|The Mediterranean coast of Spain|
Nothing much has been happening over the past few months. After the Christmas break, I halted my rigorous travel schedule mainly because my wallet was getting rather thin. I came here with a substantial amount of money saved, but that lasted about as long as you might imagine. After going to Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, Geneva, the Alps, and a few spots in Spain, my bank account called me up and told me that I'd better apply the breaks a bit. So, I did. In the past three months, I have only taken one trip, two weekends ago. I went to Valencia on the eastern coast of Spain. While there, I was able to eat some amazing food, meet some great people from all over the world, and sit on the beach looking out over the Mediterranean Sea. Besides those few days in Valencia, I have spent the entirety of the past three months in Madrid, hanging out with friends, doing some touristy stuff here, and just enjoying life.
Life here during the week can get rather boring, but that is not necessarily a terrible thing. Yes, sometimes I sit in my room and think, "goodness gracious I'm a lazy sack," just sitting in my room watching TV online or surfing the interwebz. But, isn't that part of why I came? When I feel obliged enough to get out and about, or when a friend calls and suggests that I accompany him or her (well, its always 'her' seeing as how ALL of my friends here are girls), I almost always go. I am taking advantage of my time here, even if I am not always on the move. On the weekends, I usually spend all three days (yes, my weekend is three days...every...time) relaxing at home, at a park if its nice, or hanging out with friends at their place or some other neutral location. On the train to and from work I read books and stare at the crazy people who talk to themselves. During my two and a half hour lunch break I either go home and take a nap, cook myself some lunch, go to a bar and grab a sandwich, or cruise around the neighborhood investigating streets that I have yet to conquer. Now that the weather is slowly getting nicer, I am spending more time outside, walking downtown instead of taking the metro, sitting in a park instead of in my room, or just roaming around because I can.
I try not to worry too much about the ifs, ands, or buts of my current existence, but sometimes that is easier said than done. I like it here. A lot. But, I have not decided what I want to do with myself next year. For one, it has pretty much been confirmed that virtually all of my friends are leaving after this year. So, if I were to stay, I would have to start over socially. My job is easy, but not very challenging, and I am not used to that sort of thing. I have lots more places that I would like to see, but not much money with which to see them, so although I'm in the perfect position to travel and see amazing things, I'm not willing to sacrifice the guarantee of daily food procurement for a few more weekend vacations. I also miss being in a comfortable place, being able to make small talk with a random Joe (or preferably a Josephine). I miss my friends and family and the "normal" life that I came here to escape. I'm not sure how much I miss it, but I do miss it.
On the other hand, my life here is fun and easy, and that is pretty darn cool. I have a pretty standard 9 to 5 schedule, but the job is easy and fun. I don't work Fridays. When I have the money, I can hop on a plane and fly to any one of about 15 countries in a matter of 2 hours and see something new and exciting. I get to speak Spanish everyday, and my Spanish is getting much better. I have lots of great friends that I enjoy spending time with. I love the food here.
There are tons of things about this life that I am currently living that I really enjoy, which is why it is so odd as to why I can't figure out what I want to do next year. I have been looking at jobs in the States, just to see what is out there, and the answer is, "not much." I have applied for a few things, but they have all pretty much laughed in my face and wiped their you-know-whats what my resume. I did manage to snag a few phone interviews, but I quickly found a way to sophomorically stumble through those and utterly smash any chance of those companies calling me back.
I met a guy when I was in Valencia that gave me some life advice. He is a late-30s, once successful businessman who has been very lucky in his life. After making his cash and living the life, he decided to give it all up and travel the world doing charity work. He said that the key is to live in the moment. Now, of course, I have heard this a million times before from just about everyone I've ever come in contact with, but for some reason, this guy just seemed to mean it more. He said that when someone is talking to me, I should truly surrender myself and listen, consciously fighting the urge to develop my response to what they are saying instead of actually listening to their words. He said that when I am outside walking around that I should just stop sometimes, look around, and try to notice things that I would normally not focus on, the color of the sky, the sound of a distant conversation, the chill of the wind that reminds me that I am one of the lucky ones who is still alive. He said that if I make it a habit to live in the moment, the moments in which I live will be enhanced, intensified. I won't have the desire to think about the past or future because the present will be too captivating.
I have been trying to follow this guy's advice and surprisingly with some success. Of course, I can't completely surrender my future to chance, and I have to consider it on some level, but I don't have to let it dictate my present. I have been working on enjoying my life as I live it, trying not to be too regretful or anticipatory. Applying this logic to my what-to-do-next-year problem, I have been reminding myself that I have plenty of time to decide or to let my life decide it for me. 'Next year' isn't until September, which means I don't have to decide until shortly before. I will figure out what I want to do somehow, and if I don't figure it out, then I will make a choice and deal with it either way. Bottom line is, next year is just that, next year. And, no matter what I choose, I will learn from my experience and be better for it in some capacity.
I recently turned 25 and had a nice tranquil evening to celebrate. I had dinner with 15 or so friends and was surprised by a homemade cake with candles. It was the first time I've blown out birthday cake candles in quite some time.
I am open to any and all comments, so feel free to say something. (Don't feel pressured by that comment to say something. I just know that lots of people read this but usually don't comment. I know people think things as they read, and I would be glad to read your thoughts. Again, no pressure, but feel free.)
Turtles are funny.
Sweet tea is tasty.
I miss delicious chicken wings...American style with crazy sauces and ranch for dipping, not the weird Spanish kind.
Baseball season is starting soon.
I miss Wrigley Field being my next door neighbor.
I drink a lot of apple juice.
I'm drinking apple juice right now.
Out of the carton.
Cups are for sissies.
Since I've been in Spain, I bet I have eaten more spaghetti than you have had in your entire lifetime.
Spaghetti is cheap.
Life is good.