i should without a doubt be finishing a final right now, but i have a lot of non-spanish things that i’ve been mulling over lately with a georgia on my mind kind of preoccupation.
when i go back to the states (after eating pounds of mac and cheese and my aggressive recovery of the time change difference) i’ll hear the question that’s prematurely haunting the back corner of my daily thoughts.
“how was spain/your semester abroad/europe/the past five months of your life?”
that’s one of the most loaded questions if there ever was one. but i’ll have to respond in a way that offers more than a simple “good” so as not to seem antisocial or boring, but without the exhausting “oh lemme tell you about…” in a i-was-in-the-war-and-am-about-to-recount-all-my-old-war-stories kind of commitment that most people don’t have time for as you’re passing each other in red square/running late to class.
because yeah. sure. i’ll just give you the spark notes version of the incredibly formative, life-changing, unrealistically dreamlike past 5 months of my life. as if that were anywhere near a lykke li ‘possibility.’ this time in spain has shaped my life like a freshly opened ball of playdoh.
i know people have such a good intent with asking that dreaded question, but in all honesty: i’m at a loss for what to say to you. i’m not even entirely at my spark notes ready version yet. you know when someone asks you what a word means, and you’ve known your entire life, but then you just stare blankly like you forgot what words and vocabulary and sentence structure are? you just kind of making small, gasping noises hoping jesus or shakespeare will bless you with the gift of verbal communication. right now, that’s kind of where i’m at.
*these were written at diff. times so lucky for you jesus and shakespeare gave me the gift of sentence fluency* *kind of*
– Mallorca –
you know that feeling of walking out of a movie theater only to realize it’s still daytime and you’re blinded for a hot second, but then your eyes adjust and the “beautiful day” chorus immediately starts playing at full volume in your head and your life feels as epic as the movie you just walked out of?
i’m sitting here leaning against the weirdest bike parking structure i’ve ever seen on the island of mallorca in the mediterranean sea. the perfect tropical breeze is brushing my hair gently (because i never brush it myself in general so like, thanks for the solid motha nature) and my shoelaces dance a little number as my dress goes half-marilyn. i feel a lot like that leaving-movie-beautiful-day-epicness sensation as the sun wraps around me and hugs and soothes me as i tiptoe toward a sleepy haze. an empty beer can rattles back and forth like an alcoholic lullaby in tune with the breeze.
sometimes it feels like this life i’m living, these seconds in time that i’m moving through, these incredible places i’m seeing are not what they are. it feels like this life can’t possibly be real.
fast forward and i’m sitting on a beach of sea glass and sea shells, but there’s no sally selling anything by the seashore. there’s no sally to be found. i suppose it depends entirely on your state of mind at the time, but the sound of ocean waves can sound like the calm, beating of your heart, or the tempered, resounding beating of the drum. when the two sounds match in perfect harmony is when you’ve found the light of a new dawn, the light of when tomorrow comes.
this beautifully some-kind-of-wonderful-john-hughes piece of paradise, this little glass and shell filled beach is the light for the first time in forever (aka 95 min after you get out of a movie theatre).
i feel like this is one entry that doesn’t have an overarching idea or theme or motif that i’m trying to get at. i just love the beach and wanted to write about it for not the first time in forever (bc it’s definitely the millionth time ever).
– Today –
but all in all, to respond to the question i don’t necessarily want to answer; here’s the spark notes summary you’ve had your eye on like that croissant in the pasteleria.
“Spain was incredible and I loved it.”
if that’s all you needed to know, you can close the tab on this mediocre blog and sleep with your mind at rest tonight knowing i did not in fact waste five months. if you’re in the market for more and that croissant was too good to buy one (guilty. i order a minimum of 3.) then look no further because have i got a show for you.
my study abroad changed my life. i learned from my first discoteca that i can’t bailar to save my life, but i absolutely love it. i spent most of my free time in cafes. i was literally a regular. i know how to say every type of milk that’s not actually milk. the waiters and waitresses love me because they’ve seen (and 100% likely laughed at) my attempts to order in spanish the last few months. even when they say i can speak in english if i need to, i insist on proving i can, in fact, espanol. most of my day centered around meals and classes. classes aren’t usually consecutive and broke up in the middle of the day so i/we could go home for almuerzo with the spanish fam. seriously, the city basically shuts down for lunch time and then stores get poppin’ again late afternoon.
so most days it’s class, cafe, class, lunch, class again, maybe another cafe, then dinner. i’ve always got a lotta clase and a lotta tarea. so that’s where most of my time goes. it’s that busy feeling where you feel exhausted but also like you didn’t really accomplish anything.
i learned how to make it around in a place of a foreign language and the cultural experience that comes from it.
i learned that i buy way too much candy from the little markets. i also learned that i’m too much of a pushover and share more than i eat myself.
i still miss authentic chinese food and fried rice.
i still am shit at directions.
my health is failing on a weekly basis.
i have a very specific and limited internal patience.
i will always love nature wherever i am. especially the ocean. i’ve collected sand from every beach i’ve been to so far.
most importantly, i’ve learned that i want to love people. i honestly go beyonce crazy sometimes with how much time i have to spend with some people, but it makes me realize how much more i love them. i think everyone’s a little different here from how they are back home, but it’s also because we’re out of our element. i think that here, it shows the core of who we really are without the binding influences that shaped who we were back home.
everyone is beautiful and i want to see that part of them and love it. i especially try to capture it on camera. if a person can see the part of them that i see through a camera lens, then they’ll hopefully see how perfectly beautiful their soul is. that’s the kind of beauty everyone deserves to see in themselves. like annie, you’re never fully dressed without a smile.
so this is my spark notes life.