Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Search for Balance

There are many hidden challenges to making a dramatic move.  One thing I didn't consider was the adjustment period of taking a step like this one.  My world has been completely changed as of two weeks ago.  It seems like ages ago that I was back at home in North Carolina where every single thing was predictable and familiar.  Now that the feeling of being totally aw struck is beginning to fade, I am facing the reality that this is home and I must carry on normal life here.  Taking things one step at a time was helping, but yesterday, when all of my email and facebook were taken over and ultimately shut down by an intruder, I had a rude awakening of how far away from that cozy life I truly am now.  It hit me like a ton of bricks when I realized that I have no way to communicate with almost everyone from home and they cannot reach me either.  I also realized I have unknowingly created a crutch out of this computer.  It ties me to home to cope with living in a big city in a new country with a different language, people, lifestyle, values, routine.. you name it. 

So how do I find a balance?  It is so important to maintain it in order to feel confident about what I am doing here.  One striking challenge is socially, how do avoid clumping with other expats, specifically Americans, in order to absorb the culture and lifestyle of Spain, while still having a social outlet with people that speak my language and come from a more familiar environment.  The truth is, no matter how much I try, blending in with the Spanish people is virtually impossible.  I have only been speaking Spanish for a few months, but besides that, I don't want to be playing a part.  So I have to accept that fitting in is not an option, nor should it be something I want, even if it would help make the transition a bit easier.  So what am I?  An English teacher, an American living in Spain, a 25 year old girl, an expat... I don't want to be put in a box but in order to make this home I almost feel like I need to pick one.  Being free is liberating, but starting over is quite tricky.

All of these things will likely work themselves out with time.  Its tough to accept that on this quest for understanding and adventure, there will be times when I need to adjust and get comfortable before moving on to the next step.  The discomfort of the situation, the uncertainty of the future, and the possibilities that are around each corner are what make this exhilarating and unnerving at the same time. In this moment I feel hazy and confused, trying to latch on to what is known and clear.  But since I've been here, every day there is a feeling of being high that I cannot get at home; a feeling of freedom and appreciation for the course life is taking.  I just need to find a way to balance having a normal day to day life and it being part of a mysterious, exhilarating adventure.

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