Almost two weeks ago I arrived in Palma de Mallorca, the capital of Spain’s Balearic Islands where I will spend this next year as an English language assistant for secondary school kids – quite the welcome change from the boogers and babies I dealt with on the daily last year. And, I’m back from a blogging hiatus!
While I am in a new city, it’s my second year so some things are not as shocking as they were to me when I was a newbie in Jaen. If you want a quick throwback, here’s the culture shock post I wrote. Now go have a chuckle at my naive little americana self.
I might feel like a veteran in some ways, but I still have to acknowledge the glaring fact that moving here was not as easy as I thought it would be. Any other repeat auxiliares feel me on that? It’s also difficult not to compare the different experiences I’ve had living in Spain. Plus, I often question why I am here doing this again, not to mention finding a decent apartment in Mallorca and budgeting on the auxiliar salary can be a hefty feat.
This is when a little perspective comes in.
This year, despite the new location and older students, I feel noticeably more comfortable. Of course, I still feel like the awkward American at school, but I’m okay with it. That just comes with the territory!
This is my third Spanish city, after all – something that for me is a bit hard to believe.
Now that I’ve had a variety of experiences in Spanish and there are entire aspects of my life that I’ve lived in Spanish, I feel immensely more comfortable with my skills. I still feel pretty lost when it comes to cultural references and regional phrases in Spanish, but I’m working on it poco a poco and I’m able to have more fun with it! I’ve been keeping a notebook of the different sayings I’ve been picking up, so keep your eyes peeled for a post on that someday in the near future. Heck, I even manage to understand a good chunk of the teachers’ conversations in Catalán.
This time around, I’m also more patient with myself and with others. Working with babies does that to a person. I also recognize that in Spain everything works on its own schedule, so I’ve got to exercise some flexibility. Whether waiting in line to process some documents or standing behind an abuela at Mercadona waiting for her to count her change down to the one cent to pay for groceries I’ve learned to keep my cool.
Finally, I have more confidence in myself overall. After overcoming some challenges last year and learning how to suck it up when necessary, I feel like I’m capable of handling most things that life throws at me, even if one of those things is willing a group of teenagers to speak English with me at 8am on a Monday morning.
Now I’m feeling ready for whatever lessons and experiences the next two hundred and some odd days of island life bring.
Stay tuned for more rants, updates, stories, and photos from my new home (plus some new features too). Hasta pronto!