Somewhere between July and August I fell off the blogging bandwagon.
Where the heck did this fall take place?
Last summer I was back in Arkansas for nearly 3 months, and writing about Spain became harder and harder. I had returned to the US to process a new visa that would allow me to live with Andres in Spain, but unfortunately this meant spending several months apart during our first year of marriage. I missed my old life in Madrid, and it was disheartening to read blogs about life abroad. Although I know that living abroad isn’t always a constant parade of non-stop activity, it became easy to romanticize from afar.
Exploring Petit Jean State Park during Andres’ visit to the US
At my parents’ house in Arkansas
Excuses, excuses, excuses
My lack of desire to blog wasn’t helped by my summer job, a freelancing gig. After being connected to my laptop for several hours a day for work, I wanted to do anything but keep pattering away on my laptop . And oh, there were so many additional excuses. “I’m back in the States! I need to enjoy all of the things I can’t do in Spain!” Such as… “I need to hang out with friends and family, enjoy the calm pace of rural life. I need to catch up on American trends like Netflix and coloring books and Cards Against Humanity!”
Catching up with friends over brunch–how American!
Revisiting my college town
At least, this is what I told myself at the time. But the real reason I stopped blogging? I got out of the habit of writing and reflecting. I stopped taking pictures. And then, as the weeks rolled by, it became harder and harder to get in touch with the creative side of myself. It was so much easier to focus on the worrisome questions of, “What happens if my reagrupación visa doesn’t get approved?”
And then, miraculously, an email arrived from the Houston consulate saying that I could come pick up my visa. I was going back to my old life, which had changed in so many ways over the summer. Or was it me who had changed?
The day I came back to Madrid, the city was uncharacteristically overcast. Andres took the morning off from work so that he could see me home from the airport. Our apartment seemed so tiny after 3 months in the wide open spaces of rural Arkansas, but at the same time it held so much promise. The exciting, prickly question became: Where to go from here? Creativity took a backseat to more day-to-day issues.
Over the summer I had given myself a “Get-Out-Of-Blogging-Free” card with the expectation that I would slip back into blogging again once I got to Madrid. But it wasn’t that easy. First of all, the paperwork just didn’t stop. There were the health care and residency cards, plus bank account woes and phone frustrations. This refresher course in Spanish bureaucracy hardly inspired inspiration, and I told myself, “I’ll blog later when I’m settled in.”
In addition, the job search consumed a lot of my time and energy. I wanted to move away from classroom teaching while still working in education, and this task felt rather daunting. When I did find a job, plunging into uncharted territory came with a steep learning curve. Then the excuse became: “I’ll start blogging when I get settled in my new job.”
Looking forward (and blogging)
So here I am, several months later, with no excuses. I’ve missed the community I had with fellow bloggers. I missed the travel tales as well as the anecdotes about everyday life. I missed the recommendations, feedback, and virtual nods of “I’ve been there, too.” I missed living vicariously through others and seeing the parallel threads that run through all of our tales.
And I’ve had, more and more, that inner buzz telling me, “Ohhh, you should write about the excitement of getting your first cesta de navidad! And what about that day trip you took to Chinchón? Or how, when you checked into your hotel in Logroño, the hotel manager burst out singing ‘Ayer la vi, bailando por allí’?” I’ve missed that creative, nagging voice asking me to share such stories. It feels good to be back.
Chinchón setting up an arena for the bulls
Many thanks for sticking with me and reading this post. Going forward, you can expect some changes here at Gee, Cassandra. There will be less about teaching English and more about daily life as a guiri in Spain. I’m in a new stage of my life abroad, and this blog will reflect those shifts. In addition, I’ve been mulling over some ideas of how I can incorporate aspects of community on the blog–stay tuned!
I also wanted to get your input as to which type of posts you enjoy. If you would take the following survey–with just 10 questions–I would really appreciate your input. It will help me figure out which direction to take this blog. Gracias!