Posted by: Españamanda | November 7, 2009


A visit to Sóller with Missy

Hello to you who haven´t given up on me yet!  It´s been a long few weeks, and there is just so much to tell – I´m not sure I can sum it all up.

To be honest, this blog hasn´t turned out to be the self-reflecting journolog of my “nueva adventuras” here in Spain that I had originally set out to create.  Being here has given me a bad case of writer´s block; possibly due to hearing and beginning to think everything in Español, my narrative tendencies have faltered a bit.

A month or more ago, I posted a status on Facebook that said “Is it possible to need a vacation from your vacation?”  The responses were mixed.  It seemed that those who had traveled extensively, or perhaps spent an extended amount of time unemployed as I am were completely understanding.  However, the majority of responses were along the lines of “Cry me a river!”  Understandable.  5 months ago, while finishing my thesis and preparing for my defense in the midst of unceasing worry and stress, I too would have told someone to quit their whining.  Not that I would ever want to revisit that headsplitting window of time in my life, but let´s just say the grass is always greener on the other side.

I am incredibly grateful for this experience.  Never before in my 31 years had I spent more than 3 weeks away from home (and by home, you all know I mean just one place – Tallahassee).  I´ve been here now for 2 ½ months.  Crazy.  I came here wide-eyed and relieved, eager and anxious to start a new and exciting life abroad, complete with weekend trips throughout Europe, lounging on the most beautiful beaches in the world, flirting with exotic people, and embarking on a career I could only have dreamed of.  While many of those experiences have actually happened, many have not, and I couldn´t have anticipated the emotional rollercoaster I would experience, feeling so incredibly…alone.  What a strange thing for me.  Someone who has been entirely surrounded by family and friends my entire life, in an environment I know like the back of my hand; one I could navigate with my eyes closed. 

There have been moments that were so overwhelming, moments that saturated my senses into a state I thought surely a dream.  One was standing on a beach called Es Coll Baix when I first arrived in Mallorca.  The sound of the waves disappearing through the pebbly shore, the clarity of the water that was such a ridiculous shade of blue I am certain I had never seen before, the warm sun on my skin and the impressive sheer cliffs on 3 sides of me.  Another was walking through the old part of Palma in the yellow evening light, towards the massive La Seu cathedral and the shoreline, which would take me to a bar to meet some friends.  There was diving with Mary Frances into a Mediterranean cove, in water so clear I was sure it was only 10 feet deep, only to discover it was really closer to 40.  Yet another was a short walk, maybe 30 feet, between my apartment and my across-the-street neighbor´s, in preparation for a dinner party with a new group of friends.  For whatever reason, these events have marked my time here with a sense of independence, strength and hope.  A sense of gratitude so great that I was brought nearly to tears, realizing that there was no possible way I could have envisioned this life for myself growing up. 

Yet there have been other times; times when I had no form of communication with my family and friends, times when I felt it was utterly impossible for me to speak to anyone without faltering, times when money ran out and my computer died and everything felt out of control and out of my hands.  The pendulum of emotions i´ve felt here is incredible.  I think i´ve probably led Mary Frances to think i´m bipolar, as she is the unfortunate beneficiary of my thought processes from day to day.  But, despite the dizzying ups and downs of forging ahead in an entirely new place, I am certain that these months have changed me, and become the foundation for a life with less fear of adventure and change.  I can do this.

I am returning home at the end of the month, to work and save money for a month or two while I wait for my visa.  When I return to Palma early next year and begin work, I know it will be with a fresh persective, the promise of new friends, professional and intellectual stimulation (which I desperately miss), and real beginning of my new life here.  In the end, I suppose everything works out as it should.



  1. You’re not bipolar. You know as well as I do, the rollercoaster is just the nature of things when you color outside the lines. I have little doubt you’re better for these experience, both the good and the bad.

    I told you once the thing I love most about you is the brave and intentional way you live life, loving so fully and experiencing each moment with your big, juicy heart in your lap. It still is.

    I think you´re brave for sharing this.

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