“Oh my god! I don’t think I packed enough for 9 months abroad!” said no one ever…
After basically a full day of packing, re-packing, sitting on my suitcase and putting countless articles of clothing back in my closet, I think I might finally give up! Trying to fit 9 months of my life into one full size suitcase, one carry-on suitcase, and a backpack has proven to be a very difficult task. Although I am cursing out my too small suitcase and shoe fetish now, I know that the next nine months of my life are going to be life changing.
For those of you that do not know, I am working as a Fulbright ETA in Madrid this school year. I will be a teaching assistant (TA) for teachers at a bilingual secondary school in a Madrid suburb. This position requires me to work 16-18 hours a week assisting teachers with English and American culture in different classes. I will also help out with the Global Classrooms program, which is similar to Model UN. I am absolutely thrilled to start this new adventure in my life and cannot wait to get to Spain and see my new school and meet all of the students and teachers.
Although I originally wanted to go to Valencia (who seems to have withdrawn from the program this year 😦 ) I am excited to return to Madrid. I studied abroad there during my junior year of college and I loved it so much that I did not want to leave. I felt a strong tie to the area and really enjoyed the warmth of the people.
This time around, I plan to take life a lot easier and try not to cram so many things into a short period of time. I am very grateful for all of the travel I was able to do last time I was in Europe, but when I look back on it, it seems like a blur. I will inevitably travel more around Spain and other European countries, but I want to limit my travel so I can focus on working, hanging out with new and old friends and learning. I already miss college, so I think I will try to look for cheap classes at one of the local universities or take language classes through one of the Escuelas Oficiales de Idiomas (Official Language Schools). I think I am destined to be a “forever student.”
Another thing I want to really focus on is being. I recently met with a professor from my university and he told me that it seems like I have mastered the art of doing. But, he asked if I knew how to be. When I look back on the past few years of my life, I realize that I really did do a lot of different things. Living in Washington, D.C., the capital of hard work and doing, I proved to myself that I could do almost anything I set my mind to. When people ask me about my life, I usually just talk about what I do or what I have done. However, when people ask who I am or how I identify myself, I have a lot of trouble giving a response. I usually just sort of giggle and say that I don’t really know but who does anyway? Although I know nine months is probably not enough time to “discover being,” I at least want to give it a try.
Well, tomorrow I will finish all of this awful packing and spend the day with my family before I leave for Paris at night. I have a 22 hour layover during which time I plan to explore Paris a bit. I went there on a People to People Student Ambassador’s trip in 2004 so I’m really excited to go back for a little bit and try to see some other parts of the city SLASH I really want an Anthony Bourdain: The Layover –kind of experience.
I know, I know. That is very over-ambitious. Though since I am a do-er it just might happen…