Have you ever had one of those days were you just feel inexplicably happy for no particular reason at all? You know, one of those days where nothing out of the ordinary happens but for whatever reason those ordinary every day things take on new life and meaning? And all of a sudden, everything seems pretty extraordinary? Well, today was one of those days for me.
Out of nowhere, life in Valladolid felt like it finally fell into place today. The funny thing is there wasn’t any specific event, situation, sight, encounter or anything that made me feel this way, but out of the blue I just felt really happy to be here in the now!
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I was unhappy before, because that’s not the case at all. I just often found myself doubting my stay here in Valladolid and wishing I had been placed in another city. And to be completley honest, I’m sure that’s not the last of the doubt and longing that I’ll experience- after all the grass is always greener on the other side. I’m sure I’ll have more days where I’m bored of the slow pace of the city (or something trivial of the sort) and wish to be somewhere else. But I guess that’s anywhere you go- even the most exotic destination becomes routine at some point. It is really easy after all to blame an uncomfortable/unpleasant feeling on something that’s ultimately not that important (like city placement for an overall awesome program).
What I’ve slowly come to realize is that sure, Valladolid is not a Madrid or a Barcelona, but it does have its own unique charm that I find myself growing fond of the longer I’m here. It’s certainly more affordable than a bigger city, it’s well connected, and you could say it has more of the truly Spanish culture that the increasingly globalized bigger cities like Madrid and Barcelona begin to lack.
Oh, and of course, how can I forget that I’m in freaking Spain (teaching english of all things, but still, I’m here)?!?! Quite frankly, I’m often still bewildered by the fact that I can ‘work’ 12 hours per week and get paid to live here for really no other reason than the fact that I speak english. If I’m being honest, I’d say most of the auxiliares in the program are not qualified to be teachers (myself included), and would not be able to teach at a school in the states……yet here we are! About half of spanish youth are unemployed and looking to leave the country because there are few jobs, and here us auxiliares are getting work basically handed to us on a silver platter because we happened to have grown up speaking english.
I hadn’t really even though about how lucky I was to speak english fluently, but you quickly become aware of what a commodity it is around here. Everybody is looking for english tutors, au pairs, language partners, you name it! Parents enroll their kids in english academies before they can even walk or talk! It’s crazy to me! I’m not sure if this is something that’s common in the states and other countries as well that i’ve just been obvlivious to, but it really took me by suprise. Families are in so much fear that if their kids don’t learn english, and the economy doesn’t improve, they’ll be left jobless and without chance of a prosperous future! It’s really such an interesting time to be in Spain as this whole experience truly puts things into perspective-I feel even more thankful than usual that my mom moved my sister and I to Canada and the States when she did!
– Sincerley, Gigi