After months of anticipation (ha!) I finally give to you part II of my Spanish love story! DISCLAIMER: a year wiser this time, my diary entries still seem to be from a girl much younger 😛
If you remember, my love story started back in 2006 when I stayed with a Spanish family for a month in Cadiz. It was there that I fell in love with living abroad. I returned home completely heartbroken pining over un español guapísimo I’d known for maybe two….three weeks.
The emo highschooler in me made a shrine in my bedroom to Spain and Jaime. I HAD to go back. And go back I did! But instead to the beautiful coastal city Valencia. A year later I’d gotten over Jaime and decided it was time to explore other parts *cough beaches* in Spain.
I arrived in Valencia with all the wisdom of a newly 18 year old who’d spent a few weeks in Andalucía. Once again I was staying with a family, but this time I was staying longer and I was going to take Spanish classes. I wasn’t going to hang out with asshole Americans like Jon, complete immersion was my goal and in retrospect I think I truly achieved it.
If last time I was shocked by cultural differences
This time I embraced them tenfold!
And yet I still struggled with the difficulties of living in a foreign country and studying a foreign language.
And I must shock you once again……I fell for a guy…..but this time
What started as a friendship slowly became something more. The excitement of knowing someone from a different culture and being able to speak with them in their language thrilled me. I think many expats have been there. Maybe this guy would never have a chance with you if you both lived in the same country and spoke the same language, but alas you don’t and you romanticize a foreign fling you can go home and tell your friends about.
During my short summer in Valencia I made so many new friends from around the world, I more or less mastered the subjunctive and I got the chance to live experiences I’ll remember always.
Oh Yeah! And I also survived the unluckiest day of my entire life! (long anecdote to follow..)
It all started with an innocent trip to the beach. I’d forgotten my sunscreen and got a nasty burn that turned my pale skin beet red. Once we decided to go home we waited for the bus for 45 minutes….with no shade in sight. Finally a bus pulled up jam packed with people. We decided we couldn’t wait a minute longer for another bus and tried to squeeze ourselves onto this one. When the doors shut they closed on my ankle which immediately began to bleed. Horrified we tried to move to the middle of the bus. Another woman had the same idea and just as she was passing, her hand balled into a fist grabbing the railing, she lost her footing and punched me….in the face. Later that same (mother f*cking) day, we decided to go to the fair. Sunburn, cut ankle, achy face and all I jumped into a bumper car with my Colombian friend as the driver. Just as the buzzer sounded to signal to the drivers they could start driving, my friend slammed his foot on the pedal….the same pedal that had my foot under it. I screamed in pain and looked down to see my toenail nearly split in two. Crying like a baby the whole line (which was wrapped around the rink) stared at me. What felt like an eternity later we got off the ride and bandaged my toe. We made the brilliant decision to relax a little and sit down to order Indian food from….a van (this will come into play later). While we were waiting for our food to come out, my same friend asked to see my California driver’s license. Just as I was handing him my ID he knocked a whole coke into my lap where my open purse sat. It goes without saying that the purse was white and so was my t-shirt. We decided that I’d had enough for the day and headed home. It was around 1am when we finally made it back. My family was surely sound asleep. I opened my purse to grab my key and realized it wasn’t there. My only option was to ring the buzzer which would sound in the entire apartment. In a final desperate attempt to find my keys I wandered back to the car. On my way I stepped into a heaping pile of fresh dog shit. I may have proved the Spanish belief that stepping in dog shit is lucky wrong because I never found my key and I returned home to California a few weeks later to find out I had hepatitis A. To this day I still swear it was the Indian food taco truck that gave it to me on my day of the worst bad luck ever.
With alllllllll that being said, I still left a better person with new experiences under my belt and a great appreciation for an exciting life I was only just starting to live.