I put blogging on hold (and I missed it!)

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?

 

Looking back

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.


New Year’s Eve, December 2015

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.
Blogging about Chinchon: coming soon

Chinchón setting up an arena for the bulls

The survey

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!

 

I’ll be back next time with details about a wine-soaked trip to La Rioja, Spain. Hasta pronto!

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19 Comments

  1. So glad to see you back in the blogosphere! I’m happy to read that you are settled back into life. Even the slightest bumps in the road can drive us off course. It seems these days like finding our way back onto the road takes longer and gets more difficult. You are not alone! I miss you and look forward to reading about your adventures; although I’d prefer to hear about them over a cafe con leche or a vino tinto. xx

    • Cassandra

      Thanks for the kind words! Life does veer off-course from time to time–thanks for letting me know that you can relate.

      Let me know your availability and we will meet up for coffee or vino!

  2. I can totally relate to this post! I have had blips in my blogging history too, but I think most readers understand and enjoy your comeback! Keep up the great work!

    • Cassandra

      Thanks Kim, I appreciate the words of encouragement. It’s great to be back!

  3. Good to have you back, Cassandra, and I’m very happy if I’ve helped inspire you in some way. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next.

    • Cassandra

      Many thanks, Daniel. And thank you for the book and video recs while I was out of the blogging game!

  4. Great to see you back! I’m currently in work-excuse-mode…

    • Cassandra

      Thanks, Kate 🙂 I’ve been following your Spain adventures on Instagram lately, and you are doing so much traveling for work! Good luck with juggling work + hobbies–I know it is not easy.

  5. Seeing you back was great was to start my Sunday! I was wondering when I’d see a new post just this week. Can’t wait to read more!

    • Cassandra

      Wow, thank you Ashley! All of these words of encouragement have been so motivating. We’ll keep in touch–I enjoy reading your Spanish posts and catching up on all things Burgos 🙂

  6. Good to see you back! It sucks when life gets in the way 😉

    • Cassandra

      Thank you, Linda 🙂 Ha, that ‘ole life character can be a rough one at times. You are one of the most consistent bloggers I know: what is your secret?! Thanks for the kind words!

  7. Nice having you back! I can relate to the paperwork (ugh, thought I was over that…) and being apart for long stretches during the early days of my marriage, too. But I’m here and he’s away! I’ve been using it to take stock on other projects and visit with friends. Enjoy the transition, and come by for wine some time!

    • Cassandra

      Gracias, Cat! It’s true that these struggles aren’t a unique thing–it’s good to be reminded of that from time to time.

      Let me know whenever you come to Madrid, I would love to catch up and hear about your current projects! I was in Sevilla a few weeks ago but it was just for a night, unfortunately. We’ll be in touch!

  8. Yay, I’m glad to have you back 🙂 I can totally empathize with you though. Ever since I found out I wouldn’t be staying in Cambodia (months and months ago) I completely stopped being inspired to blog. And then when I found out I’d be moving to Beijing I was just so overwhelmed with life and underwhelmed with blogging that I kind of just stopped blogging as much. I had the same excuses — I’ll blog more later, when I’m more settled. Eh, I think all bloggers go through a funk like this sooner or later. But I’m glad the inspiration has hit you again. I think it’s hit me too 😉

    • Cassandra

      Thanks for commenting and sharing your experience, Justine. It is so helpful to be reminded that this–the funk!–happens to everyone. I’m very glad that we are both back on the blogging bandwagon 🙂

  9. Hooray! Welcome back! I’ve missed your refreshing voice and laughing along with your colorful anecdotes. But I think those are all legitimate reasons to fall off the blogging bandwagon, and sometimes you just do what you gotta do! Putting an online presence on hold in order to be present in real life is a-okay in my book. We’re all happy to have you back though 😉

    • Cassandra

      Thank you so much, Courtney! It was interesting to put blogging on hold for a while and explore other interests; the distance gave me a new perspective, but I’m also very glad to be back to creating this space. Hooray!

  10. welcome back! isn’t it funny all those feelings around blogging – the shoulds and the nagging, but also the longing for it…and especially the community!! good luck with all of the newness….looking forward to reading about it!!

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