Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Reflecting On My Year In Spain

As I am sitting here, finishing up packing and waiting for my landlord to come collect her last months rent, I have been thinking about my year here in Almería (well, not technically a year, 9.5 months to be exact).

Throughout the year I feel like I have learned a lot about the Spanish people and their culture, and I have tried to teach them as much as possible about American culture. My conclusion is that no culture is perfect, and that we have a lot to learn from each other.  While I think the Spanish could learn to be a bit more punctual and improve their work ethic, I think we have a lot to learn from Spain.  They are a country that is in a huge economic recession, although if you were just passing by you may not notice it.  Regardless of the hard economic times you still see people in cafes every single day enjoying their coffee.  Even though most of Spaniards can't afford lavish vacations right now, that doesn't matter.  Spending a long lunch with close family and friends is vacation enough from them.  If I've learned anything from Spain is that they know how to enjoy life!  They truly soak up every moment, every coffee, every meal, every minute of sunshine.  Although I feel proud to be from the USA and that they sometimes call us work-a-holics, I think we need to take a lesson from the Spaniards a relax a bit.  After all, their life expectancy is an impressive 81.37 to America's 78.62, they must be doing something right.

I have heard countless times here that in the US we "live to work" but in Spain they "work to live."  In a sense, I think they are right.  It's nice to be determined to reach a goal of being a CEO or the president, or simply the best at what you do; but I also think that we need to stop, take a breath and smell the flowers.  Life is short and we must enjoy every minute.  Sure, we will have stressful moments in our lives, that's unaviodable, but we can't dwell on them.  Life is here, and we can't wait until retirement to enjoy it.  Enjoy it now, enjoy every moment.  The biggest lesson I've learned this year is that the only limits we have to enjoying life and achieving our dreams are the limits that we set to it.  Sky's truly the limit.

Thank you to everyone and everything in Spain that has helped me learn so much about myself this year.  I must say, I am excited to spend my summer in Minnesota, but I can't wait to see what Madrid has in store for me next year!  Until then, hasta luego España :)
I'm going to miss my life on the Mediterranean 

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