I’ve eaten bread with almost every meal since I’ve been here. Bread and cheese. The Spanish are definitely doing it right when it comes to food. It’s been a week and a half now and man, my life is so different already! Coming here from Thailand is definitely a change. It’s like I’ve stepped back into the real world, but one still very different than my own. There’s still a foreign language being spoken everywhere, but in a way I find it even more difficult here than in Thailand. In Thailand, the people could take one look at me and it’s obvious I’m not Thai. So if they knew English, they would try to speak it, or I would use the Thai phrases I picked up on and even if we had to play a game of charades, the people never seemed to get upset over the language barrier. Here, things aren’t like that. Spanish people don’t have a certain “look” and most of them have pretty fair skin. So when they look at me, it isn’t obvious to them that I’m not Spanish and therefore communicating is more difficult because no one tries to speak English with me. I know basic Spanish and can understand more than I can speak, but it’s a lot different here than the Mexican Spanish I’m used to back home. I’m pretty used to living my life half confused about what’s going on though, so it’s not a big deal and I really love it here! I just started a Spanish class and the girls I’m au pairing for don’t speak too much English, so I’m learning new Spanish words every day. The weather is AMAZING coming from a country that was over 100 degrees and 90% humidity, this is definitely a breath of fresh air. It’s been sunny almost every day, but still very cool and even a little cold in the mornings. And the smells…everyone smells good. Everything smells good. I had forgotten how much appreciation I had for the way things smell because it wasn’t one of my favorite things about Thailand. AT ALL.
It’s become my favorite thing to do-walking around the city and enjoying all those little things like the scenery, the smells, the people and the weather, getting lost in all the streets filled with Tapas bars and old cathedrals, or sitting in the park for hours surrounded by Peacocks. An old man in the park even came up to me one day and gave me some peanuts, then showed me how to feed the peacocks 😁
I got on the city bus the other day (because I am currently in the process of learning to drive their manual car, so I can drive the girls to school) and of course I ended up taking it the wrong way and the driver told me it would be over an hour before we got to my stop. But I wasn’t upset at all. I had nowhere to be and I loved driving around the city just looking out the window and taking it all in. I enjoy people-watching and seeing how the people change from place to place. In Thailand, the people didn’t have much money, there were monks everywhere, and the wealthy people, (well the women) still wore clothes with designs you could find a 12 year-old girl wearing back in the US. Here, everyone seems so sophisticated. The businessmen and women drink coffee outside cafes before work in the morning, the air smells crisp and clean, instead of monks you see Priests walking around, and the occasional nun. It all just amazes me. I love America and there are things I miss so much about home, but America is so young compared to the rest of the world and when I look around me here in Spain I see so much history, it’s hard not to be happy.
My Spanish family has also been so nice and accommodating. I’m already started to feel so comfortable, which is something I was really worried about. It’s not easy moving to a country and trying to fit yourself into the life of a family you don’t know much about. All of a sudden, you’re a part of their daily routines, you have to get used to the way they do things and on top of that, I’m having to learn all this and learn to take care of two other people. They’ve made the transition very smooth for me though and I’m so thankful for that! The girls are great, their names are Beatriz and Irene (“Bea” and “EE-Ren-AYY”) and they are 8&9 years old. Bea had her first communion last Saturday, so I met pretty much everyone right away. It was a great experience (even though I couldn’t understand much of the ceremony) and I’m happy I was able to be a part of it. I’m excited for whatever the universe has in store for me, (especially to finally be able to drive stick shift so I can stop having anxiety about it 😅)