It Ain’t Easy…

I’m about to get real. Maybe a bit too real; I might wake up in the middle of the night and think seriously about deleting this post, who knows? But sometimes, just sometimes, being real is liberating, like the first breath of fresh air when you’ve been underwater, a gulp of precious o2, a sensation unlike any other.

I read other study abroad / expatriate blogs and I think, WTF am I doing wrong? I mean, I’d like what they’ve got, please and thank you. I’d like a big dose of “I am in love with Spain and Spaniards and learning Spanish!” Stat. I’m sure the high from a shot of that would really, really do me some good right about now.

‘Cause right now I am in hate-mode. I thought I’d left that mode behind, you know, when I was 7 and whiny in the grocery store because Mom wouldn’t buy me Iron Kids bread. Nope. Turns out I haven’t. I secretly would love to flop angrily down upon my bed, pound my fists, and scream into my pillow. If I were going to be really bad, I might even thrown a dagnabbit or two. Who knows!

You may be wondering what there is to hate about sunny Spain. Oh, plenty…

  • People on the street who pay you no attention and ram right into you, then say nothing by means of an apology. Gee thanks, Ms. Grey Suede Ankle Booties, no, I didn’t mean to get in the way of your elbow!
  • Beggars in front of the grocery store. Please, I’m no callous witch, but I’d like for once to not feel guilty for entering in the grocery store and coming out loaded down with bread, produce, and perhaps a packet of cookies. (Those digestive biscuits are amazingly tasty. Betcha can’t eat just one!) I can’t afford to give you just one Euro every time I’m there, seeing as I visit the store more than once a day on average.
  • Being unaware of what the hell everyone’s talking about. I don’t understand Spanish politics or soccer. I try, but no. The obsession with the sport remains a mystery and I will never fist pump while watching Ronaldo sink one into the back of the net. Nope. I will also never understand the ins and outs of Zapatero’s mumblings and Rubalcalababababo. Sorry.
  • Learning Spanish. I may sound extremely negative, but I hate feeling like the student in every. single. situation. I really am an eloquent writer (I hope) as well as a speaker who gets her points across in a clear, concise way. In Spanish, there’s always a key word I forget, leaving me stumbling, circumlocution my only bet. (Example: Today I forgot the word for washing machine. If I were with Mario’s parents, who know no English basically, I would say “La máquina que lava la ropa,” but really, most things are much harder to describe than that.)
  • Trying to explain American cultural things in a way that doesn’t make us sound like losers. Tailgating –  uhhh what? Our obsession with huge trucks? Our sometimes blind patriotism? Try it sometime.

I really better stop this before I convince myself. Next post: why I love Spain, being a foreigner, and learning a new language. Keep your fingers crossed for me, mmmkay?

10 thoughts on “It Ain’t Easy…

  1. I just wrote a post on what I love about living in Spain, but that certainly doesn’t come without the moments like these where I feel like I can’t stand another minute being here. It’s completely normal! I am still learning Spanish too, so definitely feel your pain there. Just know you’re not alone :) Happy Friday!

  2. Kaley, I totally understand where you’re coming from! I think no matter how happy any expat is, there’s always the feeling of being a constant student and there are always politics and cultural phenomena that we neither understand or will ever take on ourselves. Personally, I am loving learning more and more French as I go. It’s difficult when you’re in front of your students searching for the words… In fact, not only can it be difficult at times, I am completely exhausted at the end of the day from putting so much energy into thinking!

    You’re not doing anything wrong, it’s just the stage of “culture shock” that you’re in. I’m sure you’ll pull out of it soon. It could also be that it’s so close to the holidays and you aren’t at home that’s getting to you. Chin up! :D

    1. I think that, once you get to a certain point in language learning, it gets to feel like such. slow. progress. Having a boyfriend who speaks another language makes it seem difficult too because my language when I’m emotional is not Spanish, it’s English.

  3. I totally know what you mean. I have friends at home that ask me why I’m sitting at home and not doing “Spain-y” things. Um, because it’s still real life, thanks for asking?
    There are days that I love Spain, and days that I just want what’s familiar to me. Or to tell people, “Um, I’m actually funny in English!”.
    You’re not alone, chica :)

  4. Oh my gosh. I so appreciate your honesty- there is definitely a sense of pressure (real or imagined) from reading others’ expat blogs to constantly be having wonderful experiences and falling in love with the new country.

    And of course expressing yourself in Spanish is going to be limited (and I’ve heard that deep emotions always come out in your native language – when I see a cute dog or baby or something I always want to gush over it in English – saying something like “ay, que precioso” feels like acting because it’s not what I naturally want to say!

    Anyway… you’re not alone at all (in terms of second language, street bumping people, etc). I think it’s totally the natural response to be sometimes super-enthralled and other times just super-frustrated with life here.

  5. Ah, that wasn’t so bad, I was expecting some major dirt! lol Sounds like you’re just a little homesick girl. It happens to the best of us. Lucky for us (and you too) you get to come get a healthy dose of Freedom-land and a nice reprise. Looking forward to seeing you!

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