Anticipation: Or, 9 Ways to Maintain One’s Sanity While Waiting for the Carta…

If you’re reading this, and you’re like me, you’ve signed on to be a participant in the North American Language and Culture Assistants Program–which means you get to spend (at least) 9 months lazing about working in Spain, the glorious land of sun, sangría, and seseo!!…

Charlie Brown Christmas--Dancing...

…Get happy like these two!!…

However, just because your head is clear of any doubts, and you’re now officially headed to España, doesn’t mean that the anxiousness ends here…You see, after accepting their positions in the program, all auxiliares wait to receive their carta de nombramiento (letter of placement) via e-mail and/or snail mail, which informs them as to a) what exact city or pueblo they’re in, and b) which school(s) they’ve been assigned to, as well as the contact information of their coordinators/administrators…Depending on which region you’re in, the timeframe in which you receive your carta varies–for instance, people in Andalucía have been getting theirs since late May/early June, while people in my region, Aragón, have to wait until mid-July…

As you can see, all of this waiting can be very nerve-wracking for us auxiliares–especially because we need our cartas to be able to apply for our visas…Hence, the emotional response to this waiting game ranges from

Sad Spongebob...

…melancholy, pensive contemplation and expectation (“Everyone’s sharing their assignments, and I’m here, waiting for my carta.”), to…

Tell_me_loki

…abject rage, frustration, angst, and impatience (like Loki, here)…

Yes, friends–’tis trying sometimes…However, here’s some things that you can do to beat the I-need-my-carta blues!!…

1) Get used to waiting–As someone who’s previously lived in Spain for a short stint, and who’s had a little taste of the pleasure that is Spanish bureaucracy, I can tell you right now that waiting is something that you’ll have to get used to, sweethearts…Think about it: If you’re throwing hissy fits about not receiving what you need when you want it, you’re in for a rude awakening!!…

2) Brush up on your Spanish–O.K., now this is a no-brainer: While it’s true that the larger cities/more-touristy (Madrid, Sevilla, San Sebastián) will have a lot more people who speak/understand English than, say, a pueblo, in general, Spaniards are WAAAAAAY behind other European peoples when it comes to English proficiency (hence, why we’re here!!), and would you really want to get into the apartment hunt/bank account set-up/phone thing knowing ZERO castellano???…

If you’re a rookie, I know that there are plenty of websites/apps/classes you could sign-up for to help establish a basic knowledge (such as Loquo and StudySpanish.com)…For former serious students of the language (like myself), bust out your old grammar books and start reviewing!!…And this goes out to everybody–try practicing your oral/aural comprehension by speaking with native speakers (either in your hometown or via Conversation Exchange), watching the Spanish-language news, and tuning in to your favorite tunes (whether it’s Juanes, Pitbull, or Daddy Yankee), flicks (También la lluvia, Hable con ella, and Volver are favorites of mine), and, of course, telenovelas (I just started watching En otra piel)!!…

En_otra_piel

3) Start reading blogs–Perusing the blogs of current/former auxiliares is a good way to get information about the program, the ups and downs of expat life, and how to get settled in Spain (what with apartments, bank accounts, phones, and what not)…Here’s some really good ones!!:

A Texan in Spain–Trevor is on his third go around with the program, having spent his first year in Úbeda, Andalucía, and his second (soon-to-be third) year in Boiro, Galicia…

Travels Untranslated–Olivia has spent the past year in Madrid, doing the program by way of CIEE…

Young Adventuress–Liz was an auxiliar for 2 years, and has written a lot of great posts with us n00bs in mind!!…

Venga, Vale, Vamos–Kirstie is another veteran of the program, having done a year in Madrid, and a year in Sevilla…

Mapless Mike–Mike’s another first-year (just like so many of us) who’s heading towards dat Spanish wine country, otherwise known as La Rioja!!…

4) Start your own blog!!–What better way to document your current triumphs and tribulations and joys and tears for years to come than to write them all down in a nice, theraputic blog–after all, they’re free and easy to set up with sites like WordPress (the best [of course I’m biased]), Blogger, and Tumblr!!…

blogging-cat

…If this precious kitty can do it, so can you!!…

5) Sketch out your vacations!!–Think about it: With 2 weeks vacation at Christmas roughly 10 days around Easter, and countless regional holidays and labor strikes in between, you’re going to have to plan your little excursions sooner or later, so why not research the heck out of potential destinations, transportation(s), and accomodations now with the help of sites like Lonely Planet, Skyscanner, and The Man in Seat 61???…

suitcase-passport-and-map

Adventure awaits!!…

6) Entertain yourself with the Facebook groups–They say misery loves company, and what better company than hundreds of other anxious young people in the exact same boat as you–hence, the Facebook groups make for some seriously cathartically-satisfying spaces to vent, ask questions, and receive answers…

But BE WARNED, children: While these groups are a good means of finding the answers you seek to the queries you have, do note that when people ask the same 50 million questions that have a clear-cut answer in the manual, frustrations rise, tempers flare, and flame wars are waged…Therefore, my advice is to READ. THE. MANUAL. before asking anything, unless you want to receive biting reproach (or unless you [like me] find these online skirmishes humorous)…

7) Browse potential apartments–I know this is really early, considering that I don’t even know my city of placement, but I’ve already been skimming through piso ads on EasyPiso, Idealista, and PisoCompartido, just to get a sense of prices…It’s probably smart to set up an account with each of these sites at least a month in advance of actually going over to Spain, just to get the jump on the apartment hunt…

8) Check your e-mail/mailboxes regularly–O.K., I know this is really counter-productive, but it’s not like you’re not doing it already as it is!!…

Inside the mailbox

…Soon, it will come…

9) Enjoy being with friends and family–You only have 2-3 months to have them around you constantly, and while they can visit, there’s nothing like being able to hug and hold your loved ones now, while their in your vicinity, :-)…

Any other useful tips for us soon-to-be auxiliares???…Are there any other poor souls in my predicament???…

Oh, and don’t forget (I’m social!!):

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20 thoughts on “Anticipation: Or, 9 Ways to Maintain One’s Sanity While Waiting for the Carta…

  1. I definitely know the pain of the waiting game, I’m currently waiting on my CAS so I can apply for my student visa to go to London. Ugh, so nerve wrecking!

  2. The Globe Trotter Diaries

    You are handling all the waiting so well! Fingers crossed you get your assignment soon and can focus on the visa. Good luck!!

  3. It sounds like a great adventure, Betty 🙂 I guess your blogging time will decrease when you’re finally ‘in situ’? Roughly when do you expect that to be?

  4. Pingback: Tedium: Or, Applying For A Spanish Student Visa At The Washington D.C. Consulate… | The Pumpkin's Head

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