I’ve been a bit spotty with updates due to the absence of internet here. I tend to write them in Word offline, then end up forgetting to take them to work to publish. I’m actually connected today by my neighbor’s wifi. I went two doors down to his house on Thursday for my Skype interview for BEDA and the password saved itself. Somehow, the signal is strong in my living room. Thanks, Trevor!
Anyway, as promised, I got an email from Samantha and Esther the first week of February scheduling my interview for Thursday, the 13th at 16:40 (10:40 am EST). I had never used Skype, so I bought a webcam off of Amazon, then went to Trevor’s an hour before my interview to set everything up. I knew that my luck might prevent the process from going smoothly, but to my surprise, getting it all connected and downloaded was simple and took about ten minutes.
When 10:30 rolled around, I left Trevor and the other roommates on the couch. They were watching some show about terrible bars that some guy tries to turn around by going in and yelling at everyone. Seeing this reaffirmed my decision to skip getting cable at the house. As I headed up the stairs to Claire’s room where my laptop was ready to go, I felt myself starting to sweat. I find interviews strangely fun and challenging, but they never cease to make me nervous. I also had the feeling this would be a video chat and I hate the way I look on camera. I feel shifty-eyed and never know where to look.
When the time came to answer the phone, I glanced back and forth at “answer call” and “answer call with video.” I opted for the call without video, wondering if it was the right decision. The connection was a little shoddy at first and I feared that it would be an awkward exchange of, “can you hear me?” Luckily, it resolved itself quickly and we were able to get started. She first asked if my name was On-drreh-ya (the Spanish pronunciation) or Ann-dree-ah. I told her it was the latter. This is actually something I’d like to discuss in another post about changing my name in Spain because for some reason I hate the way my name is pronounced in Spanish. Nitpicky? Maybe.
Right off the bat, she asked me to tell her a little about myself. I explained my current work situation, how I got there, and how I now know it’s not something I want to do for the rest of my working life. I could have rambled on and on but decided to keep it short and sweet. There was a brief pause, which almost made me think she was expecting me to talk more, and when I didn’t she asked if I had any questions for her. I had prepared about 20 questions and started to ask away. The overarching message I got was that experiences vary greatly based on placement. I was expecting that based on what I’ve read so far, but it also was a little discomforting as visions of being thrown in front of a class and expected to teach the entire period flashed in my head. Overall, it seems like there will be great support should anything go wrong. After all my questions were answered, I asked if she had anything else to ask me. It seemed like an odd “interview” to me, seeing as I was doing the questioning and not the other way around. It kind of made me feel like I was being written off. I know that’s silly because I’ve read similar experiences from assistants who are clearly blogging from Madrid with a successful placement. I’ve just never had an interview like that.
Samantha told me that placements would be made at the end of March, which is much earlier than I thought. The sooner I know that I will be going for sure, the sooner I can get things rolling with the house, so I was very happy about that. I’d like to be able to start ASAP on having repairs made, organizing and downsizing my things, and talking with the prospective management company. There is a lot I need to do before I can board that plane. It all seems somewhat daunting, but I know I’m getting ahead of myself. Hearing back by the end of March will allow me 5 solid months to take care of everything. It’s more than enough time.
So, now I wait. It’s hard not to constantly look things up; flats for rent, neighborhoods I’d be interested in, items I’ll need to buy at the Cortes Ingles and other stores. I love planning. It sometimes seems like I love planning more than experiencing the situation itself. As much as I’m trying to make the idea real in my head, I know that there is a chance that I won’t receive a placement. In any case, I’m planning to pack up and go somewhere. If it means becoming an au pair somewhere, applying to teach in South Korea, Russia, or Japan, I’m determined to get out of here for a bit.
It’s funny, because as set as I feel my mind is on leaving the country by the end of this year, I still have moments where I don’t want to leave. Be it the nights I come back to my lovely rowhome and snuggle into bed, feeling completely comfortable and secure, or the love of the activities I’m getting involved in like the community garden and refugee youth mentoring. A part of me tells myself I have it really good here and that I shouldn’t leave. But, I know that if I don’t do this, I’m going to regret it. I’ve been scheming and dreaming for years of ways to live abroad. My house will be here when I get back, as will my family and most of my friends (assuming they’re not planning any similar moves). It seems daunting to totally uproot, especially when you’ve spent a few years establishing yourself, but I know that I’m not happy in a routine. And that’s what it seems life has become recently.
In the meantime, I’m going to try to enjoy life here fully, keep my options open, and save money. I’m sure the time to be notified will be here before I know it.