Todo, I don’t think we’re in Spain anymore

“The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G. K. Chesterton

Returning home after so long an absence is a strange sensation. I wholeheartedly agree with the quote above. I’m back in the house I grew up in, in the city I know like the back of my hand. Everything is the same, of course, but everything is different. It’s almost as if I forgot how to live here.

I’ve been home for about a week and a half and am still surprised every day by little hints that I’m not in Spain anymore. I try bagging my own groceries before realizing someone is paid to do that for me. I do a double take when I see a clock that says 3:00 when it’s supposed to say 15:00. When flushing the toilet I’m startled to find a lever on the side rather than a button on top or a chain to pull. At restaurants I start thinking about asking for the check twenty minutes before I want it only to find it already sitting on the table. I forget that when I order I have to specify exactly how I want it cooked, what condiments, and what side dishes. If tomorrow is Sunday and I want to do something mildly productive, that’s okay! Businesses will actually be open.

But most of all, people speak ENGLISH. All of them. Random ones I overhear at the store. Customers at work. People on TV (The Simpsons are back in English!). I’m used to turning my head every time I hear English, because in Málaga odds are I know the person. Not quite the case back here.

I’m slowly adjusting and things are becoming more normal. Maybe by the time I go back to Spain in September I’ll have made the transition, only to start the process all over again in my other “home.”

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4 Responses to Todo, I don’t think we’re in Spain anymore

  1. Kelly says:

    Hi Amy, I found your blog when searching for more info on teaching English in Spain. I'm Canadian, and have been thinking about teaching in Spain for about a year now. I have a business degree, however I'm not TEFL certified. What was your experience like applying for jobs and visas? How long was the process of applying and preparing for Spain? Did you go through a recruiting agency? Are there any websites you recommend I read?Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!Thanks,Kelly

  2. Amy says:

    Hi Kelly!This is the program I'm in:http://www.educacion.gob.es/exterior/usa/en/programs/us_assistants/default.shtmlYou don't need any kind of TEFL certification, just a bachelors and intermediate Spanish (but even that's negotiable). It's completely free too!Let me know if you have any questions about it!

  3. thisblonde says:

    Amy I could not agree more – particularly on the restaurants and the language. What are all these people doing speaking English and running around providing outrageous customer service anyway? Seguro q we are not in Spain any more!

  4. Camille says:

    Hi Amy,I really enjoyed reading your blog. I am headed to Malaga with CIEE in September and have been reading the Malaga blogs to get some insight. I am a San Diegan and appreciate the details of your blog (namely, Mexican food and flip flops 😉 I studied abroad in Granada for 9 months in 2005, so I kind of know what I am in for, but I think that it will be much different as a teacher. It was interesting to read about how you felt being an assistant rather than a main teacher. I am a teacher in SD, so I think that will be an adjustment. Any recommendations for booking flights to Spain, or for finding housing?Thanks,Camillepalomanegra@gmail.com

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