I completely missed my second m…mensiverary in Madrid, Spain! Everyday folks ask me how I feel about Spain and I’ve gotten used to telling them recently, “Madrid and I are going steady, and we have hit our first rough patch.”
- Spaniards are passive-aggressive. As an American, you don’t realize how culture influences how you communicate with others until you have to do intercultural communication. As a worker, I’m an English assistant for school here, I expect to have direct and succinct communication with my supervisors. I expect them to tell me what they want, so I can do what they need. That’s not what happens here! I keep getting suggestions, which, sure, thank you for giving me the leeway to do lesson plans, but as an amateur teacher, I need more direction. What ends up happening frequently is that I’m asked to talk or present about a certain topic, I create a presentation, and then I receive feedback after the fact about what was really expected of me.
- This isn’t just for school either. I’ve had every day interactions with Spaniards in which they’ll beat around the bush about something. Bring something that bothers them up but then try not to make a big deal about it a second later. It’s really working on my nerves! It’s a battle of trying to understand one another, but conversations feel like a chase.
- Being an Auxiliar is hard, and while I think I’m gonna get it eventually, I’m stressed at the moment! (I might expand on this in another Auxiliar Chronicles) I teach at a high school, and for every great class I have of calm and interested students, there’s three of unruly, disrespectful ones. Now of course, there’s a cultural component here. The relationship between students and teachers is different, and they seem to regard each other as… peers? The students constantly talk over teachers, they run and fight and scream and play in the hallways, and they don’t have any fear of getting in trouble! This is taking me a while to adjust to and work around. Like I said, I’m just beginning, and in addition to learning how to teach, I have to learn classroom control all at once!
- I’m super shy, and I need to not be. I’m not talking! I need to talk! My Spanish practice has stymied – probably…hopefully because my funds had started to shrink – and I’ve spent more and more time at home. I gotta put myself out there, go to intercambios, study Spanish 18/6 (in accordance to my Spanish + Portuguese Agreement!) and visit tutors or friends.
- I think I’m going native. I had plans to apply for a PhD program, move back home and hit the ground running. And yet, I’m dragging my feet on the application. I worry that this means that I’m not super passionate about it, or maybe I’m just not ready yet. Spain and I are working on our rough patch right now, and I don’t see our relationship going on forever, but I’m … conflicted. I’ll try to finish my application, I swear, I just… I’m scared! I went into my Master’s degree not entirely wanting it, and thus, had a pretty bad time towards the end. I didn’t want to be there, and any time things got difficult, I got really depressed.
- It’s kind of like… being a bird, and having your wings clipped. You have the ability to fly, but your circumstances have kept you on the ground. In grad school, I often felt like I didn’t know what I was doing there or why, and I wanted to leave and could have… but what is out there for me?
I’m rambling, I’m sorry. But this blog is a diary of sorts, and I’m sharing the journey with you. Now onto some good things…
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- I’ve made some really good friends here. For every acquaintance, there’s one or two really good friends. Friends I can hit up to go out whenever, friends who invite me to the park (pictured above), and friends who are willing to help me out when I need it. I’m glad I found them, and I really appreciate them.
- Family and friends from home are never far away. My family is the coolest, and my friends are super dope, and I don’t feel like I have to miss them, cause we’re in constant contact.
- I’m weening myself off the soda! It’s hard, and I haven’t had these cravings is such a long time! But I’ve done it before, I can do it again…. now to just stop drinking the sugary wines!
- I finally got paid! So my responsible budget-friendly lifestyle can begin! Here’s to a year of learning, growing, adapting, and travelling!