Another attempt at normalcy

I had been thinking lately about getting back into blogging, despite the fact that I’ve never really been too successful at it.  I started an entirely separate blog for my year in Spain and managed a total of one entry while actually in the country.  To be fair, a lot of not great stuff happened when I first got there.  My schedule also left me exhausted; I spent most nights and weekends in bed, eating Chinese food, and watching Father Ted reruns.  Bottom line: I just didn’t have the drive to write anything longer than a few quippy sentences on a facebook status update.

Looking back, it wasn’t all bad.  Madrid wasn’t for me, but I got to travel.  A lot.  I saw amazing things and met even more amazing people.  I learned about myself.  I broadened my world view.  I taught some pretty cool kids.

It was an experience unlike any I have had before and and despite the heartbreak and follies, there’s no room for regret.  Living in another country and culture is a daily rush.  You never know what you’re going to get and there’s always something new.  I loved that about it.  I took spontaneous weekend trips, rode the metro all over the city, and constantly challenged my comfort zone.  I vowed that when I got back to Baltimore, I would explore more.  But alas, Canton and Fells are still too far across the pond and I’ve turned back into a South Baltimore city rat.  I guess some things never change.

I’m starting to wonder though, if this experience of living abroad and traveling freely has completely ruined me for a “normal” life.  I’m back to working in public health, which I realized I really do enjoy, have hosted friends and family for dinners, and generally am settled back into a routine.

And I’m not happy.

I’m not unhappy, per say, but I’m not feeling fulfilled.  A life of society-defined normalcy doesn’t appeal to me in the slightest and it’s becoming evident that if I stay around here, I will continue to be the odd man out.  It seems like everyone is shifting their focus to marriage and kids and the fact that I’m not makes me feel defective, even when that’s not what I want for myself.

I haven’t been back but a little over 4 months and I’m already toying with the idea of leaving again.  It’s a tough feeling because while I do love this city, I can’t shake the urge to throw myself back out into uncharted territory.  I’m weighing everything from going back to school for a MPH in Ireland, to getting into another teaching program somewhere wild like Russia.  The research I do surrounding these ideas is exhilarating, but it also feels a little crazy.

In the meantime, I have an orientation this coming Thursday at the Esperanza Center in Fells.  I signed up to be an English tutor for Spanish-speaking immigrants.  With my current job, I work four days then have three days off so I figured I could devote one day a week to a worthy cause.  Plus, I’ll enjoy an international twist while improving my teaching skills.

When I read back through posts I made before I left, I feel like there’s still as much uncertainty as when I started.  I think I’ve definitely figured some things out during that time, but this constant pull to get up and go is unsettling and hard to completely define.  I don’t know where I’ll end up at the end of this six month contract, but at least I have some time to think it over.

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