My 7 Links

I’ve gotten better at understanding the secret of getting comments and/or viewers. But still, sometimes I wish people would appreciate some of my more undervalued work (as I see it, anyway). Thus, when Gillian nominated me for TripBase’s Seven Links Project, I was rather excited to re-post a few of my more interesting posts.

As Katie says on her post, “The idea is simple: bloggers publish 7 links from their blog to share lessons learned and create a bank of long but not forgotten blog posts that deserve to see the light of day again.”

So without further ado, here are my seven:

My most beautiful post: Lucky

I don’t think I have a post with great pictures. I was without a camera for a long while and I just don’t have the patience to take good pictures with my trusty old point and shoot. Thus, I selected my most beautiful post because it was about the most beautiful person I know. (I know. Sappy.) I also don’t think this post about my mother is half bad either.

My most popular post: How to Dress Like a Spaniard

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Bilingual

When I first went to Spain in the spring of 2008, I expected to come back “fluent,” whatever that means. I thought being in a Spanish-speaking country automatically equaled fluency. How wrong I was.

Study abroad didn’t do a whole lot for my Spanish skills. Honestly, they were a lot of English speakers and English speaking is just too easy. I had intercambios, conversation exchange partners, but that was only a few times per week and language immersion requires more than that. I came back home with better Spanish skills, but nowhere near fluent. My senior year was spent wanting more. I was frustrated by the lack of Spanish opportunities in Indiana. I decided to go back.

By chance, when I went back in September, I met this boy.

 

He happens to speak perfect Spanish, too. Weird coincidence as he’s Spanish, huh? He really is the reason for my level of Spanish today. Whenever I have a “doubt,” as they say in Spanish, I ask him. He’s like my own personal WordReference in the flesh,  but I can actually touch him, see him, talk to him, listen to him.

I have improved 100% in the last few years. This is due to a combination of reasons: hard work, luck, ability, environment…but the number one reason? His name is Mario. His unending patience with me is “to blame.” Time with native speakers is often the key. Well, Mario is my native speaker. He is unendingly patient, unendingly willing to answer the questions that arise as I read the newspaper. I cannot be more grateful for that.

I often get nervous when I speak Spanish. It’s part of my personality. But sometimes, just once in a while, my Spanish seems flawless, my accent non-existent. Who do I owe this to? Mario. Speaking to him, listening to him, asking him hundreds of questions…all those things helped me to be the Spanish speaker I am today. Thanks, love. I promise to help you achieve this in English, although it will be nowhere near as much work. Your English is already pretty flawless. After all, in London, you had to be the interpeter….that English English was so confusing.

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Why I’m Not Cool Enough for Reverse Culture Shock

  • Culture shock – n., the feeling of disorientation experienced by someone who is suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes.
  • Reverse culture shock – n., the culture shock an individual experiences upon returning to their home country after living abroad.

You may hear me talk a lot about culture shock. I’ve been through my fair share, involving a variety of different circumstances and customs – manners, eating hours, eating habits, the gym, familial relations, etc. When I was preparing for to go to Toledo in 2008, they gave us loads of materials having to do with culture shock, including a diagram similar to the following one. I’ve studied the diagram again and again and I still don’t think I’ve ever gone through these stages, at least in order. And, at least to me, it’s frustrating. Am I that abnormal? Everyone else experiences this stages, at least to some degree, or so it seems.

  • I’ve never went through the so-called “honeymoon stage,” wherein everything is new, interesting, and exciting. WTF? I want it, yet realistically I know it’s no longer possible. When I first arrived in Spain, everything was scary and I was homesick. Right away. Add jet lag to that and you get a miserable Kaley who spent way too much time in a tiny room that smelled of rust.
  • At stage 5 on this diagram, it says: “You see the host as your new home and don’t wish to depart or leave new friends.” Nope. Nope, I always want to depart…I have friends here. I mean, the love of my life is here, but still, I want to leave. Why is this?
  • As far as stage 6, yes, I am always excited to return home.
  • In stage 7, it says you may feel “frustrated, angry, or lonely because friends and family don’t understand what you experienced and how you changed. You miss the host culture…” No. No, my parents try to understand as best they can and, honestly, I don’t care if my friends and family don’t “get” it. I don’t expect them to get everything anyway. We are different. Weird fact, I know.
  • I hope I do do number 9, incorporating what I learn(ed) into my new life and career.

But still, reverse culture shock? What is that? And why am I not cool enough to have it?!

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America, here I come. In 8 days. No culture shock for me.

(Disclaimer: my one “shock” could be that I refuse to eat lunch any earlier than 1:30 and dinner before 8. I can’t do it.)