I would like to say that yesterday was a strange day, but truth be told, everyday is a strange day here in Madrid. Nothing is normal and that can have it's highs and lows. As a result, life is exciting and an adventure, but at the same time, overwhelming and frustrating. While I inspire some, I annoy the crap out of others. While I am open to jumping on a new opportuntiny that sounds amazing, I disappoint those who expect more of a commitment. Case in point, yesterday.
The day began by fulfilling a duty I've been dreading for weeks. I finally told my boss I needed to quit. For me, there was no way around it. Getting paid 16 euro per hour seems like a good rate, but factor in the hour and a half round trip commute, two hours of planning, and the trips to the office for materials, that leaves me with scraps. Teaching is new to me, so on days with classes (everyday but Friday), I feel frantic and stressed, trying to pull together as much as I can to teach a good lesson, while desperately brushing up on my long forgotten English grammer rules. I can't help but wonder, what the hell am I doing this for? Now with an opportunity to run more mini camps, getting paid in one week what I get paid in a month with teaching, it is impossible to keep my commitment to this one random academy that pays me less than minimum wage would be at home. So I made the necessary move and confronted my boss in person to break the news. This women has proven to be both laid back and friendly, and massively impatient and disgruntled. The older woman from north England has a no frills attidude and a seemingly distainful perspective on life. I knew it was going to be a painful converstation, but I couldn't put it off any longer. When I broke the news, it went suprisingly well. With the exception of a few f-bombs and passive insults about selfish teachers (like me of course), she accepted the news and granted me my two final weeks.
Where one thing ends another is picking up. When I returned home I was baraded with messages pertaining to this upcoming weekend's festival in Valencia, Las Fallas, and Monoloco, a new tour company I have joined with great potential, but desperately in need of help. Tom, the owner, appointed me to be "COO", responsible for organizing the company and helping the efforts. We basically hire a coach, buy a ton of booze, and reserve a block of hotel rooms on weeks of big festivals in Spain. The idea is to haul 50 or 60 young expats off to these crazy scenes at a packaged group rate through Monoloco. With the anticipated trip departing tomorrow, we are eagerly scrambling to get the final bookings in. This is a whole different beast than teaching English, so I quickly switched gears to eek out a few more people to join the trip.
I then darted out the door for my only class of the day. It went quite well and I left with a feeling of guilt for leaving the poor kid. What was liberating excitement earlier in the day, was now a feeling of responsibility that I was abandoning. On my long walk to the metro from class, I momentarily considered passing up the camps and continuing on with teaching for the sake of this one, cute kid. In the end I deemed it unrealistic, but still unfair for him regardless.
No time to ponder this, though, as I dove in to yet another dynamic of my life here in Madrid-- to actually be immersed in Spain. My roomate and his friend scooped me up and we went off to see the highly anticiapated match between Real Madrid in Lyon. We perched up in a traditional Spanish tapas bar and I shifted my mind to focus on the Spanish converstation, straining to understand the words and derive some kind of meaning from what they were saying. I spoke only in Spanish all night, dinning on olives and boccadillo, drinking Mahou cervaza, and cheering for my new favorite team. A great night and a lovely reminder of why I am actually here.
That uplifted feeling lasted less than 30 minutes. Upon arrival back to the flat, my other roommate, the painfully particular one, was steaming about a culmination of issues he had with me. All truely misunderstandings and differences in perspectives, the build up was released into a direct slam to my charactor and a shocking outburst that I never saw coming. Good feelings of my spot here in the this new apartment turned into dread as that terrible hot feeling rushed over me (probably even more intensely because of the beers that were making me feel so lovely just moments ago). He dished out his feelings as I instinctively defended myself. At last I swallowed the critisism and after several minutes of debate, we resolved our issues. Still, I felt confused and low and unsure how to digest all of this. I knew that he was mistaken, but I still couldn't let go of some of the terrible things he said about my disregard for the apartment and how we are absolutely not friends. A roommate fight, bottom line. Different people, with different expections living under the same roof and trying to make eachother happy while, at the same time, trying to have their world be somewhat normalized. I can't help but note how distinctively different this situation is from the last- before I was dumstruck by how unfair my other roomates were in their complete lack of respect for others and now I am being lectured about that very thing from my new roommate? Just goes to show you how different people can be, especially in living situations. This is one benefit of living alone, I am quickly realizing.
So as it was 12:30 AM, I assumed my night was closing, but sure enough, I was contacted by an old freind from home, a guy I rarely have spoken to in the last four years since college but has suddenly contacted me for advice on joining the small group of us that ditch there old conformed life to live abroad and do what I am doing. It was like I was talking to the male version of myself, and by the end of the chat, I had somehow inspired someone else for simply sharing how I feel about life and my current situation. Now I was beaming as I said goodnight to him, and closed my night with a quick late night conversation with two good friends here that are also part of this crazy life abroad.
So after this long story of my crazy day filled with ups and downs and a gallary of emotions, I see how living a life like this is an immense learning experience. For all the frustration and confustion, there is a great sense of living that comes with it. This is what life is all about. Learning about the tough decisions, testing out different waters, taking risks. So now, another crazy day. Las Fallas departure is less than 24 hours away and before that I must plan a class, teach it, and celebrate St. Patrick's day, Spanish style. Crazy life, but a good one, needless to say.