La Vida Te Cambia

I’m Andrew Barr and you're listening to the Real Fast Spanish Tips Podcast — a show aimed at one simple goal — helping you reach a conversational level of Spanish.

If this is the first episode you’ve heard, you can go back and listen from the beginning. In previous episodes, you’ll find tips around mindset such as study habits and goal setting, vocabulary, grammar, there have been interviews with polyglots and Spanish guests.

In this episode of the podcast, I’m going to tell a story. This story is about a friend of mine, Cristina.

I’m going to tell parts of story in English, but naturally most of the story will be in Spanish. If you want to following along—a Spanish transcript and English translation of the story—will be available in the Real Fast Spanish School.

The Real Fast Spanish School provides online training designed to not only accompany the podcast but to help you grow your Spanish with courses based around conversation hacking—a type training that focuses on the essential skills required to be conversational. If you want to learn more about conversation hacking you can check the conversation hacking guide in Spanish, free to download on Real Fast Spanish.com.

Now back to the story about Cristina. Cristina and her boyfriend recently moved to Australia from Spain.

But, it wasn’t easy. In fact, Cristina almost didn’t come. And the thing that nearly stopped her was something that affects all of us.

Cristina: pensé “No puedo.”

That’s Cristina, I asked her what her reaction was to the idea of coming to Australia to live.

Cristina: Creo que la palabra es “No puedo”, no puedo ahora, no puedo.

Andrew: ¿Por qué?

Cristina: Pues porque tenía muchos, tenía muchos miedos y, me impedía ir, me impedía ver todas esas cosas buenas que quería vivir. Eh…me impedía ver los miedos, o sea, lo miedos me lo impedían ver ... es una decisión complicada el irse a vivir a otro país y conocer otra cultura, y bueno, es una decisión difícil. Pero…y…y bueno yo lo estuve pensando durante mucho tiempo, el venirme o no, estuvimos mucho tiempo pensándolo y cuando ya casi, cuando mi pareja, ya lo tenía decidido, eh….pues a mí me empezaron a surgir todas las dudas.

Cristina: Las dudas existenciales.

Coming to Australia to live wasn’t Cristina’s idea, it was in fact her partner’s, Borja, I asked Cristina if she remembered the day that Borja told her he wanted to move overseas to live.

Cristina: Borja me dijo mmm…”Quiero irme, vale” Llegó un momento en que ya me lo expresó tajantemente. “Cristina, yo quiero irme y quiero que nos vayamos, y quiero que te vengas conmigo, por supuesto” Eh….Y allí entró.

Andrew: ¿Qué pensaste? ¿En este momento, qué pensaste?

Cristina: En ese momento, pensé…eh….en un primer momento pensé “Vale”, pero cuando fui consciente de que realmente el me lo estaba diciendo de verdad, pensé “No puedo.”

So in reaction to moving overseas, Cristina initially thought ‘yes’—and maybe this a natural reaction. It’s a fun idea—let’s move overseas—it’s easy to daydream about.

I asked Cristina if she remembered what she said to Borja and she told me that initially (al principio) she said ‘yes’ but when Borja started looking for flights (buscando los vuelos) … things started to get real ... and so she had to come clean about what she was really thinking.

Cristina: Pues, como te digo en un prin…al principio le dije que sí, sí, sí, sí.

Andrew: Vale.

Cristina: Pero cuando me di cuenta que él estaba ya buscando los vuelos, estaba ya buscando el mes para irnos, estaba buscando las cosas, allí me entró el miedo y le dije que no podía, “No, no puedo ahora Borja, no sé qué me pasa pero no puedo.”

It was clear that something was holding Cristina back … something that she couldn’t let go of.

I asked Cristina about life in Spain.

Andrew: … cuéntanos algo sobre tu vida en España, en general.

Cristina: Nosotros, bueno mi pareja y yo, Borja, vivimos en Valencia eh…bueno, normalmente, vivíamos en Valencia. Eh….y nada pues…mmm… a ver, cuando tenía, cuando me salía algún trabajo en Madrid o a él le han salido trabajos en Madrid, nos íbamos a Madrid. Entonces, los últimos años estábamos viviendo entre Madrid-Valencia, porque Valencia, si ya el sector del periodismo estaba difícil en Valencia, eh…o sea en Madrid, pues en Valencia aún más.

So Cristina and Borja are originally from Valencia, but —El periodismo— the sector that both Cristina and Borja worked in — was difficult there. It forced them look for work in Madrid. Cristina told me that life as a journalist was tough and it was difficult to find — trabajo fijo — fixed work.

Cristina: ... he trabajado durante ocho años como periodista pero últimamente estaba siendo bastante difícil encontrar un trabajo fijo como periodista. Entonces, tenía trabajos muy esporádicos pues…dos meses haciendo pues en un programa de televisión, eh…un mes o una grabación para una cosa en concreto. No tenía nada fijo, y entonces ahora mismo, o sea allí, me estaba últimamente los últimos dos años me estaba dedicando a nada, o sea a trabajar de camarera, de algo que no era lo mío.

Cristina: Es algo que tengo claro que es a lo que me quiero dedicar y me quería dedicar. Entonces allí estaba…estaba bastante digamos deprimida porque no encontraba trabajo de lo mío y estaba con trabajos que nos…que no me gustan, pero tenía que hacer para sobrevivir.

So Cristina couldn’t find work (de lo mío) her type of work, as a journalist. She had to get by working as a waitress.

So when times are tough maybe it makes sense to start considering looking for work, not in a new city but in a new country on the other side of world. I asked Cristina to talk about their motivation for coming to Australia.

Cristina: Pues, a ver, como te digo es una cosa que estaba en nuestra mente desde hace bastante tiempo, desde hace a lo mejor…pues desde que vinimos desde primera vez, porque nosotros….yo vine por primera vez aquí por trabajo en el 2011 y me enamoré de Australia, me enamoré de Melbourne…mmm…y luego, de hecho, ese año volvimos, o sea, volví yo con Borja de vacaciones y nos enamoró. Y pensamos, es que esto, esto…tenemos que volver. No sé cómo, pero tenemos que volver. Y en nuestra mente también ha estado el ir a vivir fuera. Yo imagino que también, o sea, porque mi trabajo, o sea, el trabajo en el programa este, en el programa de Españoles en el mundo, vas alrededor del mundo a conocer españoles y te cuentan como viven. Y muchos de ellos te dicen “Es que la vida te cambia”, es que vives cosas que en tu zona de confort, que es tu, tu zona, tu vida, donde tú vives, en mi caso era Valencia, mi gente, tu zona de confort te impide ver otras cosas. Entonces…yo creo que en parte yo quería vivir eso que…todos los españoles que, que, que, había entrevistado, me habían contado.

So Cristina first came to Australia in 2011 working on a show called “españoles en el mundo”. The people Cristina interviewed for the show said that “la vida te cambia” the life changes you.

They said that the only way to get to see those changes was to step outside your comfort zone. So Cristina knew that it would worthwhile to live overseas. She knew she needed to step outside, her comfort zone—Valencia.

Cristina also knew that in Spain it was difficult for her to find—her type work— in Journalism, yet something was still holding her back. I asked her what she was afraid of and she said it was a cúmulo, a lot of things.

Cristina: Pues, eh…es que era un cúmulo de cosas, me daba miedo muchas cosas. Me daba miedo estar tan lejos, porque estamos a casi veinte mil kilómetros o casi dieciocho mil kilómetros de España, es muy lejos. Me daba miedo separarme de mi familia, eh…soy bastante cercana a mi familia. Eh…Me daba miedo el no saber hasta cuándo, porque hablas con la gente y dices “Pues estoy pensando en irme unos meses a Australia” y la gente te dice “¡Ja! Unos meses, eso luego se convierte luego en un año, en dos años…” y eso me presionaba, me asustaba bastante. Y bueno, luego también pues el tema laboral, en España las cosas laborales no van bien, el tema del trabajo en nuestro sector no va bien. Y me daba miedo, también, perder el hilo, el hilo de estar allí y de no estar allí, y perder las oportunidades ¿no? Esas oportunidades que pasan y que si no estás allí, pues a lo mejor es más difícil encontrarlas.

I thought about Cristina’s point and — fair enough — a move overseas could mean that you miss opportunities for work at home. If she took the risk and left Spain for a year she could miss that big break that she had been waiting.

On top of thoughts about her career, the next thing Cristina told me is that her friends and family are also important, then she said something I didn’t expect.

Andrew: ¿Pasas mucho tiempo con tus amigos y la familia?

Cristina: Sí, sí, sí. La verdad es que sí, la verdad es que de lo que más echo de menos y de lo que más me da daba miedo venir aquí porque uno de mis miedos es que…

Andrew: Claro.

Cristina:…que es un miedo irracional, quizás…

Andrew: Claro.

Cristina: …pero el pensar “es que se van a olvidar de mí”, mis amigos. Porque el contacto diario hace. El estar, el contacto diario, el pues voy a quedar con tal amiga, con estos amigos, eso hace. El irte tan lejos, tu no…las horas impide que tengas ese contacto diario. Entonces, uno de mis miedos era que mis amigos se olvidaran de mí.

Andrew: ¿Piensas que eso va a pasar? Que tus amigos van a olvidarte. ¿Eso es imposible no?

Cristina: Eh…Sé que es un miedo irracional. Pero sigo teniéndolo.

Cristina: Sigo teniéndolo. Me he dado cuenta ahora, una de las cosas que he aprendido ahora, es que los amigos de verdad no se olvidan de ti.

Cristina: Y que están allí, aunque te separen ocho horas de diferencia y no sé cuántos kilómetros, los amigos de verdad están. Pero yo…también te das cuenta de quienes no están. De quienes son amigos sólo para salir a tomar cervezas. Eso es algo que aprendes cuando te vas tan lejos.

Maybe the fear — that your friends are going to forget you—isn’t irrational, maybe it’s perfectly reasonable that if you don’t see some friends for a number of years, then you just going to grow apart. But, at the same time, you will discover, as Cristina says your — amigos de verdad. The types of friends that will always support you, even if you don’t see each other for a year or two or more.

Up until this point, we’ve heard Cristina’s side of the story. But I wanted to find out what Borja thought of Cristina’s reaction. Was it normal for Cristina or is this something that came as a surprise to the person that knows her best?

Here’s Borja:

Borja: Habíamos hablado muchas veces sobre la posibilidad de…de ir a vivir a otro lugar, fuera de España. Y Australia, probablemente, era el objetivo común, lo que más nos apetecía. Porque habíamos viajado los dos juntos, estuvimos en Sídney, en Melbourne hace unos años, y nos enamoramos. Sobre todo de Melbourne.

Andrew: Sí.

Borja: Nos parece una ciudad impresionante. Entonces, teníamos ese sueño. Teníamos el sueño de venir a Australia. Y lo habíamos hablado y parece que estábamos de acuerdo. Pero de repente un día Cristina me dijo que…que no estaba preparada, que no podía venir. Y para mí, para mí fue una sorpresa.

Andrew: Sí.

Borja: No me lo esperaba. Claro, porque ella me había animado muchas veces a venir, ella había estado dos veces en Melbourne, y estaba emocionada con la ciudad. Entonces, que de repente te diga “Yo no puedo ir, no estoy preparada”, fue una sorpresa.

Borja: Y costó mucho.

So for Borja, Cristina’s reaction was out of the ordinary. Fue una sorpresa. It was a surprise.

I asked Borja if he remembered what he said to Cristina after she admitted how she really felt, and if it made a difference.

Borja: Bueno, yo le dije que…creo recordar…le dije que lo entendía, que era un paso importante, que era una aventura y que vamos a hacerlos los dos juntos, y que se lo pensara. El tiempo iba pasando y ella me seguía diciendo que no podía.

So Borja tried. He told Cristina that it was going to be an adventure and they were going to do it together. However, he still wasn’t able to convince her.

But along the way, something changed for Cristina, I mean she is here, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to tell this story today. I asked her to tell us about the moment when things changed. She was able to trace it back to one night over drinks with a particular friend—a good friend—that reminded her about something important.

Andrew: Explícanos el momento en que te diste cuenta de que tú también querías venir.

Cristina: Yo como te digo, eh…tenía miedo, vale. Y estuve, bueno…te lo…o sea resumido, o sea, te voy a hacer un resumen, pero vamos que fueron…fue…fueron cuestión de…fue cuestión de tres meses o una cosa así, tres o cuatro meses. Pero, pero bueno todo mundo me decía que era una oportunidad, que tal. Pero claro, la gente que te lo decía…mmm…yo creo que eran amigos en común y pensé…y yo en ese momento pensaba “Claro que me van a decir, son amigos de Borja. También le van a decir eso “Anímate Cristina, tienes que ir” Eh…pero….un día eh….o sea no vi que nadie se preocupara por mí, en decir “No, es que nadie entiende que no puedo, es que no, tengo miedo dentro de mi” Eh…pero un día pues salimos a una cena, cenamos con unos amigos en común que tenemos y un amigo en particular, me acuerdo que estábamos tomando una copa y me dijo…nada me cogió, me dijo “Tu sabes que tienes que irte ¿no?” y yo le dije, pues la respuesta que le decía a todo el mundo, “Sí, sí, ya, ya pero no sé, no sé” , y él me dijo “Pero tú sabes que no te lo estoy diciendo por Borja, o sea te lo digo por ti, porque tú necesitas irte” Entonces, yo creo que allí fue, digamos, lo que me hizo abrir los ojos y decir “Es que creo que es verdad, creo que lo necesito, creo que necesito irme” porque es el único, es lo único que me va a hacer salir del bucle en el que estaba.

Cristina: empecé a…a ver, a pensar en mí, o sea en no pensar en “Me voy a ir por Borja” Sino a pensar de “Vale, me tengo que ir por mí”

This was a critical breakthrough for Cristina. The advice from her friend at the bar didn’t change the fact that she was afraid. It didn’t remove her fears. But, what did change was the motivation for going.

No longer was she simply going to support her partner on his adventure. No longer was she sacrificing her life and her opportunities because her partner wanted to see what it was like to live in another country. Instead, she was going for herself. This trip was about what she could gain, what she could learn about the world and about herself. After the conversation in the bar I asked Cristina if she still had doubts.

Cristina: Pero bueno, empecé a quitármelas porque digamos que empecé a, a pensar en mí y en por qué me quiero ir, a centrarme en por qué me quiero ir, o sea, en por qué me quiero ir yo, no en por qué nos tenemos que ir. Sino a pensar en “Cristina- ¿Tú quieres irte? piensa” y empecé. Me ayudó a despejarme problemas, si tenía a lo mejor 100 dudas, ayudó a quitarme unas 50…una cosa sí.

So in her words she had cien dudas (100 doubts) and the advice helped remove 50 of those doubts.

Fortunately, though, the removal of those 50 doubts was enough to get her on a plane.

But of course the story doesn’t there. Cristina’s first few days in Australia weren’t easy, in fact, her first feelings were so overwhelming she only had thoughts of returning home.

Cristina: Pues, si te soy sincera, el primer día que llegamos nada más aterrizar, dejamos las cosas en la casa, que por cierto no tuvimos suerte con la casa que llegamos, y cuando salimos a la calle me acuerdo perfectamente que yo creo que estaba por Lonsdale Street y pensé “Que demonios hago aquí, o sea, me quiero volver ya, quiero irme a España” Me sentí, no sé, como muy pequeñita, me sentí muy pequeñita, muy indefensa y decir “Quiero volverme, yo no quiero estar aquí ¿Qué he hecho?”

¿Qué he hecho? — What have I done? A sentiment that I too have expressed after arriving in a country I didn’t think I could survive.

Cristina explained to me that the old doubts had been replaced with new ones. I asked her why she wanted to return to Spain and if she remembered, at the start, what was the worst part about being here.

Cristina: No lo sé, se me hizo todo muy grande, todo, o sea todo lo que me tenía que llegar, todo lo que tenía…todo lo que iba a venir ahora, el buscar trabajo, el buscar casa, el buscar todo, se me hizo un mundo y empecé a…también a sentir la falta de mi gente, de quiero irme.

Andrew: ¿Qué, qué fue la parte más difícil?

Cristina: La parte más difícil, eh…pero en general, tipo encontrar casa o…

Andrew: Lo que sea, del idioma, de…

Cristina: ¡Ah, bueno…!

Andrew: …echar de menos a tus amigos, de…

Cristina: Ha sido una mezcla de todo.

Andrew: Sí.

Cristina: O sea, el idioma al principio, no entendí nada. No los entendía, menos mal que tengo…tengo la suerte de tener a, de tener a Borja que sabía…que sabe más inglés que yo. Y entonces el me ayudaba, pero al principio era “no entiendo nada, esta gente es totalmente diferente de la gente que yo conozco, necesito hablar con mis amigas, María, que son como mi refugio…

Andrew: Sí.

Cristina: Necesito mi madre, necesito…se me hizo todo un mundo y lo más difícil pues fue lo que te digo, el…el…empezar desde cero. Es que es empezar desde cero, empiezas a buscar trabajo, empiezas a buscar casa, empiezas a buscar amigos, todo.

Cristina said that it was a mix of everything. The language, missing friends and family, El empezar desde cero (the fact of starting with nothing).

For this, a Spanish expression comes to mind:
Lo que no mata, engorda — That which doesn’t kill you, fattens.

This expression probably seemed from a time where being fat implied wealth or power. But in english, that which doesn’t kill you makes stronger.

I wanted to know how Cristina was engorda or in English, how was she stronger from this experience. I asked her what she had learnt from the experience of moving overseas.

Cristina: ¡Puff! Aprendes muchas cosas. Yo creo, sinceramente, que aprendes, o sea, aprendes mucho de ti, imagino que la experiencia cuando vienes solo es mucho mayor que cuando vienes con pareja, porque te ayuda mucho el tener una pareja aquí, o sea, el tener alguien aquí. Pero aprendes mucho, aprendes que no…o sea, lo que para ti era normal, pues tu ritmo de vida, tu tipo de vida pues ir a tomar cervezas e ir tal, es diferente aquí, aquí tienen otra manera de vivir, aprendes a vivir de esa otra manera, conoces otras culturas, cuando estuve en la escuela de inglés conocí otras culturas, pues japoneses, tal. Y aprendes otras maneras de vivir, otras maneras de pensar. Te conoces a ti misma, también y te conoces…y te das cuenta de esas cosas que tanto miedo te daban. Yo me acuerdo que los primero días de trabajo en el restaurante, es un restaurante, o sea, de trabajar de nada, de recoger platos y tal, me daba mucho miedo y los primero días estaba muy nerviosa, y ahora voy tan normal. Y yo creo que he aprendido a decir “Es que no es para tanto”, es que, me acuerdo que antes de venir leí una cosa que decía algo que…“Cosas que aprendes cuando te vas a vivir fuera” y decía la chica que las personas que se van a vivir fuera no se les considera…o sea, nos consideran valientes, pero no somos valientes, simplemente hemos decidido, vale. O sea, no es cuestión de valentía, es cuestión de decisión.

So here Cristina says it isn’t a question of bravery, it’s a question of simple deciding. It’s not about removing fears but just making a decision despite them. I asked Cristina what the new Cristina would say to the old Cristina, the one that was afraid to come.

Cristina: Pues la Cristina de hoy le diría “Nena, te tienes que espabilar”. Te tienes que espabilar porque…y quitarte miedos absurdos y que puedes vivir de muchas maneras.

Puedes vivir de muchas maneras.

To finish the story I asked Cristina if she had any advice for somebody who is thinking of moving to a different country. Especially one that doesn’t speak their first language.

Cristina: Que lo haga. O sea, que piense dentro de sí mismo y que piense: ¿Quiero vivir la experiencia? Olvídate de los miedos, olvídate de los miedos, de miedos externos, piensa en ti. ¿Yo quiero ir? Si la respuesta es sí, hazlo. Porque los miedos se superan. Cuando vas a ese sitio ves que los miedos son, muchos de ellos son absurdos y que tú eres capaz de encontrar un nuevo trabajo, eres capaz de empezar desde cero, eres capaz de todo. Y que la gente que te quiere, no se olvida de ti.

Andrew: ¿Y merece la pena?

Cristina: Y merece mucho la pena. Sí.

So in Cristina’s words, you are capable of starting from zero, the people who love you won’t forget you and most of all merece la pena - It’s worth it.

Thank Cristina and Borja for taking the time to record this episode. Thank you to you for taking the time to listen to Cristina’s story.

If you liked this episode then please share it. Share it on social media or share it with a friend that is learning Spanish or someone who is considering a move overseas and please leave a rating for us in iTunes store.

If you want to follow along with the transcript as well as save time and improve your effectiveness as a Spanish student then please check out the Real Fast Spanish School.

I’m Andrew Barr and I’ll talk to you soon in next episode of the Real Fast Spanish Tips podcast.



I’m Andrew Barr and you're listening to the Real Fast Spanish Tips Podcast — a show aimed at one simple goal — helping you reach a conversational level of Spanish.

If this is the first episode you’ve heard, you can go back and listen from the beginning. In previous episodes, you’ll find tips around mindset such as study habits and goal setting, vocabulary, grammar, there have been interviews with polyglots and Spanish guests.

In this episode of the podcast, I’m going to tell a story. This story is about a friend of mine, Cristina.

I’m going to tell parts of story in English, but naturally most of the story will be in Spanish. If you want to following along—a Spanish transcript and English translation of the story—will be available in the Real Fast Spanish School.

The Real Fast Spanish School provides online training designed to not only accompany the podcast but to help you grow your Spanish with courses based around conversation hacking—a type training that focuses on the essential skills required to be conversational. If you want to learn more about conversation hacking you can check the conversation hacking guide in Spanish, free to download on Real Fast Spanish.com.

Now back to the story about Cristina. Cristina and her boyfriend recently moved to Australia from Spain.

But, it wasn’t easy. In fact, Cristina almost didn’t come. And the thing that nearly stopped her was something that affects all of us.

Cristina: I thought, "I can’t”.

That's Cristina, I asked her what was her reaction to the notion of coming to Australia to live.

Cristina: I think the word is "I can’t”, I can’t now, I can’t.

Andrew: Why?

Cristina: Well, I had many, I had many fears and prevented me go, I could not see all that good stuff I wanted to live. Eh ... prevented me from seeing the fears, that is, that fears prevented me to see ... it’s a difficult decision the fact of moving to another country and experience another culture, and well, it's a difficult decision. But ... well ... and I was thinking for a long time, the go or not, we were thinking about it a lot, when my partner, had decided, uh ... well, all my doubts began to emerge.

Cristina: The existential questions.

Coming to Australia to live wasn’t Cristina’s idea, it was in fact her partner’s, Borja, I asked Cristina if she remembered the day that Borja told her he wanted to move overseas to live.

Cristina: Borja said to me mmm ... "I want to go, okay”. A moment came when he said to me flatly. "Cristina, I want to leave and I want us to leave, and I want you to come with me, of course," Eh ... and there came.

Andrew: What did you think? At this moment, what did you think?

Cristina: In that moment, I thought ... uh ... at first I thought "Okay," but when I was really aware that what he was telling me was real, I thought “I can’t.”

So in reaction to moving overseas, Cristina initially thought ‘yes’—and maybe this a natural reaction. It’s a fun idea—let’s move overseas—it’s easy to daydream about.

I asked Cristina if she remembered what she said to Borja and she told me that initially (al principio) she said ‘yes’ but when Borja started looking for flights (buscando los vuelos) … things started to get real ... and so she had to come clean about what she was really thinking.

Cristina: Well, as I tell you at fir ... at first I said yes, yes, yes, yes.

Andrew: Yeah.

Cristina: But when I realized that he was already looking for flights, was already looking for the month to leave, was looking for things, there I got scared and told him I could not, "No, I can not now Borja, I do not know what's wrong with me but I can’t. "

It was clear that something was holding Cristina back … something that she couldn’t let go of.

I asked Cristina about life in Spain.

Andrew: ... tell us something about your life in Spain in general.

Cristina: We, well my partner and I, Borja, live in Valencia uh ... well, normally, we lived in Valencia. Eh ... and then ... mmm ... let’s see, when I had, when I left some jobs in Madrid or he had left work in Madrid, we left Madrid. So over the years we were living between Madrid-Valencia, Valencia because, if it journalism sector was difficult in Valencia, uh ... well in Madrid, well in Valencia though worse.

So Cristina and Borja are originally from Valencia, but —El periodismo— the sector that both Cristina and Borja worked in — was difficult there. It forced them look for work in Madrid. Cristina told me that life as a journalist was tough and it was difficult to find — trabajo fijo — fixed work.

Cristina ... I worked for eight years as a journalist but lately it was being quite difficult to find a steady job as a journalist. So I had odd jobs ... two months working on a TV show, uh ... a month or a recording for one thing in particular. There was nothing fixed, and right now, I mean there, I was lately the last two years I was devoted to nothing, that is to work as a waitress, something that was not my thing.

Cristina: It's something I have clear that is what I want to dedicate myself to and wanted to dedicate myself to. So there I was ... I was pretty we say depressed because I wasn’t finding my type of work, I was with work ... that I don’t like, but I had to do to survive.

So Cristina couldn’t find work (de lo mío) her type of work, as a journalist. She had to get by working as a waitress.

So when times are tough maybe it makes sense to start considering looking for work, not in a new city but in a new country on the other side of world. I asked Cristina to talk about their motivation for coming to Australia.

Cristina: Well, see, as I say is one thing on our minds for quite some time, maybe since ... well since we came from the first time, because we ... .I I first came here for work in 2011 and I fell in love with Australia, with Melbourne I fell in love ... mmm ... and then, in fact, that year returned, that is, I returned with Borja for holidays and we feel in love with it. And we think, it is that this, this ... we must return. I do not know how, but we must return. And in our mind he has also been going to live outside. I guess also, that is, because my work, that is, work on this program, the program of “españoles en el mundo”, going around the world to learn about Spaniards and that tell you how they live. And many of them tell you "is that the life changes you," is that things live in your comfort zone, it's you, your area, your life, wherever you live, where in my case it was Valencia, my people, your comfort zone prevents you from seeing other things. So ... I think part of why I wanted to live ... all the Spaniards who, what, what, had interviewed had told me.

So Cristina first came to Australia in 2011 working on a show called “españoles en el mundo”. The people Cristina interviewed for the show said that “la vida te cambia” the life changes you.

They said that the only way to get to see those changes was to step outside your comfort zone. So Cristina knew that it would worthwhile to live overseas. She knew she needed to step outside, her comfort zone—Valencia.

Cristina also knew that in Spain it was difficult for her to find—her type work— in Journalism, yet something was still holding her back. I asked her what she was afraid of and she said it was a cúmulo, a lot of things.

Cristina: Well, uh ... is that it was an accumulation of things, I was afraid of many things. I was afraid of being so far away, because we are almost twenty thousand kilometers or nearly eighteen thousand kilometers of Spain, is far away. I was afraid to leave my family, uh ... I'm pretty close to my family. Eh ... I was afraid of not knowing how long, because you talk to people and say, "Well, I'm thinking about going to Australia a few months" and people tell you "Ha! A few months after that then becomes a year, two years ... "and that was pressing me, I was scared enough. Well, then also because the labor issue in Spain things are not working well, the issue of work in our industry is not doing well. And I was afraid, too, lose the thread, the thread to be there and not be there, and miss opportunities right? Those opportunities that happen and if you're not there, then maybe it's more difficult to find.

I thought about Cristina’s point and — fair enough — a move overseas could mean that you miss opportunities for work at home. If she took the risk and left Spain for a year she could miss that big break that she had been waiting.

On top of thoughts about her career, the next thing Cristina told me is that her friends and family are also important, then she said something I didn’t expect.

Andrew: Do you spend much time with friends and family?

Cristina: Yes, yes, yes. The truth is that yes, the truth is what I miss most and what made me most afraid to come here because one of my fears is that ...

Andrew: Sure.

Cristina: ... that is an irrational fear, perhaps ...

Andrew: Sure.

Cristina ... but thinking "is that you will forget about me," my friends. For daily contact does. Being the daily contact, it'll stay as long friend, with these friends, it does. The go that far, you do not ... the hours that have prevented daily contact. Then one of my fears was that my friends forget about me.

Andrew: Do you think that will happen? Your friends will forget you. Is that not impossible?

Cristina: Uh ... I know it's an irrational fear. But I keep having it.

Cristina: I keep having it. I realize now, one of the things I've learned now is that real friends are not going to forget you.

Cristina: And they are there, but you separate eight hours apart and do not know how many kilometers, true friends are. But I ... I also realize who are not. Only those who are friends to go out for beers. That's something you learn when you go that far.

Maybe the fear — that your friends are going to forget you—isn’t irrational, maybe it’s perfectly reasonable that if you don’t see some friends for a number of years, then you just going to grow apart. But, at the same time, you will discover, as Cristina says your — amigos de verdad. The types of friends that will always support you, even if you don’t see each other for a year or two or more.

Up until this point, we’ve heard Cristina’s side of the story. But I wanted to find out what Borja thought of Cristina’s reaction. Was it normal for Cristina or is this something that came as a surprise to the person that knows her best?

Here’s Borja:

Borja: We had talked many times about the possibility ... to go to live in another place outside Spain. And Australia was probably the common goal, the most fancied. Because the two had traveled together, we were in Sydney, in Melbourne a few years ago and fell in love. Especially in Melbourne.

Andrew: Yes.

Borja: We find an impressive city. So we had that dream. We had the dream of coming to Australia. And we talked and it looks like we agreed. But suddenly one day Cristina told me ... I was not ready, he could not come. And for me, for me it was a surprise.

Andrew: Yes.

Borja: I did not expect. Of course, because she had encouraged me many times to come, she had been twice in Melbourne, and was thrilled with the city. Then suddenly you say "I can’t go, I'm not ready," it was a surprise.

Borja: And it was very difficult.

So for Borja, Cristina’s reaction was out of the ordinary. Fue una sorpresa. It was a surprise.

I asked Borja if he remembered what he said to Cristina after she admitted how she really felt, and if it made a difference.

Borja: Well, I told her ... I remember ... I told her I understood, it was an important step, it was an adventure and we're going to do it two together, and I would think. Time passed and she kept telling me I could not.

So Borja tried. He told Cristina that it was going to be an adventure and they were going to do it together. However, he still wasn’t able to convince her.

But along the way, something changed for Cristina, I mean she is here, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to tell this story today. I asked her to tell us about the moment when things changed. She was able to trace it back to one night over drinks with a particular friend—a good friend—that reminded her about something important.

Andrew Explain to us the moment when you realized that you also wanted to come.

Cristina: I like I said, uh ... I was scared, okay. And I was, well ... you get ... I mean summarized, that is, I'll do a summary, but let’s go que they were ... they were ... it was a matter of ... it was a matter of three months or something like three or four months. But, but hey everyone told me it was an opportunity such. Of course, the people who told you ... mmm ... I think they were friends in common and thought ... and then I thought, "Of course I will say, are friends of Borja. They will also say that “Go for it Cristina, you have to go," Uh ... but ... .a eh day ... or it did not see anyone cared about me, say "No, no one understands that I can not, is that no, I'm afraid in my "Eh ... but one day it went out for dinner, we had dinner with some friends in common and we have a particular friend, I remember we were having a drink and said ... nothing caught me, told me "You know you have to go right?" and I said, for the answer that told everyone, "Yeah, yeah, ya, ya do not know, I do not know," and he said "But you know you do not I'm telling Borja, ie I tell you, because you need to go "So I think there was, say, what made me open my eyes and say" I just think it's true, I think I need it, I think I need to go "because it is the only one, that's all I will do out of the loop in which it was.

Cristina: I started ... to see, to believe in me, that is not to think of "I'll go by Borja" But to think, "Okay, I have to go through me”.

This was a critical breakthrough for Cristina. The advice from her friend at the bar didn’t change the fact that she was afraid. It didn’t remove her fears. But, what did change was the motivation for going.

No longer was she simply going to support her partner on his adventure. No longer was she sacrificing her life and her opportunities because her partner wanted to see what it was like to live in another country. Instead, she was going for herself. This trip was about what she could gain, what she could learn about the world and about herself. After the conversation in the bar I asked Cristina if she still had doubts.

Cristina: Well, I started to lose them because we say I started to think about me and why I want to go, to focus on why I want to go, that is, about why I want to leave, not why we have to go. But to think "Cristina, do you want to go? think"and I started. It helped me clear my problems, if I had maybe 100 questions, it helped remove about 50 ... one thing.

So in her words she had cien dudas (100 doubts) and the advice helped remove 50 of those doubts.

Fortunately, though, the removal of those 50 doubts was enough to get her on a plane.

But of course the story doesn’t there. Cristina’s first few days in Australia weren’t easy, in fact, her first feelings were so overwhelming she only had thoughts of returning home.

Cristina: Well, if I'm honest, the first day we arrived just landed, left things in the house, which incidentally were not lucky with the house we arrived, and when we went out I remember perfectly that I think I was about Lonsdale Street and thought "What the hell am I doing here, that is, I want back now, I want to go to Spain" I felt, you know, as very tiny, I felt very tiny, very helpless and say "I want to become, not I want to be here What have I done? "

¿Qué he hecho? — What have I done? A sentiment that I too have expressed after arriving in a country I didn’t think I could survive.

Cristina explained to me that the old doubts had been replaced with new ones. I asked her why she wanted to return to Spain and if she remembered, at the start, what was the worst part about being here.

Cristina: I do not know, it became all too large, all, that is all you had to get me, all I had ... everything was coming now, looking for work, looking for a house, looking for all, I felt a world ... also started to feel the lack of my people, I want to go.

Andrew: What, what was the hardest part?

Cristina: The hardest part, eh ... but overall, type find home or ...

Andrew: Whatever, the language, ...

Cristina: Ah, well ...
!
Andrew: ... miss your friends, ...

Cristina: It was a mix of everything.

Andrew: Yes.

Cristina: So, the language at first, I did not understand anything. I did not understand, luckily I have ... I have the luck to have, to have Borja knew ... who knows more English than me. And then he helped me, but at first was "I understand nothing, these people are totally different from the people I know, I need to talk to my friends, Mary, who are like my refuge ...

Andrew: Yes.

Cristina: I need my mother, I need ... I felt a whole world and the most difficult because it was what I tell you, the ... the ... starting from scratch. It's just start from scratch, start looking for work, start looking for home, start looking for friends, everything.

Cristina Said That it was a mix of everything. The language, missing friends and family, The start from scratch (the fact of starting with nothing).

For this, a Spanish expression comes to mind:
Lo que no mata, engorda — That which doesn’t kill you, fattens.

This expression probably seemed from a time where being fat implied wealth or power. But in english, that which doesn’t kill you makes stronger.

I wanted to know how Cristina was engorda or in English, how was she stronger from this experience. I asked her what she had learnt from the experience of moving overseas.

Cristina: Puff! You learn many things. I sincerely believe that you learn, that is, you learn a lot from you, I imagine the experience when you come alone is much greater than when you come with a partner, that helps a lot to have a partner here, that is, having someone here. But you learn a lot, you learn that not ... I mean, what for you was normal, because your lifestyle, your way of life as going for beers and go such is different here, here is another way to live, you learn to You live that otherwise meet other cultures, when I was in school I met other cultures English, Japanese as such. And you learn other ways of living, other ways of thinking. You know yourself, and you also know ... and you realize those things that gave you so afraid. I remember the first day of work at the restaurant, is a restaurant, that is, to work for nothing, to collect dishes and such, I was really scared the first day and was very nervous, and now I'm so normal. And I think I've learned to say "It is not so bad," is that I remember before coming I read something saying something ... "things you learn when you go to live out" and said the girl people who are going to live outside are not considered ... I mean, we consider us brave, but we are not brave, we just decided, okay. I mean, it's not a matter of courage, a matter of decision.

So here Cristina says it isn’t a question of bravery, it’s a question of simple deciding. It’s not about removing fears but just making a decision despite them. I asked Cristina what the new Cristina would say to the old Cristina, the one that was afraid to come.

Cristina: Well Cristina today would say "Baby, you have to wake up." You have to wake up because ... you and take absurd fears and can live in many ways.

You can live in many ways.

To finish the story I asked Cristina if she had any advice for somebody who is thinking of moving to a different country. Especially one that doesn’t speak their first language.

Cristina: Do it. In other words, think within himself and think: Do I want to experience? Forget the fear, forget the fears of external fears, think about yourself. I want to go? If yes, do it. Because the fears are overcome. When you go to that place you see that the fears are, many of them are absurd and that you are able to find a new job, you are able to start from scratch, you are capable of anything. And the people who love you, do not forget about you.

Andrew: And is it worth?

Cristina: And worth much. Yes.

So in Cristina’s words, you are capable of starting from zero, the people who love you won’t forget you and most of all merece la pena - It’s worth it.

Thank Cristina and Borja for taking the time to record this episode. Thank you to you for taking the time to listen to Cristina’s story.

If you liked this episode then please share it. Share it on social media or share it with a friend that is learning Spanish or someone who is considering a move overseas and please leave a rating for us in iTunes store.

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I’m Andrew Barr and I’ll talk to you soon in next episode of the Real Fast Spanish Tips podcast.