Looking back, I went on two jaunts to Spain, the first because my tourist visa expired, the second in order to finally get my fiance visa. Each trip lasted much longer than expected, with the second trip incorporating a random trip to Prague. I worked in a hostel in Spain, in a car park in Prague, I couch-surfed, took planes and buses and planes, got lost, was nearly robbed, was spat upon, had my rear groped, and wandered inescapable cities. Living out of a suitcase exhausts. I had so much 'ganas' -and still do - to get some kind of career blooming that it was literally making me scream from the inside. Yet I was basically stuck in limbo, awaiting that visa. Oh the visa. Everything relying on a visa. What does a person do with so much time? Not as much as they could is the answer. Well that's my opinion. That was me. Give someone who works full time some free time and they will squeeze as much into their seconds as possible. Be it as much of their tasks as possible or as much of their relaxing as possible; it is used. Give it to someone without this fast paced full to the brim life, and it will probably drift away having never been used. My lesson is don't waste your time; use it wisely. When it's gone, it doesn't come back. So that was a good part of my year. I feel I could have done so much more. So much I could have learnt, read, practiced, made, sewed, baked, written... and time passed by.
I did office work myself out at Christian Community Action as a volunteer. I was a baby cog in an extended family chain, and so even though I didn't really see the benefits of my actions, I just have to believe that I played even just a little part. To me, office work is as fun as staring at a grey wall all day; it's just banal. We get up and drive to push papers, write emails and punch numbers, all with the goal of the company in mind. Miraculously, it can actually work if we are efficient, when all our little cogs come together, but in the meantime, I was pretty familiar with that grey wall. At least that's what it seems like to me. That's enough of that.
So when my visa and work permit eventually came through, the world of work seemed like a distant memory. Then in January, just over a year after my initial tourist in Texas stint, I find myself a little teacher's aide position in an elementary school. An eye opener into Texas public schools, as well as a great learning opportunity for future prospects. Whats more, it's something to shake the cobwebs off my rusty brain, and lets me try out my worker hat and teacher hat once again. It has only been a couple of weeks and I feel like I could write pages and pages just on my experiences and thoughts as a teacher's aide, so I'm evidently not going to attempt that now, maybe later.
Life in America, more to the point, Texas, even more to the point, the 'big D' (as Dallas is known) seems to be pretty much it's usual self. I'm slowly sinking into it all, getting a handle on everything. Powdered coffee creamer is still gross, there is still too much ice in my drink, trucks are still growing, as are the people, and the meals, and most other things. I still think free refills should be banned; I have no idea how a person's stomach doesn't pop after even one of those gigantic sized soda mega-cups. Those Styrofoam cups make my skin crawl, and it pains me to think they will probably just end up on some waste dump somewhere. The push for recycling still seems limited to paper, which is pretty depressing. I sometimes feel like the "European Hippie Vegetarian Eco-Warrior" with my 'modern and alternative' beliefs. Maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but these really are some of my values, which I do no seem to notice in many others. Dallas seems to me like a good city to get your head down and get to work. Save, save, save, for the holidays, the reserve fund, the retirement plan, the future offspring, the crazy university fees, and who knows what else. Texas isn't really a tourist destination, just a Mexican destination, so people just seem to save up to go and spend their holidays somewhere else.
Yes, the summer was brutal. Then you are blasted with the chilly air conditioning. I don't know which one is worse. Either way, the long summer made me yearn for the chilly winters and wrapping up with a hot chocolate.
That's basically my first year in Texan land. Some new experiences, thoughts and opinions to work with and get my teeth into. I'm always on the lookout for new activities to try out, and one of my most recent ventures has been attempting some photo editing (I thought I would give Mr M a run for his money!). The only issue is that I'm not too interested in researching and studying the different editing techniques, which seem to exist in copious amounts. I kind of just want to play around and see what I can come up with. Given this, they may not be the most amazing editing out there, but I took a stab at it. Have a look at them if you like and let me know what you think.
So basically I survived the eternal wait for that visa thing, and now it is full speed ahead with new things. At last!