Inspiring Words

I was browsing videos on youtube when I came across this speech by Ronan Farrow. It is both inspiring and incredibly witty. As if I already didn’t love Ronan Farrow enough…
Anyway, I think a lot of those who are graduating this year and considering doing a program like BEDA or even those who are already in the program can find some inspiration in this speech. I especially enjoyed the part regarding how young people’s blissful ignorance for how badly things can go wrong can sometimes lead to great opportunities.

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This Was My Lunch Today:

This Was My Lunch Today:

Have I mentioned how much I love Spanish food and my Spain family?! And yes, the bottom one is Paella Fideua. Deliciousness.

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Going Along with My Post from Yesterday…

This is a picture I took of the Puerta de Alcalá during my very first week here in Spain. If there’s one more thing I could add to my list from yesterday, it would be the Madrid sky.

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Things I Love About Living in Spain.

I was talking with a fellow language assistant a few weeks ago about how sometimes I feel like I take for granted that I live in Madrid. She was saying how she has those moments sometimes and then she has to tell herself, “Shut up. You live in a European capital city.” And a few days ago, I came across this quote on tumblr:

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That quote reminded me of why it is that I love Madrid so much. After all, Spain has been my dream country since I was in middle school. So here are some little things that I love about living in Spain (especially Madrid): More

Changing Beings.

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I have been in Spain for over 4 months now and I’ve been reflecting on aspects of myself that are different since my new life here. I use to think that it was such a cliche to say that people change when they travel, but it really is true. I have noticed so many new things about myself and I have changed in so many ways already in the short time I’ve been here in Madrid. Or maybe, we don’t change, but we discover things about ourselves that we never knew before.

One vast improvement (at least for me) is that I am significantly less shy. I would describe my former shyness as debilitating. Really. I would miss out on opportunities because I was too shy to ask someone a question or for more information. That has definitely changed. While I was in Paris, I had no issues walking right up to people to make sure that I was heading in the right direction or for recommendations of places to eat that were nearby (and I had to do this in French!). This is, by far, the change that I am proudest of since moving to Spain.

Another thing that I have noticed about myself is that I no longer care what other people think about me. It’s so liberating. I use to base so many of my decisions on what I thought the reactions/opinions of others would be. Not anymore. I do and wear and say what I want and I don’t care what others think of it.

Sort of along the same vein as not caring what people think is that I am much more outgoing. This may be due to the fact that I live in a European city where I know next to no one and have the mentality of “when will I ever see these people again?” that causes this…but I like it.

I have also found that I am much less dependent on others to do things that I would like to do. I use to hate doing things on my own – even going to the convenient store. Now, I’ve traveled to Paris and London all on my own. I’m thinking of doing another solo trip to Paris in May because there are so many things I still want to see there. Plus, the puente in May is about 6 days, so I could see the things I want without feeling rushed like I did during my last trip.

All of these things may seem insignificant to others, but I am really proud of my little accomplishments/changes. I hope they stay with me even after I leave Spain.

What things have you discovered about yourself when you’ve traveled?

New Year’s Resolutions.

I’ve been back in Spain for over a week now and it has been nice to get back into the swing of things. I didn’t realize how much I actually missed teaching my students until I went back to work on Tuesday. The kids were a lot more enthusiastic about being back than I had anticipated. And it’s always nice when a group of 11-14 year olds are super excited to see you and are asking you all sorts of questions about your holidays. The only damper on my first week back to school was my terrible jet-lag. I was on Maryland time for the vast majority of the week, which meant that I was terribly sleepy at work and wide awake when I was trying to fall asleep at night. All of that’s over now, though, and I’m back on Spain time.

This past year has been a bit of a roller-coaster for me. I went from not knowing what in the heck I was going to do, to applying to be an auxiliar in Spain, waiting in limbo until I found out whether or not I would be accepted, and then prepping everything for my move to Spain. And in the spirit of this new year, I have decided to make some resolutions for the first time ever. Here are a few of my resolutions for 2013: More

Home.

No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.

I really love this quote by Lin Yutang, though I don’t think I ever truly could relate to it until now. Being home in Maryland these past few days has been wonderful. I thought I would feel like a stranger in my house, but it’s been amazing to me how quickly I fell back into my old routine. There have been definite moments where I have thought to myself, “Wow, this feels so different than Spain.” Those moments, however, have been more in stores, on the metro, or while watching TV. When it comes to time with my family, however,  it’s like nothing has changed.

When so many people think of “home” they think of their room and their bed or places in their town that they love. Living in Spain these past few months and now returning to Maryland for the holidays has made me realize  that for me my home isn’t my house, my room, or even my state. My home is my family. And it is nice to come to this realization. When I started this Spain adventure, I thought that maybe I’d like it so much that I’d want to stay in Spain/Europe for a few years (and I would certainly like to do another year in the BEDA program), but I don’t think I can ever see myself settling down in a place where my family is not. I know that for many people that is not the case, they could settle down anywhere and be fine with just seeing their family every once in awhile. That is just not the case with me. And I am okay with that.

I leave for Spain again in a few days and I plan to enjoy the rest of my time there to the fullest and make as many memories as possible, but I love the fact that I know that in a few months I will be reunited once again with my family. I don’t care if we are in Maryland, Spain, Puerto Rico, or Timbuktu, as long as I am with family, I’m home.

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