In the past seven months, I have traveled, seen, and tasted more of the world than I ever have before. From the Colosseum in Rome to the House of Terror in Budapest to the Moulin Rouge show in Paris, I have experienced so much of Europe, yet I haven’t experienced enough. From the Peace Museum in Gernika to the steps of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe to La Concha Beach in San Sebastian, I have experienced so much of the Basque Country, yet I haven’t experienced enough. From the Guggenheim to La Plaza Nueva to Mt. Pagasarri, I have experienced so much of Bilbao, yet I haven’t experienced enough. There is so much to see, do, and learn; I wish there was time for it all. I wish there was space in my mind to hold all of these amazing memories I have made, but I as read over my reflections and journals, I realize that some of these moments are fading, some I had completely forgotten, and some have yet to be crossed off my bucket list.
In the past seven months, I have taught a range of students a range of English language skills. From saying “hello” to spelling “aubergine” to reading “The Three Little Pigs,” I have created lesson plan after lesson plan to meet the needs of my varying leveled and aged students. I have spent some days barely holding on to sanity and some days rejoicing in my students’ successes. Some classes drive me crazy while other classes give me peace of mind. Every day is different; every class is unique, every child is special. Even on my hardest days (usually Thursdays), I try to teach to the best of my ability, and sometimes, especially on those crappy days, my effort isn’t good enough. That failure will forever motivate me to be a better teacher. The tiny humans’ kisses and hugs aren’t bad motivators either.
In the past seven months, I have learned quite a lot about myself. From stressful days to new environments to different customs, I have changed since I first started this program, evolving day after day, new experience after new experience. In ways that I thought I was mature before, I realized I still have a lot of growing up to do, and in aspects that I thought I needed to work on, I realized I am doing okay. There are, of course, some characteristics that are so ingrained into my personality that I’ll never lose them, or at least, I like to think I won’t/haven’t. Moreover, there are characteristics that I’m trying to overcome daily, pushing myself to do and be better. My curiosity can stay, my ignorance can leave. My determination can stay, my impatience can leave. My worry can linger and so can my homesickness because they remind me of what’s important.
I am grateful for the past seven months. I am thankful for the people who have helped me, whether you’re thousands of miles away or a ten minutes walk away. I am lucky to have been given this opportunity. I am intrigued to see what the future holds. I am happy. 🙂