After worrying last week about the future, I decided to put all my plans for the future on hold and simply enjoy Spain. I was feeling so detached from what I was doing everyday, my kids at school and the amazing culture that was around me, that I had to say “NOPE.” This week, I put them all on hold and decided to start to immerse myself more into my surroundings! After visiting a friend in Calahorra, meeting up with a new Logroño friend, and having a much needed movie night, I can say I have started to stop worrying about what my future holds.
But what kind of post or who would I be if I didn’t have something to say every week…”Diary of an Over-thinker” should really be the title of my blog! Well truthfully, it was extremely hard to think of something to write about this week. I have been so incredibly happy these last two weeks, but I didn’t know what to write about or really what I wanted to share. There are only so many times you can listen to my happy school stories! And as strange as it sounds, my thoughts didn’t fully come together until last night as I was enjoying a movie night with my Fulbright friends.
Before the movie started we all went around talking about how our lives had been, what we had been up to and some classic children stories (typical of all teachers). A common trend throughout a bunch of my friends was that they wanted travel. They needed a change of scenery. They felt they weren’t doing enough with their lives here in Logroño if they weren’t utilizing those days we have off. As I sat and listened, I kept thinking about my feelings around this subject. I’m not going to lie, I thought about my budget, but I also came to the realization that I just don’t have the same feelings.
When I left Spain the first time I felt I had seen Europe, five countries in four months, but I also still felt I had the infamous “travel bug” and I wanted to see everywhere in the world or at least I thought I did. But the truth is, I have never been that person. What fascinates me about traveling is learning how others live and living that life. I think the most beautiful part about moving abroad is that I didn’t sign up to take a break from my life and travel to a million different countries; no I decided to uproot my life and move it to another country. I did it because I love the Spanish lifestyle, I did it because I want to improve my Spanish and I did it because I want a different experience than what I could’ve had in the U.S. When I think about my goals about moving abroad, low on my list is getting more stamps in my passport.
Now, I don’t want my friends who want to travel every weekend to think that I don’t agree with their way of life. It’s not that at all. I lived that life when I studied abroad. I wanted to go everywhere and see everything…and trust me, I still love to travel and there are places I do want to see! I think there are wonderful aspects of traveling and utilizing the time you have in Europe to see Europe…it’s amazingly beautiful here! But, I think what I have realized about myself is that I want to be here; I want to create a life here and live it here. I love Spain. Teaching in Spain is not only a vessel that brought me to Europe to travel, it is why I am here. I am here for Spain!
It feels like I am somewhat going back on what I said before I left for Spain—that I wanted to travel and that I have a traveling heart. This is still true, I still want to travel, but I was given this opportunity to teach in Spain to be a U.S. Ambassador and learn about Spain. I don’t feel I can personally do that job to the best of my ability if I am traveling outside of Spain every weekend. With that said, I know some people believe that what makes them better U.S. Ambassadors is that they have the experiences and stories from traveling to help. I respect that!
I sincerely don’t believe there is a right and a wrong way to go about this whole living abroad thing. Everyone has their own ideas and desires from the experience. I think I am just realizing mine. I know I cannot completely forget where I came from, I don’t want to do that nor do I think it is possible, but while I am living in Spain, I want to live with the people and the culture around me, I don’t want to do that from an airplane seat.
All in all this is what I have been feeling these past two weeks all rolled into one semi-understandable post. Focusing on the future last week scared me and made me feel out of control, whereas this week forgetting about the future and fulfilling some of my goals of simply living in Spain, helped me realize that it’s all going to be ok. If I need to travel because I need a break from Logroño than I will do it, but I don’t need to worry about seeing everything all right now. I can always stay more years if I think I need more time!
To put an end to my rant, I wanted to put a quote because let’s be honest, I am a basic bitch who loves quotes (you’re welcome best friend). But really, this quote stuck with me because I think it encapsulates a little bit about my feeling for this year abroad and what kind of “traveler” I want to be.
“The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see.”