Sunday, August 30, 2015

Pre-departure Reflections: What's Next?

As I write this post, I really should be packing. But Kitty Purry is currently taking a siesta in my empty suitcase, and he looks too cute to be disturbed. I think I'll procrastinate a little longer.

A while back I was anxiously debating between staying in Madrid or coming back to resume life in the USA. Unsurprisingly, Spain won out. So on Monday, I'm off to Madrid for round three of teaching and tapas crawling. I couldn't be more excited.

But this time around, it feels bittersweet. I wish it weren't true, but I know in my heart that this will be my last year in Madrid. I can't quite put my finger on what specifically deters me from staying there longer (or forever). Maybe it's because being an auxiliar de conversación isn't financially sustainable, and I feel as if it's a dead end career-wise. Maybe I'm just ready for the next chapter. Leaving Madrid next July will shatter my heart to pieces, but I can't shake the feeling that this is the next step I have to take.

Whatever that next step is, however, is still a mystery. My third year in Madrid will be my make it or break it year for teaching. If I still love it after Year 3, I'll pursue a masters in teaching and go down the education path. If I decide that teaching really isn't for me, I'll try my hand at full-time writing and/or the social media field. I'm slowly getting the hang of this whole freelance thing, but I still have my long-term doubts. Ideally I'd like to teach and do some travel writing and photography on the side, so here's hoping that's possible!

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No matter what I end up doing, I know where I'd eventually like to be. As much as I love the Pacific Northwest, this summer I realized that I've completely outgrown Seattle. It hurts my heart, but I just don't belong here anymore. So when it's time to return stateside, I need a big city on the west coast with good weather, decent public transportation, a booming foodie scene and gorgeous architecture. I want the closest thing to Europe that I can get in America. I'm fairly certain that San Francisco is it for me. (Finding a way to afford San Francisco, on the other hand, will be interesting...) 

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So now that I've publicly declared my long-term plan, we'll see how it actually pans out. But in the meantime, there are plenty of good things on the horizon for the 2015-2016 school year. Travel wise, I've got a few exciting plans in the works that will knock out some top places on my bucket list. On the personal front, I'm working on a few projects that give me big-time heart sparkles - so stay tuned!

And of course... Madrid! After a summer apart, I can't wait to reunite with my stunning city. I can almost taste the tortilla. Yet as I emotionally prepare for round 3, I'm confronted by considerable nostalgia. I'm anxious about how different this year will be, and how it will compare to years past. This year will entail a brand new school, new students and coworkers, and presumably more new friends. I already miss my old students and friends who have permanently relocated stateside, but I'm trying to psych myself up for a brand new year. Change is good, right?

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As messy as expat life may be, I hope you stay tuned to this year's travels and (mis)adventures. For real time updates, be sure to catch me on Instagram and Twitter!

So now that I've caught you up, what's new with you?

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