It’s May 31st, so I’ve officially spent two years in Barcelona today. It’s a little over two years since I graduated college with big dreams of living in a cool European city. So what’s changed over the past 2 years?
I’ve traveled more than I expected.
From day trips to pretty medieval Girona to weekend jaunts to Salamanca to week-long party cruises to Ibiza, I’ve suddenly gotten quite a taste for traveling around Spain. It’s fascinating to really travel around a country in depth. There’s still so much I haven’t seen in Spain – País Vasco, La Tomatina and San Fermines festivals, and more of Castilla y León are on my list.
My social life clicked.
Moving to a new city is hard. I hadn’t anticipated that; I was used to school, where it’s practically impossible not to meet people. Add into that mix a super stressful year, and I wasn’t feeling very social. But finally, something clicked, and now I meet and hang out with the kind of people I was hoping to be friends with – smart, interesting, sociable, and adventurous.
I finally found a job I like.
Teaching English abroad is the default option for lots of new college grads who want to travel and don’t have defined career goals yet. It can definitely be a good choice for some people….but for me, it was not a good fit. I haven’t talked much about this, but let’s just say between flaky academies, power-tripping language directors, and difficult students (one word: Alzheimer’s), I got burnt out on teaching English pretty fast.
Luckily, I fell into a fun job that I like. I translate a Spanish celebrity gossip site for teens, plus write content in English and test out games. Yep, that’s right – I read celebrity gossip and play online games for work. It sounds like something out of a sitcom, and people occasionally think I’m joking about my job.
On top of that, I freelance for magazines, which is something that I actually enjoy a lot. Seeing your name and work in print feels so cool! I got really lucky with my job search this time around.
Just so you’re not too envious of my job, it does require some tiresome specialist knowledge, like being able to:
- Identify and locate every single one of Justin Bieber‘s tattoos
- Distinguish all five members of One Direction (Harry Styles is the cutest one!)
- Keep up to date on Miley Cyrus‘s ever-changing relationship status with Liam Hemsworth.
None of those pieces of knowledge are impressive or even interesting at parties (unless Liam himself is at the party in question. In that case I would be very interested to know what his current relationship status is).
I got my official introduction to the “real world.”
When I graduated college, I figured I was taking advantage of my time to travel and have fun. I thought it would buy me time to think about what I really wanted to do, and I thought I was unstoppable. And to be fair, that was all the people around me told me too.
That wasn’t how it turned out.
Maybe some people would throw out the word “entitled” here. I don’t think that’s really the right way to describe it. I didn’t believe that I was owed anything. I didn’t think things would magically fall into place. But nobody told me how hard things could be. Nobody even suggested it would be hard – they just said I was so smart, my future was bright, and that I could do anything I wanted.
I learned pretty fast that sometimes you get a bunch of bad luck at one time, and sometimes there’s nothing you can do about it. It was hard seeing my dream of moving to Barcelona become a nightmare. It was even harder to realize that sometimes working hard, trying your best, and being kind isn’t enough…no matter what I’d always been told.
I started my blog the same way almost everyone else does; I was studying abroad and wanted to share my adventures. Like any good study abroad student, I’d ditched the blog by mid-October. When I moved back to Barcelona, I posted a few scattered entries. I really started posting regularly a little over a year ago. This time, it’s stuck.
I have been absolutely shocked and thrilled by the positive response. It’s helped me come out of my shell, grow more confident, develop new skills, and really take advantage of my time here.
It’s also been a huge confidence booster after the tough year I had. I know there are much more successful blogs, but this has honestly surpassed my craziest fantasies about my blog. I’m still kind of taken aback – me?? When people encourage me to shoot for even bigger goals, my first reaction is always “Um…are you sure you’re talking to the right girl?” But they are!
I’m excited to see where things go from here. I have a few things on the horizon that I’m really stoked to see come together, and I’ll be sharing updates with you soon. 🙂
So a HUGE HUGE HUGE thank you to everybody who’s been following my adventures and misadventures in Barcelona! It’s been incredible to get so much support from people and positive feedback. It really has changed my year, and who knows where it will lead in another year? It might sound cheesy but it’s true!
I’ll be partying with a bunch of my friends at a theme party tomorrow night, and I can think of no better way to celebrate. One more time – muchas gracias to everyone! Here’s to another year of traveling onwards and upwards.
(And Spain, if you could also make summer get here faster, I would be even happier. 🙂 )
Gracias y besos!