Mi Verano Español (My Spanish Summer)

All plans are subject to change.  I can hear my grandmother saying it to me, time and time again.  I took it as more of a cute Jayne-ism sing-song phrase than a way of living, but this summer, it has been my mantra.

If you read my last post, you can see that my summer plans involved (respectively): Paris, three and a half weeks at a farm in Marbella, a few days in Belgium, a couple days in New York City, a wedding in Colorado, a final hoorah in Paris, then Kuwait.  Each step of the journey made sense and I was pleased with the agenda I had created.  However, yes, all plans are subject to change.  I’ve been in Europe for two weeks, and this is shorthand for the way my summer has been: Paris; four days at a farm near Marbella; two days of vacation in the lovely beach town of Marbella; three days in Tangiers (Morocco); two days in a city I fell in love with, Granada, Spain, and I have been staying with a 71 year old Spanish man on his farm in the province of Toledo for five days.  I plan on staying here for about three more weeks before spending a night in Madrid, then flying from Madrid to Paris, then out of Paris to Kuwait.  Some of the changes in my plans I had nothing to do with, so I’m not going to go into detail about those.  Instead, I’m going to explain the modifications that I decided to make and discuss why I think life is better lived with the philosophy of living in the present, feeling things out as you go, and not being a slave to ideas you had in the past about what would make you happy now.

Paris, a city like no other.

Paris, a city like no other.

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Summertime

I think that life, God, fate, whatever you want to call it, gives us only what we can handle.  In high school, the most I had to balance was homework, friends, choir, and swimming, and it felt like that was a lot.  While in college, I juggled a part-time job at a restaurant and my studies, and felt like that was plenty.  Then, after graduating, I managed to hold three different jobs, which kept me on my toes.  I thought that my life in Ecuador would be relaxing, that I would learn to live like a Latino and enjoy more leisure time, but it turned out I had gotten involved in a well-intentioned, but under-staffed and unorganized, non-profit that needed a lot of administrative assistance, so I stepped up.  Balancing my own teaching there with helping out the organization, trying to improve my Spanish, carefully interacting with my infamous host mother so as to not unintentionally upset her, spending time with friends, and traveling around that lovely country took up much more time than I ever imagined it would, and yes, I felt busy.  However, nothing can compare to the busyness I have felt in the last ten months of my life.  (I say this knowing that some of my friends tackled the first year of teaching while being mothers, wives, and even taking Master’s level classes.  I honestly don’t know how they do it!)  After a year like the one I’ve had, I am appreciative of summer break.

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