Life is like a plate of tapas, you never know what youre going to get.
Well, Im wrapping up my time here in Granada and oh boy is it bittersweet. For one, I dont want to leave because of the life I have been able to build. I have a great family, Rosa and Marco, who I dont want to leave. On Sunday, when I said goodbye to Rosa's mother and sister, they gave me plenty of kisses and told me that I have three houses to stay at when I return to Granada, something that made my heart melt. I have an intercambio who I wish I could continue to get to know. I have students I wish I could continue to teach, even though I think they taught me more than I have taught them. I had my last day with one of my groups on Monday, and they gave us a letter of recommendation, a cd of songs by the founder of the school, a book written in Spanish about Granada, a card with thank you notes from the students, and a picture. I have a city that I am just getting to know, but dont know when I will be able to return to.
But on the other hand, I have a family at home that I miss dearly and cant wait to spend the summer with. I have friends that I cant wait to talk to on a regular basis without having to make a skype date. I have a new baby cousin I need to meet. Then theres little things--Walgreens, TV in English, Spicy food. I have a real life to return to.
Pues, es la vida.
Its time to return, well after two more weeks of traveling.
Looking back on my experience, its funny to consider what I wish I knew before I came to Spain. 1. You will go through culture shock. This does not mean literally, mouth-open shock because something is weird (although this did happen). It was a more subtle irrational anger that everything is not like it is in the US. And its okay because Spain is different. 2. When speaking in another language, there will be a time when you feel like you cannot communicate in any language. Just gesture. Embrace your inner actress. 3. Dont eat the hamburgers. After four months here, every time I take a bit into a burger, I spend the entire time wondering exactly what type of meat I'm eating. I think it's pork.... 4. Dont get dehydrated in Morocco. 5. Bring shower shoes to hostels. 6. Girls dont wear shorts/skirts without tights so if you do, expect stares. 7. You're going to cheek-kiss a lot of strangers so get over it. Its just how they greet each other. 8. The sun is stronger in Spain so two hours outside can burn you as bad as an entire on Lake Geneva without sunscreen. 9. Heels +cobblestone streets=...just dont even try. 10. Sleeping in airports sucks. Sleeping in buses sucks. Sleeping sitting up in general sucks. Just go to a hostel. 11. Make time to see the country you're actually living in.
I am now a fountain of knowledge about living abroad. But actually I still know nothing. The most important thing I've learned here has been to go with the flow. So your flight's delayed by an hour, okay, read more. So Ryanair is super-strict about the size of your backpack, wear an extra layer. So it's raining more than it has in 40 years, get an umbrella. You get the jist. Life is like a plate of tapas, you never know what you're gonna get.
I'm going to miss Spain.