Monday, March 31, 2014

Here we go again.

After spending a couple of years trying to figure out what's next in this strange journey we call life, I've met with the good fortune of having the opportunity to return to Spain for a few months this summer. As I pack up my suitcase and get the last of my things together, I can't help but reflect on my initial journey to Spain in 2011. How much can change in a span of only two years!

* At this point, I no longer face a seemingly-insurmountable language barrier. Before, I was hoping to improve upon a very basic linguistic foundation. I've since immersed myself in two different Hispanic countries and I've practiced with native speakers from all over. I've formally studied the language from a more technical perspective. Now it's possible for me to be focused on adding colloquial phrases and idioms to my repertoire.

* I now have a TEFL certification and a lot more teaching experience. I spent a year in a MA in Teaching program and did student teaching at the high school level. I then went to Costa Rica last summer and obtained my TEFL certification, allowing me to professionally teach English to people in other countries. If the me of today met up with the me of 2011, I'd have a lot of suggestions and ideas for myself that only experience has taught me.

* I've traveled to Central America! In addition to studying different dialects in the classroom, I've managed to live in another Hispanic country and pick up on their dialectal differences and compare them to those of Aragón. I hope to study more of those differences within Spain now that I have a firmer grasp of the language and a wider sample group.

* And perhaps one of the more exciting differences is that I'll have a travel partner along the way (Susan!), something that was severely lacking in some of my previous adventures. Traveling alone was something that I became accustomed to during my time in Spain. It was an experience that challenged me to learn more about myself and to do a lot of self-reflection. However, there is a sense of longing for someone else to share those experiences with when you're on the road alone. I look forward to Susan's good company and the new memories we will make together.

I'm excited to reunite with Susan and some of my old friends from Teruel. I can't wait to make new friends, either. Unfortunately, experience doesn't truly dull the pain of navigating airports and being sedentary for over eight hours at a time. It's a small price to pay, I suppose.

¡Adiós de nuevo, Kentucky! Nos vemos dentro de poco.