Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Prepping for the Plunge

Hello and welcome to my blog!  If you are reading this, you are probably my immediate family or a bored friend and already know my plans of going abroad.  However, on the off chance that you do not, let me give you the skinny. 

In January, I applied to a grant program offered by the Spanish government that brings over North American recently graduated students to teach culture and English in their classrooms.  This is their site.  After jumping through one million hoops, proving that I don't have any weird infectious diseases and that I am not a serial killer, I was accepted to the program! Woo! I am officially a "Cultural Ambassador" in Spain!  Don't let the official title confuse you; I will really just be a glorified exchange student.  BUT, I will be monetarily compensated for my expert knowledge of North American language and culture. (I was always my trivia team's go-to person for all things pop culture.  The Kardashian wedding called "The American Royal Wedding"??..I THINK NOT!!)  As a "Cultural Ambassador" I will work 12 hrs/week in a Spanish school helping out the English teachers Monday-Thursday.  Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be spent exploring Spain and wherever else I can afford to go.  A rough way to spend a year, I know.

I was assigned to work in a teeny little town called ArĂ©valo about 1.5 hours from Madrid.  Cute, right?!  In 2005, the population was 7,745.  If you are trying to envision how many people this is, let me give you some comparables.  It is approximately 1/2 the number of the Appalachian State student body.  It is about 1/3 the population of Greer, South Carolina.  We are talking small!  However, I think I will get a more authentic Spanish experience here versus a large city like Madrid.

Applying for a Visa to live in Spain is much like applying to be Barack Obama's personal security guard.  One cannot decide all willy-nilly to go live in another country.  No, no.  You must have a strong heart to endure all of the red tape that the combined bureaucratic forces of the American and Spanish governments throw at you.  I am speaking of evil, evil forces.  But after months of waiting, venting to anyone who would listen and agreeing to give them my firstborn child, I FINALLY received my Visa in the mail!  Fun Fact:  The United States Office of Authentications is located in a strip mall beside a liquor store. <3 America <3

Now that I have all the necessary documentation to leave this lovely country behind, my nerves are starting to set in.  To describe my emotions, I have chosen a video clip from one of my favorite episodes of Saved By the Bell:


Luckily, I will have my trusty sidekick Annie to be my Zach Morris and talk me down from any nervous breakdowns.  Annie has studied abroad in Spain, traveled a lot more than me and is generally more organized and levelheaded than I will ever claim to be.  These are all great qualities to have in a sidekick!  That being said, I may still need a Bloody Mary and a solid playlist of Top 40 hits to get me through the initial flight.

I am planning to post pretty regularly to keep everyone updated on my overseas adventures. So keep your eyes open for new posts and wish me luck as I attempt to pack for an entire year. (I can't take all my hats omg what am I going to do!??!?)

Adios, y'all!