Something in my attitude has changed in the last two weeks. There are probably a few things that have sparked this change but for whatever reason one day I began to look beyond my plan to stay in San Sebastian for a brief nine months. There’s a strong possibility that this has a lot to do with unseasonably warm weather and too many espressos but maybe, just maybe..this is not a passing thing. My tryst with Donostia is now over the 25 degree, honeymoon stage and is starting to move into the cosy winter of hopefully no discontent.
Firstly, when I don’t blow all my money in Mango, my life here is fairly comfortable. (so realistically not often) More comfortable than if I lived in Dublin. The standards of my workplace are higher, the teenagers are well-mannered in general and the air is fresh. I feel comfortable living. The future might be far away but the reality is that in three months I’m going to have to make some kind of call. I’ve lived abroad before and I know how fast the non-months of January, February and March dissolve one by one.
I’m not afraid to breathe for awhile, to commit to somewhere for longer than the next contract. I’m quite happy to base myself here by the sea. It’s nice to have the space to think and sort things in my head and in my life. No, San Sebastián is not the centre of sophisticated chaos but it suits me. The night life has done me well so far. Any more exciting and I’d probably be dead. The people are both amusing and warm and it feels like home already.
Those who don’t know me too well may not realise that these grand statements don’t mean much and I could easily hop on a plane to Taiwan next month-(Hi Hannah!) but hey I’m trying to maybe form a future plan longer than six months. Is that the grown-up thing to do? I’m considering buying a houseplant which is literally causing sleepless nights.
It does seem strange to be planning a future in the midst of the cloud of uncertainty and underlying fear around Europe. To go into a kids class and ask how their weekend was, only to hear a cacophony of panicked voices does not foster a feeling of stability.
“We are escary because we gonna die! The*insert Spanish word for terrorists* will kill us”
“Yeah kids I’m pretty concerned too but hey, who here knows anything about ferns whilst we concentrate on living in denial like adults?”
Not to mention my teenagers, already troubled enough about lipstick and viral videos of naked, dancing men, asking me if I was scared or if I thought it was World War Three. How do you even answer that honestly without making them neurotic insomniacs like yourself? (I think I’ve just become a parent to forty Basque youths)
So in the midst of terror, police patrolling my train station because it’s a link to the border, overthinking French Christmas market locations and a general cloud of anxiety trying to choke everyone in Europe as the reality of foreign policy sets in, I’m just going to breathe. Breathe, take walks, drink too much wine and run home in the freezing rain. As my buddy Markel (12) said so poetically, ( if not so accurately) last week:
“The worst thing Orla, is to life with afraid.”
Anyway, I’ll tell you what it is to live a life in fear. Three exam classes, end of term reports and a deluge of essays to mark.
No more time for emotions or contemplation,