When we Auxiliaries are approaching our 2nd year, the NALCA program gives us an option to change our placement. We also tend to be the first to have our requests granted, versus first- or third-years.
Around December, I started to notice the differences between Spain and Canada. Some of these differences were enough to depress me. I won't go into them, but they were significant enough to make me question staying in Spain another year. Friends who have lived abroad before chalked it up to culture shock, albeit 4 months into my move.
The decision to stay or go, or to move to a bigger Spanish city (with a beach!), weighed heavily on my mind for months. The bone-chilling winter weather didn't help matters. In the end, it took a lot of thought and journal writing to come to the firm decision to renew my contract, with the same school in Villacarrillo.
Why did I want to return to Canada?
I realized the area I live in in Canada is my home. I have travelled enough that I now know it.
I truly miss my wonderful friends there.
I miss multiculturalism.
Canada suits my personality – an outdoor activity-loving, casual-dressing, wacky Canadian.
Not being fluent in Spanish is frustrating sometimes.
Why did I want a bigger city in Spain?
There would be so much more to do, than in a pueblo.
In terms of convenience, the shops are open more often, and there's more selection.
(Ojalla) I would be closer to the beach, compared to my present location in Jaén.
A bigger city would probably be more multicultural than Villacarrillo.
It's easier to travel from a big city than from my pueblo.
Why did I pick Villacarrillo?
The biggest reason: my level of Spanish has improved tenfold. Based on reading other auxiliaries' blogs, I wouldn't be learning as much Spanish in a city.
I have made great, great friends here. Leaving them now would honestly be too early.
I have adapted to being the only Asian, and to the way the pueblo works, and the way my school runs.
I wanted to avoid having to start over in a new place, and having to make friends all over again. I've done it so many times in the past few years that I am enjoying having settled into my current place.
Oh, and p.s. Jaén has free tapas!
Although the last few weeks were rife with stress about what to do, in the end I can report that I am extremely happy with my decision to stay another year.