Even after a year of living abroad it’s hard to believe this is my reality. Some days I wake up and almost explode of happiness. You know that super cliche quote something like, “take a chance, you never know how perfect something could turn out to be” that’s my life.
This isn’t an emotional goodbye Spain post because I’ll be back in September for another year, but a little glimpse into the highs and lows of my life in Spain.
People. Moving 4000 miles away from home isn’t easy by any means but the transition was cushioned by the amazing people who have welcomed me with open arms and treated me like one of their own. This starts with all the professors at school, to Ana and her family, to the man who owns the fruit stand and greets me every night as I walk home. I go to the grocery store and am greeted by half a dozen “Hhhhello Gabby!” From students and I can’t help but smile. My Spanish families—yes plural. First and foremost Ana and her daughters. I really don’t have sufficient words in English or Spanish to thank them for their kindness. The families where I teach private classes in the afternoon are the absolute sweetest and those kids feel like little brothers and sisters. Also big shout out to the moms that prepare a snack for me. The answer is yes, I’ll always eat the food you offer.
Travel. 4 new countries and over 20 new cities that I fell in love with. From day trips to long weekends, I’ve really been able to enjoy and experience what each place has to offer. I’ve eaten croissants in Paris, rode the underground in London, felt overwhelmed in the presence of God in Rome and eaten/drank my way through Spain. My teachers tease me that I’ve been to more cities in Spain then they have visited. Hah! Ok who should be teasing who in this situation?!
Spanish. whoa my Spanish has improved this year.. Drastically. I remember arriving in Madrid and almost had a panic attack because I couldn’t understand that they were saying to me. How could I study Spanish for nearly 10 years and I couldn’t understand “Spain Spanish” (castellano)? Now I crack my friends and teachers up by saying different common Spanish phrases. They also can’t help but giggle if I say a Spanish swear word ☺️. Andaluz Spanish where they drop all endings off words—not a problem. Spanish phone contract, apartment contract, Spanish taxes-so many new words to add to my vocabulary list.
People. I haven’t encountered mean or bad people but some just have a bad attitude. Maybe it to foreigners or maybe just Americans haha. I can tell when someone has shut me down before I’ve said two words. They think they won’t understand my Spanish or don’t even try to make an effort. *eyeroll* But the number of good, nice, welcoming spainards outnumbers the other by a long shot.
Travel. No, I’m not complaining about being able to see and experience the world but the process of that is sometimes exhausting. I’ve lost count of the delayed planes, missing buses, and metro strikes that make traveling more frustrating. But in the end, I made it home every time and my bed never felt better.
Spanish. yes I consider myself fluent, but there are still times where I feel like I can’t completely express myself. I also need to be more aggressive because spainards like to cut me off. Also I need to help spaniards better understand sarcasm, the humor gets lost in translation.
I think that wraps up year one. It just keeps getting better