Letting Go

Life has an interesting way of surprising me sometimes. After returning home 2 weeks early from my travels, I faced heart break after a long distance relationship I was determined to make work, well, just didn’t work right after I got back. Pressure and expectations got the best of me. So, I focused on getting my life started again in the Bay Area.

Magical Golden Gate Bridge, SF

Step 1: Get a job. Next thing I knew, I had a job at a bean to bar chocolate factory. While on the commuter train after my first day of work- 9 hour work day and 1.5 hour one way commute home, I questioned just what I was doing.  After all, my work hours in Spain were 12 hours a week, not 12 hours a day. The work as a teaching assistant may not have always been inspiring but my lifestyle was pretty darn good. I didn’t’ have to question too long because when my 2 week trial period was over, they abruptly told me, “Thanks but no thanks” and I breathed a sigh of relief. No more commute and no more monotonous human factory machine.

When the job fell away, Spain seemed to fit the bill. Except Spain wasn’t a place I thought I go back to so quickly. I questioned if I should go. Mind you,  I was coming home for a guy whom I love (d) and we were both excited to be back together after being apart but just as travel teaches, plans are often made to be broken. I’m (slowly) letting go of the ideas I had created for myself months before, ideas that propelled me back home.

I’ll admit, returning to Spain scares me slightly and it’s surprising too since I’ve just spent a year living in Spain. I know what it’s like. I know the bureaucracy, I know the frustrating and difficult things I’ll face as an expat. What scares me isn’t the teaching job or the language but rather all the steps it takes to rebuild a life in a new place. I recall telling my good friend Jessica in Spain, after returning from my Winter holidays in California, ” You know, even if I wasn’t in a relationship, I wouldn’t do a second year because I would want to be in a new region of Spain, and it takes a lot of effort to  get to know a place, create a sense of community,  make friends, have a routine, etc.” I was so sure of this of course, until the door opened for me to have a second year.

Sometimes doors have to close for other doors to open!

The crazy thing is, I didn’t even try for a second year nor have any plans to renew and sometimes I wonder if it’s simply destiny. I only renewed to the program for legal reasons (my visa expired in May, I had a ticket home in July) and simultaneously, my boyfriend at the time, surprised me by mentioning he was considering applying (at the last minute) and we talked about regions we’d want to live in. He told me just in the nick of time so I could update my application a few days before I sent in my renewal application. As you can guess, in the end, I was placed. His application was never received. When I got placed in June, I didn’t pay any attention to where I was placed, except I knew the region was in the North; Pais Vasco, Basque Country.

The last 2 months has been letting go of my ideas and expectations of what I thought would happen, what I thought I may do and what is happening. Letting go is one of the hardest things to do and yet every time I’ve had to Let go, I find everything always falls into place, way better than I expected. 

So in a few weeks time, I’ll be boarding a flight to Spain to a new region; to a new university town, where I’ll begin my search of finding a place to live, meet new people, visit my school and meet my students and colleagues and see what an unexpected second year brings me. I’m excited for the adventure and a little nervous at the same time.

Now I’m just waiting for my visa, that will be sealed into my passport, to arrive in the mail from the consulate. Until then, this will likely all continue to feel surreal.

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19 thoughts on “Letting Go

  1. Pingback: This bird is flying « Roamingtheworld

  2. Lauren,
    Sometimes things don’t make sense at the time, but trust me, it always makes sense later on. 🙂 I love you, and I’m excited to hear all about your new adventure! Safe travels 🙂

  3. Wow, I can’t believe I’ve read this twice and haven’t had time to comment either time! Anyway, you’ve got to do what’s right for you hun. Thing is, we all have our own paths to follow – and that doesn’t mean that what is suitable for me is suitable for you. Only you know how you feel and what you’re going through – and even though I relate on every single level – only you know what is right for you. That is something I’ve come to learn over the years. We often look for signs that we’re doing the right thing… or some kind of approval and validation from the ones we love… but the only thing that matters is that you’re ok with your decision and the consequences / experiences that will come from that. All the best for you, always! 🙂

    • Thanks Azra for your kind words. You’re so right about only the person can know what’s right for them. As much as the process has been hard, I’m excited for this 2nd unexpected adventure. Will see where it leads and the beauty of life, is I can always change my mind, change course, if need be.
      I don’t predict this but it’s nice to know and remember, nothing is set in stone.
      Thanks again for always having positive words for me!

  4. You will have a lovely second year in Spain, many more adventure and you will master the language! Everything will be all right! Hopefully I can visit you in my way to the camino!!!
    Love you!
    Noelia

    • Thanks Noelia for your encouragement and kind words. I know it will be a great time and am looking forward to improving my Spanish and getting to know a new region of Spain!

  5. I”m really glad I did a second year and miss Spain all the time. And Pais Vasco is beautiful. I was in Quintanar de la Orden (Castilla la Mancha) both years. I was there last year and the year before, but came home for the summer. Now I’m working in the bay area, and it’st just as you say- a totally different pace of life.

    There are so many great things about Spain, and I hope that things improve there for the sake of all the wonderful people I met. As I read your post, it’s clear you have a good attitude about life and that will take you far.

    Have a great time, and good luck 🙂

  6. Keep it up, chica. I think it really helps to write those thoughts down, especially when we’re stuck in these indecisive moments, because then you can look back and reflect on what you’ve done and where it’s taken you. Yes, letting go is definitely key…

  7. Sorry to hear about your heart-break but congrats on the new turn your life is taking! I had a feeling you’d be back sooner rather than later 🙂

    • Ah Thanks Ayngelina. Letting go is challenging. I won’t deny the hardship and the process it takes but it’s always worth it.

  8. You’re so right, letting go of hopes and expectations is really tough. Starting over in a new city is hard too, but it sounds like you have a great perspective on it already. That’s something I’m working on right now too.

    Best of luck in the next chapter of your Spain adventures! Pais Vasco sounds pretty cool, and sometimes a fresh start is an amazing thing.

    • hi Jessica,
      I’m excited for a fresh start and to experience what Pais Vasco offers. I know it will be vastly different from Andalucia. I’m glad to know I’m not alone.

  9. Oh wow, things are starting to make sense now, your confusion and feeling pulled in different directions is completely normal, especially after such a life-changing event as a break-up. What isn’t normal is your mature, philosophical approach to the situation. I could take a leaf out of your book about letting go! I must say, I didn’t know which way this one was going to go, and you’re right, whichever path you chose would have been the ‘right’ one. I’m excited for you 🙂

    • Thanks so much Sarah for your kind compliments! It’s definitely being a rough ride. I just want it to work but I have to trust right now isn’t the time. Life always has a good plan for me- I just have to let go of having control. Today I just felt ready to share a bit more. I didn’t know which way I was going to go and I was joking with friends that I shouldn’t keep wearing my heart on my sleeve because I don’t even know what my decision will be.

      Spain just makes sense right now, despite the challenges I know I’ll face. There are challenges that come with every life choose, right?!

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