When I was a student in college, pursuing my third major, Creative Writing, it was drilled into my head to keep a notebook in my pocket at all times, because those brilliant thoughts never occur to you when they are supposed to. They happen at a bar when the music is so loud you can’t talk, or when you’re brushing your teeth in a hostel in Punto Arenas, or when you are pretending to listen to a woman who is so beautiful your mind goes blank, or when you’re staring at a computer at work while your brain is beginning to gel. Blogs have made it easy for almost anyone to express themselves, even if they have nothing to say. And for me, there is nothing like impending travel to rouse that writer’s muse. Ironically, I will still have to keep that notebook in my pocket, because if I start bringing my laptop to coffee shops and tapas bars, I will simply need to be shot. I am now in the waning weeks of my latest stay in my home country, and returning to that familiar feeling of expatriation. I agree with Paul Theroux when he says he finds solace in being disconnected. That dichotomy of satisfaction and discomfort. When I am abroad, as the foreigner, I am forced to think clearly about who I am and where I come from. I improve my own language while concentrating on the communicative functions of a foreign language. I spontaneously develop my sense of humor. I find it easier to talk, in a relaxed way, to foreign women. I enrich my political views of the world (which fortunately are not static). I love having to use my international electrical adapter. And I wonder if I will ever stop this nonsense. The trick is to not drift into the wasteland of sentimentality and romanticism, content as a dirty hippy always sleeping on someone’s couch and asking for money. This time, I have my long term career in mind. I am extremely old by some standards of the soul-searching man, but I am happy knowing that I will soon be gaining great experience as a teacher, while learning Spanish and using it in everyday life. Simply put.
Madrid is right around the corner, and my mind is a rotating door of panic, excitement, cynicism, extreme optimism, fear, self-righteousness, self-loathing, and confusion. Someone told me once that if you’re having ever-increasing cases of déjà vu, your on the right track in life. I think that this latest variety of emotional experience says that I might be doing something right.