I can’t believe how quickly these two months have flown by. And how has the time been, you ask? Well, it has been everything.
It has been eating complimentary cured meats, bread, often stale, hence complimentary, cheese, eggs, bacon and dodgy fish soups.
Hopping from Las Tapas to El Patio to Cerveceria to The Green Corner. Every time a new ´cortó´, ‘vino tinto’, a sloppy ‘salud’.
It has been lying in beds, in my apartment, in my friend’s apartments, airbnbs, hostels, ALSA buses, with all the weight of Spain on my chest
waiting for the antibiotics to kick in,
or the anxiety to pass.
Asking ‘repetir por favor’.
The victory of comprehension, the tears of confusion, the laughter when I said ´los perros de dueños´ instead of ´los dueños de perros´.
Conversations with the owner of the printer shop next door, who has one leg shorter than the other resulting in one of his boots having a heel that’s four inches higher than average
and when he charges almost nothing to print off my travel insurance application.
It has been chatting with the café owner around the corner and realising that not every local thinks less of me because they can’t understand me.
The stretch of land between León and Madrid that stitches itself into a quilt of green, brown and orange fields, only to be shredded apart by mountain ranges with snow pumping through their veins.
It has been plans changing.
Learning to say no.
Painting, writing, meditating.
The joy of realising that every Netflix movie has Spanish subtitles.
It has been the first time I saw snow falling
which compelled me to steal my room-mates keys
run out the doors
and watch the magic ensue.
Then the half-arsed snow outside my window that I have learned to resent.
And the thrill of opening the shutters to the glow of the afternoon sun.
The cathedral stealing my breath every time I pass.
Teaching a little girl how to name giraffes, treasure and salt and pepper in English.
Adventures, the string of hospital visits, of misunderstandings.
Sunsets in tiny castles.
Not knowing where the snow finishes and the sky starts.
Falling in love with ‘las cordilleras’
That there is more colour in Neal’s Yard than all of London combined.
My best friend bringing home boxes of expensive cupcakes from Selfridges.
And the break out that ensues.
Becoming the slum-lord of monopoly.
And later recognising the places I conquered on The Underground.
It has been Picasso and Dali on the same wall.
People thinking my home country is a death trap.
The romance in las calles, the lanterns, the little balconies with pot plants for eyes.
It has been asking for directions even when I know where I am going.
When the strangers I asked for directions shout back ‘venga’
and learning that it isn’t rude.
That punctuality is an abstract concept.
Walking on a history older than I have ever witnessed in my life.
Chocolate con churros for one.
Deciphering Spanish poetry.
It has been when weather remarks become interesting.
And unlocking a new level in conversation: semi-political
but having only earned the words ‘gente’, ‘gobierno’ and ‘país’.
And yet, as if fluency is correlated with passion,
being able to describe Kill Bill scene by scene
or drunkenly perpetuate the rumor that Australians leave their keys and phones
in their pet roo’s pouch.
It has been saying ‘mierda’ to myself when no one is around when I spill something.
Missing loved ones
and waking them up on Facetime.
The sheer insanity in what I am doing.
Realizing that the only reason that this Japanese girl and I can understand each other is Spanish.
‘Bromas’, crepes and sneaking around buildings with Polish girls.
Tapas with Italians, French, Mexicans.
Walks on the beach with Russians.
The joy of meeting another Australian.
The value of hot water bottles.
Or at least that is what has happened so far.