December 6

In the middle, again.


The interesting thing about planning to make life changes and making life changes is that one is about potential, and one is about action. Like building a house, I would rather make lots of small but significant changes on the foundation before build the rest of the house on top of it. For me right now, I am only planning, and that is probably the hardest part of any well-executed plan.

I don’t know how other people have made their transition to being an expat successful, although I am always seeking out stories of those who have successfully done that. I just know that I have a lot of work to do, such as selling my house and pretty much all of my stuff, finishing my PhD, maximizing retirement plans, finding a job overseas, but in the meantime, I am in the middle.

Louis Pasteur said that his strength was in his tenacity, and I am trying to emulate that as well. I know about tenacity, and I know the benefits of grinding away while others give up for one reason or another. Hell, I have written a book, been studying Spanish, completed three scholarly papers, each over 140 pages, and loads of other stuff in the last four years, and each is on track with my life goals. In fact, they have prepared and sustained me for what comes next. In the meantime, there’s not a lot of action toward this move, because it isn’t time yet. Ugh.

So, I’m in the middle. I’m glad I’m not in the beginning, and I have no idea what will come in the future, but I am going to persevere, keep learning Spanish, keep working on my PhD work, keep arranging my finances, keep planning for the future adventures. I have some foundations to build!


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  1. Loving your blog, Christopher, even though I do feel a bit late to the party … question for you: what was your approach to learning Spanish? What method(s) and what might you do differently in retrospect? Thanks so much for sharing your story!

    1. Hey, Steve, and thanks for the comment! Don’t worry about being late to the party–I’m glad you’re here. My approach to learning Spanish was to use the best learning tool I could find for adult language learners, and that is Fluenz. They have a “Spanish for Spain” version that is outstanding. The nice thing about Fluenz is that it’s built for adult learners and provides a thorough review of grammar, vocabulary, and learning strategies. As an educator, I have nothing but admiration for the Fluenz product and developers. When I arrived in Spain, I had a solid background for speaking and communicating, and although I was often swamped as I navigated my life in Spain, I am very happy with my depth of knowledge and ability to communicate.

      What would I do differently? Well, I looked for courses here near where I live, and since I am very comfortable as an independent learner I decided to go with the self-study route. If you need a more social aspect, then definitely find and enroll in a class or two. Check out for Spanish speaking events. Get comfortable being totally clueless about the conversation (it happens!) and speaking bad, albeit well-intentioned, Spanish. Really, you have to start somewhere, and I would guess that you know how you learn best. Go in that direction!

      Best of luck, and I responded to your LinkedIn message with more information. Let’s communicate directly soon!

      Kind regards,

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