Hogar Dule Hogar…?

I’m sitting in my unmade bed with my dad’s laptop, an unmade bed covered in articles from the last two years of my life: grammar textbooks, maps of cities around Europe, notes and quotes for flights back to Spain. It’s amazing to think that two years ago I was purchasing my round-trip flight to Iberia with little more than high expectations and a stomach full of nerves (not to mention thousands more in the bank!).

Things have certainly changed drastically in those two years. I guess I’ve kind of come full circle. With the break-up and the now uncertainty of what I’m going to do at the end of this year, I’m back to the beginning, the high expectations and stomach full of nerves.

The end of camp was great. Despite the swine flu thing and having half of my class leave, I’m going to remember the fun I had with the other teachers and monitors and how I felt that same feeling of togetherness I always felt at summer camp as a kid. Camp Lone Oak was something I always looked forward to as a kid – late nights talking in the bunk, crappy camp food, looking up to older people and meeting todo el mundo. The same went for camp this year, and I’ll be going back to Spain with a lot of new contacts, ideas and friends.

I spent two nights in Madrid staying with one of the other teachers, doing what I love: wandering, drinking, enjoying the sun. I made a really rash decision not to come back to Spain for the 09-10 school year. I feel like Spain is where I’m supposed to be at this stage of my life, and I made a committment to my school. I’ve been in a relationship nearly all of my Spanish life, so it’s time to enjoy being single and travel and visit friends and have fun. Not that being with Kike wasn’t, but it’s going to be different.

It’s always weird coming home. I feel very European in my thinking and my way of life, and America just seems so…I don’t know…blah. I’m not interested in making a million bucks, I’m not interested in driving cars, I’m not interested in things that are important to Americans anymore. I believe in hard work, yes, but I also think life and money are for enjoying. It’s hard coming home and feeling so out of my element. Everyone around me is different, has a career or kids or a minivan, and I’m stuck in the middle of everyone moving about in their own lives. I feel so awkward when people come into Banana Republic and I’m folding clothes, making $9 an hour to pay for my flight back to Spain and having to make excuses for being there. I know what I’m doing at this point is totally my own doing and what I feel like I need to be doing, but it’s weird.

So the plan is this: work in Sevilla for another year at IES Heliche and really be dedicated. No more late nights just so I can go home with Kike and get up early to get back home. Traveling a bit, but Spain has drained me of money and a tolerance, so as long as I hit my 25 by August 15th, 2010, I’m square (Me faltan dos). Then I think my mom and a friend are going to come for a few weeks so I can travel and maybe go to camp again in July, then do the Camino de Santiago, a religious pilgrimage across northern Spain in August and hopefully start grad school elsewhere in Spain or come home and start saving to move to Chile and teach in early 2011.

All I know is that the US is not an option for me right now. Suggestions?

UPDATE: I’m looking into a few different masters’ programs, such as Middlebury’s MA in Spanish in Madrid, an international PR masters in Cardiff Wales, or an international education one in the states. woo, possibilities! Kike wants me to write a book. I don’t think I have the discipline…

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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 works in higher education at an American university in Madrid and freelances with other publications, like Rough Guides and The Spain Scoop.

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