madrid and I am going to write separate posts for all of them because they were so good. I think this blog is going to start turning into more food/cool thing talk and less personal posts because frankly I don’t have as much weird shit to complain about anymore, and I don’t know if I really want to keep writing about how fun and exciting every day is. It’s easier to write interesting things about all the troubles that befell me in the past.
So yeah! Things are great. And I think they will be getting even greater in the future.