Monday, August 9, 2010

How did I get here?

I was just sitting in the bath, staring at the flames of the candles I had lit and watching the steam rise from the hot water, when I wondered to myself, 'How did I get here?'. Beyond the obvious answer that I hate my roommates and I am staying at Joseba's this month, I was more thinking, how did I end up in a bathtub in a small town in the north of Spain?! Would 3 year-old Amanda taking a bath in her sweatsuit in an apartment on 9th avenue 22 years ago have forseen this? I doubt it. So, I started to think of all the things small coincidental things that have brought me here.

Firstly, how did I get in this bathtub? Well, I would never be in the bathtub if I hadn't met such a great guy in Joseba. I am staying here this month and couldn't be happier, but it seems strange to think, that if six months earlier, I hadn't have went to a random house party I had no desire to attend, I wouldn't have met Joseba. That one party eventually led to me being in this bathtub!

That rainy night in February, I really didn't feel like going to a party or even leaving the house for that matter, but my friend Miles convinced me that it was a good idea and that if we hated it we could leave early. Looking back, I wouldn't have went to that party if I had met Miles a few months earlier when he was here visiting my best friend at the time, his cousin Madeline. For the past year Madeline and I had been great friends, even sending silly postcards of the Queen and Barack Obama over the summer when I was in the States. Madeline is from England if you didn't catch onto that.

Although she is a fellow English speaker, I didn't meet Madeline on my own, but instead through my Dutch friend Lotte. One of my best friends during the first semester here, Lotte was getting ready to head back to Holland and had a goodbye party where she introduced me to Madeline. We hit it off immediatley (which did make Lotte kind of jealous hahaha) and have been friends ever since. But what if I hadn't been at that party either? Of course I was there because Lotte and I were so close, but I only met her because she was friends with my Dutch roommate in my first apartment. It's funny because I didn't really love the apartment that much, but I guess looking back on it, if I hadn't lived there, maybe I wouldn't be in this bath?

I came to live in the apartment after my first week in Spain. I was staying in a hostel full of Australians called Urban House and I just happened to ask the girl at the front desk if she knew how to find an apartment in San Sebastian and she miraculously told me that the hostel converted one of the hostel buildings into an apartment for the school year and there was one bedroom left if I wanted it! Such luck!

But how did I end up at a random hostel in Spain? It all goes back to my job in NYC that I really didn't like. For months, I had been looking for a new job, but it was at the beginning of the recession and marketing jobs were scarce. I had even got to the point where I was looking for a new job while at work. Pretty bad. Funny thing is, looking back, that when I accepted the job in NYC I knew I wouldn't like it because it was a sales job, but I was so stuck on accomplishing my dream of living in Manhattan that I took it anyways, telling myself it was only a 1-year contract. No regrets whatsoever!

One weekend when I was living in the Big Apple, I happened to go to Shayla Ames' wedding in California - a much-needed break from my hectic life. At the wedding, I ran into Emily Dieter, one of Shayla's best friends, who I had known and been to school with since elementary school. She had been teaching in Spain (with the same job I have now) and mentioned she and her husband weren't going to make it back for another year and the school was looking for a replacement. I told her I was super interested and she said she would let the boss of the school know. However, after not seeing Emily for something like 6 years, I didn't think much would come of it, but a mere 2 weeks later I was talking with Erika (my current boss) secretly in a conference room of my work and somehow agreeing to move continents within 3 weeks. (Another coincidence - a few months earlier, Grammy had convinced me it was a good idea to get a passport, in case I needed to travel for work. A permanent job in Spain is probably not what she was imaging!)

But what if I hadn't gone to the wedding? What if I had never been such good friends with Shayla that she would invite me to her wedding? Well that's impossible because a few years earlier we had been roomies in Arizona, when I moved down south to live with her and go to ASU (Go Devils!). Months before high school got out, I went to visit Shayla in AZ for Spring Break and met my dad down there to get a tour of the campus. As we were walking down Palm Walk (a sidewalk with hundreds of palm trees lining the walkway) we decided this was the place for me and that I should apply and attend ASU for marketing. Looking back now, I realize not only did I fall in love with the sunshine and palm trees, but also the fact that ASU had a good journalism AND marketing program and at the time I applied I was still undecided.

I had wanted to be a journalism student (more accurately, I had wanted to be Barbara Walters) since I learned how to write. Every Friday some kids were excited about TGIF for the Urkel show or Step by Step. Not me. I was excited for Barbara Walters and Hugh Downs and 20/20! I only switched my interests to marketing when I joined DECA in high school. However, I only did that because I heard they went on awesome trips all over the country, which was completely true! Eventually I became the President of DECA and fell in love with marketing, which led me to look for a school with a good program in that too.

But what if I hadn't joined DECA? What if I had decided I wanted to be a journalism student? My life could be completely different now! Without my great teachers (mostly Mrs. Bishop at Beacon Hill who really encouraged 'free writing' time and Ms. Konecky at HJH whose newspaper class I loved) I had developed a great love for writing, but what if I hadn't gone to those schools? Crazy to think, but I wouldn't have met Emily Dieter, a fellow Bobcat, who ultimatley got me this job! So, from the first day I met Emily (probably sporting some nice stretch pants and a slap bracelet), it was like I was preparing to see her years later at a wedding and have her recommend me for a job!

Strange thing is that I almost went to Catlin, but with a twist of luck ended up at Beacon Hill. My mom met her husband and they decided to move to the area where my mom grew up and where I had been living a few years earlier with Grammy and Bumpa. But, what if my mom hadn't grown up there and went to the same elementary school as me? Maybe we wouldn't have moved to 108 Kraft road and I wouldn't be here in Basque Country! I guess that leads back to the fact that Grammy and Bumpa decided to buy the white house on Beacon Hill drive years and years earlier and raise there family there. Little did they know, that decision would eventually help thier granddaughter move to Spain! And this was even before I was born!

It could go on and on and it just blows my mind, how all of these things, while at the time seemed insignificant, when I look back, really just add up and seem to have led me here! Growing up, I never would have nor could have imagined myself 1) living in Spain and 2) loving being a teacher and yet here I am. It's a crazy world and how it operates is a mystery to me, but sometimes I pause and make myself look at my life and how it is unfolding and I am amazed.

I read a quote by William Burroughs the other day, that possibly started this whole thinking spell: 'In the magical universe there are no coincidences and there are no accidents. Nothing happens unless someone wills it to happen.' If that is true, who willed me to come to Spain? Me? Someone else? Maybe when Grammy and Bumpa adopted my mom, who COINCIDENTALLY happens to have Basque roots, it was already starting to be willed.

I don't need a definitive answer nor do I think I would ever find one even if I looked, but I guess sitting in the bathtub today, completely content with my life and how it is going, I kind of wondered how did I get so lucky? I know it's been a long kind of wordy and blabby blog, but I just had to share it with someone. Maybe take a second and think how you got to where you are might just blow your mind and make you finish your relaxing bath early because you're so excited to share it with someone!


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