I’m Not….

•February 21, 2018 • Leave a Comment

So I have spent a lot of time when I post here talking about the things I want to do.  I am famous for making lists of all the things I hope to accomplish in a given time frame.  More often than not, these goals go unfulfilled as I let the world around me distract me from what I want to do.  That may be the case, or I may just be lazy, I’m not sure which.  In either case, today instead of talking about what I will do because it seems I rarely follow through on those commitments, I would prefer to talk about the things I won’t do.  That being said, let the non-list making begin.

Before I go too far, I just want to add a few minor details I suppose.  First of all, my intention today and everyday henceforth is to be more positive about my situation.  It is really no secret that I am not terribly happy living in Spain, but a lot of that has little or nothing to do with Spain, it just happens that’s where I am when my problems come and go.  And when I say problems, they may in fact be tangible things, but I have realized recently that really, my problems are all in my head, or at least that’s where I let them lie.  I have spent too much time allowing these irrational fears control my actions and more importantly my emotions.  As of today, I am saying “no more.”  Now, I have had moments like this before in my life, moments in which I felt as if I had hit rock bottom and the only thing left to do was climb back up.  I swore the last time this happened that I would not let it happen again, but somehow life has a not so funny way of knocking you on your ass time and time again.  Sure, I have been guilty of questioning why it seems my life has been singled out to be more difficult than others, but that’s not fair.  There are a lot of miserable people in this world and a lot of folks who have been dealt a bad hand.  Sure, I get knocked around quite a bit, but when I stop to dust myself off, I realize perhaps I don’t have it so bad and I just need to chug along and maybe, just maybe, things will get a little brighter in time.  So, what is it I’m not going to do?

I’m not going to wake up every morning with a negative attitude.  Too many days have come and gone with me dreading the dawn.  I’m not going to fear what the day may bring.  I am lucky to open my eyes every morning.  I am lucky to have a woman who loves me and a baby who smiles when she sees me.  I’m not going to deny the happiness that brings me.

I’m not going to let fear control me anymore.  What am I afraid of really?  I let social fears, shyness dictate where I go, who I talk to, and how I live my life.  I’m not living my life, I’m letting it pass me by.  I’m not going to waste anymore time.  Yes, due to circumstances, I am home alone quite a bit.  I’m not going to sit here in bitter silence anymore.  I’m not going to complain I am trapped.  I am here because right now I have to be, but that does not mean I can not be productive or do the tings I want to do.  I have goals and things I want to accomplish.  I’m not going to let procrastination and self doubt prevent me from being who I want to be.  I’m not going to shy away from a challenge anymore.  All this time, waiting to start a job, I have been afraid, afraid I will not do a good job, afraid I will not be able to communicate with the employees or the customers, afraid that my anxiety will prevent me from taking the train everyday.  I’m not going to let those thoughts rule me any longer.  I don’t know where it came from or why it lives in me, but I will conquer my fears and not allow anything to stop me from living.  Yes, I want to go home, and yes I want to see my family and friends, but I’m not going to let my homesickness keep me from enjoying the time I have with my wife and daughter.  I’m not going to let my little girl grow up with a miserable father.

I’m not going to be negative about my situation anymore.  I am here because I chose to be here.  No one made the decision for me.  I came here with the hopes that I could make a better life for my wife and me.  Yes, it has been difficult, and in those difficult times I have questioned if I made the right choice, but when I think about what our lives would be like if I had not had the courage to come here, well it tears me apart.  I can’t imagine a day without my wife and daughter and to think I made the wrong choice is a terrible thought to have.  I’m not going to regret my choices.  We all have to make choices and we all have to accept the consequences that come with those choices.  Yes, I gave up a lot to be here, but I have gained a lot as well.  Today may not be perfect, but we’re getting there.  That being said, I will neither dwell on the past nor fear the future.  What’s done is done and I am here because of that.  Maybe my decisions were not always the wisest, but I would not change anything I have done.  It made me who I am.  I think often about the future, but I need to stop daydreaming about the life I want and start making it happen.  I have to live in the moment.  Instead of dreaming about being a published author, I need to get back to writing. *Kind of why I am here today*  If I want to speak better Spanish, I need to talk to people, not think about who I may talk to tomorrow.  I want to move back to the United States.  Well, instead of imagining the flight home, I need to plan how we’re going to get there.

One more thing I am not going to do.  I’m not going to fix everything in one day.  I’m not going to wake up tomorrow with the perfect life.  I have to live day by day by day and do the things I have to do that day to make things better.  Step by step, little by little, I can do this.  I just need to focus.  I’m not going to give up.


Can I Do It?

•January 16, 2018 • Leave a Comment

In my last entry, I basically sat here and went off on a little tantrum over my dissatisfaction with my current situation.  I wrote more or less stream of thought and did little editing, hoping to get all of my feelings onto the page so maybe I could look it over and figure out just what the hell I am doing with my life.  As I write this, I have seven tabs open in Google Chrome and three of them are blogs of mine.  Actively, I write in three blogs, but if you count those I started in my heyday of language learning, I have at least seven active blogs.  I complain about not knowing what to do with my life, but I wonder if the answer has been sitting here in front of me all along and I was just too blind or naive to see it.  Look, it’s no secret that when I need to express myself, I do it in writing, and I would like to think I do it fairly well.  If you look at the topics of my blogs, it becomes plain to see that I also enjoy learning languages and offering my advice to others on how to learn languages, even if I am no expert.  It dawned on me this morning that if I am going to follow my advice and “do what I love,” I should be looking for opportunities to write and utilize my love of languages as a forum.  Now, if only it were that simple, I would already be established and making money, but as it is, I have spent too much time and too much energy thinking about it and not doing anything about it.  Today would be another prime example.  That being said, I think I have at least started the ball rolling, in my head at least.  I am hoping to develop my ideas and see where it takes me.

One of my greatest flaws is being a defeatist.  If something does not go my way, or something comes along and stands in my way I tend to think, “Oh well, that’s the end of that, let’s move on,” but really that’s not the way it should be.  Let me explain briefly.

I have been waiting on a job for over two months now.  It is a managerial position in a café, which on the surface is a great opportunity.  I have always dreamed of owning  my own coffee shop (more on that later) and this is an excellent way to not only learn the ropes of running a coffee business, but a huge chance to improve my Spanish speaking ability.  As much as this sounds like a golden ticket, I have reservations.  Why?  Well, because I am crazy, first of all, but also because it is going to take away from my time to study languages here at home.  Wait.  You say I am going crazy at home?  Yes, this is true, however, if given the chance to learn other languages and have an income, I would jump at the opportunity.  Here’s where the defeatist part comes in.

I have been sulking and avoiding studying other languages for the simple fact that looming in the distance is the fact I will have to start working and this is going to keep me out of the house for almost the entire day and when I come home it will be too late to spend time on learning Portuguese or Italian.  I started feeling dread about starting this job as it was going to suck out what little fun I had during the day.  Then I realized how stupid that is.  OK we all work jobs we don’t like at some point in our lives, or have schedules that keep us fro doing the things we love, but that does not mean it has to be permanent.  In my foolish mind, everything is permanent and nothing can be changed.  That’s ridiculous.  While yes, I need to get going on this job as I desperately need an income, there is no reason I can not work on finding some other type of employment that will allow me to do what it is I truly enjoy.  Maybe I will have to work for a few months or even a few years at this café, but so what?  It doesn’t mean I can’t find a way to work for what I enjoy.

Since being approached to publish my story with Fluent In Three Months, I can’t help but fantasize of working for their site and earning an income talking about and encouraging language learning.  I do believe learning multiple languages is a necessary skill in today’s society and I think it is important to encourage young people to become multi-lingual.  I don’t know exactly what kind of a job I could find with the website, but I am eager to ask.  I have to wait until they publish my story, which could be at any time, and then I need to see what kind of a reaction it gets.  I don’t know who will read my story and who will react, but I have this hope that I will at least start to make some connections in the language learning community and hopefully this will lead to something more.  Sure, I love writing here for my own benefit, but if I could share my thoughts with the world, that would be amazing.  I am not looking to get rich nor do I have any desire to be famous.  I would just like to spend my days doing something I like doing.

I don’t want to delve too deeply into the ideas I have had for language learning and how I would like to use it, but needless to say, I think I could really do a good job if given the right tools.  Right now, the few things that are holding me back are the resources I feel I need to do what I want to do.  Yeah, ambiguous, I know, but I don’t want to give too much away.

The other thing I keep floating through my thoughts is my coffee shop. As I said, it has always been a dream of mine to own my own place and I am hoping somehow, someway, I will find a way to open it.  I want it to be in the U.S. and I want to also use it as a venue to encourage language learning.  Again, I have quite a few ideas of how I would like to do this, but I don’t want to give it all away here just yet.

In any case, hopefully today is the start of something more.  Hopefully today is more than just another day.  Let’s see how it goes.



They Say “Do What You Love”

•January 12, 2018 • Leave a Comment

I’ve been living in Spain for two years, floundering through my life, wasting day after day hoping to find my calling.  I have been unemployed the majority of my time here and I have not taken advantage of my opportunities here in Europe.  I am tired of passing each and every day wondering when something better is going to come along.  I am tired of being a loser.  I have not always done great things in my life, but I have always had high ambitions.  Sometimes it is too easy to settle for the first thing to come along, but I am learning that to be truly happy, to find what it is that is going to get you through life, you have to find what you love to do and simply do it.  I know, that’s easier said than done, but I can not go on living like this.  I can not go on passing each and every day alone in the house, fantasizing of a better life for me and my wife.  I need to find it and do it and I can not wait any longer.

It is supremely aggravating to not know how to get what I want.  I know what I want, or at least I have an idea, but it’s like I can not find the time to make it happen.  I know that’s ridiculous as lately I have all the time in the world, but somehow I manage to avoid finding my niche.  If you asked me what it is I enjoy, it’s languages.  I enjoy speaking Spanish primarily, but I also love the idea of learning more.  If only someone would pay me to learn.  I love learning in general, but if I had the chance to spend my days teaching others how to speak in a foreign language, I think I would be satisfied.  Looking back on my life, perhaps I should have gone to college to be a language teacher.  That would have been nice, but back then, I was so turned off by the educational system in our country I loathed the idea of being a teacher.  Now, I am sort of intrigued, but it’s a little late to go back to school to be a teacher.  I certainly can not ask my wife to be the sole income earner as I galavant off to night classes to get a degree.  I suppose that will be the one thing to come back and haunt me for the rest of my life.  That being said, I am not going to let a lack of a degree stop me.  I can’t, not anymore.  I can’t continue to sit here every day without a purpose.  If this coffee shop shop doesn’t start really soon I am going to be in another financial mess (as if I were not in one already) and I can not continue to ask my mother for assistance.  I need to find a source of income and I need to find it in a field I enjoy.  Is it possible here in Spain to find a job using languages daily?  Sure the simple answer is teach English to Spanish speakers, but I am not particularly good at that.  I work with one young girl and her father, but I don’t feel I am doing much as far as advancing their skills.  I would much rather work with English speakers who want to learn Spanish (or any other language for that matter) but I don’t know if I will find an opportunity like that here in Spain.  We all know I desperately want to return to the US, but sadly I can’t see that happening in under three or four years.  If I could find some way to do what I love here in Spain, I could certainly survive a few more years here, but I can’t have three or four more years like my first two here.

I want to ask for help, but I don’t know who to turn to.  Everyone has advice but few have legitimate solutions.  I suppose I have to do the work myself, but it’s going to take a little more effort than simply repeating to myself that I need a job.  I have thought of reaching out to various online communities to seek out some help, but even there I am not entirely sure where to turn.

I am still waiting to hear back from the Fluent in Three Months site about my potential blog post and I am hoping in the recesses of my mind that I may be able to at least ask for some sort of work through them.  I know it’s a long shot, but perhaps they could at least steer me in the right direction if they don’t have anything to offer me.  In my dreams, as I toss and turn at night, I see myself posting vlogs or tutorials about languages and that seems like something I would really enjoy doing, but I don’t know if there are any opportunities like that right now.  It would be amazing to get paid to talk to other people for a living.  Maybe I just need to be more assertive.  How much longer can I go on like this?  Not long, I know that.  I want to discuss it all with my wife, but she often only sees things from a very practical point of view.  We need money and there is no time to play around.  If one option doesn’t work out we move to the next.  She doesn’t want to hear about me wanting to move back to the US, not yet anyway, so I need to find a way to talk about things with her without making her feel like I  am pressuring her to move.  We’re not ready for that anyway.

In any case, I can’t spend my day complaining here.  I need to get going, or at least start seeking the answers.  Hopefully I will come across the solution sooner rather than later.  Until next time.

365 Things

•January 3, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Every year it seems I get sucked into the trap of following everyone else’s lead of making a list of New Year’s Resolutions.  I mean, there’s really nothing wrong with making resolutions, and what better time than the new year, but I started to feel it was better to always have goals and they can be made at any point throughout the year.  Why wait until New Year’s Day to start that new diet or sign up for that gym membership?  If you have a goal, start it as soon as you think of it so you can avoid putting it off another day.  That being said, I came up with an idea and I decided it would be my New Year’s Resolution, or at least my goal to carry out throughout the year.  Actually, given what it entails, it works out well as a New Year’s Resolution and if done properly, it will be hard to break.

I decided to keep it simple.  I am going to pick something each and every day that I am thankful for or that brings joy into my life.  Sure, it can be the typical crucial elements of my life, such as my family and friends, but I want it to be more than that.  I want it to be the little things that I have that maybe other less fortunate people would envy and maybe I take for granted.  Sure, number one on the list was my daughter, and certainly there are those out there who don’t have children of their own and would envy me for that, but today, for example I said that I was thankful for my zip up hoodie that I brought from the United States because it reminds me of home.  Some days I may put something more meaningful to me, other days I may decide to put those little items that I enjoy but perhaps could live without.  I think this is a good way to put a lot of things in perspective for me.

I don’t have to tell you, as you surely could see by some of my entries here, I sometimes have a tendency to complain about my life.  Despite the many good things, I often find my self dwelling on the bad.  The last two years in Spain have been the hardest two years of my life, but instead of complaining about the bad, I should take a moment to step back and look at the good.  I left a job that, although I enjoyed, was probably destroying me.  I took a chance of leaving my home and moved to Spain, got married, and watched my beautiful daughter be born.  I have seen sites I would have never seen otherwise, and I have the chance to see so much more.  Sure, there has been stress and sure I miss home, but this is home, at least for now, and home isn’t really so bad.

My wife and I have talked a lot about getting involved with sponsoring a less fortunate child.  Any time she sees an ad for a charity that supports children in need, she asks if I would be willing to get involved with one.  I think it’s a noble cause and I think it’s something wonderful to do if we can afford it, and as I make my list of things I am thankful for (spaghetti and meatballs) I realize I shouldn’t complain too much about the life I have.

I guess my point in all of this is too once again emphasize, even if only to myself, that life is what you make of it.  We’ll talk more soon.  Oh, and for the record, my list so far is as follows:

Jan. 1st: Chloe

Jan. 2nd: Veronica

Jan. 3rd: My zip up hoodie I brought from the U.S. because it reminds me off home.

I’m not going to update the list here everyday, but I will periodically post my more recent ones.  OK, that’s all.

On Top Of The World

•December 21, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Sometime during 2014 I hit bottom.  I hit the lowest point of my life and I swore I was going to make a change.  I don’t remember all of the details, and I often try to forget them anyway, but sometimes I think I need to go back and revisit those moments to remind myself where I have come from and why I should keep going.

It wasn’t one specific moment that I can pinpoint and say, yeah, that was it, that was what did it, but I do recall how I felt during that time.  I was coming home daily from work angry.  In the past, I had come home from work frustrated, as I often felt like no matter what I did, it wasn’t good enough, but now it was different.  I was angry, and that’s no way to spend your days at work.  I was often tense and because of this I snapped at my friends, my family, and my coworkers.  It wasn’t pretty.  I was lonely.  I was 33 years old and I didn’t have a girlfriend and I rarely spent any time with my friends.  I went out with them when I could, but I let my work schedule dominate my social life.  I made excuses not to go with my friends because I had to be up early the next day, but I always had to be up the next day, so I never went anywhere.  I tried to eat healthy, but my solidarity led me to eating fast food and take-out just so I would have an excuse to leave my apartment for a few minutes and maybe interact with someone.  Like my friends, I rarely saw my family and despite living close to my parents and all of my siblings, I found my relationship with them deteriorating.  I was becoming more and more disillusioned with life with every passing day and I started to accept that my life was what it was and the decisions I had made brought me here and there was no use fighting it.  I tried to tell myself I would be OK without a family.  I had nephews and nieces to play with so I didn’t need a wife or children of my own.  I tried to see how my life would play out, living in my two bedroom apartment, eating Thai food, and watching movies on Netflix for the rest of my days.  It some ways, to a thirty-something year old male, all of that sounds appealing, but then I thought further down the line.  I thought about turning 50, 60, maybe even 70.  Was that the life I wanted?  Was I going to grow old living in the same apartment for 30 or 40 years and then die alone, my nieces and nephews being my only family?  I still went to the gym on occasion, but I started fearing my stress, my loneliness, and my ridiculous work schedule was killing me.  Suddenly, I feared that if I continued along this path, I would die young and alone, and it scared me.  I was on a direct path of becoming my father, and that, above all, was, and still is, my biggest fear.

I remember hearing a song.  A friend had sent me this song and told me to listen to it.  It made me cry.  It still makes me cry today just thinking about it.  I hadn’t cried in a very, very long time, but on this night, listening to this song, I cried like a little baby.  I cried so hard I had to get a towel from the bathroom to wipe away the tears.  I looked in the mirror, my eyes still red from the tears and I told myself, Stop it.  Stop it right now.  I didn’t want to be angry.  I didn’t want to be sad.  I didn’t want to be lonely.  I didn’t want to be me.  I swore that was it. I swore from that moment on I would not be any of those things.  I had to change, and I had to do it then and there.  If I waited, if I kept making excuses, I don’t know that I would be here today writing this.

Another friend of mine had recently suggested that I make a Bucket List, one of those lists we make of all the things we want to do or accomplish before we die.  I sat and thought about it, but only one thing came to mind.  Of all the sadness I felt, all the stress and all the anger, there seemed to be one thing that made me happy.  I loved learning and speaking Spanish.  I had been devoting myself to learning it since 2008 and now, six years later, despite speaking it fairly well, I was doing nothing with it.  Sure, I greeted my coworkers in Spanish from time to time, but I wasn’t out there actively using it.  I could watch movies or read books in Spanish, but so what?  I wanted to do something more with it, and I felt like to do that, I needed to do something crazy.  I needed to go to where the language was spoken and spend some time immersed in the language.  I thought up this plan to go to Spain.  I would spend an entire month there and speak no English.  Initially, I wanted to go to Valencia, but after doing some research, Madrid seemed like the better choice.  I told myself I would need two years to prepare, and I set out making the plans.  I told my friend I didn’t have a bucket list, but I had this, and she offered to help me out.

The first thing she told me was that it was ridiculous to wait two years to go to Spain.  I should be able to plan it all out in a year.  So I got to work.  I started calculating how much money I would need.  I applied for my passport, I sought out the lowest priced plane tickets, I found a place to stay, and soon, almost without even realizing it, I had planned a trip to Madrid in May of 2015.  I started to get excited as the trip approached.  I told all of my friends and family about it and I was a little surprised at how supportive they were.  Initially, I thought someone would challenge me on it and say it was a crazy idea, but everyone I knew supported me on this crazy plan of mine.  Slowly, I found my attitude was changing.  I had something to look forward to and slowly I found myself eager to wake up every morning.  With the help of my friends, I turned myself around.  Sure, the goal was to head off to Spain, but in the meantime, I started enjoying life at home.  I had more energy, I smiled more often, and I didn’t let things at work bother me nearly as much.  Sure, life was not perfect, but I was doing my best to see the bright side of things.

Then one day I heard another song. I should say that music has always been important to me and to the way I feel.  I often use songs that I like to tell the world how I really feel.  Sometimes they get it ,sometimes they don’t,  The point is, I heard this song, along with several others and like that first song, it had an effect on me, but in the opposite way.  Listening to the music I was inspired and suddenly I could do anything.  I could take on the world and I wasn’t about to let anything stand in my way.  As the months passed and my trip to Madrid became more and more of a reality, I found myself alive for the first time in a very long time.  I had gone through my twenties and early thirties in the dark.  I let too many things stop me from being happy.  I let the world around me dictate my happiness instead of making my own happiness.  I won’t lie.  There were times I looked for excuses to not go.  I worried something would come along and at the last second, I would cancel the trip.  In fact, many of my friends and family felt the same way, but didn’t tell me this until after I made it there and back.

I went to Spain on my own for the entire month of May, 2015.  I went with one intention and one intention only, to not speak English for the entire month.  Unfortunately, this was virtually impossible, but I did my best.  What I did not go to Spain with the intention of was meeting a woman.  I told myself over and over that no matter what I did, where I went, or who I met, I would not have any kind of romantic encounter while in Spain.  It would make it too difficult to come home.  Well, I survived the first two weeks without any trouble, but week three got me.

It’s funny to think of how we met, because really, we could have met while I was still in Connecticut.  We met online.  It just happened that she lived in Madrid and I was staying in Madrid.  We talked online everyday from that moment on, and despite only meeting in person for one day, we were hooked on one another.  I think I went on auto-pilot after that, making decisions quickly without really planning it all out.  I used to plan everything, even what I would do on my day off from work, and I mean down to making hourly lists of what I wanted to accomplish.  Now, I was flying by the seat of my pants.  I was desperately trying to be the new me and I was totally enamored with her and I wasn’t going to let the old me let her get away.

I returned to the United States with no intention of ever travelling to Spain again.  This didn’t change the fact that she and I still talked every day from the moment I got home until this very day.  Yes, you see, after her week-long visit to the U.S., she and I decided we were meant to be together and we would do whatever it took to make that happen.  Again, going on auto-pilot, I decided I would give up what little I had in the U.S. and move to Spain permanently to be with her.  In February of 2016 I flew to Spain and I am still there.

This is where things turned.  Life is powerful, and despite all of my efforts, being in Spain has been the hardest thing I have ever done.  As much as I have tried to be that person I wanted to be, the old me finds its way back into my life from time to time.  I came here, I got married, I became a father, and that’s the new me.  I have been unemployed and missing the U.S. since I got here.  That’s the old me.  I want the old me to go away, but he keeps coming back to haunt me.  The fear and self doubt that had existed in me back in the U.S. followed me here.  I want to be that person inspired by the music to live my life without a care, but it has become so hard.

I love my wife and my daughter more than anything in the world and I will love them no matter where we are in the world, but I miss my home in the U.S. and feel I have to find a way back there.  We have talked about moving to the U.S. at least while my daughter is in school, but that’s still a few years away and I have to find a way to be content here until then.  I heard that song again the other day.  In fact, I heard them both and I think that’s what brought me here today to write all of this.  I want to be on top of the world again.  I want that feeling that it doesn’t matter where I am, I can do anything.  It’s easier said than done.  I still have so many things I want to do and I still want to be that person who will go out and do them, but I have to find a way to push aside once and for all the old me.  I know that really the solution lies within me.  There is no magic trick nor any simple solution that’s going to shove away my fears and make me a new man.  I have to do it on my own.  I know many of my fears are irrational and I just have to tell myself each and every day that I can go on, I can do this.  I have a long way to go and we are not even close to the end.  I want to watch my little girl grow up and I want to watch our family grow and grow.  It won’t be easy, but I guess no one ever said it would be.


Hanging In There

•August 22, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I wanted to write in Spanish today.  Well, I always want to write in Spanish as I feel living in Spain I should be practicing as much as I can, but sitting here this morning I just am not inspired to train my brain.  I’m home with Chloe, who brings me endless joy and amusement.  Watching her play on the floor always makes me smile.  I wish sitting here with her were enough to raise her properly, but the fact is, I still have no income and as much as I love being with her, I need to get out of this house and do something.

We’re going to Portugal at the end of the month which I am thrilled about and hopefully it will allow me a few days to keep my mind off the serious stuff and attempt to relax just a bit.  Veronica’s parents keep assuring us that things are going to work themselves out, but everyday I find myself thinking about the days ahead.  I suppose it would be better for me to live one day at a time, but Veronica and I are both trying to form plans for the future and that often leads us to thinking too far down the line.

She and I have come up with a few scattered ideas on how we can make a little extra money in addition to her income, but it’s nothing solid just yet and I don’t know how much it will help.  I hate leaving the burden of making all the money on her shoulders as she is already working too much as it is and she is trying to do more.  I love her and I am scared.  I know I shouldn’t be.  I know we should all just relax, take a deep breath and have confidence that together we will work it all out, but the fear of ending up homeless living under a bridge looms heavily on all our minds.

I wish I could do something with my writing.  I wish I could turn out page after page of great storytelling and make us a little bit of money, but it just isn’t happening.  No one wants to pay to read about my life here in my blogs, and my creative skills are not up to par with other great writers.  Years ago I thought I would write the next great novel, but after hearing the reviews of my peers, I decided to hang up my pencil so to speak.  I have always loved writing and wished I could use it to make a living, but right now, it just isn’t practical.  I’d love to do public speaking, where I could write speeches meant to share my stories and experiences with a broader audience, but again, I fear my skills just aren’t strong enough.  Honestly, even if I wanted to publish my writing, I wouldn’t know where to start.  I know a fast way to get published is to do it yourself through online self publication, but that is another hit or miss plan.  It’s funny, every time I tell someone how I ended up living in Spain they say how romantic it is and how amazing it is, and I think to myself, maybe I should make it a novel, but how would I end it?  I am still living it.  Some of it is good, some of it is bad.  Where to I make the edits?

Before coming to Spain, I told myself I would never let myself fall to the point I had fallen to just a few years earlier.  I had reached a point where I was constantly sad and disappointed with my life, and once I pulled myself up out of that hole, I told myself I would never go there again, but sometimes it is just so hard to remain positive in the face of so many setbacks.  I see a happy future with my wife and daughter but can’t help but fear I will never get there.  I never imagined this would be the life I would be living and I have no plans on how to make it all work out, but somehow, someway, it must.

We talk about owning our own coffee shop in the United States and that’s a dream I have always had and I wish we could just pack our bags and do it, but it’s going to take a lot of planning to go through with all of that.  I have friends and contacts back home that I am sure will help us get our business underway, but I have to get there first.

Despite all my worrying, I am covered financially back home until at least the end of September, possibly midway through October.  Hopefully by then I will find work.  The problem I am having finding jobs is complicated.  On one hand, it doesn’t make sense for me to work low wage, low skill jobs if I am qualified for something better, but at the same time, I feel the language barrier is holding me back from taking on more challenging jobs.  In that sense, I need to have more confidence in my abilities and believe I can do any job required of me.  It’s frustrating when I can’t understand what someone says to me, especially after so many years of practicing, but often the accent and the speed at which they talk throws me off.  I know it should just be a matter of getting used to the speed and sound of the language but after almost two years here, I still struggle.

All right, I suppose after all I should go write at least a little bit in Spanish.  Have to keep my skills sharp.  We’ll talk again soon.

Why Does Life Always Get In The Way Of Living?

•June 7, 2017 • Leave a Comment

As always, I’ve gone through a lot of shit lately.  Once more, I’ve had a job and I’ve lost a job all in the course of a month.  I’ve argued with my wife and we’ve made up and decided to move forward positively, no matter what happens.  I love her, I love my daughter, and I can’t see myself accomplishing anything without them.  That being said, as always seems to be the case in my life, I have several things, goal, wishes, whatever, I want to accomplish, and I don’t know how I am going to go about achieving them.

For months while living here in Spain, I felt like I should have had some sort of specific goal aside from simply “speak better Spanish.”  I would try to think of some specific goal I could reach for over the course of three months or so to keep me occupied and improve my ability to speak the language.  Once again I find myself home alone during the early hours of the afternoon, and if I’m not going to find a job, I should at least be finding a way to better myself.  I finally came up with something that not only will help my Spanish speaking ability, but it could possibly present opportunities for me to find work.

Obviously, people all over the world speak Spanish.  After Chinese and English, it is the most commonly spoken language in the world, and I love speaking it, and I think I would also enjoy teaching it.  I’ve probably said before that although I am not a teacher I do enjoy sharing my knowledge with others.  Unfortunately, without a license, it is quite difficult to find work as a teacher.  So what is my plan?  Well, it turns out that not only here in Spain, but all over the world, there are schools dedicated to teaching proper Spanish.  The Cervantes Institute is the highest authority on the language and they offer instruction and certification on the language to anyone who wants to learn.  Spanish and other European languages have levels that are assigned to the speakers to gauge their level of fluency.  The scale is A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2.  A1 would be the most basic understanding of the language.  Basically, this is where you would start when first learning the language.  I have found various online exams that offer you a chance to test your abilities and I often fall into the B2-C1 range, C1 being quite advanced.  In fact, I sometimes doubt that C1 is accurate for me, but then my wife slaps me around and tells me I have to have more confidence in myself and trust my abilities to speak the language.  That being said, the Cervantes Institute offers exams periodically for all of its levels and offers diplomas to those who pass each level.  While A1-B2 are levels I could easily pass, the C1 or C2 exam would present a considerable challenge to me.  Additionally, those possessing a certificate for C1 or C2 are suddenly more appealing to prospective employers.  Now, being who I am, I could study and probably pass the C1 level test and try to seek work with that certification, but given my recent search for inspiration, I want to throw myself out there and attempt to pass the C2 level exam.  Here’s the thing.  I could play it safe and reach for the C1 and receive a diploma and maybe find work, or I could throw caution to the wind and go for the highest level attainable.  Unfortunately, I am fairly certain that if I don’t pass the C2, I won’t get a diploma for C1.  No, I’ll get nothing. This puts a little bit of fear in me despite trying to overcome my fears.  The exam is scheduled for November, which gives me a little over five months to prepare, and I have to register by October.  I suppose that if by October I don’t feel ready for the C2 I can sign up for the C1, but I don’t want to fall back on that plan  I want to get out of my comfort zone and take a shot.  I feel like if I study everyday just a little bit between now and October, I will know if I am ready or not.  There are plenty of practice exams online and study books available and I plan on going to the local library to ask if their are any means of studying there for the exam.  Now, there’s no guarantee I’ll find a job simply because I have a diploma in the language, but it does say I am qualified to teach the language and I imagine both here and in the United States there are plenty of people, schools, or businesses that need Spanish teachers.  I am hoping maybe this can bypass the fact I don’t have a teaching diploma and offer me a shot to teach, even if it’s not in a school but in a business or something else.

While I have developed a study plan to work on while my daughter is at daycare, I also have the desire to get back to writing.  Yes, blogging is one way of doing it, but I would like to have something published whether it be fiction or non-fiction.  I have toyed with the idea of going back to some of my drafts from years ago and revising them but after re-reading some of my stuff yesterday, I wonder if I ever really had the ability to write well.  I have several ideas in the works, none of which have been officially started.  The first is a novel.  I have always wanted to work with one of the stories I started in college an I think with the right amount of time and effort I could make it something worth reading, but I have to find the time to do it.  A second idea was to write a new collection of short stories.  I have tinkered with the idea of writing them in Spanish, as it would be a great way for me to improve my Spanish skills and possibly add to a greater audience, but aside fro the basic idea of doing this, I haven’t started any stories.  I envision six to ten short stories and I would love to write it this summer, but again, I have to find the time.  I am trying to work on posting videos on YouTube to practice speaking Spanish and to reach out to others who are learning other languages, whether it be Spanish or any other language  I wanted to use this as a way to not only speak better Spanish, but start practicing other languages as well, but that might be counterproductive to my studying for the C2 exam, and I don’t want to put that in jeopardy.

I would like to discover some way to get paid for doing something Spanish/language related from home, but YouTube videos are a shot in the dark and I have yet to launch a podcast or anything else that can gain me fame and/or notoriety.  I suggested we start some kind of online business, and the idea actually went over pretty well, but neither me nor my wife could think of a totally solid idea.  She thought of a good idea, but I don’t know how we would put it into practice.  I hate that I sit here daily without a job and I feel guilty when she comes home and asks me how my day went, but I am at a loss for how to find work while I am stuck here.  Don’t get me wrong, I have sent out a few resumes online and she and I both dropped off a few in person, but I don’t know if anything will come of it or not.  Job searches online sometimes find me opportunities, but often they are looking for someone with more experience than I have.  I left resumes at Subway and Starbucks, which sounds like crap, but who knows, maybe those will pan out.

In any case, I think this has been enough English for me today.  I am trying to stick to Spanish as much as I can.  That being said, I hope to come back here with good news soon.  Until then, adios from Spain.