Friday, May 14, 2010

50 days

I used to count up the days, looking on my time put in here in Spain. Now however the days pass me by at such a rapid rate, and counting down has become the easier and more obvious management of time. But what really is time anymore? I was just flying over here, nervous and new to it all.
I arrived last September unaware that this exchange year would fly by faster than my senior year, faster than I believed possible. And here I am, having learned so much Spanish, so much about myself and others, with so much gratitude and curiosity for this incredible place I live, who inhabits it, how it works and why it does. This chapter of my life, though not over yet, has added to the journey something I will forever look back on with fond memories and satisfaction. Leaving will pose as another challenge on the second day of July, 50 days from today. But I am glad for it, excited for my next adventure. Bring it. I crave it.
The relationships made are things far more genuine and priceless than money or things. Relationships, time and effort and love, aren´t visible to the eye, nor cost anyhting. Which is what makes it so special.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

es la vida

"La vida es eso

que te pasa mientras

tu intentas

hacer otra cosa."

These past months have been filled with more than imaginable. I have spoken to more strangers in my host language than I thought possible, making new friends constantly, and new memories to last me a lifetime. The greatest component of all is that I can laugh in my language, as well as cry, dream and really feel. I´m living Spanish.

By no means however has the time passed with such ease and felicity always, as this is still reality I´m living in, believe it or not. Each day poses new challenges for me (some uncomfortable or difficult) which provide brand new learning experiences. There are really tough moments in which I have to focus and purpose myself, since there is nobody here to tell me what to do. In this way I am understanding how to make decisions and cope with new situations. (Provided by my mistakes, since I am all about the trial and error theory.)

Like the quote above, "La Vida", this life I am living is occurring before my eyes, during time in which I am trying to do other things. It´s showing me to stop and behold the beauty in everything. I can appreciate the littlest things now, and realize I must not take a single second for granted, nor person, decision, etc.

Now I take much pride in being able to have a phone conversation in Spanish, something that upon arrival made me feel nauseous, incredibly nervous, and uneasy. It´s funny, how things of the past look to me, now that I´ve advanced my language skills more than I perceived possible. I love it when my host mom or dad calls me at the house asking if I can make them dinner, or when I can give to an intellectual conversation. It even further gives me pride and joy to meet new people on the bus, or to be mistaken for a Spaniard. Those are great moments. Priceless moments.

It´s a little bit tough to recall certain events to tell from the past few months, as there have been numerous. And now that life here is absolutely normal and natural, the days and months passing are quicker and more routine. Scheduling my flight home is the last thing I want to do, with a summer in Spain ahead of me. But life is composed of seasons, not only those that have to do with the sun´s relationship with our home earth, but also seasons of life: of different friendships, learning experiences, of love, joy, that´s living. And this season I am in is, for lack of an English adjective, impresionante. Lo mejor año de mi vida. A season of growth, love, and admiration.

Okay, so I´m going to try and recall some interesting events..and chill out with the flowery talk of peace and love, though I go on for days like that.

I took part in a gigantic fiesta called Carnaval two weeks ago, something most of the Spanish really do up right. Every single person was dressed in any sort of extravagant costume, some men dressed as women Flamenco dancers, some mid-Western Cowgirls, a handful of blue Avatars--you name it I saw it. My friend Anna and I were "mariposas", or butterflies. All night long we had people shouting "¡mariposa, mariposa!"..a great time indeed. Carnaval is a few days of festivities but the main night was Saturday before last. It´s a celebration of sorts right before Catholic Lent begins, a time to get everyone together for big concerts and dancing in the streets and simply enjoying the massive fiesta. Although we were still in the winter, people crowded even the beach to get their party on.

This past week, the beach has been absolutely beautiful. It´s certainly not hot enough to go take a dip in the sea, but the sun is heavenly. I´ve got a feeling I´ll return to Florida with a better tan than most, and that´s saying a lot being from the Sunshine State. Sunsets here are also dream-like and breathtaking.

And this morning, my mind stumbled across something, an epiphany of sorts. I got here in September of 2009, and began to count the days, trying to find an end to someting that seemed so endless.Attempting to put a structure to something alien and unknown. And now that we´re nearly in March of 2010, I see my days here counting down. So it hit me, what nonsense this counting is, when all that really matters is living in the moment, in the now. What is planning for the future or looking back into the past when all action comes about in the present, the always alive, never dormant reality of the moment. So I continue, living for today.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

5 months in, 5 months more

the time is flying at a rapid rate and life in alicante is comfortable and normal; i get up, go to school usually, go to language class in the afternoon, have a great cup of coffee, do some reading, eat dinner with my family, watch the news in español, go to bed, and repeat.

being already halfway through my exchange is bringing me to the reality that this seemingly perpetual vacation will have an end, in fact, and it will come sooner than i expect. that in mind, every moment, although just another day, is to be cherished. kudos to parents who allow their children to participate in this life-changing experience. and to the people who put together and support all of us. and to all of the friends and family, in my mother country and here abroad, every person is important and i thank everyone.

now that relationships are growing closer, the ties are tight, and having to break those ties is going to be difficult. changing back to another culture upon return is yet another sequence of challenges and difficulties that i will be faced with. but i await it all with open mind and heart.

"La vida es eso
que te pasa mientras
tu intentas
hacer otra cosa."

Sunday, January 31, 2010

by golly.

lately, as i have been passing people in the street or taking the bus into town, my senses confuse me. i hear talking, and for the most part it´s in spanish, given the fact i live in spain. but sometimes, particularly this past week, the sounds are processed but in my head simply become meanings, not specific words in either spanish or english. it freaked me out when i first started noticing, since i wasn´t sure what it was i´d heard. i would pay closer attention to try differentiating between the two, and 98% of the time it ended up español, go figure.
but now they aren´t just sounds i hear, no longer the strange but suave spanish syllables, but meanings, with significance, and of course purpose. this may not make sense to anybody but me, but that´ll do just fine. i suppose it indirectly brings me to the point of appreciating the things i am learning, such as a second language. and my fascination with the world around me grows, by golly, does it ever.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

la vida es marvillosa.

la la la life is wonderful.

today i have broken out the flip-flops. the frigid wind has subsided and the sun is beaming down. yes, it is only january 17th, but i´m one to be impatient when it comes to the upcoming summer, so i´m trying to push it along by letting me toes be free and unclothed by house slippers or socks, boots or flats. though it is not fresh enough yet to hit the beach, i have moved my shorts and short dresses out of the bottom drawer and into the closet, awaiting the beautiful day when i can walk outside and sweat from the blast of humidity and sunshine.

no more holding coats in bars, shivering at the bus stop, nor wearing layers to bed. i await the heat and will enjoy burning my skin. none of this is sarcasm, might i add--i simply love the heat and find cold weather distasteful and uncomfortable. however this will be my next challenge, to get over my disgust for mr. winter, but as of right now i am going to be celebrating the coming warm weather.

over 4 and a half months here and though there have been numerous exchange students who have gone home, i cannot imagine myself finding any problems with this country, because now it is nothing but my home, my family, my norm. i wake up every morning with no feelings of being out of place or away from "home". i wake up and make myself a strong cup of coffee and have toast with oil, take an apple or tangerine and meanwhile i am thinking, breathing, living spanish.

the other night my host mom and sister were asking me what some economic term was in english, and i had to be honest and tell them i couldn´t think in english anymore. when i´m immersed in a spanish conversation, it seems nearly impossible to change to english all of the sudden. spanish is where i am comfortable, and realizing it or not in the moment, my thoughts are all in spanish. what an achievement, what a nice problem to have.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

this is it.

Life is an opportunity, benefit from it. Life is beauty, admire it. --Mother Theresa
This was taken by me a few minutes from my house on the Mediterranean coast of Alicante. It is the most beautiful thing I have seen in awhile, maybe ever.
Take a moment to appreciate your surroundings. Your soul will be better for it.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Christmas here was tranquil, family oriented, and enjoyable. Although I missed my family immensely during the days of celebration, I also grew closer to my Spanish family members here. My first out of eighteen years away from home, and though it was different, it was great. I felt like a part of the family, completely. "Noche Buena", or Christmas Eve, we went to eat dinner and exchange gifts with my host mom´s family. She has 7 sisters, and all but one have children, so it was quite a big party. The numerous people alone made me feel at home. The kids everywhere and laughter were soothing. As was the need to nearly yell to hear the person next to me, I just loved the quantity of people surrounding me. And, of course, the food was delicious. We had lots of small dishes like shrimp, salad, ham, cheese, chips, etc. and the main dish was amazing roast beef my grandma made. The night was incredible.
We drove to the neighbor city of my host dad´s parents after dinner, about midnight, and spent the night there, in his parents´house. My host dad is an only child so this was quite different than the night before. We exchanged gifts yet again and the next morning had a light breakfast then started preparing the lunch, which was great. We all relaxed and just enjoyed the company of family for the rest of the day, then drove home after some rain subsided and I´d taken a siesta.
Well, that´s a little glimpse of my Navidad, more to come and more to recollect with New Year´s and the Three Kings holidays coming.