Life choices

Lives are an overwhelming gift. A gift so large with so many options and such potential that the joy can be so much so that it results in becoming a depressant.

As a middle-class, educated, Westerner, I spend much of my time musing over my purpose, my talents, my dreams, trying to understand my place in it all. Should I be in Africa fighting for language rights following in the inspirational footsteps of my thesis supervisor? Should I be travelling the world writing anthropological field notes and aiming to submit world-changing papers? Should I be focussing on my current job and develop it into a real career? Worries, I am of course very lucky to consider as worries.

Some people in life order the chicken. They’ll generally get the soup or, in the case that they don’t like the flavor they’ll have another go-to reliably delicious dish. Others try to order the most obscure thing on the menu which may sometime result in sheer disappointment.

Some travel to the same cottage every year, it’s by the beach, the locals are friendly, they get to know their way round. Others hate to return to their previous destinations, combining a fear of losing the magic of their memories of the place accompanied by the frustrated wonder of the new.

Some people know what they want to be, maybe it’s in school, maybe later, but by D-day, they’ve achieved their appropriate formation, they’ve worked on their entrance route and their path is clear. Then there’s the others, I included, who aren’t sure of which path to choose at all. The sign is pointed in an ambiguous direction, we have to pick one, it’s a little dark and we’re not even sure if we can come back to the fork safely to choose the alternative route if things go bad.

This was me in the middle of a forest in Slovenia, alone, with no signal on my phone. So what happened? I sat on a tree stump for a while, fairly panicked. I tried to walk in one direction and came back, I went in another and stayed there for a while, I could here people in the distance in groups going somewhere but I couldn’t see where they were. In the end, when I was pretty sure I was going to become a forest-person, two Polish travellers, approached my path. They spoke English and we walked towards the road together as we laughed at my inability to orientate. We went for pizza and shared travel stories and I was back in my element.

Some of us weren’t given maps, some of us don’t want to order the chicken, or return to the cottage by the beach. The journey may not provide a steady contentment. Along the way, people will come and share pizza and will disappear. Sometimes you’ll be all alone sitting on a tree stump but you’ll have a lot of stories. You’ll have a lot of lines from stress and smiles and sun. Life can be a cannonade of powerful short stories or a great prodigious novel.

It’s not for everyone, to plan their lives, to like what they know and to know what they like. Often, the best things come as a complete surprise, however. So with that in mind, I’ll be leaving mine mostly to luck.



I’m fortunate enough to be teaching Business English this year. I’ve spent my time with the kids, I’ve had a change of perspective, I’ve learnt a lot from them and I definitely have changed my opinion of the little beings. This year, however, despite having to work my ass off for the same or less pay, I’m definitely finding it more challenging and satisfying in the way I need right now. My favourite thing is different perspectives: politics; culture; religion; education; history; economy, the list of the topics I cover on a weekly basis is endless. Mothers, singles, old, young, fat cats, people who’ve been demoted due to cut-backs, all these people give me eye-opening views of ideas on a daily basis. One thing I’ve come to realise however is that there is no idol to take the word of gospel from. Even the most successful and/or interesting people can be bitter and grumpy in their years and have a kind of attitude that isn’t what you need to hear at the cusp of defining whatever career you’re looking to find. I read something recently that reported that when a person airs their goals or major objective, they’re significantly less likely to achieve it (I can’t remember the source or figure). The idea was that, once said aloud and heard by someone else, the recognition and satisfaction was semi-achieved therefore the achievement itself wasn’t as exciting. This makes perfect sense to me, so I’m going to make an effort to keep my projects (and ambition) under wraps so as not to be congratulated, or as happened today, discouraged by outside parties… Still good sources for broadening the mind in general though!

New Project

Inspiration comes in all forms. Today I have decided to embark on a brand new project. I suppose it’s what I really love to do. It won’t bring me a lot of money, it will definitely require a lot self-discipline; something I definitely lack, but if I can achieve this, well, I’ll definitely have achieved something great.

Official start day: Friday 10:00am

Pleased to meet you

I’ve taken it upon myself to delete my old blogs, gone, they’re all gone! This stemmed from three things, firstly, the linguistics blog I’d started, to understand linguistics, before my M.A. in linguistics, well, was nothing about linguistics at all and was quite embarrassing to read back on. Secondly, my personally blogs were untouched in the last two years, and I felt they weren’t really me anymore. Finally, I needed to generally start afresh with all of it. So I’ll be using this blog as my sole personal blog, and have another linguistics one for anyone who’s interested in that side of things.

My current circumstance is that I am living in Madrid, just broke up with my boyfriend who still lives in the same house, along with three other nice Spanish housemates. I am jobless, I left the public school programme before the Summer in the hopes of moving onto the next rung on the career ladder and it’s not proving as successful as I’d expected it to be. I have a few nice friends here, a wonderful big room with a balcony in Malasaña, the alternative, busy part in the city centre, and I have finally accepted that Madrid is possibly one of the better places to live in for me right now.

I have had intensely itchy feet to move for a while, though I could say being in a relationship without a lot of independence contributed to that and now that I’m in a position where I could go anywhere (although with very limited cash reserves) I suddenly have a fear of being lonely and not being ready to be far away and thrown back onto a new culture- I was thinking of Korea, Australia, or Saudi Arabia.

I’m also very sensitive about my sudden realisation in that my M.A. in linguistics which I saved up to for over a year and then worked part-time during the full-time course hasn’t secured me a position as chief editor of The New York times, not even Carrie’s sex column offer has come my way,

I have her excessive smoking and drinking habits tuned to a fine tee however

nor have the pleas of linguistic opportunities of language documentation in the South of Italy. Although, I actually haven’t applied for any of these positions, my soul has been little crushed in Madrid. Firstly, the jobs aren’t really there it seems and when they do arise I’ve had to decline them for various real reasons or haven’t passed due to not being of native bilingualism.

I really wanted to move past teaching, I wanted to explore working with the skills I learned in the linguistics course. Now I’ve accepted that a year of teaching may be interesting, as being a language assistant killed me in the end due to the lack of autonomy but now even those positions are filled. Oops! I’m exhausted from the break-up, the lack of work and my usual positive, upbeat attitude is definitely being tested.

For this reason, I return to the blog, to practice my writing, to reevaluate my skills, and to find solace in creativity.