Monday, June 30, 2014

Leaving and Starting Over


Even though I am leaving on a bit of a bitter note, I can't even pretend for a second that I didn't learn anything about myself or have some great experiences. So, I need to talk about some things I learned. If you have a problem with anything I post, go read the section on ethnocentrism in my first post.

A big thing I learned was how little language has to do with communication. Language has nothing to do with communication. Yes, it's easier to express certain things, like sarcasm and feeling, in your own language, through words, but it's not important. Even to this bookworm, who is always romanced by poetic sentences and dreams. People who I haven't been able to converse with have left an impact on me. Like the girl at Starbucks that always says "Que tal, Brittany?" and "Gracias, guapa!" We haven't said much else to each other, but she has been a friend. And then there is the lady who gave me a bandaid on the metro. That was sweet. And, of course, there are always the sleazy men who yell "Hola guapa" while I am walking down Gran Via. With no makeup. And sweatpants. Ah Spain. 

Another thing I learned was how important it is to be comfortable in your own skin. Americans aren't. Americans place too much emphasis on body and what you look like and fitting in, Although I have never been one for fashion and march by the beat of my own drum (I have style, but it's my style. Not Vogue style), I feel the pressures of this. Here, it is like that with clothing. I mean, I have to dress nice to go to the grocery store or else I will get weird looks (and hola guapa'd at). But certain things make me realize that it's important to be comfortable and, if you are, no one cares. I'm not so worried about my body type here. I'm not worried about my tattoos showing or that my arms aren't as toned as I would like them. I simply am myself. 

The most important thing I learned was to feel without care; to let myself be emotional. I've always been an emotional person, though I have always been good at hiding those emotions and expressing them in my poetry. But, really, if that episode from Glee is going to make you cry, then go ahead and cry. Tell the people you care about that you care about them or it will blow up in your face. Tell your friends that you miss them. Be open about feelings. This is something I am still working on, but it is a lesson I have learned. 

Starting Over

I wish jobs would be handed to me. I wish someone would come up to me and say "You are Brittany. You lived in Spain for a year. You used to be president of Sigma Tau Delta. You are a literature BAMF who can spin references like crazy. You can quote more Broadway songs than Idina Menzel. You make amazing margaritas. Here's a job for you." But it hasn't happened yet and there is a 97% chance that it won't (yes, I am that optimistic). 

All I know for sure is I don't want to go back to my hometown. I want to go to Oregon. Is that weird? I guess so. When I was a kid, I would beg my parents to move somewhere far away (they didn't...). As much as I love going home, I cannot stay there. I can already envision myself getting comfortable and settling down in Northern California and that is the most terrifying thing in the world. 

Right now, I am pushing for Ashland, which is also known as the land of almost no jobs unless you are an aspiring-actor-actress who is waitressing in your free time. Ya. It's weird, I know. Once upon a time, Chico was the place I walked into and felt like I belonged. Although Chico still feels that way from time to time, I experienced the same thing when I went to Ashland. I belong there. I love the beauty. 

Roseville and Chico don't hold much for me right now, I'm sorry to say. They scare me more than anything. And I just spent a year in a country where I don't speak the language. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Future

After many cups of coffee, bars of chocolate, glasses of wine, and walks through the park, I have decided I couldn't put writing this blog off any longer. I am leaving Spain. It is time for me to go back to the states and figure something out.

I will continue writing this blog, hopefully more frequently, about my life and my adventures in the work force. For right now, I am unsure, unemployed and the most lost I have ever been. It's the scariest, greatest thing I have ever done in my life. The past few weeks have been filled with many job searches, applications, tears, goodbyes, alcohol, and, of course, Broadway music.

My song list has looked something like this:

  1. "What Do You Do With A BA in English/It Sucks To Be Me" - Avenue Q 
  2. "I'm the Greatest Star" - Funny Girl - Glee Version (Lea Michele)
  3. "I See The Future" - The Fix  
  4. "I am Damaged" - Heathers
  5. "Sante Fe" - Rent
  6. "Confidence" - The Sound of Music
  7. "Without You" - Rent
  8. "Anything You Can Do" - Annie Get Your Gun
  9. "Dentist" - Little Shop of Horrors
  10. "Ding Dong! The Wicked Witch Is Dead" - Glee - Barbara Streisand version
  11. The entirety of The Book of Mormon soundtrack
  12. "I Have Confidence" - The Sound of Music
  13. "Til There Was You" - The Music Man - The Beatles version
And the job search will hopefully end with the classic: "Don't Rain On My Parade" - Funny Girl

So, as you can see from that list, it's been quite an emotional roller coaster of a few weeks, ranging from sadness, to optimism, to flat out funny. 

This will probably be the last post I write in Spain.

It has been a great year. In the memory of my first post, I will write my excitements/fears of going back home.

Five Things I Am Excited About:

1) Getting to see my friends and family! This is the longest I have ever been away from them and I miss each and every one of them each and every single day.

2) People smiling at you. I miss making eye contact with people and having them smile at you. People smiling will be a much welcome thing about home.

3) Food. Brussels Sprouts. Good margaritas. Goldfish. Homemade cookies. Chicken and dumplings. Panda Express.

4) Going to my favorite places. Like the theater. And Barnes and Noble.

5) Being in a place where I don't have to worry about leaving. I am legal in the states. And I don't have to have a job just for that. 

Bonus excitement: DRYERS! I hate hanging my clothes.

Five Things I am Nervous About:

1) Not having a job!!! I have never not had a job. I've thought about it. I have had some sort of job since I was 15 and a half. Or at least something lined up. This exciting and scary all at once. Job hunting is tough. This is where Brian's part in "It Sucks to Be Me" from Avenue Q comes in handy...

2) Driving. I don't want to drive. I've been spoiled with all of this walking. It's great to never have to think "I can't have another glass of wine because I have to drive." I am going to miss public transport. And I am not looking forward to the traffic.

3) Moving back in with my parents in my hometown. Thankfully I have the best parents. Even still, this is something that is quite difficult for a 23-year-old. It almost feels like I'm admitting "I can't make it on my own" even though I have been and I know I can and that has nothing to do with why I am moving in with them.

4) American Ignorance. Not that Spaniards are less ignorant, but being a foreigner opens eyes. I don't want to go back and have the damn NorCal conservatives rub off on me....

5) Okay, I know I said this one, but JOBS!!!!!!

Well, I hope you enjoyed this post. Keep reading for my post-grad adventures.