God Bless America?

I haven’t had any pressing blog ideas lately because I’ve been feeling rather normal.  I settled into a routine with Orientation classes, which are over now that Thursday has come and gone, and the air is getting a bit cooler at night.  Sevilla doesn’t feel so foreign anymore.  I’ve discovered my favorite places to get ice cream (one has the best stracciatela, the other mint chocolate chip), I know which cafes have the best cafe con leche and which charge you too much, I’ve become an expert on skyscanner.com, ryanair.com and hostelworld.com, my friends and I found a plaza for meeting Spaniards that we’re in love with, and I’ve even mastered some Spanish slang and shorthand Spanish texting.  At the Festival of the Nations I bought a pair of pants that, while loud, give me a ticket to camouflage with Spanish women when I so choose.  {Sidenote: The American booth at this festival consisted of “Chicken Bacon Ranch” “Chicken Tenders” “Corn Dogs” and “Hamburgers”…no one was eating there and I was so ashamed}  Last night I was hurrying to meet some friends at the movie theater (about 30 minutes away from my apartment) to see Come Reza Ama (Eat Pray Love) when a young Spanish woman stopped me on the street and asked me for directions.  There I was happily eating my stracciatella ice cream when a Spanish person actually thought I, brown haired, green eyed, clearly American me, might know where the nearest metro station was.  I was so surprised my Spanish level plummeted in seconds as I roughly explained to her to walk two blocks down Calle Republica de Argentina where she would see a station soon.  She laughed, obviously realizing I was not a Spaniard, and went on her way.

Here, I noticed, I make a conscious effort to blend in.  I’m hyperaware of the fact that I am an American girl and I want to be anything but.  Yesterday I sat a cafe with some friends, booking a hostel for our trip to Paris, when an obviously American man came in and started shouting at the waitress.  “CAN WE GET ANY SERVICE OUT HERE?” “WE’VE BEEN SITTING OUTSIDE WAITING FOR 45 MINTUTES!!”  It was so obnoxious.  The waitress obviously had no idea what he was saying or at least pretended not to know so that he would calm down.  She calmly responded that the other waiter is in charge of outdoor orders.  I don’t really know what happened next but thank god he stopped screaming and went outside.  We left shortly after and I noticed there were drinks on his table.  Clearly the waiter had taken their order.  Their drink order.  Doesn’t he know anything?  This is Spain, hombre.  You can sit at a cafe table and not order anything, in fact the waiter usually won’t come over unless you get his attention.  Even then, when they ask for your order they ask for your whole order.  I mean this is a small cafe we’re talking about.  They don’t have time to take your drink order, make conversation, and return for your “main order”.  This American clearly did not do his research.  But nevertheless it was no reason to blow a gasket in a city where most don’t speak very much English.  I actually wanted to tell this stranger that he was embarrassing me. I’m constantly feeling this way.  Last night on the way home, Kara Shelby and I were haggled by bar promoters handing us drink cards and shouting about shot specials.  We respond in Spanish of course, even though they are speaking in English.   One girl shouted “Where are you girls from?”  I responded “De los Estados Unidos” and she responded, “Yeah I know, I am too!” in the most annoyed tone, as if she was insulted that I wasn’t rushing to start a conversation.  Why do you think I care?  If I wanted to socialize with American girls in bars I would’ve stayed in the USA.  A few days ago I stopped by the grocery store to pick up some nuts to ease my hunger pains, when I ran into a group of rowdy, obnoxious, and rude American girls.  “Omg, why don’t they have my favorite tampon brand?” “Which wine do you think will get us drunker?” “I don’t care whatever is cheaper ya know!” “Omg, this pastry would be the BEST EVER for drunk munchies…maybe for a hangover too!”  After they are finished publicly announcing their debauchery to the entire store they speak in one word sentences to try to pay for their night in a bag.  No wonder the world is so constantly annoyed by us.  I’m annoyed by us! I’m embarrassed for myself and for them.

When I arrived in Spain I knew wanted to make a constant effort to A) Speak Spanish B) Immerse myself in another way of life C) Never draw attention to myself.  I feel as if I’m doing all three.  I wish others would make an effort to do the same.  In Spain, everything is slower, people seem to spend more time with family and friends, more time nurturing relationships, less time working, more time celebrating, less time worrying, more time sleeping.  Coming from the girl who is always 100% go go go, I think America could use a heavy dose of this relaxation, less is more lifestyle.  8 AM on a Monday morning…and there isn’t even a cafe open for me to get coffee.  Two hour naps when I’m tired.   Eating portions just big enough to satisfy.  Nursing one coke at a cafe for hours.  I’m starting to realize that when I go back to the US I need to try to slow down, relax, and enjoy the little things in life.

Why are we always running full speed ahead towards the future?

I don’t want to miss my now.


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