As I write this I am currently back in Madrid, sat on the sofa of the hostel where I have somehow ended up working, waiting to hear if I have a job as an auxiliar de conversacion, and feeling pretty damn awesome. How I ended up here can only be described as a ridiculously fun but exhausting whirlwind summer holiday that started at my old university and ended with an hour and 45 minute delayed flight back to Spain…
When I left Madrid in July I felt very uncertain about how the 2 months following would play out. I flew in to London Gatwick airport and headed straight to Egham to catch up with my old University pals for their Graduation. It was absolutely lovely to see old faces and catch up with everyone, but anyone who travels will be able to relate to strange sense of distance you feel when you go home after months of being away. One of my old lecturers (who was bizarrely ecstatic to see me) asked me “Where have you BEEN? You just disappeared of the face of the earth and we haven’t heard anything from you!” and I didn’t really know what to say.
“Oh, I’ve been living in Madrid; I’ve felt homesick, trapped, and taken advantage of in one home, then totally welcomed and loved in another; I’ve made friends from all corners of the globe and yet felt alone and isolated on a number of occasions; I’ve attempted to learn Spanish and found it pretty fricking hard; I’ve exhausted myself working 7 days a week and mastered the art of teaching English on a hangover; I’ve learnt the power of a good Margherita and danced until 7am, and I’ve loved [almost] every minute of it” ?
But for some reason replying like that doesn’t seem polite, and even if it was, to list everything off still doesn’t do the story justice. So I gave a modest and generic reply, and my lecturer informed me that they “always knew I would land on my feet” which I must admit was pretty touching.
I then made a quick trip home to the Isle of Wight, didn’t bother unpacking, met with some friends and then headed straight up to Surrey to start my second year working for the National Citizen Service, and dayum was I nervous. I originally wasn’t going to re apply, but after a chat with my old boss I decided to go for it. The year before was definitely a learning experience, and totally made me rethink my career, but I didn’t do as well as I had hoped and was all too aware of how difficult it was the first time round. Fortunately, I was paired with a group of fricking awesome young people who I bonded with right away and had a phenomenal 3 weeks mentoring. They put on a mind-blowing drama performance about life with disabilities, and the CEF of NCS said it was the best out of the hundreds he had been to see. We hiked, camped, built sling shots, raised money, campaigned, cooked, cleaned, and volunteered together. I may have travelled to 6 countries after I finished, but working with Team Reiss and the other W6 Staines staff team was definitely the highlight of my summer. Next year I´ma do it all again [if I’m in the UK], but this time setting myself a new challenge by applying for a different position, in the hope that after gaining new skills so that I will one day be able to that kind of role my full-time career.
And theeeen I hopped on a train to London, saw a spectacular performance of 1984 at the Playhouse theatre, spent two nights exploring Colchester, then jetted off the Warsaw. The rest of the 27 day trip will be discussed in further detail in the posts coming up – all I’ll say for now is that I managed to successfully stick to my 26 euro-a-day budget, I learnt a hella lot about Communism, and got so used to living in hostels I decided to go and work in one for the foreseeable future.
Even though I’m back in Madrid it feels like my holiday hasn’t ended yet, and this is exactly the life I want to be living right now.
I FEEL GOOD, nuhnuhnuhnunununuh …