Growth: 4 Ways I’ve Changed After Moving To Spain…

Today I had my last class as an auxiliar de conversación here in Zaragoza, and I’m headed back Stateside in a few weeks–cómo se va el tiempo (how time flies), indeed!!…These past 8 months have flown by, filled with highs, lows, and a lot of chuches from El Rincón (a chain of frutos secos stores based in ZGZ), and as cliché as it sounds, this experience has developed me and changed me in more ways than one…

Culinary Game On Point

I stand by what I’ve always believed about cooking: It’s fairly simple, and you just need to be able to follow instructions to get it done (and get it done right). But considering that I only receive a limited monthly stipend, it’s not like I can go out and splurge on pinchos every day, so I’ve definitely nailed down the art of preparing palatable portions (say that 3x fast) that last for a few days…Plus, there’s a variety amazingly fresh, high quality, affordable ingredients here (olive oil and garlic, anyone?), which means I’ve gotten to flex my culinary creativity muscles and make some truly beautiful dishes here!!…

happily-cooking_482

Becoming Ms. Independent

Before I continue writing, I must point out that I have not made this transition here in Spain by pulling myself by my own bootstraps: I’ve had the amazing support of God’s grace, friends, and coworkers (special shoutout to my tutora, María José!), who have always been there to help me through the nonsense that is Spanish bureaucracy, lend me an ear whenever I have to vent about something (probably the bureaucracy), and invite me over for dinner whenever I need to take my mind off things (again, bureacracy)…

However, I can definitely say that this jaunt in Spain has definitely helped me become more self-sufficient: I used to be absolutely terrified at the idea of taking the bus anywhere by myself; I didn’t know how to cope with the idea of grocery shopping without the luxury of having a car to lug everything around; The mere idea of handling my own finances, instead of leaning on my parents for everything, terrified me. Now, I can easily catch the bus from Carrefour, my arms schlepping bags that are close to bursting, and make it to my BBVA branch before they close at a quarter past 2…Progress, people!!…

Being The Ambassador

I’m not overemphasizing the importance of my position at my school, but it is kind of eye-opening to think that I’m the first U.S.-born auxiliar ever to work at my school, and for most of my students, I’m probably the first North American Person/Woman of Color that they have ever interacted with…I suppose it’s only natural, then, that they’ve asked me questions about various aspects of the Black American experience, i.e. the disproportionate incarceration rates…In a way, it’s fascinating (and rather touching) how they value my perspectives on these things–it shows an open-mindedness that I really admire…

Betty, The Teacher?

Now, I’m not going to lie to you–the main reason I decided to become an auxiliar de conversación is that I wanted to return to España, which has had a special place in my heart ever since I studied here 2 years ago…However, I definitely can say that I’ve enjoyed my time working here at the Escuela Oficial de Idiomas #1…Yes, there have been days where I’ve been a little frustrated, and some of my students have been a lot less willing to cooperate with me…

But, I’ve really come to appreciate the beautiful complexity found in my native tongue, and I definitely give props to all my students for putting in the effort to learn it…Plus, it feels awesome to see how much they progress over the term–I feel like I’ve helped to do some good, here!…Perhaps my feelings about the profession will change next year while I’m at some colegio or instituto in Madrid (God help me), but I’m semi-seriously considering becoming an EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teacher, now…

Grammar-GIF

Even though this year has not exactly gone as I have expected, I’m so happy with all the personal growth and maturation that I have undergone, and I can’t wait to see how España changes me after another year!…

Over to you, fellow auxiliares: How have you changed this year???…

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6 thoughts on “Growth: 4 Ways I’ve Changed After Moving To Spain…

  1. Tom Phillips

    Betty, we’re all very proud of you here at WFU! Stop by when you return!

    Dr. P and everyone in 102 Reynolda Hall

  2. I agree with you here. This is my second year in Spain and last year i was an assistant and this year a teacher in an academy and I agree that we learn to manage our finances, look for our own place and cook for ourselves. It’s kind of exhilarating. Great post Betty!

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