Ups and Downs of Living Abroad: Who’s Bebe?

Bebe Bakhtiar HeadshotSo, you want to know a little about me? Well, let’s get straight to it:

  • If you like mushrooms, I judge you and don’t want anything to do with you.
  • Dancing isn’t “who I am,” it’s actually everything I am. I love to dance, and 90% of the time it’s during inappropriate moments.
  • Somehow, I earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s in education and am fully licensed and qualified to teach students. My whole life is one big episode of Kids Say The Darndest Things.
  • I speak three languages and moved to Madrid two years ago to share my passion for language with the rest of the world.
  • Even though I was born and raised in the states, no one believes me. I always need to clarify that my family is from Iran to “explain why I look the way I do.”

What exactly will I be babbling about?

Coffee con Leche is a personal series I write to explain the ups and downs of living abroad and having to deal with the, well, struggles of speaking more than one language. Trust me, sometimes living abroad can be a whirlwind of bliss and positive emotions… and other times? Well, let’s just say that I’ve thrown my things in my suitcase, yanked out my USA passport, and looked for flights back home on multiple occasions. Despite my amazing life on Instagram (@secretlifeofbeebs – shameless plug), it ain’t easy being an expat.

So, how exactly did I end up living the expat life?

During my University of Georgia days (Go Dawgs!), I studied abroad twice in Spain. I can still remember the beautiful beaches of Valencia and the smell of Sevilla — which is actually awful because there are stinky horses everywhere. Anyway, I sincerely remember every moment of living in these cities. I remember feeling fulfilled. Every day was an adventure, every conversation was (and still is) a challenge, and every second was nothing short of happiness.

Can you guess what I did after I graduated college?

Exactly. I moved to Chicago.

If you know anything about big cities in the states, you know they’re incredibly political. Everything, even down to the classroom, is about politics. I survived three years, did a Master’s program, and then realized that teaching at an inner-city school just wasn’t emotionally sustainable. So, I applied to teach in Madrid, and here I am.

What I’m trying to say is…

I want to share my adventures abroad with you (hopefully, “you” is more than an empty forum where no one reads my articles). I want people to know my story, to understand my story. It’s a long ride, so if you don’t believe in metaphorical seat belts, you’re about to be screwed.

by Bebe Bakhtiar