I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting to happen upon my arrival here, and considering it’s only been two weeks and I’m not quite sure that I’ve fully transitioned, I do know that I wasn’t expecting to settle in so quickly here in Linares.
I suppose your mindset is different when you know you’re going to be in a new place for an extended period of time. But I didn’t know that I would feel like I’ve been here for a long time already, in the best sense possible. It’s quite a feeling to have, when you feel like you’re home and yet at the same time there is still so much to explore. You expect to know more than you actually do and wonder why you can’t yet quite figure out a shorter route to the cafe you regularly go to.
But walking home last night after celebrating a friend’s birthday, I felt really incredible. I have been meeting such great people and had a fantastic time, and afterwards was able to find my own way home, through streets that are slowly becoming familiar. To be honest, as profoundly confident as I felt coming into this new stage of my life and living abroad and on my own for the first time, a tiny part of me had doubts… Maybe it was the part of me that will still always be there questioning my capability. But to be honest, while it’s been challenging in its ways (ummm, c’mon Spain, really we can’t move on from this antiquated gas system causing me to not have hot water??, and seriously it’s SO EXPENSIVE to settle into a new apartment), it wasn’t as hard as I thought it’d be. And I LOVE being on my own in an apartment, except for the fact that I can’t cook and have virtually been surviving off of my “pasta primavera” and the incredibly cheap tapas here so far.
In the basic steps of culture shock, you transition from the honeymoon stage into the seeing everything that is wrong stage. Perhaps I’m still in the honeymoon stage or perhaps it’s my confidence that I have worked so hard to develop and strengthen this year that is allowing me to feel so comfortable and capable. Either way, I know as time goes on challenges will arise, however, I continue to feel so supported by friends and family near and far, and am striving to repay my debt of gratitude everyday. 🙂