Home for Christmas

Four Months Come and Gone Teaching in Spain

As of January 9th, I have been here in Spain for four months (minus of course my two weeks home in the states for the holidays.) We again have to acknowledge that four months is not that long, but it isn’t that short either.

In exactly two days, I will be halfway between my arrival and the end of this program. Add to the fact that the reapplication process opened on the 9th of this month- and we are in full freak-out mode.

How can we already be halfway through this year? How has time moved so swiftly and quickly that it feels some days like I just got here, and others like I’m so close to the end?

They do say that life passes you by when you are living it, and I suppose that is something to be thankful for. I’ve been living, so I haven’t been paying too much attention to the passing of time. But unfortunately, with this passing of time also comes the pressure of making a decision. Which makes you suddenly aware of the whole time thing.

It seems that as we grow, the decisions become less direct which makes them both equal in excitement and stress. Six years ago…which college to attend. Three years ago…what job to pursue. One year ago… abandon said hard-earned life to move Spain or not to move Spain. And now, it feels like I’m again on some great precipice of choice and decision. Which as my mother used to always say, isn’t a bad place to be. Having choices is good. Having too many is good, albeit it super stressful.

The truth is, who ever feels confident in making choices about their future? Isn’t that part of the whole game? The what-if’s, the sliding door theory. It isn’t like looking through a window, it’s like gazing at a fun-house mirror and seeing all different facets of your future staring back at you. I’m 24 years old. What the heck do I know about life? What the heck do I know about making a decision that could possibly impress itself on the rest of my life? (And yes, I realize this is amazingly dramatic.)

And the one great wonder in all of this back and forth is that I am not alone. Not even a little bit. I’ve had this conversation with possibly every person under thirty I meet. Though our choices might be different, the necessity of a choice is always present.

But on the flip side of that. Most everyone I talk to follows my anxieties with a nod, a hard gaze, and the words, “Live in this moment.” And after a pause, I decide they are right.

I recently finished the book, “Paper Towns” by John Green. In it, the main character stares about the silent nighttime city of Orlando and comments that everyone is paper, paper people planning their paper futures and ignoring the present. They plan for their future house, future career, future names of their children, and they completely forget about the now. In a jarring sense, this book woke me up of my most recent decent into “future-gazing” (as I have now dubbed said action.) The truth is, I’ve ignored everything about the future for four months, and only upon my return to Spain did I feel it pressuring me once more. Something to do with fast cars and city lights, or perhaps the ever-gazing eyes of friends and acquaintances that seem to be always future-gazing.

I suppose I should take their advice though, the advice of living for this day instead of the next… this glass of wine instead of the bottle I know I’ll some day (soon) finish….

The future is important. But more so is the now.

And speaking of the now and the future, here’s some pictures from my past when I was home for Christmas.

I’m on a boat. New Years Eve in style.

Attending a play with this gal. Funny story- I was so excited to see a play, mostly because it would be in English, and I wouldn’t have to worry about translating the whole time. Turns out this was a silent version of Sleeping Beauty with dance and dramatic facial expressions. Still an amazing show, but funny for its intention!