Last night ended with a movie and Facetime call until 5:00AM and my roommate’s friend left this morning so that meant today was a chill day. This is actually one of my last weekends to be able to do this, and even though I don’t feel great about wasting my time, it was still pretty fun making today a cozy movie day. On the other hand, watching TV all day sometimes makes my head a little fuzzy, so it’s kind of hard to articulate thoughts right now. I’m going to do my best.
In spite of today’s events or lack of, studying abroad is teaching me how to live every day and not waste them. As I said yesterday, three and a half months is way too short. I’m very aware that I need to be doing something with all of my days, and today I realized that the best way to deal with homesickness is to do something fun or exciting with my time because it will be a good experience and it will make time pass quicker. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, whether you’re traveling or settled at home, our days limited and uncertain. There are always ways we can spend our time well and make the most of the lives we have so briefly. Attitude and effort are everything, and even you choose to have a lazy movie day, if your head and heart are in the right place, that is what matters.
I realized I haven’t been doing a very good job of including snapshots of the culture here for my future self and for those of you who want to know about it. So, here are three things I’ve learned/seen here. If there’s anything specific you want to know about, always feel free to comment or message me.
- When you eat meals, go big and enjoy it all. I don’t know what it’s like in the rest of Spain, but at my host home we have a huge lunch and dinner every day, usually with one course of a salad, vegetable, or soup, another course with some kind of meat, stew, or meal like paella or eggs or chicken and fries, ALWAYS fresh bread, then fruit and sometimes yogurt or ice cream for dessert. It’s usually very healthy stuff, but we do have a lot and we do make a point to sit down and enjoy it all. I love eating meals here because the food is amazing and it’s an experience in itself.
- Being kind to people is easy and nice. Most people here seem very polite. When you pass people in the hallway or walk into a store, it’s pretty common to say “hola” or some form of greeting. I’m used to people trying to avert their gaze from strangers or walk as if they can’t see anyone else. Sometimes at home that makes me feel really isolated, but here it just doesn’t feel like a big deal to casually say hi to people; it actually feels really nice. People also generally say something to store employees as they’re leaving whether or not they purchased anything. It’s usually a simple “gracias” or “hasta luego.” And I’ve mentioned it before, but people just don’t seem to get as upset about small things here like walking down a crowded street. People are almost always extremely nice and helpful with my lack of Spanish as well. I can’t really think of a bad experience I’ve had with people here.
- For the third thing, I’ll add something weird I experienced. The bats. I wrote about it before, but I saw it again and it’s still one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen. There are a TON of bats in the trees around the city. At a certain point in the night, they get very noisy and there is a car that drives through the city and makes an imitation bat sound, but louder and uglier than the real sound. Then all of the bats swarm out of the trees in a massive black cloud. It’s one of the weirdest and coolest things I’ve ever seen, and I don’t understand it at all. If any of you have insight on why they do this please let me know!