Wow, traveling is hard. Like, I could not have been prepared for that.
I don’t know how to talk about my experience here yet. It’s normal and extraordinary at the same time, and I haven’t really collected myself yet.
It’s kind of terrifying living in a city you don’t know where everyone speaks a language you can only do small talk in. The greatest struggles are navigating the city, and talking with the kids in Spanish because they really don’t know any English and they don’t want to mime words out with you.
I guess the other struggle is loneliness. I knew I would feel it, I knew I would miss home, but I was unprepared for the huge tidal wave to hit me. Admittedly, I am still jetlagged so my emotions are kind of extreme, but it really is difficult. I know it isn’t going to last forever, but it’s hard to ignore the feeling that you really don’t belong somewhere. As with everything, it will pass.
I would take pictures, but I’m kind of embarrassed and don’t want to seem like a tourist. Silly, I know. Ah well.
Valencia is beautiful. Well, it is a city, so sometimes it’s gross and there are homeless people (although far fewer than I would have expected) and there’s a neighborhood with mostly prostitutes and drug addicts. Some of the buildings are so grand and old, some run down and dirty, but they all seem beautiful to me. It’s strange to think that the place I’m living is something I would see on a postcard, but I suppose everywhere is foreign and enchanting to someone in the world.
Did you know that in Valenciana, lots of people speak Valenciana which is a different language that is similar to Spanish. Let me just say, that is not making learning Spanish easier at all.
I know at some point this will make me stronger, but I’m at the stage where I have to really work hard and feel kind of weak to get that strength. However, there are small signs of progress. Today, I had an Americano black, and I enjoyed it (my dad would be so proud!), and I’ve started thinking in Spanish. Now, that may sound advanced, but my thoughts are really broken, grammatically incorrect, and inadequate Spanish. But it’s still progress!