Where I am living/working this year is an hour from Sevilla, 45 mintues from Cordoba, and nicknamed "La Sarten" (the frying pan), because it's the hottest place in all of Spain. Get excited for me now or later, either way is really fine. I'm going to be living here for nine months, and after the amazing three months of travel I've just had, I'm finding it so hard to accept that I will be "stationary" here for "so long". Even harder to accept that I am actually staying in Spain another year, giving it so much more time in my young years/life, and continuing to do the same thing I've been doing for the last year and a half. Don't get me wrong, I've nothing against it, just. . . the idea of staying in the same country for nearly three years, is a bit anxiety-provoking for me, considering all the ideas I have, places I want to go/live in, and things I want to do, all before I'm 30.
Teaching has been such a rewarding and fruitful experience for me, and I love Spain so much, but I was really unsure about making the easy choice to take my new placement and stay another school year. I felt like maybe I was copping out by choosing to stay, chasing paper instead of passion. It was clearly the easiest choice I could have made. I didn't have to move too far, I didn't have to look too hard for a second job, and I didn't have to go to another new, foreign place to start completely fresh, with no job security. On one hand, I wanted to just show up somewhere, trusting that God would lead me into the right job or opportunity. Go to a farm and volunteer or do a work trade somewhere. Go to Asia and find a practiced healer and ask to study with them. I knew it would all turn out, and be so rewarding, but I also knew that staying in Spain was a really good way to make money, save money, and then embark on my Big Trip. So I opted to stay, hoping that moving to a new town would satisfy my "I've surpassed nine months here, and am ready for the next place/thing" feelings. (I tend to, after nine months anywhere, be satisfied with my time, and ready to get on to the next place.)
Ecija has 40,000 residents, and is considered a big village by many, though the town itself isn't very large. It's got a really rich history, and is a really charming and welcoming town. But it is definitely a town, and I will definitely be seeing my students all over it whenever I'm out and about, as well as their parents. For some, this would be an issue, but I don't particularly like alcohol, so there's no "oh crap, my student's parents will see me drunk in the streets" going on, thankfully. But there isn't going to be as much separation between my work life and outside-the-classroom life as I'd like there to be. Which is also, strangely, part of the draw to living in a small town (assuming you like your students). Also thankfully, this summer has left me feeling so incredibly optimistic and aligned, that I'm sure this year is going to be full to the brim with goodness and further growth!
This school year, I am planning on learning to play my banjo, studying Italian, becoming a Reiki master, taking an Integrated Kinesiology class in Sevilla, learning to juggle, exercising regularly and getting back into my semi-obsessive healthy habits, reading as many books and articles as possible, and working on furthering my connection to all that surrounds me through the Holy Spirit/allowing God to take me into my next dimension. Because it's a small town, I'm going to have to get really creative and be really active if I want to avoid becoming bored and stagnant, so that's also really good -- forced motivation. And with it being so close to Sevilla and Cordoba, I can easily get to a bigger city any weekend that I want. Other really good things that I've already encountered in this place include:
- Everyone is so flipping nice here! In Sevilla, people were friendly, but here, they're actually really open! I've had at least three older ladies initiate contact/conversation with me since I arrived less than 24 hours ago, and nearly everyone I've come across on the street has exchanged a greeting with me! That is amazing, and a really special trait!
- I already have some friend connections. I know it seems crazy, since I've spent less than 24 hours here, but I came to visit the town back in June, and wrote to a couchsurfer to see if he could host me a couple days. He never got back to me, until about a month ago, which worked out perfectly, and I am actually writing this from he and his future wife's apartment (future as in, they're getting married on Saturday, and still are hosting a stranger). The moment I met up with them yesterday, I knew I had found some people with a vibe that could match mine. And that, when you just arrive to where you're going to be living, is hugely helpful! As well, one of the people who showed me a flat yesterday has horseback riding lessons a few times a week, and I decided I'm definitely going with him sometime. Horses have always been my sweet spot, and this kid's got a great mentality, so I'm happy to spend time in the light of his energy.
- Apparently, there's some really cool organizations and groups that are active in this town. There's a cultural group here that organizes different activities, and is made up of a lot of foreigners and alternatively-minded folks. So I'm going to join this group of people, and who knows what activities I'll end up doing! Maybe I'll end up in some sort of Spanish theater while I'm here! One of my possible options for this year was to move to New York and do theater for fun while working as a waitress, I could always substitute NY with a small town in Andalucia, right? It's life after all, and the options are endless!
- Rent and life are pretty cheap. I've only been paying 230 euros/month + bills in Sevilla, but here, my rent will be well under 200. Which is good, because that kinesiology course isn't cheap! But Asia sure can be, and that's where I plan to be by November of next year. :)
So really, despite my concern of "how the heck am I going to manage to live here for nine months," I am really excited for this year, and know it's going to involve MAJOR continuation of the growth and centering that this summer started! I am taking up a lot of new things, going to meet a lot of new people, and will definitely continue feeding my habit of travel. After all, it is my last year living in Spain! (...for now...) I am, as usual, highly optimistic about the situation, and really looking forward to all that is to come. In the end, life is what we make it, and I'm planning on making it as full as learning, growth, love & light as I possibly can! Woo!
I hope that you all had an amazingly fulfilling summer, and are embarking on whatever it is you're doing with a fresh perspective and a healthy, positive attitude! Life is such a lovely thing, and it has so much to offer us when we're optimistic. Give thanks for all, and know that in each moment, there's a blessing hidden and a lesson learned! I love you, dear brothers and sisters of mine, with every ounce I've got!
Sending you endless Blessings, Love & Light!