This summer, I'm staying in Villacarrillo. Besides a few private classes here and there, and the occasional class at the academy, my days will be spent working on my computer at home, or tackling Spanish text, while the sun broils away outside. At night I'll be sitting at little plastic tables perched outside of bars, sipping tinto de verano while every half hour a car will whiz by, a scant meter from my chair.
Some friends have asked why I'm not flying home, or travelling my butt off. One reason: consumer debt. I came to Spain with almost no debt, but without any salary for the first few months, I resorted to charging everything. I didn't look at the balance until recently, which made my eyes pop out. I had mismanaged my spending. I thought I'd been paying off the debt properly, but the monthly contribution wasn't enough. I felt angry at the way I hadn't tracked my expenses, with all the shopping and travelling I'd done: Madrid, Oporto, Andorra, Madrid, Morocco, Madrid, Madrid (can you tell I love going there?).... it all adds up. Debt is something that's haunted me ever since my first trip to Italy, and it's been that dangerous lover that I keep coming back to because I love travel.
Another reason I'm happy to stay in Vcar is that unfortunately, la junta gave me Jaén capital for my next job contract. It is exactly opposite of what I'd wanted for my second year, but they claim due to budget cuts all auxiliaries at adult schools in my region are being re-posted to bilingual high schools and elementary schools. So instead of my lovely village of 10,000 with adults, I get a city of 100,000 and teens. I'm sad, but after pulling every stunt possible to try to convince la junta to let me stay here I finally gave up and decided to roll with it.... especially since the salary will help me tackle reason #1.
So I choose to stay and make the most of my pueblo. Because it's the little things that excite me. When I order a drink, and the bartender is able to understand me the first time, I don't merely think, “I just ordered summer wine.” I think, “HOLY SH*TBALLS I CAN ORDER TINTO DE VERANO LIKE A PRO!” When I tell a joke at a party, it's not just, “Oh, I made them laugh.” It's “OMG THEY'RE ROLLING ON THE FLOOR IN TEARS MY SPANISH IS AWESOME!”
When my buddy in my hometown asked why I wasn't coming back to Canada, which I'd originally said I'd do if la junta gave me Jaén, it was because a) I'd calmed the f*ck down, but mostly b) I love learning a new language. I love being immersed. I love knowing to leave the last tapa on the plate, because it's el trozo de vergüenza, as opposed to grabbing it and wolfing it down in front of staring eyes. I love understanding what the heck “Ven aqui pa' ca'!” means. I love that some of the kids I teach (and y'all know how I feel about teaching kids) are becoming affectionate and giving me big hugs. I love walking home from the club at 5 in the morning, looking up and admiring the stars.
So don't feel bad for me. I can assure you, I'm extremely happy spending a lazy summer in my little village.
|A Whatsapp convo I had with a friend.|