October to June.
It was the opportunity of a lifetime.
It was the opportunity to move back to mi patria, experience a new part of the Spanish culture, and teach English to university-age students. To live among the locals and immerse myself in a new culture with new people in new places. And to get away from all the stress of people asking me what I’m doing with my life now that I’ve graduated.
I was sitting in my unpaid internship on a slow afternoon when I finally got the notification from the Auxiliaries program in Spain that I had submitted months ago. To be honest, I thought that all the spots were filled and I figured if I really, really wanted to move back, I could just wait and apply next year.
And then the email popped up in my gmail and I rocketed out of my seat. My heart danced with joy as I called friends telling them the good news. Three days. I had three days to respond to this offer and then I would be on my way.
A picture of Santander, Cantabria- my almost new home for a year. (Source: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/xTFvou3__hE/maxresdefault.jpg)
But something wasn’t right. For one, it wasn’t Barcelona- the place I really wanted to return to. Second, it wasn’t Andalusia- the second region I would have been open to return to.
Now, I would be lying if I only said that the location was the reason that I turned it down was because of the location. I mean, Spain has such a rich and diverse history that it would be foolish to limit myself to only exploring two parts of the country.
See, I’m always someone who goes with her gut. And in this moment, my gut said stay. Don’t go. For some odd reason, the timing was just off. It was something I wanted so bad, something that made me so happy, but it just did not feel right.
And deep in my gut, I knew that I would have this opportunity again. Why did I have to take this job, right now, when I already moved, I already began the process of making new friends, and (frankly) was already homesick for California? I was not just about to pick up and leave something I just started- no matter how many other people told me that they wished they had this same opportunity to move abroad.
My soul wants more than just Spain, it wants Catalunya.
But, to be honest, if I was being offered this job- in late October after the school year had already started- what’s to say that I wouldn’t have the opportunity in a year? And who’s to say that I’m destined to go back in a different way, with a different profession or with some actual money to make sure that I can
a) actually travel to more than two places while abroad,
b) have emergency money to travel home in case of family emergency,
c) pay off my student loans while abroad,
d) actually manage to get placed in Catalunya so I can perfect my Catalan
I know that I’ll be returning to Spain- whether it’s with the Auxiliaries program, before grad school, during, or after, or just on a whim to live off the grid for a while. I know that I will also live abroad for a year while I’m young. And I’m already counting my vacation days for an extended stay in Barcelona and Catalunya.
But for now, I stay still. I’m settling some short term roots and am going to make use of the beautiful lands of the East Coast.
So here’s to making it count- DC style.
With fall leaves like these, I really can’t complain about D.C.