It’s official: I’ve officially lived in Spain for 24 months, and thats not counting the vacations I’ve spent at home!
24 of the past 28 months of my (expat) life have been spent breathing Spanish air and wriggling my way into the lives of Spaniards around the country. Okay, maybe not around the entire country, but a couple of small towns at least.
And what do I have to show for it? Sometimes it feels like… not much.
Hear me out! My first year here I made some amazing friends. I am so so grateful to them, because those first winter months spent in Spain were honestly depressing and there were times that I spontaneously burst into tears when my roommate told me she wasn’t keen on going out Thursday night. They had my back and kept my spirits up and got me into a groove… and that’s when I met the boy. Arguably one of the best parts about my experience in Spain (blah blah sappy girlfriend blah), I don’t think I’d still be living here if it weren’t for him.
There’s no doubt that living in Spain is hard though, and having a boyfriend here has kept me sane when I was in desperate need of my best friends from home. But recently I’ve been in a total slump. I haven’t gone on any trips (apart from visiting home) in over a year and that makes me feel like part of my soul is dying. I’M SO DRAMATIC. But it’s kind of true. I literally haven’t even stepped foot in Portugal yet and I live a mere 40 minute drive away.
“Why??” you may ask. I’m pretty sure it al boils down to money. Doesn’t every problem, like, ever? I know, total #firstworldproblem…. I’m living in Spain and I can’t travel– boo-fricken-hoo. But honestly, for someone whose core values are independence and new experiences, my life is feeling totally stagnant right now and I’m definitely in a mental (and financial) slump.
As a blogger I get to pick and choose the things I share, and this can result in an idealized and romantic view of life abroad. Yesterday I Instagrammed a picture of some palm trees against a bright blue sky… a photo that I took the other day on my walk home from a job that bores me to death so I could eat lunch before going to another job that is more frustrating than it is rewarding. It makes me feel better that at least someone might think my life is cool based on my Instagram photos, because really, it feels like anything but. So these are my confessions (yeah, Usher style ’cause…yeah) of what it’s really like to be stuck in the 24 month slump, a time of trials and tribulations that I just named when I wrote this post:
- Monday-Thursday my life is gray and muted. I pretty much live on autopilot. Go to work, eat lunch, go to work, eat dinner, go to sleep, repeat (x4). I’m so incredibly bored and I get mad at myself for not making a change… but I feel trapped! For now I can’t change anything about it and it’s kind of depressing. This results in a grumpy Chelsea and a confused boyfriend who just wants to hang out when all I wanna do is sulk and watch my TV shows online.
- I currently have 71€ in my (Spanish) checking account. Livin’ the life.
- Being the sole provider for more than just yourself is like… so stressful! To all y’all out there who are bringing home the (minimal amounts) of bacon, major props! Being the only one acutely aware of a budget that affects more than just myself definitely creates a lot of resentment– probably due to high stress levels and the fact that I am constantly thinking about my financial situation, even though I have my budget organized to a T on a spreadsheet.
- I was more embarrassed than proud last week when I ran (without stopping or walking) a mile for the first time EVER. Embarrassed, because I’m 24 and I’ve never been able to run a mile before, and in order to celebrate my triumph I’d have to share that fact with people.
- My hatred for my apartment is growing by the day, largely due to the fact that it’s so cold and humid in here that I haven’t been able to dry myself off with a dry towel in weeks. Also due to the fact that I can’t use any two appliances at the same time (read: stove and oven) without blowing a fuse. Or should I say, the ONLY FUSE that the electricity of our entire apartment is wired to.
- I’ve begun the journey into the horribly named “no ‘poo” lifestyle, in which I eschew commercial shampoos and conditioners in order to achieve healthier, cheaper, and eco-friendly hair. I’ve been seriously thinking about doing this for a couple years, but since the next 5 months of my life contain no major events and I have no close friends here, I’ve decided I don’t care how my transition phase makes my hair look because I have no one here to impress. That fact actually makes me really sad, even though the excitement of my new “project” is one of the only things I feel daily positive emotions about.
- I have big dreams for this blog but I’m afraid to try harder to get the word out because that means that if it doesn’t go anywhere it’s because it’s not good, not because no one knew about it.
- In a similar vein, I want to write a book (and have declared so twice to my best friends) but am also afraid of putting a lot of work into it and failing, so I’ve been procrastinating on going past an outline for 6 months.
- For the first time in a long time I feel like there’s no “end” in sight for this rough patch I’m going through. In university when I was having a hard semester I could always count down until the last day of exams and rejoice. The past couple of years I could count down to summer break where I had work lined up/no obligations to anyone but myself, and I knew I’d have a job again come October. This time, it’s only January and I’m already fast forwarding in my head trying to figure out when this shitty period is going to end, and the nearest end date I can think of is like… next January. And that’s best case scenario! The prospect of moving in August is exciting (and super scary) because at least it will be a change, though a very rough adjustment period will surely follow.
- I kind of feel like I “deserve” to have a bad year… as if it were a rite of passage or something to go through “the struggle” and make it out alive. Do I live in a bildungsroman novel? Am I finally transitioning from youth to adult? Every time I start feeling bad for myself I’m like shut up, push through it, something will work out in your favor eventually. And then usually some sort of song lyric pops into my head like “started from the bottom now we’re here,” and I’m like, yo, if Drake can go from being a nobody from Canada to Jimmy on Degrassi to an international rap superstar, surely I can figure out what I want to do with my life.
So that’s pretty much where I’m at right now- the 24 month slump. It’s not glamorous or fun, but I’m also definitely not looking for sympathy or anything. Like I said, I’m pretty sure some personal growth will come of this, and either way the days keep coming and I keep getting through them. I think one of the days will bring along some changes and the color will burst back into my life. It might not be soon, but it WILL be.
Did you like this post? If you don’t want to miss out on more like it, make sure to sign up for the email list to receive new posts right in your inbox! You can also follow on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to keep up with my day-to-day activities. Thanks for your support!