How do I possibly go back to normal life after this? I’ve had a little bit of time to reflect and I keep wavering between being extremely excited (Iced coffee! Friends & family! Sushi and Thai and Mexican food!) and being extremely depressed about leaving this experience.
So, I’m trying to turn this bipolar-ness I’m feeling into something constructive and positive. I’ve narrowed my anxieties and feelings into a few categories: taking experiences with me, finding the right work and new projects/goals. In this post, I’m going to talk about taking experiences from my trip with me, and I will cover the other two themes in future posts.
Taking Experiences with Me
My original three goals for this trip were to gain a higher understanding of the Spanish language, to become a better photographer and to have lots of fun. I was able to accomplish all these and want to maintain them after the trip:
- Spanish - I really love the language and the culture. I find it fascinating how different the accent, dialect and slang can be in different parts of the country (not even including central or south America!), and I feel accomplished when I am able to communicate with someone who doesn't speak English. I owe a lot of my learnings and confidence to the people I met on this trip throughout Spain, and I owe it to them - and to myself - to keep it up. So if anyone wants to practice, let me know! Otherwise you can find me reading Spanish online newspapers, listening to Spanish music or maybe even at some conversational Spanish meetups!
- Photography - While I definitely did not become an expert photographer (in fact I rarely had the time to take the settings off of 'auto' to figure out the best manual shot... or I resorted to the iPhone for quick pics), I do feel like I have a better sense of composition, and I understand the mechanics of photography better. Since I haven't had room to buy many souvenirs (in my suitcase or in my studio apartment), photos are my true souvenirs and capturing the moment the way I want to remember it is important. I coincidentally received an email about some upcoming photo courses in New York that aren't too pricey and could be a great way to work on my skills when I come home. And then since I will have a bit more time, I can take that time to play with the settings so that I'm more comfortable doing that on my next trip instead of resorting to 'auto' when I'm short on time.
- Fun - Obviously I had a lot of fun on this trip, and much of it came from unexpected places. Some of my favorite days and nights started with a friendly manicurist, the inability to drive stick shift/rent a car or passing by a club of glider enthusiasts. I was more open to meeting people and trying things and saying 'yes' when I was in a new country all by myself, but this is something I could carry over when I go back home. Sometimes it is easy to get sucked into the corporate world and work mindset, but it is important to step back and do things that make you smile! Seems silly to even have to say this, but it is important and worth a bullet point in my opinion.