I barely even know where to begin with this post. Time has just flown by at the speed of light. I can’t believe my time here is already coming to an end. In 2 days, I am leaving Madrid to travel for a bit before I head back home. Coming to live in Spain has been a dream come true. There were so many things that almost prevented me from coming and I am so thankful everything ended up working out and I got to come here. My only regret is that I can’t stay longer. But I know that not everything can last forever and so I’m glad I made the most of every day I had here.
When I first arrived, I wasn’t too sure what to expect. I remember sitting in the Toronto airport waiting to board my flight to Madrid thinking “Oh my goodness. This is actually happening. I’m going to live in Spain.” I was a little nervous, but mostly just very excited. It’s really a crazy situation if you think about it. I was going to live with this family that I had only met a few times over skype and take care of their kids. Somehow though, I wasn’t too worried. My host mom and I had texted a lot the few months before I arrived and she was always so nice and I just had this feeling my family would be great. And of course, they were!
It took me a couple weeks to get fully adjusted and used to the way we do things around the house, the kids, public transit, etc but for me overall the transition wasn’t too difficult. I had a little breakdown my first night here, but after that all was good! Looking back, my first month I would say I was definitely a little bit timid and afraid to get out of my comfort zone. But after a month, I decided I was tired of being too scared to try new things and go places just because I didn’t have anyone to go with me.
This was really a big turning part for me when I built up the courage and confidence to start doing things on my own. The first thing I did completely on my own was go to this rollerskating event. The event looked really fun and I wanted to go, but I didn’t have anyone to go with me. At first, I wasn’t going to go since I didn’t have anyone to go with, but after thinking about it for a while I convinced myself to just go. I was hoping there would be other people who were also going alone looking to make friends. And I knew that the worst case scenario is that I go, don’t meet anyone, skate around myself, and leave. But at least I would have tried. And so I went. It was harder than I thought to make friends because it looked like everyone had come in groups, but eventually after a little while I went up to this group of girls who were eating some food at a table and asked if I could sit with them. That was a really hard thing for me to do because I’m not that type of person. But I did it and the girls were very nice and I ended up hanging out with them the rest of the night. We never became good friends or anything like that, but I had someone to hang out with for the night and it’s always fun to meet new people.
So that was the first instance I pushed myself a tiny bit out of my comfort zone. After that, there was this other event I had been wanting to go to called meet and speak. Before I hadn’t gone because I didn’t want to go alone, but after the rollerskating thing I had more courage to go alone. And this was a much easier event to go to alone anyway because the whole point of the event is to meet other people. Basically, this event is to meet people and practice language. It’s a really cool idea. When you arrive, you get stickers of the flags of countries of languages you speak and languages you are learning. Then, you walk around and look for other people with your same flags and talk to them. I met a lot of cool people that night and got to practice my spanish. I only went the one time although I wish I would have gone more, but all these events are pretty far from where I live and usually pretty late at night so by the time the events start I’m not in much of a mood to go all the way to the city center. But, I am glad I went at least once and got to see what it was like! By going to events like this, it gave me more confidence to go to other events and do sightseeing around Madrid even when I didn’t have anyone to go with me.
Looking back, I did almost everything I wanted to do here. I went to almost all the tourist sights, attended a few soccer games, went to events, tried new restaurants and new foods, took a cooking class, traveled a lot, worked out more often, read more books, learned more spanish, and had an amazing time!!
And so with my departure approaching very soon, I’ve been thinking a lot. I was thinking about how I wish I could stay longer. I really miss my life and my friends back in Austin, but how many times in life will I get an opportunity like this? Unfortunately, I can’t stay longer with my family even if I wanted to because they have another au pair coming in a few weeks. Also, I have already been accepted into nursing school for the fall and so I have to get back for that. I have 2 1/2 more years of college and I am going to finish that now so I can have my degree. But after college, who knows? I’m the type of person who has always had my whole life planned out: Finish college, start working as a nurse, get married, have kids, etc. I’ve had it all planned out for a long time. And of course I’ve always known that it might not happen exactly like I planned, but that was what I wanted. I still want those things, but I’m just not so concerned anymore about getting there so quickly and having to “check off the list” by a certain age. Being here has made me realize there is so much more of the world I want to see and experience before I settle down and can’t anymore. And if that means putting off those other things a little bit, then I’m okay with that. I know it seems silly, but for me this was always my life plan and the fact that I’m okay now with not following this plan exactly is a big deal for me. I am now more open to letting my life take a different path and I’m excited to see what the future brings. I truly believe this won’t be my last time living abroad. I really want to do this again. I wouldn’t even mind being an au pair again. So mark my words y’all, this texan on the go is not done with Spain yet. I will be back.
Leaving here and saying goodbye to my spanish family was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. We have some holidays here in Spain right now and so my family went to their village and so yesterday we said our goodbyes. When we were saying goodbye, I was doing a pretty good job at holding in the tears, but once they walked out the door I couldn’t hold them back any longer. They were such a big part of my life, 4 entire months of living with them, and now I don’t even know when I will see them again. And I think that is what makes me so sad. So there I was crying in my room when my host mom came back in the house because she forgot something and I tried to stop crying, but I couldn’t and she hugged me and told me it would be ok. I thought that would be it, but then they did the sweetest thing ever. I want to cry just thinking about it. My entire family came back up and gave me a “family hug” and Martina, 2 years old, told me not to cry. That just made by day and of course made me cry even more, but they were happy tears because I got so lucky to have the best family ever.
So it was harder than I thought to say goodbye, but when saying goodbyes I’m always reminded of one of my favorite quotes, “It’s not goodbye. It’s see you later.” A sweet friend of mine reminded me that I can always visit and see them again. And knowing that is comforting for sure. I know I will continue to keep up with them and I can’t wait to watch these sweet kids grow up. I know they are going to do amazing things.
See you later family. See you later Madrid. See you later Spain.
I’ll be back.
Texan On The Go