I had just clicked ‘send’ on a terrifying email to my HR rep. The only thing running through my mind was, “Roberto, what have you done?” I don’t remember exactly what I had so nervously typed, but it was more or less to the tune of – “I’d like to formally submit my two weeks notice at ABC Company. I’m pursuing other interests.” What interests you might ask? Great question. Interests included: selling nearly everything I owned on Facebook marketplace, packing two suitcases full of the junk that remained, and moving to Spain.
In an attempt to save myself from the frivolous feeling of embarrassment, the thoughtfully worded email sent to my unsuspecting HR rep in late May of 2020 did not include these “interests”. I felt ashamed to be quitting. I had a promising career at a great company, friendly co-works, and full dental coverage. Full dental!
But don’t fret. I didn’t give up my annual routine X-rays and fluoride treatment at my dentist’s office just to backpack through Europe. Instead, I was going to teach English at an elementary school in the heart of Madrid. My resume included zero experience working with children and a total of zero days spent teaching in a classroom. Did someone say underqualified? Precisely. But according to the Spanish government, as a high-school-diploma-holding native English speaker, I was fit for the job. So sell, pack, and move I did.
But before the exhilarating move across the pond took place that fall, I needed a summer job. And what’s just as drastic as quitting your job in corporate America to teach English abroad? Spending seven weeks at an all-boys, hyper-competitive, sun-saturated summer camp – that’s what.
It was a wild summer. A “no shoes, no shirt, no problem” kind of summer. And honestly, I knew I wasn’t coming back. This was a one-and-done kind of deal. Well, fast forward through nine months of covid-adjusted-teaching in Spain and I somehow found myself back in Maine for round two. This time with more responsibility under my belt as Soccer Director and a CIT counselor in the notorious bunk 16. Needless to say, I had less time to work on my tan. And while I left Maine a little more pale than my first summer, it was just as memorable and unarguably more rewarding.
Three months have passed since saying farewell to my camp family. I’m back in Madrid and looking forward to a year filled with Tuesday night tapas, dancing bachata in the park, missing my friends in Michigan, and uncertainty over what the future holds. Amidst all the question marks though, I am sure of one thing; I know exactly where I will be from June to August of 2022.
6,000 miles away and I’m already counting down the days until I get to watch another sunset on East Pond. Maybe I’m watching it alongside my Catan Team 6 boys. Perhaps I’m watching it next to the Junior Counselors I once struggled so hard to get out of bed for breakfast. Regardless, it’ll be a sunset to remember. They always are. I’m just glad this time, I can skip the “two weeks notice” email to my HR rep.
Cheers from Madrid,