I’ve had a lot more free time in Argentina than I’ve had, well, ever really. I had two jobs through most of college and law school keeps me plenty busy as well. Since I’ve been here though, I’ve had a lot more time to think about what I want to do with my life, both career-wise and personally. I haven’t come up with any concrete answers (this grown-up thing is hard). However, I have begun to realize what’s really important to me. I’m going crazy being so far away from my family and I hate the feeling that I’m missing things and that I can’t be there when I need to because of the time and cost involved with travel. I love the East Coast and I feel like it’s better suited to my personality, but what’s the point of living somewhere amazing if all the people I want to share it with are all the way across the country? It’s not that I’m unhappy on the East Coast or that I haven’t met some wonderful people but my heart is out West. I miss the mountains and the dry heat and the people I love, so I think my job searches for next summer and post-graduation will center on the West Coast.
On a quasi-professional level, I miss speaking Spanish. I got frustrated in college because so many people are raised bilingually in Nevada that it seemed pointless for me to keep practicing when I knew I would never reach the level of a native speaker. In Virginia and internationally though, my sometimes awkward Spanish is more than enough to get by and a stronger asset than I realized. All of my meetings and correspondence with my coworkers at CEDHA have been in Spanish, and that hasn’t really been a problem. In fact, I didn’t even realize how well my entire team speaks English until we got a new intern and conducted her first meeting in English to help her transition. There’s a student group at W&M called De Vecino a Vecino (From Neighbor to Neighbor) that works with the Hispanic community in Virginia. I was involved last year, but this year, I’d really like to do more with them. They work with several D.C. based organizations to do “Know Your Rights” presentations, jail visits and immigration work. Not only is it great cause, it’s also a perfect opportunity to practice my Spanish so I don’t get rusty again.