Monday, September 29, 2014

Year One Lookback

I laugh whenever I remember how I felt upon arriving in Spain one year ago: scared out of my wits, lost, confused, alone. I have since settled in very comfortably, and am absolutely loving my life here. It's a lot of fun answering the questions I asked myself in Canada a year ago:

Will I make friends?
Yes. Very good friends, in fact. I'm extremely sad to be leaving my pueblo, but luckily I'm not too far away and I can visit whenever I want.

Even my Cdn friends saw Vcar!

Will I fall in love?
Yes....but with my life, not with any particular guy (although I still hold hope!) I remember how I felt about Villacarrillo in the beginning, and now that's all changed and I love my pueblo.
I will miss la sierra
At my lowest point I wrote about dating in a pueblo. Ironically, not long after, I was suddenly catching the attention of all kinds of men. Most were from bigger cities, which has only added to my excitement in moving to Jaén.

Will I become fluent in Spanish?
Yes...but halfway. Although I'm very immersed in Spanish culture and am able to communicate easily (using the local accent, too!), I've taken almost no formal Spanish classes while living in Villacarrillo. I recently took a level test at the University of Jaén. It turned out that while my speaking level was C1, my grammar and vocabulary level were B1. So this year I will start B2 Spanish classes.

Will I find students for private classes?
Heck yeah! Spain really needs native speakers. I had no trouble finding students; in fact, I turned a few away for lack of time. Plus, I was able to demand a good hourly rate.

Will I stay in Spain permanently?
When I was in Canada, I viewed my move to Europe as permanent. During my first winter here, it was tough and I thought I'd move back to Canada. But when Spring rolled around, I decided to stay for at least one more year. Then in the summer, I extended that to two more years so that I could pursue a C1 level of Spanish. Obviously my plans change often, so for now the answer to the original question is “Maybe.” I am enjoying my time here but it can also be frustrating with the paperwork and non-permanency of NALCA job placements, so we shall see.

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