I found out today that my future is not hopeless, that I will not be living in my childhood room forever, that I won’t have to become a maid: I officially received a spot as a North American Language and Culture Ambassador in Spain. It’s a fancy term for what is essentially a teacher’s assistant position in a bilingual elementary or middle school. I applied way back in January, and Spain’s delightful government has held true to their time-honored tradition of sluggishness. The deadline was pushed back three times, but they FINALLY gave us placements!
I’ll be heading to Basque Country in the north, my first choice. As much as I fell in love with Granada last year, I wanted a change of pace, and northern Spain (and Basque Country in particular, for political and cultural regions) is almost like an entirely separate country. The food, weather, landscape, and people are all remarkably different.
Honestly, when I was studying abroad I was loving (almost) every minute of it, but I never thought I would be back to Spain semi-permanently. A year of siestas and tapas was great, but I didn’t see myself working or settling there. But Spain’s Ministry of Education entices North Americans with an English assistant position of just 12 hours a week, a stipend that is certainly enough to live on, and a sure-fire way to secure a European visa (and delay the 9-5 American cubicle for a year or two). It’s an opportunity to work (quarter-time!), travel and continue to study Spanish. From reading several blogs from veterans of the program, I know it won’t be a bed of roses. As expected, this is due to Spain’s general lack of organization, translating into a program that is said to be less than seamless (sometimes payment is even months delayed! Ugh.) But the more I think about moving back, the more excited I get. A second time around means less culture shock, less language barriers, and more opportunity to make the most of it. I loved Basque Country when I visited it last May with my family, and I’m so thrilled to have the opportunity to get to know it as well as I knew Granada.
I also plan on focusing more on blogging while over there, and making more consistent and polished posts. I’m proud of my first Spain blog, but let’s admit, many of the posts read something like, “OMGGGGGG lovvvvvving Spain right now, free tapas are soooo good! Also we stayed out till 7 a.m. at the discoteca, how cool are we and how crazy is this country????” So one goal while in Spain is to grow with my writing. (That said, don’t expect a Pulitzer Prize :)
P.S. Check out my post from Basque Country, from my Spain blog. We didn’t do much more than lay on beaches and eat (which is obviously why I want to go back).