We are settling into routine. i've been here for a little over a week and i am learning what is normal. This city, this place that is bursting with Spanish and life and tapas, is like a dream. When i walk down the street i feel like i am living in a poem. People move slowly here, enjoying the long summer days.
Salamanca smells like cigarettes and expensive perfume. The tall, old buildings remind me of how small i am. The fast, beautiful language reminds me of how much i have to learn. The joy of the people remind me what is important. The wine, well it just makes me happy. i love it here. i am thankful.
Today is a Tuesday. We have two and a half more weeks of class and simple Salamanca afternoons. With ten Spanish days under my belt, i am so aware of how American i am. In the past, i have seen my American roots as a disability. We move quickly. We are taught from our childhood to get shit done and to do it well. We are taught that manners are more important than getting our point across (something many people lose on their way to adulthood). We are the country of work, money, and fast food. Surprisingly, Spain is teaching me to love where i come from.
i love this place, i really do. But i have been introduced to people from half a dozen countries since i arrived in Salamanca and let me tell you, i am proud of where i call home. Though i wish we could adopt the slow and simple and relational lifestyle, i am perfectly fine with the idea of returning to America. i will make an effort to live slowly and simply and relationally-- i will embrace where i am from while incorporating where i have been.
All that being said, this trip is a gift. i prayed last week that i would live in Spain with a continuous posture of gratitude-- that this life would not become normal. And my Father has answered that prayer. Rather than letting this get comfortable; sitting in my room during my free time (which i will admit i am doing now), not speaking at meals (we have to speak Spanish), and running to McDonald's every time i am hungry-- i lean in. Carolina and i leave the flat and walk the streets and eat gelato. i speak as much as i can at all meals except breakfast because mornings are hard. i challenge myself in class. i listen to my house mom's songs and i respond to it all with gratitude.
i have two and a half more weeks in Spain. After that i will travel to Paris for 48 hours and Rome for about 36 before returning to the States. i am anxious to get home because my heart and mind love the familiar, but i will not let that push me out of my time here.