“Here I will stay”
When I first arrived, I was determined to stay with a Spanish family and reach fluency in Spanish after 3 months. Unfortunately (as I have previously written about) life is not so predicatable and I ended up changing families, accepting a job offer in Singapore, and teaching English full-time to pay for the move.
In the end my final decision was decided by my gut. I had been working 7 days a week for 2 months straight and I had an inkling something was wrong. I wanted to go to Singapore because I knew it would be a great experience, but as much as I love teaching I didn’t feel myself working for private companies that were for profit and reffered to student’s parents and ‘clients’. I thought back to why I ended up in Madrid in the first place, and realised in the midst of first horrible month of living here I saw accepting a job on the otherside of the world as an escape. I could get through it if I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, and a well paid job in a gigantic metropolitan city on the other side of the world was a beaming one.
But then I moved to the city centre, and fell in love with Madrid. Working at the weekends was draining, but the friends I accumulated from my work place made my 13 hour sunday shift worth it. As my fellow Au Pairs also relocted to the city centre, and new ones moved in next door, I was out and about every day of the week and time was flew by. We discovered our favourite spots, joined the gym (and actually went), I ran 10k of the Rock’n’Roll Marathon with work, and spent every free puente or holiday I had travelling in and out of Spain. Essentially, it bagan to feel like home.
The real turning point came when I decided to re-apply for my posistion as a Senior Mentor for the NCS programe. I was unhappy because I’d lost touch with my passions, and I’d lost sight of why I came here in the first place. I came to Madrid to learn Spanish, because I wanted to return to South America and potentially work for a Charity akin to the one I volunteered with in Cuzco. I wanted to work with young people in need of support, not businesses making profit off the eduction of children whose private schools, nannies, au pairs, and never ending extra-curricular activities were already doing a pretty good job of securing them success in the future. The jobs I took were good and fit for their purpose, but were not something I could see myself commiting to making a career out of.
So I quit Singapore, signed up to the Auxilares de Conversacion Programme, and decided to stay here until Christmas. My primary concern is reaching fluency in Spanish, before leaving for South America in the new year. How I will afford to get there and what the heck I’ll do when I land are still up in the air, but whether it’s a one or a 6 month stint it – da igual.
Buuuut nothing is for certain. I don’t know what good or bad things the next year will have in store, but I’m keeping my mind open and my desired pathway flexible. What I do know is that right now I can’t wait to get back to the Challenge, and I am travelling around Eastern Europe with mi Amiga this August, and I’ve booked my return flight to Madrid for the 9th September. This time round 90% of my friends will be gone, I’ll be living on my own and my work week will be much more regular, meaning I can go join a theatre group and other hobbies of mine that have taken a back seat since leaving University. I’m excited to see what else this wonderful city has in store for me!