I left Wisconsin and flew out of O’Hare International Airport one month ago today on September 19, 2017. Fast forward to today: October 19, 2017.
Lots has happened in the last month. I’ve met some amazing people from all over the world (Denmark, Germany, Australia, Spain, England, France, USA), I have done some amazing things. I’ve tried food from Copenhagen, Barcelona, and Manchester. I rented a bike in the most bike friendly city in the world (Copenhagen ranked #1). I’ve witnessed the Catalonian referendum within Catalonia. I’ve learned that living with a family of five, with 3 young boys (14, 9, and 4) is a challenge!
I’ve learned how to teach English to people ages 8-14, as well as mid 30’s. This last month has definitely been a challenge in ways, but also so rewarding. I’m finally getting the hang of teaching. As a teacher, one of my tasks is to pick up some of the kids after school and we walk 3 minutes to the academy. The way the parents and grandparents pick up the kids is nothing less than chaotic. We all line up in the narrow street and wait for our kids. I will include a photo below. It’s pretty crazy! But as for the teaching, as long as the kids are having fun and speaking in English, that means I’m doing a fine job.
I sometimes feel isolated in this small town I live in, just north of Barcelona. The public transportation offers a bus that goes straight to the Barcelona city center which I am thankful for. Meeting people in the city is so much easier than in Vilassar De Dalt. However, starting at 10pm the busses change to night busses and the bus stops change, making it a lot harder to find. Which makes my time in the city limited to the just the days, generally.
Meeting people and learning the language has been the biggest struggle this past month. I’ve always heard people say that meeting people is hard. But it’s even harder when you don’t know the native language! Just basic communication is the hardest thing. I have downloaded an app called “MeetUp” and people within the app organize events in Barcelona. I still have yet to go to an event, but I will soon! It seems like the best way to get involved and meet other people in the city.
My weekend spent in Manchester was simply amazing. It was such a nice break from the Spanish life. I bought my share fair of the “3£ meal deals” and 3 for £5 beers at my beloved Tesco (British grocery store). I also visited the biggest Primark (European clothing store) in Europe. I walked out spending £16, equivalent to $21. That’s pretty good if you ask me! My hostel was FULL of amazing people. I just really appreciate the hostel atmosphere and can definitely see myself working at one in the near future, possibly next fall. I explored the walkable city all weekend and listened to all the beautiful English accents around me. I definitely hope to go back sometime in the future.
Another hard thing to deal with abroad? American sports. Baseball and Football (American) are such foreign sports here. Keeping up with my Cubbies and Packers is SO HARD. It is possible to stream the games online, however, some games don’t even start till 2 or 3am (Spanish time). But, who needs sleep anyway?
I’m learning each day, and now that it’s a month in, it can only get better from here!