Whimsy up your weekend post numero dos: What I learned in Spain

I recently read an article about things you learn while studying abroad, including the fact that the study abroad experience is largely limited to privileged and resourced people.  I am one of the extremely privileged people who was able to study abroad.  I spent January-June in Spain during my junior of college.  It was an unbelievable experience and I still can’t believe those five months are my life.  That time was like too good to be true.  But it was my true, for real life.  So here are some lessons I learned from the time in my life that was true but to good to be-
1.  French chocolate croissants got nothing on Spanish chocolate croissants, which are amazing drunk food.  If only I’d had one while sober, I might actually remember what some of the phenomenal taste was like, instead of only remembering it was phenomenal.
2.  It’s okay to spend 5 months focusing only on your friends, yourself and having fun.  You have the rest of your life to do good.  Enjoy the carefree times – they will not last forever.  Really.  They won’t.
3.  Toilets look different in different parts of the country.  That’s very important information.
4.  There are places in the world where it’s safe to walk alone at night as a woman.  I walked home from the bars solo multiple times/week by myself while in Spain.  Often when I was inebriated.  Nothing bad ever happened to me and I never felt unsafe.  Not that any woman, sober or not, shouldn’t be able to feel safe while walking at night.  Not too mention that most assaults on women are by someone they know.  Wait, I thought this was a happy post.  Anyways, the point is, I wouldn’t walk home by myself consistently probably anywhere in the United States.  But in Spain, I could and I did and it was a very nice change.  Oh yeah and I wouldn’t get drunk multiple times/week anymore.  Just to clarify.
5.  If you want to know how much progress you’ve made when learning a new language, go to a country where you don’t speak the language at all.  Early on in my semester abroad, I went to Portugal for the weekend.  I could only say “thank you” and “I don’t speak Portuguese” in Portuguese.  But I kept thinking, “Dah, if only they were speaking Spanish, I’d be fine.”  And that’s when I realized my Spanish wasn’t half malo.
6.  You are capable of staying up all night.  Maybe you already knew that.  But when I arrived in Spain, I’d stayed up all night maybe once.  And in my first week in Spain, I went out one night and watched the clock strike four, then five then six am.  And from there on out, I stayed up at least once per week until 7 am, sometimes 8 am.  Never did that before and for damn sure, I never was able to do it again.
7.  Cola and red wine is an odd but not horrendous mix.  Just look up calimocho and you’ll understand.  It’s a game.
8.  The best times of your life are probably not over when you think they’re over.  The night I left Spain, I was so sad.  I didn’t think I was going to cry, even though that was all I felt like doing.  But I often don’t cry until after the moment has passed.  So I was sad but also annoyed that I can never cry in the moment.  Then I was getting in a taxi to the airport and looked up to see my hostmom holding her dog and waving down to me.  Something about that… it just broke me down and I began sobbing.  I couldn’t believe study abroad was over.  ‘I’ll never have that much fun again,’ I thought.  Poor me, I know.  But it was a pang to the heart.  And yet.  Life went on.  And fun went on.  Sure things were never as consistently carefree and there has been some real sh*t gone down.  But I continued to have just as great times.  And because I have experienced five absolutely blissful months, I also know that I want and need variety, including the tough times.
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2 Responses to Whimsy up your weekend post numero dos: What I learned in Spain

  1. Rookienotes says:

    Dude. I had the same realization when I went to Portugal. I was like if only they could speak spanish. lol.

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