As of September 21st, I began my second year in Santiago de Compostela, thereby avoiding getting a “real job” or even permanent residence in the USA. Why? Well, that’s a bit complicated…
I came back because my Spanish is functional, but not on level with any native speaker’s. I want to be able to sound less like a foreigner who can converse comfortably, and more like a person who speaks with a slight accent. I want to be able to use the subjunctives and conditionals without hesitation. I want to stop tripping over certain consonant combinations; I also want to stop making sounds in the back of my mouth when I need to use the front.
I came back because I love teaching but am not ready to commit to getting an actual teaching degree. I don’t know if I want to be a full-time teacher in America. I’m hesitant about committing to a career where I won’t have a ton of job security, or income security, or general respect from the population, yet will be expected to work miracles with the few resources that I have. So I’m taking another year (maybe more) to decide if this is something I really want to pursue.
I came back because my pain in the ass students are improving, some of them greatly, and I want to be a part of that again. Yeah, they’re still a bunch of lazy buttheads, but I can see their English improving by leaps and bounds. I feel like I’m actually making a difference here, and I want to see what I can do after another year.
I came back because there’s still more countries to visit and adventures to be had.
I came back because I empathetically do not want to be floating around in Portland, working boring jobs and trying to figure out what I’m doing with my post-college life. There are too many fun ways to spend my 20’s and living abroad is easily a better choice than letting time slip past me as I try to figure my life out. Oh and I’m also not ready to go to grad school.
And finally, I came back because I have friends here. I have bartenders who know me by name, bank tellers who can help me when the ATM tells me to go fuck myself (metaphorically, usually). There’s a park with an excellent view of ancient buildings, a 4-story library, and way too many bagpipes. Plus one medieval cathedral that I love walking through on my way to work.
Really, why wouldn’t I come back?