I’ve been living in Spain for over two years now, working at a hospital in a military base on the southern coast. How do you sum up two years of culture shock, of travel, of integration and separation, of all that?
My friend Stephen just got out of the Navy, a year ahead of me. Now he’s back with his friends and family, but he says he feels like a tourist in his own country. Having lived in Europe for two years now, with another to go, I can definitely see myself feeling that way as well when the time comes.
So, I’m setting up this blog to focus on these things I will miss, little things that I’d want to remember about my time here. Anecdotes and snapshots of an experience I am so fortunate to embark upon.
My official date to separate from the US Navy is June 8, 2011. Most people separate from their last command (duty station) about a month ahead. It is currently mid-May, 2010. So with one year left in Spain, I’d like to highlight plans, post them up here for myself to see, to remind me of what I’m working towards. I’ve always been very goal-oriented, and like my dear friend Annie, have an obsessive tendency to make lists. Sometimes, mine even come with little check boxes.
The current trajectory of my future plans, by month:
March: go to Valencia for Las Fallas festival
April: one last European trip, don’t quite know where to yet.
May: pack up all my stuff and leave Spain. Fly to VA for out-processing
June: place all my stuff in storage. Then, go with my sister on a North-American Road trip, traveling up and down the US, to Canada, down to Mexico, through little towns and cities we’ve only heard of or seen on TV. Couchsurf, hike, eat, meet people, see America for myself.
July: Spend time with family, old friends, hang out and bum around.
August: Find a WWOOF (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms) site in CA to volunteer at for the month (hopefully an ashram or a vineyard - I’ve always wanted to learn about wine).
September: Fly to India. Go to a Yoga Teacher Training Course residency, hopefully for 6 weeks.
October: Southern Idia for a deeper practice of Ashtanga Yoga from the source, K. Patthabi Jois.
November: Another two weeks at a different ashram, meditating, learning about Ayurvedic diet, reading Krishnamurti etc.
December: Travel around India. Go back home.
Move to Washingto DC. Finish BA in Humanities with University of Maryland (if I didn’t already before separation). Continuing Education studio art classes at the Corcoran. Prepare package for grad school. Complete pre-reqs for Masters Program in Art Therapy.
So that’s what I’ve got planned ahead right now. It always excites me to think of the future, and work towards it. It’s worked well for me in the past.
Of course, plans can change any time. So. We shall see. But this at least gives me an outline to work towards. Also, a good distraction to snap me forward and back to the present.