An unthemed update January 28, 2008Posted by Emily in blog, moving, photography, Spain, teaching, Travel, working.
A few people have asked me lately whether I’m happy here, pointing out that my blog entries are not particularly positive as a whole. Personally I find humor in my clueless wanderings, but I can see their point. It’s an overwhelming question to answer, attempting to assess one’s happiness and compress it into a socially acceptable response, one that tells the truth without getting into any real details. The simple answer is “yes, and more all the time.” I like Córdoba’s size and the fact that I run into new and therefore seemingly secretive plazas all the time. I am proud of my ever-improving abilities to express myself in another language and that I am feeling fairly at home here in the city. And I like my job, even on the days when the kids are rambunctious and don’t listen and when the older male teachers are especially weird and/or rude.
Truth be told, the transition took me much longer than I expected, having already lived once in Spain. But living as a student is different than living as a person with colleagues largely nearing retirement. It was hard to meet people here, hard to make initial connections. My living situation has been fairly crappy, for a number of reasons, and I barely ever talk to my roommates. But I am moving in the next month and hope this new place, in addition to being cheaper, with Spanish girls, centrally located, and near both a good grocery store and a sports complex with pool, will actually have hot water and maybe even lack cockroaches. My current apartment is actually quite nice as a box–marble floors, big terrace and another balcony, lots of light, recently renovated–but lacks in charm and is close to my school but far from absolutely everything else I do. And the mixture of the occasional cockroach and the occasional hot water is enough to sour someone to most any place. I’ve had enough of the Russian roulette in the morning, wondering if this might be a day when I’ll get through a shower without the water turning and my teeth chattering. If I ever had patience for cold showers, that time has come and gone. Bye bye Peace Corps.
I came back from holiday vacations excited for a new start…a new year, a new trimester, a third down and two awesome thirds to come. I finally was feeling like things were working out for me here–that I am meeting friends and finding places to call my own and earning respect at work. The weather is already getting nicer and spending a Sunday afternoon in a sunny plaza, eating and chatting and having drinks, surrounded by wrought iron balconies and open windows, the curtains waving in the wind and giving a peek of what kind of life might be found inside, well, surely this is the way Sundays are to be spent.
I’ve started to learn where to look for cultural events, what banks sponsor music and others photography exhibits. I’m looking into taking a photography class here, actually. I finally found a few English lessons (as in teaching, not learning), after having not received a single call for months, and am still on the lookout for a few more. These lessons, along with all the money I am hoping to save by not needing to take taxis and buses to my new apartment, will hopefully make at least a few of my travel dreams into real trips. I just haven’t been able to pull it off in the last little while–plus, I have been trying to focus on getting things in motion with my life here.
I haven’t written much here for a while, because, unlike when I got here, I am actually sort of busy these days. Most afternoons I have something planned, and these plans, however small, make the days and weeks go by so much more quickly than before. I’ll admit that in the first couple of months of being here, making the time go by more quickly was an improvement, but now I find myself trying to appreciate what I have and slow things down. I no longer come home from work at 2pm with the afternoon stretching out ahead of me, empty except for a book and lots of internet time.
I’m lucky that this recent increase in activity still comes nowhere near the pace of life I’d become accustomed to for a long time, racing in and out of the Volvo from one appointment to the next. Never feeling like I can really catch up. When I return to the States and eventually go back to school, assuming things go as I think they will, I will be wicked busy again and that will be alright. But now is my life parenthesis. While I have plans these days, I am also on my fourth book in the last ten days. While some things never seem to get done, lots of others do. I’ve realized that my time here has gained a rhythm in the last few weeks, a rhythm that starts to resemble a life.