There is so much more color in my life.
Thanks to Spain.
Thanks to the artists here that create beautiful clothes, and jewelry, and paintings, and art.
Art on the street, theatre in the streets, dancing in the street, in the parks and plazas…
Playgrounds that spark the imagination. (Oh how the kids will suffer with the homogeneous choices available in the US…)
Parks. Glorious parks with fountains and statues.
And the people here, mostly military spouses from around the world, that flood my world with rainbows of personalities, cultural exchanges, and friendship.
I live in a kaleidoscope. Fragmented pieces of color that dance and blend, creating irreplaceable pictures.
I have been forever changed.
We managed to take a trip back to the states over Christmas.
It was surreal. I was overwhelmed with the wide-open spaces, and the overflowing stores. I returned to Spain even more appreciative of the lifestyle we have here, and the opportunities for intercultural exchange.
The clock ticks towards the end of our adventures here.
You may recall that I once had an awake day-dream about living in Spain, and more than 20-years later it came true. This may be fate or destiny, or just sheer luck, but these three years have activated in me a deep desire to create, and to connect.
I want to absorb all of the pieces of this kaleidoscopic country.
My curiosity grows with every road trip, with every meal shared amongst friends, with every new phrase learned.
I continue to teach at the Transforming Arts Institute (TAI) university here, although this next year will be a new challenge for me teaching the class in Spanish since the program has changed from a masters in acting in English, to bilingual, to now strictly Castellan. I’m looking forward to the challenge, and have applied for a FLO personal development grant to fund tutoring to support my Spanish-language tutoring that I’m sure will be necessary and helpful to the process.
I have been fortunate to teach a variety of theatre classes for the International Institute of Madrid. The students have taught me a lot about the local theatre scene, and about the perspective of American theatre here in Spain.
American Space asked me to give a workshop for a young theatre group that adapts contemporary stories, using theatre to strengthen their English skills.
Along with teaching a variety of acting classes and workshops, I also started a monthly cooking class for international military spouses. It’s a source of indescribable joy. All of the spouses take turns sharing culturally rich recipes from their home countries. – exchanging tricks and tips for creating beautiful food.
We are heading into our fourth and final year here in Madrid. The clock ticks towards the final countdown. The sabbatical wanes.
I’m already feeling the panic. What will I do when we go “home”? And where will “home” be?
Let’s be real here for a minute. Life is still happening. Three small kids need constant attention, which for an artist can be draining – to the point of not having enough surplus energy to create. You take your life with you wherever you go.
But there have still been surges in creativity.
I’ve also been putting my theatrical expertise to work while diplomating by creating themed parties. I like to think of them as immersive theatre. We have hosted a couple of rowdy Halloween parties.
And for my birthday this year we planned a prohibition, suffragettes speak-easy, complete with secret entrance and password entry. These are all parts of my artistic personality, and it has been great fun putting the new skills into play with the old ones.
On a more professional level…
I will be published in a book in January.
It’s a collection of practical exercises to use in the classroom when teaching plays. I’m honored to have been chosen to contribute and am really looking forward to reviewing the other submissions from my talented colleagues.
And finally, I managed to execute a large portion of the Stage Directing Resources website that has been sitting on the top of my to-do list for a few years. It’s still under construction, but making this kind of headway has led to a few exciting conversations about potential collaborations in the future.
I gather pieces for the kaleidoscope of my life in my hands, in my memories. I plant them in my children.
The clock is ticking.
The mental preparation for the next move is already happening, the shift is subtle but ever present. I wonder what toll will it take? How long will it take to be settled again in a new community? How will another move affect my need to create and share stories about bettering the world.
Do I have more answers now?
I think the answer is yes.
Because there is so much more color in my world now.
P.S. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to reflect for the past three years on my experience as an artist living abroad. I haven’t been able to journal very much recently, so this has been an awesome opportunity to reflect on my time here, and consider my plans for the future…
xo ~Carrie Klewin