Looking Back.

I’m sitting here on my bed, looking around at what has been my room for the past 9.5 months and I can’t believe that I’ll be heading home for the summer come tomorrow (by the time this publishes, I’ll be on a plane making my way to Charlotte, NC, where I catch my flight home to MD). This past year has been such an amazing learning and growing experience for me. I needed something that would push me out of my shell and this did exactly that. I think it’s so funny that when I tell the people I’ve met here in Spain that I’m shy, they all disagree with me and say that I’m not shy at all. That is, by far, my greatest accomplishment this past year.

Then there’s the fact that I always thought that I worked best with primary school aged children and I’ve learned here that I really enjoy and prefer working with secondary aged students. I’ve had such an amazing year with my students and will truly miss them over the summer. It was great to see their English improve over the year and feel like I was truly making a difference in their English education. I know that I’ll be really excited to be reunited with them come September. I have also been incredibly lucky in that I have bonded a great deal with the faculty at my school. I love that we are much more like a family than coworkers. It’s so nice to have that homey environment at work and it’s something that I value greatly. The teachers have me laughing constantly in the teacher’s lounge and during our merienda break and have been the best part of my experience at my school. I was sad when I said goodbye to them for the summer yesterday.

ProtagsAnd what would this year have been like without my amazing new friends? I can’t thank Diana, Sean, and Dan enough for the great memories and laughs they’ve given me this past year. It’s imperative to have quality friends anywhere, but especially when you’re living abroad and are away from your family and friends from home. So to have been lucky enough to find 3 people who I think the world of is pretty damn awesome.

Of course, travelling has also been a major theme this past year. Besides the obvious travel to Spain, I have also been able to visit a few other European countries that were on my bucket list. I never thought I would actually get to see the Eiffel Tower in person or visit King’s Cross station and see Platform 9 3/4. I never thought I would spend nearly 2 weeks visting Italy during Holy Week. Travelling has been an amazing advantage of living in Europe and I look forward to travelling some more when I return. That being said, I do want to travel a lot within Spain next year because I want to get to know that country I’m living in more. And Spain has so many beautiful places to see, it’d be a shame to live here and not visit them.

I must say, though, that the greatest thing that has happened to me this past year has been gaining another family here in Spain. My Spain family completely took me in and treated me like one of their own. The move here would have been a thousand times more difficult without them. I have loved every single second of being a big sister to the kids! My summer will feel too quiet without them. I’ll constantly be expecting to hear a knock at my door and a kid saying, “Yarelis, can I play with your phone?” or “Yarelis, juega conmigo.” And my Spain parents are the best! Anyone who watches telenovelas knows that when you find another person who watches them and loves the same ones you do, it’s like finding a kindred spirit…and I’ve found just that in my Spain mom 🙂 We also share a profound love of cheesecake. And I think I’ve mentioned on here before that my Spain mom is one of the best cooks ever…and if I haven’t mentioned it before, well, I’m saying it now: She is one of the best cooks ever! I never had a meal that she made that I did not enjoy. And my Spain dad is awesome. Super funny and he always has interesting stories and topics to tell/discuss with me. It’s been so great to live with a family that I not only love, but really admire and look up to.

While I am excited to see my family/friends and spend my summer with them, it feels great to know that when I return to Spain in September I’ll be welcomed by great friends and my other family. It’s always nice to know that you have a “home away from home.”

¡Nos vemos en dos meses y medio, Madrid!

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Christine Monson
    Jun 19, 2013 @ 13:16:14

    It sounds like you had a great trip, and the pictures are gorgeous. Seeing some of Europe’s iconic structures must have been— well, perfect. It’s on my bucket list to see the Eiffel Tower, King’s Cross, and visit Spain. (My hubbie’s ancestries lie there.) I’m both jealous and happy for you. Lol. I’ve enjoyed your blog and happy you had a good time teaching.

    Good luck on all your endeavors and keep blogging. 🙂

    Reply

  2. BuddhistTravels
    Jun 20, 2013 @ 14:39:48

    It’s awesome that you had such a great time (and refreshing to hear when most people have a whole lot of negatives they write about). Congrats on all the travel! And that’s so great that you’re reuniting with everyone come Fall. The summer is going to fly by! I’m so excited to get there in September as well! Thanks for sharing, your stories have me so excited to get there! Hope you arrive home safely.

    Reply

  3. Sara Katherine
    Jun 20, 2013 @ 16:28:16

    Can’t wait to continue to hear about your travels and journeys! I’m so glad you had a great year.

    Reply

  4. louisiananomad
    Jun 21, 2013 @ 04:24:01

    Reading this makes me excited and relieved through all my nervousness about what’s to come. Thanks Yari!

    Reply

  5. amelie88
    Jun 22, 2013 @ 20:00:17

    That’s Carmencita bar in the picture isn’t? Any Madrid expat eventually finds themselves in there! Such a cute place. Along with J & J’s, if you haven’t been there already. 🙂 (An English bookstore in their basement AND a bar–what more could you ask for?)

    Glad you had a great experience and enjoy your time at home!

    Reply

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