#60

So, this is my 60th post, chronicling an incredible 250-day odyssey from Wheaton to Sevilla. While I’ve tried my best to tell you all the most important things and feelings, from the absolute misery of a post back in mid-October to elation in more recent ones. But the truth is, as I reflect on my first “job” out of college to the big move to falling in love for the first time and all that goes along with it, it’s pretty obvious that things have changed. I’ve done an incredible amount of growing in the last 9 months.

When I left Chicago on Wednesday, September 12th, 2007, I had absolutely no expectations. Now, I’m getting ready to leave a whole life behind – job, boyfriend, flatmates, apartment, bank and phone accounts, friends. So, as I reflect, I let you, too:

I’ve learned…
…to watch my step (people don’t pick up after their dogs)…to dance a form of flamenco…that futbol isn’t as big of obsession as they make it out to be…to also never tell people what team from Seville I prefer so as not to be ridiculed…that gordita is an affectionate term, not a way to tell someone she is fat (sorry Kike. You can call me that if you like)…so much Spanish slang that I can identify my students really well…to finally use MSN messenger…to kind of cook without an oven (thankfully Kike has one so I can bake!)…to do less planning and more experiencing…that quiet time is enjoyable

I’ve learned to love…
…seafood, even order it for myself!…even the most annoying habits of Spanish people…things with kethcup flavor, ali-oli flavor, brava flavor, mojo picon flavor…seeing patas de jamón hanging from the ceiling in bars…Cruzcampo and its lack of flavor…flamenco and bullfighting…riding public transportation…making a fool of myself…the language mishaps that end up making everyone laugh…coffee I actually like, accompanied with fresh orange juice

I’ve experienced…
…what it feels like to have fulfillment from a job…the ups and downs of a serious relationship…how hard it is to leave something or someone, even when it’s the best decesion…culture shock…six other distinctive cultures outside of Spain and countless inside…how the Spaniards REALLY party

I’ll miss…
…6% IVA incluida…having Kate right next door…tapas and other Spanish food…olive oil soaked everything…walking instead of driving…free shrimp with every beer at La Grande…the crazy Spanish adverts…seeing my kids and coworkers, especially Emilio from Consejeria…sitting by the river on a nice day…things that only come with living in Spain, like seeing cars get hit and no one doing anything about it…thinking things are so out of the ordinary but then realizing it’s just Spain and the way they do it here…hearing Spanish music on the radio…driving around in The Lame and the Furious and navigating the streets of Seville by myself…Puente Triana lit up at night

I’ll not miss…
…doog poop in front of my door…the smell of some people here…having to get dressed up to go to the supermarket…the sound of the bombona man waking me up at 9am on the weekends…sweating my brains out…tourists in the center…how slow the buses move…

What I think will be hardest to adjust to is the schedule I’ll have. I love being able to take a siesta during the hottest part of the day, offering all my shrimp heads to David and eating dinner outside when the day finally cools off. I’ve made more friends than I’d expected to and become more Spanish because of it. Things didn’t always work out the way I planned them (ahem, We Love Spain), but I hardly ever think of the bad things anymore. I’d say I was happy about 90% of the time. But then again, who can complain about a schedule that allows for naps, beers every night and traveling on the weekends? I am happier every single day that the Junta is allowing me to do the same thing next year in the same place – travel more, work with my kids, attempt to become more Spanish and escape from the working world for nine more months.

So, I expect to be home Tuesday the 10th about 2:20 pm CST. Then it’s back to work for three straight months in two jobs to make as much money as possible and to distract myself from the fact that I’m no longer in Spain.

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About Cat Gaa

As a beef-loving Chicago girl living amongst pigs, bullfighters, and a whole lotta canis, Cat Gaa writes about expat life in Seville, Spain. When not cavorting with adorable Spanish grandpas or struggling with Spanish prepositions, she wrangles babies at an English language academy and freelances with other publications, like Rough Guides and The Spain Scoop.

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