In just 10 days I will be embarking on the greatest adventure of my life. In 10 days I will be moving to Barcelona, Spain for an entire year, and if I have any luck, much longer than that, as I find creative ways to extend my VISA.
So, what inspired this crazy idea? Well, more than anything else in the world I want to be bilingual in Spanish. I have taken over 4+ years of Spanish in high school and college combined and yet nothing has stuck. I am realizing that the only way to really and truly learn a language and a culture is through full, and complete immersion. It wasn’t until about three months ago when I said, “You know what, I am going to make this happen. Life is too short and I don’t want 10…20 years to go by and saying to myself I ‘wish I would have traveled, I wish I would have learned Spanish.’”
As a 3rd generation Puerto Rican I feel as I though I have lost a lot of my Latin heritage – one of those main things being the language. Two years ago I found salsa dancing – and I found the piece of my soul that I had been yearning for. And since then I have been testing if I can live a life without salsa….and, the conclusion is “absolutely not.” When I am out on the floor and the music is playing and all of my friends are around me, I feel at home. It is the only place in the world that I feel, beautiful, confident…myself, and I never want to give that up. I am a Salsera now and forever because my passion for it lives in my soul – it is a part of my identity. The next chapter in this story, and what my heart is telling me I need to do now, is to finally understand the words and lyrics to my favorite songs. I hope after one-year I will be able to speak Spanish like I dance salsa – effortlessly, with joy, respect and love.
One of my favorite books and inspirations for this grand adventure is, “The Alchemist.” In his introduction, Author Paulo Coelho says:
“We warriors of light must be prepared to have patience in difficult times and to know that the Universe is conspiring in our favor, even though we may not understand how.”
And so, here I am…10 days before embarking on my “personal legend” (thank you “The Alchemist”). I have an array of differing emotions/feelings right now, exhaustion (from the whirl-wind of the past 3-months), shock (that I am actually about to do this), sadness (to be leaving my best friends here in Sacramento), satisfaction (for putting my mind to something and accomplishing it), fear (of the un-known), love (remembering all the people who have helped and encouraged and inspired me along the way). I have pretty much sold everything I own, and my whole life, my entire livelihood, is currently packed into two suitcases. It has been incredibly freeing to get rid of all the “stuff.” From this moment on, I have decided that I want to have things in my life that can’t be taken away – language, experiences, people and incredible memories.