Saludos desde España! I’ve been back in the land of fiesta and siesta for a couple of weeks now and things are going just about as swimmingly as they possibly could be. I’m so grateful for how quickly things have fallen into place. Here are some of these cosas buenas:
Mi casa – in the jetlagged hours that immediately followed my return, I viewed just two apartments, lucked out and landed a fantastic living situation right away. I found an available room in a flat in the best, most central neighborhood in Bilbao. I met the people living here, a young lawyer and med student, and after a short interview they offered me the room and I moved in the following day. One of my main objectives for this year was to live with Spanish people in order to maximize the amount of Spanish I have to speak each day, and I couldn’t have found nicer Spanish roommates. That might sound exaggerated, but really: one of my roommates actually makes extra coffee in the mornings to share with me and both have offered to drive me places on several occasions (living with two people that BOTH have a car is practically unheard of here.) Not to mention, if I have any medical OR legal concerns I’m totally covered!
Mi trabajo - I’m enjoying quite the job upgrade this year. While working in a rural high school last year was a…*ahem* learning experience…I’m really, really enjoying working with adults this year. I work at an official language school, where university students and other people from all 18+ walks of life come to learn English. Most are 25-35 and looking for work (unemployment for this age group is almost 50% in Spain!), thus trying to improve their credentials by gaining fluency in English: a huuuuge leg up in the job market here. Another good chunk of my students are retired and just wanting to improve their English to aid in their worldly travels. My students are bright, attentive and interesting. I’m looking forward to learning at least as much from them as they’re going to learn from me.
Mi castellano - I landed a spot in the C1 Castellano course at a language school here in the city, so in addition to living with Spaniards I am getting lots of formal practice and refining of my Spanish-or my Castillian (castellano), to be exact. By the end of the course, I should be ready to take an exam demonstrating professional fluency/proficiency in the language. The class itself is great because all 20 of us are from totally different backgrounds, and even though none of us are Spanish, the only language we all share is Spanish…so you have a room full of people from Russia, Germany, the US, India, Brazil, etc., all speaking Spanish with totally different accents. It’s pretty rad.
Mi vida, en general – I’m back to loving and cherishing all that is Spanish culture and life–the loooong lunch breaks, strolls for the sake of strolling, fantastic yet inexpensive wine, late dinners, the list goes on…I’ve reunited with all of my friends and “family” here in these recent weeks, and I’m reminded, amazed and grateful for how many incredible people I have met and continue to meet through this experience.
I have lots more to share with you in the upcoming days. Stay tuned!
Hasta ahora! Agur!