|Villanueva del Arzobispo, the village where I work|
Here in Úbeda I’ve made friends with some amazing fellow language assistants and honed my blogging and photography skills. I’ve learned to cook for myself and even picked up a few Spanish recipes along the way. Separated from American culture and expectations, I’ve grown more confident about being myself and gained an appreciation for Spanish culture, too. In short, it’s been a great school year and I can’t wait to do it all over again up north in Galicia in the fall.
But the thing is, I’m homesick.
|Texas-sized sunset near my house|
I’m tired of living in a town of only 35,000 people (even though it’s completely walkable and has public transportation links with the whole country). I’m tired of not being able to find certain ingredients at the grocery store. I’m tired of inconvenient and strictly-held to daily schedules where the town is deserted and all businesses closed between 2pm and 5pm and 9pm to 9am. I’m tired of the same menu choices in every restaurant. I’m tired of only having only one private English class student a week (maybe better luck next year?). I’m tired of not being able to understand nearly anything people here say to me, the accent is that difficult. I’m tired of there only being half a dozen fellow Americans within an hour’s bus ride. I’m tired of going to the doctor’s office with a raging sinus infection only to be told “oh, he won’t be in until Monday.” I’m tired of dealing with untimely bus schedules to get to the local train station or a decent-sized city. I’m tired of feeling little more than a dictionary and sentence-reader in class. I’m tired of the lack of inside voices. I’m tired of having dinner at 9pm because I like to go to bed before midnight. I’m tired of having to deal with the barriers set up by the local foreigner’s office. I’m tired of slow or nonexistent Internet access. I’m tired of feeling like a hermit because I never really clicked with my hard-to-understand-their-accent Spanish flatmates. I’m tired of hang-drying socks and underwear and I’m tired of hand-washing dishes.
|The U.S. Capitol. ‘MURCA.|
|Old Parker County Courthouse, about two hours from where I live|
|Texas flag at the State Fair|
These all combined with little annoyances with Spain and frustrations that had been building up for the past few months to make me wish I could just say “peace out” to Spain and be back home.
I’m not about complaining on this blog, though; I accept full responsibility for my decision to commit to teaching abroad in Spain for a school year and I realize that the consequences of that decision include frustration with Spanish culture and missing home. I have been extremely privileged to be able to move across an ocean, travel Europe, and be immersed in Spanish. I just needed to get this out here because I believe a blog about expat life should show not only the glamorous weekend trips and fun explorations of a foreign culture, but also the real, everyday, nitty-gritty realities that you face living abroad, the realities of being a foreigner. It’s a thrilling, always-something-new lifestyle, but it’s hard at times, too.
|Me and my brother at the Grand Canyon (old picture; we look totally different now)|
Have you ever been homesick? Talk about your experience in the comments.