Monday, December 27, 2010

Best of 2010: Spain

So recently a very, very good friend asked me if coming to Spain was as amazing as I'd hoped.  She's one of the people in my life who gets all my firsthand observances first, one of the ones I totally don't censor myself with, one of the ones who just knows me really well.  And I've had my share of complaints about being here - my hellish first month, about my living environment, about feeling alienated sometimes, for example.

My conclusion is that it was...

...totally, totally worth it.  All the hard work slaving away at jobs I couldn't stand for the first half of the year was completely worth it, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.  Even the awful first month I had here, living in hell with a horrible excuse of a human being - that only enabled me to contrast and enjoy all the good things that I got to enjoy afterwards, and it made me tougher in the long run.  And despite the fact that I live in what must be the smallest room anyone in the developed world has probably ever lived in (5.5' by 8.5'), I have loved living here.

Now that the year is coming to an end, it kind of feels like a lifetime ago that I was struggling with finishing school and working two jobs all at once, then working three jobs simultaneously after school ended, to save enough money to come here.  I really, really hated one of the jobs I was at.  I kind of wanted to cry every time I had to go in to work - it was physically demanding and I often lamented that I just wanted to be treated like a person - but it enabled me to make money relatively quickly, with no experience going in, and I will say that I will always be grateful to my bosses there for giving me a job when I most needed one.  Besides all that, I got to meet Sweetums and Pumpkin. :)

Working towards coming to Spain was literally half the battle and it was the biggest life lesson I've ever had.  Finding my internship here really taught me to reach out to people, to have a thick skin, and to keep trying even when all options seem to be exhausted, even when things seem impossible.  Then working to save enough money here taught me to be persistent and to be tolerant and really taught me what sacrifice was.  I worked really, really hard for something I wanted more than anything I'd ever wanted before, and actually reaching my goal was really empowering.

Living here - well, do I even need to tell you that it was wonderful?  I've written so much about Spain.  I absolutely adore the culture, I love the food, I love the architecture, I love the language, I LOVE the atmosphere, I love how warm the people are, I love the history, the art, the many celebrations - Spain is a country I love with all my heart and I will always have a soft spot for it.  I even appreciate the things I dislike about here because they are all what makes Spain what it is.

And that's not even to mention all the wonderful people I've met here.  I can't ask for better co-workers and my boss?  She's the best boss I've ever had the pleasure to work for.  She is a tremendous person and working for her has been a huge privilege.  And getting offered a permanent position by her a month and a half into my internship and being given my own projects to handle - to have my potential recognized and to have my talents appreciated...well, it's been a tremendous experience.

So living in Spain has been the experience of a lifetime, and even though practical reasons prevent me from taking my boss up on her offer and staying here, I'm just extremely glad and grateful that I got the chance to be here.  All of the trials and tribulations have been completely worth it, and all the hardships I had here only made the good parts of my experience exponentially better.  And none of it would have been possible without my guardian angel, Erin.  So lots and lots of thanks and love to her, because she is WONDERFUL. :)

1 comment:

wandering-woman said...

Your guardian angel is blushing. ;)

And in total agreement about your wonderful boss who makes one heck of a friend, too.

And..grinning ear to ear. You worked like crazy to get there, Christine, persevering time and again when some obstacle popped up. I know because I watched. And I'm just excited to hear about your next adventure.