So. As I tell my real diary, it’s been a long time. Apologies for anyone who has been sitting on the edge of their seat waiting for an update, (I doubt that very muchly) but here it is.
For whatever reason, I had in the back of my mind that I couldn’t update the blog with my plans until they were more concrete. For those that have any kind of experience with Spanish bureaucracy, you’ll know that absolutely nothing happens quickly. So, way back in February, when I was stewing over what to do about my visa running up in three little months, I decided that I wasn’t quite done with Spain. I know I had my sights set on jumping the pond over to the Motherland and trying my luck at two years or so living and working in the UK, preferably Scotland. But, I wasn’t quite content. I felt that the only reason I was going was because it was an opportunity to stay in Europe for a little longer, and it was an opportunity to work as a Physiotherapist. I proceeded, as I always do, with colour-co-ordinated markers, to construct some detailed pro-con lists. Al fin, I decided that I wanted to stay.
As a consequence, I have spent approximately 43 hours of my life waiting in the Oficina de Extranjera, and come out the other side with a new student Visa (only had to wait 5 months for that baby), a not-quite ready residency card for the year, and a permission to return to Spain after a stint home for my sister’s wedding. Battling the Spanish bureaucracy has been a real test of my patience and my argumentative Spanish. With certain people in the office insisting on the use of “usted”, the polite form of “you” which often comes down to the subtraction of an “s” at the end of the verb, has had me work through many insecurities with not being perfect and also feeling rather uncomfortable in certain situations. Sure, all this would be easily cleared up if I had moved to an English speaking country, like planned, where I can present myself eloquently, but I guess I have grown accustomed to pushing for that which is more challenging.
At the same time, I am still waiting to hear back about the validation of my Physiotherapy title. Having had it all translated, paid for, and submitted, I have unfortunately set my belief to the fact that it won’t be processed by the time I am ready to up and leave Spain. In the meantime, in order to maintain my foot in the door, Physiotherapy wise, I have been enjoying a LOT of different TED Talks, online PD courses, and have also managed to talk my way into a research position with the Psychological Department at the University at Loyola, assisting with a research study looking into Obesity and behavioural interventions. While all this is not what I saw myself doing, it has lead me to some fantastic opportunities that I did not think myself capable of taking up a couple of months ago. I am able to participate in Psychological-specific and technology-specific meetings, sometimes lasting 2-3 hours in length, all in Spanish. I am getting a taste of Research in an incredible setting, with a superb team. I am creating International links and relations within healthcare and research. I am gaining insight into a countries’ systems and policies, significantly different from our own back home in Australia. At the end of the day, I don’t regret my decision for a second in staying in Spain. While many other of my cohort will return from the UK with a wealth of experience, I truly believe that I will have something sitting on my resume that will help to set me apart.
Upon my return from Australia, I plan on contacting a few different clinics and foundations to see if they will permit me to attend in an observational or volunteer capacity while I am waiting to see if my title will ever eventually come through. I also, will be returning to some more intense Spanish classes, WHOO. I discovered that I have always been a bit of a perfectionist, but, through remembering to maintain something in my life where I am the student, not the teacher, not the professional, not the perfect one, not the one who needs to know everything, I feel more grounded.
Outside of Physiotherapy I have been able to develop my little side company selling art. I had been specifically working on Anatomy-Based art, my range called anARTomy, for a long time. It came up on my facebook memories just the other day that I drew the very first edition of my very first drawing 2 years ago now. But they have come a long way since then. I have been very happy with participating in a few markets, getting the opportunity to display an exhibition in the café/bar Mamá Inés, selling my art in another café/art shop, creating portrait images based on photos, creating customised designs and illustrations, expanding into hand-embroidered bags, and now am pleased to say that I have lined up another exhibition at my all time favourite cafe Parceria, for when I return from Australia. I have some further ideas for another range of comic-style pieces, so watch this space! This is all something I would NEVER had the time or energy for back home. I have had the opportunity to expand and draw on the creative side of me that has always been deep down underneath, but it was only ever just a little side-hobby before. Now it is a big part of my life here.
Well. I feel like that’s just about enough of an update. I have been loving it here in Sevilla, but with the summer heat beating down on me day after day and the absence of air conditioning in my apartment, I am quite ready to come home to a Melbourne Winter and spend some time with much missed family and friends, and celebrate my only sister’s wedding. I absolutely can’t wait.
I will, poco a poco, continue to back-update and continue updating the blog with my travels and stints away, as I still have much to say and show! Now that I have everything properly documented in terms of visas and permission to re-enter the country, I feel much more settled, and equipped to write stress-free!